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My dreaded cell phone contract...

July 23rd, 2008 at 07:58 pm

is finally up! Now talk about a money saving opportunity. DH and I were on a couples plan that was costing us upwards of $200 monthly. Sheesh!

I am going to a no contract President's Choice pay and talk this time around. DH can do what he pleases... but I'm SURE there will be $aving$!

A comedy of errors...

March 15th, 2008 at 09:56 am

I often read fellow bloggers writing about "eating out" as a big wa$te of money. In light of this, I thought many of you would find this anecdote rather funny...

Hubby and I (bagged from the work week) decided to go out for dinner to tonight at around 8p.m. We couldn't decide on a place close to our house, so we decided to go to an Earl's a bit farther away in Vancouver (we live in Coquitlam). We drive all the way there and there is absolutely NO parking and a line-up a mile long at the neighbouring Swiss Chalet. We get back in the car and decide to try another place and are told there is a minium of a "half hour wait."

Teaches us to try to find grub at 8p.m. on a Friday - date night central. Married people need to eat too ya know! Big Grin

We ended up driving all the way back to our neighbourhood and had a mediocre steak. Oh, and a drink each.

$71.00 and a tank of gas!!!

Long story short, it wasn't worth it. Any good meal planning sites out there?

Interesting article.

March 11th, 2008 at 11:26 am

I found the following article to be quite interesting:

http://www.cnn.com/2008/LIVING/personal/03/07/consumer.spending/index.html

Especially this passage:

"It's almost as if travel is no longer discretionary spending. Americans are working harder, longer. They may not like their jobs, and they don't get a lot of time off. So when they get a vacation, they're going," he says. "Maybe the new car or the new lawn mower will take a backseat. Maybe people won't eat out as much. But they're going on vacation."



This really is true in our household. We have really cut back on eating out and have cut back on boring things like electricity usage, but we still took our vacations. I think people still feel they deserve a treat after working hard, but in tough times it has to be something more tangible, something less out and out wasteful like an overpriced coffee or gossip mag.

a new financial move for me

March 10th, 2008 at 01:05 am

I've done something financially that I've never had to do before. My and hubby's credit cards have been carrying approximately a $3000 balance respectively for the past three months that we just can't seem to get a handle on paying them down. We both have lines of credit that only charge 11.5% interest as opposed to the 19% charged to us by our credit cards, so I paid the cc's off with our lines of credit.

I don't really want to get into this mode, but for now it makes sense. Being stubborn about not going down that road would have defnitely cost us more in the long run.

The expenses all came from somewhat "obligatory travel" in the form of two weddings. Oh well - our term deposit is coming due as well as our tax returns. We should be debt free again come May.

Thanks for reading. Smile

When life gives you lemons...

January 14th, 2008 at 07:12 am

I injured my back at work in December of 2007. Sometimes life really does throw you a curve ball!

I can't say that this was a fabulous event in my financial life, but I was reassured by the fact that previous planning and saving prevented this incident from being an all out financial disaster.

I'm currently going to physio to get back on my feet and should be back to work in a week or two. I'm motivated to move forward with this thanks to our approach to finance and the encouraging stories I read daily in your blogs.

Smile

How I Save Money on household staples...

November 8th, 2007 at 07:07 am

By booking the next flight to Amsterdam!

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20071107/ap_on_fe_st/beached_bananas;_ylt=AkDiwTNeDBvUgp8neE3cHLbtiBIF

Canuck bucks and so much more!

November 8th, 2007 at 06:01 am

Hello all:

It has been awhile since my last post. Smile I guess you could say I'm blogging less about money because I am angsting less about money. Wink And yes, I realize there are no rules about blogging on positive money developments once in awhile. Big Grin

Hubby and I have just renewed our 60k term deposit and will make about $1500 on the interest when it matures in the spring. We also sorted out hubby's RRSPs and got them transferred from the *cough*pyramidscheme*cough aka Primerica to our own bank, TD Canada Trust. Nice to be able to check things out online!

I am actually reaping the rewards from a store credit card, which is nice. To anybody looking into it, PC Financial gets a thumbs up from this girl. You even get points for using reusable bags, which I happen to like as a forward thinking consumer.

In other financial news, after going through my old pension statements, I am realizing I have to get onto putting the hubby as my beneficiary. Only seems fair after I demanded he put me on his. Oops! Wink

P.S. How about that Canadian dollar? I already bought Colbert's book from amazon.COM for less ca$h!

Ridiculousness.

June 30th, 2007 at 08:16 am

*total rant ahead*

Husband has lost cell phone #4 in the last year.

GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

I've had numerous "discussions" (read: heated arguments) with him regarding his absent mindedness to no avail. He DOES need one for work (on call at times), but this is insanity.

*rant over*

In more positive news, all credit cards continue to be paid in full monthly and we have saved 5,000 since March.

Credit Card Budgets...

June 12th, 2007 at 09:10 pm

I hate to say this, but using my PC points Mastercard for nearly every purchase I make has been the best financial move I've ever made!

Not only do I get PC points (grocery rewards), but my credit card bill acts like an itemized monthly budget. The danger, of course, is going crazy with your credit. In my case, however, I find that a lump sum payment at the end of the month frees up cash flow during the remainder of the month.

Is anybody else out there able to use their credit cards in a similar functional fashion?

In other non money related news, I am going to be trying to get my driver's license this summer. I've gone through the learner's stage before, but never had the guts to pay for lessons. What can I say - pa scared me off the experience and then life got in the way. Here I go!!!

Vrooooooooooooom!

No extended warranty for me.

May 24th, 2007 at 01:37 pm

Thought of you peeps in this community when I bought an MP3 player and decided AGAINST the extended warranty - what I now understand to be a shameless money grab.

In other news, it is SO much easier to use than my iPod shuffle. How an MP3 player should be - no software glitches. Just drag and drop!


The next step...

May 3rd, 2007 at 02:22 am

I've gotten over the first hurdle - debt management.

Now that my debt is down to zero and we have been making a conscious effort to spend more "responsibly" in all areas of our lives, we're ready for the NEXT STEP.

That next step would be putting money into an RRSP. Any Canadians on the blogs that have any advice for a really green investor? Does anybody have any experience with AltaMira in particular? We're definitely looking at low risk with a monthly contribution of $200 a month.

Hubby is not a first time home owner, and I know that first timers can take portions out of their RRSPs without huge penalties. I wonder if this would still apply to me as I have never owned a home? I guess this will all come out when I go for my assessment/interview with a professional. But is it common for younger people to invest in things other than an RRSP, as in a "house fund" that makes my money more accessible?

Shopaholic Takes Vancouver

April 18th, 2007 at 04:11 am

I know that Becky Bloomwood's spending habits shouldn't make me feel better, but they really, really do. "Hey, at least I'm not like Bex!"

P.S. Shopaholic and Baby is SO worth the buy. Wink

The good ol' hockey game.

April 18th, 2007 at 03:57 am

Got the tax refund the other day - half onto bills, the other half into savings. I actually feel ahead. Big Grin The hubby spending his on hockey tickets (Go CANUCKS!) is a different story. Wink

Everything from soup to nuts...

March 22nd, 2007 at 07:29 am

I think my personal dream of our finances being "streamlined" is finally coming to fruition.

If you can believe it, the hubby was using a SAVINGS account for all of his transactions and getting dinged... I couldn't take it?! We must show him the ways... I guess that isn't as bad as him "paying off" his line of credit (putting his entire pay check down on it), only to take the money out again?! *slaps forehead* Bygones... I think he is starting to get it.

The windfall I wrote of earlier has really helped to simplify, which is what we needed. I didn't need it, but I needed it to happen so that he could see money as more of a daily concept... something as integral to the running of the home as filling up the car with gas or taking out the garbage.

With no credit card debt, no student loan, and no car payment, it is pretty obvious that we have no excuse BUT to save our money. I really think he can see that now.

We finally have our own checking (our own pay checks) and a joint checking. We use our own checkings to cover each half of the bills, and then dump the rest, afer openly discussing, into the joint account. I also like to have the joint so that I can "take away" the money he is to save. He has said outright that he needs me to do this or it won't happen. At least we are talking about it and me doing my penny pinching thing is causing harmony instead of strife.

In other financial news, I made some points on my PC Financial Card (free groceries!) and paid off the balance in FULL the day it rolled in.

I am starting a new job on April 2nd. I will be nursing at a smaller hospital with 8 hour shifts as opposed to 12. Yippeee! It will be exciting to get my life back for awhile. Big Grin I will wait to get new glasses until my benefits are also sorted out after the transfer.

You guys have been giving me a good read here on the blogs lately... I almost forget about the forums!!!

WINDFALL!

March 12th, 2007 at 05:32 am

The house is sold!

What we did with the cash:
- $18k went straight to the line of credit attached to the house
- $55k straight into a GIC for 6 mos at 4.2% interest
- $5180 to pay off the truck
- $5200 to pay the remainder of my student loan (I paid nearly 30k through plain ol' scrimping and saving)
- $7k in ugly credit card debt
- $5k not spoken for per se: $2500 in a savings account we can access, another $2500 to have as a safety net for the winter months (hubby is a painter and not much work over the Canadian winterWink)

Now, I realize this is a windfall, so I have gone to great lengths to impress upon hubby that we need to have 5k to put into the GIC come September when it matures... about $500 each a month should do it!

Riddle me this???

February 25th, 2007 at 06:59 am

I'm getting to that age where I should really be contributing to an RRSP of some kind... I'm thinking GICs/term deposits at this point...

I guess my question is, why would I do that (aside from the tax relief) when I have outstanding credit card debt? In the same vein, should I not be powering to pay off debt before I put money into savings? Thoughts?!

It seems to me that serious RRSP pushers are the same people who may lead you astray and convince you that home equity (even in a ridiculous Vancouver market) is the be all and end all...

Tricky tricky...

February 22nd, 2007 at 11:43 am

Is it sneaky of me to switch to hubby's bank so that I can take "his" money from the joint account and withold it from him in my personal savings account?

I want to save $834 a month between us so I can show him that we saved $10,000 in a year. And it will be painless... mwahaha!

Music to my ears...

February 22nd, 2007 at 11:26 am

I just sold a bunch of older CDs that I never listen to anymore to a used CD place... $50. Big Grin

I've never bothered selling stuff before - usually just threw it out or gave it away. I live in an apartment, so it is hard to do the "yard sale" thing. Encouraging to know you can sometimes get cold, hard cash for your junk.

In other news, I just made $1400 in payments to both my credit cards, closed down accounts at one bank to switch to hubby's, and will finally be through with my gym membership (never again). Streamlining is the key people - I finally feel back on track.

My personal debt:

Student loan $5000 (still hovering)
Credit cards x 2 $1800
Bedroom set (do not pay for a year) $1000

I plan to use my tax refund as well as hubby's to pay off the bedroom set. I am a firm believer that you have to pay things off in a way that WORKS for you... the idea that while you SHOULD be paying off higher interest items makes sense, but you also need to feel like you are ticking things completely off your list to keep moving forward.

Feeling pretty good about my resolve. :D

January 18th, 2007 at 02:30 am

I'm actually working an overtime shift tonight to ease my money woes. I'm actually living up to these resolutions... I've already finished a book this year "The Boy Next Door" by Meg Cabot, I've lost 4lbs since January 1st (down to 134), and working a bit more to pay off the debt!

I'm baaaaaaaaack!

January 4th, 2007 at 12:58 pm

I have given myself the two traditionally toughest-to-keep resolutions: 1)Lose weight and 2)Save more money. Go big or go home, I say. Big Grin

More specifically (cuz we all know SMART goals are the way to go, Wink):

1. Lose 13 pounds by June 1st. I currently weigh 138 and would like to weight 125 for "wedding season." What can I say - too many buds getting hitched to not look my best. Wink The encouraging news is that I have already lost 1.4lbs in the first three days. It is a total health plan - better eating (which I'm discovering is often just as easy as actually HAVING healthy groceries on hand) and an hour a day on my new eliptical.

2. Save more money. Keep checking into my blog, loyal readers. I am back to work now (the broken foot is all healed) and I have resolved to pay off my credit card debt (about $3500) by March 1st. It will happen. The student loan will be paid off this year as well!

Aside from the cost of seeing family in Ontario (we live in B.C.), we are doing quite well on the saving front. Using MSN Messenger for phone calls has really done the trick and we have been eating out much less. I am starting slow. My husband and I each get $100 per week for whatever we want. This "cash only" system for entertainment is my little way of incorporating it into our lives. I don't think it would work for us if we were to try to do it in every life category.

Great to be back! And P.S. after reading my previous posts, I guess I should clarify that it doesn't look like the sale of the house is going to go through. Back to paying off debts the old fashioned way for a little while longer.

A catch all post.

November 8th, 2006 at 04:45 pm

I am continuing to cut on long distance costs by using MSN and its video call capabilities. The long distance phone card I am using in conjunction still has nearly 200 minutes on it!

We have been eating at home religiously for the past week (gotta love that neverending pot of chili, and some other options too). Lunches have always been brown bagged in our house (nursing and construction, what can I say?).

We went for a BIG grocery shop at the beginning of the month: $220 on Nov. 3rd. Let's see when we need to go again. I can definitely see how actually planning before you shop helps you out financially in the long run. Funny thing how you "need" to go out to eat less when you actually have some dinner options at home.

I also had to load the laundry card: $50 on Nov. 3rd.

I am going to see the Dixie Chicks tonight - woot! In semi-financial related news, I am going to get the final x-ray on my foot today. If all goes as planned, I will finally be back to work on Nov. 9th. Smile

Big money changes!

November 3rd, 2006 at 05:12 am

The phone savings are chugging along nicely - all the long distance chatting I've been doing has been through the mic on MSN. Yay!

It looks like we will be selling our property to hubby's parents (his half of the duplex they share) for 60K. We are going to pay off DH's two lines of credit and my student loan (debt load of approx. 20K) with it by the end of January. I can't believe it! Big Grin

I have drafted up a contract for us - now that the debt will be taken care of, we have to commit to building our savings back up again ($500 each per month).

Talked to a banker friend of ours - we are going to put the lump sum in some sort of term deposit through our bank.

This feels great!

Phone savings.

November 1st, 2006 at 05:35 pm

I made some changes to my phone services today.


I cancelled some extra calling features (voice mail and call waiting), keeping only call display. I was told that was $6.00 monthly in savings, putting my phone bill down to under $40. The answering machine I am going to buy today will pay for itself pretty quickly.

I also cancelled my long distance carrier (different company) and will opt to use a phone card that charges 3c a minute. I will also be purchasing a mic and webcam for the computer, so I may not even use a $10 long distance card each month.

When all is said and done, I expect to be paying between $40-$50 for the monthly phone instead of the usual $80-$100.

As with any savings, it's no good unless you APPLY it to something, so I have also increased my student loan payments to $600 from the current $500.

Whew!

Reading up.

October 31st, 2006 at 12:32 am

I've been reading a text on personal finance that was loaned to me by a friend of the family (finance instructor at a local college). Good read, nothing really groundbreaking. I noticed that the "case study people" had to allocate much less of their income to rent. Their rent allocation was around $850 in most case studies (Canadian dollars, printed 2005), where as my rent is a whopping $1120! I suppose that's neither here nor there.

Oh yeah, and no eating out today. Also, no exorbitant phone usage. Wink

In other financial news, I was checking in on my student loan account and the balance will offcially be down to $6500 as of Tuesday. My goal of having it paid off by summer is really coming together!

Chowing down?!

October 30th, 2006 at 07:51 am

I'm looking at my dining out habits in writing and it is making me realize a) how much we spend and b) how much of a social role food plays in our lives. Interesting.

Friday: $20 for lunch at TGIFridays with a friend (me)
Saturday: $10 Whitespot burger (DH)
Sunday: $40 pub dinner with friends (both)

phone usage: no chatting outside the hours (that KEELS me!)


GRAND TOTAL WEEK #1: $60
Let's try to bring that down this week!!!

A little project for my blog.

October 27th, 2006 at 09:21 am

The need to tighten up our budget has become very clear in recent weeks - I broke my foot and will be off for two months before returning to work!

I am reasonably assured that hubby and I are not too extravagent in the "variable expenses" department, but we definitely do have to curb our phone usage and eating out. I am going to track my "progress" in these areas for a little extra visual motivation.


Phone usage: 2 hours
Eating out: none



Overall Financial Footprint:

STUDENT LOAN DEBT: $8000/paying off at a rate of $500 monthly (%8.5)
CREDIT CARD DEBT: $2000/paying more than the minimum, roughly $200 monthly (%18.5)

Hubby is another story:

2 lines of credit owing a total of $18,000 at %13 interest.

Outstanding amount on vehicle of $10,000.

A total of 38K between us!!!

I really want to have my cc and student loan debt paid by August 2007.

The car debt will remain for another two years, but I hope to have hubby's combined debt also down to 10K by August 2007. I think we can do it.

Baby steps...

October 3rd, 2006 at 09:20 am

We made a big step today as couple.

We actually made an appointment at my husband's bank to get things "straightened out." I got an account at that bank and we started a joint account.

After we got home, I realized that hubby should probably have his line of credit account removed from his easy access card.

Will keep you posted on our subsequent visits and hopeful triumphs. Big Grin

P.S. We actually received a cheque in the mail for hubby's position on the union board - gotta love those mail days!

My first "project."

September 15th, 2006 at 10:28 pm

I'm interested in the "cash only" method of managing my money. Is it as simple as withdrawing money at the beginning of each week and placing it in separate envelopes for different expenses?

Also, how have my fellow bloggers gone about convincing a stubborn husband that this is a worthwhile thing to try?

Lattes anyone?

September 15th, 2006 at 04:16 am

Like many other DINK's out there, it seems to us (and apparently the rest of the modern world) that we really should be farther ahead in this crazy game called life.

I don't exactly know how we got so far behind, so bogged down, but I do know WHY. The great concept of "nickel and diming."

What makes us cave in to those shopping urges? Pure and utter exhaustion - an excuse yes, but also a reality.

As a full-time Registered Nurse and new wife and puppy mom, I'm experiencing the "role stress" phenomenon that often leads to those knee jerk decisions, those easy ways out - a gourmet coffee here, a fluffy magazine there.

I guess the notion that money and life are deeply intertwined isn't exactly groundbreaking, but my recent marriage has really tuned me in to that concept.

More to come on my personal re-realizations about personal finance. Big Grin