Saturday, January 31, 2009

End of the Month

So this month I kept trucking along with the budget as set. I got a small retro pay so I bumped up the credit card payment by $50 for this month. I balanced the budget weekly.

A big thing is we switched from the money jars to the credit/debit cards to earn points. This is an adjustment in keeping track of the budget. I hope it goes faster every week to balance the budget as I get used to it.

Rather than having a money jar now for the leftover cash at the end of the week, I opened up another savings account and I'm transfering the balance from the variable budget there every week.

Goal #1 Get Private Disability Insurance

I didn't get individual disability insurance, but I started checking out my group disability insurance and so far it seems like it will work. We left a message this week with a insurance broker to find out about disability insurance for my husband. I didn't accomplish this goal, but I made some steps.

Goal #2 Get Life Insurance

Still haven't done this one. I got a quote but haven't acted on it. I discovered a few days ago that our life insurance on our house is for the amount pre-consolidation so it falls short of covering the full balance. This is the new high priority goal.

Goal #3 Open up a TFSA

Yeah, haven't done this either. I have no cheques so I can't open one up with ING. Not sure if I want to open one with my own bank. I will think more on this.

Goal #4 Get credit reports

Um, didn't do this one either. Just printed out the forms and sat them on the counter.

All in all, I'm happy with this month. I didn't actually complete any of my specific goals, but I did research them and make small steps towards accomplishing them. We continued living on budget and continued our set savings. I shall move these goals to February.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Rock on!

So I made a mistake and I'm actually getting paid my full rate for the contract! That'll bring in approximately $200 more a month until June. DH's union votes on the collective agreement in 2 weeks so that should give us a little piece of cash in back pay. With my estimates, we could be debt free by July.

That would come in handy since the ladies on my online forum are having a get-together a few hours away this summer (some flying in from the states). We've been together for 5 years so I can't miss it.

I looked at my disability plan at work and it so far doesn't have the pitfalls that Gail Vaz-Oxlade discussed. I need to ask more questions, but it's 100% of my pay until 65 years and is not taxed. So far, so good. Just need a plan for DH if the rest of it checks out.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


This no money jars thing bit me in the butt today. I had to buy some washer fluid and coolant. My only excuse is I was sick and coming home early from work so not in my right mind. I used the wrong credit card! So now instead of paying it off interest fee at the end of the month, I'm going to have to pay $5 of interest on it by the time the whole balance is paid off. Grrrr. I'm taking that freaking card out of my wallet (why is it there in the first place?) and filing it since I never want to accidentally use it again.

I spent a little time today thinking of some future financial goals. The emergency savings total for 6 months expenses is overwhelming so I decided the first goal will be for 1 month of expenses. The second goal is to save for my mat leave.

Another one is to save for a family vacation to Disney World. The target date is Christmas 2014. We've never travelled (well, Vancouver for our honeymoon). I would prefer something like Ireland, but I think it would be fun for the kids. I never thought we could do it but I'm hoping that we'll manage it with continuing the budget like this. Hopefully neither of use loses our job or becomes disabled. Or dies. That would throw an axe in the plans.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Goodbye Magic Jars

We've been on the jar system for 3 months now for our variable spending. This week I've decided to go back to the debit/credit card. We get points for movies using them and I really like free movies and popcorn. I feel like we're used to how much we have to spend and can easily do it using the cards and just tracking it with the budget binder. It's a bit more work, but worth it in the end.

Plus my credit card can become active again and keep building a good credit history. I transfered our two credit card balances to one with a low introductory rate back in November. I don't use that card because new purchases have an interest rate of 9.99% and since the payments go to the highest balance (the transfered balances), I will pay this interest on them until the transfered balance is paid off (about a year). By using my old card and paying off each month I avoid the interest.


Sunday - Ribs, Scalloped Potatoes, coleslaw
Monday - Chicken pasta with sundried tomatoes
Wednesday - Soup
Thursday - Chilli and baked potato
Friday - Pork Fajitas

Saturday and Tuesday we eat at the in-laws.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


I finally added a ticker. For some reason I struggled with it for an evening and tonight it just worked instantly. Guess the stars are aligned.

It's our debt (obviously) other than our mortgage (that contains a consolidation loan but I'm not going to deal with that just yet - some other day). The amount owing to date is without this month's interest. I'm too lazy to calculate it.

How did we accumulate this? Poorly planned maternity leave, that's how. We never planned them out (hence the consolidation loan after the first one), we just figured we'd make it work. This time around we are planning in advance. We want one more baby in about 2 years. The CC will be paid off by December 2009 or sooner.

The money that is going on that will go into savings for the mat leave. We need about $5000 for mat leave to make up the difference (the exact number is on the spreadsheet in my other computer). This is all dependent on our one car lasting until the baby is born. We'll need a van at that point and I would like to push off car payments until then.

This time around I refuse to accumulate any debt.

First day on the job

I work at a high school and have been with the board for 6 years next month. The only thing that is consistent is I've been a 0.5 counsellor at the high school since day one. Pretty much every year the other half of my day has vacillated between classroom assistant and counselling at either the high school or elementary school.

Last week they posted for a 0.5 counsellor at the elementary school, but a contract until the end of June. I applied for the experience and to keep competitors for a possible permanent position away from it. The pay is about the same as the classroom assistant position I've been doing at the high school since coming back from Mat leave in November. Because it's a contract it's at the bottom of the pay scale, where I'm at the top for the assistant position so they're almost equal pay. I'll get about $20 more a month. For way more stress, work and a 1/2 hour extra a day. Better than nothing.

I got it (no interview, guess because I did the job for over a year before) and I started today. No principal today so I got a stack of referrals but no rhyme or reason to them. I found my old filing cabinet with all my stuff intact so I spent the afternoon planning my timeslots for sessions and trying to figure out some groups for kids with similar issues. Hard to do that not knowing who hates each other.

I'm excited because I'll be doing one hour a week with the grade 8 girls on relational aggression - the mean crap that girls do to each other, like ignoring a friend for a week or spreading rumours. I really enjoyed doing it before with a slightly smaller group and can't wait to do it again.

I get a pay raise this week because our new contract comes into play. I'll get $20 more each pay cheque. So altogether I'll get an extra $60 a month. When I finally get that disability insurance this will help pay for it.

I'm looking at opening a TFSA for our emergency fund. With my bank it's 2.66% and at ING it's 3.00% + a $13 sign-up bonus if you sign-up before January 31st. Problem is I need to send a cheque to make the first deposit and I can't find any of the cheques I bought this summer. Organization should make it onto my list of things to do this year.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Birthday party supplies

I stopped at the dollar store today to get Ava some chapstick. Poor thing keeps getting chapped lips. The dollar store is my nemesis. In order to stay on budget I have banned myself from there. I used to always get tons of craft supplies and treats for Ava. We do less crafting these days, but she is also in daycare 3 days a week now so she gets to craft there everyday so it works out.

Once in there I decided to get some birthday supplies for her party on the 31st just in case I don't get out to town again before then (it's an hour away). I spent $36.16, including 3 chapsticks and 4 boardbooks for Peyton (she's so into books these days).

We have no friends with little kids her age so I invited the girls from her Sunday school class at my mom's church. I was taking the girls regularly for a few months this Spring/Summer but eventually stopped going. Always a struggle for me to go to church. I love God/the Creator, but not religion.

I haven't told Ava because if no one comes then she'll be disappointed. This way if someone does show up she'll be thrilled. I have no idea if any will come, but I bought little goody bags for them today anyways. Just a few things - stickers, kaleidescopes, and magnet Disney Princess dolls (like paperdolls but for the fridge/washer/front door/etc).

I went to Canadian Tire to get some Mr Clean stuff that was on sale and that I had coupons for. My MIL waited in the car with the girls so I checked out the toys on clearance. There is one Diamond Princess Carriage left that is half-price so I think I'll head back there tomorrow with my Canadian Tire money and get it for her for her birthday. I have a Polly Pockets doll set that I got on sale and used CDN Tire money for about 6 weeks ago - $6 total from $50. She is very into the "impossible-to-dress-dolls" with the "many-choking-hazards."

She has been adament that she have a Pinata for her birthday since going to a party with one back in September. They are expensive for a cardboard box filled with crap. I think it'll run around $30. We have the money but I'm so cheap that I cringe at this purchase.

Grocery List

I got some of my coupons in the mail this week from and and I was running around town using them at the various stores having sales on those items. The pasta wound up having .50c coupons on them so I grabbed them all and got that in addition to the sale price and my coupon. WOOT!


Broccoli 1.03
Cabbage .99
lettuce 1.49
Cooking onions - bag 1.49
Red onions - bag 1.99
Carrots 1.49
Red pepper x 1 1.19
Bananas 1.75
Strawberry x 3 5.97
Cantaloupe x 2 .99
Mushrooms 1.79
Celery 1.49
Cucumber 1.49
Green pepper x 3 1.72
Fresh Basil 1.69


Bagel x 2 2.98
English muffin x 3 2.97
Tortilla x 3 7.47
Loaf 1.79


Milk x 2 9.94
Yogurt tubes x 2 5.74
Sour cream x 1 1.39
Petit danone 5.49
Chedder cheese 2.47
Feta 1.53
Plain yogurt 2.27


Weiners x 5 9.95 (Ava's birthday party)


Instant oatmeal 2.77
Chips x 2 2.58
Dishwasher detergent 3.43
Apple sauce 1.77
Alphagetti x 4 2.36
Pineapple 1.17
Hot pepper rings 1.99
Sundried tomatoes x 2 6.98
Tomato paste .47
Deoderant 1.99 (sale and coupon!)
Pepsi x 2 7.94 (party drinks)
Pantene conditioner x 2 4.48 (coupon)
Granola bars 2.47
All-purpose cleaner 1.87 (sale and coupon)
Magic eraser .99 (sale and coupon)
Margarine x 2 7.00
Pasta x 3 2.50

Superbucks - 2.07
Coupons - 7.50

Total: 136.22


Saturday - Pork fajitas (have to use up that tenderloin)
Sunday - Italian meatloaf, beans, baked potatoes
Monday - Spaghetti
Wednesday - Chicken gyros
Thursday - Sweet & Sour meatballs and rice
Friday - Chicken/broccoli/sundried tomatoes pasta

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Gail's planner arrived!

Woot! I got the planner in the mail yesterday. Thanks to all my lovely friends and family that I harassed to vote for me. I read through it and can't wait to start using it (today was not the day).

This insurance stuff is driving me a little batty. I need an insurance adviser since I can't get quotes directly from the companies. I've gotten a number for a place in the area so I'll try that. What a long process just to get some quotes.

I can get a group rate from Sun Life for life insurance, but in talking with my best friend I'm not sure. She hates them because when her mother died from skin cancer they called her 2 weeks later to ask if her mother was a smoker, despite her policy saying that she wasn't.

Tomorrow is variable money day - I get it out of the bank machine and place in the jars. I like taking the extra money and putting it in the extra jar. It's nice to see that we can actually have extra money at the end of the week. On the 25th I'm having a little party for my husband's birthday and on the 29th my daughter turns 4. This jar is covering both parties and presents. It's not much, but it'll work.

I need to work on being more easy going when it comes to my menu. My mom babysits for us twice a week for 2 hours for free. She usually ignores the menu and does her own thing. I came home from work to see that she had not cooked the tenderloin I'd taken out of the freezer and instead made pork chops and rice. Not a big deal, but I seem to take a few minutes to adjust to a change in my plans. I don't really understand why she can't just follow the menu? The food is prepped to go. Oh well.

I checked my work coverage and here are the numbers:

Life - $50,000
AD&D - $100,000
LTD - $38,219.80

DH has his orders to find out if there is anything from his work. He has a $30,000 life insurance policy that his parents have paid in full.

I printed off the form from Equifax today to get my credit report.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Mr. Fix It

My step-father can do anything. He's a mechanic and has always owned rental homes. Today he and my mom came over to bring back our snow blower that wouldn't start. Turns out the gas was just frozen in the carborator. Free to fix!

The last few days our furnace hasn't been coming on and we'll wake up in the middle of the night freezing (considering it is -30C at night). He looked at it and it was just a lose wire. Also free!

I was worried both would cost us a fortune.

I am not ashamed that this demonstrates how utterly useless we are.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Grocery Day

Excellent sales for me this week. Nearly everything I had to buy was on sale. I went early in the morning so that they wouldn't sell out of ground beef before I got there. I enlisted the help of Ava (my nearly 4 year old) in finding it. She spotted it and then high-fived me.


Carrots 1.29
Fresh Coriander 1.69
Clementines 2.99
Apples 0.99
Blueberries 1.99
Canteloupe x 3 2.37
10lbs potatoes x 2 3.98
Green Pepper x 4 2.69
Celery 1.79
Lettuce 0.99
Bananas 1.68


Lean ground beef x 5 44.61
Turkey slices 2.99
Ribs 5.82
Pork loin roast 11.97


Tortilla 2.49
Loaf 1.99
Bagel x 2 3.98
English Muffin x 2 2.98


Frozen OJ x 6 5.34
Milk x 2 10.98
Chips x 2 2.58
Noodle Pack x 2 1.98
Granola bars 2.69
Spaghetti sauce x 6 5.94
Consomme soup 1.49
Grean beans can 0.59
Taco Seasoning 1.29
Alphagetti x 4 2.36
Can diced tomatoes x 4 3.16
Rotini pasta 1.77
Can corn 0.59
Bottle pepsi 1.79

Superbucks used: 5.94
Total: 139.79

Good week! Normally I don't get alphaghetti or granola bars but it was a special request from my husband. We've decided to quit pop and the last couple of weeks have gone without but today I decided to treat myself with a bottle. The ground beef was separated into 16 bags and the pork loin cut into 5 packs of pork chops.


Saturday - Glazed chicken with julienne vegetables and rice
Sunday - Southwestern Chicken Stew
Monday - Beef Vegetable Soup
Tuesday - dance class so dinner at the in-laws
Wednesday - Baked Beans and Baked Potatoes
Thursday - Pork Tenderloin, peas, noodles
Friday - Pork Picante and Rice

Breakfast - pancakes, egg mcmuffins, toast, cereal, fruit, yogurt tubes
Lunch - leftovers or sandwiches

To do list

So last night I was thinking about Gail's guest blog about insurance. I realized that the life insurance we have with our mortgage is not so good since it only covers the balance of the mortgage and the payment doesn't decrease as the payout does (as we pay off the mortgage). I did a little looking around at life insurance and it turns out I belong to a few associations (college, university and current union) that have group life insurance. Thus my "To do list:"

Get quotes for life, disability and health crisis insurance from:

Manulife Financial
Sunlife Financial

Friday, January 09, 2009

Road to Financial Fitness

I'm currently obsessed with becoming financially fit. The last 2 months we've been living on Gail-Vaz Oxlade's money jars, I have a budget for the next year that is tight but works and we're on track to pay off our debt in 15 months or less (we are both getting back pay thanks to ratifying new agreements, just don't know when or how much).

I trimmed our expenses in any way that I can - switching insurance companies, cancelling the tv we never watch, making a menu plan and shopping only with a list, never eating out, no coffee (that would be for the man, that stuff is vile).

We finally have a joint account and all our bills come out automatically. The girl's have RESPs. And we have started an emergency fund with its first $100. I know, not much, but it's a start. I have savings accounts for car maintenence (planning to fix the cars before they break-down! What a concept!) and for diapers.

This has taken time to figure out because I've never bothered before. It feels so good to be in control of our finances.

My next goal is to get disability insurance and possibly critical illness. I'm in the middle of researching it and it is confusing to figure out what is best. By the end of this month I want it set up.