Thursday, July 28, 2011

Stressful start to the long weekend

This weekend is a long weekend for us.  It's also my daughter's 4th birthday (tomorrow) and we're throwing her a birthday party at the park on Sunday.  I know that I will be spending money on decorations, cake and food.  And even that extra spending is a little stressful, as I just started on this journey to financial freedom and am not being as aggressive as I'd like to be.

DH has family (parents, siblings) overseas.  As part of our monthly budget, we send money to his family as they have no income.  DH spoke to his sister-in-law last night and found out that his nephew is sick.  There is no public health.  They do not have health insurance/benefits, so all medical expenses have to be paid for out-of-pocket.  DH's mom already had to borrow money to pay for the initial blood work and doctor visit, so that needs to be paid... by us.  Since they have no income, there is no one to help them except us.  I know that we should have tried harder to have more in our emergency fund and I've started to regularly put money into our emergency fund, but I'm not sure we'll have enough to cover all the medical expenses.  I do hope that his nephew recovers and it is nothing serious.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011


A couple days ago, I signed up at

I'm very impressed at being able to have all my financial balances/transactions available on one screen, very neat!  I'm still trying to figure out the budgeting part of the website, so I'm hoping by the end of the week I can really start using all the features that are offered by

I'm always amazed how, when the money isn't there, there's really no need to spend.  Ya know what I mean?  We've had about $20 in our chequing account since Monday, and payday is tomorrow.  And really, we survived on $20 in the chequing account.  Groceries are bought, car is filled with gas, bills are paid.  I think I need to start transferring any extra cash into our savings, so that it's not sitting there, taunting us to spend the money.. hehe.

Haven't had time to figure out the progress bars for all my balances yet, hopefully something I get to next week.  In the meantime, I will do my best to blog daily.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Not a great weekend staying on budget...

I thought I had our budget under control, was even a little happy when I saw our bank balance on Friday and realized we'd have a little extra money to spend on my daughter's 4th birthday party this upcoming Sunday.  But I did poorly controlling our spending this weekend :(  Even ate out more than we should have.  And had a formal birthday celebration to attend Saturday night and spent quite a bit of money on that.

I got an email from Hollister about their extra 40% off red-line clearance items.  I thought I'd browse the site.  And I've done this before, where I just fill the cart with items that I want, and it the end I never actually place the order.  This time, I placed the order.  I had 8 items in my cart and the total was $100.. I thought that was an awesome deal, so I went ahead and placed the order.  Probably not a wise decision on my part, now I will have to make sure that any extra money in the budget goes to paying this order off.

Tomorrow I will re-check our budget and see what is remaining in terms of expenses before our paydays later this week.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Baby steps to saving...

One of my biggest weaknesses would have to be buying breakfast once I get to work each day.  It's just too easy to head down to the company cafeteria and swipe my employee card to purchase food.  Payments are taken directly off my paycheque and so I don't see that money coming out of my pocket.  I've gotten better at brewing a cup of coffee in my travel mug each morning - gotta love my Tassimo!  but I'm still guilty of picking up a breakfast sandwich, or toast or hashbrowns at the cafeteria.  The worse part is that the food I'm buying are things that I can make at home and at a fraction of the cost.

Tomorrow morning I will wake up 20 minutes early.  I will make toast w/ peanut butter and will bring a yogurt to have at my desk.  Or maybe I will fry a couple eggs, or make an egg sandwich.  Whatever I have for breakfast though, will be made at home.

For example today I had a bacon/egg/cheese croissant sandwich and hashbrowns.  Total $6.55!!  That's insanely expensive considering I could make the same meal at home for half the cost.  And imagine I have breakfast every day.  Roughly $6 x 5 days a week = $30 on breakfast a week.  x2 weeks and that's a total of $60 coming off my paycheque - for toast, eggs, hashbrowns!  Writing it down right now makes me feel silly and irresponsible for being so lazy to take time in the morning to eat at home.  My goal is to no longer buy breakfast at the cafeteria.  And maybe I can set a weekly reward of 1 starbucks drink if I can stay away from the company cafeteria.  Once I've conquered breakfast, next... lunch!

Figuring things out...

I'm sitting here trying to figure out how to add tabs and progress bars to my blog.

Sad thing is, I work in I.T.  I've been working in I.T for 12 years.  I worked as a Software Developer for 6 of those years.  And yet, I'm struggling to update my blog with tabs and progress bars.  Odd.

Ending up spending money yesterday to pick up a few groceries, baby wipes and tissue.  I really need to be more diligent with tracking my expenses.  Yesterday I had $40 cash in my wallet, today all that's left is a handful of change.

I've started going through bins of clothes my kids have grown out of.  I've separated a bin with clothes I hope to sell to a used children's clothing store.  Another bin is full of clothes I hope to sell at my garage sale (although I do not know when this will happen).  I'm sure DH is not impressed with bins stacked up in our closet.  I promise I'll get rid of them.

I've managed to make about $50 on eBay this month.  Not a huge amount but I'm happy because it's money in my pocket and less clutter in my closet.  Yay!

I've got a progress bar now! I'll have to figure out how to make things pretty.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

birthday celebration

Extremely hot day today.  I think we hit 35 degrees celsius, which is about 95 degrees farenheit.  Today it's going to get even hotter.  Yesterday was a tough Monday.  R-man and I spent most of the weekend outdoors with the kiddies.  Either playing in the backyard or at the beach.  The sun definitely drains you of energy.  Then there was the running around to do grocery shopping and other small errands.  Last night we went over to my sister's house for her husband's (aka brother-in-law) birthday.  My original budget for his gift was $40.  I wanted to add on a dessert, so I ended up going to a bakery that was on the way to their place and picked up a black forest cake for $30!!  Way more than I had planned, but Safeway (where I should have bought the cake) was another 10 minutes away, and in the heat and rush hour traffic I wasn't willing to go the extra distance.  Which in the end cost me an extra $15.  And unfortunately, the kiddies were extremely tired so we didn't stay for cake.  I told the brother-in-law to save me a slice for when I swing by after work today.

I really hope that the cake was fantastic.  I asked the lady at the bakery counter if the cake had been made that day, and she said yes.  Almost with a "uh, yeah" tone of voice.  I had to ask.  There were so many cakes, cheesecakes, and tortes in their display counter it was hard to imagine that each one had been made that day.  And what happens when a cake doesn't sell?  How long does a cake stay in the display counter for?  If refrigerated, how long does a cake last?  Do cakes get better over time?  This is probably something I should investigate, so that I'm no longer wondering each time I buy a cake.

I've got a goal tonight to go through the clothes my daughter has grown out of.  That way I can try and sell the clothes to a new used children's store that just opened last week.  Or I can start posting some of the items on eBay.  I'm determined to try and make some money off of things in our house that are just collecting dust.

I'll have to figure out how to put up a progress bar for my selling profit.

Monday, July 18, 2011

it's time to get serious

over the past month or so, i started to follow online blogs that were focused on getting out of debt.  it was nice to know that i wasn't alone and now i think it's time for me to start my journey and to share my journey with others.  whether or not you are in a similar situation, or if you're just interested in following and supporting me on this journey.  i should start from the beginning, how i got to where i am today.

as a young adult, i was very financially independent.  i worked and took out student loans to put myself through college.  i started working full time in my field of study at the age of 19.  i was very lucky and blessed to find employment immediately after finishing college.  i was still living at home with my parents, and with my salary i shopped, ate out, travelled and pretty much did whatever i wanted or more like bought whatever i wanted.  and i didn't have any financial obligations.  no mortgage, no car payments.  but i spent alot of money, and i started using credit cards.  i made alot of poor financial decisions.

then i met R-man, and life was really good.  about 1 year into our relationship is when life started moving really fast for us.  since 2007, we've gotten married, bought a house and furnished the house, had our daughter, traveled, had our son in 2009 and traveled some more.  during this 4-year time period we had 2 periods of maternity/paternal leave which meant a reduced income, a couple medical emergencies and i still had existing debt from prior to our marriage.

so now, i'm ready to take control of our finances and work towards being debt-free (excluding the mortgage) within 4 years.  i've always had a budget, a spreadsheet that listed our incomes, monthly expenses, and payment schedules.  problem is, i tend to not always follow that budget.  and we tend to eat out more than we should or shop more than we should.  i'm hoping that will all change.  and it's already getting better. 

let the journey begin.