Friday, September 30, 2011

Numbers are finally up!

I finally did it... I put up my debt numbers.  It's a scary number and I don't even think the DH knows that the debt is as much as it is.  He knows that there is some debt but would probably be very surprised at the total amount.  Although I manage the finances in the house and am well aware of the debt situation, I was surprised when I finally saw the total.  Approx: $39,000!  Oh my gosh.. I feel like crying :(

I tend to freak out about our debt but I won't freak out this morning.  I will stay focused and try to chip away at this debt one dollar at a time.

This morning I feel like I need to write down the Good, the Bad and the Ugly.

  • DH is worked the day shift this week and was home in the evenings which was really nice.  We managed to not go out to eat or pick up fast food for supper
  • I participated in a focus group last night.  We talked about local fruit.  It was fun.  And for the 2hr discussion, I made $65.  This will go towards debt.
  • I am still selling T and J's outgrown clothes, and have also started selling clothes that I no longer wear.  A little more extra income.
  • Twice this week, I brought lunch to work but ended up buying lunch still, leaving my packed lunch in my lunch bag
  • I spent $40 on raffle tickets.  The draw is for a pair of NHL hockey tickets.  I'm not even a huge hockey fan, neither is DH.  But the entire city is excited about the return of the NHL after 15 years without a team.  I got caught up in all the NHL craziness.
  • I looked through T and J's closets and realized I really didn't need to place a $150 order with Old Navy for new clothes for them.  They have plenty of new clothes, clothes that still have tags on them.
  • I sold T's old high chair and some clothing and made a total of $70.  None of that money went to debt repayment.  I can't even remember where the money went.
Okay, I feel slightly better now.

Friday, September 23, 2011

ANOTHER Moment of Weakness ... this time I lost

"Last Chance for an ADDITIONAL 10% off Sale Items!"

I'm such a sucker for those headlines.  It's such a great marketing tactic.
And I fell for it.

I went onto the Old Navy website and started adding items to my Shopping Cart.  Both T and J (DD and DS) will need new clothes for this fall/winter so I thought this would be a good opportunity.  After about 15 minutes navigating through the sale items, I had a total of 33 items in my shopping cart which totaled $353!!  I knew immediately that there was no way I could spend that much money.  So I started removing items from the shopping cart, and tried to only stick with items that I knew the kids would get most value/use of.

20 minutes later and 21 items less in my shopping cart, I went ahead and placed the order.  Total: $150.  I'm still selling T and J's outgrown clothes, so I will make sure I pay this total off this weekend.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Moment of weakness

I had a moment of weakness.  I checked my email account and found 2 emails from Gymboree.  For those not familiar with Gymboree, it is a clothing store that specializes in children's clothing.  I have never been a huge fan of Gymboree but I have purchased from them in the past.  Anyway, 2 emails sat in my Inbox.  First email was an invitation for 20% off my total order (online or in-store), second email was a Gymboree reward for $5 off my next purchase.  I thought that perhaps this would be a good time to shop for DDs next years summer clothes and to pick up some new clothes for DS.  I spent about 20 minutes clicking through pages and pages of clothing on their website.  In the end, I had 11 items in my shopping bag, with a total of $99 (including discount and rewards)  I thought to myself.. Not bad.. 11 items for under $99 which included $11.95 shipping costs.  I whipped out my MasterCard and proceeded to input the information.  I clicked Submit.  "Thank you for placing an order"

Then I realized that on top of the shipping costs, I'd probably have to pay for custom and duties as well since I ordered from a US based company.  That pretty much threw out any savings/deals I thought I was getting out of this order.

Luckily there was an option to cancel an order if it was submitted within the hour.  So I logged back into my Gymboree online account and cancelled the order.


Monday, September 19, 2011

Long day at work..

I didn't get into work as early as I had hoped.  Got to my desk, powered on my laptop and was ready to work by 7:45am.  First thing I do each day it open up Outlook and take a look at my calendar.  Today, as soon as I opened up my calendar I let out a huge sigh.  12:30 - 4:30pm - Training:  Giving and Receiving Feedback.  Oh boy, an all afternoon training session.  Oh boy, out at 4:30pm means that I will have to drive home in rush hour traffic.  Oh boy, an entire afternoon away from my desk means that I will have 1/2 day work to catch up on.  Oh.. boy...

It was a rough day, and a tough afternoon to get through.  Although I did learn a thing or two regarding giving and receiving feedback.  The most important tip?  Feedback should be giving with some relevance.  Why are you providing this feedback to a specific individual?  So it wasn't a complete waste of time, just resulted in a long day and now I am resting in bed while the kids are watching TV before bed time.

Good news.. I made a sandwich for lunch and I ATE IT!  Doesn't seem like a big deal, but for me this is a huge accomplishment as I tend to pack a lunch and will leave it in the office refrigerator.  It will sit there for a few days and will end up getting tossed in the garbage.  Now this doesn't mean that I didn't spend money at lunch time.  We went to the nearby mall food court and I picked up a small order of veggie tempura for $3.90.  I also picked up some chocolate covered jujubes.  That cost me another $4.99.  And while at the training session I picked up a bag of chips and a coffee for $3.25.    Tomorrow I will make another sandwich for lunch and I will try to bring extra fruit or a granola bar in case I am still hungry after the sandwich.  Goal this week is to pack a lunch and eat it at least 4 days.

The budget it a bit wonky this week.  I didn't plan accordingly and money is being transferred back and forth between our chequing and savings account.  DH gets paid this week and I'm really hoping I can transfer money where it belongs and stay on top of the expenses.

Hoping for an early bedtime to help  clear up my headache.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Tracking income vs expenses

I'd like to think that I'm getting better at tracking our monthly income and expenses.  I've created a spreadsheet for each month and have listed all income and expenses expected for that month.  It's definitely helpful to see a visual calendar view of what's coming in and what's going out.

Yesterday was pay day and I'm not sure why, but I made too many payments.  DH gets paid next week and I should have schedule some of the payments for next week.  Instead I find our chequing account with insufficient funds to cover our vehicle/grocery expenses this weekend.  Luckily I was able to transfer funds out of our savings account to cover these expenses.  Next week when DH gets paid, I will transfer the money back into our savings account.

I need to be more careful when making payments so that I don't get caught in a similar situation again.  I'm lucky that there was funds in savings to transfer, else I'd be looking at using credit cards the entire weekend.

Work has been kicking my butt all week.  Luckily it's Friday and I have 1 hr of work left.  I will most likely need to bring my laptop home and work a couple hours overtime this weekend.  Just so that when I come in on Monday, I'm not overwhelmed with my workload.  Doesn't sound like much fun, but it will keep me sane on Monday.

Happy Friday everyone!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sell sell sell...

The past month or so, I've been trying to focus on selling clothing/toys that my kids have outgrown.  I've admitted in past posts that although I was selling items, I wasn't taking that income and applying to towards debt and/or savings.  I also made a commitment to start applying extra income from selling towards debt and/or savings.  I now have $25 in my wallet remaining from the community garage sale I participated in last weekend and I will make a payment towards my debt.  I'm very excited because I posted more clothes and just calculated  another $61 in sales!!  Plus $30 for my kids high chair.  So next week, I should be able to put another extra $100 towards debt.  It's very exciting!  And this weekend I will work on getting up-to-date credit card balances and will have them posted here so that I can track my progress.

Now it's time to post more items for sale.  Although I'm slowing selling things, it still feels like I've got "stuff" all over the house! hehe..

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Yakezie Challenge

Following my daily reading of fellow PF blogs, I decided to look into the Yakezie network.  What is the Yakezie Network?  And what is this challenge that I've read about on other PF blogs?  I read up on the challenge and am very excited to announce that I have joined the Yakezie Challenge!

I now need to focus on writing consistently throughout the week.  I also need to add more details to my blog and really focus on my journey to becoming debt-free.  I have been making some progress on decluttering my closet and making some extra income, although that income isn't getting applied to my debt.

This past Saturday, I had the opportunity to join in on a community garage sale.  This garage sale is a yearly event and attracts hundred of people looking for a good garage sale deal.  I loaded up my car with bins of the kids clothing, toys and things around the house that were simply taking up space.  In the 4 hours that I was there, I made $80. 

My sister was selling tickets for a friend's wedding social, so $20 of the earnings went towards the ticket payment.  The remaining $60 sat in my wallet.  We ran errands on Sunday and by the end of the weekend the $60 was now $40.  Then yesterday I picked up some crayons for the kids and my wallet now has $35 left.  I should take that $35 and put it towards my debt.  That is something that I will do today.  That will be the first step in paying extra towards my debt.  Yay!

I am making a commitment today to be more focused on tracking my expenses and income.  I will become more involved in the PF blog community and I will do my best to succeed in the Yakezie Challenge.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

A year older... need to be a year wiser ..

I've been MIA the last week or so.  There were a few times I tried to start a post, but I'd sit in front of a blank post, and nothing would come out.  I turned a year older yesterday and this past weekend, we decided to celebrate with a small BBQ.  The costs for the BBQ wasn't in our budget but I don't think we spent a huge amount.  In the end, I got a handful of gift certificates, which works out perfectly as I am in need of new shoes and work clothes.  It will be fun to go on a mini shopping spree and having the gift cards to pay for the purchases.  I just need to make sure that I'm being smart with my purchases and making good decisions.

Another negative for me the past week was going to the casino yesterday with the hopes that I'd have a bit of birthday luck on my side.  Turns out being the birthday girl doesn't make you a winner.  Looking back, I know that I pretty much flushed my money down the drain.  And yet earlier in the day,  I was on Beyond the Rack and there was a Marc Jacobs wallet that I really wanted to purchase, but I managed to talk myself out of it.  And yet, later in the day, I gave my money away to the casino.  Even worse, I gave away a cash advance from my credit card to the casino.  Double negative!

I guess sometimes a bad decision has to be made to put one back on track.  I haven't made any extra payments to our credit cards but I'm selling a few baby items this week, so I will make sure that money goes towards a credit card.

My next paycheque will be a couple hundred dollars more, since I've now maxed out the yearly max for CPP and EI contributions.  I will need to be extra careful to make sure this money is either put into savings or put towards debt.  First thing I will do on pay day is transfer the extra money into our savings account.  This ensures that it is not sitting in our joint chequing account waiting to be spent.  Once in our savings account, I can figure out what to do with the money.

I would love to end this year strong and focused.  I would like to buy all Christmas gifts with cash only.  I need to put my Christmas list together to see exactly how many kids I'm shopping for.  In past years I would purchase gifts throughout the year.  I'm a little behind this year but will do my best to get a majority of the shopping done by end of October.

I'm feeling so much better, now that I've posted.  It's a reminder to stay focused and motivated.