Wednesday, November 30, 2011

In my current job...

Before I start off my post, I just wanted to tell you all about a great giveaway ($50 Amazon or Pay Pal Gift Card) over at ThirtySixMonths (  Don't forget to enter!  $50 could definitely help with any Christmas-related expenses or to splurge a little on yourself.

So following my last post about not getting the job, I was feeling a little down but I knew it just meant I needed to focus on my current position and moving up and becoming a leader on the team I'm currently working on.  Yesterday, about 30 minutes before the work day was over, my career leader called me down to her office.

I was caught off guard when she informed me that through a recommendation, I was awarded a bonus!  She spoke briefly of the work I had done that was included in the recommendation.  She also mentioned how my team lead/manager and herself as well as others really appreciated the work that I do and the contribution that I make to the team. 

Hearing about the appreciation, reminded me how blessed I am to be in the current job position I am in and that I am doing a good job.  Also, staying in this job position means possibilities of greatness and reaching my career goals. 

So it was a great way to end the day and to follow up with Friday's not-so-great news.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Oh well.. at least I tried

I took last Friday off so I came into work today with my phone light blinking, indicating that I had voice messages to listen to.  The first message wasn't very important.  The second however, was Angela from HR, she was calling me to inform me that the position of Assistant Manager that I had applied for had already been filled (not by me).

When I first saw the job posting and read through the qualifications, I wasn't sure if I met the requirements for the position, so I didn't even think about applying.  A couple weeks later, the job posting was republished, so I thought maybe I should give it a try.  Even though I didn't meet all the requirements, maybe I'd still be a good candidate.  And I knew that if I didn't apply I'd wonder "what if" afterwards.  So I went ahead and applied for the position.

Earlier in October, I was invited to an interview and I think it went quite well.  I was informed that they were hoping to make a decision by October 31st.  When October 31st came and I didn't hear any news about the position, I emailed the lady who had interviewed me and she informed me that they had not yet made a decision.  I took this as good news, it meant that I was still in the running.

A few weeks flew by, and only last Friday did I finally hear about the position already being filled.  Although I didn't really have my heart set on getting the job, I was starting to get excited about the possibility of moving into a manager role.  There were a few moments where I knew that I wouldn't be ready to leave my current role and team.  And a part of me was secretly hoping that I wouldn't be offered the position so that I wouldn't need to make the decision to leave where I currently am.

It still hurts a little that I didn't get the job.  But I'm glad that I applied for it and went through the interview process, it was definitely good practice.

I am looking forward to moving into a leadership/manager-type role in my current department and hope that I can see some upward movement in the next year.

I sent a text message to DH as soon as I heard the voice message.  He called me right away, I guess he was a little worried that I'd be really sad about it.  I told him I was ok and that there will always be a next time.

Weekly Spending Recap - Nov 21 to Nov 27

The numbers are higher than I would've like and actually caught me by surprise.  I definitely need to be more aware of what we're spending our money on.

Monday, Nov 21
Gas - $47.75
Food - $14.71

Tuesday, Nov 22
Lunch - $7.83
Household supplies - $45.43

Wednesday, Nov 23
RESPs - $200.00

Thursday, Nov 24
Snacks - $6.76
Christmas Gifts - $22.38
Sushi Dinner - $48.00

Friday, Nov 25
Groceries - $51.34
Craft supplies - $19.57
Snacks - $9.25

Saturday, Nov26
Wedding social - $20

Christmas Gifts - $56.00

Sunday, Nov27
Gas - $48.02
Groceries - $55

We also spent alot of cash, I don't know the exact number, maybe $150-$200?  I didn't even keep track of our cash spending this week.  Huge fail on my part :(
I find that having and using cash makes it harder for me to track where the money's going, but I know that it's just a matter of writing the purchases down.  I need to put more effort into tracking expenses.

One success on my part this weekend is I have a meal plan for the week.  I made a turkey sausage and cheese quiche last night and that will be today's lunch.  So I need to ensure that I am not spending any more money on lunch today, or this week even.
I'm glad that I got a few more Christmas presents out of the way, but the list is still long.  I need to get more organized.  I feel like I tell myself that each and every week.  

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A little green...

with envy.

It's true, I'm a little green with envy.  A little jealous of family and friends who are leaving today to head south to do some U.S Black Friday shopping.  I have to admit, I'm very tempted to go Black Friday shopping.  I even took tomorrow off from work, just in case I decided to go.  But I know that shopping tomorrow will end up with purchases I didn't really need to make.  If I were more prepared with my Christmas shopping list, I'd consider going but as of today, I have a list of people to shop for, but absolutely no idea what to buy as gifts.  So if I were shopping, I'm sure I'd end up wandering around aimlessly.  Not to mention that it will be incredibly busy with huge crowds and long lineups.

DH is working the day shift for the next couple weeks, so he's home in the evenings.  And usually we end up going out in the evenings with the kids, but so far this week we've managed to stay in.  There was one quick trip to Walmart to pick up diapers/pull-ups for J, but that's the only time I went out.  So I'm glad that we haven't gone out to the mall.

DH's company is hosting their Children's Christmas party on Saturday and I'm very excited to take the kids.  They always have a great time and love to ride the amusement park rides and see Santa.  I believe each weekend from now until the new year will be busy with parties and family/friend gatherings.  I need to stay on top of things and be organized so that I'm not spending money recklessly.  Hopefully I can do some Christmas shopping online tonight.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Weekly Spending Recap - Nov 14 to Nov 20

The numbers are higher than I would've like and actually caught me by surprise.  I definitely need to be more aware of what we're spending our money on.

Monday, Nov 14
Gas - $49.00
Headphones (for iPod) - $11.19
Groceries - $11.58

Tuesday, Nov 15
bills/mortgage - $1151.82

Wednesday, Nov 16
Life ins - $300.00

Thursday, Nov 17
Cell phone/Car loan - $550.82

Friday, Nov 18

Saturday, Nov 19
Family allowance - $152.52
Eating out w/ kids - $12.62
Christmas gifts - $69.09
Birthday gift and dinner - $78.12

Sunday, Nov20
Groceries - $55.54
Cash - $60.00

We went out on Saturday for a friend's birthday dinner.  The restaurant she had chosen unfortunately did not take reservations but she assured me on Friday that she would be at the restaurant early so that she could get her name on the wait list.  Turns out she was running late and we showed up at the restaurant at the same time and the wait was 1.5 hrs!  It wasn't fun waiting but we were at least able to sit in the lounge and enjoy a drink and snacks.  Luckily by the time we were seated and ready to order, I wasn't very hungry so I ordered a soup and salad.  DH ordered chicken and ribs and I had his baked potato.  So our bill came to approx $48 (including tip).  Unfortunately this birthday dinner and gift wasn't in the budget, so I didn't have any money set aside.

We also started our Christmas shopping this past weekend and actually wrote down our Christmas shopping list.  I have to admit, the list is much longer than I thought it would've been.  So that has me a little worried in terms of the amount of money we will need to purchase all these gifts.  I may need to use our credit card to pay for some gifts.  Possibly.. I will try to avoid it as much as I can.

This week I need to stay on top of making dinner and lunches.  No eating out for the family this week or next week.  Pay day is still 9 days away!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Going back to the beginning...

Every now and then, I look at our financial numbers and ask myself "How did I get here?"  These are the answers I come up with:

I was just coming out of a relationship of 6 years.  During that relationship, I was too trusting and generous and allowed my BF to have supplementary credit cards under my name.  The last few years were long distance and although I tried to control the BFs spending, he managed to rack up his credit cards over $5000.  Unfortunately he had no honor and wasn't a real man, so he didn't feel the need to pay me back after we had broken up.  Coming out of the relationship I had close to $20,000 in consumer debt.  No mortgage or car payments.  

I worked on paying off the debt but I wasn't making much progress.  Met DH and we had a great first year together.  We were always out and about, always watching movies, going out to eat and just being slightly irresponsible with our money.  We traveled to Minneapolis and Las Vegas this year.  Later in 2006 we found out that we were pregnant.  At the request of my parents, we decided to get married before the baby arrived.

This was a huge year for us.  We got married, bought a brand new house, furnished the entire house, bought a brand new vehicle and had a baby.  And just before baby arrived, we traveled to Toronto.

I was sent to London, England for work and DH and T came out to stay with me for 10 days.  Although my accommodations were paid for and I had a food allowance, we still had to pay for their flight and some extra food.  And of course there was money spent when we would go sight-seeing and shopping.  We also found out we were pregnant with our second child.  We also went to Las Vegas when we came across an incredible flight and hotel package deal.  

We had baby #2 and I traveled to Vancouver twice (once with the family and the second time with friends).

There were some family-related emergencies that required us to use our line of credit.  Then there was the trip to Saskatoon.  We also traveled overseas for a 1 month vacation.

Not much travel this year, just one trip to Minneapolis.  This was the year that I really wanted to start paying off our debt.  The past 4 years have been incredibly busy and the kids, the wedding, the house, the vehicle, none of that was planned for.  So there were no savings funds for any of it.  

So I know why we're in the financial situation that we're currently in.  And I should be fortunate to say that we're in this financial situation because we chose to splurge.  We spent money like it was going out of style.  I'm lucky to say that there weren't a number of unfortunate events that put us in debt.  It was our reckless spending.

It has been without a doubt, an amazing 4 years.  And because we were able to do so much, I know that I can re-think our spending now and be more responsible. 

Monday, November 14, 2011

He finally won..

DH finally got his new jacket and new t-shirt.  Total cost $117.  I was against both purchases and voiced my objections each time he brought up the topic of making the purchases.  Last month both DH and I started decluttering our closet and selling on eBay.  For me, the extra cash was meant to go into savings and towards debt.  For DH, it was about selling enough so that he could purchase new clothing.  I guess if that is what he decides to do with his earnings, then I can't argue with that can I?  It's tough because DH isn't very involved with our household finances, he not even aware of the amount of debt we currently have.  And it's partially my fault for not getting him more involved.  He trusts that I'm taking care of our household finances and the bills are getting paid.  And to some extent, I am taking care of things.  But it's hard to get him to understand why his purchases are so unnecessary when he's not aware of our current financial situation.

Because DH is not very involved in our finances, I feel that it's completely my fault that we're in the situation that we're in.  I made the mistakes and didn't manage our money very well and when DH asks for new things, a part of me feels that he should get to buy things because it wasn't his fault we're in as much debt as we are in.  And although I was able to convince him the past few weeks to not make the purchases, this past weekend he finally got to me.  I couldn't listen to him talk about the new clothes anymore.  So I sent him into the stores and told him to just buy it.

Good news is that we paid cash for the clothing.  Bad news, the money I transferred from Pay Pal into our chequing account is pretty much all spent.  No money into savings and no extra debt payments.  We went out to eat a few times this weekend, bought lotto tickets and just spent money we really didn't need to.

I'm a little frustrated because I haven't been focused on not spending money.  I can't go on like this.  Christmas is just around the corner and I need to make sure we're not overspending on gifts and I'm determined to not use any credit cards for Christmas gift purchases.

I think I need to get better at posting more often, I find that when I'm blogging I'm more aware of our financial situation and the importance of keeping on track with this journey to becoming debt free.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Deadlines. Is the concept hard to understand?

why do some individuals try to squeak past the deadline?

I work for a fairly big organization and employees are treated to a yearly Children’s Christmas Party.  Having fairly young children, I’ve attended this party for the past two years.  And although I understand that the event is free for my family and I, and the kids do receive a gift, I always leave the party thinking it could’ve been better.

This year rather than cross my fingers and hope that the party has gotten better, I decided to volunteer to convene this party.  That way if I left the party thinking it could’ve been better, I’d only have myself to blame.

One of the first items I had to cross off my to-do list was to get the event announcement and registration form published in our bi-weekly company newsletter.  The announcement was published on September 9th and I indicated a registration deadline for October 21st.  I also noted that REGISTRATIONS WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED PAST THE OCTOBER 21ST DEADLINE.

I truly felt that a 6 week registration period provided ample time for parents to register themselves and their kids.  On top of the published announcement, department reps also sent out email announcements reminding employees of the party and registration deadline.  During the 6 week registration period, a total of 3 email announcements were sent out.

By the end of the 6 week registration period I had a total of 400 submitted registration forms.  The Monday following October 21st, the emails started to arrive:


“I've been really busy here at work & my kids have been sick with ear infections so I missed a few days last week and missed the deadline. Is there anything I can do to still be able to make it?”


“Due to unforeseen circumstances, I was away from work from Sep 28 to today Nov 1.  This was due to illness.

I am hoping that I might still be able to register my two sons for the Children’s Christmas party this year.”


“Can you tell me when we were told of the event and how to register?  I don’t recall seeing anything and am surprised to see it is already full.  Any chance of more spaces being available?”


I understand that life can get busy and unforeseen circumstances can happen, but you can’t use that as an excuse for not meeting the registration deadline.  What I find amusing about the three excuses above is that although they were busy or away from work, there was still time during the 6 week registration period to submit the registration form.

What I’ve also noticed is that all the individuals emailing me regarding registrations past the deadline were women.  And they all tried to pull the heart strings and were hoping that I’d feel empathy towards their situation.  If this situation were to have happened 2 years ago, I could definitely see myself accepting the late registrations.  What happened between then and now?  I can’t really pinpoint the moment, but somehow I’ve now got the “You snooze, you lose” mentality.

And perhaps 2 years ago, I may have tried to squeak in past a deadline.  Today if I’ve missed a deadline, I quickly realize that I only have myself to blame and I move on.  I don’t think of ways to get around the deadline.
Have you tried to squeak by a deadline?  How did it turn out?

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Feeling a little defeated...

It's Sunday night and I'm feeling quite defeated.  I'm feeling defeated with my healthy eating, our financial spending this weekend and work documents that I'm struggling to complete.

Healthy Eating
Earlier this year, I purchased a pair of denim jeans that I absolutely love.  They were the most expensive pair of jeans I've ever purchased but were totally worth it.  They look great worn casually and can be dressed up with a sexy pair of heels.  I tried on the jeans yesterday and I couldn't get the zipper up :(

I stepped on the scale and noticed a weight gain of 3 pounds.  Not a huge amount, but enough to make the jeans too tight for me to wear.  It wasn't a good feeling.  And so I asked DH to help me get back into shape (and into my jeans) before J turned 3 years old.  I've always had a goal to get back to my pre-pregnancy weight and for the past couple years, I've simple told myself that I'm still working on it.  J is turning 3 years old at the end of February and I refuse to continue to tell myself that I'm still working on getting back to my pre-pregnancy weight.  It shouldn't take 3 years.

We were at a birthday party yesterday, and I think I did okay in terms of not eating everything I wanted to eat.  I chose a few dishes and enjoyed my meal.  Today, we had family over and we ended up ordering in pizza and szechuan pork.  So good, but it really hurt the healthy eating for today.  It started out well, I had a light breakfast - coffee and 2 slices of toast, but then for lunch I had a cheeseburger and then followed up with a slice of pizza, a bowl of potato chips and some szechuan pork.

Not feeling too great about all the food I ate today.  But I'm focused on trying to stick to my healthy eating tomorrow.

So I did my weekly check to get an idea of where the money went this week.  And for the first time, I noticed a maintenance service charge of $20 coming out of our savings account.  I did a quick history search, and the $20 fee wasn't a consistent monthly fee.  Some months it was $2 or $3, another month it was $16.  This had caught me completely off guard and I feel absolutely ridiculous for not paying closer attention to the fees that were coming out of the account.  It truly sucks to know that I pretty much threw that money away.  Tomorrow I will be going to the bank to close the savings account because I simply cannot justify having to pay the maintenance service fees.  We still have our ING direct savings account, so that will become our primary savings account.

I have been struggling with completing one specific work document.  This document has been on my to-do list for the past week, and I cannot get focused on it.  As soon as I open up the document, I'm tempted to do something else, anything else.  The original due date for the document was the end of October.  Then I pushed it out to November 3rd, and now it's November 6th and I'm still not done.  What's even worse, is it's Sunday night and I should be relaxing and getting ready for the work week, but instead I'm trying to get some work done on this document.  Of course, I'm not trying as this very moment, seeing that I'm currently typing out this post.  I'm telling myself that once I've published this post, I will try working on the document once more.  I'm not looking forward to work this week, just don't have the motivation in me.  Luckily it's a 4-day work week, Remembrance day is on Friday which means an upcoming 3-day weekend.  I just hope to survive the next 4 days and to get this document done.

Overall, our spending this week was pretty good.  We spent a little extra on a gift for the birthday party we went to on Saturday.  We actually just got the invitation late on Friday, so this was an unexpected expense for us this week.  We also had to get an oil change on Friday.  It turns out one of the tires is leaking and could not be repaired, so the spare tire was put on (for a $10 charge) and we are now needing a new spare tire.  Good news is that all bills have been paid, groceries have been bought and the vehicle gas tank is full.  Bad news is that last week we had to dip into our savings account to make it to our next paydays, so the balance isn't much at all.  That's okay though, I'll transfer the remaining amount from the savings account into the chequing account and close the savings account.  Ideally I'd like to switch completely to a no-fee account but I'm dreading the transferring of automatic payments (mortgage, car payment, house insurance, etc...)

Okay, time to focus on my work document.  If I can make some good progress on the document, I'm sure I'll sleep well tonight.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Well HELLO! “Insufficient funds” nice to finally meet you

Up until last night, I’ve not had the pleasure (throw in sarcasm) of meeting “Insufficient funds”. 

It was pay day for me on Tuesday and as I’ve always done in the past, I logged into our online bank account and started paying bills that were due.  My flaw in budgeting is not knowing the details of when automatic payments come out of the account.  Maybe I think that the house insurance comes out on the 5th of each month, but it’s actually being withdrawn on the 2nd of each month.  I never really paid attention to the actual dates, I just know that it’s withdrawn the first week of each month.

I knew that DH got paid on Thursday, so I believed that there’s be enough money in the account to pay for the groceries we picked up last night.  Luckily I had gone through the Self-Checkout line at the supermarket, it would have been quite embarrassing to have my debit payment declined and have the cashier tell me that the reason was insufficient funds.  Although DH was with me at the supermarket, he didn’t notice that I had to retry the payment, this time using money from our savings account.

I was very surprised with the insufficient funds message.  It caught me completely off guard.  Immediately my thoughts went to what other payments I may have forgotten and whether or not I caused any automatic withdrawals/payments to be returned, resulting in a $35 NSF fee.  As soon as we got home, I logged into our online bank account and saw that there was still $20 sitting in our chequing account.  The grocery total was $24 which obviously is more than what we had.  I looked at the detailed transactions and saw that there were no returned automatic withdrawals/payments.  PHEW!  That was a huge sigh of relief.  I would not have been very happy if I logged in to see a $35 NSF fee.

This is an eye-opener for me and has validated my feelings that more attention is needed on our budget.  Although our credit card use is very rare, I’m not proactively tracking our cash spending.  it would be very beneficial to be able to post a weekly spending recap.

“insufficient funds”, it was nice meeting you and there are lessons for me to take away from our encounter, and I hope I don’t hurt your feelings too much, but I am determined to never cross paths again.  It will be the best thing for everyone.