Monday, March 26, 2012

Monday morning Chit-Chat

Didn't a chance to participate in Carla's Sunday Night Chit Chat yesterday, so I'm doing a Monday morning chit chat.

<< Trying to upload a picture... having issues though... if it worked, you'd see a amazing delicious looking slice of red velvet cake, with a generous amount of cream cheese frosting >>

Just finished reading The Hunger Games.  It took me approx a day to read the entire book, easy read and a very good story.  Can't wait to watch the movie!  Now I'm back to reading The China Study, unless I get started on Catching Fire, the second book in the series.  I suspect I'll be finishing up the trilogy before the end of the week.

I'm at work right now so watching the letters as I type them out on the screen.  Last night, there wasn't much tv watching either.

Listening to?
I'm dialed into a conference call right now, so I'm listening to project updates.

Yesterday I made a delicious pot of Italian Wedding soup.  First time ever and I must say it turned out pretty good!  Also picked up Red Velvet cake mix, so I'm thinking I'll try to make that this week.

Happy you accomplished this week?
Not sure.. hehe.. trying to think back to what went on during the week, and nothing's really coming to me. 

Looking forward to next week?
Looking forward to getting back on my daily cardio routine.  I can't lose any momentum/motivation so I really need to keep going.

Thankful for today?
Thankful that there's money in the account and I can figure out what I need to pay off before Friday's pay day.

Went grocery shopping yesterday and I'm quite proud that I can now go through the entire grocery shopping trip without picking up unnecessary snacks/food.  I'm writing down my list prior to leaving the house and I rarely pick anything up that's not on the list.  Of course DH and the kiddies weren't with me either, and usually helps.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Family vacation?

First I gotta say that I am absolutely hooked on the song "We Are Young" by Fun.  I remember hearing this song performed on Glee, LOVED it!  Now I'm listening to it over and over again.. hehe..

Anyway, I received the details for my BFFs destination wedding.  Total cost:  approx $1500

Here are my options:
  1. Go without DH and the kids.  This is the financially responsibility option.  Although I don't know if I could go an entire week without my family.  And it doesn't feel right to be relaxing in the sun while DH and kids are at home.
  2. Go with DH and without the kids.  This would make a very nice honeymoon (we didn't really go on one after we got married)  It would still be very difficult to leave the kids for 1 week.
  3. Go with DH and the kids.  This would be our family vacation and would obviously cost us quite a bit of money, I suspect close to $5000.  This would be my choice, but it's really difficult to think of spending that money.  

IF this turned out to be a family vacation, I can at least say that no debt will be incurred by this trip.  Next year I am eligible to withdraw up to 75% of my company shares.  I would use that money to fund this trip.  Of course, that's still $5000 that could have been kept in the bank or used towards debt repayment.

And then again, there's the option of getting creative and really focusing on making some extra money this year.  I suppose the decision doesn't have to be made right away, so I'll put my thinking cap on and try to figure out how I can make this trip more affordable.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Sunday Night Chit Chat - March 18, 2012

A bit late getting online today and I probably won't have a full update until tomorrow, but I thought I'd join Carla's Sunday Night Chit Chat.

What are you…

Still reading "The China Study", recommended by a coworker.  Also trying to catch up on my blog reading, feels like I have so much catching up to do.

TV is currently off, but I just finished watching the Amazing Race.

Listening to?
The kids playing on the Nintendo DS'.  T is playing a Dora game and J is playing The Legend of Zelda.

Made beef n broccoli earlier today and bbq'd some chicken/turkey sausages.

Happy you accomplished this week?
Managed to do a bit of decluttering in the bedroom today.  We've been using the kids old change table as a place to throw things on, magazines, toys, anything and everything.  Most of the things have been put away, so I'm very close to finally selling the change table.  Can't wait!  Also had a huge report that needed to be sent out for approval on Friday, and I managed to send it out at 3pm!  Hopefully I get the approval and no updates are needed.

Looking forward to next week?
Having a less busy work week as well as increasing the intensity of my cardio workouts.  The past couple of weeks I've been taking it easy, as my knees have been bothering me but I have to keep going strong.  Also need to re-focus on eating clean, the last couple weeks I've allowed myself a few more cheats than I allowed myself the first couple months. 

Thankful for today?
It's mid-March and the weather is beautiful (+20).  There is no more snow on the ground and we were able to take the kids to the playground.  Oh, I also put away all the snow boots and gloves/scarves and winter jackets!

Tomorrow I should have a full update on our finances.  I don't get paid til Thursday but there is money left in the account.  Need to figure out if I missed any payments but looking forward to paying down some debt on Thursday.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Fitness Friday - March 16th edition

How are things going fitness-wise?

These are the goals I set back in January:
  1. No more hashbrowns for breakfast  I no longer consider this a goal, as hashbrowns are no longer part of my diet, no more cravings either!
  2. No more snacking on muffins and/or donuts I no longer consider this a goal, as muffins/donuts are no longer part of my diet, no more cravings either!
  3. Complete 3 1-hr cardio sessions a week On track, there was a week where I had to rest, due to knee pains but I've altered my cardio sessions to be less intense so I'm back on track.
  4. Complete 4 weight training sessions a week On track.
  5. Drink 3 glasses of water a day (usually after my morning cup of coffee, I have nothing else to drink all day, so this is a big goal for me.  Eventually I'll work up to 8 glasses a day) Still working up to 8 glasses a day, I'm still finding that I'm not drinking much water once I leave the office for the day.
  6. Substitute the not-so-healthy meal options for healthier meal options - white rice -> brown rice, fried -> baked/grilled I no longer consider this a goal, it's now an every day thing.
  7. Ultimately I want to have a defined waist (possibly some ab definition)  It's quite the stretch goal and it's a very aggressive time line.  Still working on this one.
Overall things are going very well.  I'm in my 3rd month and have loosened up the diet a little bit, but still focusing on the goals.

In the upcoming weeks, I'm hoping to take measurements (inches, body fat %) so that I can be more specific in my fitness goals. 

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Didn't mean to scare her...

BF and I got together today and she had exciting news.  Her fiance and her have been house hunting for the past year and they found one that they have fallen in love with.  She wasn't really sure what to expect in terms of housing expenses, so I started to list off my current housing expenses:

  • mortgage - approx $1600
  • property tax - approx $300
I had just informed her of the 2 monthly expenses above and that was enough to question her financial readiness to be a homeowner.  Then I added in the monthly utility bills and the costs to furnish a brand new house.  She was a little freaked out.  I ensured her that things would be okay and that they would just have to figure out their budget.  During the car ride home she still seemed very disturbed by some of the monthly housing expenses but I think once the initial shock is over she'll be okay.

I have to admit, adjusting to a budget with high housing expenses takes some adjusting to.  And it's only now that we're finally making the budget work.  Also it wasn't any fun to scare her with the expenses, I think it's good that she has a better idea of what to expect.

It's pay day tomorrow! yay!  First thing tomorrow morning the mortgage and utility bills will get paid and money will be set aside for gas and groceries.  Anything remaining will go towards credit card payments.  I can't wait to see those balances go down.

Monday, March 12, 2012

List of Women Money Bloggers...

OOh.. so excited!! Women's Money Week posted a list of women money bloggers. So many blogs to read and get motivated and inspired by. Can't wait to start reading!

The Ultimate List of Women Money Bloggers

Friday, March 9, 2012

Money in my 20s

In honor of Women's Money Week...

I finished college just before I turned 19 and got hired even prior to graduation so when I turned 20 years old, I thought I was living the perfect life.  Good job, living with my parents so no housing costs, a hand me down car from my older sister so no car loan to pay for.  Looking back to my 20s, I did everything wrong.  And although I'd like to say I'd do things differently if I had a second chance, truth is, I wouldn't because although I made mistakes I definitely learned from those mistakes.

  • impulse shopping and shopping sprees - I can't recall a time in my 20s when I wanted to buy something and first thought "hmm.. do I really need this?" or "Can I afford this?"
  • gambling - In my 20s, I dated a guy who enjoyed gambling and I often found us at the VLT lounge and casino.  I couldn't even try to guess the amount of money I threw away on gambling
  • eating out - Same guy (looking back, it wasn't the healthiest relationship... that's another post), we ate out a lot, possibly 5 times a week.  
  • travelling - In my 20s, I also travelled alot and never actually saved any money first before travelling.  Travelling also came with a "Go big or go home" attitude
  • non-existent savings - One thing I did right was starting my RRSP contributions as soon as I started working.  I thought that RRSPs were enough in terms of savings.  I never thought about any other investments or even having a emergency fund
I was very financially irresponsible in my early 20s.  In my mid-20s the relationship that seemed to personify my frivolous spending ended.  Although I must admit that even when I met DH, we still weren't very financially responsible.  We enjoyed some travelling and shopping and eating out.  Then things got real busy.. baby, marriage, house.  Out of my 20s and into my 30s, it was a game of catching up, and now finally trying to be more financially responsible.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Car maintenance... appointments I never look forward to

A couple weeks ago we took our vehicle in for an oil change.  When we went to pick up the vehicle, we were told that there was a transmission leak via the cooler line and that this would need to be looked at and repaired.  Ugh!  Just what I needed, a vehicle repair.  Our budget just included a car repair fund, which I failed to transfer any money into, so any expenses for this upcoming cost would have to come out of the other budget line items.  I dreaded making the follow up appointment, hoping to delay the repair until I could save some money for the cost of the repair.  DH insisted we get this looked at as soon as possible, so I called to make an appointment which is now set for this Saturday.

I wasn't 100% sure if the appointment was to investigate the issue further or if they were going to go ahead and do the repair.  I was expecting they would investigate further and provided us with a quote and ask whether we'd like to proceed with the repair.  So I decided to call the Service dept this morning.

"Your vehicle is still under the service contract, so there are no costs on your end for this work"

Music to my ears.  It was a great way to start the day.

I also worked on our weekly budget and it looks like we'll have $97 left over once all bills are paid, the vehicle is fully fueled and groceries are purchased.  I'm also going out for lunch today for a co-workers farewell lunch.  Can't wait!  It's a good day!

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Time for weekly budgets

At first, I tried to work with a monthly budget, then a semi-monthly budget.  But it seems that with the larger periods of time, I lose track of what's coming in and what's going out.  So I've decided to start working with a weekly budget.  I will have to create a spreadsheet that will work for me, but once I've got it figured out I'm sure it will be smooth sailing after that.

DH's birthday is coming up closer to the end of the month.  I haven't figured out what I will be surprising him with.  We received gift certificates for Christmas for a movie date and a restaurant called "Unburger", so perhaps we'll do that.  It's not a true gift that I bought for him and I will most likely buy him something small, but I just can't justify a more expensive gift.  I am limiting the gift to $50.

My sister and parents are headed to Vegas at the end of April.  My sister is trying to convince me to join them, but again, it's an expense I just can't justify right now.  I've always been one to travel and not travel on a strict budget.  I feel that if I can't experience the vacation to the fullest, I'd rather not go.  Sounds a little silly, but if I were to go to Vegas, I'd want to see a show and go shopping and try my luck at the slot machines.  I couldn't go to Vegas and behave financially.  I feel a bit bummed that I'm not going, but I'm okay with that too.

Time to work on the weekly budget.  Hoping the numbers work out!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Fitness Friday

I thought I'd dedicated Friday posts to Fitness, to help document my journey to get into better shape.  Preparing my own meals has definitely cut back on my spending when it comes to cafeteria breakfasts and mall food court lunches.  I'm bringing my own coffee to work and am no longer spending money on donuts or muffins or bags of chips.  I have to admit I still have some cravings but so far I've done ok with not giving in.

So here's what my daily meal plan looks like:

2 slices whole grain toast w/ natural peanut butter

sometimes have a yogurt

a.m. snack
egg white omlette w/spinach

protein with veggies

p.m snack
fruit w/ cottage cheese

afterwork snack/pre-workout
1 slice whole grain toast w/ natural peanut butter
pita chips w/ hummus

protein shake

I have alot of dark chocolate too, it's not the healthiest, but in terms of satisfying my sweet tooth, that is what I allow myself to have.

For exercise I'm lifting weights and also doing Insanity (Beach Body workout dvds).  It's been about 2 months since I started and at first I have to admit that I felt like I was making no progress and I was feeling very impatient because I felt that I was not making any progress.

Now I feel that I'm on the right track and for 2 months, I really started to change the shape of my body.  I'm very excited to continue on this journey and to see more changes.

Here's a pic that I took this morning, it's not full body but shows my mid-section, where I'm seeing the most improvement.

And for reference, here's where I started 2 months ago and my 1 month progress:

Overall, I've lost approx 4 lbs, not much in terms of weight loss but I think I'm gaining muscle.

My current goal is to have more defined abs in time for summer, which is May for us here.  2 more full months to stay motivated and focused.