Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Go for the Goals 2009 Edition

Well, I've finally decided on my 2009 financial goals. I may post another time about non-financial goals.

1. Pay down a minimum of $6,000 of debt in 2009.
That's about 1/3 of our total consumer type debt, which would mean that we'd be debt free in 3 years. I'd rather get rid of it faster but I'm being realistic given the economy, etc. This specifically does not include any kind of debt we may take on that's related to buying our land or anything to do with the structure of the house.

2. Have at least $1,000 in an emergency fund by the end of 2009.
I have a regular $12 per week transfer into my ING emergency fund. Fifty two weeks times $12 is $624 and I currently have some money in there. I just can't seem to get onto the site at the moment to check on the actual amount, but I'll try to remember to edit this later. (It's actually $98.40.) Anyway, I'll have to come up with some "extra" money to add to what I'm going to have if I want to hit $1,000 but I think it's doable. (Of course, I'm hoping we won't have a series of emergencies like we've had in the past.) And once we have $1,000 in there I'm not going to stop the weekly transfer. The plan is that it will just keep growing slowly.

3. Establish an account for "Set Asides" (otherwise known as a Freedom or Escrow Account).
I used to do this a number of years ago and I wish I'd never gotten away from it. Once I have the account in place I can just transfer the appropriate amount of money into it every payday. What goes into a Set Aside Account? Money for gifts, holidays, property tax, annual garbage fees, you name it. I used to set aside money for my car insurance and then purchase it for the year but my hubby just pays monthly (which is really a form of financing).

4. Get current and stay current with all the monthly bills.
I'm getting closer to being current on things (and some bills are never late) but there's still room for improvement right now.

So, there we are. Not too many goals. Not too unreachable. But I feel these are goals that will improve our day-to-day life and give us more security.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Couponers Make Others Look Cheap?!

I was idly reading the paper when this article caught my eye. The story (titled "Stand next to a penny-pinching, coupon-user and people think you're cheap, too, study finds") makes me angry and offends me on almost too many levels to count.

According to the authors of the University of Alberta study, not only are coupon-users so repellent that nobody wants to be caught using coupons, but their appearance of cheapness rubs off on the unfortunate people who just happen to be standing in line behind them!

The first thing that bugs me is that this study was done at the University bookstore. People were asked a series of questions about people who used coupons and the people immediately behind them in line at the bookstore cashier. Being called "frugal" isn't bad in my book (although it appears to be a negative in the researcher's vocabulary) but "tightwad" and "cheap"? Aren't all these people students? Forgive me if I seem unclear on the concept, but I was under the impression that students are perpetually short of money and are always on the lookout for ways to cut corners. These are the people denigrating their fellows for using "a coupon with little value" (a 50 cent coupon on the purchase of a $4 pen, according to the story)?

Then too, the placement of the story elicited a bit of a snort from me. It was just a few pages after a full-page article on how people had waited for the Boxing Day sales to buy their nearest and dearest's Xmas gifts! So it's not cheap to wait until December 26 to buy your mother an Xmas gift or to wait hours overnight in a lineup so you can buy a $200 digital camera for $50 off, but it's cheap to use a coupon.

Frankly every page between the two articles had ads reading things like "Save an instant 25% off our already low Boxing Day prices on everything in the store" or "One Day Only! December 26th Receive a $100 Gift Card with a 2 year [cellular] agreement" or "All up to 80% off (on furniture)". But coupon-users are perceived so negatively that "nobody" wants to use coupons. We'll just trample each other to get to the marked-down laptops, but that's not cheap.

And finally, the capper to the whole article was the close. If you happen to be one of the unfortunates who gets stuck behind one of those crazed couponers you won't be perceived as cheap if you happen to look like Jessica Alba. If you're just normally attractive you should probably escape out of the line as fast as possible to avoid the stigma! Give me a break!

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Hating the Snow

The snow has messed up pretty well everything. Our dinner worked out fairly well, although one set of family friends weren't able to make it through the snow. But it snowed far too much through the mountain passes for me to be able to go to the house. I did phone my neighbours though, and found that everything seems to be in one piece.

Then my Eldest Daughter and son-in-law took the girls and went up north to his folks for a few days. While we were eating Shabbat dinner last night we heard a huge crash. I went upstairs to check and found that the fibreglass and 2x4 cover over the deck had collapsed due to the weight of the snow. It's a huge mess and it bent the metal railing around the deck all out of shape, as well as doing some damage to the wall where it was attached.

As soon as Shabbat was over tonight I called and the kids are coming back home tomorrow, a couple of days early. Hubby shoveled over a foot of really wet snow off the shed that's attached to the house, just behind where the deck is. It has an almost flat roof and we were afraid it might collapse too, especially now that it's getting warmer and has been raining, saturating the snow to the max. In fact, some buildings have collapsed due to the snow so it's a totally valid fear.

Tomorrow we'll try to take apart the ruin of the cover, at least enough that we can get around on the deck and try to dump some of the snow off the deck and bring in a couple of items of furniture that were out there. I guess once the kids get home they'll call their insurance and start a claim. Sigh.

The side streets and lanes are a combination of slush, snow and ice and are practically impassable. Lots of people are getting stuck and some folks are just leaving their cars where they are! How dumb are they? It may not be fun, but if you get totally stuck the answer is to call a tow truck. You don't just leave your car in the lane and wait for it to melt some more!

I'm still thinking about goals for 2009. I've already managed to balance our budget, but I was looking at how long it will take us to eliminate our credit card debt at our current rate. Basically it will take us between 4 and 5 years, assuming that we keep the payments at this level and don't drop them as the minimum payment drops. That's not acceptable. We have to get out of debt faster. I would really like to be out of debt by the end of 2009 but I'm not sure if that's realistic. I won't be getting a raise this year and I actually worked fewer hours this year than last year. I can only hope that I'll be able to work more hours in 2009 so I can earn a little more money that way.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Almost Year End

I can't believe how fast the last little bit of 2008 is flying by. My final payday of the year is on Wednesday, which is also the day we're having the family over. The plan was to go to the house on the 25th and come back on the Sunday (giving us 4 days there). I'm not sure what's happening right now. My Hubby has some other obligations on a couple of those days and the weather has been incredibly bad, with whiteout conditions off and on along the freeway out in the Fraser Valley. There's also a lot of snow in the passes on the Hope-Princeton.

Possibly I'll go on the Greyhound, whether for 4 days or just for one or two. I'm still very concerned about how the place is holding up through the exceptionally cold winter we've been having. But how much will I be able to do if I go by myself and without a car? There's also very little chance of my getting the plumber in over the statutory holiday to check my pipes or clear our little blockage. I guess he might come if my pipes were actually frozen but I don't want that to be the case. It would be very serious and very costly.

Of course, a big part of the reason for going was also to look at this piece of land I'm interested in. I still don't know if it's possible to take our equity out of my daughter's house at this point in time so I don't know if the whole thing is feasable.

The other thing I should do over the next few days is to set some goals for 2009. I have some ideas floating around at the moment but I can't say I'm ready to list them. Once I've worked on them for a bit I'll post them.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow Update and Hanukkah

Well, we got the 25 centimetres of snow (10") they promised. The power is still on, the snow is still coming down (although it's supposed to stop sometime tonight) and the roads are a mess. The trucks are still having trouble keeping the main routes plowed and sanded or salted. Nothing has been done in the residential side streets. They might get to those tomorrow.

The next storm is supposed to hit Tuesday night or Wednesday and continue through Friday. When will this nightmare end?

The good news is that our water pipes seem to be fine. I got our cold water going last night about 1 am. I couldn't sleep and I was worrying about the pipes a bit, so I got up and washed the milchig (dairy) dishes with nice hot water. When I finished the cold still wasn't working. I folded a load of laundry and was going to head to bed when I heard dripping. The cold tap was dripping slightly but was still not running freely. I turned the hot water back on for maybe 20 seconds and the cold water suddenly started running. I had hoped that running the hot water for a while would do the trick (even though family members had told me it wouldn't work) and it did. The 2 lines run side by side through the wall so it was worth a try, right?

Tonight was the first candle of Hanukkah and we managed to find 2 of the hanukkiyot (Hanukkah menorahs) so we were able to light when it got dark. We didn't go downtown to the lighting of the huge menorah at the Art Gallery because it was really, really messy by then. I didn't make latkes tonight (we had regular pancakes at Dear Child's request) because we're going to do that when everybody comes over on Wednesday (when nobody has to work). DC did get 2 presents tonight, in addition to the candy her teacher gave out with instructions that it wasn't to be eaten until Hanukkah. I gave her a pink hoodie for her Webkinz pets and her older sister gave her a L'il Kinz (the Blue Triggerfish).

Saturday, December 20, 2008

What if We're Snowed In?

It's a bit unlikely that we'll actually be snowed in, but we could lose our power and the cold water pipe leading to our sink seems to have frozen this afternoon. The pipe runs along the outside wall of the house for at least a short distance and is the only one affected at this point. Right now we have the cold tap turned on a little way and have opened the bottom cupboard doors in an attempt to get more warmth into there.

My son-in-law isn't home. He's been plowing and sanding ever since 7 am. However, he talked to Eldest Daughter on the phone and says there's really nothing else to do at this point. His hope is that the pressure of having the tap open might clear the line and I guess we're just hoping nothing has cracked inside the wall.

It's really kind of odd. I mean, it's only been down to 17 or 19 Celsius (edit: That should be Fahrenheit, of course. 19 Celsius would be a warm spring day.) and our area of the house is always very warm when they have the heat on upstairs. It was also actually colder outside a few nights ago, with no problem. But I don't know. I'm sure son-in-law will have a look at it when he can. He's scheduled to work tomorrow but I don't think union rules allow him to work 15 or so hours and then work again with less than 12 hours off in between. I'm hoping he can look at it in the morning. It's also a bit warmer now and will probably warm up another few degrees because it has clouded over and begun to snow heavily. We're actually forecast to receive 15 to 25 centimetres tonight and tomorrow (up to 10" of snow). This is just not Vancouver weather.

I'm concerned about the house but my neighbour has always been good about checking on it for us and letting me know when there was a problem. I may give them a call tomorrow though. They were saying on tonight's news that the wind chill in some parts of the Okanagan will drop temperatures to around 40 below (which is 40 below no matter which temperature system you're using). That's cold. Really, really cold.

But what if it snowed so much that we were actually snowed in for a couple of days? This is one of the reasons for always having a supply of food on hand, as well as bottled water, lamps or candles, etc. We have a coleman stove but no propane at the moment. My Eldest Daughter and son-in-law have a propane BBQ that they could use (but I can't find the adaptor kit I bought several years ago to use a large tank of propane with our stove). Possibly they still have some of the small propane containers left over from camping this summer. We have 7 or 8 gallons of bottled water, about 2 dozen Shabbat candles (that burn for 2 to 3 hours), only a few tea lights and a couple of big pillar candles that would last for a few days.

As for food, we have some basics. There's brown rice, white beans, whole wheat pasta, a big bag of oatmeal, 3 boxes of dry cereal, a few tins of tuna, apples, sugar, tea and coffee. There are some other things on the shelf too (like a box of brownie mix and another of pie crust mix) and a bunch of stuff in the fridge and freezer like hash browns, french fries, Yves ground "meat" (a soy substitute), cheese, milk, butter, eggs, carrots and so on. So we'd have enough to eat if we were stuck for 2 or 3 days and, if there's actually small propane canisters upstairs, we'd be able to cook quite nicely.

We'd stay in our bedroom for the most part, pile all our blankets and quilts on the beds and dress warmly. We'd only venture out to go to the washroom, to cook and to take Dog for walks. It probably wouldn't be the most fun we've ever had but we'd get through it without huge problems. The big thing I learned from this is that I should buy some propane.

What about you? If your power went out for 2 or 3 days how would you manage? Would you freeze? Would you have water and food? Would you be able to cook? Are your cell phones charged?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Now You See Her, Now You Don't

Did I disappear into a snowdrift? Well, that’s one possibility. We’ve had a lot more snow, at least a couple of inches, and the city hasn’t quite come to a standstill yet but I’m waiting for the weekend when we’re supposed to get even more.

Really, I’ve just been kind of overwhelmed. I’m chronically sleep-deprived, very busy at work, spending most of my recent days driving in bad weather pretty much all day long (what with school, work, dental appointments, etc.) and I’ve been prioritizing sleeping over posting.

I haven’t totally forgotten about my finances over the past few days though.

I paid $114 on my MasterCard this past month and was charged $95.75 in interest, for a net drop in indebtedness of a whopping $18.25! At this rate, it would take about 27 years to pay off the whole card if I never charged anything more. In point of fact, I’m already charging about $415 for my fuel oil delivery but I paid down $415 the other day to allow for doing that, plus added a $13.19 snowflake (a couple of tiny cheques that finally caught up with me).

I had originally intended to pay $66 on December 10th. That was both payday and the due date of my bill. However, the financial situation was such that I wasn’t able to do that and the $114 payment I’d made late in November was the only one. Now I have until January 10th to make a payment but, once again, there is no minimum payment listed. I’ve already figured that I should be paying at least $180 per month. I get paid on both the 24th and January 7th so there are 2 pay periods where I could make a payment. I’d like to try to pay $90 each payday. I think that’s a little easier than trying to do the whole thing all at once. (And do you think I could pop the words, pay, payday or payment in there a few more times? I’d normally stop and edit but I want to go to bed instead.)

Anyway, I’ve taken care of the bounced cheque, paid some of the money back to my daughter (even though she said I didn’t have to do so this quickly) and arranged to pay the fuel bill. I also talked to the sales rep about the lavender plants (although I can’t claim credit there – he called me). Oh yes, and I finally did a load of laundry. No, that’s not financial, just one of those necessary details so life runs more smoothly.

I’m a little panicked that Hanukkah begins on Sunday. I still have a couple of gifts to buy and I’m responsible for both a roast chicken and latkes for our family party next Wednesday. We need to look for the holiday box (a Rubbermaid tub) on Sunday so we’ll have hanukkiot (Hanukkah menorahs) to light that afternoon! And I guess I should buy some candles. But right now it's time for bed.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Let it Snow?

When people realize I'm in Canada they tend to think of ice and snow, igloos and snowmobiles, long cold winters. All that sort of thing. Nothing could be further from the truth. Here in Vancouver it snows a handful of times in a winter and maybe one or two of them stick around for more than 24 hours before getting totally washed away. Until a couple of days ago I hadn't even noticed any snow on the mountains (not good news for ski resort operators). If you want to have to dig your car out of a snowbank in order to go to work you have to go back east for that. Here on the Coast it usually just rains. A lot. Of course, that's why everything is so green and beautiful here in the spring and summer.

Yesterday was a bright, sunny day. Today, however, is our first snow. It's dark and nasty outside and there are big, wet flakes plopping down everywhere. If that's not bad enough, I think it's supposed to be windy too.

Because it snows so seldom here, people are absolutely clueless about how to drive in it and most people don't have winter tires. They just zoom around in their SUVs with all season tires, thinking that their vehicle can handle it. Unfortunately, it has more to do with the driver than the vehicle. The other folks creep around at a snail's pace, enraging the SUV drivers, who then speed and skid.

Since I spent about 7 years living in Calgary (where it really does snow and stick around) I know how to drive in it, but I'm in the minority. And I'm still going to get our winter tires put on this Sunday because we aren't going through the mountains to the house without both winter tires and chains (although we've never had to use the chains, they're always in the car).

What was the point of this post? I really just wanted to rant about the evil snow, even though it will probably turn to rain later, because then it's going to freeze tonight. Guess who isn't going to be walking to synagogue tomorrow?

We're going to have lamb stew in the crockpot and I'm planning to do a little catching up on my sleep. Shabbat Shalom!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Small Town Friendliness

I've noticed a number of times that small town friendliness is still alive and well. Now, if we could just teach those skills to folks in the Big City.

I've posted the other day about my bad experience with my major bank. It's not just that they weren't helpful. The girl was rude. But that's an extreme example. Let's look at something a little more representative at the same bank.

I've had an account there for probably 10 years. Back then, they were great. The tellers recognized you when you came in, called you by name and so on. Eight years ago they merged with another major bank. Staff started to change, policies changed, some aspects of telephone banking didn't work the same, there were some new holds on deposits but nothing that would be a total deal-breaker.

Currently when I go in I'm often asked by the teller to swipe my debit card and enter my PIN or show photo ID before they will do anything for me. Doing something like making a deposit to my husband's or Eldest Daughter's accounts seems to be a Suspicious Activity. Everything costs. Two books of 25 cheques cost over $20 recently (when they used to be free).

When I go to a branch of this same bank in the Okanagan the tellers are friendly and never ask me for my PIN or photo ID. Even when I didn't have my passbook one day this summer and wanted a printout of my account activity all they did was swipe my card to get my account number. They call me by name, even though the tellers at my "home" branch no longer do.

And my credit union in the Okanagan prints me free books of cheques on the spot when I need them!

Today, I had another situation that really touched me. I know I'm running low on fuel oil and need a fill. The minimum delivery is 100 gallons and it cost in the $400 to $500 range when I've had fills in the past. I'm a little scared of running the tank dry because I wrecked a sensor in the furnace that way last year and had to spend $150 on servicing it.

So I called the fuel dealer today to find out how much a minimum fill will cost. The driver who delivers to me was the one who answered the phone. He told me the minimum charge currently is $415 and we talked for a couple of minutes about how I'm not going to be there until the 25th and about having my neighbour check the level to make sure I'm not about to run dry. I said I'd have to juggle things around to open up enough space on the credit card and he said that I don't need to worry about that. I've established a history with them and he's going to be in my area tomorrow. He asked if I want him to just deliver then and he would wait until I called back to put the charge through! I said sure and we left it at that. I should mention that I never gave him my address or an account number, just said my name and the name of the unincorporated town where the house is located at the beginning of the conversation! He knew who I was right away even though I only had two fills last year.

As for how I will pay for this, Hubby already transferred some money to me from his most recent pay and I get paid tomorrow. I have to pay down the card and keep checking until the space opens up on the card (probably a couple of days). Then I can call and have the fuel charged on the card. They were so nice they definitely go to the head of the line in terms of who I pay first!

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Deja Vu All Over Again

No, this isn't a post about the Vancouver Canucks (who used to use that redundant phrase in their ads)!

The thing about making money mistakes is that they aren't horrible if you learn from them. You make a mistake, you fix it and now you know better. Sooner or later you make another mistake but it's a different one. You fix it and now you know something else that you shouldn't do.

The problem comes when you make the same mistake over and over. I'm an intelligent person. I'm quite well-read. I understand a lot of basic financial concepts. I'm even quite capable of expounding on them in this blog. So, why do I make the same mistakes repeatedly?

Previously I was paying the bills with whatever money was left after all the automatic payments and buying all our food and gas. That meant a lot of bills weren't getting paid in a timely way. This past month or so I've started paying the bills first and then buying food and gas. As I already pointed out, that's been tough. But it's more real. If we're short on food and payday is several days away we really feel it. It's not like not paying my cell bill for a month.

Putting gas and groceries after the bills is a good thing. It's designed to teach us to be more careful and to show us in a practical way that living beyond our means hurts. The problem is that there is a certain minimum amount we do have to spend on these items on an ongoing basis. It's not practical to just run out of gas 3 days before payday because I can't get Dear Child to and from school and myself to and from work in that case. (School would be about 2 hours walk each way, work is over an hour along basically the same route and if I could pay for transit I might as well be putting gas in the car because it would cost more for transit than for gas.) It's also not reasonable (or ethical) to totally run out of food with a small child in the house. So, I spent more money than I had in order to take care of these needs.

I realized at some point that I wasn't going to stretch until I got my next cheque and started trying to do something about it. First, I asked Hubby for money but he didn't have any. Then I transferred money from ING, from my already depleted emergency fund but that doesn't happen instantly. So, I kept checking and, sure enough, the other day the biggest outstanding cheque had come in and I'd exceeded my overdraft limit. My Eldest Daughter graciously offered to temporarily cover it but we had to wait until the end of the day to get her paycheque.

When we went to the bank and transferred money the cheque had already been bounced and I'd been charged $42.50. I talked to the bank about not returning the cheque but they told me it was too late and, besides, they'd already had this discussion with me before and they weren't interested. I pulled out the "I'll move all my investments out of here" threat and they basically said I shouldn't let the door hit me on the way out. Okay, they weren't quite that rude but the girl said she was "sorry [I] felt that way, goodbye". And she smirked.

So, I won't be transferring RRSPs from Sun Life to TD. Instead, I'm going to go sometime next week to check out a local credit union that offers totally free chequing. This was something I was interested in doing anyway because, between Hubby and myself, we're paying over $40 per month in bank service charges. That's just ridiculous. In fact, it's like bouncing a cheque every month!

As for my RRSPs, I'm not sure if I can actually move the GIC I just set up a couple of months ago. It may have to sit there for the full 2 year term, but I transfer $10 per week into a money market fund that earns almost no interest. It collects there until I have the minimum required for another GIC, at which time I get one, etc. That $10 per week can go somewhere else. I just have to figure out where. And I probably will wait to move that until the end of December, simply so I don't have to deal with getting more than one receipt for my income tax for this year.

Anyway I'm mad. I'm mad at myself. I'm mad that the money from ING didn't arrive in time, even though I know it doesn't happen like snapping your fingers. But most of all, I'm mad that the girl was rude to me. I don't think she believed me that I was going to move my money and that's why she was smirking at me. She figured I was just like the boy who cried wolf and that I'd stay and they could continue to charge me and charge me and charge me. But I'm going to move my account and when I move the RRSPs I'm going to make it clear that this is why I'm doing it.

Yes, I have to realize that I'm ultimately responsible for my finances. No, they don't necessarily have to reverse the charges for me. But they have a responsibility to be polite about it. If they can't be polite they don't deserve my business.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

December Goals

As I sit here thinking about goals (particularly financial goals) for the month of December, I'm at a bit of a loss. I've paid off the IKEA card and the next amount on the Home Depot card doesn't come due until mid-January. Paying off a credit card totally is exciting and motivating and I'm kind of depressed that I won't be doing something like that again this month.

I already have the money for Home Depot safely socked away in ING but I want to keep it there, earning interest, until after January 1st. It's not making a lot of money, of course. I think it earned me a whole .88 last month, but that's a heck of a lot better than paying interest! And I'm happy to collect that interest to put towards paying the next amount due for Home Depot in early February. That one is the killer, about $1,400 for the hardwood floor I put down in my living room. I don't have anything in there for it right now but I don't actually anticipate having a chunk of money to put towards it until early January. I think I'll have about half then and will have to come up with the other half just before it comes due.

In a worst case scenario I would take the $400 of vacation pay I have also sitting in ING and apply that to it temporarily along with whatever money I could glean from anywhere, but I actually think it's going to work out okay (although I might be juggling money for a few days, given when paydays etc. fall out). But that's not a December goal and I don't think it's realistic to try to put even a small amount into ING towards it this month. I expect to use my "spare cash" this month to pay down my MasterCard far enough to be able to charge it back up with a fill of fuel oil for the house.

That's going to be a lot of money but there's nothing I can do about it. I get the minimum delivery they make and it has to be paid in full when I order it. I can't just let it go because I'll damage my house in 2 ways. First, my pipes will freeze and second, I'll clog the little sensor in the furnace again if I run the tank dry. That'll set me back another $150 for the service call. I don't even want to think about what the plumbing bill would be. No, it's better to pay for a fill that I expect will last me through the rest of the winter.

I need to spend some money on Hanukkah (probably in the neighbourhood of $100) and I expect to charge a small charitable donation for someone I know online whose son is receiving incredibly expensive antibody therapy. (You think you have financial problems? Try coming up with $125,000 in just over a week in order to save your child's life!) Any way I look at it, I'm going to be putting a couple of charges on the MasterCard so I can't say I won't use it again this month.

I'd like to work on eliminating my dependence on overdraft but, again, that's not realistic this month when I have to come up with a lot of money all at once.

Okay, enough thinking out loud. Here are my goals for December:

1. Find out the exact cost, including taxes, for a minimum fill of fuel oil and pay down the MasterCard by at least that amount of money, in addition to the $66 I've already planned to pay on December 10th.

2. Pay my Bell bill during December to keep it current.

3. Make 2 payments on the water bill this month.

4. Talk to TD about moving my locked-in RRSP to them when the GIC I have with Sun Life matures this month. Make sure the TD rate is still better than the rate I'd get if I rolled it over at Sun Life, then take action.

Those aren't earth-shattering goals but I want to have ones I can actually achieve. Getting and staying current on bills is a Good Thing. So is paying down even a small amount on the MasterCard. They may be baby steps but they're taking me in the right direction.

As for the RRSP, I could just let it go. It will roll over automatically and there's no effort on my part. But I think I can get 4% at TD (maybe a half percentage point better than where it is) and I'd get more of my retirement savings under one roof. I think it's worth looking into.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Looking Back at November's Goals

I can hardly believe that it's already December and 2008 is almost over. But I did make some financial goals in November. Let's look back and see how I did. My goals were:

1. Not to charge anything during the month.
2. To pay off IKEA.
3. To start paying down my MasterCard.

I'm proud to say I achieved all of my goals! I didn't charge anything on either my MasterCard or the IKEA card during the month (the 2 cards that are in my name). I paid off the total balance owing on my IKEA card and I made a payment of $114 on my MasterCard.

I also worked on catching up on some of my other bills. But all of this bill-paying was tough. We didn't have very much money for food or gas as a result. It's lucky the price of gas has been tumbling for some time, so that we didn't have to spend as much to drive to work and school. And, of course, we didn't go to the house at all during the month.

The food issue was really the hardest. We used up pretty much everything that was in the fridge and the cupboards, including some choices that were not too popular with Dear Child, but we made it. Unfortunately, we're still short of money for another week or two so we're still slogging away.

I have another Safeway card and I'm going to go shopping tonight after work, but that's only another $100. The good thing is that today is the first Tuesday in the month, the day when you save 10% on your grocery bill at Safeway.