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.


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