About Me

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Updated Progress Bars

I've added new progress bars that reflect my 2010 goals. Right now they are kind of sad. Most at 0%, but that will change in time. I did not add the retirement goal because I know I won't even start contributing to that one until the family loan is paid off. Next paycheque I will be able to add some money to those goals and up the percentages.

Monday, December 28, 2009

2010 Goals

I hope everyone had a nice Christmas, was Santa good to you?

  • Pay off the $5000 I owe to my family (This is my priority right now)
  • Contribute $4000 to TFSA (which will also serve as my E-fund)
  • Save at least $500 for Christmas (approx $60 per month, as I want birthdays and wedding gifts to go in here too, but by Christmas 2010 I want to have $500 in that account)
  • Start and contribute $1000 to Retirement (Won't start this until after debt is paid off)
  • Make an additional $2010 in ways other than teaching (tutoring, babysitting, summer and holiday part-time job, etc)
  • Save $300 for a shopping/travelling trip (BF and I were talking about going to the states for a NFL game, I want to do some shopping if this happens)
  • Purchase my parents a new freezer and/or couch set (my parents are going on a vacation in Feb for their 25th wedding anniversary. I wanted to redo the basement for them but there would be some issues there, so my brother and I were talking and we want to hoepfully replace their freezer which is probably as old as my mom, and/or get them a MATCHING couch set as a nice suprise for when they return) This will prolong my debt but it will be worth it.
  • Stretch everyday (I am not flexible at all and I want to work on this)
  • Complete a 5k run (hmmm since I hate running this will likely be the hardest goal on my list)
  • Complete TWO American Sign Language courses (already signed up for one in Jan)
  • Read at least 12 novels (average of one per month, this can be done)
  • Complete a full-size quilt (completed a baby's quilt this year, next is full size, I think I want to try to do a rag quilt)
  • Volunteer twice at a new place (I already volunteer at a Girl Guides group, and at teen dances)
  • Learn how to crochet (maybe make a cute baby's blanket, or at least a dish cloth)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Eat and be Merry!

Have a very merry Christmas!! If you are travelling I wish you safe travels.

I hope Santa is good to you all :)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas Eve Eve!

I've been working everyday this week at the rec centre running a children's day program. It's been fun but really tiring. Swimming, playing games, making crafts and sledding is VERY tiring (it's a tough job but somebody's gotta do it). This is also the time of year that a lot of friends come back to town as well, so I've been trying to get together in the evenings without staying out too late because I have to wake up at 6:30. It's been rough waking up but so worth it to see friends.

Tomorrow I am working only a HALF day. With the kids we are making healthy nachos, from scratch! We will see how that turns out...

What do you call cheese that isn't yours??? Nacho cheese Highlight to see the answer. I thought it was funny, it's okay if I'm the only one laughing.

I am glad I have the afternoon off, I want to finish off my wrapping, and visit with a friend who is back from the city only until Boxing day.

I hope you all have a fantastic Christmas, enjoy your holidays if you get some!

Monday, December 21, 2009

Unclaimed Balances...Do you have one??

Do you have any unclaimed balances?? Maybe you think I could never misplace any money! But did you know that over a million Canadians have unclaimed balances, totalling a total of over $350 MILLION!!

Once an account in Canada sits dormant for 10 years and the bank is unable to contact the owner it gets transferred to the Bank of Canada. Balances of over $500 are kept at this bank indefinitely (or until claimed), but balances under $500 are kept there for 20 years waiting to be claimed (10 years at your bank, and 10 at the Bank of Canada), and then they become property of the government.

How do I find out if I have unclaimed balances?? Go to this site. It's free, just have to type in your name!

Now if you do find that you have some unclaimed balances, then you do need to prove that you are who you say you are by filling in some forms, and other proof that you resided at the location the original bank has on file. It will take a month or two before you receive this money.

Check it out! You should check your friends and family as well, see if they have any unclaimed balances. Would be a nice extra payday for some people.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Favourite Book

I am looking for suggestions of books to read for 2010. Any ideas??

I'm currently reading "Twenties Girl" by Sophie Kinsella (the Shopaholic writer). So far I'm a bit over half done, and I have to say it's not my type but I will still finish it. I LOVED "Can You Keep a Secret?" and "The Undomestic Goddess." This book is about a girl who is visited by a ghost that wants her necklace back, I'm not so into the paranormal thing.

The next book I think I want to read is "The Lovely Bones" by Alice Sebold. I have heard good things about this book and they are even going to be making it into a movie soon.

I am really into chicklits, not so much fantasy books. What are your favourite types of books? Do you have a favourite book(s)?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Free Shipping Day

Sorry for not posting this earlier, I just remembered about it! Today December 17, 2009 is Free Shipping Day!!

205 stores in Canada and 743 in the States. It goes until midnight, and on the radio today they were saying that items you order today will be shipped right away and you will receive them by Christmas Eve. I've never heard of this before, but if you plan on ordering some things for Christmas on the internet today might be the day.

Applying For Jobs

I get all excited when I apply for a new job. The opportunity to be working full-time (at least for a little while), to work with new people, to gail more experience, and of course more money.

However I also get terribly nervous as well. What if I don't get it, what if I hate it, what if the people don't like me, or worst of all - what if I get an interview?

Interviews scare me. It's not a fun situation for me. A bunch of people staring at you, asking you questions that you should and do know the answers to (in most cases) but feel extremely self-conscious in answering them. I also have a big problem in talking about how great I am (taught to be modest growing up).

Currently I get sent an e-mail when a new job opportunity comes up within my board. I ALMOST always apply to it (unless it's French or more than an hour away from me). They are usually LTO (long-term-occasional) positions for teachers on sick-leave or maternity-leave. So far, I have never heard back from any of these jobs I have applied for :( Last night I was telling my boyfriend about this one school that I liked, small school, nice kids and teachers. Then at midnight a job came up for it! In the class I had supplied for twice in! It was like fate.

I got out the cover letter and resume, tweaking them a bit to fit the description of the job. It would basically be an ideal job. Working every other day in a grade 3/4 class (12 students, but very challenging ones), and working every other day as a Prep teacher (I think teaching science and gym). The entire K-8 school only has 60 kids, they have 5 classrooms so it's a very close school. I get so nervous once I click the submit button (it's an online application system). Hoping for an interview but so scared to get one at the same time!

Time will tell I guess whether I am even looked at for this job. Wish me luck!

Do you ever get this way applying for a job? Are any of you comfortable in an interview setting? Do you have trouble saying great things about yourself?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

I Got a Gift Card!!

After about a month I got a Swagbucks gift card, woohoo! Okay it's only $5 but that's still awesome. $5 less I have to spend on my next Amazon.ca order. I got the code today, and I'm almost half way to my second $5.

Anyone who does not have Swagbucks yet should definitely sign up! Easy free way to earn extra money just by searching for things on the internet.

Search & Win

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Expensive Habits

Everyone has these. I love eating out and I enjoy buying the occasional video game or book. If you look at it though these habits can add up to a lot over the course of a year!!

My dad smokes (gross and expensive habit), he spends approximately $7 a day on smokes. That is $2555 over a year! Yuck!

Alcohol is another big one. Although I will usually only drink twice a month, those that drink more it can add up. A case of beer (or a nice bottle of wine) is about $35 and doing that every weekend is $1820 for the year. Then going out for drinks at at least $5 each on top of that, not including cover and coatcheck.

Who is a big coffee/latte drinker? At about $4 a day that's $1460 just in drinks for a year!

DVD or Blueray collectors? It's hard to keep up with the changing forms! Or do you enjoy going to the show each week? Buying a DVD or going out to a theatre each week for $20 is $1040 for a year. Doesn't even include popcorn and drinks!

Another expensive habit that a lot of people have (myself included) is eating out. I do not enjoy packing a lunch, but a typical lunch is $5-10 not including gas expenses. I do splurge occasionally on a lunch or dinner, or delicious snack! Spending just $50 a week in eating out is $2600 for a year.

Books! I am a big collector of children's books. I have spent more money on them then I wish to calculate. If I spend $10 a week on books, that's over $500 for the year. Yikes! I don't even have kids, or a classroom haha.

What about clothes, shoes, jewellery, make-up, furniture, gambling, golf, dry cleaning, computer/video games, sports, etc.

Wow the cost of life sure is expensive. But it's good to know what you are spending your money on, and see if you really can afford it. If you can, then go for it, if it's cutting into other expenses or savings maybe it's a good time to look at cutting a few things back a bit. Maybe only go out for lunch/supper one day a week? Or making your own hot chocolate/coffee at home every other day. A book only once a month? May be tricky but I think I'm going to try a few in the new year. Everything I save from cutting back can be snowflaked into debt or savings.

Do you have any expensive habits?

Dexter Morgan

EEEEEeeeee!! Did anyone watch the finale? It was crazy! I won't give it away here but I am wondering if anyone else is a big fan? What do you think will happen in season 5?!?

Saturday, December 12, 2009


I signed up for another ASL (American Sign Language) course. My picture has those letters A-S-L. I am in love with the language. I only know basic signs and phrases right now but a life goal of mine is to become quite fluent. The cost of the course was $190 which I think is pretty reasonable. It is 30 hours over two weekends. A bit of a Christmas gift to myself :)

Why am I interested in ASL? Well I was kind of born into it. My grandparents are Deaf. My grandma was born deaf, and my grandpa went deaf when he was 8. I always thought it was a cool language but little opportunity came up to learn it. In university I had a TA that was Deaf. Like my grandparents she was able  to lipread and speak. Has anyone seen Sue Thomas F.B. Eye?

When I finished university I took a couple of Additional Qualification courses to help promote myself to get a teaching position. Then I started looking into ASL courses, they had one coming up close to my town. I signed up and loved it. I had an amazing Deaf teacher and we were fully immersed, no talking in class! It was tricky but I learned so much and I did very well. I still practice every once in a while when I see my grandpa and just on my own. Also I can spend hours watching ASL music videos online. If you are interested, this is one of my favourites!!

Do you know any other languages? Or is there anything that you want to learn no matter how long it takes?

Friday, December 11, 2009

Snow, snow and more snow

I was kind of mad at the snow yesterday because it made me lose a teaching job. Although now I am thankful I did not go because it would have taken me hours to get home for a job that is 40 minutes away.

This snow is incredible. They have declared a "snow state of emergency" for my region. Snowplows are trying to clear the highways and some roads but it is accumulating so fast that they have to keep going over it again.

Snow on a tree in my backyard

Can you find TWO cars in this pic? Those branches are looking kinda scary!!

Look at that fence

Sidewalk, hard to see

It's kind of exciting. I put on full gear and went outside and walking was tricky! It was a great workout! A doctor and a nurse went to work today wearing snowshoes. I think I might need a pair if this keeps up. Environmental Canada has said that we are likely to get another 80cm by tomorrow morning.

I hope you all have a great weekend!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Is Anyone Else Tired of the Snow Yet?

I am.

I love the snow, don't get me wrong. But when it interferes with a lot of things then it gets annoying. We are supposed to get 50cm today/tonight and another 25 tomorrow. We already have a couple of feet. I ended up not being able to go to my job today because of  the snow. I actually can't go anywhere the roads and visibility are so poor. Everything is being cancelled today (schools, clinics, garbage pick up, churches, etc).

I like that light snow, when it just kind of falls for a little bit and then it stops. Seems to never stop here. At least it looks pretty.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

HST in Ontario...Hated Sales Tax??

That's what some people are saying.

I'm still not too sure what this means for us. But in Ontario the GST (5%) and the PST (8%) is going to be harmonized into ONE tax of 13%. Apparently this will create more jobs over the next 10 years, however it will also create more tax on somethings such as gas, funerals, haircuts, home heating fuel, and cable. This will take effect July 1, 2010.

For those of you from BC, you are also going to merge your PST and GST starting July 1st.

Things only subject to 5% GST include books, kid's clothes, footwear, diapers, kid's car seats/booster seats, and feminine hygiene products.

People that buy newly built homes under $400,000 will not be subject to extra tax. Buyers of new homes between $400,000 and $500,000 could claim a proportional rebate.

PST on hotel rooms is going to be 8% (instead of 5%) and is going toward marketing tourism in Ontario tourism regions.

Businesses will be given some credit from the government if they have to change their accounting systems.

As part of the proposed sales tax reform, cash payments would be provided to Ontario tax filers, in each of June and December 2010, and June 2011.
  • Eligible families with income of less than $160,000 would receive 3 payments totalling $1,000.
  • Eligible individuals who earn less than $80,000 would get 3 payments totalling $300.
  • To qualify for the 2 payments in 2010, a 2009 tax return would have to be filed.
  • To qualify for the 2011 payment, a 2010 tax return would have to be filed.
If this applies to you, make sure to do your taxes this year and next! I'll take it!

I'm not sure whether I like it yet or not, I just don't know enough about it. It seems fairly similar for things, 13% either way on most things.

Good news, it doesn't apply to coffee and donuts. Woohoo!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Low Paycheque Month

The past little while I have not been getting very much work. As a result my next paycheque is going to be very low (under $200 kind of low). I received the paystub yesterday but get paid on Friday. Thankfully I have been getting work this and last week and so my next paycheque will be typical. This makes me realize the importance of an emergency fund, and hope to get it started in early January.

I am glad the majority of my Christmas shopping is done now, I am going to mail out my Christmas packages today after I wrap them, and hopefully pick up a few of the final things I need to buy. So the final touches won't cost too much (under $75 including mail).

I talked to my boss at the rec centre I work at sometiems and she asked if I wanted to work over the Christmas holidays. I said yes, and now I will be working 8 days. It would be nice to have some time off during the break but I expect January to be another slow teaching month so it will help to get my 2010 goals started!

Monday, December 7, 2009

It's The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Wow we got about one foot of snow over the weekend! Here come the days of waking up early to brush off the car. Although I look forward to sledding and tubing!

Friday we went to the Festival of the Lights in town. We got some free hot chocolate, gingerbread cookies, and s'mores, and made a couple of donations to the local toy drive. Then watched some fireworks and the lights go up in town.

The local Santa Claus Parade was yesterday and it was snowing pretty hard the entire time! We had to continually brush the snow off our hats and shoulders to keep it from piling up too much haha. It made the parade more fun! Then we put up the tree and some Christmas decorations. It's much more festive here now.

Now I encourage you to make a donation to your local food and/or toy drive. Even some time spared to help sort food and wrap toys if you cannot afford the donation. Anything you can do at this time is greatly appreciated by those less fortunate.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

26 Questions

I stole this from Saving4Later and Frugal Dreamer. Thought it would be fun to do for a weekend post.
Last Movie I Saw In A Movie Theater? Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs in 3D

What Book Are You Reading? Currently nothing, but I made a list of books I want to borrow from the library this week

Favorite Board Game? There are people that hate board games?!? I love them, my favourite is Cranium or Things.

Favorite Magazine? Chickadee, or Professionally Speaking ;)

Favorite Smells? Homemade bread

Favorite Sounds? Laughing babies, cracks me up everytime

Worst Feeling In The World? Someone close to you passing away

First Thing You Think of When You Wake? Is it time already?

Favorite Fast Food Place? Subway

Future Child’s Name? Boy: Jaiden Girl: Kayln

Finish This Statement—“If I Had a Lot of Money,” I'd pay off my debts and go on vacation :)

Do You Drive Fast? I go with the flow usually

Do You Sleep With a Stuffed Animal? No, but I still have several

Storms—cool or scary? Cool, unless I'm driving in them

What Was Your First Car? Toyota Tercel

Favorite Drink? Water, and then chocolate milk

Finish This Statement—“If I Had the Time, I Would…” Finish my sewing

Do You Eat the Stems on Broccoli? Sometimes, but I prefer the florets

If You could Dye your Hair Any Other Color, What Would It Be? Maybe dark brown

Favorite Sport to Watch? Hockey, Go Leafs Go

What’s Under Your Bed? Carpet? Storage, mostly school stuff

Would You Like to Be Born As Yourself Again? Yes!

Morning Person or Night Owl? Night Owl, trying to change it

Over Easy or Sunny Side Up? Mmmmm I'll take them anyway, I love eggs. But I guess over-easy.

Favorite Place to Relax? On the beach at the lake, or in bed.

Favorite Ice Cream Flavor? Chocolate peanut butter cup.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Potential 2010 Budget

So I have been thinking about this for a while (well past couple of weeks at least).

I want to have a variable budget with regards to LIFE expenses. However with semi-fixed expenses/savings this is what I want to try to have each month:

$100 for Transportation
$600 to my Family Loan
$200 to TFSA
$50 for Gifts
$50 to E-fund

Transportation would cover gas and hopefully small repairs.
Family Loan is the loan my family gave after I graduated to help reduce interest costs. Contributing at this amount would take me to about June to get it paid off. Anything left over would also go here.
TFSA was started this month and would be "planned spending" but for something at a much later date (i.e. wedding, car)
Gifts is for birthdays and Christmas throughout the year
E-fund is low right now because I live at home and have relatively little expenses so an emergency is not very likely to occur but I still want to get one started to help for when I do move out.

You may be thinking that I should be contributing to an RRSP as well. I have thought about this, and I think for me it's more important to pay off my debt before contributing to retirement. Especially since I have a low income. I will start contributing to an RRSP once I get the family loan paid off. I have a budget for this as well. After loan is paid off I was thinking: $400 to TFSA, $250 to RRSP, $50 to gifts and $100 to E-fund.

*Also I should mention this is for typical paycheque months, some months I will not even make this amount and I will try to cut personal expenses as much as I can to make these payments but may not always happen. Other months I will try to go above these goals as well when I have better paycheque months :)

Any advice is welcome!! What do you think?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Starting to Save!

I have changed my budget around and what I want to do is start saving. I recently started a new ING account. I now have $100 in savings in a TFSA, and they gave me a free $25 for a regular savings account. Woohoo! My Orange Key is 34362383S1 in case anyone would like to sign up (means $25 for you and me for free)! You just need to have a minimum of $100 deposit. More info here.

I feel like I'm late to this savings game and don't know very much about it (particularly the RRSP savings). I realize it can make a big difference to your future though. If anyone can give me some advice on how to set up RRSPs that would be great!!

My original goal of paying back the $5000 to my family by the end of February is going to be delayed (they are fine with this, said to take all the time I need/want). I would like to give them $3000 by the end of February and then the remaining $2000 by the end of May or so. All the while putting some extra money into savings (will go more into detail about what this means later, after some more research as well). I'm glad I am going to start doing this because there is a lot to save for!!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Link Love

This weekend I added several more blogs that I enjoy...
The Asian Pear
I have just started reading this blog but I enjoy it. She is from Toronto (close to home) and I think she is really cool. She talks about a little bit of everything: personal finance, clothes, good food, family, weight loss etc.

The Financial Catastophizer
A Canadian PF blog! She is relatively new to the blog scene and describes herself as a married DINK (dual income, no kids).

Canadian Savings
I’m into Canadian PF bloggers eh? He is going to be a millionaire soon. He talks about things we need to know about, insurance, savings, retirement, etc. Very informative.

Punch Debt in The Face
He’s a ninja from the states and okay at first I joined this one just for the pictures. Funny and creative, but the content is really great as well :)

Give Me Back My Five Bucks
She talks a lot about life and some personal things as well. Again another Canadian. I also like the fact that she often has multiple posts in a day.

Check them out :)

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Cheap, Delicious Food

I worked today yay! Okay only a half day but still. I have had almost no work in two weeks, it's been terrible. My next paycheque is going to be so small! Anyway when I came home I was hungry and decided to make eggs.

Eggs are wonderful....and oh so cheap for their delicious goodness. As I was making them it brought me back to my university days. Oh the memories... I would eat cheap. I went out for food about once a semester, unless someone else was buying (thanks parents and boyfriend). I went grocery shopping once a week or less, and it was probably $20 on average each grocery trip.

Water is my favourite drink so I never bought juice, pop, tea etc. My roommates and I would split the cost of milk (taking turns buying 4L bags). It's pretty amazing how much you can save just by drinking tap water. For breakfast I would generally have Cheerios (mega pack lasted forever).

Lunches were sandwiches or bagels with cream cheese if I was at school, and often egg salad. There are those lovely protein filled eggs again :)

Supper, I pretty much became vegetarian during school. Meat is expensive!! You can get good protein from eggs anyway :) I would often have spaghetti (sometimes with meat sauce). Hamburger meat was fairly inexpensive (I sometimes made a big batch of spaghetti sauce and then froze into individual portions). I had frozen vegetables, salads, rice, potatoes, and eggs! I liked things that were quick to make but also not terribly expensive. When a parent would come once or twice a year and offer to buy groceries I took full advantage and stocked up on meats. I would then go home and individually wrap them so I could easily take one out in the morning for a meal.

Snacks are key while in school! How else are you going to write a 10 page essay? I liked apples, a bag of apples was pretty cheap, as were tangerines (mmmm). I like fresh veggies but would sometimes have a waste. So I would usually only buy one or two vegetables at a time (only celery and broccoli) and not get any more until they were finished. Also cutting the whole thing up when I got it made me more likely to eat it (already perpared, and made good study snacks). I also bought a lot of cookies haha because those make good study snacks as well. Sometimes I would bake them as well, but those never lasted as long in a house of girls.

But with so many different ways to make eggs, they were likely my favourite "cheap" food (likely under $1 per meal). So quick and easy to make as well! What is your favourite inexpensive food?

Get Cracking!

Monday, November 30, 2009

November and December Goals...and a little baking

November goals recap:
Go to the gym at least twice a week. FAIL. I went twice in total :S

Read a new book. PASS. Somewhat of a pass, it was a children's chapter book (217 pages). Still counts right?? Mmm maybe not.

Complete the quilt I started. PASS. It's done, and so are all my pillowcases and a pillow. I am working on a second pillow and a second quilt.

Complete Christmas shopping for my friends. PASS. This is all complete, I just need to mail them, but will wait until the second week of December to do this.

20 no shopping days. FAIL. It was close though, I had 11 spend days and therefore 19 no shopping days.

Keep $1500 in my account. PASS. Of course this is going toward my family loan but that was the goal. Yay I will avoid monthly bank fees for the first time in a long time!

New December Goals:
Go to the gym at least twice a week. Let's try this goal again.

Finish buying and wrapping all Christmas presents. Hopefully this will be done in a couple of weeks.

Try to get  work over Christmas break. I think it might be possible to work at the rec centre over the Christmas break for at least 5 days. This will help as otherwise I have very little income for December.

Open ING account. I have sent the $100 in the mail but once it gets deposited I want to look more into the different options ING has. In January I want to set up a TFSA with them.

Determine some personal and financial goals for 2010. I have a few in mind but want to lay it all out.

Do some Christmas baking. I think I want to make and decorate Christmas sugar cookies. If I can find some cute cookie cutters!

Yesterday I made some braided bread. I think I could have let it rise a bit more, but it turned out pretty well for baking bread for the first time!

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Change of Budgets...

Yesterday was payday and I am going to put $1000 toward my family loan. I will update my progress bars to reflect this change. My original goal was to put all my effort into debt-repayment before starting any sort of savings plan. However I spoke with my family yesterday about this and they said that it's okay if I want to take my time paying them back. I will aim for $3000 by the end of February and hopefully the rest by July.

I think what I will do is send in a cheque to ING and open up an account there. Then start contributing some money each month to start a TFSA with ING. I also think that I am going to change my budget, as it is not really working that well for me. I often end up overspending in certain areas and underspending in others depending on the month. So I think that I will take an approach that Jessie has taken and plan my budget dependent on each paycheque. This will also be helpful because I have such a variable income.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Check This Out

Browsing through some sites the other day I came upon this site talking about unemployment rates in the United States. I'm sure it's similar to Canada's. It's quite interesting to see especially for visual learners :)

In other news, I got paid today yay! It was a good paycheque as I worked almost full-time during that pay period. My next pay day will be quite small as I only got one full day of teaching in the past two weeks, however I did work a day and a half at the local rec centre as well.

I was also reading a lot of blogs yesterday and think that my original goal to payback my family by the end of February may not be the best use of my money especially since they have told me many times that they don't care when I pay them back. I asked them if it was okay if I paid them $3000 by the end of Feb and then the rest in the near future and they said  of course. So I was thinking it would be more beneficial if I started putting at least SOME money into savings, as I have none. By the way have a look at Jason's post here about the difference saving early can make on your retirement. Quite amazing, although so are return interest rates of 10%, but still it gets the point across quite clearly.

I am going to make a 2010 budget plan soon that is going to have to change from my current plan which is basically 80-90% goes toward debt. It was my priority and I'm glad I finished my OSAP that way, but I think now with only my family loan left, that it is important to start saving as well.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

How Do You Set Up Your Funds??

A lot of people discuss putting money away in an Emergency Fund, a Christmas Fund, a Shopping Fund, a Wedding Fund, a House Fund, a Summer Fund, a Vacation Fund, you get the idea.

I want to know if you separate all of these accounts? Do you have a different savings account for each within your bank? Or do you just add them all to the same account and know what you have saved the money for?

I want to set up different funds as well once I pay off my family loan and want to know an easy way to do it. I will be setting up an ING account in the new year and that may be a way to do it. But I also don't want to have a ton of transactions coming from my bank account each month. I also don't want automatic withdrawals into these funds because having a variable income there could be some months I am not able to contribute.

How do you set up for your different savings funds??

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

What's In My Bag?

This whole thing was started by Well-Heeled's contest. Today along with a few other Canadians (Asian Pear, and Krystal) I decided to post what's in my bag. Here she is:

What's in it:
  • Purse. It's a no-name but it's awesome. It's my one of two purses I own. It was $50 from a baggage store in a mall. It has a nice zippered pocket inside, as well as two open pockets, and a magnetic snap pocket on the front.
  • Wallet. Bought it from a Calvin Klein outlet store for $23. It includes: debit card, mastercard, gym membership, driver's license, cash and change.
  • Electronic Sudoku. It was free - Christmas gift from last year. Never know when you are in one of those boredom situations (waiting for oil change, waiting for children at work).
  • Second wallet. It holds all the cards I don't use on a regular basis. It was about $10 (I've had it for a long time) It includes: gift cards, points cards (Shoppers, HBC, Staples, Airmiles, Ricki's), Canadian Tire money, library card, health card, teacher ID, car insurance card, CPR certificate, and a couple of business cards.
  • Granola Bars. Probably about 50 cents each. These have been in here forever (hence why they are squished). Good to have in case I get hungry.
  • Phone. This was $20 because I bought a contract with it.
  • Nail Clippers. $3. Always handy when you break or chip a nail.
  • Scissors and pen. Scissors were $1 from Dollarama and pen was free from a conference. Both are always useful.
  • Notebook. I got this free from a conference my boyfriend went to. I just got it last week that is why it is empty. It's awesome, has a place to hold business cards, lots of sticky notes (useful for teaching), and then a regular spiraled notebook to jot down notes (or directions in my case).
  • Hand sanitizer. This was 99 cents at a Bath & Body outlet store, smells so nice.
  • Blistex lipchap. I used to have Burt Bees but I ran out and I got this in a "teen pack." Probably worked out to be 0.75 cents.
  • Moisturizer. This was free from a hotel and smells amazing.
  • Bandaids. Free from my work (it's okay I only took 6).
  • Movie tickets. I found these in the front pouch, and my keys (keychain has a car with lights on it, it's amazing how useful that light is). Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs in 3D.
  • Girl stuff. There are a couple of these items still in the bag (not so photogenic).
Things I don't include:
  • Umbrella. That's for rainy days only.
  • Scarf. Usually wear it, or put it in the sleeve of my coat when not wearing.
  • Sunglasses. I generally keep these in my car glove compartment.
  • Makeup. It's basically a one time application and then done with for the day. I don't wear much of it anyway.
  • Book. I sometimes add one, but only when I know I'll be waiting for something/someone.
  • I-Pod. Same thing, I don't use it often, I prefer the radio in my car.
If you have not done this yet, what's in YOUR bag??

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Connection Between Health and Wealth

The Biggest Loser is one of my favourite shows, makes me happy and cry at the same time. Suze Orman (the Gail Vaz-Oxlade of the United States) was on tonight. She talked to the contestants individually about the connection they have between health and wealth.

"Usually we spend more than, when we feel like less" is one thing she mentioned to a contestant. Isn't this true? I know when I feel low I want to go to a store and browse around for a pick-me-up. Whether it be comfort food or a new toy or clothing.

She mentioned that you can look into your credit score and report as often as you like. It will not affect your score. It's if the creditors are looking into your credit score a lot that means that you are applying for credit a lot which is not a good thing.

They then played a multiple choice game on the treadmill and these were the results of their game:
  • Obese employees earn about $7000 less than their co-workers (you are sick more and cost employers more).
  • If a family of four swaps one meal out for a meal at home everyday for a year you can save $8750. This is approximately $24 a day.
  • Americans spend approximately $4.4 billion on gastric bypass surgery each year. 220,000 Americans get this surgery each year at $20,000 per surgery.
  • Americans spend $147 billion on obesity-related health issues each year. They spend $90 billion on cancer related issues. That's $57 billion more spent on obesity.
Sorry I missed the last statistic. It was how much you save each year from going from obese to your ideal weight. They went through that last one too fast for me to catch it! It was either $10,000 or $100,000. If you caught it let me know!

It's pretty amazing how staying in shape and eating well can actually SAVE you money!

I Ordered My Credit Report

I ordered my credit report from Equifax a couple of weeks ago and it came in  the mail yesterday. This was my first time ever ordering it so I didn't really know what to expect. The creditor stuff was all correct (Mastercard, Student Line of Credit, Government Student Loan, Cell Phone). However my personal information was sooo wrong, such as where I lived and where I was employed. It was information from when I started university 6 years ago!

I've heard a statistic that about 80% of credit reports have something wrong in it. I am surprised at that but it seems to be true! I would order your credit reports, you can get two per year free. One from Equifax and one from TransUnion. I am in the process of ordering one from TransUnion now however they take a lot more effort than Equifax. Although now that Equifax has some inaccuracies I now have to put in more effort by mailing two pieces of ID in order to have the inaccuracies corrected. Hopefully that will help me when I need to apply for credit.

It's too bad that you need to pay for the credit score, as that is what I am really interested in. Although I guess it's good to have the report corrected first!

Monday, November 23, 2009


I have been hearing a lot about Swagbucks on different blogs I read. I decided to take part in it as well.

Basically it is a search engine that you can use just like google. But with certain searches you can earn money (swagbucks) by using it. "Every time you search with swagbucks.com , you have a chance to earn from 1 to 5 Swag Bucks (on Fridays, you can win as many as 100 Swag Bucks in one search!). These Swag Bucks can be used to redeem thousands of prizes from our Swag Store." There are a few other ways to earn swagbucks as well, getting referrals, typing in codes, etc. You can then in turn use those swagbucks to purchase various things, gift cards, video game consoles, music, t-shirts, there are a lot of items.

Anyway, to those who are interested this is my refferal code: http://www.swagbucks.com/refer/girlmakescents They will start you off with 3 free Swagbucks. Good luck, and happy searching!

Six Years

Wow time sure flies! It's been 6 years (on Saturday) since I had my first date with my boyfriend. We met in first year university. Four years of going to school in the same city, and then summers long-distance. Now it has been 2 years of long-distance, never fun but it's working for now. Hopefully soon one of us can move closer to the other, likely it will be me moving closer to him (he will have a job when he graduates). I am in no hurry to get married though, we get asked that a lot, "so when's the wedding?" I want to be in a place in my life where we can afford a nice wedding, and be able to afford to live with each other. Right now that is not an option. 5 year plan ha! Hopefully sooner than that though.

We had a great weekend, went out Friday night with friends, then spent Saturday watching movies (seriously everyone needs to see the movie Up) and now we are all caught up on Dexter. We went out for supper that night and then hung out with friends again. It was a fun trip! I hope you all had a great weekend.

Friday, November 20, 2009

Almost Done...

Last night I wrapped our anniversary gifts and a few Christmas presents. I finished all my pillowcases as well. They look very comfy. I got a new pillow a few days ago and it is a "queen" size pillow so I made an extra long pillowcase for it and it's very comfy! I realized though after finishing ALL of the pillowcases that I was measuring the pillowcases on one that my mom made a few years ago. Apparently it is about 2 inches short. So now my pillowcases are also about 2 inches short. Darn. Still covers the pillow at least.
Yesterday I went shopping as well I got several small things for my friends, my mom and my boyfriend's family who are now all done and now I am done my dad, and half of my brothers. I had a $100 gift certificate for this place and so with everything I got I only paid $47. I bought the gift certificate in the summertime for this purpose and it was only $40. Fantastic!

Now I am going to watch some TDDUP as I pack and then I'm off to the big city for the weekend. Hope everyone has a great weekend!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Is The Swine Flu Over??

I hate to say it, but I kind of enjoyed it when the cold season was in full swing earlier this month. It had it's advantages for some. I was getting work regularly. 8.5/10 days the past two weeks. This week so far I have only worked ONE full day. How am I going to reach my goals with only working one day a week??
 Hope things pick up soon!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Birthdays, Christmas, Spending...

Tomorrow is my dad's birthday the big 56! I am going to get his gift today and also withdraw the money that I owe for the snowtires etc. Novemeber is an expensive month, I am wayyy over my budget already. If I do not include Christmas and tires then I am doing fine. But because of tires I could only contribute $300 this past paycheque toward the family loan.

This week I have also not received any supply calls. I am thinking that my goal of having the family loan paid off by the end of February might be more difficult than the original difficulty level I thought it was going to be! I am not going to change it though, I will just have to be very careful and get as many additional hours working at the rec centre as I can over Christmas break.

On the bright side, with the time off I have been able to get in some more sewing! Some of which I am going to turn into Christmas gifts for friends if it turns out :)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Cars are expensive!!

I just got an oil change at the beginning of the month ($56) and this weekend I just got snowtires for the first time. At first I was against them. They are so expensive! But since I am supplying quite a bit and often have to travel long distances I think they are a good thing to get. Some provinces even make snow tires mandatory to have (Quebec). The tires I had to get were just under $100 each. I got four put on for $420. Ouch. But my mom just won a draw last week and won almost $2000 and said she would pay for half. So that is very very helpful. However, when the guys were putting on the tires they had a look at my old tires and said that two of them are just terrible and need to be replaced. They discarded them there! So come spring I am going to have to buy two more tires....it's never ending. I also need new windshield wipers, please nothing other than gas until spring!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Weekends Should Be Longer!

Had a great weekend, short but sweet. I worked Friday and the boyfriend met me at the school I was at. I was finished before 4:00 so we went to the closest Fabricland and I bought some material, to make him a gift and enough fabric to make some friends a couple of comfy winter pillowcases. They didn't have the right green I needed though so I will have to visit another Fabricland soonish. Total cost for that was $23.

The rest of the evening we spent eating supper, playing wii, and chatting with family. Saturday we went to paint ceramics. This took a lot longer than expected. He painted a football character, and I painted a purse box. We had to leave them there because the owner takes them and then fires them up and then will call us to pick them up. These were about $20 each. A little pricey but was still a fun afternoon. That night we had supper and then watched 5 or 6 episodes of Dexter. Anyone else watch this show??

Today he left early. He had to go to play soccer at 1:00 and he lives 4 hours away. I will be going there next weekend, as it will be our 6 year anniversary. Woohoo!

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Craft Time!!

My boyfriend is coming up this weekend. He asked me if I want to do anything in particular and I said I want to make a craft. I didn't have any ideas at first, and neither did he. I got thinking about what is in town and decided we would go to this place where you can paint your own ceramic. I have done it before, I made a piggy bank. Well actually it was shaped as a school bus. But that is what we are doing this weekend as one of our dates.

What sort of thing do you like doing on dates that are relatively inexpensive? I always enjoy crafts and he is always willing to go along with me, as long as they are not too girly :)

Things we have done: colouring contests from the grocery store (free and no we didn't enter), watercolour painting (initial costs were about $10 for paper, watercolour paint and brushes), painted birdhouses (about $30 (cost for the birdhouse, or pirate ship birdhouse in his case, and several acrylic paints), friendship bracelets (about $2 for a bunch of colours), dipped candles and made our own candles from coloured wax (it was about $1 per dipped candle and we chose nice jars for the coloured wax ones so they were about $6 each). I think that's basically all the crafty things we have done together, suggestions?? He wants to make a big abstract art painting on canvas together to put up when we get our own place like the couple from the e-harmony commercials have done.

What are your favourite date ideas? Or fun craft ideas that you enjoy?

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Working working working!

I love it lately! I worked a full day today, working a full day tomorrow and a full day Friday! Cannot wait for that paycheque. A principal actually called me personally from his house tonight to ask if I would work at his school tomorrow. That's a good sign right?? Hope next week is just as good!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Onto the Next Loan...

My family loan is $5000 with interest included. So from now until the end of February (the goal I have for myself), I need to save $1250 each month in order to pay it off in time. I hope this is doable. This payday I will save $500 toward it, and next payday for this month I will try to save at least $800.

Right now I have been busy working most days but in December I think that I will be getting less supply calls, and also the kids are on holidays for two weeks, so hopefully I can work at the rec centre for at least one week during Christmas break to still have some income to help meet my goal.


I got my hair cut today! Highlighted too, so although it was $90 with tip, I think it is worth it. I have not had my haircut since the beginning of June so it was due. I got it thinned out too, so it's so nice and light. I love when they straighten it for you! Of course I could be frugal and highlight it myself and just go in for a cut. Without blowdry etc is a lot cheaper. But a girl has to spoil herself every once in a while. I have never had a manicure/pedicure, or anything done at a spa, so my hair cut/highlights 3 times a year or less are a treat!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

House Envy

Serendipity discussed in her last post her dream house and wanted to know what the dream house was like for others.

I too have a lot of house envy. Living at home with family is nice, but I would love to have a place of my own. More space! I have a friend that is getting married next summer and just bought her grandma's house last month. I would love to be able to do that, but unfortunately is too expensive for me at this point.

I think what will happen is that I will move to where the boyfriend lives, and rent an apartment together. Live there for a couple of years and save up for a house while starting our careers. Then get married and move into a house. It's a dream of mine to move into a house once I get married.

What that house would look like:
  • It would be located in a small town
  • 3-4 bedrooms (future for kids, and a workspace area for lesson planning, crafting)
  • 2 bathrooms
  • Open concept
  • Large enough living room for entertaining and playing games
  • Large kitchen is important, with dining area attached or in same area (likely the space where most of the time is spent)
  • A den area for watching movies, and playing wii
  • Big enough backyard for gardening and playing
  • Garage (place to store bikes, yard equipment, and of course car, double garage would be even nicer)
  • Enough storage space throughout and large closets in each bedroom, preferrably walk-in for the master bedroom
  • Lots of windows, bright space
I look at the MLS and Property Guys listings online at least once a month, just to see what is out there and how much people are expecting for a house. I also love watching shows like Moving Up, Holmes on Homes, Trading Spaces, Extreme Makeover Home Edition, etc. I look forward to decorating. Hopefully this can one day happen! 3 year plan?? What does your dream house look like?

Friday, November 6, 2009

Having A Baby...

Not me! That's a few years away...

But I was talking to a teacher at the PA day today and she said that she has two kids (a boy and a girl) who are in their 30s, close to 40s now. They got married in their 30s, and wanted to wait until they had their life settled and some money saved before they had their kids. She said they had the "Canadian Dream" of owning a house, nice cars, etc.

She went on to tell me that she thinks they waited too long in order for everything to be in place to have kids before trying to have kids. As now both of her kids are having difficulties conceiving. Both her daughter and her daughter-in-law have spent approximately $20,000 in fertility treatments and have not been successful, and are finding it hard to come up with money for the next treatment. She wonders if they risked the chance to have kids because they were saving so much in order to be prepared for kids and live the dream.

Is it possible to save too much that you do not have a life? Should we really put our lives on hold in order to save for the life we want to live? Or is it just that these couples were saving/spending in the wrong ways?

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Weekend Plans??

Had another great day of teaching! It's a tiring job though (even as a supply)! I am going to the PA day tomorrow and carpooling with a couple of other supply teachers. I will give them gas money, so that is helpful, although I wanted to have a look at this teacher store in the city that is having a sale tomorrow. Maybe it's a good thing though, less spending.

Plans for the weekend....nothing! I think I will do some work on the baby quilt. Hopefully get it finished!

What are your plans for the weekend?

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Full-Time Work....this week...

I wish I had PERMANENT full-time work. Unfortunately it's almost impossible to get that in this board. However this week I am booked full days every day this week! This swine flu has an advantage for some people. The principal at the school I was at today asked me if I would work tomorrow for the same class, of course I said yes! It's an awesome class, I love when teachers are organized! We have a PA day on Friday about an hour away. So I will be going to that, I'm somewhat excited actually, it's a PA day JUST for supply teachers. Hopefully next week brings just as many calls!!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009


Well at least OSAP debt-free. My final payment went through to OSAP today! I am now OSAP debt-free!!! I looked at the statement online today and then literally jumped up and down. Was nice!

In 17 months I paid off $31,000!

What would I do with $31,000??? Oh to have that money back! I would save $20,000 toward a downpayment on a house, $5000 into a TFSA, $3000 into an emergency fund, and $3000 toward a car fund.

Now just $5000 more that I owe to my family then I will really be debt-free. Yay!

Monday, November 2, 2009

November Goals

I'm glad November is here. I think that I am OSAP debt-free today however it is not updated yet on the NSLSC site (usually takes 5 days) and it has not been withdrawn from my account yet. If it's not done tomorrow I will call them. I will not update the sidebars until I see that my OSAP account is at $0.

This weekend I went to Toronto with the boyfriend. He had a conference there and then I met up with him at the end of it and we stayed one night. It was really fun. He received spending money from his conference so basically everything was covered for our dates. We went out on Halloween, and went to see Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs in 3D on Sunday. Was very cool, I have not seen a 3D movie since I was a kid (back when the glasses were one red, one blue). It also covered our eating expenses, was great! I hope he gets to go to more conferences!

I have six new goals for November:

Go to the gym at least twice a week
I didn't do so well at this in September, but am going to give more effort to it this month.

Read a new book
I read one last month right near the beginning and didn't get into a second. I have one on hold at the library but it hasn't come in yet. Hopefully early this month so I can get a good start on it.

Complete the quilt I started
I have all of the materials to do this, I just need to get motivated. I want to start new projects before this one is finished so will have to resist that urge and just get the baby quilt done.

Complete Christmas shopping for my friends
Then I will only have my brothers and dad left to buy for. I can do them in December.

20 No Shopping Days
No spending of any sort. Minimum 20 days this month.

Keep $1500 in my account
This will avoid bank fees at the end of the month, and also start my savings for my family loan. $1500 is somewhat out of my control, but I think I should be able to do it if I continue to get fairly regular work and don't overspend on anything. I have never not paid for this account, so that will be a new experience if I can attain this goal!

Happy November!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Barely Blown Budget

Try saying that 5 times fast!

I do not know how to copy and paste my excel worksheet like some of you. So if someone can tell me how to save it properly so that I can add it to my blog that would be oh so helpful!

Anyway this is the monthly budget broken down as Budgeted/Actual

Transportation 100/26 (my brother filled up my car twice for me, such a nice guy)
Food 25/56 (I bought groceries for some family meals I cooked, and spent $17 on lunches out)
Entertainment 87/59 (Going out with the boyfriend, and playing bingo with my mom)
Clothes & Gifts 60/96 (I bought a hoodie for a football game, and a few bingo tickets for my parents)
Everything Else 23/62 (Bank fees, fabric and batting for sewing projects)

Okay yes some sections are way over and others are way under, but overall this month has Put me over budget by $4. So close.

Also in October was the Shopping Trip Budget which was $1000, I spent $837. However afterward I also bought the boyfriend an anniversary gift for $74, and his family's Christmas gift for $143. So originally I was under budget with the Shopping Trip, however since then I have gone over it with the Christmas shopping by $54.

Now technically this does put me over budget. But I am almost done my Christmas shopping now, just need to buy for my brothers, my dad and something small for two friends of mine and have not included the Christmas budget I have for that. So if I can purchase the rest of the gifts with $256 ($300 minus the $54 I was over budget on the shopping trip) then I am set. I figure I will be under budget with this. I hope you do not consider this "cheating."

In addition, I paid $1500 to OSAP this month. Where I only made $1200 plus $30 babysitting and $74 GST cheque. So overall I may have gone a few dollars over budget but I think it was still a successful month. Bring on November!

For November I think I will keep my budget the same, although I think I could change some things around. Also I think I want to keep track of my no-spend days and aim for 20 days this first month.

Lump Sums

Today was payday. I got paid $480. And for one of the first times I didn't make a lump sum payment toward OSAP. Pretty much every payday since July 2008 I have been making extra payments on my student loan based on what I could afford until next payday. But now I am going to be watching my account grow until I have $5000 to give to my family. They gave it to be at the end of Feb 2009, so my goal is to have it paid back at the end of Feb 2010, giving just over $100 in interest. They said no interest, but it's a small way to say thank you. I'll likely have a debt-free party then too and take them out to dinner.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Almost Pay Day!

With my bi-weekly payment schedule, tomorrow is payday. I only taught two days in that time-period but I worked one full day at the rec centre so I should bring home $440 not great for two weeks but not bad for three days of work. I already have enough left-over in my account to pay off the rest of my OSAP. I am soo excited. OSAP sent me a message yesterday saying that because the last day of the month falls on a Saturday, my payment will be taken from my account on Monday. So that's it, Monday I will be done my student loan!

It's then on to the $5000 loan I owe my family. I think I should be able to do this by the end of February. Sooner if the supply calls continue to come regularly and I work at the rec centre full time over Christmas break. However, I am going to give them one big lump sum payment at the end of February instead of paying once or twice a month. This way I will soon be able to maintain a $1500 balance in my chequing account at my bank and therefore waive the $3.95 per month fee.

By the way, I watched the movie UP today, and I highly recommend it. It is sooo funny and sweet I nearly cried!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Let's Talk About Life

In my last post I briefly touched upon some of the goals I have for myself. I would like to one day, hopefully sooner than too much later buy a house, get married, buy a new (used) car, purchase furniture for the house, and still be able to pay my bills and have a bit of a life.

Let's break down the cost of those items:

House - or I should say downpayment. Now the downpayment can vary. But if you can pay 20% or more then you can avoid purchasing the high-ratio mortgage insurance (which can range from 1-3.5% of the principal amount of the house). Let's say I want to purchase a $250,000 home with a $50,000 (20%) downpayment, that would work out to be (at 6% interest) $1288 per month, or $595 bi-weekly after the downpayment and we are living there.

Wedding: I would like to have an average wedding. Nice but not too over the top. Still either way, weddings are expensive! Considering everything involved (minus honeymoon and engagement ring) I think $15,000 would be reasonable.

Furniture: Seeing as though I currently have almost nothing except what I had as a student, almost everything would need to be purchased except kitchen supplies. How do you estimate the cost of that? Let's say $5000 to begin with, I am sure if we needed things that family would be willing to give us some of their things.

Car: I would definitely buy used, not too old but not too new either. I think $12,000 would be reasonable for a good running vehicle. I bought mine for $2000 and it's working well but it has some issues and will need to be replaced eventually.

Let's say I want to get married, move into a house, have furniture and a car in three years...That would mean saving a total of $2278 each month starting now. Which is NOT going to happen. Let's say all of those in 5 years, well that is $1367 per month. Much more reasonable, but by then I will be 29 and wanting to have kids, which are another major expense....does it ever end? Compromise, and say 4 years, that is $1708 per month. Split between myself and my boyfriend that is $854 each per month but neither one of us will be able to start that for several months at least. However when he graduates this June he will also owe about $35,000. So that means that we either have to push back plans or decrease the downpayment, find a cheaper house, or make more money. How do you do it?

I do eventually want to move out and live in an apartment with my boyfriend which also costs rent, furniture expenses, and everyday household expenses. I do not like not knowing what will happen because I am a planner...Still, I look forward to the future!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Life Is So Expensive!

I going through Gail's website last night and came across the questions page. This one woman asks how to prioritize the things she wants in life, wedding, house, car, retirement savings, etc, in addition to having a small student loan. I think about this a lot in my own life. How am I ever going to be able to start life?

Supply teaching is great, but the paycheques are irregular which makes it difficult to stick to a savings budget. I would like to save for a downpayment, house furniture, have some money in retirement savings, and get married within 2 years, but is this possible? I will have to do some calculating to see what I need to save in the next 24 months to have some of these goals possible. Will post more on that later.

In the meantime, check out the beginnings of my quilt. Look past the uneven squares and the lack of ironing!

Can someone help me to rotate these pictures? That is not how I took them, and not how I have them on my computer, only on blogger...hmmm.

Monday Already?

Sorry, I have not taken the time to take and upload pictures of my sewing adventures yet. I started working on the borders on Saturday and let me tell you, they are tricky to do! Yesterday and today I didn't do anything on it. But today I worked in the city and picked up some more fabric (40% off!). I might even make some Christmas pillowcases for my friends. I will get some taken and uploaded soon...

It has been busy though lately. Today I worked a full day just over an hour from home. I had such a nice Grade Three class!! Then I volunteered after work for 2 hours with my Brownie group. Tomorrow I am working another full day a town 25min from here, after work going to bingo with my mom (maybe I'll win big, ha). Thursday I am working a half-day morning 40 min from here. That is the price you pay living in a small town, you often need to travel for work. Seems like work is picking up at least! Means paycheques will also be picking up. I received my paystub by e-mail today and it's going to be a small one - $360.44, oh well, that will cover the rest of my OSAP and then I can start saving to pay off my family loan!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

My First Sewing Project!

Tuesday night my mom taught me how to use her sewing machine. I had told her that I wanted my own for Christmas and she said that we really don't have the space in our house (very true) but she would teach me how to use hers. Deal!

After a quick 20 minute lesson, I felt like I had the basics. That night I went on E-bay and found a cute baby quilting kit that came with all the fabric you need for the front, back and border of a baby quilt, and supposedly with instructions. Yes I wanted my first project to be a quilt, my mom thought I should start with a pillowcase...noo not I. I picked up the kit yesterday after school and was excited to start. I soon realized there was no instructions. The pattern it showed on the packaging was kind of boring as well (had 12 squares in random order (boring!). I thought I would wing it and make it a little nicer.

I decided to skip the washing fabric, drying fabric and even ironing fabric before starting. What can I say, I was anxious to get started. I began by cutting fabric using a rotary cutter (a lot harder than I thought it would be, that thing is sharp, and fabric stretches quite a bit). I cut 3 inch squares. Then arranged them into 3 different patterns until I found something I liked. Then I started the sewing...

I wasn't exactly sure how to start a quilt, do you start from the top, the bottom, the middle? I decided to start my way from the top row and work my way down. After some frustration I started to get the hang of it and it started to go a bit faster. Looking back I should have ironed those squares. I probably should have pre-washed the fabric as well because it might shrink a bit when I was it. Oh well, a beginners quilt is supposed to look like a beginner's quilt right??

I lost my thread from the needle too many times to count, and once stiched an entire row before realizing my bobbin was out of thread. But I think overall it turned out fairly well. I am only done the top of the quilt, so I still have to add a border and backing. Because I didn't use the giant squares the picture the kit came with my quilt is quite small. My mom also doesn't like the border fabric it came with, so I might run out some point today or tomorrow to get nicer border fabric (the closest fabric store is a 30 minute drive). I am quite excited to finish it. I will try and post a picture of my progress so far.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

How Much Would You Pay....

Fabulously Broke made a post yesterday asking how much would you pay for
-a purse?
-a winter jacket?
-a pair of boots?
-a casual (not formal) dress?

Reading the comments, it actually surprised me by how much some people would spend on these items. For me (these would be the max I would spend on each):
purse: $50
winter jacket $200
pair of boots $120
casual dress $70

I am from the southern end of "northern Ontario" and we get a lot of snow, I would invest some money in quality boots and coat, but still I think if you shop right you can find some great quality items without spending an arm and a leg on them. Is there anything else that should be added to this list that you think you might pay more (or less) on than the average person?

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Life Goals....

Do you have them? Things you want to learn or accomplish at some point in your life.

I started one of mine last night. I asked my mom to teach me how to machine-sew. Yes learning how to sew was a life-goal of mine. I have always wanted to learn but just never did. Now that I have the basics (was literally a 15 minute lesson, it's much easier than i thought) I think my first project I want to make is a quilt. Either a baby quilt or a quilt for a pet bed. Any tips??

I think that sewing is a great way to actually save costs on some things as well. Hemming your own pants, making your own bedding, fixing up a ripped seam, etc. So really, I am saving money??

I hope to start making something this weekend or Friday if I do not end up working. Lately I haven't been feeling well but was slightly better today and I received a call to work a half-day. I got another call tonight to work a full-day tomorrow. Hopefully things are picking up!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Are You Interested...

In what you are spending in interest?
I cannot believe how much I have already spent in interest in just 17 months of having my OSAP loan. Imagine I took the 120 months (making only minimum payments) to actually pay it back...

When I first graduated I was paying the floating rate which I am pretty sure was 6% interest. Since then, actually only a few months after I graduated prime went down and I was paying 4.75% for the rest of the time. I am so glad I chose the floating rate instead of the fixed rate! Just so you know, "floating" is prime plus 2.5% where "fixed" is prime plus 5%! Currently prime is at 2.25%.

Consider this: if I took the full 10 years (including grace period) at the floating interest rate it is now I would have paid $8003.36 in interest. If I took the fixed rate at the rate it is now I would have paid $12673.19 just in interest!! Craziness!

One thing many people get "tricked" on is the "grace period" they give you. Many people believe that during these 6 months there is no interest accumulating. Unfortunately that is wrong, you need to read the fine print. Interest starts accumulating the day you graduate. However, you do not have to make any minimum payments or pay the interest during these 6 months. If you are able to though it is great to make lump sum payments anyway to get decrease that interest building up.

You may be wondering how much interest  I paid over the 17 months (including grace period) I have been done for. Well just a bit of background, when I graduated I owed $5.95 A DAY in interest!! Earlier this month I got down to $0.14 wow that felt nice. Currently it is probably at $0.02 but it takes several days to update on the NSLC website. So in total, after 17 months (drum roll please) I will have paid $1247.15 in interest. Not too bad considering what it COULD have been.

If you would like to calculate how much you are spending in interest I recommend the Canlearn site or this Loan Calculator site which will show you your interest accumulated once you click "show/recalculate amortization table." Good to figure out what you are paying in interest to student loans, mortgage, family loans, car loans etc. Fun to play with!

Main advice: make lump sum payments in addition to your minimum payments whenever you can. It could literally save you thousands!!

What Is On Your Christmas Wish-List??

Last night my boyfriend (I should really give him a name soon) were talking and he asked me what I wanted for Christmas. Usually I can come up with a pretty good list of things I want/need. But this year, especially because I am living at home, I really don't have any needs, or even many wants. I told him of a couple of children's books I wanted for school but that's it. I really don't want anything from him, he's been so generous but I know he will want to get me something.

I really want to learn how to machine-sew (and quilt) and so I would like a sewing machine eventually, but I think I can practice on my mom's first. Maybe I can ask for tickets to see a show or gift card to a restaurant so we can enjoy it together?? I always enjoy board games as well. Hmmm, I know my brothers and my parents will be asking me as well....what's on your wishlist??

Sunday, October 18, 2009

How To Make Progress Bars

Some people have been wondering how to make progress bars. They are actually easier to make even though the HTML code is tricky. But here is one version of progress bars. First you need to go to the "Layout" section of the Blogger and then "Add a Gadget." From there you need to add the "HTML/Java Script" gadget. Create a title for your progress bars and then add the following into the content section.

<b><font color="#3366FF">TFSA</font></b><br/>
Current $350
<div style="width:240px;height:15px;background:#A9D0F5;border:solid 1px #555;" class="goal">
    <div style="height:15px;background:#3366FF;color:white;width:23.3%;" class="progress"><b>23.3%</b>

<div style="font-size:10px;float:left;">$0</div><div style="font-size:10px;float:right;">$1,500</div>

From this you can change the colours, the width of the progress bars, and of course the percentages and goals. Where there are numbers combined with letters is where you can change the colours. You can change the colours easily by going to this site and copying the colour code http://html-color-codes.com/ to what you would like. Play with it a little bit, if you mess it up just re-copy and paste it until you get something you like. I hope this works for you! If you have any questions please ask!

Does Anyone Else Have This Problem??

I am having an issue with some blogs. It could be my fault as I am relatively new to this still. I cannot post comments on their blogs. Is there something that I am doing wrong here? Does this happen with anyone else?

In other news, the boyfriend just left today, he was up since Friday after school. We had a great weekend. We went out for supper on Saturday which was $15 each. We also carved pumpkins today but he paid for those. I made a haunted house and he made a goofy face. The rest of the weekend we were fairly lazy which was kind of nice. We played some Rock Band and watched some TV, just hung out.

I got paid on Friday ($620) and made a $400 payment today to OSAP. I will be updating those side bars shortly to reflect this change. So that means that my minimum payment will cover the rest of what I owe for this month and then I will be DONE!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

I Have Money Left!

After all that shopping, I actually have money left over! I did not anticipate being given any money from my mom or boyfriend so I did not budget for it, and saved up for the trip myself. So I probably spent a little more on myself than I thought I would, but with free money why not? I still have money left over, so I made a $500 payment to OSAP today. My progress bars reflect this change...98.01% complete!! I get paid tomorrow as well, so I might make another payment next week. Then I get paid AGAIN on the 30th. I love three paycheque months. So if I make a big enough payment with tomorrow's paycheque I could potentially be done my OSAP loan by Halloween! I still haven't cashed my GST cheque or put my leftover Canadian or US cash into the bank. Which will be about $200 all together. So new October goal to add to the list - pay off OSAP!

Shopping is Exhausting

We are back. It is nice to finally sleep in my own bed. I think we had a good and successful shopping trip. I don't think I could do this every year though. It was expensive.

So what did I get??

I bought two collared t-shirts for my brothers ($26)

I bought my dad some rum ($15)

I bought my mom two sweaters, some socks and a nice bag ($62)

I bought the boyfriend three pairs of pants, and three sweaters ($139)

Not too bad for at least getting Christmas started. I want to get the boyfriend a couple more things he wants two things for his computer that I will have to order, and I have two things here for him I bought earlier as well. I want to get my dad a shirt or something he wants, maybe the Blue Planet? I want to get my brothers  some DVDs or a game (that's what they have asked for). My mom is basically done, just get her some bingo tickets and maybe some Christmas jewellery. Now just to get the boyfriend's family (I did get them some hand soaps, so I am thinking of making them up a gift basket). Then I think I will just get my friends a little care-package I can send in the mail.

So for myself
I bought three sweaters for $40, two pair of dress pants for $40, my favourite purfume for $40, a pair of Columbia snowpants for $42, some lipchaps and soaps for $17 (soaps will be used as gifts), two children's books for $11, a purse for $26, a CK wallet for $23, shoes for $40, several pairs of socks for $6, three just for fun t-shirts for $16, three Aeropostale hoodies for $69

The hotel cost $40 each, the car rental was $60 each, and the gas was about $25 each. We had to eat at restaurants each day so that was about $90.

What an expensive three days. I am glad I went, but I do not think I would go again next year. I would like to go with the boyfriend or my mom and just take my car and pack more lunches etc to save some costs that way. I did not need to stay at a hotel with a pool. There were some added expenses going with a larger group. Overall I think it was a successful shopping trip. I now only have a few things left to get for Christmas which should be quite easy to complete. With the $500 given to me as a gift it was a relatively cheap vacation out of my own pocket.

Back to Reality....and Canada!

We had a good trip, it was fun but I am glad to be back. Shopping is tiring!! I think it was quite successful. I spent a lot but I got a lot of gifts. I will post more details tomorrow. Have a great night!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Gone Shopping

Well tomorrow is the day! All this time saving up is going toward the next THREE days of shopping. I am excited for it, never have I gone on a trip JUST to go shopping. Will be an adventure. There will be 5 of us and we are renting a van which means that every expense will be split 5 ways, and we will have enough room to bring things back. I am hoping it won't be too much for the car, gas and hotel. I will update you when we get back.

Things I want to buy:
-Christmas presents for my mom, dad, brothers, boyfriend, boyfriend's family (or at least half of those people)
-Teacher clothes for myself
-Jeans (I am pretty picky with jeans so in three days of shopping I hope to find at least one pair I really like)
-Halloween costume for myself and possibly boyfriend
-Nice fall jacket
-Maybe some casual clothes as well, we'll see what we find!

I hope everyone enjoys their day off tomorrow!! It snowed hard here for a while, so enjoy what fall days we have left!

What are YOU thankful for??

Happy Canadian Thanksgiving everyone!!

I am a day early but it is never too early to get in the Thanksgiving mood (besides I will not have internet access for the next 3 days). So my question to you is what are you thankful for?

There is so much to be thankful for in this beautiful country. I was out walking today and looking at the fall leaves, it's just so refreshing! I will have to upload a picture soon, this area has just about reached it's peak in changing colours.  

I am thankful for my family. They are such a great support, as are my friends! What would we do without family or friends? I am thankful to have a job. I sometimes complain at lack of finding full-time work, but with some friends from teacher's college without supply work, and in this economy I am thankful to have anything at all. I am thankful to my boyfriend, he can make me smile after a long day, and is always so sweet and generous. He is always willing to listen to me vent, and support me. I am thankful for my health, and the health of those close to me. My brother just returned from the army, and he says he is thankful for his freedom.

Really, it's the things we often take for granted that we need to think of the most during thanksgiving. Let people know that you are thankful for them. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Just my luck...

On Tuesday I went to pick up my brother from Toronto. We stopped on out way home (about 2 hours from home) for supper. We had a delicious meal, and then left. I drove home and when coming into the house I couldn't find my purse. I seached all through the car, not there. Darn.

I called the restaurant and asked if they could send it by mail collect. They said they could send it by mail, and they would send it free of charge. Thanks you, thank you!!

I still hadn't received it yesterday, so called to confirm that it was sent. They said yes and that if it wasn't there today it would be tomorrow. So today rolls around and still no purse. Got a message from the manager though saying that if it wasn't here today it would be on Monday (a holiday though, so I think he meant Tuesday). Now typically this wouldn't be a big deal, except for the fact that I am going on a shopping trip on Monday morning.

Luckily...I have my debit card with me, for some miraculous reason I had it in my pocket instead of my purse, and I also have my passport and US money that was given to me at home. Thank goodness!!! So really the only things I do not have are my driver's license and mastercard, and the convenience of carrying around a purse.

I had planned on using my mastercard for anything beyond the US cash I had, however now that that is out of the question, I guess I will have to use my debit card. Does anyone know if we are charged extra (beyond exchange rate) for using a debit card in the States?

Thursday, October 8, 2009

What would you do with a million dollars?

Have you ever seen that show, "Lottery Changed My Life" on TLC? I have watched it once, and this one person won a few million dollars and totally blew all the money. Is now actually in debt! How can that happen? These people were not taught about finances, or how to manage their money. A man in his 40s who lives down the road from me (with his parents) just won Cash for Life. So he receives a $1000 cheque every week. What will he do with his new "salary?"

I would love to win the lottery, however besides a few TV bingo tickets every once in a while I do not play. I bought one lottery ticket when I turned 18, and didn't win. I haven't bought one since.

What would you do with a million??

I would first pay off the mortgage on my parent's house. Give them an amazing vacation (cruise is my mom's dream). And give them a good chunk to put into retirement! Renovate our basement, which is something they have been wanting to do for a while. I would then pay off the rest of my student loan, my family loan, my brother's student loan, and give my other brother a bit as well. From there I would buy a new car, give the one I have now to my youngest brother. Then I would purchase a house, modest size. I would allow my brother to live with me to help him find a job or apprentiship (since our town has little to no opportunity for what he wants to do). I would also have to furnish it, and get a kitten. I would give my brother and his girlfriend a vacation, and my other brother a vacation to take with who he would like. I would then put the rest, how much would I have left? I'm guessing  I would have 400,000 left after this. I would put that money into savings. This would be wedding/honeymoon fund, vacation fund for when the boyfriend graduates, money to pay off his student loans, retirement fund, and then the rest just in savings for a rainy day, and planning for kids! I would also give my close friends a sweet gift, and have a nice party as well, I'll pay off their student loans too, why not? Wouldn't it be amazing to win a million?

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

GST cheque!

My GST cheque came in the mail today! An extra $75 woohoo! I love "free" money! I think I will put it in my bank account and use it toward my shopping in the states fund.

I also worked two half days this week so far (approximately $150 net). I am working at the rec centre on Friday and I worked a half day there yesterday (approximately $130 net). My goal is now to finish the rest of my student loan by the end of November. I just paid off my credit card, and I have about $1000 to spend on my shopping trip (budgeted), but I doubt I will spend that much! Hope the jobs keep coming and this goal will actually happen, so I can move onto the next debt...wow life is expensive!

Monday, October 5, 2009

These are a few of my favourite things...

I love weekends
my boyfriend
my best friend
making lists
my family
pink, blue and green
flip flops
swimming in lakes
my hometown
country music
chick flicks
watching hockey (go leafs go)
fresh sheets
board games

I love weekends. I had a great weekend  with the boyfriend. We went to a football game, and out dancing. We played some games at home and hung out with his family and some friends which was a lot of fun. He also gave me $250 american for my shopping trip! Wow, he really is amazing! Very generous of him. My mom also gave me the same amount in american dollars for my shopping trip. So I have $500 american in free money!! I cannot wait. After being careful not to spend too much it's going to be weird to do so much shopping/spending! But I am sooo looking forward to it!

I also paid $600 to OSAP today! Updated the progress bar to reflect this! I owe under $1200 now! Could I have it finished by the end of November??