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!