November 24, 2013

From the heart

We've been trying to find alternative gifts for family members this year, and my Mother-In-Law made a fantastic request for her birthday, which is today.

She asked for DH and I to send her a song... so we did.  We recorded a piece of German art song on our phone, and posted it to Facebook. (Y'all know we're classical musicians, yes?)

I think it was more meaningful to her than any card or item we bought ever could have been.

November 20, 2013


...and get better it did!

We revamped the budget, revamped our priorities list, and now we're on the same page both financially and emotionally. (Because lets face it: money makes us all emotional).

here are the priorities:

Live within our means
Kill the visa
Travel & Save

Here are the changes:

We reduced the visa payments by $200/month. Our theory is that this will still allow us to be aggressive with our debt repayment, but allow us a little more breathing room.  We were failing because we budgeted too tight - this is just letting it out by one notch on the belt. 

We upped our grocery bill by $50/month. Again, We were overspending because we didn't allow for things like a bottle of wine or a bit of beer. This just allows a little wiggle room, so we don't feel so 'fail' every time we want to celebrate something with a drink at home.

We added Laundry ($48 ouch), car service savings ($40), rrsp contributions ($100), and cat food and medical supplies ($120). Our cat is in stage 4 kidney failure. We feed her special food, and give her subcutaneous fluid injections. Google it. It sucks, but she's got her quality of life back. If you don't agree with our plan, then kiss off. I'm really not interested in hearing it. This is my life, my companion pet, and we are doing the best we can for her.

We reduced the gas budget for the car. Since we've moved downtown, we fill the car once a month, instead of three times a month.

MOST importantly, we are on the same page now about travel We saved and planned for our 'around the world trip', and while we did okay, we still came home, and sat in our overdraft for a month or two.  Now we are committed to no big trips (we have some family-related travel coming up this year) until the visa is dead. Huzzah!

There's still no line for 'dining out' or 'buying things', but really, we aren't very good consumers. We find something we want once in a while, and if we really want it, it's worth saving for, or working for.

November 17, 2013

Fail Sunday

my no-spend week was not so bad - I managed to stick to it with the exception of a birthday gift for my brother (about $27), and the repair cost of my winter boots ($15.74), and my physio appointment, but I'll be getting that reimbursed.

Today I am anxious.  DH and I had an argument, and it came up that our budget sucks. It's too tight, and we suck at sticking to it, and then we fail because there's no room for error.

It's hard because we want to do it all. Save for another big trip, pay off all the debt, and have a fun life while we do it.  It feels like we have to pick one.

I'm going to re-vamp our budget, and DH and I are going to have a chat about our priorities, which will help guide our priorities with our money.

Also, we have no water (on certain floors) in my apartment building, so I just tried to run laundry, and that failed too.

Today feels like a day of fail, but I know things always get better after days like this.

November 10, 2013

Home sweet home and a no - spend

The move to our new apartment was very successful, and after only a month, this place feels more like home than the other place ever did. Maybe it's because we're walking more.  Maybe it's because we can actually see eachother before the hangry takes over.  Maybe it's because we cut FORTY hours of commuting a month out of our lives.

To celebrate, we threw a house-warming party last night. There was a tonne of food, drink, and good people. My house is warm and my heart is full... but my bank account is hurting a little.

I've decided to challenge myself this week. Just Monday-Friday - I won't spend a dime outside of the the one thing I've committed to: a physiotherapy appointment for my feet/legs.  This will force encourage me to take the time to plan ahead, make my meals, and be conscious of the things I've forgotten about, or habits I've let go. 

I have this to-do list of "things that will make me a better/skinnier/richer/sexier/happier person", (don't you?) but I think I'll just start with this one.

I will not spend money this Monday to Friday.

September 30, 2013

Monday Morning Minute

Morning Readers!

Well, today is the last full day we spend in our apartment-that-is-very-far-away.  We are living out of boxes and 'easy' food (not take-out!), and I can't wait till the movers get here tomorrow morning.  While we won't be saving money with this move (piano mover + stuff mover + pet deposit + any of the other things we realize we'll need when we move in.. shelves and whatnot), I know it will boost our quality of life quite a bit.  We'll be a 10 minute walk away from work, walking distance from my family, close to nighttime entertainment, parks, festivals, the river... and best of all.. no more getting up at 5:30 am for me!!  No more hour-long commute.  I'll be able to cook food in the evening BEFORE we are ravenously hungry, have time for a nice breakfast in the morning, and be able to spend more time with my sweet husband. 

Cross your fingers for us that this all goes smoothly tomorrow!

September 25, 2013

Back to Blog (or, Taylor, where the hell have you been?)

Hello again blogosphere

After a few months hiatus, I'm back, mostly thanks to a lovely note from Amelia at informing me that my blog was chosen as one of the "10 Best Inspirational Blogs for Debtors"

I'll admit, at first I was suspicious, but hey - if I put stuff on the internet, sometimes people read it! So I'll take the cred, and put out an update as to where I've been since April.

After my dissappointing RRSP meeting, I took my $500 and went to my own bank, where an account manager and I set up an RRSP that fit my budget and my current needs.  We agreed to dump the money in there, let it collect interest ($0.05 since April!), and begin a more regular contribution once we returned from our trip and a few more little life changes had been dealt with.

This summer I did some singing for Cowtown Opera Company - mostly volunteer, but I also manage their twitter account, and it feels good to just sing, and not have to stress about it too much.  I am a professional, but the locals (Bars, patios etc) made for more 'chill' gigs.

Living in the big city of Calgary has been 50/50.  Pro: I love being near family, and close to the mountains.  Con: we're making literally twice as much money as we were in Ontario, but still seem to be going month-to-month. what the heck, right?  Well, we've been slamming money away on to our visa card (remember how I cancelled mine? I jumped on his so we could be totally transparent.), and ...

We took our Big Ass Trip.
Turkey, Malaysia, Cambodia, Singapore, Japan, Calgary.

WHAT?? How can someone who's so focused on Kissing Off Debt drop the dough to take a trip like THAT??   well, we have a friend who works for Delta Airlines, and he generously offered us a couple of Buddy Passes for the long-haul flights.  We took the cheapest option for flights or accommodations or food whenever possible.  We saved as much as we could for a year in anticipation of this trip.  Yes, it cost us a lot of money. Yes, we ended up spending more than we intended. Yes, we are totally broke now that we're home. Yes, I have a budget to get us back on track.

Yes, it was the trip of a lifetime, and that's one of the main reasons we took the trip in the first place. We are young. We don't have kids, and, contrary to what says, we don't have a mortgage. The reason we work so hard to get out of debt or save money is to have the freedom to experience life to the fullest.  Retirement and emergency savings are on the list too, but quality of life (within reason) ranks very highly, with special emphasis being placed on experiences that bring us closer.  (note: not stuff that brings us closer).

Anyway, We are moving to a new apartment next week, so the budget is messy and ever changing as new expenses pop up.

What are your travel experiences? Did you do it on a dime or treat yourself? Was it worth it for YOU?

April 4, 2013

Not Enough

This post is hard to write.

Yesterday I was given some money by my parents to go open an RRSP as a birthday present (No, I don't already have one). They set me up with their Financial Planner gal, who was apparently more than happy to sit down with DH and I.

When we got to her office, one of her colleagues told us our gal was out for the afternoon, but she says 'Hi!'. We sat down with the colleague, and over the next 45 minutes, went through our debt, our income, our current plan and our future plans for what felt like the zillionth time (seriously, I review this stuff weekly).  The colleague told us we seemed to be on the right track, then, with all the tact and diplomacy of one who has seen our type before, slips into the conversation that their section works on a fairly high fee-based system, and they wouldn't feel right charging us that much, especially with the relationship between the non-present FP gal and my family, so they are unable to take us on as clients. 

Yup. My Husband and I and my measly amount of money walked out of there with our heads held a little lower.

Anyway, I got back to work, and I was in a funk. I had told some people that I was about to open an RRSP, and so I readied a carefully concocted response about deciding to stick with my home bank, in case anyone asked (no one did, thankfully).

I don't blame the financial planners, or my parents - I don't blame anyone. I know it was a miscommunication between my parents and their financial gal about what this meeting was actually supposed to be. I know my dad only wanted DH and I to have as much information as possible before we step into investment planning. I know I am in total resistance to the fact that I went in there expecting something different from what I got.

In all reality, this colleague did us a favour. The truth is that we are not investing tens of thousands of dollars, so a downtown YYC wealth management group is probably (duh!) not the right choice for us. 

We are going to go to our home bank, and talk to someone who is more on our level, and get this thing started.

This is, after all, step one of Operation: Down Payment.