Sunday, January 22, 2017

Renewed. Revitalized. Reawakened.

It has been almost four years since my last blog post. I don't know if anyone ever read my blog when it was active, but let's just say I'm not holding my breath. But I want to start up again as I've kind of hit a wall and I want - need - to break through. Even if this is just for myself to come and blather on, at least I can feel like I'm trying, and I'm being held accountable in some way.

My husband and I have been married for over five years now and while we've enjoyed a great life (albeit with ups and downs), it has come at a price. A $30,000 price to be exact. Well, to be exact, it's more like $31,260.44. But we'll get to that. We are so far down the rabbit hole of consumer debt that I can't see the sun any longer. We have been in this hole before and we've always managed to climb out, but it just seems like we keep on falling time and time again. And this time, the hole is the deepest we've ever seen.

So, it's time to buckle down and get this sucker paid off. And this time I want to change how we do it and why we do it and what we'll look like when we come out the other end.

We are middle-class by most standards. Average 3-bedroom house. A few fur babies, but none of the human variety. We don't like a crazy lavish lifestyle - we share a car between the two of us, we don't eat out at fancy restaurants or travel a ton. But we do live a rather excessive life - cupboards bursting with food. A basement and garage crowded with stuff. Shelves full of knick-knacks that don't really mean anything to us. Closets full of clothing we barely touch. It needs to change. So here we go...

The Numbers
Credit card - $10,553.57
Line of credit - $13,808.69
New couch - $1,700 (it's slightly more than this, but I don't have a recent bill and we're currently on a no interest, no payment plan for another 6 months or so)
Doors - $1,279.97
Furnace - $3,918.21 (both this and the doors loan are on our hydro bill with a fairly low 3.x% interest rate)

TOTAL = $31,260.44

The order above is the order in which we will work to pay the debt off. The couch will be transferred to the line of credit when it comes time to pay it to avoid an insame amount of interest tacked on to it.

My commitment is to check in at least once a week on the numbers. I want to get these paid down as quickly as possible, but also learn a few lessons in the end. I want to make a budget that we can and will stick to. And I want husband and I to get on the same page financially.

Here goes...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

From Firsts to Lasts

From Life Oceanside and Penguins, Pasta & Polka Dots.

1) First Major in College?
I did a joint-program with a local college and university here, so I officially graduated from college first with a diploma in Communications, majoring in Advertising. A year later I graduated with a Bachelor of Arts with a major in Communications/English.

2) First Date Success Story
It was definitely with Husband! We "met" online and decided to meet IRL. It was a warm August day, so we met up to grab ice cream around 7 pm and we walked around the Forks and talked for a long time. We then decided to catch a movie (yup, such a successful date that it turned into a second date on the same night!). Because it was so late, there was only one movie that hadn't started playing yet... It was some Angelina Jolie action movie, but I can't remember the title right now. I knew on that first date that he was the one. I talked to a girlfriend of mine the next day and said he was it!

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

From Firsts to Lasts

From Life Oceanside and Penguins, Pasta & Polka Dots.

 1) First Store You Head To In The Mall?
It usually depends on where I park and what I'm after that day. I usually walk through the mall in some sort of order based on where I'm parked, and not so much about which stores I want to go to first.

2) First Aisle You Hit In The Grocery Store
It's almost always the pharmacy section of the store to stock up on toiletries, make-up, vitamins and feminine products! Then I can get down to my food shopping.

Friday, May 3, 2013

About Me

Halie on Penguins, Pasta and Polka Dots did this today and I love it! I haven't done anything like this, so figured I'd copy borrow her post! :)  Here's a reverse pyramid to get to know me!

10 Favorite Foods
  1. Chocolate cake
  2. Cupcakes (okay, really sweet!)
  3. Sushi
  4. Husband's lasagna
  5. Ravioli
  6. Crab
  7. Grilled cheese sandwiches
  8. Pesto
  9. Cheese
  10. Chinese food (the crappy Americanized stuff, like chicken balls and lemon chicken)
9 Favorite Movies
  1. Dirty Dancing
  2. Pretty Woman
  3. Crazy, Stupid, Love
  4. Speed
  5. The Hunger Games
  6. Cinderella
  7. Grease
  8. Cutting Edge
  9. The Princess Bride

8 Favorite Musical Artists
  1. Dixie Chicks
  2. Carrie Underwood
  3. The Band Perry
  4. Rascal Flatts
  5. Adele
  6. Taylor Swift
  7. Dido
  8. Jewel
7 Things I Love Right Now
  1. My husband!
  2. Zombie Run app
  3. My new sneakers
  4. The sunshine
  5. Goat's cheese
  6. How I Met Your Mother
  7. Planning surprises
Able Township in Zombie Run - sooooo much fun!

6 Places I'd Love To Visit
  1. Greece
  2. Italy
  3. San Francisco
  4. Pittsburgh
  5. Maritimes
  6. France
5 Favorite Games
  1. Bohnanza
  2. Settlers of Catan
  3. Skip-Bo
  4. Munchkin
  5. Ticket to Ride
Bohnanza (a.k.a. The Bean Game)
Photo credit

4 Things I'd Like To Do Again
  1. Go back to Egypt
  2. Have another wedding (but still marry Husband!)
  3. Play in rain puddles like when I was a kid
  4. See my dad

3 Things I'd Like To Do in 2013
  1. Spa weekend with my girlfriends
  2. Surprise Husband with something special
  3. Improve my French
2 Facts About Me
  1. I have had bangs my entire life and I'm only now trying to grow them out for the first time!
  2. I didn't get my licence until I was 22 and I only got it because my dad bought a convertible!
1 Meaning Behind My Blog Name
  1. I love playing with budgets and crunching the numbers. I should really post more financial stuff on the blog!

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

May Goals

I didn't do so well on my April goals... :(
  • Lose 3 lbs. FAIL. I have definitely hit a weight loss plateau. I'm not going anywhere. I've started using a new nutrition app that tracks using the Weight Watchers method and I've already noticed a change though after only a week!
  • Put $500 towards our foundation savings goal. DONE! We were actually able to put aside the planned $500, plus an additional $1,300! The extra money came from Canada Revenue Agency for adjustments to my 2010 and 2011 taxes. (I didn't realize I could get credit for my schooling because my company pays for it, but apparently I can get credit for the actual act of being in school, not just the costs of it! Now I kinda want to go back to school again!)
  • Go to hot yoga 3x. FAIL. I was hoping I could say that I at least went once or twice, but this was a huge fail. I am putting a positive spin on it though and telling myself that I'm just finding what works for me and apparently I'm not a hot yoga person. I do still want to use up the pass and I have six more session to use before the end of June, so maybe I can try again next month.
  • Do an inventory of our possessions. FAIL. I started the list, but haven't gone through the whole house yet.
  • Give myself an at-home facial. DONE! I did a yogurt/lemon mask which was quite nice (2 parts plain yogurt, one part lemon juice).
  • Book my spa trip with the girls. FAIL. But not because of lack of trying! The spa wasn't taking bookings for September, so I'll try again a bit later. 
  • Spring cleaning! PASS. I got a bunch of spring cleaning done one Saturday and the house is looking nice and clean! I still want to do some research on prepping a house for the spring though and make sure we're not forgetting anything.
We actually got a lot done around the house though so I feel like April wasn't a total bust. We had the bathroom door fixed and a screen made and installed for our weirdly-shaped kitchen window (the only window in the house without a screen). 
Our roofer came by and looked at the roof over the addition so he can put together a proper estimate. His worst-case scenario estimate was almost $11,000! But luckily when he got in there he found that it's not as bad as he thought it would be, so I'm hoping that the new quote will be dramatically less.
May Goals

Sadly most of these are just items that didn't get done in April! 
  • Lose 3 lbs. Let's try this again!
  • Go to hot yoga 3x. I'm not sure if I'm setting myself up for failure again, but I should really use my 10 sessions which will expire in June. 
  • Put $750 towards our foundation savings goal. I get three pay cheques this month, so we can put aside a little bit more in May. 
  • Do an inventory of our possessions.
  • Go see the movie The Big Wedding. I love romantic comedies and I haven't seen a new one in a long time, so this will be a fun goal to achieve.
  • Put away winter clothing/shoes and bring out summer gear.
  • Buy an armband holder for my new phone. I have been using my phone in lieu of my iPod during my walks home latel because I'm in love with the Zombie Run app. Right now I can just throw my phone into my pocket, but once the temperatures heat up, I'll need an alternative way to carry it. Budget is $30.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Five items a month

I think people today get too much happiness from stuff. We live in a society that loves shopping, hoarding and one-upping each other. And I am definitely not immune to this. I love shopping as much as the next girl. I love clothes, the latest trends and new gadgets. But as I sit in my house filled with knick-knacks, t-shirts and DVDs, I know that these aren't the things that make me happy. What makes me truly happy are my relationships (with Husband, family, friends and co-workers), my fur babies, my cozy home in general and the feeling it gives me, memories and experiences.

So to honour the things that truly make me happy, I decided to purge some stuff each month for six months. I want to give away/donate, sell or throw out at least five items each month. I actually started this a couple months ago, but with most things in my life, I start doing them and then blog about them way too late!

Items I've already purged:
March - I sold a bunch of DVDs that were just collecting dust in our tv stand. I actually made about $50 too!
April - I went through my closet and got rid of a pile of fall/winter clothes. I also cleaned out our ottomans and got rid of a pile of "Learn French" materials that I've never used (I prefer to take classes), as well as a picture frame that I was able to sell for $20.
May - TBD! I will have to go through my summer clothes, but I may wait until mid-way through the summer once I know what fits and what I'm actually wearing on a regular basis.

Right now it's quite easy to come up with those five items and I've been exceeding that number easily. But I know that as I get closer to the end of the six months it will be hard to give up those five items, but hopefully it will make me appreciate those other non-materialistic things a little bit more.

Anyone want to join me?

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Sunday Night Chit-Chat

When I do these posts I normally just play by myself, but I figured I'd link up with My 1/2 Dozen Daily tonight.
  • Reading? I finished Black Beauty this weekend. It wasn't what I expected, but still a very good book. I'm still working on Skipping a Beat. 
  • Listening to? A Quantum Leap episode.
  • Watching? See above!
  • Cooking/Baking? Not a whole lot. Trying to be better about my diet, so salads are my current thing to make for dinners.
  • Happy you accomplished this week? I walked home from work every day this week! (I didn't work on Monday, but I did go for a walk around the neighborhood.)
  • Looking forward to next week? Seeing the scale go down! I've started using a new diet tracking app and I'm already seeing results in just a few days.
  • Thankful for today? My sister and sister-in-law - they brought my home cinnamon raisin biscuits from Hardee's in the U.S. (We don't have Hardee's in Canada and these were a childhood favourite on road trips.)
  • *Bonus Question* What is your preferred method for contacting someone? (email, text, phone, letter, etc...) Depends on the person, but usually text. Is it sad to say I'm too lazy to actually email someone? Although I find depending on what needs to be communicated, a phone call is often fastest.