Also the name of a pretty good 80's tune, an actual Northern Living Allowance is a tax break granted by the Canadian Government to anyone and everyone who lives north of Grand Prairie, Alberta (55 degrees N Latitude).
I've been reading Gail's blog for a few months now, and from there have found plenty more fantastic personal finance blogs like this one, this one, and this one. There's an entire community out there minding their personal finances, getting out of debt, saving money, reaching their goals and so much inspiration to be had on a daily. I'm hoping that writing down my goals and savings achievements and putting them "out there" will make me more focused, realistic and accountable for my spending.
I'm a 41 yr old single female living in an exceptionally beautiful part of Canada. It's not cheap, however, but even here there are ways to save money. If people can live frugally in London, after all, I can certainly find ways to do it here! I work two jobs: one day a week at a hotel, and a "day" job in a library. While the library job is very well paid, it's not permanent, so I am also on a journey to search for a job I get to keep.
One of the better financial decisions I've made in the last several weeks is enlisting the help of a financial advisor/planner and have just given her an initial $1000 to put into an RSP. I've also spoken with my bank about various savings options that they offer and will be looking at another RSP with them, only in mutual fund form.
But to start, my goals are as follows:
A new(er) car (fall 2009)
A house (2012)
Retirement savings plan (ongoing)
Trip to South Africa to help my brother & sister-in-law build their new house (2 years)
Canal boat in England (5 years)
I've also set up several accounts I use for the vet, travel, my car insurance/maintenance and which fluctuate according to need. I've decided recently to bump up the vet account from $1000 to $2500, as I think that's a more realistic amount (I have three cats and want accessible funds should something happen).
I know I need to set up a more focused monthly budget, set some goals (definitely some "no spend days" as Frugal Trenches does), and stick with my cash jars system that Gail advocates. It's a terrific idea and it really, honestly WORKS if you're focused and determined. And all this sort of stuff only works if you shift your thinking about why you spend, how you spend, where you spend, etc. You have to really look at the reasons behind it: are you bored? Depressed? Angry? Like a raven, do you like shiny things?
I'm looking forward to this.