Saturday, 23 May 2009

Update, having rethought my thinks

On the rails to the Summit - the US/Canadian border - from Skagway, AK, May 16.

So. I am not as frustrated with myself these days, having read all the wonderful, level-headed suggestions from my last post and stepping back from it to try to relax a little. There's still some frustration present, but it's (currently) at a very manageable level, and I think as long as I keep talking myself around, I will be fine.

I've just collected my updated debt totals and they look like this (Rev Canada still being a guess at this point):

LOC: $2200.00
Student Loan: $2073.52 (!)
Rev Can: $1627.00

This month's total debt: $5900.52(ish)
Start of May total debt: $6275.00
Difference: $375!

So, progress! More than I thought, but not as much as I'd like. Regardless, I am pleased. I've managed to pick up several extra shifts at the hotel over the next few weeks, too, so that will help immensely, as will the three paycheques I get in July! I have also decided that I must put myself on an allowance. From my reading, it seems that $40 a week is a typical amount allocated with the understanding that you can spend it however you like, but once it's gone, there is no more.

My spending over the past two weeks - from a quick review of my Gail Planner - appears to be 99% food related. Whether it's grocery spends or eating out spends, I'm spending an extraordinary amount of money to feed myself.

Let's review, shall we?

Dentist $140.00 (my bennies kick in Aug 1)
Groceries/eating out $315.40 (since May 8)
Ticket for train in Skagway $30.00 (reg pice $103)
Gas $41.17 (should, hopefully, last me a month or more as I can now ride my bike every day)

I paid for my friend's dinner in Skagway, as she supplied the car & gas and did all the driving, so I thought that was only fair ($50 US from my US account, the rest of which has been redeposited). I've also asked D to be a guinea pig for me as I attempt to learn how to cook, which he was quite happy to do. I CAN cook, it's just very unmotivational to cook for just me, so I just "make stuff" for me. It's actually kinda fun (I know!) and I've copied many dozens of recipes of simple, tasty meals for us to try out. The spicy chicken pizza I made the other night was a definite hit and the blue cheese stuffed hamburgers I tried out at a friend's BBQ last night were pretty good, but need a few minor adjustments (not least to use a different cheese, the mould thing is a bit disconcerting...).

I've also been out enjoying myself and relaxing. This is a rare week in my new schedule where I had 3 days of work (one at the hotel, 2 at the library) and 4 off. It's been great! A day trip to Skagway, a trip to D's cabin south of town, "Star Trek" (WOW), meeting a friend for lunch yesterday PLUS a BBQ in the evening, sleeping in,'s been wonderful. I've not felt this relaxed in a long time.

I'm supposed to be meeting a friend for dinner & a movie ("Star Trek" again) tonight, but although she determined not to change plans this time, it seems to happen anyway. She has three kids and is a single mum, so her plans get changed without any notice. It happens. It doesn't bother me, because I know it's not intentional. She wants to get out as much, if not more, than I do, so I just have to call and confirm.

I've also adjusted my side bars to reflect some changes; some positive, some not so much. I emptied my mad money & house accounts to pay part of my Visa bill and pay down my debt. I'm okay with this because that's what the mad money is for (spending "madly" on something(s) I want) and the house account is not really getting anywhere at this point, so once I've paid down my debt, I will focus more intently on this.

As for making changes...I decided NOT to touch any other accounts to pay down the debt. At least right now. I feel more comfortable having my cushions in place than I would having to put it all on my credit card, then having to worry how to pay it off. Again. My friend's suggestion was to keep saving, but halve the amount I save each month and put the rest toward the debt. I was saving $300 a month and have halved that to $150. On top of that, I halved that, so that I'm saving $75 bi-weekly ($150 a month);$25 each to three different accounts each time. So once a month, each account gets $25. It grows more slowly, but still grows. I'm going to implement the allowance I mentioned above, and get seriously disciplined with my jars, using any leftover money to throw at debt instead of splurging at Tim's...


T'Pol said...

Hi there! It's not like you are drowning in debt. If 6K is all of your debt, I think it is very manageable. Just stick to your budget and be patient. Take care!

dinah34 said...

i think you have made some wise choices. i like that you put your mad money on your VISA.

why do you have a rent sidebar? did i miss something?

Northern Living Allowance said...

Hi T'Pol: Thanks for dropping by and for your support! :)

@Dinah - The rent sidebar is ostensibly to cover rent when/if I do this 6-wk trip next year. The idea - somewhat unclear to me now, although it seemed like a great one at the time - was to ensure that I had the money to cover expenses while I was away, outside of an EF fund. So I guess it's 'planned savings' at this point. If I don't go, then it can perhaps be for schooling instead...

The Asian Pear said...

can I just say that the posted picture is just GORGEOUS!

and as a trekkie fan, Star Trek was pretty awesome I have to admit. I was worried with the whole prequel idea.

And like you, I find that most of my budget goes to food - whether groceries or eating out. I suppose that's not a bad thing though. I mean... It's food. Good food. We're not using the money and spending it on inflatable dart boards at least! ;)

Money Funk said...

Food always seems to be the financial monger. Especially when eating out. But, you seem to be doing great. Living life, have a plan to pay down the debt... doing good.

I love the pic, too (despite its cold looking nature).

And Star Trek. Loved it! Cuz I love Spock. :)

Good to hear you're around and living life with friends.

Northern Living Allowance said...

Hi Pear - thanks for the compliment on the photo! :) I LOVED Star Trek and I'm not a trekkie or even a sci-fi fan. It was GREAT!! :P

Hi Christine - the photo is a bit deceiving because at sea level, in Skagway, it was warm and sunny, the new leaves had popped on the trees...but at 4000' it's still cold enough for the snow. I so enjoyed my time off.

Sharon Rose said...

Hi there-what a great plan of action, this sounds like a fabulous idea and I hope it keeps well for you! If you stick to budget, theres no reason why things won't go to plan-good for you!

Saver Queen said...

it sounds like you're doing a really good job. You are definitely going to reach your goals - like T'Pol said, just be patient - it will happen.

PS I loved Star Trek too! And I am a discerning trekkie :)

Jerry said...

It's funny - circumstance may lead us to assume the worst, but when we finally do the figures we sometimes find out that things are not as bad as they seemed! That's great... and progress is progress, it is the only insurance that we can achieve our goals. Keep up the good work, and adjust as you need to!

Sharon Rose said...

Hi again!! Thanks so much for the birthday wishes, so much appreciated my dear! Hope you are keeping well and things are going to plan, take care!!