Saturday, 12 May 2012

Saturday update

Overcast, cool and breezy here today - it's been a cool spring so far, but I'm hopeful that the temperatures will creep up and the sun will soon be out more often. My friend arrives for her visit on Friday and the last thing I want is for it to be raining the whole time she's here. But I can't control the weather (yet!), and the time I spend with her is more important than what we do anyway, although I'd like to take a day trip somewhere and at least get out for a couple of walks around the neighbourhood, if not further afield.

I'm feeling very good about where my debt-load currently stands (although I've just made a $100 donation) and am confident that I will be able to bring it down even further before school starts in September. This month is a three-paycheque month, which will help now. I'm currently making a list of things I need to do - some of which will cost me money and some of which won't - over the next few months, but hopefully not more than I anticipate.

Need to's:

Change tires to summer ones: $100
Oil change: $65 (approx.)
Car account: only $10 in it right now, but will need to boost that substantially before September. I'll  need a winter oil change, plus another 2 tire changes and, of course, a lot of gas to get to school. I'm hoping there will be several people from my neighbourhood in the class and that we can perhaps car-pool, saving us each some gas, wear and tear and driving. I will forgo another oil change, however, until I'm finished classes next spring. I'll have to monitor my own fluids and hope that no serious issues arise (but that's also why I want to get my Efund up, too).

Tenant Insurance:
1 year: $250? (I really have no idea what it'll cost for a year - depends what I want for coverage I imagine). I'll be looking into this on Monday. My landlady wants a copy of it, so I have to get it done.

RRSP: $100 auto-pymt every month. I have to halve this amount ($50 is the min to keep it open)
RRSP #2: $60 auto-pymt every month. I'm not sure what the minimum is on this, or if I have to have one. All it will take is a phone call and a short meeting to figure this out. If I can put a temporary hold on it, that would be ideal, but the next best thing would be to lower the monthly deposit to the absolute minimum.
EFund: $30 auto-pymt every month. I want to get this to $1k+ before the end of summer and then cancel while I'm at school. I add over and above that amount each paycheque anyway, so I think I have a good chance of reaching my goal. I did add to it when I got my RRSP payout, too, so need less than $400 to achieve this.

Financial aid: filled out a form for a training allowance - $100 p/wk for food - and will drop that off on Monday on the way to work, along with a copy of my official acceptance letter.
Payment/registration: starts Monday, June 4. Need to call and find out if a bank draft will suffice as payment (would be hugely surprised if it doesn't, but you never know. Best to check).
I've also sent off a form for a student line of credit ($10k) for the year. The rate is prime + 2% (5%?) for any monies borrowed. Paying down my debt through the summer will go a long way to needing a lot less of this.

Internet: not many options, but will call the service provider and discuss options for lowering the cost of my monthly bills (currently $125-ish a month) while I'm at school.
Heat: increase monthly payments through September, to keep credit balance high, which will help keep costs lower during the winter
Groceries: this cost will be covered by the financial aid above. I will likely have a more regular schedule so can cook/bake more often and won't need to buy food at the college. I'd like to keep this as low as I can, so I can direct some of that cash towards other things.
Cell phone: currently $30 p/mo. I use it so rarely it's just not worth it. I'll look into cancelling it, but I'm pretty sure the contract is up this month anyway.

Cat/vet account: ensure there is a cushion in here to cover food, litter, vet visits. This will be the area where there could be the most unexpected expenses. Best to cushion it as best I can now. $1k should suffice.

Gift fund:
Monthly auto-deposits: $32. This will also have to go on hold while I'm at school, but again, will continue while I'm working.

Payments: $50 bi-weekly. Continue this through summer, then drop it to the absolute minimum I can. By that time, the interest payments will be lower and I can probably get away with about $30-$40 p/month.

Part-time: I'm hoping my current p/t job will continue through the rest of the year. The wage is good, I enjoy it and even if I only do a couple of days a month, that will help to keep costs down while I'm off. If not, then there are possibilities at the college itself (library, bookstore, etc).

I have the money already set aside for this - for almost 2 years! - and need to just sit down, focus and get the forms complete. I need to get out of the way.

Stocking up (reasonably) on little things like laundry detergent, dish soap, shampoo, toothpaste, etc while I'm still working. This will save some $$ over the year. I'm currently nearing the end of some laundry detergent that I bought nearly two years ago, so it's time I picked up a new jug anyway.

So that's my list so far. It will fluctuate as I find add and remove things, but I'd like to check off a number of them before the end of August, so that I have a little breathing space before classes begin.

I do have to remember that I added an "overage" to my school account (approx $3000) as a cushion for any supplies I will need, any unexpected costs or even to continue my education afterwards. This money could also go towards cost of living if it gets really tight, so I don't have to set my panic meter ready to go just yet. I don't want to touch it, but it is there if I run into troubles.

My weekly spending isn't too bad, considering the vet visit for Joey.

Monday, May 14
No spend! :)

Tuesday, May 15
Tim's (tea & bagel): $3.85 <-- also something I need to knock off this summer.
Vet: $523.85

Wednesday, May 16
Soap: $97.40 (my friend will bring this with her; I've sent the cash for payment)

Thursday, May 17
Shoppers: $28.57
- milk: $4.59
- magazine: $3.99 (yes, splurge)
- rubber gloves (2 pair): $3.89
- clearasil: $6.99
- toothpaste (2 x 130ml): $2.29 ea
- frozen entrees (2 x $1.99): $3.98

Groceries: $19.36
- cheese (x 2): $14.38 ($7.19 ea - cheese is so outrageously expensive, but so GOOOOOOOD!)
- salad: $3.30
- apples (x 2): $1.46

Friday, May 18
Shoppers: $14.69
- ice cream (Ben & Jerry's "Red Velvet Cake"!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!): $10.00, sale price 2 for $10
- magazine: $3.99 (for a friend)

Groceries: $26.63
- sausages: $3.44
- sausages: $4.03
- Krema Lemon yogurt (greek, no gelatin, 500ml): $6.79
- broccoli florets (frozen, organic): $4.59
- supersweet corn (frozen, organic): $3.99
- sourdough bread: $3.49

It seems kind of outrageous to spend so  much on frozen veggies, but they're equal to the cost of fresh up here (and sometimes in much better shape!). A variety will last me much longer, too, as I won't eat them all at once, or I can use them in a tuna casserole or something.

Today is a putter day, although I haven't done much so far. I'm looking into the value of a steam mop (Cdn Tire has one on sale for $99.99), and am organizing laundry, cleaning the bathroom, dusting and what to do with all the things on my dining room table that need to be cleared out...


Jane said...

You sure are doing a good job keeping track of things. You're in far better shape than I was when I went back to school. Thankfully that was long ago and now I'm in fairly good shape. It is a scary thing to do and then scarier still when the time comes to pay the piper. But you seem so careful and thoughtful - you seem to have thought of everything!
Glad to hear Joey is on the mend - what a strange thing!

Northern Living Allowance said...

Thank you, Jane! That's so nice of you to say. I think it's that I'm a) older, b) know what I want to do and, c) know that I'm taking a long break from a job I'm no longer happy in. I'm still really nervous about cash flow, living expenses, etc, but realize the better prepared for it I am, the better I'll manage without a steady, full-time income.

Joey is doing well - hasn't messed with his sutures, so I'm hoping everything is going as it should!

Karen E said...

Glad to hear Joey's leaving his stitches alone. My little dog gets surgery for skin cysts once every year or two and is HORRIBLE about stitches. I finally found an inflatable collar that mostly curtails this. That and the fact that I work from home so can keep an eye on him. sheesh

I think I need to start a budget again. I use only one credit card and pay it off every two weeks when I get paid, but I don't keep track of what I'm spending really. These days, it's mostly groceries, but I still overdo it too often. I have no intention of taking on two FT jobs again this year so I need to cut back so I can build my savings back up for my tiny house! Oh, and I have 2 loaves of sourdough heading into the oven right now... =)

saving for travel said...

You are so organised.

I am delighted that your UK budget is looking so healthy.

I hope the weather improves so that you and your friend have a wonderful time.

Sft x

Northern Living Allowance said...

@Karen - I've been lucky. Joey's been a very good patient and only picked at his bandages a couple of times while they were still on. No cone needed! I did have a cat who had those skin cysts and he had to wear the cone of shame, too. He hated it. Made him so miserable, but really the stitches would have been out in no time if he didn't have it on. And MMM! Sourdough. It's my favourite!

@Sft - thank you! I'm surprising myself, really. I guess I just want this so badly, which is what is making the difference. I'm pleased, though, and have just thought of something else I could to do make this easier on myself! Will have to fiddle a bit and make sure it will all make sense before I post anything.

My friend and I will have a great time regardless of the weather! I'm so just excited that she's coming for a visit. :)

Anonymous said...

You're very organised - have a lovely time with your friend :)

Dannie said...

Well done on keeping track of things, it sounds like you have everything nicely balanced. That is so organised to have broken it down and worked out what you are likely to need, but definitely a good way forward:-)