Saturday, 6 March 2010

The real update!

After yesterday’s debacle, in which I took about an hour to write a post, then lost it to some sort of error in Blogspot, I am going to try and recreate it using the sensible suggestion (thanks, T’Pol!) of Word and then cutting and pasting it instead. Part of the problem is that I get distracted easily and spent some time switching back & forth between windows, so it signed itself out, but then all it asked was that I sign in again. I got some kind of strange error message but didn’t worry that I couldn’t find it again because it was auto-saved as I wrote it up, but when I went to the Edit option to retrieve it, all that was saved was the first line. ARGH! :(


I am going to my favourite format to update: point!
  • I did my taxes (thanks to Studio Tax!) on Thursday and sent them off. I collected my last T4 and that took me from a return of just over $1000 to owing $221.91. I’m not complaining as that’s $2K less than last year and I’ll be able to pay it off in one go, so YAY!
  • I got a (gov’t) cheque for $150 in the mail yesterday, which was a nice surprise! I have no idea what it’s for, however. The description reads “Subsidy,” and I’m wondering if this has something to do with electricity or energy or something. Regardless, it’s a nice snowflake.
  • I’m going to update my resume. I’ve decided to at least think about getting a p/t job, hopefully just for the summer. I feel I still owe too much so an extra $300 - $400 per month would really help get rid of that, as well as plump up my savings.
  • I’m on ‘set 8’ of “Midsomer Murders.” Already. I’m addicted!
  • I went to a birthday party here last Saturday. The company was excellent, the food delicious, and it was a terrific idea all round.
  • The main emotion about the whole thing with D that I have right now is relief. Like a huge burden has been lifted off me. I don’t hate him; I can’t. Not only is that a terrific waste of time and energy, but I have these wonderful lessons to learn from it all: about anger & its expression, about self-respect & integrity, about understanding that the way I’ve been treating myself (very poorly) is the way other people are going to treat me.
  • Books that are filled with circumstantially appropriate content & titles finding their way into my hands
  • Joining a meditation group through a new co-worker
  • I thought I would try a version of “meal plan Monday” on my day off, which happens to be Friday. I’m thinking of calling it “Fix-It Fridays” or “Food Fixin’ Friday” or some such thing. Yesterday’s “Food Fix” was Hawaiian chicken in the crockpot. It was delicious!
  • My crockpot lid broke today as I was washing it!Good thing I have a second crockpot! :)
  • I get my bonus next week! It should be approximately $1600, so that’s where my income tax payment is coming from. The rest will be split between debt repayment and savings accounts.
  • I have a friend visiting me from Vancouver for several days at the end of the month, then am hoping for a long Easter weekend break down there, as I’ve taken two weeks off around my birthday. I’m really looking forward to the break.
  • I’m 93% complete on my 2009 RRSP! That’s a great feat, really. 2010 starts with this next paycheque, so we’ll see what happens from there.

Canadian Saver has posted an update of her 2010 goals to this point, which I’m going to shamelessly copy and do as well (thanks for letting me steal the idea, CS!). ;-)

RRSP 2010: This will officially begin on March 10. I auto-save $100 a month right now and the plan is to increase that as my debt goes down. My goal here is $5000.

Pay off existing debt. I wanted to be free of debt by the end of June, but I’m not sure this is doable. It would be really, really tight, so I’m modifying it to be debt free by the end of the year, which is less stressful.

I will pay off the computer by the end of January. DONE! PIF: Jan 15!!

Next up: VISA, then my LOC.

EFund. I’m aiming for $3000 by end December 2010. Bonus! $3500.
I’m just over halfway to this goal already. I auto-save $50 a month.

US account. I would like $500 US in here by end December 2010. I currently have $308. It’s just for fun and day trips to Skagway, so it doesn’t need serious attention. Because it’s just for fun, nothing has changed with this. I will try mooching USD at the hotel starting in April or May, when the tourists start trickling in.

Track spending. I still find money running through my fingers far more than it should. So I’m going to continue with this. Write it down, meal plan, make shopping lists, etc. Find an extra $50 a month to put toward debt until it’s paid off. Well, I have actually been doing this (apart from the meal planning part), with the colourful and particularly fabulous “Budget & Analysis Tool” that I got from Fabulously Broke. It is, quite simply, amazing!

Credit card spending. None, unless I can pay it off in full when due. Um...not doing that great with this, but neither is it ridiculous. I will be able to pay this off by the end of April, although I’ve started a monthly recurring purchase through my naturopath. That, however, is an amount that I am perfectly able to pay off in full each month.

Cash only. January. And I’ll take it month to month from there depending on how I do. This means leaving my debit & credit card at home, so the temptation isn’t there to use them. This should curb my spending, generally and otherwise. Hmmm...No. But I have been using my jars pretty consistently, and therefore working with cash a lot more, which is a definite start.

Make a will. This could also fall under ‘financial,’ as it costs money to do this, but I’ll aim to have this done by my birthday this year. I plan to have the funds for it by the end of April, which will be a month later than I stated (my birthday is at the start of the month), but still aim to cross this off my list this year. It’s not worth it to keep putting it off.

Photography. I have an awesome camera that I’m not using. I will use it. I’m actually doing okay with this. I’m making sure that I take it on my walks with me because even if I go to the same place every day to walk, there’s always something to see.

School. I’m looking into several online options for this. The college here is great, but the classes I need either aren’t being offered this semester or the times conflict with my work schedule, so I think online is the way for me to go. I’m aiming for a minimum of three classes this year. I’m still thinking about what I need to do and how I will pay for it. I have a list of several classes that I want to take, though, so could perhaps work on those while I figure out what I need.

Read. My goal is 100 books this year. 14 so far! And they are: (*recommended)

  1. Field of Blood - Denise Mina
  2. The Guinea Pig Diaries - AJ Jacobs
  3. Rescue Ink - w/Denise Flaim (also see:*
  4. Debt Free Forever - Gail Vaz-Oxlade*
  5. Dogtown - Stefan Bechtel (Best Friends Animal Sanctuary)*
  6. The Return of the Dancing Master - Henning Mankell
  7. Tales From a Dog Catcher - Lisa Duffy-Korpics
  8. Under the Paw: Confessions of a Cat Man - Tom Cox*
  9. The Riesling Retribution - Ellen Crosby
  10. Why Good People do Bad Things - Debbie Ford
  11. The Guernsey Literary & Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows***
  12. Fun Home - Alison Bechdel
  13. A Bone to Pick - Charlaine Harris*
  14. Three Bedrooms, One Corpse - Charlaine Harris*

So there we have it. Pretty much the same as yesterday's lost post, but of course I don't remember everything that I lost. I'm off for a walk with a friend in an hour and I'm looking forward to that. It's cold and bright here today; we have almost 11 hours of daylight now! It's quite wonderful.

Hope you all have a great weekend!


FB @ said...

I am so happy to hear it's been working out for you so far! (the sheet I mean) :D :D :D

colour = my crack for spreadsheets

as for doing your taxes, a lot of people freak out about it, but I actually look forward to collecting everything, getting it done, organized and saying: there goes that fiscal year.

Jolie said...

Well this is a far more detailed post than the one with all the @#$@# yesterday LOL

You are doing splendidly well. Very organized and forward planning.

Perhaps next year I will try doing my own taxes but it currently intimidates the heck out of me.

Northern Living Allowance said...

Hi FB: OMG, I LOVE the budget! I can't remember when I got it from you, but since I decided to be WAY more organized starting this year, it's been a life-saver. It's amazing! Thank you!! :)I love doing my taxes, too, actually...

Hi Jolie: Ha! This is what it was supposed to look like yesterday. Ah well, what can you do? I used Studio Tax again this year to file my taxes (it's FREE!!!) and it does all the work for you. All you need is the paperwork. Really, it's terrific.

Sharon S said...

Hi there-really great to hear from you my dear!! A fabulous post, its great to see how planned and organised you're being and a good balance between being frugal and enjoying life too! Keep up the good work and wishing you a very nice Sunday!!

The Asian Pear said...

sorry to hear about what happened. usually blogger saves drafts automatically too. :(

you're doing marvelously on your goals. bravo!

I still have to do my taxes too. My income tax receipts for a few banks haven't arrived yet. Pooh.

Anonymous said...

Thank you!!! This has reminded me to write to my tax office!!!

T'Pol said...

You sound so energized! Good for you! Please do send some of that energy over here, I need it badly...

Laura said...

That book you are reading sounds like it would be a tough, but moving read. It has been added to my list.

And thanks!

Joyful said...

An interesting read. Thanks for taking time to reconstruct your post :-) I didn't quite understand your first bullet where you say you did your taxes with Studio Tax. Did you mean this program saved you about $800 compared to using another program? I'm asking cuz I'm about to do my taxes and would like to know about a good software program.

Northern Living Allowance said...

@T'Pol: I will gladly share some of my energy with you, my dear!

@Laura: Yes, it's quite inspiring & moving and there are moments that can bring tears to your eyes. A wonderful read!

@joyful: Thank you for stopping by! Er, sorry for the confusion re: Studio Tax. It's a free download (just search for "studio tax 2009") and all you need to do is enter your information. It didn't actually save me money, although I'm sure it could. No, what I meant was that with my final T4 I went from getting a return of over $1K to having to PAY $221.91 (due to the fact that I only lost $15 in tax on the last T4). But it's SUPER fast and easy and you can email it directly to Rev Can. I hope that helps to clarify...

Joyful said...

Yes, that explanation helps a lot! Thank you.