First shopping trip in….

I can’t even remember when…

If you’ve been on Twitter lately you may have noticed I’ve been slightly obsessing over this weekend because I had saved up some cash to go clothes shopping. Something, as you’ve probably already gathered is something I haven’t done in forever a very long time! So I’m treating all of you and myself to a shopping recap. Just for background details. BF and I have what we call a bi-weekly “allowance” I had saved $90 of that and in July I was voted one of the employee’s of the month at work *blush* and with that among other things came $100 in cold hard cash as well as some miscellaneous change to give me just over $190 to spend! So here we go! (I will preface with the fact that I’m a terrible photographer!)

Dark denim jeans

One of the two pairs of jeans I bought, these were $19.75

Jeans

This is the other pair, they're longer for heels and they were also $19.75 (Buy one get one free deal!)

Blue Cardigan

Cute blue cardigan with flower detail and clasp at the top. It was $22.13

Tan Cardigan

Long tan cardigan with fun clasp on the front, it was only $22.50!

Tan Cardigan Clasp

And just because it's my favourite part, a close up of the pin on this cardi.

Two coloured cami's

These are plain jane cami's but they will be great layered with other tops. They were $7.43 each, buy one get 50% off.

Lace and teal Cami

A sheer lace cami over a teal tank, the lace one was $10 and the teal one was $4.95. They were also buy one get one 50% off!

Green T-shirt

I really liked the fit of this green t-shirt, almost as much as the price, $5.85!

Silk graphic blouse that will look good under either cardigan for $19.13

Brown Belt

I had wanted a skinny belt but I couldn't find one I liked but this one caught my eye and it will work to belt over things around my skinniest part (As Stacey London would say) $14.99

Teal Necklace

Funky long teal necklace $4.99

Black scarf

Plain black scarf to go with anything! $5

Teal Scrunchy Scarf

I love the colours in this scarf, you've probably noticed the colours I'm drawn to, to apologies I know what colours work for me 🙂 $5

Shiny blue scarf

Of the three scarves that I bought this one is my favourite. I love the colour's and the shiny streak through it. Also $5.

Lip Stain

I Never wear lipstick because I hate how it always rubs off but I keep seeing ads for lip stains everywhere so I got one. I tried it out immediately, how could I resist, and what I like is that you put it on and it dries immediately and on the other side is a lip gloss to make it shiny. A bit pricey by my standards at $8.95

Necklace Hangers

I put up some hooks in our closet and went through my jewelery and this is what remains of my braclets and necklaces. I love it because I won't forget when I get ready in the morning!

So if you were counting along with the pictures that’s a total of 15 items! The best part was that everything except the belt and the lip stain were on sale! Woo hoo! My goal going into this shopping trip was to put together an entire outfit. Well I think I achieved this goal a few times over. True, I didn’t buy shoes but long story short I’ve got 30+ (and that’s being conservative) pairs at home to choose from so I didn’t think it was necessary. Some of the tops certainly are plain basic but to me that means they’re versatile and I’ll be able to wear them in many aspects of my life which to me is key! The other aspect of this shopping expedition was a full cleaning of my section *couch 3/4 cough* of our closet. I was inspired by a few ladies out there who are trying to build their wardrobes on less. I’m happy to say over the last two days I cleared out a large garbage bag full of clothes, jewelery and a curling iron I never use. I definitely have a lot of clothes left, some of them I kept because they’re fall/winter clothes so I want to give myself a chance to wear them. I also want to add to my jewelery wall and find a way to hang my earrings there too. Phew what a busy couple of days, good thing I took Friday off 😉

So tell me what you think, did I do well or should I have spent my money differently?

Realizing and Accepting

I know, It’s been a really long time since I’ve posted. I’ve realized that although I’m very interested in Personal Finance and I LOVE reading all the wonderful blogs out there, I’m not all that into writing myself. I don’t think I’ll ever be the type of blogger who will commit to writing daily posts or even three posts a week. I’m the type of blogger who really does use this forum as a sort of journal to be written in when I feel the urge and not because I feel obligated to. I’ve accepted this realization and hopefully you can too! That being said I’ve been thinking about a lot of things recently that I’d like to share. In no particular order…

– BF got a new job!!! I’m so relieved and happy for him to be starting something new that I hope (and think) he’s interested in. I’m also very happy for us because he’ll start off making $3/hour more than his previous job with good prospects of earning even more than that in a fairly short period of time. Yay!

– I find it ironic that I’ve been obsessed with baking lately as I’ve been trying to eat in a healthier way and exercise to lose weight. Luckily due to all this baking I’ve not been interested in eating much of it. No binge eating here! I’ve enjoyed the process and must always try one piece or what have you that has been baked but no more and no temptations. You’re welcome co-workers 🙂

– On a  🙂 note. Lately I’ve been seeing a lot of what I would call backwards smiley face (:  <— like that. What’s the deal? I kinda like it though.

– I’m trying hard not to pat myself on the back too much but I am so extremely excited that CC#2 currently is at $670, by the end of this month at the very most it will be at $220 but hopefully it will be GONE FOREVER!!!!! Very excited by this fact haha.

– I’m getting a bit nervous because I’m doing cupcakes for a wedding that’s only weeks away now. 125 mini cupcakes, 1 small layer cake, 4 flavours, half the island away. Definitely not beyond my skills, 125 mini cupcakes isn’t that much but I want them to be fantastic and memorable and the cake to not suck since I don’t have a ton of cake experience, especially on the decorating side of things. So we will see shortly.

– I went shopping this weekend with my Mom who was in town for a visit and we went shopping and I bought clothes and it actually felt pretty good! I used some money set aside from my freelance income to fund it. I spent about $60 which is maybe why I felt good about it, it wasn’t a large amount.

 

There’s many other things going on but I think that’s enough for today. I think I’m going to try my darndest to post some kind of baking delight. As some of you may know I’ve been trying my hand at macarons after hearing and seeing so much about them. I have to say I think I’ve been moderately successful. I was a bit scared to try them because from what I’ve read they seemed very tempermental but I think living in a fairly non-humid climate has really helped their success. No disasters to report yet! Will post my next batch hopefully. Something salted caramel.

 

Thanks for listening 🙂 or should I say (:

 

CnC

Reviewing my Goals

I’ve been obsessing over money quite often lately, checking my online accounts multiple times a day (that’s a shout out to Punch Debt In the Face), and just thinking all the time about how I can put more money into those accounts! I figured since I was thinking about it so much I should do a little round up of some of the goals I’ve put out there in the universe.

In no particular order:

1. Pay off credit card #1:
This debt was at $1555.37 and is now at $1220.66
I’m very proud of this drop I can see the triple digits!

2. Pay off CnC’s parents loan:
This debt was at $3875 and is now at $3675
They have insisted that if we can’t pay $200 a month it’s not a problem with them. It is a problem with me however and honestly $200/month isn’t an issue so that will continue.

3. Increase freelance income:
I haven’t increased this to 10 hours per week as I stated in my goals but I am much closer to doing the 8 hours/week that was agreed upon. This week has slowed down but I have a cheque for almost $300 coming my way very soon.

4. Save 100% of next year’s car insurance:
Our insurance expires in August 2011 and right now I have $1230.65 sitting in the insurance account. We estimated that our insurance would be about $1600 this year but we’ll start the process of estimates soon so that I know exactly how much we need. Feels good that we’re almost there!

5. Get a raise at work:
This has not happened yet but I wanted to put this in here anyway. I had my annual review back in February and I had a great discussion with my boss about pay and raises etc. She agreed that due to all the changes in my job description I was due for a raise. She went to bat for me and was told there was nothing in the budget for it this year. She had warned me of that ahead of time and I’m sincerely not surprised or disappointed becuase I know what our budget looks like and have been privy to all the talk around it this year. However all of the salary employees did get a cost of living increase so I guess technically I did get a raise. I will bring it up again in the fall when budget planning starts for next year.

6. Loose 20 pounds:
I doubt I’ve lost any weight since I wrote this goal, and I haven’t even stepped on a scale to check. I wanted to include this becuase I am making steps in the right direction. I’ve been saving up some birthday money and “allowance” for a while and couldn’t decide what to spend it on. I didn’t want to buy clothes because my plan is not to fit in them soon, I thought about getting a hair cut but then decided against that too. Then a light bulb went off! Hire a personal trainer! I’ve done this in the past becuase what I really need is a routine at the gym. Once I have that I am gung ho becuase I know exactly what I need to do. I have also found that when I have a plan laid out I figure out little ways to push myself, like saying last week you only did 15lb weights, you wussy you should be doing AT LEAST 20’s! and so on haha. My first session is today after work and I am excited about it!

I feel good after spilling some details. I know there has been blog silence for a while but I just wasn’t feeling it, hopefully this is my kick start.

How do you feel now that Spring is here? Does it motivate you to push forward with your goals even harder?

The Feeling of Helplessness

I’ve been feeling pretty down the last couple of weeks and I’ve been trying to get down to the bottom of it to figure out what is bothering me. I always knew that once we got into our house the budget would stay tight for a while as we paid off debt but it’s been frustrating the last little while feeling like nothing has been paid down. Coupled with the fact that I’ve been feeling bored and unmotivated at my job really took put me down in the dumps.

A couple of days ago, at my lowest point, I decided enough is ENOUGH! I don’t want to feel this way anymore so I WON’T! I started thinking about things and came up with a few thoughts and goals to get my mojo back, here they are!

Work Related:
• Make a list of all the things that need to be done, I’m much more motivated by lists, and tackle them one by one being sure to cross each one off the list. (So far 3 items crossed off 🙂 yay!)
• Do a little research, is this the right industry for me? Is this the right kind of job for me? See what else is out there in my city to get an idea of other things I might enjoy more and be qualified for.

PF/Me Related:
• Work on side income more!!! I have part-time work that is ongoing and can be done at my discretion. It does top out at a certain amount of hours per week but I am nowhere near that limit right now.
• Make a list of all the part-time work I could be doing, for the same reasons as above.
• Workout at least half an hour per day. It should be more but I’ve fallen completely off the wagon so I need to build up to it. I always feel fantastic after I workout so the benefits are obvious.

I am feeling better since making my little list. A few good things have been happening this week as a result. BF called our cell provider to say, “dudes why haven’t you given us our money back for screwing up yet?”, he talked to a super nice girl who made all the changes and refunds required. I’m making my first LOC payment tomorrow which means I’ll be able to make my first mini consolodation payment on the CC after that which will get it down to $1200 or so which makes me really happy. I know I could wait until I can make a bigger payment but it’s more satisfying to see it go down on a regular basis even if it is by smaller amounts, plus I want that CC gone ASAP.

All in all I think I’ve figured myself out a bit, now hopefully I’ll enjoy the weekend (it’s supposed to be sunny!) and now I’ll figure out where the money will come from to head to the Lower Mainland to visit BF’s family and hopefully Krystal next weekend. I’m thinking the travel costs will come in right around $210 for ferry and gas round trip. *RANT ALERT* It is ridiculous how much it costs to take the damn ferry with a vehicle, we might as well friggin fly! *END RANT* Thankfully we’ll be staying with BF’s family so that takes care of accommodation and most meals.

Gifts of Money

This post is dedicated to Krystal At Work and LC because they’ve been telling me to get off my lazy butt and write a post. So thank you ladies here it is!

BF and I have been in our house for about a month now and there has been a lot of unpacking, organizing, throwing things away and happily a party! We’ve had lots of visitors, mostly friends who live in the area but also both sets of our parents have visited for a weekend each. We are extremely lucky to have wonderful families who have supported us through many many things throughout our 3.5 year relationship and both families wanted to make us feel more at home by giving us housewarming gifts. My parents knew that we needed a vacuum, and I even jokingly asked for one for my birthday which was just after we moved in and so when they came to visit they took us to a store and told us they were going to by us a Dyson. We don’t have it yet but we’re thrilled and very very grateful. From what I’ve read and heard from others this is the mother of all vacuums and certainly was not what we expected, so all we can say is a big thank you!

BF’s parents on the other hand bought us a few smaller items that we needed, a garden hose with some attachments and some new towels but they also told us to tell them what else we wanted and they would get it for us. Essentially giving us money. The weekend they were here we were supposed to go out for a meal with them but unfortunately it didn’t happen so they gave us $80 cash so that we could go out for a birthday meal (BF and I have birthdays about two weeks apart). This brings me to the point of my post; how do you go about using gift money?

Today BF and I wanted to go out and look for some things that we needed, we pretty much narrowed it down to another storage unit of some kind, a lawnmower and tools. We ended up finding the first two items (it’s scary how excited I was to use our new push mower today in the yard!) on our list at Home Depot. BF called up his mom to let her know what the total was and get the green light. I the meantime we found a better storage unit that but it was also $70 more. We had $100 worth of gift cards left over from Christmas for Home Depot and we had been talking about what we would use it for and a lot of little items came up but we hadn’t gone to get them yet. Somehow I was much happier using the gift card to pay the difference on this large item than lots of smaller (but still important) items. It’s funny because when it came to using the cash they gave us for dinner we spread it out over several meals as a way to enjoy it longer. So far we’ve had three meals out and we have enough for one more. Yes we could have gone out for one really nice meal but instead we chose several smaller, but still delicious, meals over a few days. My thought is that we almost never go out to eat so we wanted to feel like we were able to indulge.

What would you do in these situations? One big thing or many small items? One extravagant meal or several cozy meals?

Odds and Ends

I’m only on post number 6 and I just want to say a big THANK YOU to all of you who have been reading and commenting on this blog so far. I heard from others that I should expect nasty comments and to just brush them off but (and maybe I’m jinxing myself here) I haven’t had a single one yet, so thanks for all the love!

BF and I bought a new stove this weekend. The one that came to the house was VERY old and VERY dirty and after I used it a few times I realized that the element in the oven wasn’t heating properly. The back cranked way up hotter than what it was set at the and the front of the element wouldn’t heat up to temperature. I’m sure we could have just replaced the element but we had plans to get all new appliances in probably about a year when we do our kitchen reno’s. I’m proud to say that this purchase was made with funds available. It’s a big deal for us because in the past we were the poster kids for the “must have NOW” mentality. It makes me happy that we’re both on the same page with this new saving before spending plan. I’m picking it up today and I cannot wait to use it! Soon I’ll be able to talk (and more importantly post pictures) of my cupcakes. Happiness!

We also took a little walk around our neighborhood the other night with our dog who will from here onwards be referred to (lovingly) as Trouble :). Ironically she did fantastic on this walk as she’s normally a big puller! Anyway we got to walk through the Fernwood Village, a number of fields and through some lovely streets filled with old beautifully well kept (and some equally un-kept) properties. We found out we’re only a five minute walk away from some close friends of ours which is very exciting. I’m so happy with where we live I just can’t wait for some better weather!

That’s all the news in my world, what’s up with you?

My Debt

It’s time. I’m finally ready to admit to myself and the PF world what my debt looks like. I do share this debt with BF and we share it equally but none the less here it is.

Line of Credit: $15,000
Credit Card #1: $1555.37
CnC’s Parents: $3875
BF’s Parents (AKA car loan): $12,000
Credit Card #2: $0 (woooo hooo)
Total: $32,430.37

 Wow that is a pretty high number! I’m not shocked by any means however. Currently in our budget this is what each debt is getting per month:

Line of Credit: $450
Credit Card #1: $100
CnC’s Parents: $200
BF’s Parents: $100
Credit Card #2: $0 (repeat it with me, Wooo hooo!!!)

This is the set minimum repayment for each debt every month. I have a bit of side income that varies and will also be distributed to these debts as it comes in. BF is also looking for a new job as he’s been unhappy in his current job for some time now and only stayed because of all of our real estate plans. Whatever job he takes will make more money (or else he won’t leave his job).

I need to also say how great both sets of parents are. They are not worried one teeny tiny bit about the timeline on repaying this cash. The amount owed to my parents would be a decent chunk smaller because essentially we have some tax money set aside that we no longer need (b/c the bank made us pay our taxes when we transfered the mortgage, which coincedentally had to be put on the LOC) but my Dad was adamant that we hold onto that cash “just in case” and boy do I love him for it! At the same time it fuels my fire to erase the parent debt as soon as humanly possible!

My goal for 2011, is a bit on the easy side I think but I need to start small and see accomplishments, I don’t want to set myself up for failure. Anyway, my financial goal for 2011 is to erase both Credit Card #1 and CnC Parents debt, totalling $5430.

This is my question for you. Because the LOC payment is by far the highest each month it means there is a considerable (to me) amount of available credit that will increase each month. So my thought is to essentially consolidate some of the smaller debt into the LOC as the credit becomes available. I would only do this for Credit Card #1 and CnC Parents debt. My thinking behind this is that the sooner these two debts disappear the sooner we have an extra $300/month to throw at other debt. The downside of this is that it means that the LOC will remain at a $15,000 debt until the two smaller ones are gone.

So tell me what you think, consolidate or not?