Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Odds and Ends

I just joined the Grocery Budget Challenge at Give me Back my Five Bucks. I have decided that usually I budget about $150 for groceries, but then don’t really track the spending till the end of the month. For May, I am budgeting $125 and this amount will be scrutinized every time I come home from the grocery store.
The grocery challenge ties into my goal of decreasing my expenses by $200. I already have the cable cut which saves me about $55 a month and now the $25 I am saving from groceries. I just need to cut back $120 more. Tonight after I do my month end to see where all of my money went this month, I will have a better idea of other places I can cut costs.
I work after work today. I am tired. I am also going camping for the first time ever this weekend for my friend’s birthday and I need to start getting all of that stuff ready. I wish I had the power to change how many hours are in a day so I could have eight hours of sleep a night, work my eight hours full time and my four hours part time, have time to complete my school courses (maybe two hours a day?) and still spend time with A. I am utilizing every free moment I have for school reading (on the train, my lunch hour, before bed). I know in a few years it will all be worth it though. And I suppose when I have kids I will look back on this time and marvel at how much “me” time I had.
Will it be weird that I am bringing homework with me camping?

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Homeric Neologisms

It’s April 29/2008 and unless I pull an all-nighter, create a time machine and go back to April 1/2008, there is no way I will complete all of my April goals. I am really disappointed by this.
The following list is what I wished to accomplish to help me get closer to my ultimate goals:

1) Find a part-time job (DONE April 11/08) CHECK
2) Finish South American And African American units in Literature of the Americas course Nope, still trying to finish up South American unit and write the corresponding paper
3) Follow schedule for psychology I believe I am a test and 2 chapters behind on schedule. DAMN!
4) Give up eating out for whole month (unless someone else pays for it ☺) This one disappoints me the most. With the part-time job, I have been grabbing fast food between jobs. I am putting in place a plan to bring soup for lunch to my full-time job and a sandwich to eat on my way to my part-time job for dinner.
5) Exercise with Pilate's video 3 times a week LOL!!! Not even once did I do this!!! I am super lazy.
6) Increase income by $200 CHECK
Decrease Expenses by $200 I don’t think I did with all of the eating out this month.

BUT I can not dwell on the fact that I missed my target. In May I will just have to try harder and be more disciplined, dedicated and devoted to my ultimate goals.

1) Get back on target with regards to school work. Have both papers written for English by end of month and midterm scheduled for mid-June. Have written before I leave for Latvia. Write Quiz two for psychology May 1st and quiz 3 and 4 within month of May.
2) NO EATING OUT (again, unless someone else pays for it ☺) Create a meal plan on weekend and make lunches night before so ready to go.
3) Increase income by $200
Decrease expenses by $200
4) Work on Russian language CDs while doing sit ups, squats, lunges, etc.

I am going to work really hard on all of these to make up for my unsatisfactory behavior this month.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Dancing in the Raw

On Friday I received the final bill for my tooth. My insurance covered 80% of the crown and 80% of the lab fees leaving me owing about $570. The dentist bill didn’t have a due date on it, so I was just going to divide it by three and make payments. Then on Saturday morning, my landlord called me and asked if I used my spare room and if they could store some mattresses in there for $25 a month until the end of the year. Being as I have nothing in that room (besides my extra bed), I agreed. I would have stored it all for free, as it really wouldn’t be in my way, but I wasn’t going to back away from a cheque for $200. This now brings my dental bill to $370 and being as I still haven’t made it to the bank I have my refund from H and R block too. Now I only have to come up with $270 and I can pay the dentist off. It is possible that my first pay cheque from the toy store will cover that. I am happy that I don’t have to use my credit card to pay the final installment. : )
The rest of the weekend was great too. I celebrated my friend’s birthday with her (and lucky for us drink tickets were green and we had saved up loads of them so we didn’t have to buy any drinks) and A and I were able to go out for breakfast on Sunday. He bought his ticket to Europe on the weekend. I know that I am going to Latvia this summer, but I am really jealous that he is going to Paris for a few days before he goes to Germany. I want to go to Paris! :)

Friday, April 25, 2008


I had the day off today as my lieu day for travel time to Edmonton to work earlier this month. I spent most of the day sleeping. I did some reading for school, but mostly sleeping.
I also started a list of ways I can put money towards my debt.
~ Put amount that I "saved" at grocery store towards debt (I borrowed this idea from Budget, Bills and Credit...oh my!)
~Return Bottles and Cans and put this money towards debt
~90% of my earnings from my part-time job
~Every time I borrow a book from the library instead of buying it, put $1 towards debt
~Round my bill to next $5 and the differences, put towards debt. So in May my utilities bill is $152.33, round it to $155 and put $2.67 towards debt

That's all I have for now. I will work on these ones for now and if anything else strikes a chord within me, I will try to do it too.

Thursday, April 24, 2008


This morning was so liberating. My income tax return was deposited into my account and I spent the morning clearing up debts. I cancelled my overdraft first thing (I figure if I really need one, I can always call the bank and get another one). Looking at my account felt good knowing that all of the money in there is MINE!!! Then I started cleaning up my credit card. I keep a spreadsheet of all of my purchases that I make on my credit card. So each transaction I made, it was like I could say I finally owned what I had bought. And after all was said and done, I left myself $300 extra in my account in case I need it.
I feel like a huge weight has been lifted off of my shoulder and I can breathe easier. : )

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Save the slot-back pig

Today is a long day. After full-time job, I am off to part-time job. It is going to be like that tomorrow too. I can’t wait to see my first pay cheque from the toy store so I can see how much tax they take off and I can then have a rough idea of how much I will be earning a pay cheque. Right now I am thinking about taking ten percent of the amount and putting it towards my down payment fund and then the other 90% towards my credit card. That way the down payment fund will still grow a little while my debt dwindles. Also according to the website, my refund will be deposited into my account April 24th 2008. The first thing I am doing is paying off my overdraft and shutting it down. No more borrowing money every month for me :)
Last night I worked on my vision board to help me focus on my goals and I am really excited to see the final result. I need a job where an hour of cut and paste is mandatory. Grade one teacher I suppose? Although if I taught kindergarten, I would get to play in the sand station as well as have cut and paste. Maybe I could just be a camp counselor or volunteer with Brownies.
I have 45 minutes left of work part one and not in the mood to be here at all. I joined Pigsback this afternoon. Has anyone else used the site? I figured free points towards stuff, why not? But I am not really sure how to earn said points. I will have to look more into this site when I am at home tonight.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Stolen Goods

I stole this from someone else's Blog (apple and telephone's if you must know). I am bored and have nothing super interesting to write. I am awaiting pay day tomorrow night at midnight to see what kind of debt and savings management magic I can create although I do believe my whole cheque will go to rent. Damn this expensive city!!! I know I should get a roommate for financial reasons, but I really love having the place all to me. If I want to soak in the tub reading all night I can. And if I want to listen to Madonna while hula-hooping in my living room, no one looks at me weird. Maybe after my trip to Latvia I will look into getting a roommate, but for now I will enjoy the space that I am working for.
Anyway this is what I stole:

What was I doing 5 years ago?
I was newly single and spending a lot of time in smokey bars, dancing on speakers and drinking rye-and-cokes. This actually sounds a lot like what I was doing 5 months ago too. :) The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Five things on my to-do list today ( or things I did today):
1. Read Deep Waters and the accompanying lesson
2. Study for psychology quiz two
3. Come up with a list of ways I can put extra money towards my credit card
4. Practice my Russian lesson one
5. Frame my list of things to do before I die and hang it up

Five snacks I love:
1. Chips and Dip
2. Bagels with roasted red pepper cream cheese and spinach
3. Ben and Jerry's although I won't say no to any ice cream that is offered
4. Grilled paninis with vegetable spread
5. Hot dogs or pizza at 2 am outside of the bar :)

Five things I would do if I were a billionaire:
1. Travel around the world...ride an elephant in Thailand, a camel in Egypt, my bicycle around Italy, drink port in Portugal, watch the sunrise after 66 days of darkness in Alaska, etc. etc.
2. Buy a house and furnish it with beautiful pieces and awesome appliances like the LG washer/dryer in one--coolest machine ever!
3. Take a year off of work and finish school instead of this part-time stuff I am doing
4. Start a non-profit organization that helps children who are survivors of sexual abuse (and for adults that those survivors grew up to be)
5. Have the princess wedding of my dreams

Five bad habits I have:
1. Procrastination
2. Borrowing from my savings account to pay my debt, but never repaying my savings account
3. Gossiping
4. Picking fights with the BF
5. Buying stuff I don't need or even really want.

Five places I have lived:
1. Calgary

Five jobs I've had:
1. The coffee shop
2. The sandwich stop
3. The dollar store
4. The pharmaceutical warehouse
5. The utility company

Saturday, April 19, 2008

The one with the wiggle

I only climbed up once today. The tower is under renovations or something, so they only had one elevator working and people were just walking back down the second set of stairs. The stair well was so cold too. Mother Nature is going through menopause and can't decide if it should be warm or cold. I am not a huge fan of Spring...I hate volatile weather conditions! Earlier this week it was close to plus 15 and now there is snow up to the curves of my calves. But I figure the climb up and then down equals two climbings. My legs feel like JELLO.
My cheque from H and R block came yesterday. I think I am going to put it straight onto my VISA. I may wait till next Saturday to put it in the bank though, and take all my rolled coin with me too.
I should be doing homework, but instead I am surfing the 'net. I really need to work on my dedication and motivation!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Monkey kick off

Tonight is shift two of the part time gig. I should have stated that I consider Friday nights weekends when I told them that I didn’t want to work weekends. And they have me scheduled for Sunday too, but I was assured it was just for training and if I couldn’t make it, c’est le vive (or is it c’est la vive…it has been many years since I have been in French class…I am thinking la). I figured why not, it’s not like I have a whole lot going on Sunday, so may as well make some money. Tomorrow I am climbing the stairs of the Calgary tower. There are 802 stairs and last year I was able to do it once. This year I am going to try and do it twice. All proceeds go to the Alberta Wilderness Association to fight for the rights of Alberta’s wildlife. My friend is coming with me so I am excited to gossip as we climb flight after flight of stairs.
Other than that not much is going on this weekend. I think A misses me. Between school and my full-time job and now this part-time gig I only saw him once this week (last night). He showed up with roses. I should have been busier a long time ago :) I love flowers. He said he might stop by tonight too after I am done work if he didn’t have to work tomorrow. It’s snowing so hopefully he doesn’t have to work! I am so proud of him! He opened up an RRSP account yesterday! Now if only we could get our saving goals aligned.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The beginning of the end...

I had my first shift last night at the toy store. I will probably have to add parenting articles and news updates to my daily reading so that I am more knowledgeable on products we have for babies…like the annoying squeaky shoes that toddlers are wearing is actually to help kids learn how to walk heel to toe. The squeak acts as a positive reinforcement I guess…. I question how this product came about. Was there an influx of children walking toe to heel that such a product had to be fabricated? Did the morning marketing meeting have to come up with ways to sell the most annoying shoe on Earth that gives children (and possibly dogs) great enjoyment and decided to come up with the “proper walking technique” campaign? And how did my generation or the generations before me learn to walk properly without a squeaker to reassure us?
There are actually a lot of baby products out there that makes me question if today’s parents may be open to my suggestion of just bubble-wrapping your child before you send him out into the world. We sell soothers that are spring loaded so that they close if the baby spits it out…no germs from the floor. I am pretty sure my mom would just rinse mine under the tap…maybe. And of course organic cotton clothes and toys so that no chemicals seep into baby’s pores. Fair enough, but again…we didn’t have organic cotton and nothing happened to me. I wonder when I have children if I will care more about stuff like that. Probably not, I mean I will want my child to be safe, but I think there is a reason a child comes out of the protective womb and one needs to let life happen without worrying about stainless steel water bottles, organic diapers, and proper walking techniques. But maybe I will change my mind.
The job seems fun though, and there are lots of neat toys. A very cool turtle that has the celestial pattern cut out in his shell. You can turn on a light inside of him, and your ceiling is transformed into the night sky. Very cool and even more appropriate for parents who are afraid to let their children outside! There are lots of beautiful gift ideas, except for this journal that comes with a case to collect your child’s baby teeth. I understand saving the first one. But to save all of them is kind of creepy. Seems like some sort of underground ivory-trade operation.
I survived my first long day, made some extra money, and feel a little bit more liberated. I am taking control and planting that seed of a dream. I hope it grows into a beautiful, strong tree of reality.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A perfect smile...

Today was the last step in my goal towards perfecting my mug shot. I had an impacted cuspid tooth and finally decided last year that my baby tooth was not going to last forever so I may as well bite the bullet and get the implant process under way. It has been a very long year filled with x-rays, and fingers in my mouth, and metal instruments that look like small torture devices prodding my gums, and dentist after dentist after dentist (all specialists who can only perform one task apparently). It was as though I were on a production line in a factory! And the costs put a huge dent in my accounts (and by huge dent I mean catastrophic meteorite smashing into Earth huge dent). BUT today was the final day after a year of missing a tooth and they screwed in my crown! I am so happy although it does feel weird to have something in that spot (like I have something stuck between my teeth! lol! ☺ ).
Although I am still waiting to see what I owe after insurance decides what they will pay, I feel like today is the day I can finally get a hold of my finances. I have spent what I needed to in the last year to fix a small but significant issue in my mouth and now I can just focus on paying off the loan I took out as well as the credit card damage for the costs that the loan didn't cover.
And for those of you that may one day get an implant, always double what you are quoted. And ask exactly what your quoted price costs. Because maybe it is just me, but I assumed an implant came with the crown and I was wrong...each of those is a couple thousand dollars. And if you have to have any surgery to remove impacted teeth, that can also run you another couple thousand. Especially if like me, nobody wants to risk removing your impacted cuspid tooth! Don't forget all of the different x-rays you will need done to showcase every possible angle of your mouth. Plus, you may invest in the partial denture to fill the hole in your mouth (although they are not comfortable and you may not even wear it except for in pictures).
But like I said, the year is over...I can now focus on paying everything back as well as put money aside for my down payment. I feel a little bit free today from the suffocating hands of the tooth doctor.

Some x-rays of my mouth. Pre tooth removal, and post tooth removal. I am supposed to be getting all of my other x-rays emailed to me, but they are not here yet.

Monday, April 14, 2008

How does your garden grow?

My green peppers have poked their little leafs up taking in breaths of fresh air! I also had to transplant my tomatoes as they were getting out of control in the little cream cheese container I had them in. Exciting news on my gardening front. :)

H and R Blockheads

This year I had a little bit of medical expenses because of Project: Cuspid Correction. When it came to be tax time, I brought all of my info to H and R block as I was unsure how to file all of said medical bills (we are talking close to $5000 in medical bills) and I should have realized day one that H and R block was not a good idea when the manager asked me where my SIN was on the sheet I filled out (his sheet!!!) and I had to point to the space that stated SIN. So 4 days go by and no one calls me to pick up my taxes. Feeling a little concerned I call them and I am informed that they are next on the list...probably because I called :)
That afternoon they are done and because I was getting back a substantial amount, I chose to e-file instead of instant cash back. I didn't need the cash right away anyway.
5 weeks have gone by and I have still received no correspondence from the government regarding my taxes. Again feeling a little concerned, I call H and R block to see the status on my e-file only to have announced "oops, looks like we forgot to process!" WTF?!?!?! So after thinking about it for half an hour, I call back to ask to be refunded what i paid to have them complete my taxes being as they screwed up. The manager at the Chinook Sears branch wouldn't listen to me and refused to give me his manager's number. He even told me good luck in finding it! Apparently he has never heard of this amazing thing called GOOGLE!!! Then he hangs up on me! Well, at this point I am livid, and I Google the district offices number. I explain the situation to the girl who answered the phone and she agreed that I should be refunded my payment. I also put in a formal complaint about the manager at the Sears Chinook location.
I put the issue to rest...I am getting refunded and my taxes have been e-filed. I have decided to part ways with H and R block...except that 20 minutes later, the manager from the Sears Chinook location calls me to say that he called his manager on my behalf about the refund. I tell him not to worry about it, I called the district office and she took care of it. The manager is furious! He starts going off on a tangent and I explain that he shouldn't have hung up on me. He tells me that he is talking to a layman and that he has two PhDs!!! And asks me if I even know what a PhD is!!!! I ask if he is insinuating that I am stupid and he gets even more upset asking if I have even ever been in school! I am in school, but I am not going to fight with him about that so I told him he won, he was smarter than me and I would give him a high five. Sarcasm didn't go over well and he hung up on me again. Well now I am even more upset that this manager called me back to suggest I wasn't up to his brain level. So I call the district office again and ask for her manager's number.
I end up speaking to the H and R block city manager or whatever and he tells me he is shocked! He can't believe that this manager at Sears Chinook would act that way and hang up on me twice! He approves my refund right away and calls to make sure my tax refund has definitely been e-filed. And then he offers me a coupon for a free tax return next year. I told him thank you, but I didn't think I would ever go back to H and R block again.
I have no confidence in this company what-so-ever...Next year I am going back to doing my taxes myself.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

The devil I call Seuss

So, I collect Dr. Seuss books. It all started when I saw a community theatre production of "Seussical the Musical" and I realized how much I missed the simplicity of childhood. I found a copy of The Cat in the Hat at a used book store and then I started making a point of hunting down Seuss books from used book stores. Yesterday, A took me out for dinner and on the walk home, we stopped in the book store. Well, the mother load had arrived of Seuss books. All titles that I have never read too!!! I picked them all up and at $6.50 a pop I knew I couldn't really afford all of them. But I wanted them. So much for controlling my wants!!! The girl who worked the cash register was great though and gave me one for free.So I spent $40 and picked up 7 books. Not bad I suppose.
After we made it home, we decided to go to Wal-Mart to pick up some essentials. Apparently 2 new dresses became an essential too. They are both cute and I can use some more professional clothes for work, so it wasn't a bad investment. BUT I am supposed to be watching my pennies and making choices on my wants, instead of cutting out my needs. Luckily, at the beginning of the month I used my birthday money and stocked my pantry with non-perishables. And I still have a quarter of a cow in my freezer so I won't starve. I just don't have any money to spend at all for the next two weeks.
I can't wait to start seeing money come in from my new part-time position. I think it will make things feel less tight around here. Not saying that I should spend it all on Seuss literature and work clothes, I am working the part time job to put money towards my down payment goal. I just think I will feel less guilty if I can see that I have a nice padded savings account.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Working Girl

So today I had two call backs from my part-time job hunting and had back-to-back interviews with both companies. The First company was family owned and operated and I had a great feeling about them, and looked forward to working with them. It is a toy/baby store, with high-end and unique gift items. I loved it. The second was for a shoe store chain and although they offered me more money an hour, I didn't have a great vibe about the place and wasn't very excited. I wonder if things would be different if I did the interviews in reverse order. Anyway, on my way out of the mall I stopped in the toy store and told them I accepted the position they were offering. So now, up to three evenings a week I will be selling fun items. This will definitely help me with my goal to increase my income by $200 a month....possibly by more than $200 a month. I need to start really organizing myself so that I can get everything done and not feel so burned out. I need to utilize my train time and do school reading there as well as my breaks at work. In four years I will be laughing with my B.A degree hanging up in my new home :)

My goals for April (mini-goals I guess) are:
1) Find a part-time job (DONE April 11/08)
2) Finish South American And African American units in Literature of the Americas course
3) Follow schedule for psychology (NEED TO CATCH UP THIS WEEKEND!!!)
4)Give up eating out for whole month (unless someone else pays for it ☺)
5)Exercise with Pilate's video 3 times a week
6) Increase income by $200
Decrease Expenses by $200

Thursday, April 10, 2008


This blog needs focus. A theme to tie it all in together. I am an English Major student who studies themes and motifs of literature for fun, yet my blog has no themes. Not good. I think when I first started writing here, I thought about making it about me growing. BUT how can I grow when I have no focus? I have goals ( a) that are S.M.A.R.T. and planned out, I need to focus on them more in writing. Starting today, I need to use this blog as my way to stay on top of those goals.
The last couple of days, I have been obsessively reading other personal finance blogs and it is great to see people like me, who want to know they worked for something and that they don't owe anyone for it. Its almost as if we could start a club. Which may not be such a bad idea as we all seem too broke to go out, and would therefore find more creative things to do....
I need to learn how to make hyperlinks.

Monday, April 7, 2008

The weekend stops here....

I need to find a part time job by the end of this week.I am hoping to make an extra $100 a month to help with saving for the down payment as well as not feeling so tight in cash. I am attempting to live frugally (making my own lunch, cutting the cable, not buying all of those extra things that one does not really need etc. etc.) to help cut down on my expenses, but I figure I need to increase my income too. It would be nice to have a vast amount of passive income where my money invested would make me money, but I am not there yet. Although my savings account did earn a nickel this month. I know a nickel is not a huge amount, but being as I usually have to pay the bank for the service of using that account, I was happy it earned money! Watch the nickels and the dollars will take care of themselves right?
So, I have printed the resumes and I am going to dress professionally pretty tomorrow and after work I will hand out resumes like there is no day after tomorrow. I figure a couple evening shifts a week will help and although they will be long days, at the end of the month I can sit back and realize how loose my money belt feels, and at the end of four years, I can sit in my own house and know that I worked my ass off for it.