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PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 12:12 pm 

Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2008 10:08 pm
Posts: 16
prairierose wrote:
Hope your DH gets the job!

He did! And while he was overdressed for the interview (the lady interviewing him was wearing khakis and a sweater, while other employees had jeans and t-shirts), the suit paid off: not only did she offer him an extra 5 hours a week, she's looking into getting him a raise as well. He'll start as soon as his criminal background check and references clear.

Quote:
What's VTO?

My company hires people on a full-time basis, but when the work volume is low enough they offer Voluntary Time Off: you can go home early if you like, but don't get paid. They've been offering a lot of it lately due to the U.S. economy.

Quote:
Interesting. How is doing it business style different? What do you mean here? Do you mean like proper bookkeeping? Or doing things like net worth, etc.?

Well, first of all it meant I actually DID a month-end review, which I haven't really done before. I did up a page complete with categories for income and expenses, and dollar totals. Then I went through each category and made notes on it. This involved reviewing every individual transaction in a category and pulling out salient bits. The whole exercise let me discover that most of our budget categories were good estimates -- just that we had unexpected categories as expenses this month! (Medical and clothing.) One thing I changed was how I recorded income: instead of splitting it up by "my husband" and "me", I split it up by source: Company X, Corporation Y, Third Job Inc, Government Rebate, Recycling Money, Found In The Laundry Room, etc. It makes it much easier to see where, exactly, your household's income is coming from.

***

We did up our solid December budget last night/this morning, as we've received our final paycheck for the month. I went to the bank and deposited all the leftover change, and refilled the envelopes for December. We put $385 on my credit card for December. Any leftover money at the end of this month will either go towards it, or roll over to January depending.

It feels weird to have a buffer and know that I'm earning January's income already. Looking so far into the future, financially, is a new feeling for me -- one that will take getting used to, but I like. Right now my main concern is that husband's current boss gave him this week off work due to a miscommunication, and he'd like to pick up some shifts. This company is a small business that is flexible, so I'm hopeful he can pick up some shifts. His training shifts at the bank will help a little bit, but I think we're still looking at a lean January. Time will tell.

I phoned back the company I applied for and they outlined three positions they were considering me for. They also let me know their hiring deadline was Feb 15, so I don't have to worry about a huge rush on that job. I'm grateful I have my steady, pays-the-bills job to fill in the meantime. In fact, I am doing a second round of testing for my potential new job this afternoon.

Tonight I will do up the freezer meals for the week, and grocery shop. The stores here are going to be open 24 hours soon, which makes me immeasurably happy due to husband's and my conflicting schedules.


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 5:27 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2008 8:10 am
Posts: 18
"My company hires people on a full-time basis, but when the work volume is low enough they offer Voluntary Time Off: you can go home early if you like, but don't get paid. They've been offering a lot of it lately due to the U.S. economy."

Bummer! Good thing you're looking at other jobs from the sounds of it.

Quote:
Well, first of all it meant I actually DID a month-end review, which I haven't really done before. I did up a page complete with categories for income and expenses, and dollar totals.


Aaah... Yes, this is enlightening when you do it. I found I spent money on the strangest things....very impulsive when out shopping. Not shopping for the best deal, or considering if something is a want or a need. You can't hide the facts when you do a month end review like that.

Quote:
Then I went through each category and made notes on it.


I did this too. I used to take one category a month and just really work it till I had it down to it's bare minimum. For example, when I was working on utilities, one month I just dealt with the phone section. I comparison shopped various forms of service and tracked our usage to see how much service we actually needed. I looked at alternative ways to communicate other than by telephone. I ended up dropping a bundle and took up YAK Communications for long distance. I chopped our phone bill by over half...a savings of over $600 per year.

Quote:
The whole exercise let me discover that most of our budget categories were good estimates -- just that we had unexpected categories as expenses this month! (Medical and clothing.)


Yeah. It's the unexpected categories that get you alright!

Quote:
We put $385 on my credit card for December. Any leftover money at the end of this month will either go towards it, or roll over to January depending.


Way to go! Sounds like you're really moving ahead Aminah. Good luck with your job interviews/tests, and with DH's attempts at picking up shifts this week.

Meg


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PostPosted: Sat Nov 29, 2008 5:41 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2008 8:10 am
Posts: 18
About those unexpected categories... Have you thought about adding those up over the course of a year and dividing by 12 to get a figure to set aside each month for those? We found that helped us a lot. It's hard to work at first, but once you get into it about six months it becomes easier. We had to put this money in a separate savings bank account, otherwise we'd spend it! We put it in savings because it was harder to get at there than our chequeing account.

Meg


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 01, 2008 8:59 pm 

Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2008 10:08 pm
Posts: 16
prairierose, we do normally account for sinking funds...we just put them on hold temporarily (2 months) while building our buffer, and forgot to put them back into the budget. Rest assured January's numbers will include them!

As for an update...we went shopping on Saturday night. Fed up with the weather and the crowds, I made the decision to shop at a store that was close by instead of driving all the way across town. Big mistake. $8 mushrooms. Need I say more? What was more aggravating was that they double-charged us for broccoli. (I got a refund.) This leaves us an average of $60/week for the rest of the month. Many people would say that's good, but we're still weaning ourselves off of butchers and organic stores. That shopping trip also netted us an extra set of freezer containers, which we badly needed. We cooked up a huge batch of spaghetti for lunches.

Today I finally did up the next batch of sourdough. I have a bread recipe rising overnight, and I tried a new muffin recipe that is much healthier and cheaper than the one I made last time. Success! It is even more delicious, lighter and fluffier, and has a fuller taste. As a bonus, it used up the last of my applesauce.

Went to the university to get documentation regarding my end of study date as one of the banks is being a doodyhead and insisting we should go into repayment in 2 weeks instead of 4 months. I went to drop it off today but the branch was CLOSED. We are both so sick of dealing with display after display of incompetence by these people that we've decided it's the first line of credit we're paying off. This is the credit union that holds my line of credit.

I get paid this week. It will be weird to not have to budget it! I'll just transfer it to the buffer account and let it sit...


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 8:09 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2008 8:10 am
Posts: 18
Aminah wrote:
...we went shopping on Saturday night. Fed up with the weather and the crowds, I made the decision to shop at a store that was close by instead of driving all the way across town. Big mistake.


Ugh. I hate that when it happens. We have an expensive store not far from us too. I have it figured out that most things are 50 cents to $1 more expensive, so if I have to buy more than 2 or 3 items it just isn't worth it. It costs a couple dollars in gas to go to the cheap store. It's just time is sometimes an issue...as is transportation. I can walk to the expensive store, but I have to drive to the cheap one.

Quote:
This leaves us an average of $60/week for the rest of the month. Many people would say that's good, but we're still weaning ourselves off of butchers and organic stores.


Try doing a freezer/pantry inventory and creating a menu off of what you have. Maybe that will help curb costs. It works for me in tight times.

Quote:
That shopping trip also netted us an extra set of freezer containers, which we badly needed. We cooked up a huge batch of spaghetti for lunches.


Well that's not really a grocery expense...it's like, miscellaneous household, right??? ;)

Quote:
Today I finally did up the next batch of sourdough.


How did the bread turn out? Bread baking can save a fair bit of money over time. The only thing is you have to be careful you don't inhale it in half the time you do storebought bread. ;)

Quote:
Went to the university to get documentation regarding my end of study date as one of the banks is being a doodyhead and insisting we should go into repayment in 2 weeks instead of 4 months. I went to drop it off today but the branch was CLOSED. We are both so sick of dealing with display after display of incompetence by these people that we've decided it's the first line of credit we're paying off.


Sounds like a good plan.

Quote:
I get paid this week. It will be weird to not have to budget it! I'll just transfer it to the buffer account and let it sit...


Now there's a nice feeling, isn't it?! Will that give you enough to pay off one of those credit cards? Or is this money to live on in January?

Sounds like you're making headway Aminah. Way to go!

Meg


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PostPosted: Wed Dec 03, 2008 8:19 pm 

Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2008 10:08 pm
Posts: 16
So today I finally managed to deal with the bank re: my line of credit. As I expected, they said they wouldn't be able to change anything until the debit came out of my account, but our account manager assured me the extra money would be applied towards principal. I will be following up with her the day after the money is auto-debited to make sure. Once this line of credit goes into repayment I will definitely be looking at consolidating it with the other bank. It is seriously worth an extra half a percentage point or so to not have to deal with these aggravating fools.

I also phoned back my potential employer to touch base with them. I'm expecting a callback tomorrow. *crossing fingers*

The sourdough bread was amazingly delicious; it will become a staple in our home.

Husband's employment process is chugging along slowly but steadily. Today they couriered out the letter of offer, but we weren't here (he picked up a shift at his existing job) and the courier couldn't find a place to put the letter (we live in an apartment with tiny mailboxes) so he's going down there tomorrow to deal with it. I'm hoping all their jazz will get sorted out so he can start on Monday? Maybe? *more crossing fingers*

With all the running around we've done this week I am very glad gas has gone down in price! Otherwise I'd be watching the tank's gauge a lot more closely...

Oh, and in a minor financial victory, we got paid our interest on our buffer account today. It came to $4.08, but it's $4.08 I didn't have before, so I'm not complaining.

I've also been looking into the idea of small business/entrepeneurship with a book I borrowed from the library. It's quite helpful, going over things like mission statements, business plans, marketing, setting fees, and so forth. It's meant for a particular industry (genealogy), but is very applicable to any person starting a business. I'm having fun working up hypotheticals with it.


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 05, 2008 7:48 pm 

Joined: Mon Nov 17, 2008 8:10 am
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So did you get the callback? You mentioned taking a test last weekend, I think. How'd it go? Was that all the same thing? You have some real positive things happening in your financial affairs Aminah...despite the bank and your line of credit. At least you got that settled to your benefit...

Running a business is not for the faint of heart. Earnings can be very erratic. Most people do part time freelancing first, to see if they're good enough to make money in their chosen field. And you have to be sure to set aside money for your own retirement and benefit plans, or pay full price for everything cash. But I'm sure there's lots of entrepreneurs on this board who could tell you a lot more than I!

Meg


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PostPosted: Sun Dec 07, 2008 7:37 pm 

Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2008 10:08 pm
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The latest round of updates includes...

-my husband filling in all the paperwork for the bank and finding out that they can get us a Very Attractive rate on a consolidation loan. I will pull together the repayment dates for all our debts and see when we should talk to them about that.
-me getting a callback from the place telling me they'll call me in the next 2 weeks to set up an interview.
-me going over to my parents' and making Xmas baking, geeking out about family history, and borrowing a few books from them. I still didn't get a Christmas wish-list from my father, but he claims it's on the way. I threatened to get him stuff he already had unless he gave me one...
-sitting down with my hubby last night and the night before and seriously discussing future plans. Apparently we actually have them now -- and they even extend beyond "get out of debt". Suffice to say, we have a long road ahead and can benefit from some gazelle intensity. We'll see how it all pans out. I'm just happy we have a direction and a vague route sketched out.


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PostPosted: Mon Dec 08, 2008 8:47 pm 

Joined: Sun Nov 16, 2008 10:08 pm
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Sometimes I find it fascinating just to learn what other people's stories and backgrounds are. Some of them are so different from my own...

Today after work I was talking with a co-worker I'll call Jackie. Jackie is getting married this fall, and has been engaged since March. The conversation started by me asking about her wedding. It didn't take long for her to launch into an interesting snapshot of her and her fiance's financial backgrounds.

See, Jackie's parents have offered to pay for certain parts of the wedding. But they haven't ponied up any deposit money or given her anything they said they would. Meanwhile, in the past twelve months they've gone to Vegas, bought a luxury car, and are currently planning another big vacation. Jackie's getting a little anxious at this point. Her fiance's parents are aware of the situation. They've basically told her that if her own parents haven't met their stated contribution by a certain date, they'd like Jackie to show them a revised wedding budget and they'll see what they can do to help.

This prompted me to probe a bit into the financial past of both couples. It turns out this sort of behaviour is nothing new for Jackie's parents. Somehow they managed to set aside $10,000 in her RESP, matched by the government to make a total of twenty grand: a decent amount to complete an undergrad. When she decided to take a year between high school and college, her parents withdrew the money and spent it all. Ditto all the rent money she paid to them while living at home. Jackie's mom has been on long term disability for 8 years, but works under the table babysitting for a relative (and, according to Jackie, making good money doing so). She has her own newish SUV with its own payment. Jackie's dad just bought a newish Monte Carlo for "his mid-life crisis car", also with its own payment.

Jackie's fiance, who I'll call Bob, comes from a very different background. Jackie told me, with just a tinge of awe, that Bob's parents are "weird": they've never had any debt except for their house mortgage and their cottage mortgage (both paid off), and they never buy anything until they have the money and they pay for it in cash. Jackie seems to understand the benefits of this approach: she says she and Bob can support themselves on Bob's income alone, and she's just working to make money for the wedding.

I wonder, though. Immediately after telling me this, Jackie went on to say that she and Bob have no debts. Well, except for his student line of credit. And a loan they got when they needed a new bed. And one credit card, which is "getting up there" due to deposits for wedding stuff. Unfortunately, her bus came at right that moment and I didn't get the chance to explore that statement with her. But it did give me a lot to reflect on during my own bus ride home.

Jackie and Bob come from very different backgrounds with regards to attitudes toward money. I wonder how they handle it in their own lives -- do they fight with each other? Why does Jackie not consider the line of credit, the bed loan, and the credit card "real" debt? Is she in denial about her work being due to desire instead of need? Will her parents smarten up and honour their commitment to her -- if they're even capable of doing so? Will Bob's parents' guidance be enough to set their son and daughter-in-law on the right path? And most importantly, will she solve the problem of having only two groomsmen's slots but three guys her fiance wants to fill the role? (I suggested she let him have all three and just get an extra bridesmaid.)


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PostPosted: Fri Dec 12, 2008 1:22 pm 

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LOL! Your last post had me cracking up. No offence to anyone on the boards. It just sounded like a really bad soap opera. Unfortunately, one that is played out in far too many lives across North America. Jackie has a right to be anxious. Her parents are consistently not dependable or responsible. Her revised wedding budget should not include any expectation of money from her parents. If it comes, she can just be happy and thank them...for coming through once in her life! There are a lot of affordable ways to get married. Jackie is like millions of people who don't view all those debts as 'real' debts. I don't know what she means by 'real' debts I'm sure. Maybe she was just trying to downplay it to you? Or maybe she's heard it in her parents lives and is just mimicking behaviour. Who knows?! Poor Jackie. You have an ideal opportunity to influence her though.

Sounds like you're doing well Aminah. You seem to be determined to get going in the right direction. Hope you both hear about your jobs soon...in the positive. You might want to be sure those 'future plans' you and your DH have right now are written down somewhere for posterity. Like in a frugal journal, where you can look at them anytime you need extra motivation!

Hope the Christmas baking turned out okay. :wink: It tasted fine to me! Seems to me your dad's wish list looked awful familiar...like last year's. I refuse to buy him any more sweaters this year! We had to drag him shopping all over town last winter and he got three! The only three we could find in the whole city that fit...

You might want to make an appearance at your parents for Christmas. :wink: I hear Grampy is sending a present... Well...and then there's your presents here.

Meg


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 13, 2008 11:14 am 

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Haven't posted much due to a combination of not much going on financially, but a lot of non-financial stuff going on.

Managed to get the bank to fix their screw-up. Can barely contain my glee while waiting to switch to another one instead.... Took the money they paid me back and put it on another debt instead.

Baking bread all day today and doing housekeeping stuff. Discovered we have to find a way to make cheap cream cheese spread, lol...tastes great on the fresh bread.

Still waiting to hear on the job situation. Also found out that hubby has started carpooling when going to functions with friends that live close by. Woot!


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PostPosted: Sat Dec 27, 2008 5:32 pm 

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How's it going? Is DH still carpooling? Finding ways to save more money and put on the debt? Christmas can be a discouraging time of year. It's so tempting to overspend our budgets. I've been working really hard at an all cash Christmas. We managed to do it...just.

I picked up Carla Emery's "Encyclopedia of Country Living" the other day at the bookstore. It has oodles of ideas for urban dwellers as well as country folk. I'm starting early to try and learn new skills to make life more pleasant and save some money. I'm thinking I might try soapmaking...I love soaps. I have to buy expensive ones because of sensitive skin. I have the stuff from when DD#2 tried it. All I need are the instructions and to take the time to do it. They'd make nice gifts if I could figure out how to do it too.

Meg


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 Post subject: Re: Aminah's journey to financial independence
PostPosted: Thu May 05, 2011 11:58 pm 

Joined: Thu May 05, 2011 11:48 pm
Posts: 1
About the migraines. I've been using http://www.gelstatmigraine.com/ (since we're offering advice) . Love it.

On another note, this story is pretty amazing. I'm new to the forum, and I'm not sure exactly where things are. I actually stumbled on this post. So, I know it's a bit outdated, but my heart goes out to you and your husband. What's the status? Did you clear up your debt?


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