Monday, December 31, 2012

2012 in Review

For 2012, I set out to do the following and here is how I did:

   I want to continue to eliminate clutter from our lives and improve our financial security. I haven’t done as good a job as I had planned to do with eliminating clutter but I have been a mindful consumer and we’ve done pretty well sticking to our household budget and paying off debt. We even decided to make a concerted effort to being debt-free by 30
   Continue to find meaningful ways to give back to my community. Yes. Yes. Yes. I took a lactation consultant course and helped a local agency for young parent support organize their annual fundraising event. I also continued with my two regular volunteer positions. We donated items for food/toy drives throughout the year and I also signed up to support our local United Way for 2013.
   Immerse myself in my thesis research and give it my all. Though I haven’t been exerting 100% of my effort on my thesis research, I decided to do a case study using my home town so my research will be meaningful to myself and for my local community which is what I set out to do. Mission accomplished.
   Cherish the little things – I think I did a pretty good job of this. I kept a daily bests journal for more than half of the year. I really liked reflecting on the good. Not sure if I’ll get back to this but it was a good exercise.
   Act on the fact that "life is short" – I need to do more of this but I did make more plans with friends this year and I did splurge on an impromptu trip to Edmonton to visit my best friend. Next year there will be more!

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Month 2: Progress Update on "the Mission"

Two months after the project began to wipe out our $64,000 of debt before DH and I reach our 30th birthdays and...

How'd we do? We're down $1,793 which brings us to:


This month we did pretty darn good - I think - on paying down the black cloud. Last month I had anticipated we wouldn't do as good this month as last with Christmas. I said I'd be happy with anything beyond our allocated $1500 so I'm happy. 

As for the Christmas budget, we totally blew the budget and came in $200 over budget. So we've spent just below the "average Canadian" amount of $630. I'm a little bit disappointed since I succombed to some pressure from other people to spend more on gifts or buy something extra. I was also ridiculously busy this month with end of term submissions for school and work. The beginning of the month was really crummy rainy weather and so on a whim I asked DH to pick us up a tree.. fully thinking that he would stop by the closest tree farm and choose and cut a tree on his own. He decided to stop at a school fundraiser and pick up a tree...a beautiful tree..but the $60 he spent was twice the amount I allocated to buying a tree. I guess that was part of our charity contribution. The little things really just added up. Next year, Christmas shopping alone. No exceptions. Since we spent $1200 last year, I'm at least happy we didn't spend more this year AND we didn't charge anything AND we still ended up paying off more debt than our minimum monthly allocation. 

The red and green above seem fitting. 2013 will be all about the green!   

Sunday, December 9, 2012

It's beginning to feel a lot like Christmas

A tree was gotten, decorations were brought out (many of which were bought at dramatically reduced sale prices during Boxing Week last year), the Christmas music channel was playing, and a few glass ornamental bulbs were broken.

It's officially holiday time in our household. Just waiting on the snow.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

A little Christmas consumerism

Christmas is one of the only times we visit the shopping mall anymore and it isn't even to shop.. it's to see Santa. N was scared of Santa last year. This year we managed to get a decent photo of him. My littlest munchkin is not much a fan of the camera (or Santa). We attended two Christmas parties on the weekend and he cried both times when we took him and B up to recieve their gifts from Santa. He must have remembered that he was scared of Santa after seeing him at the mall. B is really getting the idea of Christmas this year. He watched the TV classic Rudolf yesterday. We sang some Christmas carols  together as he helped me make dinner tonight. They're practicing in his class for their Christmas Concert so he's learning all of the songs.

As for the Christmas shopping, I'm a little over half done which wasn't exactly where I had wanted to be right now but I'll forgive myself since I'm working tirelessly to finish my literature review to hand in very soon. On the plus side.. I am on target to meet the budget of $1000, even after blowing the budget I had set for the boys gifts. Mainly B. There were so many things I could get for him. He is after all a school age kid with lots of wants. N on the other hand needs very little since he plays with all of B's toys and wears a lot of hand me downs. He was quite difficult to buy for. I kept second guessing myself on whether he really needed the item or whether he would actually play with it.

Now to go cut the perfect tree this weekend!