Sunday, March 31, 2013

Hello Spring!

Thursday I turned in my major paper for my Masters and breathed a huge sigh of relief. With the exception of a final oral exam, I'm done. I actually can't believe I'm writing these words.

This weekend has been really special. After turning in my paper on Thursday, DH also had some good news. He got his tax return in the mail. We finally knocked off our first entire debt payment in "the Mission" which was our family loan and boy did it feel good. If Winter was all about getting back on track. We're there. I also got my first paycheque with my raise. This is an increase of about ($150) per pay. DH also had his first Saturday overtime shift of the year this weekend. In the finances department things are pretty great.

But I realize a lot of my recent blog posts have been focused on debt reduction and finances. That wasn't the only thing special about this weekend. We've spent a lot of time relaxing, reconnecting as a family, and resuming life in general. We didn't have any plans with extended family this weekend so it was just us and it was nice.

In my absence, DH did a good job of making sure we were all fed but we've been seriously missing quality home cooked meals. Thursday night I went to the grocery store and stocked up on groceries. I've been cooking up a storm all weekend and we've been feasting.

We've also been enjoying the nicer weather. Yesterday B and I washed all of the salt off my car while N napped in the afternoon. We washed it the old fashioned way with a pail of water and a couple cloths. B also learned how to ride his bike without training wheels this weekend. Took him 2 days and he is now zipping around. There is something to be said for readiness. We tried last summer since he was so good with his training wheels and he wasn't quite there yet so we let it go. I feel the same way about toilet training and alphabet writing. Pushing it before the child is developmentally can be more discouraging and challenging for both the parent and the child. This year he was more confident and determined than ever.

We put the trampoline back up in the backyard too.

And even got to starting a small outside project! - New house numbers (in progress) and a new doorbell ($25). Over the next couple of weeks once the weather gets a wee bit warmer we'll be painting the garage and front door.

Oh yeah.. and the bunny dropped by.

Happy Easter!

Sunday, March 24, 2013

A debt breakthrough with a little help from the tax man!

I'm about neck deep in paper writing right now but I had to stop for a second because I am bursting with excitement to announce that we've had a break through. Our partial tax return coupled with a few regular debt payments was just the little boost that was needed to put some wind back into our debt paying sails. We're down another $2,257.

Leaves $56,000 my friends which means that since October, we've paid off about $8,000

By the April update we'll have our family loan 100% paid off and will be onto tackling the credit cards with some pretty big force. As I mentioned before, we're big fans of the snowball method of debt repayment. With our family loan paid off, we'll have extra money in addition to the money we're already paying on the credit cards. 

Side note: Twice this weekend the evil bank tried to squash our debt paying efforts. 

First, when I went into the bank to make a deposit into our bank account, the teller was insistent about letting me know that I was eligible for a no-fee reward credit card due to the certain type of account we hold and the fact that DH holds one that that institution. I respectfully declined (go me). The teller was flabbergasted. Couldn't understand why I wouldn't want a NO-FEE REWARDS CREDIT CARD to which I replied that we were trying to pay off our existing credit cards rather than taking more on. 

Secondly, we had gotten overdraft on our bank account awhile back thinking that we could exercise some control and use it as our emergency cushion. Turns out we couldn't (as we've learned from the past - but sometimes some of us humans have to make the same mistakes over again a few times to learn). "Emergencies" are really just to easy to justify and there is always the excuse of paying it back next week which never really happens and before we know it we've used up all the OD. For us, overdraft always leads to us operating as if the overdraft limit is the $0 rather than the actual $0.   

Yesterday DH called to cancel overdraft on our joint bank account. When the bank asked why, he had no trouble explaining the above to the customer service rep. Once she had taken care of removing it, she slyly asked if he was aware that he had a few 0% interest for 6 months balance transfers available for him for his credit card (which is currently maxed out might I add). So if we were to take her up on the offer, we'd be right back at square one. He declined and got the hell off the phone! 

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Month 5: Debt Repayment Update

Month 5... where do I start. I thought we were doing well this month but a check in with the numbers says not so much. 

We're down $581 from last month which brings us to:


Being the one in control of our finances, this month my mind has been elsewhere as I wrap up my graduate degree. Though our repayment amounts over the last few months have been inconsistent and somewhat under par in terms of our planned debt repayment, we're still very much on track to our goal of paying down $15,000 this year. 

A few other things contributed to our more minimal debt repayment this month like a research trip that ended up costing about $200 and weather days (about 3) and the Family Day Holiday meant reduced pay for DH and less money for debt repayment beyond minimums. 

I did submit our tax return this week using Turbo Tax and it looks like we will be getting back a decent amount which should be reflected in next month's update. Using Turbo Tax, submitting for DH and I ended up costing about $75. Mo commented on last month's post suggesting I check out other free software packages which I fully intended on doing but again - my mind was elsewhere and somewhat regrettably I chose convenience over budget. Last year we had an accountant and paid somewhere between $120-$140 so we've cut that in half this year. Next year our taxes will be simpler, I will have more time, and I will 100% be using the free software. Baby steps, right? 

April will start off with my paycheque reflecting my recent pay raise which will be committed toward debt repayment. So Spring time, here we come!

I'm also really excited to welcome some new readers to the blog. Sarah from Sleeping is for Losers recently gave a shout out to us for "The Mission". Please leave comments/blog links! Lets help each other achieve financial freedom.  

Monday, March 11, 2013

Not so typical schedule...

Martina over at Get Real Momma recently posted her daily schedule. I love seeing how other families do things so I thought I'd share my rather hectic schedule as I balance being a mom, F/T school, and F/T work until the end of this month. My final submission of my Masters paper is due on March 28th so there has been no fooling around since mid-February. I'm finally starting to see my paper pull together and the light at the end of this long long tunnel.

6:15 Wake up
6:15-6:50 Cuddles in bed, telephone call to Daddy before he starts work, and breakfast
7:00 Throw the kids in the car in their PJs to pick my sister up to watch them
7:15-8:15 Getting dressed and organized for the day, put on a pot of coffee, drop B off to the bus on the days he has school, and getting ready for work
8:30-4:30 Work/Working on my paper over my lunch hour
4:45-6:00 Get home, eat dinner, clean up
6:00-7:00 Relaxing with DH and the boys
7:00 Bedtime for both boys
7:15-9:00 Library or some other place with tea and wi-fi to work on my paper
9:30-10:30 Getting organized for the next day, chatting with friends on Skype or the phone, watching a bit of TV (usually PVR'd shows)

Weekends look a little more like this:

7:30 Wake up (DH usually gets up with the boys who still get up around 6-6:30, though he wakes up for work before 5am on weekdays so this is a sleep in)
8:00-9:00 Breakfast and much needed coffee
9:00-11:30 Cleaning up around the house
11:30 -12:30 Prep and eat lunch and Put N down for a nap, sometimes B too.
1:00-5:00 Prep something for dinner and retreat somewhere outside of the house to work on my paper

5:00-6:00 Get home, eat dinner, clean up
6:00-7:00 Relaxing with DH and the boys
7:00 Bedtime for both boys
7:00-10:30 Hanging out with DH - usually watching movies, sometimes having a glass of wine

I do wish I had a little more time to spend with the boys. I try my best to work around their schedules in terms of fitting school work in. I also know they're loving the daddy time. Though I wouldn't want this to be my schedule all the time, and it really hasn't been - only from about mid-February as I mentioned before. I don't find it too overwhelming. I have a wee family getaway trip planned for April, once this paper is safely out of the way as a thank you to DH and the Boys. DH was able to sneak away for a boys night at a cabin in the woods up north over the weekend so we're making it work. No relationship spats so to speak of.