Saturday, June 29, 2013

Month 8: Debt Repayment Update

I should've called this post "the standstill". This month we made ZERO progress toward debt repayment. Basically just paid the interest. Sitting at:


There were so many additional things this month. Seemed like every other day we were paying for an additional expense. A few of these were:

- A friend's wedding (gift+gas for travel+haircuts)
- Teacher gift
- Inherited a canoe which needs some work (travel expenses, materials for patch work, paddles, etc.)
- Professional fees to the tune of $500
- Significant costs associated with our summer getaway. Usually these costs will be spread over the entire year.. this year, we could only spread them over 3 months (June, July, August).

That said, there were some small accomplishments. 

We have been doing a pretty good job of keeping the A/C off. Usually, I'll run the furnace fan for a couple hours to cool down the upstairs just before we go to bed at night. So far allergies haven't been too bad since the furnace fan filters the air. I've noticed that I actually don't feel as hot as I have in previous summers when we've always had the air cranked. There is something to say about acclimatization. 

We also reduced our house insurance policy. Having a century home in the past, we never questioned our house insurance when we moved since it was so much lower than it was with our previous house. After taking a closer look when our renewal came in the mail, I called our provider and got our policy amended to something we felt comfortable with both coverage-wise and price-wise. WIN.  

My contract also got extended until the end of this year which is a bit of a relief. On the flip side, my employer is unable to guarantee me work for the new year at this point. Either way I'm not stressing. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

Our weekends

This pretty much sums up our weekends lately. Lots of outdoors, swimming, playing, and R-E-L-A-X-I-N-G at our summer getaway. This weekend B mastered the monkey bars and pole at the park in 10 minutes, and swam the width of the pool unassisted in the shallow end. I'm constantly amazed at how quickly he seems to be learning things. Except for reading and writing. Although we are making some progress. He has started asking us to make the sound of the first letter of words so he can guess what letter it starts with. 

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Kitchen Floor Renovation

The weekend before DH had his emergency surgery, we were wandering around Home Depot looking for stain for our deck when we happened to walk by the flooring section and notice a SALE on tile. We've checked the flooring section pretty much since we moved into our current home 2 years ago and have never found tile we actually liked that was less than about $3/sf. Low and behold, this time the store was selling a decent grey tile for $0.99/sf on an end display. It was such a good deal that we agreed to put off the staining of the deck and instead tile the kitchen floor. Upon checking out the isle I realized that the price per case was actually cheaper on the sign there so when we went to cash I brought it up and we ended up getting the tiles for $0.88/sf.

Overall, the entire job cost us about $550. This included disposing of the old laminate and linoleum kitchen floors and purchasing an air compressor and nailing gun which will come in handy down the line. So minus the cost of the tool we spent just over $400 on the new kitchen floor but it was much needed. Most of our main floor of our house is laminate "hardwood" flooring. In the kitchen, there was water damage to certain areas and when we replaced our dishwasher in the Fall, DH had to remove a piece that was mostly rotted underneath. Consequently, we had a strip of flooring missing right in front of the dishwasher.

I was a bit torn on the threshold strip. Our old flooring had a strip that matched the laminate. Our bathroom and foyer have a marble strip. The laminate strip would've had to be ordered in and would cost more so DH grabbed some plain ones off the shelf and I actually surprisingly quite like them. Now we have a tile floor which looks nicer and will hopefully last a bit longer. I still need to go around and use Dap to fill in the holes and paint the trim and quarter round but otherwise, we're happy with it! Next step is getting rid of the hideous forest green countertops which we discovered matched the yellow, green and pink rose accented linoleum flooring that was there prior to the laminate.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Monday, June 3, 2013

Mid-year goal check in!

With June being the half-year mark, a 2013 goals check-in was in order. 

- I will finally graduate from my Masters Program
I'm done! Degree will be firmly in hand in July. Convocation is taking place next week but I will not be there. I decided not to attend my convocation for a number of reasons. Firstly, I wouldn't be graduating with anyone I actually knew from my program. With my maternity leave of absence, I ended up being behind my original cohort and ahead of my cohort that I finished off with. It would also mean taking the day off work ($$) and DH taking the morning off ($$$). Paying for parking ($)...and paying for a gown rental ($). The gown rental just did it for me. Also, I never really felt at home at the campus like I did with my undergrad. In the end, I won't be sorry I missed the ceremony, just glad to have the degree. 

- I will find secure and meaningful employment
With my contract being in place until the fall, I am taking the opportunity to peruse job advertisements once/week. But also, I have been putting forth more effort at work and making the most of the job I currently have. There seem to be a number of jobs popping up in my field so again, I am optimistic. 

- I will continue to pay off debt (at least $15,000) this year while at the same time taking a family vacation in the Summer and buying a newer reliable vehicle
So far this year we've paid off $5860 in the last 5 months. Our goal between now and the end of the year is to pay down another $9140. I am totally confident that this is do-able between DH's overtime in the summer and cutting our living expenses I think we'll have sufficient cash-flow to make this happen.  

Back in April I mentioned that that our week-long family vacation likely wouldn't happen with DH's busy time at work etc. We never did get to Great Wolf Lodge but we will be spending a lot more time together as a family this summer since we decided on a whim to buy a trailer up in cottage country (photo above). When I was younger, I always wanted a cottage or a vacation home. DH was lucky enough to have one and has many summer childhood memories from there. We can still visit his family cottage but the drive is 5 1/2 hours which makes it a once/summer trip. Having our very own getaway just over an hour's drive away is perfect. Most of our big decisions have always been quick, gut decisions and somehow they have always been the best decisions we make. We went up for the first time last weekend and despite the not so nice weather, we managed to get out a lot and it was heavenly spending family time without distraction. Ever since we got home, I have been wishing we were back up there. So the vacation portion of our budget definitely increased but I think with all of the positive cost cutting measures we are taking, we'll still end up neutral and on-track with the debt repayment. 
Still loving my new Prius :) 

- I will make our house a home
Spring renovations were also plentiful. We freshened up the exterior of the house in the front and tiled the kitchen floor. We have a few more small projects around the house which will keep us busy through the summer. I am hoping to get more photos hung on the walls.  

- I will make an effort to be healthy
This will be my focus for the next half a year. I wanted to become more physically active. 
Over the summer, I plan on eating better and more balanced meals. I am hoping to up my intake of  fruits and veggies and take (religiously) calcium/magnesium supplements. I'm so good about getting the boys to eat fruits and vegetables but I tend to give them all the good stuff and eat all the junk myself. Over the past 5 years, I've struggled with my health with extreme allergies, food sensitivities, pregnancies, stress.. you name it. Weight is a non-issue for me. I would actually love to gain 5 lbs by the end of the summer.