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Showing posts from February, 2009

La la la line of credit

The $125 registration fee for the meditation workshop I mentioned previously is still resting in my slush savings account. Each comment that came in suggesting I save my money further convinced me to hold on and wait for something better. Thanks to all who helped me make my decision.

As it turns out, I am home with the nasty cold/cough that is whipping its way around these parts so I would have had to cancel anyways.

My monthly paycheque was deposited into my chequing account on Friday, and since I am home ill (Bean is at his dad's till tomorrow) I have been working away at my spreadsheets so that I can report my spending and saving for the month of February. This month will look similar to January's report, which is good news.

Each month I try something different to excelerate my debt reduction, and with this cheque I decided to keep only the most basic of expenses handy and plug the rest into my line of credit. Last month I pulled expense money out and put it in my slush accoun…

Asking for your help again

This time without a poll.

I have an opportunity to attend a meditation retreat this weekend. I will have to use $125 from my savings to cover the registration fee.

At first I was excited because it is in my town so I will not have to spend any money to cover travel costs. And then I started thinking that $125 is a lot of money for anything at this time.

Then I started analyzing the program. It is not residential, which means that I will return home on Friday and Saturday nights, and it doesn't begin until Sunday afternoon (which will give me a chance to get to church). I will have to bring my lunch on Saturday or the organizers have suggested "lunch at local restaurants." The teachings will be led by a minister, based on the work of Pema Chodron (of whom I am a fan).

In the past I attended three meditation retreats. They were residential, meaning I stayed immersed in the environment for the entire program. They were mostly silent, even throughout the meals (which were all pr…

Karissa it is

Thanks to all voted :)

Karissa won, with ten votes
DFK came in second, with four votes
KISS had one vote

To maintain my individuality I dropped the Dee, for now.

And to celebrate, I share a short film that I enjoyed as a kid.

OK, watching that again just made me realize what a strange little eleven year old I was :)


Eight hours to go

Eight hours before my poll closes. Feel free to vote if you haven't already. The pressing issue at hand is dare I change my (*cough*pornstar) name or do I keep?

On another note, I've deleted my feed and followers stats. I'm too self-conscious to keep stuff like that around. I watched my feed go down two readers and then up one in the past two days, and today I lost two followers. Stuff like this can make me a little crazy :(


How's the apartment?

It's been almost two months since our move from the two-bedroom house to the one-bedroom apartment. Now that we're here, I can't believe I stuck it out for so long - eighteen months! - in that money-pit. To be nice, it was a lovely house, and I really liked it, but I can't say it was the most enjoyable experience living there.

It was 100 times better than the apartment we rented previously. I can't even go into how horrible that was. The house was clean, self-contained, and the rent was quite cheap ($900 a month). We moved in there in September 2007 and the landlord installed a brand-new high-efficiency furnace in October. Still, the heating costs were high, and I can't even imagine how much previous tenants were paying with the old heating system. As well, there was a monthly hydro bill, which was never under $100, even in the summer. I think it was high because I was using the dryer all year round, having never bothered to install a clothing line across the b…

Solidifying our Divine Connection

From Gururattan K. Khalsa, Ph.D

"As we cultivate our Divine Connection, we must grab on to every hint from the Universe that we are being supported. Acknowledgement is how we build trust and faith. Gratitude is how we solidify our connection. Our ability to allow establishes our willingness to receive divine assistance.

The universe works through us in our acts of service and attitude of kindness. We witness our alignment through synchronicity. Devotion and gratitude evoke the Divine embrace."

QuickTax vs. UFile

*This is not a sponsored post*

At this time next week I will be happily entering the information from my T4 into one of the online tax preparation programs, which I have narrowed down to Ufile or Quicktax. In anticipation of this event I have already played with both programs, using the Year-to-Date column on my December pay stub.

I have filed with UFile for the past three or four years, without a hitch. Setting up my online form was simple, because they already had all my information on file from before. I had to update my address and add a couple of pages but because I am already familiar with the set-up - which hasn't changed in years - it was ok.

Setting up Quicktax is very similar to setting up UFile. The layout is quite different, which took some getting used to, but the information requested is exactly the same. In the top-left corner is a little screen that showed an ongoing balance, which was quite cool. As I entered my information throughout the form the little screen woul…

Self-esteem spending and debt

The other day I was chatting with a woman at work. We always talk about her daughters, whom I have never met. The elder daughter is a year younger than I, and had a great job working for the government. But it was the younger daughter that my work-friend used to talk about the most, and I noticed long ago that this particular mom had a favourite, and maybe wasn't aware of it.

She mentioned that the younger daughter, only two years out of school, had already paid off her student loan, and was currently help her older sister pay off hers. The elder daughter, after ten years in the workforce, still owed over $30 000 in student loans. My friend said that younger daughter would "work ten jobs pumping gas if she had to" in order to get out of debt, while her older sister made over $60 000 a year and had hardly paid a cent towards her own debt.

What struck me the most is a comment she made about two girls, coming from the same family, raised the same way, and turning out so diffe…

Tapping into the Rhythm of Winter

Winter focused foods and other tips for staying upbeat and healthy throughout the winter months

By YogaSpace Clinic Naturopathic Doctor, Meghan Bauer

There is no changing the natural rhythm of winter (for now at least). It is long, dark and cold, and it is not surprising that year after year our health reflects this. Increased anxiety, depression, unhealthy weight gain, continuous, long lasting colds and numerous other stress and cold related concerns are common place for many Canadians.

Aside from activities involving ice, could there be something advantageous to the cycle of winter that we could tap into; and are there ways to support this natural cycle?

Here are a few tips for re-framing the winter deep freeze and keeping you healthy and upbeat throughout it.

Consider a purpose to the winter months; could there be a reason/challenge to why you have chosen to live in such a chilly place?

Winter is the end of all seasons. Take the winter months as your inward and reflective months of the y…

Strategizing my taxes

Inspired by recent posts by Saver Queen and Fabulously Broke in the City, I spent a few hours the other day contemplating moving some or all of my Emergency Fund (EF) into my RRSP account. Canadians have until March 2nd to contribute to an RRSP and use it towards our 2008 tax return.

I logged into and played around with some of the numbers. I found that I can add only $500 more to my RRSP without making an over-contribution. That $500 will also give me an extra $40 in my refund.

It hardly seems worth it for the $40, but it might be worth it for my future. $500 compounded with the almost $5000 I currently have invested might make a difference to my retirement (FB - I need one of your fancy equations to figure it out :)). Transferring $500 from my EF still leaves me with $500 for emergencies, and I will be able to bring it back up to $1000 when I get my refund in April.

Any thoughts on this? Comments and suggestions are always very much appreciated :)


I googled myself (and a poll)

I googled myself and the first hit was a porn star named Larissa Dee. Wow.

In order to not be mistaken for this brazen goddess (or to imply that she was an inspiration), I'm thinking of changing my screen name.

Karissa isn't the name I was given at birth, but I do think it is pretty.

I added a poll to my left-hand sidebar, under my About Me box. Please do take the time if you have it to vote. I encourage new suggestions as well as the ones I provided: please comment here if you have any.


When is withholding the truth really lying?

I have an opportunity to be dishonest - I think - and I want to sort it out here first.

It's about my student loans. Currently I am on Interest Relief (IR) and I hope to remain in this program until I have my consumer debt paid off (end goal is end of 2010). After 60 months on IR I can apply for a program called DRR (Debt reduction in repayment) that will knock a large amount from my principle owed, as well as reduce my monthly payments to hopefully less than half of what I am expected to pay if I am not in the DRR program.

The part where I lie is when I file this year's taxes. Because I took two half courses to finish my degree in 2008 I will receive a T2202A slip to use as a credit on my tax return. I was thinking of not putting this credit in my return, so that there is no real paper trail showing that I was in school this year.

Why would I do this? Because the DRR program stipulates that a loan recipient has to be out of school for the entire 60 months. As far as my research …

DailyOM: A Bad Apple

Sweetening A Sour Apple
When A Bad Apple Spoils the Bunch

Because life requires that we interact with different personalities, it is not uncommon for us to encounter a situation where there is one person whose behavior may negatively impact the experiences of others. Someone who is loud and crass can interrupt the serenity of those who come together to practice peace. A disruptive worker can cause rules to be imposed that affect their colleagues’ professional lives. A team member who is pessimistic or highly critical may destroy the morale of their fellow members. And one “bad apple” in your personal life can be a potent distraction that makes it difficult to focus on the blessings you’ve been given and the people who love you.

There may always be people in your life who take it upon themselves to create disruption, foster chaos, stamp out hope, and act as if they are above reproach – even when, in doing so, they put a blight on their own experiences. But you don’t need to allow their ne…

Transfer and transfer again

I transferred $100 from my savings (not the TFSA EF) into my chequing account just in case the support cheque did not come in the mail today. I'm driving several hundred kms this weekend and did not want to use my credit card to pay for the gas and any other expenses. I also have to buy a birthday present for a seven-year-old I haven't seen in over a year before I get on the highway.

The support cheque did arrive and rather than transfer the $100 back into savings I made a bold move to instead transfer it into my line of credit. I was pleased to update my sidebar and calculate that I have already paid off 9% of that debt this year. I have a budget projection for the next couple of weeks and from my spreadsheet I can see that I will be able to transfer at least another $250 into LOC this month, plus another $70 or so onto the credit card. I'm such a geek: I'm looking forward to making these payments!

I miss my little Bean tonight while he's gone to his daddy's. I …

Money musings - and a thank you

I had several positive and encouraging comments to my post about my parents, and I'd like to express a sincere show of gratitude for all the support. I haven't yet figured out what I should write as a follow-up, or if I should just leave it be ... I have a couple of ideas and I hope to be able to sit down, figure them out, and express them here.

Boy it's busy at work these days. It always is during the second semester, especially because we are compiling all the applications for the September intake.

It's a slow week for me financially. No extra money coming in, just the support cheque and sometimes that's a few days late. I'm comfortable with living on the small allotment in my chequing account, but I told my dad that I would bring Bean out for a visit on Saturday. It's a three-hour drive, so if the cheque is late I will have to either make a transfer from my savings, or use my credit card. I'll pay it off as soon as the cheque comes in and is safely dep…

DailyOM: Blessed

As Blessed As You Want to Be
The Power Of Staying Positive

Our thoughts are not simply ethereal pieces of information that enter our minds and then disappear. The words and ideas that we think can shape our lives and drive us toward success and happiness or failure and distress. How you think and feel can have a profound effect on your ability to recognize opportunity, how well you perform, and the outcome of the goals that you’ve set for yourself. When you maintain an optimistic outlook and make an effort to harbor only positive thoughts, you begin to create the circumstances conducive to you achieving what you desire. You feel in control and few of life’s challenges seem truly overwhelming because it is in your nature to expect a positive conclusion. An optimistic mind is also an honest one. Staying positive does not mean that you ignore difficulties or disregard limitations. Instead, it means spending time focusing only on the thoughts that are conducive to your well-being and progre…

Stuff about me - a meme

Pinched from Northern Living Allowance:

1. Started your own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than you can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland
8. Climbed a mountain - Doi Suthep, Chiang Mai, Thailand (it has stairs, does that count?)
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sang a solo - four lines in a play I was in about six years ago
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched a lightning storm at sea
14. Taught yourself an art from scratch - bass guitar
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown your own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train - from Bankok to Chiang Mai
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitch hiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a …

How to balance life and work - part two

The following list a continuation from yesterday's and is from the Holistic Health and Education Centre that I mentioned the other day. There is no author on the handout, and I am merely transmitting the information, not taking credit. If you would like more information on the Centre and the people who look after it, please email me at karissadee at debtfreekid dot com.

6 - Pace yourself: maximize your effectiveness to make time for all of your important priorities. We all play many roles in our lives and must make sure we are the best at the ones that are most important to ourselves.

7 - Say no to the unimportant: set priorities on the things that matter most and say 'no' to the things that matter least.

8 - Take care of yourself: sometimes the things that suffer in our busy lives have to do with our own personal health. For example, fast food is a convenient time saver, but can lead to health and weight problems. Find out ways to improve and maintain personal health and wel…

How to balance life and work - part one

The following list is from the Holistic Health and Education Centre that I mentioned the other day. There is no author on the handout, and I am merely transmitting the information, not taking credit. If you would like more information on the Centre and the people who look after it, please email me at karissadee at debtfreekid dot com.

1 - Find your passion and live it each day: do what you love and love what you do. Work to live NOT live to work.

2 - Start having a family night: modify work schedules, set aside other demands and spend the evening together. The family night concept works. Children need their parents' attention and guidance, and parents will benefit from positive interactions.

3 - Eat together: eat at least one meal a day together.

4 - Find a family-friendly workplace: some workplaces recognize that their employees are real people with real needs - that they are 'humans' not just 'human resources.' Identify and select an employer that will be friendly to…

January spending

I finalized all the tracking for my January spending, and I'm pleased to report that I am right on target. I way overspent in a couple of categories, but made up for it with spending shortfalls in other categories.

Here's a brief:

Rent $0 (paid first and last in December)
Food/House (budgeted $200) $150.68
Apt./Car insurance $96 (on target)
Car gas/oil (budgeted $70) $152.31 - way over, due to an oil change and two trips to the big city (an extra 600 kms)
Phone (budgeted $90) $121.05 - way over, because I wasn't watching my daytime minutes over the xmas holidays
RESP (budgeted $40) $39.20 (on target)
Life insurance (budgeted $49) $48.73 (on target)
Misc. spending (budgeted $100) $310.10 (sickeningly over budget, but the Kiva loan is in there)
Line of credit (budgeted $500) $500
Credit card (budgeted $100) $48.57 - under budget, but I used $47 to top up my RRSP account
Emergency Fund TFSA (budgeted $800 from rent not spent) $1000 - proudly over budget!

Total spent $2914.29 ($918.72 in e…

Rules for Empowerment

As a believer in natural, holistic, alternative and universal healing strategies, I had the opportunity to visit a new Holistic Health and Education Centre near where I live.

I picked up a few handouts and today I wanted to share one of them here. It's a list of principles by which I have been making a real effort to practice.

Rules for Empowerment

- Stop trying and start allowing

- You and your own care must become a priority

- Stop trying to manage the universe

- Stop gossiping and get your nose in your own business

- Have a vision that gets you out of bed

- Add gratitude 24/7

- Accept things as they are (you don't have to like it, just stop resisting and accept it)

- Trust that the Universe is abundant and will provide

- Acknowledge yourself and your gifts daily

- Do not make yourself responsible for the happiness of anyone but yourself

- Know that you are the only one that can make your life great

What do you think?

Karissa Dee