Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Raiding my TFSA

A couple of weeks ago I decided to pilfer my TFSA in 2010, and apply the $1130 or so to my $3500 credit card balance. I want this card paid OFF, ASAP. I know I'll be losing out on compound interest but I think I'm making the right decision. I will continue to snowflake back into it with each paycheque, but I probably won't get it back up to $1000 by the end of 2010. That's ok, because I desperately want to have the CC and LOC paid off in 2011.

I have my 2010 budget spreadsheet all ready to go, with all the modifications I could think of based on spending in 2009. Reaching the final column of the 2009 spreadsheet has been a relief, and a real achievement, because I made through the entire year tracking my expenses and debt payments.

Here's a bit of a postmortem:
After-tax income, including pay, child tax credit, child support, GST rebates, and gifts and miscellaneous sales $35 841

Rent and Food $11 496
Debt re-payments, including interest charges $8209
Car, including gas, oil changes, repairs, insurance $4325
Stupid Telus mobile phone $1155
RESP $471
RRSP $955
Life insurance $633
TFSA $1068
Daycare $415
TOTAL $28 727

Miscellaneous Expenses (most interesting to me):
Cash $1960
Lunch/Dinner out $571
Trips to the big city $1042
Gifts $1078
Clothes, music, furniture $1051
Uncategorized expenses $1281

Finally, I made arrangements to deduct $18 from each monthly paycheque for a Canada Savings Bond. I know I can get more interest in a personal savings account, but it is easier for me to save when the balance is "out of sight, out of mind."


Sunday, December 27, 2009

Snow Tire Steal

I was driving myself and my son to the big city on the 23rd to begin our christmas festivities. It was cold and the roads were ok, but as I was driving on the highway I was thinking about my spectacular snow tires.

When I started this blog I had a "Car Fund" to save money for car repairs, oil changes and hopefully snow tires. Then I had over a thousand dollars worth of car repairs from which the car fund never recovered.

Back in September I was talking to a grad student where I work who is knowledgeable with all things car related. Thinking about my lack of savings and the pending cold season, I asked him if snow tires were really worth it. I had never had them before and was thinking maybe I could get through another winter without them. The grad student was adamant about the necessity of snow tires, and I decided to take his word for it.

A couple months later I get an email from the student, telling me that he found a set of snow tires for me at the wreckers, and would charge me only $100 for all four. I wrote him a cheque from my line of credit and gratefully let him load them into the trunk of my Ford. I got a free storage space for them in my boyfriend's parents' garage and eventually had the tires switched just before the first big snow fall.

At the tire place I asked the guys if it were necessary to buy rims for my snow tires, as my purchase were for only the tires. The guy at the tire place informed me that not only would new rims put me out of pocket at least $240, but by using the rims already on my car meant that they would be checked and rotated for safety. Switching the snow tires onto my existing rims cost about $40 more than having separate rims, but saving $200 sounded good to me.

Check out my sidebars! I paid over 35% of my debt in 2009!!


Tuesday, December 01, 2009

Chinese Astrology - Predictions for Tiger


You deserve a truckload of credit for having done so well this past year. If all went as planned, you ought to have accumulated a hefty stash of cash. The one thing you must not do, is spend it on private extravagances or luxurious Christmas gifts. In the stringent Rat year 2008, you took on some private debt. Of course your friend or family member who loaned it to you, said, ""Oh just pay it back when you can." Tigers however are unwilling debtors. You don't like to be constrained. Debt is a definite hamper and obliges one to guilt. So in December, you Tigers must take advantage of the fact that you have some disposable capital and pay down your debt. This way, you will enter the occidental new year smelling like a rose. The holiday season this year will not be lavish. The world is cutting down on the use of energy. Join the effort by limiting the number of energy-sapping baubles and electric lights you drape on your house. Instead of shopping at malls where you must drive and thus use gasoline, do your Christmas shopping locally. Patronize small merchants, And if you really need to move about the town, take the bus or the subway. The more we use it, the more public transport will improve.