Friday, July 31, 2009

JULY - Expensive month!

July was certainly the most expensive month this year. Thank Murph I'm tracking my expenses, so I know exactly where I went wrong (Miscellaneous spending!).

In addition there were the car repairs (water pump, coolant pipe, and belt tensioner replaced) with more repairs (brakes, exhaust pipe) to come in a few weeks.

ALSO I had orthotics made, and while my insurance company should reimburse me for them, I will likely not be reimbursed for the footwear.

AS WELL I had a massage and Bowen treatment, both for which I will be reimbursed next month.

I went to the bank to make my first student loan payment, and they did not have the loan on record. We called the number on the letter of arrears that I received, to be told that this loan actually DOES qualify for Interest Relief.

I took my $66 payment and bought another $42 bottle of multi-vitamins from my Naturopath. Can't afford to get sick!


Monday, July 27, 2009

OUCH! Broken car hurts my EF!!

First of all, I always express gratitude for my life whenever my car breaks down at the side of the road. This time wasn't as serious as times past, but I still felt lucky to be alive.

Second, now that I'm facing a $600 repair bill, I feel like I should switch to public transit!

Luckily I had already pulled off the highway to grab a bite to eat, when I discovered my power steering was no longer powered. I called my dad and he predicted a broken fan belt ... I wasn't comfortable taking the car back onto the busy busy highway so I had my friend take over the wheel and get the car twenty minutes east to my mom's place. The next day I used my CAA Plus membership to access my free 200 km tow to a mechanic in my own town.

The mechanic is fixing the belt, as well as a leaky water pump and rusty coolant pipe, for just under $600. He said with my CAA membership I will get 3% back to apply towards my next round of annual membership fees, which are actually due next month.

I'm using my Mastercard to pay the mechanics bill and then transferring the funds out of my Emergency Fund to cover the MC bill. I don't know how long it is going to take me to re-pay the $600 to my EF.

EDIT: I'm thinking of tapping out my other savings account instead, which means we will have another frugal xmas this year.

As well I received a letter from the bank that issued two of my student loans back in the 1990s, and was informed that my Interest Relief status does not apply to one of the loans - the smallest one. I re-did the side bars to show this, and will be trying to come up with $100 a month for the next 35 months to pay that loan off.



Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Snowflaking Savings and Lumping Payments

I think I have come up with a strategy that works for paying off the debt as well as contributing a little to my savings.

The debt payment system seems a tad strange, but will make sense to people with OCD :) As soon as I receive an email statement I check to see how much interest was added for the month. I pay that amount immediately. This keeps the balance at a nice round number, to which I apply $50 or $100 payments throughout the month as I can afford them.

I was concerned that I wasn't padding my TFSA sufficiently, so I came up with a snowflaking plan that does not make me feel as though I am taking priority away from the debt repayments. What I have decided to do is snowflake the odd amounts from my pay, child tax credit, and GST. For instance, my GST rebate is $156.50 every three months, so I put $1.50 into the TFSA. I added up all the snowflake amounts year-to-date and just deposited $35.40 into my TFSA account. It isn't much but if I keep doing this each month it will add up.

I haven't posted a budget update in a while, because I'm ashamed to admit I have been going over in my Miscellaneous category. I even went so far as purchasing a new leather bag in the last couple of weeks and lately I've been looking a lot at shoes. I'm getting orthotics and orthopedic shoes made next week (the orthotics are definately covered by insurance, not sure about the shoes) and I've had strict instructions to no longer wear flats because of what they are doing to my posture and back.

Yesterday I tried on a pair of 3" heels and last night woke up with a major charley-horse in my right calf. Is this normal? I have never worn proper heels before. I always say coming of age in the 1990s spared me, because all I wore were Doc Martens and other types of boots!