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Showing posts from 2011


As of this morning (payday), Friday 27 May, 2011 I am credit card debt free.

30 months, $20 000, Paid. Off.

Thank you to so many bloggers who inspired me back in November 2008 to start on this self-improvement project. In particular I would like to shout out to Fabulously Broke, Jolie, and Grace, who were with me from the beginning. Thanks as well to my ex-sweetheart who covered all my weekend fun expenses so I did not experience too much debt burnout.

You can do this too! Stop Shopping!

Seriously, Karissa


Last week was a crazy one. It was a quiet week at work after crazy the week prior, but my home life turned upside down. Literally. We had to be out of the apartment by Saturday, which was the same day of Bean's fifth birthday party, his first big birthday party ever. Up until this year I did not have the nerve or the cash to pay for a party for twelve kids, but this year I took a deep breath and went for it.

The week started at the mechanics, where I forked over yet another $200 to have the alternater replaced. This was necessary, since I had already started loading up the car and taking loads to second-hand stores, the consignment shop, and the free market. I had a car-load of toys packed in, to go to Bean's dad's in the big city, when the car decided to die in an intersection not far from home.

By mid-week the car was repaired, and I was shuttling loads of mostly toys to the house at which we are staying until end of July. By Friday the movers came and took all the big s…

Health Care Hell(ish)

We Canadians applaud ourselves for our universal health care system, like it is something we came up with and exceled at ourselves. As far as I know, the only thing I do to better our health care system is to remain employed and pay taxes into the greater system, as well as try to stay as healthy as I can so that I can avoid the health care system altogether.

Today I could not avoid it. Thanks to some pesky symptoms of stress, my nurse practitioner wrote me up a requisition for an ECG and told me to go to a clinic in the other part of town where they "should" have the proper lab for the procedure.

Because I did not have all day, and because ALL health care facilities charge for parking, I decided to call ahead to the clinic to see if 1) they could perform an ECG and 2) I could get it done sometime today. However I did not have the name and/or phone number for the place so instead from the comfort of my couch I got on the Google to get the basic information.

I typed in a few …

Suck it up Buttercup

If you are child-free and on the fence about having a kid or two, and are easily upset by wasting food while people around the world are starving, I suggest you get a dog.

I am a cat-person myself, but a dog will eat up all the uneaten food that you so lovingly and carefully prepare for your offspring, who may or may not (but probably will) eat two bites and then want to wander over to the television.

And then complain about a hungry tummy later on.

I do not know if an almost-five year old can comprehend the words, "I cannot afford to buy food only to have to throw it out when you do not eat it!" These words certainly do not encourage a healthy sense of abundance in the boy's psyche.

And I am slowly growing out of all my second-hand clothes eating two dinners each night. It is a good thing I usually skip breakfast (which Bean has already noticed and commented on the other day. Oops).

Take yesterday for example. Bean goes to kindergarten on Mondays, Wednesdays, and every …

what is normal?

"A normal life is defined as graduating high school, getting a college degree, buying a car, buying a house, filling it with furniture, clothes, television sets, washing machines, and lawn mowers, and then spending the next forty years working 9-5 to pay it all off. This cycle of earning and spending is usually offered in forty different flavors of vanilla. You can have any flavor you want as long as it’s vanilla. People mistake this for choice, but it is just variations of one single choice; different choices are not considered. Fish don’t see the water in which they swim: it is an invisible part of their experience."

From Early Retirement Extreme

Seriously, Karissa

New budget revisited

Jolie pointed out in my previous post that the income amount I calculated did not deduct taxes. I kind of did that purposefully, thinking that low-income people normally receive most of their taxes in refunds the following year. I also left out GST/HST refunds with the intention of saving or putting towards student loan repayments.

So, with taxes deducted the new spending total would be:
$1435.00 - 215.25 (15% Federal tax) - 72.47 (5.05% Provincial tax)
= 1147.28
+  355.96 (Child Tax Credit)
+  300.00 (Child Support)
= 1803.24

Guessing that rent + utilities will be around $1000, I can see how this adjustment will be problematic. The student loan folks will probably want $400, so this will leave me with just over $400 for food, household, and car expenses. As long as I do not plan to spend ANY money on fun for the next little while this can be managed. In the background I will have my extra income (about $400), plus other government deposits to put towards emergency funds and extra loa…

Minimum Wage Budget

Now that I have only $2000 left to pay off my credit card, I have been looking at all the things on which I would like to spend my freed-up money. The reality is that I will have to begin paying student loans soon so my dreams of a more extravagant lifestyle will have to wait a while longer :)

So I have come up with a plan - which I am still tweaking - called the minimum wage budget, to help me stay organized and stay on track with my financial goals. It looks something like this:

Minimum wage = $10.25 x 35 hours x 4 weeks = $1435.00
Child tax credit                                                     355.96
Child support                                                        300.00

(I am purposely leaving out the Universal Child Tax Credit in the hopes it gets scrapped for a real child care plan, when "the Harper Government" is defeated next month)

That leaves me with $2090.96, which is actually not much less than what I bring home, but the intention is to ignore that extra…

It is all about Choices (200th Post)

When I was much younger I tried to educate myself about global issues. The more negative the better. This was not always easy to do because the internet did not yet exist. I got most of my information from obscure zines, and my favourite issues were the ones about animal rights. Later on I got into food security and environmental destruction, and when I chose my majors for my Bachelor of Arts one of them was International Development, which focused on these issues.

Somewhere along the way I crashed. I knew that the Western way of living was destroying the planet for everyone else, even though the media told us it was third world population that was responsible. At one time I wanted to work in the media but I quickly learned to distrust it, particularly the mainstream news. I also decided for my own sanity to ignore the booming "independent" film documentary industry that was seeking to expose the truths. I can handle only so much negative information before I start to become…

the home stretch

The light at the end of the debt tunnel is beautiful and warm. Just in time for a well-deserved thaw, I will be credit-card debt-free.

With my income tax refund I paid off the line of credit. With the child tax credit I will put $200 on the credit card, bringing it down to $3000.

The good news is that I was asked to house-sit for three months!! Without having to pay rent (or bills) this spring and summer I will be able to pay the debt off in full, several months before my self-imposed deadline.

Then in the fall I can begin to pay my student loans. I am trying to come up with a strategy to get around the consolidation agreement that stretches out the payments over 14 years, doubling the amount borrowed.

So, that is my good news.

In other news I am grateful to have a little bit of savings into which I can tap to make a donation to MSF.

Seriously, Karissa

Global Go Go

I have mentioned here before that in 2005 I spent two months in Chiang Mai, Thailand.

I don't have any more big trips on my radar for a while. I might have to wait until my son is an adult, or maybe we will go somewhere together.

In the meantime, I will have to satisfy myself with the adventures of others. Are you planning a big trip in the near future? If so, you might want to check out Tyler Tervooren's (Advanced Riskology) free e-book Instant Adventure.

Seriously, Karissa

I Love This

"In November 2008, Pluto moved out of Sagittarius into Capricorn, where it will stay through January 2024. That gives us 16 years to revamp our political, economic and social institutions. This deep cleansing, exposure of corruption and falling apart of structures that do not serve the collective good is obviously in process. Do you witness becoming less reckless and getting more serious about your financial affairs?
Fiscal and public responsibility are aspects of the Pluto in Capricorn purge."

~ Guru Rattana, NMBeing #179 - REALITY SHIFT 2011

Seriously, Karissa

go-to girl

My blogger friend Grace struck a chord with me today when she posted about being the "go-to" person in the family, especially when it comes to money.

Currently I am financially responsible for only myself and my son. However if something bad happens and I can no longer work and earn, it will force his dad to become more responsible with his own time and money, if possible. So in an indirect way I am the go-to parent, even though at this point in time no one is actually asking me for money.

I get bills that the dad doesn't:
Daycare - which is subsidized but there is a monthly bill to pay plus I have to meet with the social worker twice a year to insure continuation in the program
Dental and prescriptions - which I have benefits to cover but I have to pay the bill before I can get reimbursed.
School - always seems to be nickle and diming me for fundraisers, PLUS I have to come up with a lunch the kid will actually eat, which I try to keep cheap and healthy
Car (gas, maintena…


My kid is one of the ones that holds on. I mean, he likes to keep everything: tiny scraps of paper, sticks and rocks from outside, and toys that he hasn't looked at or thought about for over a year. Currently I have two or three boxes on the go with toys that he has outgrown, but I have not made the time nor had the inclination to decide what to do with them. Options are donation to his daycare, to a friend's daycare, to a friend's baby, or to the Salvation Army. The best toys I can bring down to the consignment shop at the other end of town, along with his size two PJs and last year's winter clothes. I consider them all, and do nothing.

Since xmas we have been tripping over toys, old and new. Bean discovered one of the "hidden" boxes in the hall closet and was upset to learn that I was planning to give them away. He whined and said, "but I'll miss them ... I love them all" to which I frustratingly responded that he hadn't even thought of an…


I mentioned  in my previous post that I won a gift certificate from Squirrelers' Thanksgiving contest. It was for $20 at I normally order from but xmas was arriving quickly and I thought I'd redeem it for something for someone I love.

I had a harder time than I thought I would. Shipping from the U.S. is expensive and since I had left it so late, nothing I chose would be here in time for xmas. A couple of toys I had picked out for my son would not ship to Canada at all. I finally chose a backpack for my bro-friend but before I hit the switch I decided to check locally. I found the same pack for the same price at a shop in town and avoided shipping altogether.

Last week I decided to buy a book with it. The book cost $10 and the shipping was $11! I couldn't bear to spend more on postage than on the book itself, so I went with my original plan and offered the gift certificate to a friend in the U.S. Since I had carelessly applied it to my own account I of…

this must be what they call passive income

For the first time ever, and without requesting it, I received a refund cheque for interest paid on my rent deposit. I almost fell over when I opened the envelope and realized what it was. With that I am $18.16 more wealthy.

On a similar note, I checked my ING account today and found a $25 referral deposit, another first. Many thanks to the person who took my orange key from the sidebar and used it to open their own account. I hope your $25 serves you well.

Since I gave up monetizing this blog I haven't looked at all at my account settings. Last week I chose to renew my domain name and clicking around in google took me to my adsense account. I saw that I had almost $10 in my account so I decided to update my information with them. I'm waiting on a password to arrive in the mail to finish the process.

On a whim I also decided to re-visit my abandoned Swagbucks account. In the past few days I have earned over 40 Bucks just playing around on the 'net. I think I might try to s…