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I was so close to shopping online today ("black friday")

Yep, I almost did it. I almost pulled the trigger on a couple of sites today. I had stuff in the carts, but I closed the tabs before I pulled out the credit card.

The first cart contained a couple of "ugly christmas sweaters" for Bean and I, and they weren't even that ugly. The one for me was pretty cute, and since it was pink and black, I could wear it year round. I knew Bean would get a kick out of the one I picked out for him.

The second cart was for skincare, my most favourite thing to splurge on. I'm almost out of my $55 serum, and I saw an email for some sample primers at a great price. I needed to add only $2 more to get bonus points, so I picked out a new face wash.

I scrutinized my purchases a few times, and read a couple of reviews of the primers. I needed to make sure the cosmetics company was cruelty-free.

And then I clicked "x," twice.

And went to heat up my ramen noodles for lunch.

I also figured out how to file a dispute with amazon, since so…

Yes, I am a PF Geek

One morning last week, I woke up with a little giddy feeling, sort of like it might be my birthday*, or christmas morning, but it wasn't. It was Friday the 13th I think, but that had nothing to do with the feeling.

I was excited because the night before I received an email from Tangerine** telling me that I'm pre-approved for their new cash-back credit card.

As soon as I saw the email on my phone, I went over to the laptop and logged in to accept my acceptance. I was pre-approved for $14 000 but I was able to change it to $7500. I chose this amount because when the new card arrives I will cancel two other credit cards worth $10 000 combined.

We are sometimes told to keep our oldest credit card opened for good credit history, but now that I have a mortgage and car loan in place, I'm not too worried about what my credit rating looks like. I hopefully will not be opening too many more credit products after this.

I'm excited for this card to show up. Not only will it allow…

Pet costs

Yesterday I posted about my recent experience purchasing - and using - travel insurance. The bank did not give me a policy number at the time of purchase, and the overseeing insurance company did not receive the paperwork in a timely manner because of the holiday on July 1st.

Something that made me smirk during the whole ordeal, was that I did have a policy number for the cat. Yeah. A couple of days before we left, I called the number on his collar tag to make sure his microchip was programmed with our current address. During the call, the nice representative managed to sell me an annual pet insurance policy for $20. I thought it was a good idea, mostly because I had a student staying at our house while we were away, and I wanted to minimize the effects of any emergency our adventure-loving kitten might encounter out in the wild.

So when the NY hospital asked me for the policy number for Bean's "broken" arm, I checked my phone and found the pet insurance policy number, w…

Free Health Care

Bean and I drove to New York State at the end of June for what is now our annual retreat. I paid $600 for our spots (meals and accommodation) back in May. I anticipated spending about $200 US at the gift shop, though I'm pretty sure I went over that because I brought a credit card with me. I knew from the year before that filling up the car usually meant pre-paying with cash, so two days before our departure I went to a bank branch to buy $100 US cash.

It was a Saturday and there was a big line but I waited patiently and read all the ads on the screens behind the tellers heads. This bank already holds my mortgage, car loan, and two of four of my student loans, so they didn't advertise anything of interest to me. When I was waiting for the teller to process my request, I noticed a piece of paper taped to the counter that said "travel insurance." I asked the teller if my VISA included travel insurance, and was told no. So, I asked how much insurance would be for Bean a…

time or money?

There are a few job postings where I work, and I'm qualified for all of them. They are all full time - 35 hours a week vs the 28 hours I am paid to work.

I know from experience that this would be a net pay increase of around $550 per month, but it might jeopardize my interest relief status with the student loan centre, as well as my child care subsidy. And I will definately need the child card subsidy since I would be in the office for 1.5 more hours per day.

I ultimately make the important decisions at our house, but my kid is smart and I always ask his opinion. He even helped me pick out the house I bought last fall.

Today we talked about what it might be like if I worked longer hours each day. We talked about what would be better for us: more money or more time together? I reminded him that more money meant more sushi dinners (I really need to learn to make futomaki).

Bean decided that more time was more important to him. We have a leisurely morning routine and our afternoons a…

questions

How did I pay off $20 000 in 2.5 years?
- Started tracking my spending (I use Excel).
- Took advantage of balance transfers to lower-interest cards and line of credit.
- Moved into a small apartment, shared a bedroom with my son (the first year).
- Stopped buying coffee and a muffin each morning, and a cola each afternoon.
- Stopped shopping online and in stores for clothes and other distractions.
- Used a subsidized food box program once a month.
- Kept my appointments with social services for a child care subsidy. Also kept to their guidelines to keep the subsidy.
- Bought used car. Tried to keep up with repairs, but when it became too costly, parked it and took the bus.
- Let my sweetheart at the time pay for my outings (as a feminist, this was really hard for me, but it was the only way I could do anything that cost anything).

Why didn't I start riding a bike to work?
- I don't know how to ride a bike.
- But if I did know how, I would have to put my son in one of those tr…

Spendy April

I had to re-do my budget after my relationship ended and I bought a house last October. Since then I was trying to live on just my employment income and child support. I had the child tax credit and other government incentives deposited into a separate account that I haven't used in years, one that charges me $1.25 per transaction, which for me is a good spending deterrent.

My intention is to save the money until November 2015 and then decide whether to put it towards a student loan, the car loan, or spend a bit on the house. I would really like to buy a dishwasher, paint the bedrooms, and start renovating the bathroom. I have to be careful with house spending though, because in five to seven years I will have to replace the roof and maybe one or more of the appliances.

Our collective agreement expires June 30, and hopefully by this November we will have a new contract negotiated. If we decide to strike, then the savings account will be my personal strike fund, as the union's …

Under $150

I've only partially completed updating my progress bars on the left, but I'm ecstatic to point out that my mortgage is already under $150 000!!! Woooooot!!!11!!

And my car loan is under $17 000!!!

Thank Goddess for Savings

I might have mentioned 100 or so times on here that I get paid only once a month. I've been working at the same institution since 2002, so I'm over it. We get paid on the 28th, but if the 28th falls on a Saturday or Sunday, then we get paid on the Friday before.

The days leading up to payday are full of anticipation for me, because I look forward to seeing the amount go into my chequing account, and I love removing bits and bobs of it into my various savings accounts. Then I calculate what bills are going to be removed electronically and leave that amount in chequing, while the amount of bills that I pay manually later in the month goes into a savings account. I usually have less than $200 on the credit card that I pay before the due date.

This past weekend I knew I would leave extra in the chequing, because the kid would be home and we had lots of plans. Friday morning, I didn't receive an email about the deposit, and I logged into my account about a half dozen times, to …

February - no spend month

I get paid on the 28th of each month, and sometimes, like this past January, it feels like weeks between payday and the beginning of the next month. I have about three months worth of pay saved up so I'm never quite short on funds, but I do try to make each current pay last till the end of the month (the 30th or 31st, rather than the 28th),

Since February has only 28 days (normally) it is a nice feeling to head right into March with a full paycheque. This month, to make it even sweeter, I have declared it "no spend month." This means that all non-essential spending (groceries and gas excluded of course) is to be delayed for four short weeks. And I am not allowing myself to cheat by using a credit card and paying it off next month. Half of my January pay went towards a hefty credit card bill from December spending, even though I had a christmas savings account set up. Still, it is nice to check my credit card statements and see that zero balance.

Since I am single again, …

What would I do if I didn't have to work?

What would I do if I didn't have to work?

Near the end of my previous relationship, I was trying to make a case for early retirement (aka "financial independence.") Partner (ex) couldn't imagine not working his 45-hour-a-week job for the next 35 years and also could not imagine what he would do with all that time off.

The only thing I could think of at the time was "travel!" but we knew if that were to become a reality we would have to have much much better finances.

So, now I'm on my own, and I'm still planning my early retirement. Even though my collective agreement tells me that I can't access my pension until the first day of the first month following my 60th birthday, I hope to be finished working by 55, which is now 15 years from now. Ten years more of work would be even better.

What would I do if I didn't have to work?
- set my alarm for 7:30 am and get up around 8:00
- see my son off to school
- practice yoga for two hours
- meditate…