Monthly Archives: April 2012

My Life is Nuts

Wow, I’ve been absent for quite a bit. I’ve been so busy with schoolwork and exams that I’ve been feeling really run-down. Last week I had two exams and a business plan due. I did my business plan based on this blog and what I could build off of it, which is hilarious considering I neglected the blog and my finances to write the paper. THEN my computer didn’t save it properly, so I ended up having an internal meltdown at work and taking Wednesday off as a vacation day to go home and write it all over again. Needless to say the second attempt wasn’t as good as the first because I was rushed, but I got it done and handed in on time, and that’s all I care about. The teacher is an easy marker anyway, and I guarantee she hasn’t seen anything like my planning before.

This weekend was insane. I used to do nothing but do homework and go to Jay’s. Friday I ended up going to my friend’s house and having a few drinks, Saturday I went north to M’s house for the night, then yesterday I came home, dealt with Jay crying about how he wants me back (I didn’t give in, by the way), then went to see The Lucky One with my friend S, courtesy of Air Miles. I know I’ll never accumulate enough to get anything substantial, so I’d rather get little thing every now and then. After almost two years with my credit card I only had 450 air miles. Considering how much I used it, it’s not exactly impressive.

I got paid Friday, and will post my current numbers tonight when I get home. I paid extra on Credit Card #2 this pay, which I will explain. The budget has been shot to hell- I’ve been having too much fun the past couple of weekends, it seems. However, I’ve always had enough money in my account after payments to survive, so it’s possible that until my debt is paid down I might just go without a budget and transfer any money I know I’ll need into my savings the second I get paid. I have great intentions, but my schedule just doesn’t allow for the kind of planning I want to do. I’ll have to figure it out.

School is winding down finally- my last exam is on May 3rd. I start my next semester on the 7th. I’m taking Macroeconomics, Management Information Systems, and Operations Management. I know I should take a break and only take one class, but a) I don’t want to lose momentum and b) I’m pretty used to working this much by now. When I get too exhausted I just ignore the homework and crash for 12 hours, then I’m good for another couple weeks.

Anyways, what have you guys been up to lately?

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Why GST Cheques Mean Nothing To Me

Thanks to the Goods and Service Tax and Provincial Sales Tax being combined into the Harmonized Sales Tax in Ontario in the summer of 2010, a whole whack of things cost a whole whack more than they did before in my home province. They added tax to a lot of things that used to be charged only GST. For example, before this increase, we only paid GST on gas, which was 5%. Now it’s charged HST at 13%. The same thing happened with taxis, haircuts, tobacco, sports lessons, legal fees, real estate commissions, electricity, internet… the list goes on and on. You can check it out here if you’re so inclined.

Because of this, obviously people freaked the hell out about having to pay more. Therefore, the Ontario government started sending out GST cheques to “help” with the transition from the original tax to taxing us an arm and a leg to do anything but breathe. Every three months I get a cheque in the mail for $93.87 (it used to be $60, but now I’m working full-time).

Basically, people see this as free money. Even I did, when I first got it. My first GST cheque went straight to a cheque-cashing place (I cringe thinking about this now) where I paid a 5% fee to get some beer money. Now I understand that all they’re doing is taking more of my money, then sending some back to bribe me. I’m willing to bet that in the past I spent twice the amount given back on HST in that three month time period, especially with gas when I used the family cars for personal reasons.

I’m actually pretty excited to get this right now though- I thought about putting it down on my debt, but I decided that I’m going to put it towards my taxes so I don’t have to worry about it. Anything left over at the end of the month will obviously go to debt. In 3 months I’ll have another cheque sent to me, and that one will definitely be paid on Credit Card #2.

I just can’t get past the irony that the government sent me back my own money, and I still have to turn around and give it right back to them.

First Card Paid Down!

I was away on the weekend, so I made my final payment on Credit Card #1 today. SWEET! I am WELL on my way to freedom. All I have now on that card is my recurring charge to World Vision, which to me is money well spent.

Now, my spending this past weekend was a LITTLE out of control. I forgot to budget with the weekend trip in mind, and we bought SOOOO much fast food, plus some liquor. Grrr. So I’m way over budget there. That’s alright, because I still had a fabulous time and I feel a lot more peace than before, so I guess it was worth it. At least this time I didn’t go into debt for it, right? Next weekend I’m holing up in my house or the library and studying for exams/writing my business plan for my management course, so I won’t be spending period. Thank god for that!

As far as the smoking; I had more packs left over than I thought I would. So I smoked a pack a day up until Saturday, justifying it by not wasting money. Then yesterday I only had four. Today I’m sitting at one, and that one made me feel sick to my stomach. I will not be having another, because I don’t really feel like throwing up all over my desk today. So although I didn’t hit my target of stopping by Friday, I’m still not doing all that bad considering I used to be out every hour on the dot lighting up.

How was everyone else’s weekend?

Lack of Free Time = More Money

On average, I’m at work/school or doing stuff related to that about 65 hours a week, 75 during exam time. That’s including commuting, studying, the works. It REALLY sucks for my social life, but it’s great for my bank account. If I’m not out, I can’t spend my money. It serves me well.

We’re 5 days into April, and this is my 5th no-spend day. I have a test tonight, so there’s no way I’ll be doing any spending today.Tomorrow I’m getting paid and paying bills, and that’s pretty much it. The only other thing I might grab would be a 6 pack of Bacardi Breezers (can you tell I like rum yet?), because Saturday morning I’m driving with M up to cottage country for the night. Her family’s cottage is really peaceful, right on the lake, and just what I need for a little bit of peace and quiet. Jay has been calling me every night since we ended things- I don’t really mind talking to him, but when I add that into the mix with exams coming up and the issues at work, my head gets so full of static that I can’t focus. I need to cut out the noise. So, we’ll just be going up to hang out by the lake, ground ourselves again, and hopefully find some calm. This is a big month for me, and I need focus.

Clearly, my goal of 20 no-spend days is not too far off if every week is like this week!

What are you guys planning on doing this weekend? Anything fun?

April: Budget and Goals!

This is my first full month of budgeting and tracking, so I’m making the most of it.

BUDGET:

Payments
CC1 237.83
CC2 375
Cell Phone 100
Expenses
Savings 400
Personal Care 85
Taxes 173
Dental 30
Food 20
TOTAL 1420.83
Budget Totals
Total In 1551.08
Total Out -1420.83
Leftover 130.25

The personal care may puzzle you, but I ordered some stuff from my dear friend who is now an Avon lady. I buy my makeup pretty much all at once, and it lasts me the year. I’m running out of literally everything, so it’s time to stock up. The perks to this include great deals on makeup, and supporting her son, who is 5 months old. I’m getting tons of stuff I need for about $70, and I added another $15 to the budget because inevitably I’ll run out of deodorant or something, or need to get shampoo.

Also, I know I’m paying taxes, but my mom is giving me some money to offset that. Here’s the story: in order to get a refund in 2009, she wrote off all of my school expenses for university. That year, I ended up having to pay in $90. She offered to pay it, because if it wasn’t for her writing off my school stuff, I would’ve had a return (plus I had no income anyway). She sent in a cheque, but the CRA never cashed it. Therefore, the amount came off my 2010 return. When I realized I was paying in this year, she offered to give me $50 to go into my payment. Considering she owed it to me anyway (there is other stuff I paid for, feeding my siblings and such that I have never been reimbursed for), I obviously accepted.

I haven’t had a dentist appointment since 2008 (eek!), so I need to get that done on the 14th- my dentist is going to take one look at my teeth and know that I’ve been smoking for the past three years. I’m dreading that, because he’s been my dentist since I was 4 and is going to tan my hide. I need to get my eyes checked too, but I don’t have the energy for that this month, with the semester winding down- that’ll be a May expense.

GOALS:

  • At least 20 no-spend days (This is easier than you’d think, I’ve already had two, soon to be three)
  • No cigarettes period after Friday, April 6th
  • Start thinking about opening an RRSP this summer
  • Get through all my exams with minimal psychological scarring

My Relationship Ends, and My Finances Improve… What?

Jay and I broke up a couple of days ago. I pulled the trigger on it- I’ve been mulling it over for a while, and decided it’s finally time. We fought a lot, but my main concern was my future.

Basically, Jay doesn’t have a job. He doesn’t have high school. Although I believe that he will try his best, he’s not going to be pulling in the cash that I eventually will, even if he gets extremely lucky. Now, I have no problem with that- as long as someone works for what they have, I don’t mind. However, he has made a lot of comments lately that in a relationship, the man has to make more than the woman. Let’s be honest here- I’ll be a CGA in 8 years. That’s going to come with a big payraise. I was concerned that when that happened, he would start to resent me for being successful, and I’d resent him for resenting my hard work, and it would just be an infinite spiral until we divorced unhappily.

Add that to some serious problems we had that revolved around some friends of his (that used to be my friends until I grew up) doing really stupid things and him following along, and I couldn’t end it fast enough. After I cut him loose, my friend M and I went straight for the liquor store, and I spent the evening drowning in a mickey of Bacardi mixed with Coke, playing truth and dare like high school kids with M and a mutual guy friend. The breakup cost me about $20. I do not regret that number. I had a lot of fun, and I felt a lot better.

All that being said, I do love him. And even if I didn’t, 11 months is nothing to sneeze at. I know it’ll take me a bit to get over it. But at the same time, I’ve known for a while that it was over- I just kept holding on because I didn’t want the past year to be a waste, I guess. But at the end of the day, I know there’s no future there. I want certain things out of my life, and I know that he can’t give them to me, as much as he wants to.

As sad as I am, my wallet is going through recovery, too. For the past year, I’ve spent a lot of money on Jay. Fast food, cigarettes, gas in his mom’s car, groceries when they had too much month for their money, rent money when they fell short- I’ve spent some serious cash on him and his family. I didn’t really mind at the time, but now I’m thinking about it and kind of regretting the gestures. Even though I was always told that they would pay me back, I know I’m never seeing even a dime of that cash. I’m writing it off as a gift at this point.

Altogether, I’ll be saving about $200 a month being single- even including the increased spending I’ll be investing in my appearance (I got blonde highlights Saturday courtesy of my mom). My confidence is seriously up, and I feel better than I have in a year. Hopefully that will last.

The next few months will be nothing but interesting.