Success on two fronts! I sold two items on Kijiji today for a total of $235. I gave my son a $5 fee for his help so I have $230 plus a $3 pinecone cheque to go to my LOC. Hurray! I'm also on day 7 without cigarettes. Not one puff. I know could start again in a heartbeat. Staying away from smokers for a while. Will update my sidebar soon.
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I've got the cash flow blues. As some of you know I don't have any cards that carry a balance except for the one I'm paying off. I'm an Amex gal. Gotta love a card that needs to be paid off in full every month. But since much of my Christmas and corporate spending is on there it can really affect my cash flow every once in a while. I'll be back to normal at the beginning of February. I need to get started on that Christmas fund! I've been saying it for a few year. This year I have to make it happen!
And Day 5 of no smoking. Better today.
The nicotine patch is great! It's the stupid habits that are getting in the way. Fortunately the dreams are bizarre but I am not having nightmares. Last night I was smoking in my dreams. The overall dream theme was that I lost my car and was walking with a co-worker all over the city trying to find it. In reality I was so angry last night. No reason, just withdrawal. This morning I am weak - fortunately there are no cigarettes in the house or I would likely have one. Well maybe.
And I missed my SA friends yesterday. I still can't log in. I have to go to an old post and get in that way. I should probably reboot.
I've got the patch on, nicotine lozenge parked against my gum. I've thought about lighting up at least a dozen times in the last few hours. No cigarettes in the house thank goodness. I've brought out the camera and taken a few pictures, just finished a sketch in the old sketch book. Time to try a few glasses of ice water. Last cigarette was at 7:00 pm last night. Jonesing is just such a perfect word to describe my physical and mental withdrawal. The big part is the habitual activites - eat, smoke, read, smoke, TV, smoke, phone, smoke...
Just checking in to see how everyone is doing. None of my listings have sold and my e-bay buy now has expired. Share your successes!
I've read a few blogs about a challenge for January. Is there someone here that will coordinate it? I'm off line for several days but would like to participate.
I know this is ridiculous. I have a great life, somewhat balanced (doesn't look like it today:-))
For some crazy reason I am really pissed at my colleagues. I've worked like a dog this year, harder than most. Yet this year I did not get one single holiday gift. Nothing from my suppliers, my bosses, of which I have three. Nothing from the company I have been assigned to help. Nada. In the '80's we were always comped with gifts and cash. I know things have changed. But not one thing this year. And I gave out gifts and cards too. But what really makes me mad is this anger and bitterness I feel. Really? Even though I am financially secure, employed, and loved? So I'm mad at myself. I can't figure out if I expected to be thanked in the form of a gift. Is it because I feel entitled, or am I just materialistic, or what? Last year the gifts flowed. Any input would be appreciated. I'm not usually whacked out. But today I am!
It's been a very full week or two. Much to report financially and otherwise. First, to focus on the positive:
I am very grateful to the wonderful medical team at our local hospital. My husband had ACL surgery this week and is now hobbling around nicely. We are very fortunate to have access to good (and kind) medical professionals.
I was recognized for my contributions at work this week, twice! I am thankful that this employer appreciates my work.
I am very grateful for my job in general. I have hit my financial target this year due to timely payment of my expenses yesterday. Will post my success as soon as it hits the account.
My family has received extremely bad news about three family members and their health. I have not quite digested all of it and can't even get it into words on a page. However, I am so very fortunate to have a very good, strong, supportive, and loving family and circle of friends who are supporting us.
And again, I am grateful for my savingadvice.com buddies for sharing their lessons - both good and bad.
Wow, it's a wonderful life!
Thank you all for your best wishes regarding my quest to quit smoking. Sometimes it all falls into place. Last night I was given 4 boxes of patches with nicorette gum. This means I get to try two methods without investing in something that might not work for me. Next week I have a meeting with a different agency who provide 5 weeks of patches free of charge if you plan to quit within 30 days. That would be me! What a gift! I've been using the mints I bought last week and they are fabulous. So far I've avoided 7 smokes. I wish I could say that's per day but no, 7 smokes over the last few days. Better than a kick in the head as my Mother would say.
In other news I scored on a Christmas gift today. I was looking for a duvet, and they run about $200. I found one on sale that was a very good quality marked down to $99. The plastic casing was damaged so I asked if it could be marked down further and they gave me another 10% off at the cash. And once it was scanned it was actually down to $49. With the 10% off the final tally was $43! Now that's an amazing deal.
I just finished my 4th class on smoking cessation. It sure is different from the old days. Long ago it was run by the lung association and only discussed the medical implications. Now they discuss neurological habits (ie - body responses to lifting your arm), habits, reframing by during neurolinguistic programming, withdrawal and available aids etc. This is working for me. When I started the class I expected my success as a one out of ten. I was a three out of ten on Tuesday. But today I tried a nic mint and it worked! Mind you, it only made me delay for 45 minutes but I wasn't nutso coo-coo needing one. It was strictly a habititual smoke break - I finished reading the paper, therefore outside for a smoke. I'm thinking these new aids might work this time. I think I'm up to a four out of ten!
Meantime, what's with all the famale spam that's on everone's page. Can't this get blocked by the moderators? Please?
Just watching the Grey Cup and have had a relaxing weekend. I needed it. Fighting a cold. Again. Hosted a wonderful dinner on Friday. And will be joining in the family Christmas festivities on December 15th and 16th. One of the things I've learned from tracking expenses is the many items I spend money on but didn't budget for. So to my list I will add the neighbourhood Christmas gathering (a pot luck gift exchange plus byob so need to budget at least $50, the friends Christmas gathering (probably $125 including gifts, wine, food), and the family gathering (food and wine so likely $75). On a good note I am not hosting so I've likely saved a good $250 that would cover a cleaning lady, food, bar, etc. One other event that needs to be in my budget is my "Sista" shopping day. It is probably one of my favourite days of the year where we go shopping at a mall, have lunch and dinner, and laugh until we convulse. Looking at my tabs I need to add another $60 easy for the food. Logic tells me I should not participate but it's just so outside our normal routine of being frugal and it brings us so much joy so I'll keep it in. So all in all another $300 that I need to include in some sort of play fund.
I am looking forward to next weekend where I will be able to blog the reduction of my line of credit to under $9K. As long as my expenses go through. Perhaps I'll have to wait until the week after that.
My regular contribution of $125 per week plus any surplus funds will be suspended as of November 30th to cover Christmas gift expenses. I will be back at it in January.
I can't imagine what it will be like in December 2013 when I am free of this line of credit debt. I am practicing my happy dance.
I took myself out to dinner tonight. A wonderful $7 dinner at Whole Foods. Outstanding. Now you might recall that I've been cutting way down on eating out at lunch. I spent $28 for all of October so I am very happy with that.
But tonight I treated myself as I waiting for my meeting to start. I have joined a smoking "butt out" group at our local hospital. Good for me! I ranked 10 out of 10 on my motivation to quit smoking but 1 out of 10 on the chances I'll be successful. That's something I'll have to work at because I really enjoy smoking but it's making me sick too often.
So the celebratory dinner was so very worth it!
I'll keep working on the lunches. Room for improvement for sure, but that's only 4 lunches out of 23. Not too bad.
Unfortunately I just stocked up on my cigarettes and I'll have to figure out how to sell off the extra 2 cartons I bought. Surely someone will buy them...
And hey, to lighten up the meeting I asked to sit in the smoking section :-)
I finally decided to opt out of hosting Christmas this year. I've hosted more than 12 Christmas parties for the extended family over the last 15 years. And it stresses me out! And that makes me crabby. It also makes my chronic disability much worse. And then I thought about it on the financial front. Between the cleaning lady (don't laugh - it saved my marriage), making sure the bar is stocked, and providing the main dish, etc. it can really add up. Everyone is very generous in contributing but as a hostess you still have to ensure that everything from the Christmas crackers to the ice are on hand. I felt I had to have everything covered in case someone didn't bring the right amount.
I also host a late Spring family event every May/June.
So I'm free! Some guilt but I think it's better than the stress. Are any of you in the same situation where you fulfill an obligation and then come to resent it? Any confirmation that I am not being a selfish cheapskate is appreciated - oops, guilt is creeping in...
I am doing yet another happy dance, or perhaps to be current, the Gangnam dance (google it if you don't get the reference). I finally have the line of credit under $10K. I am fortunate to be able to get a good mileage payment for all of my meetings and that's helped a lot. In an effort to get the balance under $9K for the end of the year I am doing all sorts of things for extra cash. Tomorrow I have another food tasting event that pays $20. Lots of Pinecone surveys that I do as soon as they come in. I'm also cutting down on expenses for lunches - last week I spent $3.57 in total for the whole week. Mostly because I had three days where others bought me lunch. And I brought my lunch to work the other two days.
I want to thank you all for your support on this journey. I'm so grateful to read your blogs and get new ideas as well as your feedback.
On another note, I added $70 to my emergency fund. I'd rather put the money toward the line of credit to cut down on interest costs but I received good news about my sib. Some of you were on board when I asked for support when my sib had a liver transplant. Well, she needs a new one as this one is failing. We just found out she may get one in the next 6 months! Good Lord, I thought we were a few years away but the guide lines have changed and she's been put on the short list. I was laughing with her yesterday about it. Darned organ failure! It really messes up the finances :-)
Cut back on a few things and received a large mileage payment to find the $500. I'm down under $10,500. I can see the $9,000 by the end of the year. Hey, I might even starting visiting local wishing fountains-that'll pay it off faster :-)
I did well last week and didn't spend anything on lunches. No vending machines either. I have the lunch supplies for this week as well including fruit and nuts. I did splurge and spend $1.25 on a cat toy :-)
Do you ever get to the point where you just want to go to the store and just buy something? I've hit that point and I actually bought some junk food today for the family. Including $4 on ice cream (on sale of course!). I haven't bought ice cream in 6 months? But I could go wild and buy new flooring and Christmas items. But I am resisting as I wrestle the line of credit to get it under $11,000. Will meet that target this Friday or next.
As posted earlier by another blogger, the gremlins are here as well. Drove a half hour to quickly take care of housekeeping issues at head office. The payroll system was down for maintenance so I was unable to put in my expenses; I tried to pick up my laptop that was in for updating and IT couldn't find it; and the supplies I needed from the old storage area on the 5th floor were not accessable because the old freight elevator was out of service. Too much stuff to carry down 5 flights of stairs. I hate wasting time!
Can you give us an update on your dog and your neighbour?
A very good weekend. Did my budgeting, looks like I might meet that goal of getting under 11K on the LOC by mid September. Lunches are made for the week, as well as a few sweets which is what tends to send me to the vending machine. I'm slightly over budget on the groceries because I found two sale items for the freezer, and was $65 under budget last week so I'm a little low on the basics. So far it's going really, really well with writing down everything I spend. As much as I hate it I really do love knowing exactly what I spend.
I'm looking forward to a good week!
My planned lunch date fell through at the last minute so no lunch or vending machine items purchased all week. That's a first in many, many years. And I had 2 NSD this past week. Don't think I've ever done that before in this lifetime. Was able to do a taste testing for $20 and will add this to the LOC debt payment. It feels good!
I've always asked that my lessons be gentle ones. Tracking my daily spending has revealed some spending that I haven't included in my budget. Fortunately they are small items that are indeed gentle. Three items I need to include are vitamins, parking for medical appointments, and grocery spending while at the cottage. I completely overlooked the vitamin costs and the parking expenses. Perhaps $30 a month in total (won't know until I do a summary - I see an excel spreadsheet in my future). I also include the extra grocery costs in my budget when I do plan to go up north, but I didn't include enough.
Another lesson is that I need to start putting money into my Christmas fund throughout the year. Here's a very good reason: while away I came across a wonderful store that I have been to many times but it's pricey. They are going out of business and everything is 40% off. Naturally I had to capitalize on this opportunity. I bought ten Christmas gifts plus stocking stuffers for $272. Fastastic savings but not a planned expense. And it should have been as I start Christmas shopping early every year.
This is week two of planning lunches. I know I have a luncheon on Wednesday that I need to pay for. It's in my budget. While on vacation last week I thought about ways to make it more create and healthier. I've stocked up on fruit. Off to make the lunches.
So I've given much thought to feedback about my cash flow. I've decided to make my lunches for the next week. I bought the "subway meat" mix which is basically the ends of all the deli meat. It's 88 cents per 100 grams which is about a third of the price of all the other deli meats. With a loaf of sliced french bread for a buck 99 I made up 5 lunches and put them in the freezer. I used less than half a loaf. I've packed up some fresh lettuce and cukes and plums and I'm all set. Less than $5 for the whole week. Stay away from the vending machine... I get free coffee/tea/hot chocolate/fake chicken soup. I should be able to save a fortune this week!
I'm reading an interesting book about debt payoff called $10 per day. After all these blogs I am so happy to have two good ideas after reading just a few chapters. The first one is to contact the mortgage provider and ask for a secure line of credit. I asked for $12K to get my rate down on my credit card. They offered me $120K so I could have them pay the fees for a secured loan. I don't want that much! That's just crazy. Geez, they just throw that money around.
You would think that now that I have $100 extra per pay to go toward my remaining debt now that I've paid off Visa that nothing would change with my cash flow. But I'm short this week and was short last week too. I don't mean I can't make my payments, I mean that I can't find the cash to make the extra payments to power pay down my remaining debt. There have been two changes this month that might explain part of it. First, I've started going out every week with a dear old friend, and it's about $32 every other week. And second, now that work is a little more balanced I have time to take a lunch break and have been lazy and buying fairly cheap lunches a couple days a week. Well that adds up. But in the mean time I've looked at my old journals from paying off the last credit card and I see that I was also adding anything I didn't spend (no more parking cost for example) and adding that to pay down the outstanding debt. So where is this cash going? I'm going to do some research in my payment history and see what I can find. Meantime, I have reduced the debt another $200 in the last several weeks. Any suggestions for how I am straying?
I'm happy that I can tackle my line of credit now that the Visa is paid off. It's a hefty one at $12,435.00. My goal is to kick $5,000 to the curb by the end of 2012 and have it fully paid off in 2013. It's my one and only credit card debt. So far I've paid off $347 but the monthly interest is more than $87 per month even at 8.4%! One of the great rewards of paying down debt is seeing that monthly interest amount drop like a stone. I can do it!
Yup, that's right, this entry is about shoes. Some of you may recall that I said that after my Visa was paid off I was going to go out and buy a new pair of shoes. I work in the corporate world and need solid decent shoes that look professional. And I wear flats - many years of uber high heeled disco shoes have destroyed my feet. The shoes that I wear are the Ecco brand and they are pricy at about $175 a pair. The ones I am currently wearing have a split seam at the sole, and I have a very discrete twist tie holding the decorative clasp together, along with duct tape on the inside to cover the gap by the sole (I know you are laughing at this and getting an incredible visual).
So I'm at Value Village (used stuff for cheap) looking for curtains - hey, why by new? And I stop by the shoe aisle. And low and behold, there are my exact shoes, brand new, never worn, same colour, same brand, for $11.99. I absolutely swooned! They are a Euro 41, mine old ones are a Euro size 40. Not such a big difference. So I saved myself at least $160 + 13% tax.
And the funny thing is that I got my original shoes for free because a product I received as a Christmas gift fell apart after a few months and they sent me a gift card.
As Julie Andrews sang in the Sound of Music "sometime in my youth, or childhood, I must have done something good".
I sure won't keep Ecco in business but I love their product!
I am always salivating over Ima's incoming checks. Today, in great "Ima" style I received 2 checks. One for dish soap that I did a survey on, and one for a complaint I sent regarding a new frozen pizza. Total checks $12.38. Will put that in my EF fund. And I'm doing another taste test tomorrow for another $20. Awesome!
I am feeling guilty. I have a very good friend who is always dropping by and helping themselves to my food and drink. This happens at least once a week, often two or three times a week. I am happy to have this person visit but they never call and ask if it's a good time. When I visit them they always ask me to bring food and wine. So it has always been unbalanced. This person owns a home worth more than $700,000 with no mortgage and has the cash flow to do big renos like windows and new air conditioner and furnace. I don't have that cash flow. So it's not like this person is cash poor or broke. Or hungry!
A year ago when I realized how much this is costing me I requested that this person start a BYOB effort. Food I can handle but the drinks really add up. For a while the BYOB thing worked by now it's just getting out of hand, costing me time (making sure I have everything stocked for drop in guests), and money. Plus I feel like I have no control about my plans as this person may stop by any time. When I mentioned the BYOB this person became angry and told me I was cheap. So far this year I know it's been in excess of $1,000 so I reminded this person about contributing. Now they are mad at me, and dropped off a check for $200. This has really damaged our relationship which I really honour.
Am I being cheap? Please give me your honest input. And would you cash the check?
I had a great garage sale. Mostly social, and I missed the dealers, but still made $65. All the dealer stuff (glassware, etc.) is now stored away for next year's sale. I found a loonie today ($1.00 coin for non Canadians). I really need to tally up how much found money I have. I have kept a loose list - will report on that later. Coin counting machines and gas stations seem to be the best for finding money.
I have worked the numbers and plan to have the Visa paid off this Friday. Fingers crossed that I have no surprises. I have my dancing shoes ready for a happy dance.
OK, paid off another bit. Down under $2,000. I hope to get it paid off in May. I need to manifest $472.56 so this is gone by end of May. I did an interesting food tasting yesterday for $20. It was really interesting and enjoyable. I'll do it again any time! Otherwise this won't be gone until mid June. Send it up there folks!
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