Tag Archives: short shoestring

If you will…

If you own a copy of Dave Ramsey’s book Total Money Makeover you will see, at the bottom of every page the following statement:

If you will live like no one else, later you can live like no one else!

There are so many people that are living with the bondage of debt.  I know, because in spite of all my reading, I still have debt.  Not as much as some people, but still enough that I am bound to my job and its hours.  I cannot just make a leap to the next adventure.  I have more than bills to pay, I have debts.

Being a good mom, I like to “talk” about these things with the two E’s in my life.  Of course to Emma it comes across as “the lecture” and sometimes I can feel her eyes rolling!  They’re both pretty patient with me however, and they are willing to listen.  They also have my copy of  ” that Ramsey book” which they may get to reading at least a little of.

Anyways, it was Eric’s birthday a few weeks ago and I wanted to get him something fun.  Apparently his car of choice is a 2008 Dodge Charger with a hemi.  First I thought I might get him a model of one – but it was raining and I didn’t have time to go biking or busing around the city looking for one.  Ditto for a puzzle.  So I made him a picture!  I googled images of the car in question and created a collage that ended up looking something like this:

Eric’s Birthday Card

Well, I guess you are going to have to click the link to see the card.  Another learning curve will be to get it to show up in the blog.  However, it is worth the click so go ahead.  I do have to say that it looks nice – although the frugal side of me cringes at the cost of gas!  But I really like the middle picture on the bottom row!  What a view!

So here’s your assignment (and mine of course) if you choose to play along.  What kind of things would you like to have in your life once your financial house is in order?  What will your life look like when you’ve made the changes you need or want to make?

What do you want your life to look like?

Something that makes me smile!

Owning my own business!

Seeing the world!

And that’s just the “me” stuff.  What about the charities I could support more fully?

Creating pictures of the things we want to accomplish can help us get there.

I got a colour copy of  Eric’s card at Digital Post for about $2.50.  That included extracting the file from my memory stick.  Then I bought a frame so that it can hang on the wall and inspire them both to read the book.  In a few years, maybe the car of choice will change, but I hope they get there! (Without the debt!) Sorry Emma, I had to put that in there too!

In the meantime, I too will chose to eat and spend differently than I have in the past so that I too will be able to live differently in the future!  Just think of what an adventure it will be!

Have a great day!

Marcia

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Little things & THE BIG PICTURE!

This post is inspired by a $8.25 dress that I haven’t even seen!  If you want to read more about it here’s the link:

http://www.getrichslowly.org/blog/2011/06/16/8-25-cents-worth-of-fun-what-do-you-think-of-small-splurges/

Even though I post mostly about my weight loss journey, a lot of the things I’m learning apply to the other colours of my parachute as well.

I guess my basic view of life  has been this:

Life can be long.  Life can be short.

Prepare for both!

The challenge is to balance them.  For instance, my sister is in town with her family.  It’s raining and they’ve been driving and seeing things for 2 weeks.  The best solution in my books is a quick visit to Value Village, pick up some movies at the library and some snacky things.  Then just kick back, relax and stay dry.

The snacky things may not be great for my weight loss or my budget, but they will be a change.  The movies are free from the library.  Value Village might be costly depending on what we find.  But we will have some fun.  Memories are made that way.

Sometimes something comes in your path – a crazy, silly once in a life-time kind of deal – even if it’s only $8.25.  Enjoy it.  For my 40th birthday I bought a black velvet dress and I enjoyed it immensely. And I enjoyed it often.  Three years ago in Paris I got my hair done. It was expensive!  It was fun!!  I’ve enjoyed the memory of it ever since! And I paid cash! (Just an aside there)

Today I might eat some things I don’t usually eat (just no bananas or grapes!) and I might buy something crazy.   But more than anything else, I hope I’ll create a memory with my sister and my nieces that we will revel in for years to come.

So here’s a question for you… How do you create your memories?  Do you find a good balance between the present and the future?  Feel free to share your ideas!  I might learn something new!

Marcia (who is glad she is dry!)

PS:  I’m almost finished paying off another credit card!  Yahoo!! Could I accomplish two goals in one year?  I wasn’t planning on it!

 

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Hurray for the Emergency Fund!

Many people I know don’t have one of these.  $1000 in a bank account that isn’t easily accessible, that you can go to if needed.  I do.  And I’m glad.

I started mine last summer because I had two fairly large chunks of money come to me – retro active pay from our wage contract, and a “medical” benefit that came into existence.  I didn’t use it for medicals – I used it for stress relief!

Yesterday I came to the conclusion that I needed to buy myself a video recorder.  Nothing fancy, mind you, but something that I could use to record my practicum teaching on Monday.  I got one.  Nothing fancy, but it does capture my voice and my actions and that’s what I needed.    I also needed to buy a memory card so that I can record the full hour that I’ll be teaching on Monday, but that was on sale at another store.  All in all, I spent under $100.

But it was an unexpected event and I did not want to use my credit card or my line of credit.

I took the C-train down to the end at Somerset where there were 3 stores for me to price-check.  I made my rounds and decided on this one, mostly because of the price.  It’s also nice and small and it takes still pictures as well, which means I don’t have to take my camera along.  The camera came from Futureshop and the memory card came from Staples.  Then I had to go back to everyone else and tell them I didn’t want what I had set aside (just in case someone else was in the same dire straits as I)

I did use my line of credit to pay for the camera, but I have $100 coming from ING to pay it back.   That’s why I’m happy this morning!

Some people, and Dave Ramsey (Total Money Makeover) recommends this, don’t add to their $1000 emergency fund until after the debts are paid off.  I’ve chosen to automatically transfer $10 per pay period to that account.  I still have the $1000 I want to have there, with a little bit to spare.  Somehow, in my head, I need it to stay at $1000.

If you don’t already have such a cushion socked away, start today.  It is very stress-relieving to know that an unexpected need isn’t going to blow your finances off track.

Now, back to making breakfast!

Have a great Friday, and if I don’t post before Monday, a great weekend.

Marcia

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Just a Tad Short!

Today was the day that I was planning to write a post about phoning one of my credit card holders and asking them to cancel the card.

Friday, being pay day, I made the “final” payment.  When I checked on line, however, I discovered that it was just at the cut off for the “month”  and I knew I was going to be dinged with another bit of interest!  Darn it all!

Yesterday I checked, and sure enough, my new balance was a whole 35 cents!  Ouch! Double Ouch!!  Triple Ouch!!!  Now why does this pittance of an interest payment bother me, when I’ve paid so much more in the past?

It bugs me because it’s funny.  It reminds me of my mom, who was in the same boat with someone else.  She responded by writing them a cheque for that amount on a leaf!

It bugs me because, if I’d paid the bill just a few days earlier, I would have avoided the extra charge and today, I would indeed have cause to celebrate.  Lesson learned:  watch the date due!  Online payments do take time to get from one place to another!

It bugs me because I don’t get to make the “cancellation  call” that I wanted to make today!

All that aside, this is my second achievement following Dave Ramsey’s Total Money Makeover.   A few blogs ago I showed you a picture of the graph for this particular debt.  Well, to save you from scrolling all the way down, here it is again!

So, you can see what happens when you go from making small payments to focused payments.

I thought I’d feel more relief now that this is done, but I don’t.  I guess that’s because there are a few more graphs that need working on!

Because I’ve been able to keep my other cards quietly at home, I’ve been making small payments on those.  The net result is that I now have less debt than at the beginning of the year, and more savings!

If you’re struggling with this, pop by your local library and get a copy of the Total Money Makeover.  Google it and see what others have to say.   Check out J.D. Roth’s blog, Get Rich Slowly.  Little changes, over time will make a huge difference!

Have a wonderful day!

Marcia

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It’s So Tempting!

I am trying to upload a graph from my Excel spread sheet, because I want to show  you my debt snowball.  In spite of all that I know – about personal finance and diet, I am still overweight and in debt.  But on both fronts we are making progress, and I wanted to show you that.  My solution – to take a picture of the computer screen and show you that way!

As you can see, I’ve graphed into the future, and right now I owe $50 and about $2 of interest.    In two weeks, or if I get some unexpected money, a bit earlier, this debt will be in the history books.

It is tempting, today, to just pay  it off – get it over with, move forward, and move on.  And, if I go into some of my less urgent savings  I could do just that.  I could skip the walking shoes (and have wet feet for two weeks if it gets slushy)  .  I could be incredibly broke for the next two weeks and revel in the delight of a credit card shredded and made into earrings or something.

I’ve decided, however, to live the next two weeks.  I will wait.  Like my weight, I did not get into this position over night, and I won’t get out of it so quickly either.

“The plans of the diligent lead surely to advantage.  But everyone who is hasty comes surely to poverty.” is what it says in Proverbs.  I can wait for two weeks for the joy of cancelling this card!

For those of you familiar with Dave Ramsey’s Debt Snowball, this debt should probably have been the last to be paid.  It had the lowest interest rate – and the lowest balance owed.  So why did I focus on this one?

This particular debt has been with me for a long time.  I got the card back in the heyday of “Balance Transfers”.  The offers of transfering high interest debt to a low interest credit card.  The  nice thing about this card was that the interest rate stayed low (4.99%) until I finished paying it off.  I’ve been paying on this card for a long, long time.  Psychologically this has been very motivating for me.

I decided to “attack” this little debt at about the same time I was struggling with that “plateau” in January.  As I steadily made the  larger payments ($75 per pay check + extra money) I also broke through the plateau and started losing.

I suspect that this temptation to “get it done” will hit me at more points in my journey.  But I choose to follow God’s advice and stick to the plan – it’s proved to be a good one so far!

I will try to make a weight-loss graph and post the two so you can see the correlation between the two.  At least the correlation I think is there!

I’m off to have my breakfast and go to the gym.  Have a wonderful weekend.

Marcia

 

 

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Snow, Snow and more Snow!

Good morning from Calgary, where we have a lot of snow.  And it’s mostly old snow from before Christmas, which is unusual for us.  It’s also mightly cold in the sunshine today, and I’m glad I don’t have many reasons to go outside!  I’ve been to the gym.  I got some groceries yesterday, and cream for the coffee for my Tupperware Party tonight!

I haven’t written much about my debt issues, although one of my credit cards has taken to whining a bit here.   I mentioned freezers and ovens, and that seems to have silenced the complaints!  I did also take MC Sears to his namesake store and used the accumulated points to get a pair of new running shoes.  But I’m sure my interest costs will be higher than the cost of the shoes in the long run!

Today was pay day, so I thought I’d  update you on the Green side of my life. Two small victories this year – I haven’t dipped into my overdraft!  One of my mini-goals is to stay away from that $4.99 hit on my chequing account!  I also have not used my credit card (M. C. Sears) once this month!

THE  SNOWBALL  NEWS…

I have a debt that is quite small, and has my lowest interest rate.  I’ve been paying $50 per month on this debt for years, and it has been slowly melting away.

Conventional wisdom suggests tackling the biggest debt. Or the one with the highest interest rate.  This particular debt ($675 on January 3) is my oldest debt.  It got established in the days when you could “Transfer Balances” to this new card at a lower interest rate, and this card holds that rate till the debt is paid off in full!

This debt, to tell the truth, is like a millstone around my neck.  It is always there.  For some reason, about a month ago I decided that this debt would be the first to go.  Like old baggage and clutter from the past, it just needs to go!

Since deciding to tackle that debt, I have reduced it, as of this morning to $275 dollars!  If I can manage to stick to this particular game plan, I will have it eliminated in just four pay cheques.   The end is in sight!

I have to stop writing just to rub my hands together in glee! (It also helps to warm them up!)

I By the time I finished my coffee and moved my money around, here’s what the numbers looked like:

Pay check:  just over $1000

Bills: $650 (including half the rent)      Debt repayment:   $206

Savings:  $75                            Money left for spending and giving: $120

Have a great day everyone!

Marcia

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Would you like to send me a Red Envelop?

Two posts in one day!  Got to be a record for me but I got this idea, and I’ve already started doing it, but I don’t want to leave you out if you want to be in on it!

A journey of 100 pounds is not a short one, in fact I expect it to last at least 2 years.  It’s also not a journey that you should take by yourself.  You need people to encourage you along the way.

I can’t tell  you how much it means to me when someone comments on the blog, or on Facebook, where I post a link.  It surely does keep me encouraged.

Somewhere along the way I got the idea of giving people an envelope (red of course) with a stamp and my address on it.  In the top left corner I wrote a number between 200 and 238.

Today I gave away three envelops at the doctor’s office.  My health team loved the idea.  All I asked was that they put something in the envelope – a “success” story, a recipe, an inspirational saying.  Nothing fancy, definitely nothing costly, but a surprise that I could open when I reached that number on the scale!

If you are on a similar journey, I think this is worth a try.  It’s not costly.  I got my red envelopes from a card store after Christmas.  The cards get sent back to the manufacturer but the envelopes get recycled.  If  you want different colours, wait for the right holiday and ask then!

If you see this on Facebook, send me a message.  Otherwise leave a comment on the blog.

I need all the help I can get!

Have a good night!

Marcia

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