Sunday, 28 December 2014

Meal Plan

I'm trying something a bit new that goes partly with one of my 2015 goals (which I will share in a later post). I know a few other blogs I follow do a similar thing and I always look forward to those posts. Extra bonuses when the include links! Nice way to get new ideas for recipes :) 

Monday: Appointment with the vet in a neighboring town, potluck kind of night
Tuesday: Oven ribs & Broccoli Salad
Wednesday: Left overs
Friday: Left overs
Saturday: Chili & Garlic Toast
Sunday: Left overs

A bread loaf is currently being made as I type this and it should last us the week. We also have all the basics for salads and veggie wraps for lunches so we should be good on the food front. We will be going grocery shopping tomorrow while our dog is at the vet getting her blood work done. We made the list of things we need tonight while we were meal planning together. G is taking charge this week as he is on vacation. He really enjoys cooking and I can’t tell who’s more excited: him to cook or me to eat delicious food! 

- M

Car Loan

Last night G & I had a long discussion about our upcoming finances for the New Year. We discussed a lot: extra payments on our mortgage, saving for the new truck, adding more to our investments. But we decided against all those, instead making our 2015 goal to pay off our car loan.

We won’t get the yearly statement until January but looking at the last two years of payment breakdowns (principle vs interest) we should have about $18,000ish left owing. Once the LOC is paid off (February) and our Emergency Fund is topped up (April) we have an extra $1400 to play with, so I definitely believe it’s doable by the end of the year considering we will still be making the regular weekly payments of $90.81. That also doesn’t include any extra money such as G’s overtime, bonuses or snowflakes.

G also agreed that it would be nice to only have to worry about one car payment, when we do purchase the truck, instead of two. And we could easily do a similar personal repayment plan with the new vehicle – just maybe not as aggressive, lol.

It’s pretty exciting to think this loan might be done 3 years earlier than originally planned! I’ve never made extra payments on a loan before so I’m hoping it’s easy to set up. We don’t deal with Scotia Bank at all other than this loan and there isn't a branch anywhere near us so fingers crossed it’s something we can arrange over the phone.

Does anyone have any experience with prepayments? We know it is an open loan so there should be no fees by paying it off early, correct? Thank you in advance for any insight someone may have!

- M

Saturday, 27 December 2014

Christmas Celebrations

Merry Christmas everyone!

I handled Christmas pretty good yesterday until I FaceTime'd with my entire family. Seeing and getting to talk to everyone individually as my mom's iPad got passed around the table, made me miss home for the first time since we've moved -- even last year I didn't take it as badly. I think seeing my grandma start crying and then my dad tear up near the end of the conversation is what really tugged at my heart the most. I had a good cry after I hung up with everyone.

But the show must go on! G was going to be working that evening so we offered to have his partners for the night shift over for Christmas dinner before they started. He is currently going thru a separation with his wife and doesn't have any family living here, so we invited him. We ate ham, mashed potatoes and herb bread; watched the first Die Hard movie (hey it's Christmas-y!) and played Rummy for a bit until they had to go. It was actually a pretty fun evening and definitely brightened my mood.

This was our view on Christmas: I live in a winter wonderland ;)

Money wise: things are alright. LOC isn't where I want it to be but G had to purchase some stuff for the detachment so instead of $700 going to the LOC it went to pay the credit card -- we are hoping that expense cheque gets deposited before the end of the month so we can have our consumer debt at an even $3000 for the New Year. I'm still hoping for it to be paid off in full by January but I'm guessing it will be closer to February. January is a three paycheque month for me so there will be a tiny bit of extra money & G has his overtime and catch up pay from his raise that happened at the end of October that still needs to be paid out - but who knows when that will be.

I'm very excited for my year end wrap up & my goals for the upcoming year :o)

I hope everyone had a safe and happy Christmas!!

- M

Sunday, 14 December 2014

Using What We Have

Since as long as I’ve been blogging we have been on the quest to clear out and organize our freezer and pantry. These past two weeks we have made great strides in the right direction. Our food reserve was so out of control we did not have to go grocery shopping for two weeks! Tomorrow I finally have to give in and go, as we need vegetables and a few items for dinners this week – all of which happen to be on sale at the local grocery store aswell. Yay!

Although we have been working towards using what we have, I think actually doing an inventory of our deep freezer a few weeks back was actually the biggest motivator. We had a lot of meat in that freezer and still have a good amount left. The pantry items tend to be more side dishes to those are a bit more easy to add once we have the main dish decided on. It’s definitely been nice to use up what we have. I’m hoping to be under budget with groceries this month.

Groceries have been on my mind a lot recently, in regards to our spending spreadsheet. I should have been doing this all along and for some this is going to be a no brainer but I’ve started to break down our grocery trips into categories. See before if we would go to the store I would just put that trip all into the grocery category, but when we go to places like Costco or Walmart I’m mostly stocking up on paper goods, dog food, etc; so my grocery budget looks insane for only two people. This new way of thinking (new for me at least) only dawned on me this month but it’ll be interesting to see in the New Year what we really spend on food as I definitely think, receipt break down or not, that is our biggest room for improvement. Oh well, better late than never.

If anyone else tracks their spending do you do a similar thing with your grocery shops? I’m debating where to put things like paper goods, cleaning products, etc. Home category? Shopping? Any advice?

- M

Sunday, 7 December 2014

Retirement Milestone

I dislike the beginning of the month. Or at least until the mortgage goes thru the account: then I’m good. We planned this month just perfectly though. I got paid on Friday but nearly 50% of my pay cheque goes to savings so I had to do some calculating and we will have $3.70 Tuesday night after the mortgage and house insurance goes thru. nervous laughter…Talk about the skin of our teeth! Wednesday G gets paid so we won’t even notice that sad number in our account.  We do have an overdraft on our account but I really hate using it. I’m glad to say we haven’t in over a year now that we are tracking our spending and have a shared iCalendar with the dates of all our bills and automatic payments. It’s literally paying off to be organized with our finances. J

            Speaking of organizing our finances: I have official crossed the $5000 mark in my retirement accounts ($5043.15 to be exact)! I have my retirement savings in a TFSA, which I opened in January and a Spousal-RRSP mutual fund, that we opened mid-April. I’m excited for next year to see what kind of headway I can make investing for an entire year. I’m aiming for $15,000 in the accounts, give or take with the markets I definitely think it’s do-able. Either way I’m very excited and proud. We all have to start somewhere!

            Okay, the last bit of good news. The company I work for had their fiscal year end October 31st, so in December there is always the possibility of a raise and/or bonus. This year I got both! The raise was only ten cents (lol) but at least it’s better than nothing, but my bonus surprised me quite a bit. $1,125! That is nearly two paycheques for me so I was extremely pleased. This is before taxes of course but what ever is deposited will go straight to our debt. Originally I wanted to split it half TFSA, half debt but after G and I talked it over with both agreed the sooner we could have the LOC gone the better. But I also asked that once we have everything taken care of and he gets an overtime payment that isn’t going to debt if I can make a $600 deposit into my TFSA to make up for my bonus, which he said yes of course.  So I’m happy with that.

            I’ll be watching these last few pay cheques for G very carefully. If he doesn’t get any overtime payment he will stay in the lower tax bracket but if he gets any payout it’s going to be extremely close. We do have my RRSP he can claim to help but we may have to allocate more if this happens just to help him get back to the lower bracket. Sorry taxman, I’m not going to let this one pass me now that I know what I’m doing and looking for. It's all about dat planning ;) 

- M