I love a new year!
I'm working today and tomorrow. When I get home tonight we're having some family and friends over. We provide all the fixings, appetizers, and side dishes, and everyone brings their own main course...usually seafood and steaks. Dh will get the barbeque up and running and feed the kids before everyone arrives, and then they go watch videos and play air hockey, games, read etc. until the adults finish dinner and cards. We start the dancing around 11:00, and, hopefully, everyone goes home at 12:15! Just kidding, but I can always hope!
My goals for 2006:
1) To go for a walk at least 3 times a week with Dh.
2) To cut my hours at work down to 30.
3) To eat 5 fruits/vegetables every day.
4) To participate in the $5000 challenge.
5) To increase our net worth by 10% by: continuing to take advantage of our pension plans at work
continuing to add to our RRSP every month
adding extra money into our mortgage
not dipping into savings for monthly expenditures
adding all extra, unexpected money into our savings account
6) Figure out where to put the extra money that is sitting in the savings account.
7) To have friends over at least once a month. We have tons of great friends that we've known for ages, and we usually see them once or twice a year. I would like to increase this and rediscover some of those friendships.
I'll add anything else that I think of as the week goes on!
Archive for December, 2005
I love a new year!
I am so excited to get this started!
I started with $20.00 and added $10.00 from a scratch and win ticket that I got for Christmas.
Dh got a letter today from his old job (he left there in the spring after working there for 15 years) explaining that they are sending him a $1200.00 cheque because when the insurance company they were all paying into was bought out in 1997, there was a huge amount of money that was never handed over to the new company. Now, all the businesses that had their plans there are entitled to a share, and that is subdivided into all the employees that worked there between 1993 and 1997. Wow! How great is that? I LOVE unexpected money!
We had our niece and nephews sleep over last night. It's 1:00 in the afternoon and they're all still here...6 kids between ages 5 and 11...it's loud, and the Christmas season is catching up to them...they'll be going home soon (before the fighting starts) and then we're going to have a quiet afternoon and evening. I planned on going to the cheap movies, but there's nothing playing that anyone wants to see, so we'll hold off. The first run theatre near our house charges $12.00 for adults and $8.00 for kids. That would be 48 dollars for two hours (without snacks!).
I returned from Wal Mart. I bought 4 teacher gifts for next year (Christmas towel and oven mitt sets), 3 board games for 5 year old birthday parties, 2 board games for 12 year old birthday parties, 3 dvds for gifts, 2 thick front door mats with a snowmen on them, make-up (for moi), Christmas cards and Christmas napkins for next year. All told I spent $94.00. However, I used my gift card, so I only paid $69.00. The board games will come out of January's gift expenses, and all the Christmas items will come out of the Christmas account ($100.00 per month goes in there). I have a separate 'health and beauty' envelope and that will take care of the make-up.
Good thing I watched the till totals, too, or I would have paid $7.88 for each of the 4 teacher gifts instead of $3.94!
Our open house went really well. We had over 50 people come (not all at the same time, thank goodness!), and just about everyone brought a little snack or something to drink, so we actually have some food left, and LOTS of alcohol. Maybe I'll start drinking...a little wine for breakfast...something to think about.
Today is a relaxer. I don't go back to work until Friday. We'll be going to my Mom's for dinner, the kids are having a cousin sleep over, and I'm planning on doing some shopping at Wal Mart to pick up Christmas cards, wrap, gifts etc. for next year. The house is tidy and I don't have to cook today because of all the leftovers. I took a Suze Orman dvd out of the library last week, so maybe I'll have time to watch that today, too.
Tomorrow I'm taking a friend to the hospital in the morning for some tests. That will probably take a few hours, but I didn't want her to go alone. I'll bring a book and read while I'm waiting for her. We're hoping to meet up with another friend of ours for dinner tomorrow night.
I won't be saving money today as I plan to go shopping, but I do have a $25.00 gift card that I received for Christmas and I will use it today at my Wal Mart shop. I also need to go to the bank and deposit the Christmas cheques that we got. They equal around $450.00. My mom always gives the kids each a magazine subscription and we get a cheque that we use towards a yearly membership (the zoo, aquarium, Science World) etc. The one we have now runs out in March, so the kids have a few months to decide where they'd like the membership to be to this year.
Happy holidays to everyone! We had a great Christmas at our house and a wonderful time with the family, extended and otherwise. Tomorrow is our big Open House and we always have a fun day. I'll be running off to Costco in the morning for some quick and easy snacks, the house is clean and will get a quick pick-me-up, and we'll be ready to go. I like to spend my time with our company and don't worry too much about whatever else is going on...plus, there's always an abundance of children around and it doesn't matter what the house looked like at the beginning of the party because it's always a mess after the first 15 minutes!
I've been working on setting some financial goals for 2006, which will include:
1) Topping our emergency fund up to be $10,000--this is an increase of $4000.
2) Bringing our mortgage down to $80,000 from 90,000.
3) Changing our life insurance so if anything happens to dh or I we will not HAVE to have outside employment.
4) Cutting my hours at work down to average 32 hours per week.
Dh is still pondering buying a new (or new to him) vehicle. I'm trying to convince him that if his car dies, we can manage with one vehicle. Mine is a 1996 Dodge Caravan in perfectly good condition, and since we usually work opposite hours, and are both working close to home, this should not be a problem. If, on the odd occasion, we really needed a second vehicle, I could always take a taxi to work, as it's only 7 minutes away.
We will be participating in the $20 to $5000 challenge, and I am enjoying plotting my game plan...
Yep, it's that time of the season...cleaning time. Actually, scrubbing time. From dusting to bathrooms, my house needs a good old fashioned scrub! Where is the maid? Oh, yeah, I don't have a maid...now I'm just stalling so I don't have to start.
Dh has gone out with his Dad for the day. They do this every year at Christmastime...shop, go for dinner, drink at fil's club, and then Dh stays overnight. It's nice for them, and nice for me because the kids are quite happy with eggs and toast for dinner. We'll have a popcorn and movie night and then early to bed for everyone...in freshly laundered sheets in tidy, vacuumed bedrooms. Sounds like I better get off here and get moving!
Dd is still sick...up through the night. I'm glad that I didn't have to work today.
Took ds11 to do his banking and Christmas shopping today. We came home, had lunch, and went to the library. I took out some books on home businesses...hoping somewhere I'll get an idea on how to turn $20 into $5000!
I read somewhere on here about someone applying for a rebate that they wouldn't have done if they didn't use this site...it got me thinking. When I was born we lived in the U.S. and my grandparents gave me a Savings Bond, which at maturity would be worth $100. Well, I've had it for 39 years, went online last night, and found out that it's now worth just under $500 and was only interest bearing for 30 years, so for the last 9 it's been doing nada! It was just something that I had and never really thought about, but $500 isn't just crackerjack money. All I need to do now is figure out how to cash it in, and that will probably be the first entry in my challenge...I think this is on the up and up because I did post somewhere that I would be counting all money that came my way that wasn't given for a gift, or from our regular jobs. Oh, wait, it was given for a gift. Not this year, though. I'm counting it unless someone tells me I'm cheating!
My sweet little girl has the flu...she caught it from her best friend, whose house she slept over at two nights ago. Yuck! Poor kid. Hopefully, the boys don't catch it, and if they do, we'll just hope it's gone by Christmas Eve when the family is coming over to our house!
Work was soooo quiet today. I really wanted to come home early, but stayed for the duration and cleaned my in box. I was given two bottles of wine and a box of cookies for Christmas from some of our customers...very nice and unexpected.
Things I did to save money today:
1) Waited until I got home to eat since I didn't bring lunch.
2) Ate leftovers when I got home.
3) Made a chicken noodle soup for dinner from the leftover roast chicken we had Sunday and vegetables that were getting a tad limp in the fridge.
4) Set up a craft centre for dd5 from leftover craft supplies that we had at work and were going to be thrown out. This will keep him busy and happy for hours. Five year olds who like glue sticks, construction paper and ribbons are my favourites!
I went out shopping with my friend tonight and spent approximately $200.00. I still have money left in the Christmas account. This never happens and I could go into shock at any time! I am almost done with all my shopping. I still would like to get one thing for ds5 and a few little gifts for just in case. You know those just-in-case people who show up at your door with a gift when you weren't expecting it and then there's that awkward pause where you're supposed to go get their gift for them, but you can't because you didn't buy them anything? Yep, those just-in-case gifts...chocolates, wine, lottery tickets...all safe bets.
Oh, I also finished writing up the Christmas cards tonight. There's no way they'll get to anyone's house by Christmas, but they are done, so now I won't have a guilty feeling everytime I receive one. Is it my fault the postal service is soooo slow? I think not!
I worked today, and I work tomorrow (only until 2:30) and then I'm off until Friday. Friday should be extremely slow, and I plan on spending most of it in my office catching up on everything that I've been putting off doing for no better reason than I haven't felt like doing it. Since I have most of the next week off, I should at least put in an effort to have done what I should've finished last week.
Wednesday and Thursday we will clean up the house, wrap gifts, do some baking, and make our gingerbread house. I know this sounds ambitious, but I have trouble actually sitting still, so it should all get done. I would love to take the kids out both days and do something fun. I'm thinking skating, swimming, bowling, a movie...we'll see what mood we're in.
I still don't have goals set for 2006. This, and trying to think up ideas for the $20 challenge, is keeping my mind going constantly. I go to sleep thinking about it and wake up thinking about it. The only actual decision that I've made is that I think about money too much!
I went shopping with my best friend yesterday, five year old in tow...big mistake. I found one thing that I needed for dd and that was it. I spent 60.00 on 3 gifts, 2 tablecloths and a whack of batteries. Then I spent 30 on lunch because it was my turn to buy. Oh, I also spent 7.00 on a breakfast bagel for ds that he then wouldn't eat, and a specialty coffee for me...a gingerbread latte...it was yummy! So $97.00 gone for not much. Now I still have to finish my shopping, but I will go by myself next week, at night, and no distractions. I will finish early in the week, have my wrapping done before Christmas eve, and be able to RELAX. I put pressure on myself to do up a wonderful Christmas, and I know that if I scaled down a bit, nobody would really notice (or care for that matter).
I am trying to think up goals for managing and saving money for 2006. I reached the ones that I set for this year, but am stuck on what I want to accomplish. There isn't any one thing that stands out. How is everyone else doing?
Let's start with the good. I went through the closet where I hide gifts and found a LOT of stuff that I'd purchased through the year and forgot about, so I actually have less to buy than I thought.
Teacher Gifts: Boxing day week last year, I bought snowmen plates, oven mitts and matching tea towels. I bought enough for 6 teachers assuming each child has two. Only dd has two teachers, but ds11's teacher is male so ds picked out a book that he though he' d enjoy. We gave one of the plate ensembles to the school librarian because we all love her. Each of these gifts totalled $2.50, except for the book which cost 19.00, but I had a 13.00 gift card that I used, so I paid $16.00 for 5 gifts.
While shopping, I picked up something for each of the 2 older kids that they both need and will be thrilled with. Total cost was 17.00.
Lunch out while shopping cost 12.00 for ds5 and I.
Tonight we went to buy all our holiday food for open houses. We also bought a Secret Santa gift for dh's work, a gift for a child for a giving tree, two pasta dinners for the food bank, and I started the gift for my boss. Altogether we spent 150.00 at Superstore but I used the $90 in points that I've accumulated over the year, so there was 60.00 out of my pocket.
My brother and I decided to buy each of the 5 cousins a gift certificate to a different store. So I got my nephews gifts today, too.
Tomorrow I am power shopping with my best friend. I've got my list and I am ready to go....
We're heading off shortly to ds5's Christmas concert at school. What is it about kindergarten that makes the kids at their cutest? I think it must have to do with their innocence while trying to be such independent 'big kids'! You gotta love 'em!
We had fun last night at Girls' Night. I really love my sils and adore my nieces...they are the best girls in the world (after my own darling daughter, who is not quite old enough to join us in the evening girl events because 11:30 is a little late on a school night!).
I didn't spend any money today. Lunch was provided at the long and boring workshop we had to attend for work. I can't believe I wasted a day doing that...didn't learn anything at all.
Tomorrow and Friday I'll be doing some mega Christmas shopping...I will be biting the bullet and hopefully finishing the loose ends that I've left. I still need some things for the kids and Dh. I know what I have to pick up for my nephews and my parents...aaah...I need to get something for my boss, too. I'm always on her to eat something so I think I might make her a gift basket to keep at work full of snack foods that she can munch on at her desk.
I'll post my totals spent tomorrow night...
I'm just heading over to sil's for girls' night. I'm going to pick up my nieces on the way and we're staying to watch the season finale of Amazing Race. I've hardly watched it all season, but I want to spend time with the girls. I have managerial training tomorrow...woohoo! I'm sure it will be a thrilling 5 hours!
The extra money that was deposited into our account is Dh's travel expenses from September through November...wow! That's a lot of money...way more than expected! We got a Christmas card from my step-grandmother with a cheque in it for 500.00. It's funny how sometimes money comes in like water! We feel very lucky. Most of it will go into savings, and we will be a little loose with the wallet for the rest of it.
Had a busy weekend at work. Last night Dh and I left ds11 in charge and went for a 45 minute walk while the kids were watching AFV. They all love that show. It's nice to have a little freedom what with ds finishing his babysitting course I don't mind leaving hiim in charge for small amount of time if I'm close by.
I am taking ds for a haircut this afternoon. He's been growing his hair long because all his friends are going that route, but he's tired of it being in his eyes, having to gel it down, blah blah blah, so he wants it cut short which is totally fine by me as I think he looks really cute with shorter hair. I think that'll be the only money that I spend today...
I was doing my banking over the phone today and realized that Dh was paid an extra payment of just over $700. I talked to the bank representative who confirmed it was an authorized payment from Dh's work. Dh called his accounting department and left a message asking for an explanation but no one called back. I can't imagine why he's being paid extra, so we pretty much just assumed it was an error on their part. But we can always hope that there's a good reason for an extra dollop! My fingers are crossed that it's supposed to be there and we get to keep it...
Dh thinks his car might be on it's last legs (err...wheels). It's a 1990 Honda Civic with 445000 Km on it. I don't know if we'll buy another new-to-us Honda or try and get by with one vehicle--my 1996 in perfect condition Dodge Caravan. The same van I keep clean as a whistle, unlike Dh's locker that he drives around in! Oh, I would love to say that we'll once again be a one vehicle family! I walked way more when we had to share a car...but I love the freedom of having my very own van! We'll wait until the current Honda is buried, and then decide. I can't stand the thought of our hard earned savings account being emptied for a gas guzzling machine.
We spent $150.00 at the liquor store for all our over the holidays alcohol. I don't even drink, but our guests do and we always have a big open house. Dh says that's actually pretty cheap! We then took ds5 out for a Japanese buffet. We all love sushi and pigged out...spent $25.00 there. I put $10.00 into the fund at work to collect money for one of three families that we've adopted for Christmas to provide them with something of a special day...dinner, gifts, and a stocked food cupboard...I'll add more money into the envelope tomorrow too. I'm ashamed to say that I did not do one little thing to save money today...well, I did save the extra $700.00 in our bank account!!!
Dh answered a survey over the phone last week. Don't ask me why because I flat out refuse to answer anything over the phone, but that's another story...Anyways, yesterday we got a phone call from the survey company telling Dh that he'd won a kitchen accessory prize and someone would bring it by between 6:00-7:00pm. Dh said that would be fine. I told him he's nuts. Just before 6:00, we get a phone call from the company saying that someone would be there shortly with our 'prize' and they were going to give us a short presentation on an air filter. Dh said o.k. I told him he's insane. So the guy comes, sits in my house for two hours, demonstrates a vacuum/air filter system, and then proceeds to tell us the cost. Are you sitting down? A WHOPPING $2785.00...for a VACUUM...I immediately said, 'Absolutely not. Will not happen. No way, no how.' Oh, the price dropped to half after that, we don't have to put any money down, we can have little monthly payments, blah, blah, blah...By the end, the kids were starving because they hadn't had dinner, I left the room in frustration, and Dh basically told the guy enough was enough...Anyways, we all had a good laugh while we were eating dinner, and I think Dh is probably convinced to not answer anything over the phone ever again.
Ha! Spent today doing just that...diddly squat! The kids all have an early dismissal because of report cards and I have parent/teacher interviews starting at 2:00 this afternoon. I'm very curious as to what the teacher is going to say about ds11...he's smart but knows it and takes it for granted...not studying and getting a B is fine in his opinion. Dd9 is the opposite...she will only settle for an A and she works for them. Both their report cards were really good, but it's always interesting to me to hear what the teacher's perspective on my kids is! They are my favourite subject so if someone is willing to talk about them for 20 minutes straight, I'm in like flint.
So far I haven't spent anything today...didn't even go get toilet paper. I really do have to do that.
Saved money today by:
1) Doing nothing.
2) Having leftovers for lunch and making dh enjoy them with me!
3) Was given some leftover frozen cookie dough from our fundraiser because when I went to the fundraising company to straighten out a mix-up on our part, they wouldn't let me pay for the extra dough and just gave it to me because we 'had done a great job and made them money, too'! Very nice...sometimes there are monetary perks to all this volunteer work!
Yep! Ds's chit chat got to Dh and he got KFC for dinner. I was at the school doing a fundraiser but they bought me dinner and I had it when I got home. I don't mind doing the fundraising stuff for the school but there's always one parent that's unappreciative. There was one tonight that I had to phone 3 times to come pick up her frozen dough and she finally showed up 45 minutes late and told me this wasn't a convenient time for her because she doesn't get home from work until 6:00...jeepers! I worked all day and then spent 3 hours organizing the fundraising orders--I wanted to tell her that it wasn't convenient for me to wait for her for 45 minutes, but I bit my tongue!
Took ds11 to the orthodontist today. He doesn't need braces until probably April. They're still waiting for two of his baby teeth to fall out. That puts that payment off for a little while!
I didn't spend any money again today. I don't work tomorrow, so I'm sure at some point I'll be hitting the grocery store. I know for sure that I need to pick up toilet paper... not a good thing to run out of!
I went to work today while the kids were at school, and my Dh came and surprised me with a visit. It was nice to see him in the middle of the day. We had lunch together in my office...
We got the Christmas tree up and decorated this afternoon. It looks nice, but I think after Christmas we'll be getting a new fake tree. The tree we have now is about 14 years old and looks small in our vaulted ceiling livingroom!
We're having chicken and noodles for dinner. Ds5 is begging for KFC popcorn chicken, but I don't think so...oops, he's off working on Dh right now! Maybe tomorrow--it's Twoonie Tuesday!
Two of the other managers stayed for the parties last night, so I left at 8:00pm. It was so nice. The new manager who was hired to take care of that department told me that I'm not supposed to be staying anymore and is, in fact, putting a posting out to hire two new people to do the part of my job that is extremely time consuming. I have too many new additions to my job this year and am unable to keep up with everything that I used to do. If this all goes through the way she seems to think it will, then I will be a very happy worker. This may mean that next year I quite possibly could be working shifts that end when my kids get out of school for the day...ooohhh...I don't want to count my chickens before they're hatched, but having weekends off would be unbelievable!
Took the kids to the Christmas party this afternoon. It was fun. Lots of kids, noise, disorganization and Santa all rolled into one fun-filled event.
I didn't spend any money today or yesterday, but I can't think of anything that I did to actually save money. I ate at work from the buffet and don't pay for that, but that wasn't a planned thing, I just happened to be hungry at the right time!
I woke up with a really sore throat and I am sooo tired...I'll try to have a nap before going to work this afternoon. I went grocery shopping and bought some Cepacol for my throat. It usually helps calm things down. We're pretty busy tonight at work--have a few parties to organize. Tomorrow my brother and nephews, Dad and Stepmom are all coming for breakfast before I have to go to work at 9:30. Work tomorrow may be a double shift because we have two private parties in the afternoon and none of the managers can make a decision about who is going to stay to the end. Since it was booked through my department I'm thinking I may be staying. This will really suck, since they'll go until after midnight and I have to work Sunday as well. I'm leaving at 3:00 on Sunday to take the kids to the Company's Children's Christmas Party.
On the money front, the bad news is that dh's benefits are not what we thought them to be so we're going to just stick with my plan because it's cheaper than his. He will be putting into his pension plan which is matched 100% by his employer, so that's really good. If we find it too tight financially then we'll lower our RRSP automatic payments that we have with Investor's Group. The good news is that Dh won $100 on a football pool. Actually, this doesn't really matter to me because it's his money, although he borrowed the money from me to pay for the pool squares...hmmm....who's money is it then? Just kidding!!!
Christmas shopping is coming along nicely. I'm going slow, being semi-organized, although I am really stuck on what to get my Dad and Stepmom...maybe tomorrow I'll be able to fish for ideas! I love them lots and want to get them something special, not buy just for the sake of buying!
Yesterday ds5 told Dh that he "will never be a Grandpa because he doesn't have old man hands!". You gotta wonder what goes on in their little minds...
Ds11 was fine after his immunizations, although two kids threw up and three fainted. Of course, after having the shot, I was informed by my sweet, darling boy that there was no way he would be able to do his paper route because his arm hurt sooooo much...I nixed that thought, but I did play nice and go help him finish the last half. I didn't think he was suffering too much since I knew that he'd got in trouble for throwing snowballs at school at lunch time. Immunizations were at 9:30am.
We spent 150.00 on groceries yesterday. This is counting towards December's groceries, though, because I decided not to do it today so I could have a cleaning day. We baked chocolate chip cookies, cleaned three bathrooms, changed bed linens and did 4 loads of laundry. No plans for tonight--love it!