It's been a while since my last update but I'm happy to report that I am still on track! It's amazing how something as simple as simply having a budget is keeping me from spending. I'm loving it!

My goal last week was to open up an account for my RRSPs. Since I still have well over 30, maybe even 35 years left to work I opted for an aggressive portfolio which sadly means I've already lost money on it. But since this is for long term growth I'm not sweatin' it too much. I had committed to to $75 biweekly but I think I might up it to $100 biweekly since my mortgage payments are now $25 less biweekly.

I spoke with my bank this week and I'm in the process of getting a Studen Line of Credit which will be great until I set up a float to pay for my courses. The way it works for me now is that I pay up front for the course, $715 and once I've completed [and passed!] my job will reimbourse me. I'm aiming to get a Bachelor's Degree so I've got quite a few to go still! Since the courses themselves are fairly cheap I figure I can eventually save up $750-1500 to pay for them and then just owe myself.. but until then I will take advantage of the prime+1% interest rate. Also, I'm entitled to free banking since I'm a student so that means I don't have to pay the $10.95 monthly fee anymore! SCORE!

Another thing I've decided on is a proactive fund for a new laptop/ipod. My current laptop is 2 years and my ipod is 1 year old so they've hopefully still got a few years in them still (knock on wood!) but since they're 2 things I can't live without I would like to save up $1200-1500 to have on hand for that day when I do need to replace them. The ipod I could certainly manage without but I need my laptop for school so that's non-negotiable.

Something I've realized this month is that I do need to make some room in my budget for beer. In the winter I'll go months without but something about the summer heat makes me drink more.. so I'll have to plug that in for my July budget. This month I took it from my incidental's account.

And I suppose that's about it for now.


I called and opened up an RRSP account this afternoon! I've been meaning to do this for a couple of weeks now so it's great to cross that off my to-do list! Since I still have between 27-32 years of work left, depending on if I retire at 55 or 60, I opted for an aggressive growth portfolio.. we'll see how that goes. Off the bat I contributed $75 and I have an automatic withdrawl set for that amount every second Wednesday when I get paid. I also plan to dump some of my leftover money into this account until I reach my limit.

Speaking of my limit, I still have no clue what it is since the Government still hasn't sent my tax info for this year! They're awful quick when I owe them money but when it's the other way around not so much!

While I was on the phone with the bank I also discussed my options for my existing credit line. I planned on using it for school fees. What happens with school is that I pay up front for a course, once I've successfully completed it my work place reimbourses me. Up until now I've been leaving the charges on my CIBC Visa and paying a ridiculous 19% interest rate! The person I spoke with at Royal Bank suggested I open up a student line of credit so that's what I did, hopefully the application goes through and I get a better interest rate! Since I still work full time it'll take me at least 6 years to get my full degree so every little bit certainly helps.

I spent so much time on the phone today. I called Dell to confirm they had received my final payment, and yes they did! In fact they owe me a little bit of money, around $5. Citi sent me a 'Paid in Full' notice for my loan with a cheque for $0.65 since I had overpaid! My only debt right now is the money from my courses that needs to be transferred to the credit line once it gets approved! Such a great feeling!

Life gets in the way sometimes.

Today we had a potluck at work to celebrate the end of another fiscal year & a co-worker's birthday. Every other time that's I've participated in a lunch like this, I was the girl who brought chips or drinks or something pre-made like a tray of veggies and dip. I'm trying to step more out of my comfort zone these days so I decided that for this particular event I would contribute a cake!

Don't get me wrong, I LOVE to cook and do so all the time. My problem is that I'm super shy and baking something would obviously bring some attention to me that I don't necessarily want. I still went for it though.

The cake I made was very basic but since this Pot Luck was last minute I had to run out to the grocery store to purchase a cake mix, jell-o (name brand), cool whip and some strawberries. My mother was supposed to lend me a container that I could use to store and transport the cake... but then she could not find it! I had to go back out and spend some more money! This whole experience ended up costing me just under $30 but it was totally worth it. The cake turned out wonderfully and everyone loved it! And now I have requests to make it again for future lunches and I thankfully have the container to carry it around in. Win-win!

In other news today is pay day! I don't remember the last time I still had over $100 left in my account on pay day but today was such a day! As soon as my pay hit my automatic transfers went to work. I love that I finally got around to setting those up! The only thing I have left to do is call the bank and set up my RRSPs. I've given myself up until this weekend to get that done.

What to save for...

Currently I have 4 savings accounts,

1- TFSA is my Emergency Fund which is self explanatory.
2 - Slush Fund which is my non-emergency emergency fund.. one that I can actually dip into when needed for unexpected things that creep up on me.
3 - Car fund which is for oil changes, repairs and also licensing fees that come up every so often.
4 - Planned Spending which is generally just for house stuff. I've recently dipped into this to get central air for the house, new tile for the kitchen and paint. I'm currently saving to buy a new UV Air Purification system, a humidifier and a fence.

Before the end of this month I want to contact my bank and set up an RRSP account because I'm way behind on that. This will bring my total up to 5 different savings accounts.

My whole reason for this post is to try to figure out if I should have some kind of specific goal I should be saving up for. I'm not interested in any kind of vacation though, I have a laptop, ipod, blackberry. I guess I should just be happy that I want for nothing, or already have everything that I want, lol!

If I really thing about it though, I enjoy buying things for the house though so I think I'll just keep putting money into my 'Planned Spending' account and decide on things to get with that. If I put my mind to it I could come up with a long list of things I would like to get for the house.... a new couch & chair for the living room, a headboard for the bedroom, new flooring for the master & guest room, paint for those 2 rooms, new flooring for the basement. Yup. Buying stuff for the house makes me happy. I think that will be my plan.

I`ve made a decision.

I`ve been going back and forth a lot trying to decide whether I should take the extra money I have and use it to pay down my mortgage faster or invest it in RRSPs.

I`ve been looking a lot online for insight from other people and people seem to be pretty divided on the subject but ultimately I`ve decided that I`m going to stick the money in RRSPs.

My reasons are, mainly that I have no money at all in RRSPs right now. Since my mortgage is acceptable debt I think I should focus my energy on topping up my RRSPs. Even if I take the full ammortization period to pay off my mortgage, and if I end up staying in this house forever, It`ll be paid off 15-20 years before I plan to retire.

So that was my big decision today. When I get my assessment back from the tax man I`ll know exactly how much money I can save up for my RRSP limit and that will become my main goal. My secondary goal is my TFSA.

First Post!

I'll be honest, I've only been on this PF bandwagon for maybe 3 weeks, but I've decided that if I'm going to stay accountable and on top of my finances the best way is to join in.

My story is pretty basic. I moved out when I was 18 years old right after graduating high school. That first year of living on my own I got my first credit card and discovered online shopping. By the time I was 22 years old I had accumulated about 9k of consumer debt. During those 4 years I ended up moving back home and purchasing a new vehicle which I got on a0% financing plan and paid off in 3 years.

At 22 I decided it was time to get my debt under control. I visited the bank and was able to consolidate all my loan and paid it all off in the span of 3 years. Making that final loan payment would have been such an amazing feeling if it hadn't been for the fact that during that time I'd lost my job 2x and been unemployed for about 8 weeks with no emergency fund to help out. It wasn't pretty, I totally lived off my credit card. By this point my bf and I had bought and moved into a house.

Fast forward to today. About a month ago the bank called us and wanted to offer us a better interest rate for our mortgage. At 4.9% we thought we were doing ok but decided to meet with them to see what they had in mind. They offered us 3.95% and we were able to consolidate all of our exisinting consumer debt into our mortgage. We took them up on that offer. Combine we had just under 20K which was split right down the middle and I'd say half of it was things for the house. The nice thing about the lower interest rate is that our bi-weekly mortgage payments have stayed the same. The slightly depressing thing is that our mortgage now is exactly the amount it was when we closed our house just over 5 years ago... Our ammortization period remains the same though, just under 20 years so while the fact that we've added so much money back onto our mortgage sucks, the interest is much better and our house is worth so much more today than the day we bought it so I'm happy about our decision. Also, in order to make up for the extra money I'm saving by being debt-free, and for the extra money we've added to the mortgage, I'll be making either a biweekly or monthly payment back to the mortgage for the amount I used to put on my credit card, and then sometimes more when I come into extra money. Anything to help speed along the process.

In another post I'll actually put what my monthly budget and goals are, but since this is somewhat of an 'intro post' I wanted to point out that I am still living in my house with my boyfriend. He and I have never joined our finances. Last month, after about 6 years together he brought it up and after giving it much thought I decided to keep things the way they are. We never fight about money. I manage all of the finances and he just transfers me what he owes. This process has worked for us and I can't justify changing it. Also, our views on budgeting and saving are completly different. He doesn't believe in saving and while I currently don't have too much money saved up, I see the importance in it and I've started to open up various savings accounts. I'll get into all that in a later post.

So that's kind of my story in a nutshell. I'm not officially debt-free yet as the bank only mailed out the drafts to my creditors this week, but today I logged into my online banking and my Visa was paid off except for the new month's interest which I then proceeded to pay off right away! Still to go are my Leons card, a Citi loan, Dell and a credit line.

This blog will be my adventures in saving and maintaining a debt-free lifestyle. I'm currently 28 years old and after 10 years of living in debt I'm reading to try something different!