Pay Day (ep.6)

Hey! So…how ya been? It’s been a couple of weeks since I’ve checked in with you guys, but fear not, I have not fallen off the debt-free wagon! I’ll get to what’s been happening in a minute, but first let’s check in with the numbers .

Total applied to LOC:        $677

Current LOC Balance:       $11,054.44 (Was under $10,999…then interest happened- boo!)

Progress on LOC to date:  $3,433

Car Loan:                               $16,424.01 -no change, but June is around the corner and the update is coming!

So, some progress for sure but certainly not as significant in weeks past. I won’t lie, it’s been a tough couple of weeks. I think I had a mini-melt down a couple of weeks ago and just felt like a couldn’t do it all and what I was doing was pretty crappy. Ever had one of those weeks?

While there was a couple of occurrences that were hard (a family medical emergency, a run-in with a colleague I admire) in isolation neither one were so bad that I wouldn’t be able to overcome them on any particular day.

Couple that with feeling tired and overwhelmed by my daily commute, early morning runs, wanting to write and struggling with identifying my role in my new home (and new family!), I had just had enough.

I snapped at someone who really didn’t deserve it, and I really should have known better. The resulting disappointment in myself was dreadful. I had that awful pit-of-the-stomach feeling you get when you know you were in the wrong.

I took a deep breath, faced my demons and stepped up to apologize and make things right. I think were on the other side of it, but it’s up to me to repair and figure out how not to get in that state again.

Seems like I’m not the only one dealing with some hiccups, and thanks to J. Money I’m ok telling you about mine.

I’m not quitting anything, but when I originally started this blog I had planned to write twice a week – Mondays and Wednesdays. It was going ok for a while, but then it got to be too much and I was getting stressed out over not writing. And that wasn’t the point in the first place.

For now, I’ll continue to use it as a place to keep myself accountable. That might just be the pay-day updates for a while, and maybe a few other posts when I have the time and feel inspired to write. This is supposed to be fun, not extra work, and I’m going to have to remind myself of that every now and then.

So, goals for the next pay-day update in two weeks:

  1. Get the LOC under $10k
  2. Update the car loan balance
  3. Keep calm and remain on budget

See you then! (or before, but definitely then. Keeping it light, people!)

 

Pay Day! (ep 5)

Hey fellow penny-pinchers, followers of frugalness, disciples of debt-reduction! Welcome to this weeks episode of “Show me the MONEY (that I have paid against debt)!”

Total applied to LOC:        $1250

Current LOC Balance:       $11,676.43 (Down under $12k!)

Progress on LOC to date:  $2,756

Car Loan:                                $16,424.01 -no change, and I haven’t checked the balance again. Roll on June, I’ll check in with the lender then.

A short list of things I have done to move my financial needle during the last 2 weeks:

  1. Called the UK government to get an statement regarding the amount I would need to pay into the government pension this year in order to keep me current (I can pay into this pension since I am a UK citizen, spent 5 years in the UK working, and just might end up retiring there).
  2. Stuck to my budget plan…even if it was a little (VERY) tight towards the end of the week!
  3. Reconciled my bank account after a weekend of spending (on a very important person – my Mom!)

I had budgeted for new running shoes ($150), and instead have spent $60 on new work shoes and $45 on new work clothes. WHOOPS. Guess that means I’ll either be waiting for new shoes, or will be pulling back on other budget items and scouring the internet for a great deal on my preferred brand. I just can’t bring myself to pay retail!

I ended up very close to the bone at the end of the last 2-week period- too many coffees on the go etc. Those $3/day really do add up! So I’m aiming to be a little more cautious this week so that next week doesn’t produce unnecessary anxiety.

Pitter-patter, let’s get at ‘er!

 

What if THIS is it?

I have a ‘runners world’ daily calendar on my desk, given to me as a gift. Every day I’m in the office, I’ll rip off the previous day(s) page and read the next.

Every now and then one of the pages will have a quote or thought that sticks with me. These pages end up tacked up on my office wall with the intent to review the thought later.

One of the first to get the honour was this:

“Ask any athlete, we all hurt at times”Jackie Joyner-Kersee

I identified  at the time because I was diving deep into some long-distance training during some pretty crappy weather. Sometimes it’s good to know that even the elites are suffering the same fate.

I have just 3 others on my wall, two are haunting me:

“Lord, make me so uncomfortable that I will do the very thing I fear”Ruby Dee

and

“A sobering thought: what if, at this very moment, I am living up to my full potential?”- Jane Wagner

Now that I write them, they must be related. I KNOW that I am not living up to my full potential, and that’s uncomfortable. At what point will my lack of comfort push me to do what I fear?

I work hard, and do more than what is asked or expected of me. But this better not be it. I need to feel that my footprint is going to be deeper, that my impact will last just a little longer than I will on this earth.

A mid-life crisis? Maybe.

Or maybe I’m just living life with a little more thought.

So, today I woke up and thought ‘I can do a little more’. More is making time for a webinar tonight. More is pushing myself just a little harder on today’s run. More is taking time to listen to others, rather than preparing my answer while they’re talking. More is sticking to the budget so that the long term financial plan gives me the time I’m dreaming of to do…well, more.

What drives you towards your goals? What makes you get up and do it again…and again…and again?

 

 

Tax Free Savings Accounts-an introduction

If you’re not up for some Monday education, look away now. I’m working to be able to simply explain our retirement options up here in the great white north, for my benefit and maybe yours 🙂

Let’s start with TFSA’s. I like ’em, and think you should to.

TFSA – Tax Free Savings Accounts – are a device?…tool?…product, maybe? Devised by the CRA in 2009 (Canada Revenue Agency – my simple mind does not like their name because I’ve never received any revenue from them.)

The TFSA program began in 2009. I wasn’t in Canada at that time, so it was alien to me when I got back. Basically, it’s a way to set money aside tax-free throughout your lifetime. You don’t need any income to put cash away, and as a result contributions to a TFSA are not deductible for income tax purposes like they are with an RRSP (Registered Retirement Savings Plan). Any amount contributed as well as any income earned in the account (for example, investment income and capital gains) is generally tax-free, even when it is withdrawn – yep! Withdraw the funds at ANY time and don’t pay any tax.

Did I stutter?! No tax on principal, no tax on the interest, and not tax on the withdrawal! It’s a beautiful thing! For a more in depth look on withdrawing, check out 2 cents’ article here

Here’s the catch -you can’t put ALL your money into a TFSA. The amount you can put into the account has an annual maximum,  and that maximum has changed over time. You can, however, accumulate TFSA contribution room for each year even if you do not file an income tax and benefit return or open a TFSA.

This is good news for me, since I haven’t used this tool….yet 😉

The annual TFSA dollar limit for the years 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 was $5,000.

The annual TFSA dollar limit for the years 2013 and 2014 was $5,500.

The annual TFSA dollar limit for 2015 is $10,000

We may have a good lookin’ prime minister these days, but his appeal is a little duller when you learn that the 2016 TFSA dollar limit has been reduced to $5500 again.

Since I wasn’t resident in Canada for any of 2009, I don’t get to count that year against my contribution room. But, even though I only arrived back into Canada half-way through 2010 I DO get to count all of that. Awesome.

So:

$5K x 2010, 2011, 2012= $15k

PLUS

$5.5K x 2013, 2014 and 2016 = $16.5k

PLUS
$10K x 2015 = $10k

Total – $41,500 worth of TFSA contribution room! Looks like I have a place to put my (eventual) investment cash 🙂

My next task? Decide on the structure of the TFSA since a TFSA can be structured as a simple savings account or as an investment account. A TFSA is generally permitted to hold the same investments allowed in an RRSP—including cash, term investments, mutual funds and individual securities such as stocks and bonds.

Did you learn something? Do you have your TFSA set up yet? No? DO IT!

Next time, we’ll take a look at where to put that cash, unless of course you have a magic land of amazing interest that you’ll share with me.