No Spend Day

Today is NSD #6. In fact, I actually made a little pocket money today as I delivered some Avon.

I've stocked up on groceries so do not anticipate having to spend for lunches or anything for the next several days so should be able to squeeze in a couple more NSDs before the month is out and before I have to get gas.

Total NSDs: 6

Financial Advice

I met last night with a financial advisor who was recommended to me by someone I work with. I was interested in speaking with him about my declining Mutual Fund portfolio.

Did you know that Stats Canada says that 95% of all Canadians fail to properly plan for their retirement needs? Have you heard a more frightening statistic lately???

It was a very informative session and I learned quite a bit about investment vehicles I knew nothing about (he said most people are not aware that these vehicles are out there). He talked about traditional mortgages vs. HELOCs (I already have a HELOC) and how to make your HELOC work smarter for you (I still need to learn more about this and this will be part of our next session) and he showed me the Rule of 72, which no one had ever shown me before. It is Einstein's Rule of 72, regarding how long it takes your money to double and what that means if you are earning 4, 6, 8%, etc., on your investments, vs. the bank who is lending out your money (that they are paying you the measly 4% on) at 18% to someone else in the form of a credit card loan. The results are staggering.

We also talked about "Open" investments vs. RSPs and the tax advantages on both and I am going to be learning much more about these "open" investments as well as these appear very attractive over RSPs given the tax advantages of open investments. On an RSP you are taxed at 100% when you make a withdrawal but only at 50% with an open investment and you still get the tax break when you put money into an open investment just like you do with an RSP.

All in all it was an educational first session that got me thinking about things I was not previously aware of and I think the next session will make me more intelligent when it comes to managing my investments.

Oh, another thing I liked about this company and their approach is that he is not paid by me. He is paid by whichever company's product I may decide to go with and he is paid the same amount by all the various companies he works with, of which there are many, so there is absolutely no need to try to steer me to any one product over another as he doesn't make more off of one product than he does another. I got a really good vibe from this place.

Download Free Suze Orman Book

Until midnight January 15, 2008 you can download Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan: Keeping Your Money Safe and Sound.

While much of the content will be geared toward Americans, there should be some useful information for us Canucks as well.

I'm too lazy to post a fancy link so here is the url.

Still just trying to figure things out...

I've been looking into going back to school and into whether or not I have the pre-requisites needed for the programs I am considering. After all these years - and they have been many - I may have to do some high school upgrading. Unbelievable. Before I make any decisions about going back to school and incurring student loan debt, I want to be sure I am taking a program that will allow me to be employed at a salary of at least the level I currently am at as taking a cut defeats the purpose.

I look every day for other job opportunities but there is very little out there right now, although I am going tomorrow after work to find out more about a part time position that pays considerably more than my current part time position and has better hours. Hopefully something good can come of that.

One good thing is that I have really been good on the spending front so far this month and yesterday and today have been successful NSDs.

Total NSDs: 5

So undecided about life in general

I think I'm having a mid-life crisis. Well, not really but I am really antsy and undecided about what to do right now and am seriously considering going back to school full time in September.

I am hoping the program I am considering will accept my previous diploma program as partial credit and that I will be able to start directly in year two rather than starting all over again. I am going to call them tomorrow.

Student finance gives a single person very little to live on and that is a huge consideration as I have to be sure I can make ends meet and still be able to put money toward my LOC. Now, of course, if I am in school full time my LOC payments are not going to be able to be the $850 I am currently paying. Perhaps I should just suck it up and keep working for the next two years until the LOC is paid off and then go back to school. Although, another option may be to do some of it by distance learning (at home study) while I am still working, which would allow me to still concentrate on debt repayment while getting some of the schooling done. Once the LOC was paid off it wouldn't be so bad to then go to school full time for maybe 1 year or so to complete the program.

I have a lot to think about and consider.

I don't think I'm going to make goals for January...

I'm feeling better now after being sick much of the past 7 days but still have no desire to sit down and plan out some goals for January.

I have my standard budgeted amounts for all my spending categories like I do every month but I think that's as far as it is going to get this month. I will track my No Spend Days just to see how many I can get but I won't have a target amount in mind.

I do need to sit down and figure out how much I can put toward my various savings accounts each month (EF, vacation fund, and RRSPs) based on my new, considerably lower, salary. I want to be able to put as much as I can toward each of these accounts while still maximizing my debt repayment and I don't want to forgo my vacation fund altogether as other than short trips to Vegas and California I have not had an actual vacation since I went to Cuba in May of 2006.

Total NSD: 3

Did a little damage at Costco today...

I went to Costco at the stroke of opening today and picked up a few things. Most were on my list but a couple were impulse purchases:

  • yogurt $6.99 (reg $8.99)
  • Greek salad $10.99
  • salsa $6.59
  • cheese strings $12.79
  • half & half $1.79
  • contact lens solution 2 pack $12.44 (reg $15.69)
  • Liz Claiborne Sweater x2 @ $15.99 ea
  • 3 pack fitness DVDs $29.99

Okay, so the sweaters and DVDs were not on my list but c'mon you know how Costco is. It is so dreadfully cold here this winter (today is first day above -25 in the past month) and I have no sweaters to wear so to get Liz Claiborne 100% cotton sweaters for $15.99 how could I pass that up??

Also, I truly do want to get these extra pounds off this year and quit procrastinating about it and I've used Leslie Sansone's DVDs in the past and quite liked them so I think this three pack is a good investment and if I find I don't get around to using the darn things, Costco has a very good return policy so back they will go.

All in all I spent $117.99

Last few days' spending

I've had a few NSDs these past few days, with NYE being one of them. It only brought my Dec total up to 7 though so I did not make my 10.

I also did not spend on NY day. I was sick in bed but nothing here is open that day anyway except for convenience stores. I did venture out yesterday and picked up a few groceries and then went in to work at my part time job today and again did not spend.

I haven't planned out my January goals yet but it feels good to be on the third day of the month with 2 NSDs already (I don't consider transferring funds from my chequing account to my LOC spending).

Total NSDs: 2

Hit a Milestone in My Debt Repayment Today

I made half of my monthly LOC payment today and have hit the 20% repayment mark (sidebar updated). Although I still have 80% to go, hitting this milestone feels good. I will make the other half of the payment later this month.

I've been in bed since Wednesday with the flu and have not given much thought to my January goals at all yet.

A major life change

For quite some time I have been thinking of becoming a vegetarian. I eat very little meat as it is and often opt for meatless options already so I have decided that the new year is a perfect time to make this lifestyle change and become a lacto-vegetarian.

At home in bed with the flu

Ugh. I really dislike being sick and am thankful that I do not get sick very often. I woke up Tuesday feeling like I was coming down with something so went out at lunch and bought some Cold FX and have been taking it for the past 3 days. I think it is helping somewhat but today I have a horrific tension headache and nothing I am trying is making even the smallest dent in it. I have spent most of the last day and a half in bed and will be going back there shortly.

I decided to take tomorrow as a vacation day so don't have to go in to work, which is a blessing as another day of rest will I'm sure be good for me.

Tomorrow I will likely post my goals for January.