September’s Report Card: D

First, thanks so much to so many of you for your best wishes and concerns for my youngest.  She’s not a baby anymore at 17, but still, when your kids are sick, you worry.

She’s better now (at least she can walk), but she’s not out of the woods yet.  I’m actually on vacation from my full-time gig this week. I’ll be able to give  more time to just be a nurse, and take her back to the specialist on Wednesday to check in.

Well, September’s budget was an epic fail. Way over budget this month. <sigh>

My shortfall on paper is $906. Geesh, I hate even writing that down.

Here’s where it went:

  • paid the wrong bill, therefore, instead of paying $206.25 to Toronto Hydro, I actually paid Toronto Utilities (garbage, water, sewage).  Technically, I guess you could say I gave myself a credit.  That didn’t help my cash flow though.  If I wanted to try and be kind to myself, guess I could say I only over spent by $700, with a $200 credit.
  • Interest rates went up – again.  There’s another $25 on a climbing rate for my mortgage and line of credit.
  • Spent an extra $35 on groceries. This was the first time this year my grocery budget didn’t hold out.  I think it was because I got SO busy preparing for the week long conference I was at, that I spent more on prepared foods, and ate out a bit more than I should have. Finally, when my daughter got sick, I stocked up on little bottles of apple juice. They’re not economical, but somehow, they boost her spirits. It’s her “I’m sick treat”.
  • Spent $45 more than I budgeted on alcoholGee, I wonder why?  🙂 Honestly though, have to get that in check.  I can’t afford the money nor the calories.
  • Spent $35 on flowers that was unbudgeted. I was having company over and couldn’t resist planting a bunch of mums in the garden and putting a pumpkin on the front step.
  • Over spent $100 in home maintenance. Decided to insultate my little outdoor shed. My step-father did the work for me, so there was no labour (I just fed him and gave him some nice beer). More about why I did that later on…
  • Spent $300 more than I budgeted for in transportation. Ouch. Due in part to taking cabs when my daughter had to see specialists last week. Also bought her a metropass for October with September’s money.
  • This list is looking bad, isn’t it?  Spent $191 in entertainment that was not budgeted for.  A friend asked me if I wanted to go see one of my favourite bands in a dingy bar, and I couldn’t resist her. I hadn’t done anything like that all year, and I had such a good time. Tickets to Big Sugar were $40. The rest is made up in transportation to Barrie from Toronto, sharing a cab on the way home, a few drinks in the bar, and of course, a band t-shirt. Did I mention what a great time I had? Totally no regrets here. It made me realize I need a little more of this in my life.
  • I had reduced revenue this month, as I had to give up a few of my part-time gigs.
  • Finally, as if that list isn’t already long enough, I spent $150 on art supplies, most of that was used from Craigslist. Here’s the backgrounder on that one:  I studied fine art in University. Loved to paint and did a number of paintings in my younger days. I only have one of my own pieces still, the rest are out there in the community with people who’ve bought them, or friends and family. A woman who owns a gallery on Georgian Bay has one of my pieces. She tells me it’s the only piece of art she owns that isn’t her own.  She’s been speaking to me about painting again over the last six months. She’s finally told me she’ll represent me if I can produce some work, like five or six pieces. Every time I see art, I ache to paint again. Since my house doesn’t have any place for me to be   messy, I decided to insulate my shed outside, so I can paint out there. If I paint again and none of my work lands in a gallery, I’ll be totally fine with that. It’s time for me to let my creativity shine again.

You can see that for the most part, I made choices that put me over budget this month. Doesn’t seem terribly bright as I confess it all.

I am hopeful that I can paint again, and the longer term impacts are increased revenue. This month I worked a TON. Part of that work was training for a new role in my part-time gig. That also means increased revenue. Not a lot, but some. It also makes me more flexible to take shifts for colleagues when they’re away or sick.

On a positive note, my line-of-credit debt is now below $5,000. I started the year owing $13,579.29. I really like seeing a sub-$5000 debt. I haven’t seen this number for years and years and years. I’m confident now that I will not retire my debt on December 31, 2010. It will be gone by February 2011. Mark my words!

My youngest has an RESP that’s now way over $12,000. My TFSA is maxed out for 2010. I’m contributing toward my eldest’s TFSA for her to use for school when she goes back next year.

While the month doesn’t look pretty, the big picture is slowly improving, month by month. October looks to be a challenge too, but aren’t all months? I’m still thankful that I’ve taken on this task, and even more thankful that some of you are sharing this journey with me.

Onward and upward! Happy vacation day to me, and happy Monday to you.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. Well, in the little grades, they give you a mark for Effort – and I would say that you get an “E” for Excellent effort.
    I found the same thing last month – over $800 in vet bills that I wasn’t counting on, a 1/4 of beef, a booze auction… That’s where a bit of a miscellaneous account has to come into play and where tracking for a year and building in a slush fund for those unanticipated expenses is key long-term. Looking forward to hearing about a “no debt” party some time in February though!

    Reply

  2. Hello,

    I’m new to your blog, but I really admire how often you’re posting!! Keep em coming, they’re inspiring!

    What are you using to keep track of your expenses? I’m using a combination of Mint.com and iExpenseIt on my iPhone…

    Much like yourself, I do regular reviews on my finances, among other areas of my life.. how do you go about balance it all?

    Reply

    • Hi Irene,

      Thanks so much! I keep track of my expenses primarily using an Excel document that I’ve created myself, and keep tweaking as my needs evolve. While I have an iPhone, I’m not a gadgety enough person to use any apps on it. I even forget that it’s an iPod 90% of the time.

      I’m not sure that I “balance it all”, but I do find that once you’ve set up your own ‘systems’ and are reasonably disciplined about using them, it isn’t such a big burden.

      Thanks for dropping around Irene!

      Tracy

      Reply

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