Give Me Back My Five Bucks

January 2011 Goals: Recap

While I came in well under budget this month, I didn’t hit some of the major goals I wanted to accomplish – namely make an additional $1,500. But I know all the hard work I’m putting in now at the beginning of the year is going to pay off in the coming months. I’ve got a few freelance projects on the go, and along with my FT job, this blog and Moneyville, I’m a tad overwhelmed. But I just need to find my groove.

January 2011 Goals:

  • $700 into Retirement Portfolio. FAIL! I only contributed $600 because I needed to save a bit extra for upcoming travel plans.
  • $100 into Travel Fund. CHECK! I deposited a total of $420 ($195 for my Toronto/NYC trip in May, and $225 for New Orleans next month).
  • Make an additional $1,500 above and beyond my FT job. FAIL! I don’t want to say that I only made $1,206 because that’s still a lot of extra money to be bringing in. But I didn’t hit my target this month.
  • Sell at least 1 thing on eBay or Craigslist. CHECK! I actually sold a book last week on!
  • Go to 1 business seminar. FAIL! I wanted to check a few out while I was in Toronto, but was so busy that I didn’t have time.
  • Run at least 1x/week. FAIL! I didn’t run at all. I know, I suck.
  • Work out at least 3x/week. FAIL! I only worked out 7x this month.
  • Go through my wardrobe and donate at least 10 items. CHECK! I went through my closet and set aside 14 pieces to donate.

Ongoing 2011 Annual Goals:

  • No buying lunch, snacks or coffee during the work week. CHECK! I felt like this month was a bit of a cheat month because I was away for work 7 days out of the month. And because my expenses get reimbursed while I’m traveling, I was able to indulge in Starbucks tea lattes and bought all of my lunches. But the other 3 weeks out of the month I did just fine.
  • No buying clothing, shoes or accessories until May 19, 2011. CHECK! The first week of the month I snagged my tights in my boots. They were snagged so badly in them that I had to get BF’s help to cut my tights out of the zipper. Not happy, since I only have two pairs of tights (that I just bought over the holidays during my shopping ban break). But instead of throwing the tights out, I spent about 20 minutes sewing the hole back up. I won’t be able to wear the tights with anything but my knee-high boots so that they cover the crappy patch job I did, but at least I can still wear them. :)

Also, TODAY is your last day to enter to win a copy of Quicken 2011 (for Canadians)! Contest closes today at 5pm PST!

This blogger is getting adult braces

So on Wednesday I went in for my adult braces consultation. It actually went really well. The doctor answered all of my questions, and I really like him and the facility. I feel comfortable there, and it’s in a convenient location. So, I went ahead and booked my appointment.

On April 4th, I will be getting ceramic braces on the top, and metal braces on the bottom (just like the picture). My treatment will last anywhere from 18-24 months, and will also include minor, “non-invasive” surgery. The doctor told me that while I absolutely would be able to get Invisalign braces because my problems are minor, traditional braces are going to be faster and more effective than Invisalign – and also less expensive. I’m not happy about getting traditional braces, and they looked really awful when he showed them to me (even though I’ll have the latest technology which just came out a few months ago), but I know that they will be better for me. I understand where he is coming from so I’ll do what he recommends.

The cost breakdown:
After much thought, I’ve decided to go with a payment option for my braces, rather than saving for a year and then paying everything up front. Just like when I financed my LASIK eye surgery at 0% because I wanted it done ASAP, it will benefit me in so many ways to have my teeth corrected as soon as possible. Plus, the 0% interest and quarterly payments spread over 2 years makes it more manageable for me and my savings goals. I don’t like the idea of going into debt, but I’m looking at it as a wise investment in my health.

I have to make an up-front payment of $1,180 on the day of my appointment. After that, I will have 8 quarterly payments of $725. Meaning, every bi-weekly pay cheque I will need to save approximately $120. For a grand total cost of $6,980.

Random Thursday Thoughts

Today I’m up bright and early because I’m headed out of town for a one-night business trip.

So instead of writing a real post, here are some random thoughts:

  • Since the beginning of this month, I’ve lost 2 pounds. My goal is to get down to 130 lbs. or fit back into my size 4 dress (which I fit into last year!), whichever happens first.
  • I mentioned it on Twitter a few weeks ago, but I came across an Ottawa Divorce forum thread where people were bashing one of my Moneyville articles – Some ideas for the frugal dater. In fact, when you Google my name, it comes up 6th in the results. So that’s weird. Anyway, I just laughed, their comments were pretty funny. :)
  • I accidentally left my book, Stones into Schools, on the plane last week. So upset! I got it as a Christmas present, and the wait list for that book at the library is 200+.
  • I also lost the heart rate band to my Garmin Forerunner 405CX. Replacement cost is around $60 at MEC and about the same on eBay. Sigh.
  • After getting hooked on Starbucks green tea lattes while in Toronto, I knew I couldn’t buy them back in Vancouver because of my 2011 goal of not buying coffee/tea, snacks or lunch from Monday-Friday all year long. So instead, I bought the Starbucks green tea concentrate at Superstore last week. For about $6 I was able to make 6 lattes. So at $1 each, that’s pretty good, although admittedly still a bit expensive. It doesn’t turn out as frothy as how they make it at Starbucks, and I do have to add about 1/2 teaspoon of matcha tea because it’s a tad sweet … but it’s pretty darn good. I’d recommend it to any green tea latte addicts out there. Fabulously Broke, I’m totally looking your way.
  • Going forward, I have increased my RRSP contributions from $250/bi-weekly to $300/bi-weekly. This represents 20% of my net bi-weekly income.
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