27 July, 2011

I've Developed an Addiction...

For years, J had always managed our finances and has done a good job.  With the usual exceptions of a mortgage payment, car payment and line of credit payment, we’ve managed to live relatively debt free, with money left over to go on holidays, buy toys, clothes, put money into savings, etc.
 
At the beginning of April, it was decided that I would start to look after our finances.  The main reason for the changing of the guard – J didn’t have the time to commit to it since he was busy with his night course.  I honestly think he grew tired of it and he grew tired of me questioning his banking methods. 
 
So with that being said, I’ve been in charge and for better or worse - I’ve developed an addiction to analyzing, budgeting, planning, cutting back on spending and finding savings where I can. 
 
We had a loosey-goosey budget before, but after we made it, we never really paid much attention to it.  Now, I’m analyzing everything and am SHOCKED, no HORRIFIED at how much we spend monthly on everything – groceries and gas in particular.   I can only do so much about the gas factor because I do commute to my job and I already drive an economical vehicle, but I can do something about our grocery bills – hence part of the reason for a bread maker purchase.  We are a big bread eating family and by simply making our own bread every week, we will save close to $500 annually.  Now, I just need to do a better job at meal planning and flyer shopping and I should be able to reduce the cost of groceries even more.
 
J is not so enthused about my new found excitement of finances because our whimsical spending has been drastically reduced.   Before, if we wanted something, we simply went out and bought it with not so much as a second thought.   Now, we save for it – what a concept!  This has caused a bit of angst on both of our parts, but all and all…things are working out.
 
As part of our new financial strategy, I’m doubling up our weekly mortgage payments and the plan is to be mortgage free in 3.9 years, completely debt free in 6 years, with a vacation/rental home purchase in the Caribbean by year 7 or 8.   I will then need to start over because I plan on using my house here as collateral for the one in the sunny south, so I guess when all is said and done, I won’t technically be debt free until…who knows…(I haven’t gotten that far yet).
 
Rest assured, I’m not compromising on my vacations.  I’m still diligently saving for those.  After the Philippines in March, we may cut back to one a year…at least that’s the plan.  What the hell did I just say?  Who am I kidding?
 
I’ll be honest, that’s unlikely to happen, but it’s nice to think that I could do it...if I wanted to...but if I did, J and I might have to divorce and that’s likely to cost a whole lot more than another vacation…

26 July, 2011

Aliens May Have Something To Do With It....Or Not...

I wish I could tell you that my absence from the blogosphere was a result of being abducted by aliens or that I won the lottery and have been busy traveling the world or because I became a swim suit model and my photo shoots have kept me too busy. 
 
Nope, none of the above has occurred.  I know…I’m disappointed too (especially the swim suit model gig).  Although I’m sure I’ve been recently visited by aliens and they have managed to manipulate my brain and made me a lazy-ass couch potato (more so than usual that is).
 
I have no excuses – I’ve just ran out of creative steam.   Normally the summer months rejuvenate me, but sadly that’s not been the case this year.   
 
Don’t get me wrong, I’m enjoying summer, the sunshine, the heat, the humidity.   I just have nothing to show for it, except maybe a nice tan and some sun-streaked hair.   I don’t even have memories to go along with the tan, because I’ve done nothing memorable.  No summer travels, no scuba diving, no movies, no memorable parties.   Nothing…
 
The most exciting thing I’ve done so far this summer…I bought a bread maker.    I know; it’s hard to contain yourself…that’s how I feel about it too – mass hysteria…
   
Don’t give up hope on me just yet….I’m sure I’ll do something spontaneous before the end of summer and when I do – you’ll be the first to know about it.   I do need a new toaster…eeek (insert squeal of joy)! 

07 July, 2011

Betcha Thought I Crawled Under a Rock…

Sorry to disappoint, but such is not the case.  I’m somewhat back, not that I was ever really gone – I just took a little break from technology.  Rest assured, I was still following what you had to say, I was just too lazy to comment - sorry.
 
So, what’s new?  Hmmm, in my world, let’s see…
 
In case, you are the one that had crawled under a rock - the Royal Newlyweds are visiting Canada.  As much as I’ve tried not to get sucked into the maelstrom, I’m oddly fascinated by the phenomenon that is our monarchy.  Kate and William certainly have more pizzazz than the older royals.
 
J and The Boy are still driving me crazy on a daily basis.  Nothing in particular stands out, but I guarantee that a day does not go by when I don’t contemplate running away from home.
 
We went to the zoo last weekend.  We’ve been before and I was impressed before, but this time, I was left feeling disappointed.   I’m not typically a PETA or Greenpeace supporter, but at the end of this visit I would have gladly signed a petition, calling for change at the zoo.  The displays were run down, some containing “garbage” (cardboard boxes, plastic buckets, etc)  intended to keep the orangutans  amused, the water moat surrounding the orangutans was filled with floating garbage and green with algae, a number of the outdoor displays did not have drinking facilities for the animals.  It’s summer, it’s hot and it’s not like the animals can wander off and search for water.   
 
Sorry in advance.  I do not intend to offend anyone with small children, but I would gladly pay extra to attend an “adults only day” at the zoo.   I can say that because I’ve had a small child, I’ve pulled a wagon around the zoo with a screaming child inside and now, I can say that the zoo would be better if it had “adults only days”.  Just saying…
 
The Boy turns 19 next week.   With turning 19, he will be of legal age to drink and gamble at a casino.  At 18 he could purchase lottery tickets and gamble at the horse races.  I’m not sure why he needed to wait until 19 to gamble at a casino, unless it’s because they serve alcohol there.   Wait, they serve alcohol at the horse races.  Yeah, I don’t get the rationale behind that one either.
 
I’ve been tasked with putting a “social media policy” together for work, as well as doing research on creating a Facebook page and setting up a Twitter account for our company.  This is causing me great problems, as I CANNOT get access to Facebook in order to do the research or to Twitter to set up an account and IT won’t give me access because it goes against our internet policy.   I’m navigating the red tape now.  Talk about ass-hats.
 
On Saturday, a couple of my friends are holding a “renovation is complete” house party.   It starts at 3:00, but I suspect that by the time we get there at 3:15, everyone will be well on their way to drunken oblivion.  Don’t get me wrong, I’m not a prude and I can certainly hold my own, but their drunken know-it-all ramblings tend to test my patience.    Someone better stay sober enough long enough to make sure I get served supper or else…
 
That’s been my life in a nutshell…still crazy…still random…

04 July, 2011

Happy Independence Day!!!

I hope you had a fantastic holiday weekend...I know I did.  I also had a long weekend with our Canada Day being on Friday.