Saturday, January 31, 2009

PC Financial Lowers Interest Rates!

I can't believe that PC Financial has lowered it's interest rate on its savings account all the way down to 2.25%! Sucks balls if you ask me. When I first signed up several years ago, it was 4%. Now it's withered down to 2.25% & what's even worse is that their TFSA which I signed up for in Jan was 3%. Now it's gone down in less than a month to 2.55%. Sounds a little like bait & switch if you ask me. & I am sure going lower is only a matter of months.

What really bothers me is not that they're lowering their interest rates. All banks are. It's that their interest rate is almost the same as other major banks. Those banks that have actual physical locations & offer other perks. By banking with PC who are a no frills banking service, I thought I'd enjoy some benefits in the way of higher interest rates for giving up access to tellers and such.

I might have to look at other options.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Things I am looking forward to this weekend

I think me & the bf may try to check out one of the Oscar nominated movies this weekend. I've hardly seen anything that's been nominated. I definately want to see slumdog but the bf has already seen it so I need to find somebody else or play it solo.

Woot! I am going to check out Monsoon this weekend as part of the Winterlicious. Can't wait to eat!


I still haven't invested in a good pair of boots since I am not outside enough to justify ~$100 on boots just yet. But water proof is a good idea for when I am shovelling snow & cleaning my car. Yesterday my socks got wet & my toes were almost numb by the time I got in the car.

The tetron boots to the right are more like rain boots without the shinyness & I think semi stylish. Bonus: only $40! Now if only I knew somebody going to the states to purchase this bad boys for me.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Work Life Balace?

I have so much to get done @ work, I am feeling overwhelmed. So overwhelmed that I've been bringing home work to do which I don't like very much. I like that work stays @ work & once I leave it, I do my own thing & try to live life. Lately I feel like all I do is eat, sleep & dream work. Ok maybe that's a little extreme but I certainly think about work in my personal time & how I am going to finish everything on schedule.

Do you guys have a good work life balance? I clearly don't at the moment.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Winterlicious 2009

So I am debating joining my friends for some winterlicious action next week. It's great to be able to eat a 3 course meal for $35 but at the same time, it's still $35. I have to remind myself that scrimping & saving sometimes leads to having no fun. It's hard finding that balance in between.

The months almost over & I didn't go over budget as much as I thought I would in the eating out dept. I am still definately going over but it could've been worse. I think I might up the budget for the next month. Maybe by $20 or $50.

Also I pumped another tank of gas & it came to around $26. The most a tank of gas has cost me this month is $32! I would love for the prices to continue at this rate. I remember easily paying over $50 just a few months ago.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Frugal things I did today

  1. Hung my clothes to dry
  2. Clipped some coupons

Freebie Fridays

So I am a notorious freebie signer upper. There was a point when I'd sign up for anything & everything. Now I try my best & only sign up for things I'd actually use. So what was in the mailbag yesterday?

A free Nylon magazine & a little booklet on A Woman's Guide to Optimum Health. I love Nylon magazine so can't wait to go through the mag. Already saw some outfits I want!

Also the booklet on woman's health seems pretty informative. It covers menopause, breast cancer, osteoporosis, weight management & so much more. You can sign up for yours free here. Truth be told I am mega afraid of going to the doctor. I follow the ignorance is bliss doctrine. I had my first check up last year after over 10 years maybe? Pretty bad huh.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Cancelled Dinner Date = Watching 3 hours of Lost

I am sure I am not the only one that is excited but the Lost season premiere is tonight!! 3 hours of Lost goodness!

A friend canceled on dinner tonight. Normally I'd be a little disappointed but it means I get to spend the night with my ass glued in front of the t.v. watching Lost. There is a 1 hour recap episode and then the 2 hour season premiere. I originally wanted to reschedule when I found out my dinner date was on the same day as the Lost premiere but felt a little silly canceling for t.v.

Also the other good news is that I am not out another $15-$20 by going out for dinner. huzzah.

Barack and Roll

Yesterday my company like many others played the inauguration live in the lunch room for anybody that was interested in watching it. I was amazed at the turn out. Almost half of the people in the office came to watch.

It's history in the making no doubt but I find it interesting that Canadians are this interested in what is going in the states. I mean people (myself included) knew that Beyonce would be singing the first song that Barack and Michelle Obama would dance to. These same people (myself included again) couldn't tell you what the latest is on the Canadian scene.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Spring already?

I was @ the mall & noticed that clothes for spring are already on the mannequins & racks! The Bay has a mannequin @ the front sporting a tank top! A nice fancy shmancy tank top but a tank top nevertheless! It's crazy to me with February still a good 2 weeks away.

The good news is that winter clothing will probably go on sale soon if not already. Maybe I can get those boots on sale after all ;) Just kidding. I decided to rough it out this winter unless I see a good deal on the boots.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Trying something new...

Like most good people trying to take charge of their spending, I try my best to track expenses. I've tried various methods from tracking things in excel to writing everything down.

The thing with writing all my expenditures in excel was that the document was saved on my home computer. There I'd be at work with an expense & no way of tracking it besides sending myself an email saying hey when you get home, write this down in the tracking document. Well that wouldn't work because by the end of the day the email I had sent myself would be way down in the inbox & I'd forget.

I also tried writing everything down with in a physical notepad that I carried around. While this worked, I felt like a lunatic when I'd go back to the car after a shopping trip & take out my pen & pad & write things down. Sometimes I'd be out with friends & no opportunity to write it down. I felt a little silly doing it in front of them. I know I shouldn't care but I am a little self-conscious in that way.

So what I am trying now is to track my expenses in Google Docs. They have a spreadsheet program which has almost the same functionality as Excel and the best part is I can access it anywhere there is an internet connection. So I've set a little something up and we'll see how it goes. It's very minimalistic at the moment but if it works for me, I might try & spruce it up.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Mid month budget check

Reviewing the budget I had set for myself at the start of the year, I have spent about 60% of what I had budgeted for Jan'09 already. Let's see how I've done

  • Clothes & beauty: Surpsingly on target with nothing too expensive I am lemming to buy!
  • Eating out: Already @ 90% with 3 dinners scheduled for next week! So definitely going over. Think when I adjust the budget at the end of this month, this area will unfortunately have to be upped.
  • Entertainment: I have not entertained myself this month! The biggest factor is that it's cold out there & I am a major homebody when it's cold. This is good because I can save this for when it gets warmer.
  • Gas: On track.
  • Groceries: I think I might be going over on this one as I am a little low on food at the moment.
  • Misc: Gift purchase from end of December killed this one --> Reiterating that I need to add in a gift category next month.
I don't for see any big expenditures for the rest of Jan so hopefully I don't falter over the next two weeks.

Self Restraint

I was @ Old Navy yesterday & they have an amazing deal going on. 50% off already reduced items. The BF got 2 shirts @ $2.74 each! How amazing is that? The ladies section had sweaters for $10 & under with the deal. I was this close to getting one. So close that I had picked it out, gotten my size & even the colour I wanted. Then after thinking about it, realized I really don't need another generic sweater in my closet. I asked myself the question whether I'd want it had it been regular price. The answer was no. With that in mind, I got nothing. Yay me!

Thursday, January 15, 2009

2008 American Express Gold Card Cashback

So I was one of the people that signed up for this card in December 2007. It was available to the public for a brief period of time. Maybe a few months? Word on the street is, it is no longer available to newbies.

It came at a perfect time for me. My primary card till then was the Citi Drivers Edge card which gives you 2% cash back towards the purchase of a car. I had just purchased a car & am planning on driving it till it can drive no more. As a result, racking up 2% towards another car didn't make sense for me since you can only carry over 5 years worth of cashback. I downgraded to the Citi Enrich mastercard that gives you 1% cashback but in the mean time was looking around for something else.

After lots of searching & reading reviews, I came across the Amex Gold Card on RedFalgDeals which has up to 2% cash back. Key word is up to. It's a tiered card where you get 0.5% on the first $2,500 spent, 1% back on the next $2,500 and 2% back on anything beyond $5000 spent! Sweet! When you work it out, you need to spend over $6250 for it to be better than a 1% cashback card. With Amex not being accepted every where, I was a little hesitant but I was sure I would spend the break even $6250 and decided to give it a go.

Well it's been a year since I've had the card & I've charged $11436 on the card! Almost double what I needed to break even with the Citi Enrich card. I do however maximize the Amex card in every way I can. I put every little thing on it, including bills. I also paid for trips, including somebody elses since we were purchasing it together. I was also pleasantly surprised that one of my misconceptions that Amex isn't accepted everywhere was incorrect. In my experience, about 90% of the places I visit accept Amex. Food Basics my local grocery store however was not one of them. If they did, I'd probably have easily put another $1000 on the card for the year.

The other good thing about the card, is they give you the cash via a credit to your bill as opposed to chq. I feel like when I get a chq, I have extra money that I hadn't budgeted for and should therefore spend it frivolously. My 2008 cashback via the Amex card *drumroll please* was a whopping $166! Almost $50 more than what I'd have gotten with the Citi Enrich card. For spending as normal, it's a great bonus.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Keeping up with the Jones

Or in my case, perhaps I should call it 'the Jackies'. There is a girl @ work, same age as me & same position yet we are worlds apart financially & I shouldn't but I am definitely a little envious. Her parents bought her a house and she practically wears designer everything. Almost every single day! & lots of it! Meaning she has a full wardrobe of this stuff as opposed to one or designer piece that she just wears often.

Me on the other hand would love a house but can't afford the down payment. I also have a few (very few) expensive pieces but no where near the level that she does. I know I shouldn't compare as we have totally different circumstances. I am paying for myself & she is not but it's hard sitting across the table looking @ her when you are the same age.

I am definitely happy where I am financially. No debt, having some savings & a steady income is something but I can't help but wonder what it'd be like in her shoes to not worry about saving & spending extravagantly.

Damn being human....

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Earn Air Miles for searching

I found this deal via smartcanucks but air miles now offers points for doing searches using their toolbar. Their toolbar uses yahoo! for results. Uh hello, there are still people out there that don't use google? Well apparently but you get 5 points for 50 searches up to a max of 30 points per month. Considering how long it normally takes to rack up these points, I signed up for when I have time to kill & search using an inferior search engine.

I suspect Air Miles is doing this so they can track more consumer information. I for one don't have a problem with it, so the toolbar is now part of my browser.
Did my one hour workout for the week! huzzah! Let's see how long I can keep up. I also ate some bbq ruffle chips for a good 5 mins straight. Baby steps, baby steps.

This weekend, I was able to go through stacks of bills & receipts & whatnot & dwindle it down to things I need to keep. Things I am keeping are banking agreements, warranties & 1 year worth of pay stubs. I do online banking but for some reason citi still wants to send me bills. No point in me holding on to them so to the shredding pile they went. So in my room in the corner is a stack of bills for shredding. It's not a humongous pile but a pile none the less.

Even thought it's embarrassing, I took pictures of all my lotions & whatnot over the weekend. One of my challenges for this year is to only buy things once I am down to my last bottle. I think I have some sort of condition but I'd like to put the pictures up so I can look back & laugh @ what a crazy lunatic I once was.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

In the mood for boots

I've been debating spending obese amounts of money on a pair of boots that will keep me warm. I have the stylish ones that I look good in but do nothing for my dainty toes when I am outside for hours. I have a couple in mind but can't justify spending ~$100 & don't want Uggs. I am not an Uggs girl. If I see a good sale on any of these, I am there....also almost half of my 2009 clothes & beauty budget will be blown but that's a different story.

Columbia Sportswear Women's Maci Tall Boot @ $105

North Face Women's Haily Boot @ $160

Timeberland Women's Hollace Tall Boot @ $100

Hey, where'd these guys come from? They look so hot that it almost makes freezing your toes worth it.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Reciepts, bills & pay stubs oh my

My rooms gotten messy. A little past messy. Clothes on the floor, bills scattered around. I find that when my rooms organized I feel better about myself. Maybe I have some sort of undiagnosed issue but it's true.

I have bills in my room from 2006! Do I still need to hold on to them? My dad would keep his bills for years & would always yell @ me when I threw things out. I used to toss bills once I saw that my payments were credited online. I never keep a balance so didn't see the need but perhaps my dads constant yelling got to me & now I have a bag full of bills.

Armed with a shredder in hand, here's what I am going to follow as I sort things out.
  • Bills - 3 months of history (not sure why when I can see almost a year of history online. Always good to have a backup though in case of any glitches I suppose)
  • Receipts - I toss once I see it on my statement unless off course it's a big purchase or something I might return. I check my credit card balances online @least once a week.
  • Pay stubs - here's where I am confused. I am not sure how much history of this I am supposed to keep. I have not tossed a single one out since I started have almost 2 years worth scattered here & there. When's a good time to toss these? Good old google has failed me & given me various answers.
  • Agreements - I have little booklets for the credit card agreement, my banking account & things like that. Things I've never referenced since I got them but at the same time, documents I feel I should hold onto. I think I'll keep these guys around as annoying as they are.
  • Warranties & how to use booklets - Another annoying thing that I hardly use but take up space & hard to find when you do need it. Similar to before, they don't see the light of day but I feel like I should keep for some reason.

Friday, January 9, 2009


Say that 5 times fast! I saw this on CTV news yesterday. It's a wheel & a shovel combined into one, aka genius. According to the website, it was Times Magazines' best invention of 2006. Who can argue with reputable Times. They did a demo & it seemed easy enough to use. I mean off course there's an initial adjustment period and the looking silly factor. But once you're over both, it's smooth sailing. It makes use of leverage. Remember Physics class lessons on the seesaws...well this works similarly.

You finish shoveling faster & also don't kill your back in the process. Why hasn't this thing caught on yet then? I think it may have to do with the $100+ price tag attached to it. I mean if it was under $50, I think I'd seriously consider purchasing one. But @ the current price, I'll have to do it the old fashioned way. Blood, sweat & tears...lots of tears.

Health Quest 09

When I was a youngin (in highschool) I used to wear a size 10. I also used to eat very, very badly. & when I say that, I mean pop twice a day, chips every single day, no fruit and the golden arches all the time. Since I got that under control, I've gone to wearing anything from a size 4-7. I am happy with that. What I am not happy with is pockets of fat & just overall jigglyness. If you're wondering, jigglyness is a real word! I say so. My parents are at that age where they're starting to see medical problems & seeing them motivates me to be healthy & try my best to push that off for as long as possible. If anythings it's hard on the kids. My parents used to be superheroes in my eyes & seeing them fall down is hard.
Ever since I became vegetarian maybe 4/5 years ago, I've been relatively healthy. I still consume dairy & am not picky enough to deny myself food if it's been cooked on the same grill as meat. If I was, I'd hardly be able to eat out. Perhaps that's actually a good thing since I'd be saving lots of money if I stopped eating out.
Not the point, the point is I want to be healthy. I do my bit, I eat pretty balanced meals & practice yoga 2-3 times a week. The downside is, I also eat lots of junk food & really should also do other forms of exercise besides yoga unless shoveling snow counts.
In the summer I run occasionally but in the winter, I hibernate & eat lots of food to stay warm. My downfall is having that junk food in the house in the first place. In one sitting, little old me can finish a big bag of chips. It's happened before! Ruffles anything is so bad, it's good! I think I'd classify as a binge eater. I also tell myself, oh I'll allow myself this one little treat & will be good tomorrow. Well tomorrow comes & it's the same story again.
& the exercise excuse? The honest truth is I am as lazy as they come. It's a wonder I don't live the life of a slob 24/7. If I could, I would enjoy sitting my ass in front of the t.v. munching on food watching trashy t.v. all day long. I love me some Jerry Springer.
So I figured I'd write this on here because posting this makes me feel somehow accountable for my actions. As we speak, I am downloading a fitness videos I can do @ home. I already have the weights but if yoga has thought me anything, you really don't need any equipment to work out. So my challenge in the health dept for this year is to do some sort of physical activity @least 1hour per week not including yoga! *breathe in, breathe out*. The odd thing is when I was in uni, I easily did this & more. But I guess when I was in university, any excuse not to do work was good. & I could fit in working out during the day or in between class breaks. Having a 9-5iver is clearly cramping my style.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Sephora now carries clarisonic brushes!

Yup. So till late 2008, no retailers in Canada carried the clarisonic. Even though Sephora US was selling it since @least 2007 if not 2006, we didn't get it till late 2008. Sephora CAN finally started carrying it. I still found a better deal through ebay but one thing I wanted to buy from Sephora was replacement brush heads. I reasearched it at that time & those would have to bought online. Well I was in the store yesterday & what did I see. Replacement brush heads! I don't need a replacement head right now & probably won't for a few more months but it's good to know I won't have to pay shipping charges or go through the hassle of buying it online. Way to go Sephora for stepping up the game.

I am still on the fence about the Clarisonic. I am not seeing miracles like many other claimed but it certainly has helped my clogged pores which is one of my big issues. I was also using the wrong brush head for a month thinking it was the right one. So I've decided to give myself a month on the right brush head before I make a decision & review it. I mean it hasn't broken me out or anything & is still part of my routine so that says something.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

That's right. I returned a body cream you see on the right hand side from Fruits & Passions for a cool $27! Yup just one bottle cost that much. Now in my defense I purchased it not knowing the price and based primarily on scent so I had good intentions. After I bought it I felt bad. This was in December. Well I was going through items I had and I realized I really did not need this. I mean the good ol' Vaseline Intensive lotion for $5 that I already have and is almost double the size will do.

So huzzah for $27! I think I'll add it to the budget even though it's from a December purchase.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Don't want to work

Sometimes I have days where I contemplate going into work & saying 'nope, not gonna do it anymore'. I have days where I abso-positively don't look forward to going into work. Tomorrow happens to be one of those. I wish I could write more but I am uber tired & also want to keep work identifying items outta the blog.

I feel like I am in university again & have a gut-wrenching chemistry final that I did absolutely nothing for. Feel like no matter what, it's a fail-fail situation.

& on top of everything, it's supposed to snow starting tonight which equals a long drive into work. Bah humbug.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Ugh, I think I might need to update my budget

So a few weeks ago I was all gung ho & created a budget. Looking @ it, reality is hitting me that perhaps I was too optimistic when setting it. I am already @ almost 60% of the monthly budget & it's only Jan 6th!! I mean I was keen & started tracking things from the last week of December as opposed to actually starting in January. In retrospect, that was definitely a bad idea considering my big birthday gift purchase for a friend that was higher than expected and as a result has already maxed out my misc category. I think perhaps the best is to budget a $10-$20 gift allotment.

I told the boy about my budgeting for 2009 & he was impressed. He however laughed @ my clothes budget. He thinks there's no way I can do that. Considering I'd easily spend $50-$100/month before. I realize it's aggressive but I am motivated to do it.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The great lotion & potion challenge of 2009

I haven't made a resolution post yet because I am note quite sure what they are. But one thing I know for sure is that I want to reduce all the bottles of lotions, gels, soaps, powders, exfoliants & you name it under my sink. I buy things & decide they don't work for me, or am in SDM & give in to temptation & end up with another bottle of fruity smelling conditioner under my sink. I have 6 bottles of conditioner under my sink! 6! If dooms day was coming @least my hair would smell nice right?

So for things I have more than one in my cabinet, I have decided I can't buy more of it even if the one I currently have doesn't work well. Searching for something better was one of the main reasons, I'd go out there & try something new.

Here is my list of items I have multiple of & therefore not allowed to buy until I am down to the last bottle.
  • Shampoo & conditioner
  • Body lotion
  • Hair gel, hair mousse
  • Foundation
  • Body scrubs
  • Nailpolish
  • Liquid hand soap
  • Toner
  • Deodorant

Friday, January 2, 2009

Tax Free Savings Account (TFSA)

When I had heard about the TFSA which is in play now, my little heart skipped a beat. Why? Well I don't do RRSPs. Bad me! But after some research, it didn't seem like the best idea at this point in my life. I am in a low income tax bracket & would get taxed more when I take it out. So I've been saving what little money in a PC Financial savings account & investing via Questrade.

So I just transferred $5000 into a newly created TFSA at PC Financial. They are currently my main banking providers so it made sense for me to go with them. Their competitive interest rate of 3.75% helped aswell.

For me, I want this money to be liquid so it made sense for me to go with a savings account as opposed to GIC or investments. At this point, I have ~$7000 saved in liquid cash. To suddenly put over 70% in something that was locked didn't make sense. Even though I don't foresee myself having to take anything out in 2009, I like to think of it as emergency money IF for some reason something happens. Hey maybe I'll get hitched & have a big wedding soon. Yeah right! but you never know what will happen.

I wondering what everybody else is doing with their TFSA for 2009.