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Trouble with Tracking


Hello again!

I’m working on what I referred to as “The Reckoning” but struggling, so I decided to be honest about what is going on.

Hitting my Goals

My goals are moving along beautifully. It’s Friday and I’ve been to the gym three times! I signed up for a trial of the weight loss app Noom, which uses the principals of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT) to help form lifelong habits. This isn’t a fitness blog, so I won’t get in to the specifics (but feel free to ask about it in the comments). Going to the gym, I weighed myself, and while I actually haven’t put on pounds since last year, I’ve lost muscle and I am obese. Yep, I’m apparently obese based on my BMI! I am fairly heart-healthy thanks to a lifetime of endurance sports, but heart disease runs in my family. Being tall with a large frame, I can hide weight gain pretty well… but, it’s time for changes.

Gym + planned meals = within budget for spending, my dear readers. I am having a hard time tracking money (more on that below), but I’ve had very few transactions since last week, so things are ok.

Real Life

I’ve been hemming and hawing about how honest to be about my personal life. The reality is, since around when I wrote about my ex in my first post, we’ve been together. Yes, the whole dang time! It’s messy but beautiful, like it has been since we were teenagers. Two people can love each other but also be going in (profoundly) different directions. He has a construction job for a couple of months, and we’ve decided to try and figure out for the last time if there is some way to make this work. It’s always fine while he is working, but when his restless gypsy heart stirs, he moves on to the next thing (a self-imposed employment sabbatical or an impromptu months-long trip to BC) . In the past, that has left me scrambling to pay bills for shared leases and utilities. He always gets the money, but it’s rarely on time, and that gives me tremendous anxiety. Worry not, though – I am not joining myself to him legally or financially.

We are going to go to therapy to talk about finances and life goals, and respecting each other’s dreams and boundaries. There are some affordable options, and he can pay since I’m watching his dog during his long work hours.

Existential Questions

I always thought I would be married with children by 25. My parents had me very young, and I’m the eldest of five siblings who are all further along in life than I am. Granted, they live in very small places with extremely low cost-of-living. I have a sister who bought a house and had a baby at 22 (in a place called Pictou County – the house cost as much as a mid-range car)! Another sister was married at 22. And my brother, the next eldest after me, has a baby, a defined and profitable career trajectory, a fiancee, and … *drumroll*, he is mortgage shopping. The homeowner sister was given a mortgage while she was a student and her husband worked at the Apple Store. Yes, a retail job. Readers in large cities will understand how mind-bogging being approved for a mortgage with a retail income is. And here in Toronto, friends in their mid-30s talk about not being ready to settle down yet. City vs. Rural – the divide is real!

Me? I make more than 2.5 siblings combined. My friendships are rich, long, beautiful relationships that have been nourished since childhood. My rented house is spacious and affordable (unheard of in Toronto), and my pets bring me so much joy. But I can’t figure out my purpose, my passion. There’s this niggling thought that time is passing me by and I’m stuck. Does anyone ever feel that way?

I can’t seem to think about anything else this week. I wonder what I should be doing in life. Why do I feel so uneasy?

Oh yeah, I’m a finance blogger

I haven’t tracked spending since the paycheck on August 30th, and it seems insurmountable now. It’s not the former ex (awkward title, ha!). We both work crazy long hours – he only gets weekend time with me. It could be that it’s September and I haven’t had any time off since last Christmas. I’ve become basket case, worried and exhausted. Is it crazy that I’m daydreaming about being called for my finger tumor surgery just so I can have another few days off work? Yikes. Next week, I’m taking at least a few days off for staycation and catching up. I’ll definitely have some visuals (I’m working on some Excel charts) for my spending in August by then, if not sooner.

Tracking Help?

I loved EveryDollar at first, but it seems like a terrible amount of work right now. I don’t have a September budget finished, and I don’t have any interest in spending two hours doing that. And why is biweekly pay so frustrating to track monthly?! There has to be a better way. I took physics and math in university but when I look at a budget, I see stars. I can’t figure out a clean way to allocate bi-weekly paychecks in to monthly budgets. Is there a way to budget every two weeks?

However(!!!), I am still trying to improve my situation. TD owns my car loan, and I received an email from them about a pretty good deal (I think?) on a line of credit.

The catch appears to be that, after the first year, it switches to a variable rate which is Prime (today that is 3.99%) + 8.49%. I’ve only done a few minutes of Googling, but that rate would be higher than the average fixed rate. I’ve got a bit more research to do on this. I don’t want to apply and have my credit dinged with a hard inquiry if it’s not the best offer. Seeking advice on this from readers!

My savings are up, but debt isn’t really down, and I feel adrift. I’ll pull it together and get you the hard numbers, I promise. Monday seems like a good day for that.

A Month in Review – Settling In


I sat down this week to review my finances and decisions for this past month. Based on my “write it down” post, I have decided to spend some time each month recapping the previous month. And I’m not talking about here on BAD, but more so in a journal format.

I want to remember the big decisions I made, the memories that were made and the milestones accomplished. This practice will help me as I look back…as much as I hate to admit it, I am not getting any younger and what seems so clear in the moment…well, sometimes when I think back, I wonder, “what in the world was I thinking?” In addition, I think this will be something the kids will enjoy having one day…as they too wonder “what in the world was mom thinking?”

August in Review

This month has been one of settling into our new family life and school schedule and lots of long distance calls and Facetime sessions with the boys not at home but overall it has been a very quiet month. And I paid my first payment on our car!

I was thinking this morning how nice it is to be able to pay bills every month without the “borrowing from Paul to pay Peter” or however that saying goes. I just don’t take that for granted at all anymore after the really hard years we had leading up to this place we are at now.

So here is what I came up with as far as reviewing August from a financial front:

  • Sticking to a cash budget for every day spending has really helped me with impulse buying AND more importantly, given me the peace of mind to buy some wants. (When the budgeted money is gone, it’s gone and I/we have to deal with the fall out.)cash
  • The private school has been a big financial investment, but after 3 weeks there, I am so happy with the choice. Princess is being challenged academically like she never has been before. She is getting as much playing time on the volleyball court as she wants. And I truly believe that her education opportunities will be greater after two years at this school, and that in the end, is the primary goal.
  • I love our new car. And after all the comments, felt like I would get buyer’s remorse especially taking on so much more debt. But I haven’t. I know better than to try and explain my feelings on this, and I do realize they are more than financial. But I feel good about providing my daughter with a reliable car that will serve us both for the next couple of years, and then eventually be just hers. It should last her through college and beyond and most of that time, still be under warranty.
  • This new routine…it’s working for us. It’s hard and long and tiring. But the early mornings, exercise and freer nights for dinner together are good. I am working hard to finish my workday by the time Princess is done with volleyball. And then we are spending our evenings together…dinner and then homework. She is slammed and I want to support her as she digs in. I am enjoying cooking every night. But I am even more excited about the cooler weather and soup season!homework
  • Having a work space in my home for the first time in, oh about 8 years, has been life changing. With Sea Cadet in California and Gymnast in Illinois, both History Buff and Princess have their own rooms (as do I.) And our living room, which was both the twins’ room, then just Sea Cadet’s room after Gymnast moved out, is now a true living room AND my office! Just the small walk from my bedroom to the living room has made a huge difference in my work day and focus. (After working in my bedroom since the twin’s moved in with us…well, wow, I missed having a work space!) I am more focused, more productive…I love it! And I am sleeping so much better without my work sitting in my face all the time.

So I guess this update isn’t all financial. But at the end of the day, we are in a good place financially and I am working hard to get us into an even better place. I wrote a lot more in my personal journal. But I think these were the highlights and the ones that most affected our financial place.