Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Waiting for Things to Post

I have an impatience.  It is an impatience with the credit card companies and the length of time it takes them to post items to their cards.  The same bank account I've had since I was really really small now allows online transfers of payments.  I send out the payments to the various items.  Then I do my due diligence by going to the sites for the payments and making sure they post. 

One of these payment bodies posts items in a day or two.  The other takes 4 days from date of transfer to post the items.  When you speak to them, they tell me it's the bank I'm using and an issue there.  When I challenge that by saying that Company Y, who was sent money the same day, can post it by the end of they next day, however "you guys" Company X take 4 days to post.  It couldn't possibly be the people working for Company X are just slow at their jobs could it?

Turns out the answer is yes it is.  For whatever reason Company X takes nearly a week to pick up items and post against your account.  However Company Y, in the same industry, takes same day or next day to post transactions. 

What's my point?  That I'm impatiently waiting to verify that I sent the payments to the right people and they've received them.  That's it.  That's all.

It's a minor thing.  I know.  It stills drives me a little bonkers is all I'm saying.

The debt is down a bit of $2,000 this month and I'm feeling great about that.  I'm feeling even better that I was able to handle some unexpected car repairs without undoing my progress.  I can definitely tell you that your budgets need to include a section for savings.  It doesn't have to be a lot.  I do $55 per paycheck.  It comes in handy when you really really need it to. 

Of note, that savings is pure cash savings.  It doesn't include the amount I send to my RRSP each month.  That's $100 each month.  The $55 per paycheck is enough to have at the ready for just such a surprise. 

You would think with today's technologies, that the banks could post to your accounts/cards faster than 4 days later.  Alas, everything is flowing tickety-boo. 

Saturday, December 13, 2014

Oh the Irony!

This week, a Christmas Bonus was bestowed upon me.  This weekend, I went in for a routine oil change, and had the once over for the winter completed.  That once over yielded enough work that that Christmas bonus has now gone directly into keeping my car working well and on the road.  *poop*

Here's the thing.  I already dumped that Christmas Bonus - because I was super excited - directly onto my credit card.  Today, after the work is done, the exact same amount I just paid off with that bonus will be going back onto that credit card.  Feels a little like zero traction now. 

Enter the Hero. 

For me, that hero is my past self.  That smart little cookie that started making sure that there was some sort of savings happening this year.  The idea was to, at the end of the year, have put away $1,300.  If I remove today's "surprise", that would have been exceeded as of my last paycheck.  Today, as I sit with myself and really think about things...I realized that the reason I was putting the money away was for this EXACT thing.  My car will be 10 years old in March 2015.  She will have a little over 300,000 km on her.  She and I will be parting ways when she is 15 years old.  I've already put it out there with the universe and recognize that this weekend is a test for me.  It's a test because I allowed a conversation about a new car to take place a month ago, wondering if I should be looking at a new one in 2015.  I put that conversation to bed by saying that no, indeed I will be working to clear up my debt and will entertain ideas of a new car in a couple of years, as her 15th birthday approaches...however, it sat with me a little while, and I looked online at the options currently.  Today, I am tested. 

My options: 

1)  Put the money back on the credit card and kick myself for having made no progress.
2)  Put the money on the credit card and transfer the emergency funds to the credit card next week.

I chose option 2.  I will not feel bad about this, as I had set up the savings for this exact situation. 

I will allow myself the room to feel ok with moving the money.  I am letting the decision go, now that I've set up the transfers to take place.  I will continue my momentum and be thankful that my past self had fore-sight and planning.  And I will congratulate my future self for leaving it built into my plan and continuing that same savings plan into 2015. 

This will not shake me.  I have a plan.  Each 120 day block of 2015 will have a focus to it.  Steps will be set up with this type of timing in place.  It gives me enough to keep on the straight and narrow, the time to reflect and tweak whatever needs it, and the ability to relax for a day before resetting and starting the next plan. 

I've been on a semester system for 15 years.  I graduated with my degree last year.  Sure that's a long time.  In that time I started a degree, found that that particular system and I didn't work well together, switched to a diploma at another school, rocked that out of the park, graduated with a 3.5 year diploma including 1.5 years of work experience, started working my full-time grown up career starting job, changed firms and earned a couple of raises, returned to my degree part time and graduated with it last summer.  I take a little longer to really get the hang of the really big things in my life, even though I am a fast learner.  Lessons come when they are meant to despite our best efforts to alter that course.  Same goes for my finances and life goals it seems. 

And so I am preparing for "in-take" on Jan. 1, 2015.  Frosh Week will run from Jan. 1 to Jan. 10, 2015. 

Remember Frosh Week?  You get to know people in your program.  You attend "first classes" to gain your syllabus, learn what text books are required, ensure your funding is in place, find a few key offices on campus, and start settling into your new school and some sort of routine.  You may party a little bit, and I have a girls afternoon, a birthday party and a christening to attend in those first 10 days, so "partying" is accounted for.  I'll get a handle on everything, can formalize my budget, and decide what text books will be needed for my program. 

It's time to go to school on my finances. 

Some of you watching this blog are saying "yeah right!  What's different about now, versus the previous 8 years?!"  Not a lot has changed in terms of my goals.  It's been the goal for 8 years.  The difference is that I've spent an extensive amount of time testing different things about myself and my finances.  The difference this time is that I want to be done with this, more than anything else in life now.  In the past 8 years, I have consecutive/concurrent goals that have won out.  Splitting my focus has not worked for me.  So, my focus in 2015 is on my finances.

My health goals will be secondary to my financial goals. 

Finances are the most important thing this year.  I've spent a great deal of time with myself on this and it's time to knock it out and move the heck on!! 

It's Me, Sam - here's a second post to take a look at for the semester stuff.  (This one)  My previous discussion of this can be found at this link:  Breaking Down My Goals: 120 days at a time

It's worked for me for 15 years.  120 days feels about right for my attention span as well.  90 days may work better for some of you.  That means there will be 4 chunks in your year.  120 may suit others better, 3 chunks in a year. 

So, here we go.  My first test.  I feel I passed.  With one payday left, and some funds still coming in to make the remaining payment scheduled for this year, I'm setting myself up for success moving in the next 120 days. 

2014 has been quite the year for me.  I am so blessed and thankful for the year I've had.  With days left in the year, I begin to reflect on what has come in the year.  I also look toward the future.  I can see the finish line for the debt.  Just like the last 1.5 years of my degree, I was starting to be able to see the end.  I made a decision there to go balls-out for the finish and completed the toughest year, with the most classes at one time and in total, back to back, than ever before and got done with a good average, and I was happy ecstatic to be finished.  So, it's time to do that with my finances this year too.  Balls-out, going for the gusto, actively choosing to delay my gratification until the debt disappears.  At the end, I have a sweet little carrot that I'm working to attain.  I won't be telling you guys about that until a lot closer to the end though.

Case in point, my graduation gift to myself was grown-up living room furniture.  Until graduation date we were still using the used couch and chair we'd purchased from kijiji.  It looked out of place.  I reminded me everyday, that although I was working full-time, a grown-up, an adult (yes they are different!), I was still a student.  I was still going to school, studying, giving up fun with my friends because of exams.  The moment I knew that convocation was a complete go, received my confirmation paperwork that I was definitely in, we looked for a sale on some great products, and started the shopping process.  The new stuff was delivered the weekend after convocation, and I officially, in my head, and outwardly to my friends and family, stopped living like a student. 

2015, I go back to financial school.  That means I'll be taking a break from purchasing new clothing, shoes, and accessories.  I'll be meal planning and moving to a take my lunch to work, and my snacks to work, and my breakfast to work kind of person.  This hasn't been something I do all the time now.  To get my debt done, for 365 days, this will be what happens.  The budget jars/pouches are back in full effect, and I'm back to looking for all kinds of free and cheap entertainment and rewards for my efforts. 

I'm excited about all of this.  I'm a lot scared of the goal in terms of dollars I have planned to pay off in 2015 because it's quite a bit.  Every single dollar I can spare will be heading to debt.  I want to exceed $24,000 paid down in a year. 

Yep - exceed it.  And yes, my guts are in knots just typing that out.  I have set that goal without any idea of what my paycheck will look like in 2015.  Based on my 2014 paycheck, I have to find an additional $600 every single month to even make that goal at all possible.  And I currently have no plan for that to happen.  *faint*

Alas, this weekend, has been a qualifying test.  Pretty sure I've passed it with flying colours.  I'll feel better when the transfers can be completed and all the items post correctly.