Money Monday AKA – How We are Going to Get Out of Debt

*Vulnerable Post Ahead* So if you’ve been reading here for a while you know that it has been my goal over the past few years to get better with managing our money.

The first big shift happened around this time last year when I was on Maternity Leave. Matthias had been working a commercial job that wasn’t paying enough, my mat leave pay was a huge reduction to the income I was getting pre-baby and we just weren’t managing it well. We were spending more than we were making and using our Line of Credit and Credit Cards to make up the difference.

After a bit of a breakdown and a few glasses of wine and a hot bath I got my ish together and started tracking everything with Mint. It was super helpful to see where it was all going and to get a better understanding of where we could cut back to save. Matthias started a better paying job, I made a bit of a supplemental income through Beachbody, and we made it through the rest of my Maternity Leave at about the status quo – not going into more debt, not paying more than the minimum payments.

I went back to work and for a bit I was working full time (Cha-Ching), and when that stopped I started working about 5-7 shifts a pay period, which was a good amount more than my maternity leave due to being casual and having a paid out vacation % and not paying pension and benefits.

We watched the state of the economy continue to decline, and we were thankful Matthias had in-town work paying close to what he would make if he was out of town, but we were aware the job he was in would end in August. In this time we paid off our credit cards and began paying down our line of credit. I was feeling pretty good! And although Mint was still showing me that we were spending more than we were making, and we were living paycheck to paycheck, it still was rewarding to see our debts going down.

In June we decided to sell our house and move to Airdrie, something that was semi-planned, semi-spur of the moment. Hindsight is everything and it probably wasn’t the right time financially, but it had to happen in order to bring us to where we are today and where we are hopefully going. So we sold our house for what we needed to in order to have enough of a down payment for a bigger place and to cover (most) moving costs. Tucker passed away and with that came a $1000 vet bill. And then we moved. I had a brief period after moving where I didn’t work for two weeks, which set us back, and then we had an extra mortgage payment go through that we weren’t expecting (because when you pay your mortgage your paying for the 2 previous weeks, not the two coming weeks, something I didn’t know!), and then about 3 weeks after we moved Matthias’ job ended and he was laid off. So throw in a 2 week EI waiting period without pay and we were basically fucked.

Matthias was off work for 6 weeks and we ended up racking our credit cards back up, losing our headway on our Line Of Credit, and cashing in some of our RRSP’s (not usually advisable, I know, but times were desperate) to make it through. We didn’t have any emergency savings to get us through. I was picking up to full time, and it wasn’t enough. It totally sucked, and I was super stressed about it. I applied to probably close to 100 jobs for Matthias before he finally got one. Unfortunately it is out of town and he is back in Fort Mac for a 2 week on, 1 week off shift, but right now you take what you can get.

I started in a .53 line – so 9-10 shifts a month, which is great in the long run because I will have pension, benefits for all of us, banked vacation, and an RRSP match from work, but its also tough in the mean time because it means a cut in my paychecks because of the extra expenses coming out.

I vowed to change. No more living paycheck to paycheck and not having a buffer in case of emergency. No more spending mindlessly without having a plan. No more overdraft. No more credit cards.

I read Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey at the suggestion of some of my FB friends, and now I’m onto Debt-Free Forever by Gail Vaz-Oxlade. Total game changers. I’ve restructured our entire budget and started using YNAB (You Need A Budget) and although I definitely find it confusing, I am committed to giving it a few months try to see if it will be better for us. I now can see the value  of Mint vs the drawbacks – It is excellent to look at retrospectively to see where your money has gone but it does little to help you plan where your future money needs to go. We have started a Cash Budget for the Groceries, Gas, Pet Food, Personal Spending Money, and Quinn Supplies – another big adjustment, but I’m committed to it.

Here’s the curve ball to it all. Matthias doesn’t get paid for the time he is off over Christmas. Last year he was off for two and a half weeks, and I had enough foresight to save enough to make up for his lost income prior to him going off. This year he is off for an entire month, December 15 to either January 11 or 18 (fingers crossed its not the latter), and with him just being off for 6 weeks we haven’t had the time or income to save for future missed income. So now I’m scrambling to save as much as I can before he goes off without going deeper into the red or spending more than is coming in. It’s a tricky balance.

So that’s where we are right now! Having a varied income for both of us sucks and I am jealous of all you salaried folks out there who know exactly how much is coming and when, regardless of the time of year! I can’t be the only one out there who has struggled with budgeting and overspending, so I am planning on making this a semi-regular post topic because it’ll help keep me accountable and maybe it will inspire someone else. :)

Life Update

*tap* *tap* *tap* Is this thing on?

Hi! I can’t believe it has been since JUNE that I have posted. And now we are heading into NOVEMBER. Where have the last 5 months gone!?!?!

Oh I know. They went into selling our house, getting pregnant, packing our house, losing our Tucker, moving to a new city, starting a new job, getting a new puppy, and now trading in my vehicle for a minivan. #MomLife

So a quick update of where we are at over here!

We MOVED! We have been talking about moving for years but never really thought it would become a reality and then BAM we did it. We sold our house in 2 weeks, and only had to show it twice before we had an offer. *pats self on the back for job well done at cleaning* Then two days after we accepted an offer we had an offer accepted on a lovely and spacious 2 story house in Airdrie. Aka – The best home style for a family ever. We got all our ducks in a row and moved at the end of August.

Between June and September I was going through the ever lovely first trimester, feeling like complete shit and all that fun stuff. I don’t know how I managed to accomplish all that I did.

I started my new job a few weeks after moving. I’m working half time on an acute crisis stabilization/short stay mental health unit. It’s pretty much my dream line and the unit is amazing. After a few job disappointments in Red Deer I am happy to say everything worked out exactly as it should have and I am in the perfect position for our family right now!

Then Matthias got laid off. That AB economy though. So he spent 6 weeks being a house husband while I worked full time hours to try and make up some of the lost income because #EIPaySucks.

He recently started a new job out of town in Fort Mac. It has been an adjustment having him gone again after he was home for nearly 2 years, and Quinn and I are definitely missing him, but our bank account will hopefully be happy soon.

Quinn has been growing like cray. She talks a whole bunch now and is starting to copy more and more. We have been working on “Trick or Treat” lately. I doubt she will actually say it in front of strangers when we go out on Halloween to a few houses but its still super cute. Shes walking and trying to run and she is full of personality. Finding another day home proved to be a struggle, especially now that Matthias is out of town, but we found a very nice lady/family and I think Quinn is liking it there so far!

We also lost Tucker in August. That was really fucking hard. After a fall at the dog park and a broken leg, we found out he had Cancer in his bone and lungs and the prognosis was not good. It was a complete shock as he had been healthy and energetic right up until the fall. He was running out of the water after swimming.. that is how perfectly normal he seemed. He was only 7 years old, which seems way to early to lose someone we cared so much about. We had him cremated and he is in our living room. I don’t think a day goes by that I don’t think of him and the little things he used to do that I miss.

About 2 months after we lost Tucker we decided to start looking for another dog to add to our family. Not to replace Tucker, because that will obvi never happen, but to definitely fill a bit of the void that we still left behind. I wanted a pug. Matthias wanted a big dog. So we compromised and got a Great Dane/Mastiff (sarcasm). His name is Duke and he is a riot. He is going to be a big boy! He is 11 weeks old and 30lb.

Finally, let me update you on the pregnancy! We have a midwife in Calgary and if we can get our financial shit together I hope to be delivering at the Arbour Birth Center here. We also have our same doula from when we had Quinn. So hopefully all is well and the roads are dry when I go into labor because she will have to drive the hour and 20 minutes from Lacombe to get here and then we will have to drive the 40 minutes to the birth center…. Haha. I’m almost 19 weeks now and we find out the gender in one freaking week. How crazy is that?!!? I feel like I waited forever and a day to find out the gender with Quinn and BAM here we are and I’m already half way through and I have done nothing at all to prepare lol.

Amiright?

So I think that’s pretty much all that is worth mentioning! I’m hoping to become more active here again now that it feels like our life is settling down finally. Quinn just woke up and is saying No Way over and over so I better go in and see what all the fuss is about 😉

Quinn – 11, 12, 13 & 14 Months

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My little twin :)

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This is my favorite picture of us <3

IMG_0224      IMG_1137 IMG_1216Just going to try my best and lump the past 4 months together. I’m sure I will miss out on a lot but at least I can give an overview!

11 months

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IMG_1322Quinn went to the day home a lot this month because I was working full time. She was pretty shy and cautious at first and liked to have the day home lady close to her all the time. She cried at drop offs but close to the end of the month she stopped crying and just had a pouty lip. She would be done crying as soon as the door closed and she couldn’t see me any more lol. We were still breastfeeding when I wasn’t working, so usually 4-6 times a day depending on if it was the weekend or not. I noticed a dip in my supply for sure. She got 2-3 bottles of formula during the day when she was at day home. She got 3 meals and 1 or 2 small snacks, but she was still getting the most of her calories from milk. She’d pull herself to stand on all of her toys but wasn’t too coordinated to try and walk yet. Her favorite toy was her music table – she liked to pull herself up and dance. She also liked her little piano. Her favorite food this month was raspberries, yogurt, cheese, and peas. She got her first fever and it lasted a few days :( It got up to 40 at one point so we brought her in to get checked out but all was fine (thankfully). I spent my first two nights away from her when I went to CARNA meetings and Matthias held down the fort. She could say Mama and Dada.

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12 months

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The big ONE! She started to say Daddy, and would say it all the time. By the end of the month she added in Mommy. We breastfed until the end of the 12th month, the reason we stopped was because my supply dipped and I wasn’t sure how much she was getting before bed. I wanted to fill her up and cut out the dream feed at 10pm but when I tried to stop that shed wake up in the middle of the night wanting more milk. So she started getting a bottle before bed (starting with 3oz and working up to 6oz) but breastfeeding throughout the rest of the day and first thing in the morning, probably 3 times a day. We went cold turkey at the end of the 12th month and she didn’t really notice I don’t think? Eating was pretty much the same but she started getting more of her calories from food instead of milk. When we stopped breastfeeding she would get 1-2 4oz bottles of milk at the day home. We transitioned her from formula to milk during the 12th month and that went okay although she initially had (and still sometimes gets) constipation from the milk. I’m really glad we did Baby Led Weaning. It was a seamless transition as she was still getting the same food at each meal time we were eating, she just started swallowing more of it. She does really good with feeding herself and only having 2 teeth didn’t really slow her down. Day home drop offs got a bit harder as she was only going part time instead of full time, so she’d cry again when I dropped her off but stopped right when I left. She started pushing her toys around and haaaaated when I’d close the baby gate to keep her in the living room (she still loses it when I do this now lol). She was still napping twice a day, usually at 9am and 1:30pm. We did a Cake Smash photo shoot for her birthday and had a little family and friend birthday party at our house. Both were lots of fun :)

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13/14 months

Quinn’s vocabulary has expanded quite a bit within the last few weeks. She can say Mommy, Daddy, Cat, Dog, Puppy, Uh Oh, Hi, and Bye. She talks non-stop but most of it is gibberish. She comprehends quite a bit though – when you say “Come here” and she doesn’t want to she will turn and crawl away as fast as she can. Same with “Should we change your diaper?”. She also shakes her head No to everything haha. I planned to do sign language with her but never really did it consistently, so she understands the words More and All Done, but doesn’t have a sign associated with them. I think the cutest thing she does is when she gives you a big open mouthed kiss haha. While she knows lots of things she will only do/say things you ask if she wants to – so you can ask her for a kiss 5 times in a day and your lucky if you get one. Haha figures.

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She LOVES Paw Patrol. Her current favorite thing is standing at the windows and looking outside. Shes also a huge fan of the water table. She can walk holding one of our hands but shes pretty unsteady. If she holds both of our hands she goes a lot faster. Other favorite toys include cell phones, remote controls (but only if they have batteries), books, and emptying the cupboards.

This last month the Day Home drop offs have gone a lot better. No more crying at all :) She goes 2-3 times a week depending on how much I’m working. She also decided to go from 2 teeth (which she got at 10 months and then never got any more after that lol) to 6 teeth in a matter of 2 weeks. She has a 6oz bottle of whole milk in the morning and before bed and eats 3 meals and 1-2 snacks a day depending on when her nap(s) fall. Her favorite foods are all carbs, yogurt, strawberries, peas and carrots, and her least favorite food is broccoli, salad, spinach, and anything else green (besides peas).

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She’s in the process of going from 2 naps to 1 nap, depending on when she gets up in the morning. If she has two naps they are at 9:30am and 2:30pm and if she has 1 nap its usually from 11am until 1pm-ish. Bedtime is 7pm and she usually wakes up at 7am on the dot. We bought a humidifier for her room and it adds a lot of white noise which has stopped her from waking up when Matthias gets up for work at 5:45 (Hallelujah) – we are ALL happy about that one haha. After we stopped breastfeeding I noticed she started sucking her thumb more as a comfort thing. Mixed feelings on that lol. I sucked my thumb for too long, so I hope she doesn’t do that, but I also like that she is able to comfort herself.

Shes a sweet, cautious girl. Quiet when she doesn’t know the people she is around but chats away when she warms up. She’s very observant and likes to have someone she trusts with her in new situations or around new people.

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It’s funny, I didn’t realize just how much she’d changed over the past 4 months. She’s really gone from being a baby to a little toddler (even though she doesn’t quite toddle yet). Reinforces the saying “The days are long but the years are short”

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Oh, Hi There.

It’s one of those things…

You don’t really have anything to say.

So then you don’t say anything, and time passes.

Then your not sure how to come back and pick it up, or what exactly to say, so you still don’t say anything.

And then more time passes anyways.

So here I am. 4 months and 4 days later.

Lots has changed since we last chatted.

One of the biggest factors to my lack of updates here has 100000% been because of work. While I feel like I do an OK job of managing my home life and work life and everything in between sometimes sacrifices have to be made in order to “create” more time in your life and that unfortunately led to this space becoming quiet for a bit.

So now that I have a few months under my belt and I know what to expect and how to manage it all I hope to liven this space up a bit and share more long-hand what I’ve been up to and how I’m doing.

My plan is to write up a 4 month update post on Quinn, although she’s changed so much so I don’t even know where to start with that lol. And then go from there.

In the mean time, let me tell you about my Work!

23367631edc1ea235f831de2af11c351Finding my balance of going back to work proved to be an interesting task. We started Quinn at the day home at 10.5 months so she could get used to going a couple days a week before having to go full time. I ended up re-orientating at the hospital and then starting a full time 7 week teaching gig at the college which was a great experience.

Being full time was a lot.. but the job offered me some flexibility to feel like I was able to keep on top of the housework and stuff, which I greatly appreciated. Quinn adjusted pretty good to the day home. I got into a good rhythm of evening prep for the next day. Haha

Once the term was done it was back to the units for me. Shift work is A LOT harder than I expected with a baby, and I’m glad we have a flexible day home that allows me to pick up both days and evenings. She opens early for us and closes late for us. Super thankful for that. Throw in my schedule being all over the place as I’m casual and I am EXTRA thankful for a day home that is flexible and for the most part can take Quinn short notice if I get called for a shift.

I’m currently working 6-7 shifts in a 2 week period. It’s enough. Days are longer because I’m away from Quinn for more hours and we are up at the ass crack of dawn but evenings are more tiring because I don’t get to sleep till 1 and then Quinn has me up at 7am on the dot.

I thought I was going to be getting a full time teaching job for next year, which I was pretty excited about (consistent hours, sharing my love of mental health nursing, weekends off!) but it fell through, so now its pretty up in the air.

Which leads me to my next exciting announcement! We’ve decided to move to Airdrie. We were tossing the idea back and forth for a bit now as we started to get our house ready to sell, but after hearing that I didn’t get the teaching job it was like a giant “HERE’S YOUR SIGN”. I’m hoping we get the house listed by the end of this month and then we can work from there to sell and buy and all that fun scary stuff.

Matthias has more options down there for in-town commercial work and if he has to go out of town we are much closer to the airport. For myself – plenty of mental health in hospital and community opportunities, 2 potential universities to (eventually) teach at, and being close to the U of C = MASTERS DEGREE. *cue the bells*

While I 100% believe this is the right move career-wise for both of us, its still a little daunting to move away from home. My dad is here. Some of my friends are here. I’ve always felt like Red Deer is my home. So it makes me feel a little nervous to be leaving it. But Matthias and I are ready to start a new chapter in our lives, and with the turn of recent events I think the change of scenery will do us both good.

Have you ever done a big move? Any tips or wisdom?