Friday, March 1, 2013

A Budget Is a Balancing Act

This month was EXPENSIVE! We had not one, but TWO visits to emergency veterinarian clinics, one visit per dog, in addition to Belle's regular vet visits. You don't want to know the totals for February (or do you? How many numbers do you want to see on these updates?) It was, however, the Month of the Tax Return (cue the victory trumpets). We did manage to put around $1000 into our Travel Fund and another $1000 into our emergency fund...but we accessed that emergency fund to pay for those hefty, unexpected bills.

No matter what you think about paying off debt, build an emergency fund first!

Yeah, I finally get it.

So, let's talk actual numbers for this month:

Last month we owed $32,832.23.

Across the border we have a look at that nasty National Student Loan and see a hefty $22,100.23  is still owed.
My BC Student Loan, meanwhile, is now at $6197.76.

In the States the credit card is $1501 and the student loan is now $1720.


I was thinking again about the books that taught me to budget, and here is my favourite, though I've read pretty much everything I have found and exhausted the personal finance section of many a library and bookstore.

The Everything Personal Finance in Your 20's and 30's was the first book to give me a solid foundation in budgeting. I bought it when I lived in Japan, and to this day it remains one of the smartest purchases I have ever made.

We have applied for refinancing on the condo, though we're not quite sure how that will go. Right now the housing prices in our immediate area have risen significantly. In our condo building here a unit sold recently for more than the asking price, after multiple bids, within the first day of it being open to offers.  This unit is 590 square feet, whereas ours is 690 square feet. The owner did make improvements to the unit we haven't made, but it's a fair start to guess at our condo's value. 

Why refinance? Right now we owe more on the condo than it is worth due to the housing crash. Given the current market, we're reasonably and realistically hopeful that the assessment would meet its worth in what we owe on it (and likely slightly exceed it). We're hoping to get a lower interest rate and thus reduce our (admittedly significant) monthly payments. This would also allow us to stop paying the mortgage insurance (a hefty $123/ per month) sooner...because that's just money wasted.

We have the preliminary approval to proceed with an assessment, but whether or not all will go through is another matter entirely, so keep your fingers crossed for us!

We received our tax return from the States last month, which amounted to about $2600. We've decided to lower our contributions so we see more of that money during the year and can set it aside in savings/ emergency funds that build interest. We put $1000 into our vacation fund, $1000 into our emergency fund (and almost immediately had to spend $350 on Belle's emergency vet visit for her UTI). With the remainder we bought new couch cushions, which my sister had a chance to enjoy during her visit. We didn't manage to get the foyer table I've been wanting (with increasing desire as Belle has foyer accidents on occasion now and that means nothing can be left on the floor), but we're going to look into budgeting for it next month. 

Other-other news, I have a budgeting meeting with a friend! I love getting others addicted to budgeting!!

In completely non-budget-related news: check out the amazing new pillow a friend of mine made for me with my favourite quotation!!!

The Last Unicorn

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