Wednesday, May 5, 2010

An Incredible Day

So the 30th Birthday came.....and it was amazing - just flawless! The day was full of magic, dance, travel, and many of my favorite things!

Just a quick recap......

The Polar Bear did SUCH a great job with pulling things together. We stayed at a fancy schmancy hotel (The W Hotel in Montreal) - and y'all, the man upgraded to the Megasuite - it was soooooo cool! The best part was probably the shower....or the huge chaise.....or the huge TV...just hugeness all around - it felt like a real life Wonderland!!!

Then we had dinner at Globe restaurant....the food was great (I had veal, he had filet mignon...then we switched:). We started with characteristic cocktails...he, a rum and coke.

Me, a Kir Royale.

Then we went off to one of my favorite spots in the city, Whiskey Cafe. I don't smoke often, but I can appreciate a good cigar when the occasion calls, and for a girl's 30th, yeah.....I got a Cuban!

On Sunday, we walked around the city, which is amazing in its spring splendor. We landed on Cresent Street, where we dropped into Pino, a really cool corner restaurant with entertaining views (GREAT for people watching, a pasttime for both of us:).

I enjoyed my signature dessert (Stella and tiramisu).

So did he!

May 1, 2010 was a goooooood day!

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Money, I want you back!

Was just listening to Erykah Badu's "Turn Me Away (Get Munny)" and had to chuckle. It's a funny song, but it made me consider the finances in life and how much I haven't been paying attention. Bills are paid, and money is made, but since tax season (H&R Block charged me $450 to do my taxes!!!!) and a bunch of other unexpected expenses over the past 2 months, I've fallen off my financial game and goal (See #10 in Ten Things to do in 2010 in the right hand column).

The goal had become just a text filler, but I really want to turn that around, and this blog will indeed become a reflection of that. I know that God will provide all I need on my journey (Philippians 4:19), but I also know that I should be a faithful steward of all that He has given, and that's where I need to shape up.

So, I've got a new Wonderland element called Finances, and this is where I'll explore how to better save, spend, earn, find, and keep cash. It's not that I desire more buying power....I just want to worry less about how the banks define my balances.

It'll be a long process, so I'll keep my steps short term to get to the long term goal ($4,000 saved by May 2011 for a social sabbatical ). Here are some ideas of what I'll do this week:
  1. Turn in my receipts for work this week (to be reimbursed for food and travel on a recent work-related trip)
  2. Nag the H&R Block guy about my refund
  3. Make an appointment to consign my preloved clothes
  4. REALLY spend less when I go to the grocery store tonight
  5. Bring lunch every day this week
This will be my humble start. Wish me luck!

Happy saving!

My next big thing - OFF WITH THEIR DEBTS!!!

So, I've got a new countdown....looking forward to July 15, when I make my last payment to a credit card counseling organization, which has been my saving grace for the past 4 years. In college, I built up sooooooooooooo much debt - there were semesters when I put my entire tuition on credit cards!!!! I wasn't nuts....I just didn't know any better. And those sneaky little services that give you free T-shirts for applying for credit cards did NOT help............

Back in July 2006, I was making way less, but paying way more in credit card bills. Interest rates were jacked up, minimum payments were unbearable, and I was literally losing sleep over seeing so much red text arrive in the mail every month.

Soooooooo.......I joined this credit card counseling agency, and WOW - was I relieved!!!! I had to close my credit card accounts (which hit my credit score pretty hard, but not as hard as late payments and above the max balances!!!), but they lowered my interest rates and allocated my monthly payment to the 3 credit card agencies that I owed.

This month, I paid off the 2nd credit card, and I've only got one left. They even provide this nifty little chart showing my progress over the past 4 years. Granted $12,000 isn't a TON of debt, but when my job stability has been everything accept promised, steady income has been a bit uncertain, and other expenses (like rent, utilities and student loans ARGGGGGG) also take priority, this program has been AWESOME in keeping me aligned with my payments. If you're interested in learning more about the program, let me know!

ciao for now!

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