Monday, 30 June 2014

Writing Camp Is Here!

This is a bit of a short notice announcement however I thought it prudent to give a last minute shout out:

Camp NaNoWriMo starts on the 1st of July. All writers welcome, no experience necessary!

The National Novel Writing Month organization is dedicated to helping writers and as a result runs two virtual camps in the summer when folks can get together, set a writing goal, and active it with the support of the online community. you can sign up here:

I've taken part in this year's April camp and last year's November contest. If you're intimidated by November's 50,000 word challenge then Camp is a great way to warm up your writing since you get to set your own goals and can chose to work in a cabin where a dozen writers come together to support one another. I've found that NaNo events help me to integrate writing fiction as a daily part of my life instead a nice to have after all of the Master's papers are done. NaNo's challenges have helped me to grow as an author and are well attended in the virtual world.

I'm looking forward to camp, hope you'll consider joining me!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

Milestones - The Mortgage

Long time followers of this blog will know that I have some pretty big long term goals. One of them is paying my mortgage off in 5 years. You can find the details of my plan here.

Having big goals is great but they can seem daunting, which means that in order to reach them you need to break them down into smaller chunks. Each time you reach a mile stone you celebrate. This gives you a sense of achievement and the energy to keep going.

For example, every year when I make my 10% payment I celebrate. Sometimes it means a special dessert, or a night out with my friends, or even just a happy dance. I also celebrate when I hit owning 30% or 40% of my house. Today I hit another big milestone that I've been looking forward to for months.

Today the amount that is outstanding on my mortgage went from 6 digits to 5.

My outstanding mortgage is now $99,918.35. This brings my ownership up to 47.7% and gives me a total of $91,081.65 in equity. The next big milestone that I'm looking forward to is owning 50% of my house. I should reach this point in 4 months.

I look forward to celebrating with you then.  

Friday, 6 June 2014

Pay Day June 2014

My income from disability insurance when I’m not working is a total of $2,795.59 for this month.

Mortgage - $1,564.82
House Maintenance - $315.00
Housing Taxes - $192.00
House Insurance - $72.00
Utilities – $225
Total – $2,368.82

Transportation - $0

Savings - $0

Food - $120
Cell – $30
Internet - $60
Health Insurance – $23.52
Clothes - $0
Gifts - $10
Misc - $10
Big Ticket Item - $100
Entertainment - $15
Social/Sports - $10
Financial Planning - $14
Cat - $15
Slush – $19.25
Total - $426.77

Of Note:

- Transportation is at $0 since I still have my student bus pass and have a good chunk of change saved for train and taxi rides.
- Savings is at $0 for two reasons. The first is I won’t be making an RRSP contribution since my income will be low (more on investing plans at a later date). The second is I’m concentrating on getting my house paid off to decrease interest costs and meet my 5-year goal.
-Food is back up to $120 because I’ve used up the excess over the last 6 months

-Entertainment got bumped up because I’ve been spending more time socializing with friends for my Masters program.

Monday, 2 June 2014

A New Kind of Present

In the past week my illustrious father celebrated his birthday. (Happy Birthday Dad!) While I won't go into details about the festivities I would like to introduce you to the gifts that my father choses to receive.

Last year my father decided that he had sufficient in terms of material goods and instead asked that each one of his children write him a letter telling him describing how the last year has gone and what they are looking forward to in the year to come. Which I had to admire as a pretty neat idea. While the move from a generic greeting card to a letter personalizes your emotions on any occasion I think that the letters my father requests are particularly neat. Instead of a letter poetically thanking him for being the coolest Dad around (which I'm sure I could prove scientifically given enough time and resources) it allows a chance to reconnect. While my father is involved in all of his kids lives a one year summary is kind of like the sports highlights, bringing the most interesting aspects of the year to the foreground for consideration. It also allows us kids to keep copies which we can look back on each year to see what has changed.

Needless to say, I love the idea of Happy Birthday letters and I would love to start something similar when I have kids.