My Parents

Friday, April 18, 2008

So, being the sneaky daughter I am, stayed in the living room while my parents were speaking to the Line of Credit Lady (I'm sure that's her real title...) to get a better idea of the kind of debt situtation they are in. They aren't super open with their finances, and I guessed a lot in my previous post. But, I now have the final tally, just for you:

CC Debt
VISA - $8,000
VISA - $3,200
Total: $11,200

Value of 2nd Home - $560,000 (on the books, I doubt they could sell it for that)
HELOC on 2nd Home - $280,000 limit (pretty sure it's maxed out, they put the mortgage on it)
Currently rented, brings $1,225 in rental income, enough to cover HELOC min payments

Value of this Home - $520,000 (again, on the books)
1,200 sq feet
Finished Basement
1.5 car, detached garage

Property tax is $1,865

My mom's current income is around $50,000 a year, and my Dad has had no income to speak of this past year. They applied for a $150,000 line of credit on our current home.

So, while my parent's situation isn't as bad as I had previously thought (I thought they had a mortgage as well as the HELOC), it's not great. I can only hope that when they sell this home they can pay off both lines of credit and have a fresh slate. That way, any money that they make from the sale of the second home can go towards building a retirement home in Nova Scotia.

And, yes, if you wondering, they do have retirement savings. Now, I'm not sure just how much, I did hear them talk about it, but I don't remember. I'm sure it's not as much as they should have, but it's something.

This revelation only makes me so unbelievably determined to use money as a tool to accomplish my goals, not a means. Does that make sense? Hah. Probably not. I just never want my money to own me, like it does to so many people I know.

Given that this blog is annonymous, and you don't know who my parents or friend's are, and since H has given me the access to her bank info, I may just show you how scary it is. It's like watching a train wreck in slow motion. She's, as we like to say here at the police service, 'circling the drain'. This means that she's so close to sucumbing, but hasn't yet. (We usually use this term to refer to a victim who is almost dead, but hasn't died yet. It's gruesome, but you wouldn't believe the crap I hear here. You get used to it eventually.)

Stolen from FB

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Okay, so I tagged myself (haha) for this one-word meme from FB over at Fabulously Broke in the City. This is gonna be fun!

1.Where is your mobile phone? Shrug
2.Your significant other? None
3.Your hair? Dirty
4.Your mother? Fun
5.Your father? Techie
6.Your favorite thing? Life
7.Your dream last night? Stress
8.Your favorite drink? Water
9.Your dream/goal? True
10.The room you're in? Hot
11.Your ex? Memories
12.Your fear? Alone
13.Where do you want to be in 6 years? Pleased
14.Where were you last night? Asleep
15.What you're not? Angry
16.Muffins? Donuts!
17.One of your wish list items? Home
18.Where you grew up? Calgary
19.The last thing you did? Excel...
20.What are you wearing? Usual
21.Your TV? Laptop
22.Your pets? Lots.
23.Your computer? Toshiba
24.Your life? Content
25.Your mood? Headachy
26.Missing someone? Mmmhmmm
27.Your car? Feet
28.Something you're not wearing? Hat
29.Favorite Store? Mall
30.Your summer? Hot
31.Like someone? No
32.Your favorite color? None
33.When is the last time you laughed? Today
34.Last time you cried? Forever

Omg. That was a lot harder than it looks. All I wanted to do was expand on every single thing I wrote! You try it!


I have decided to stop using my very identifying hotmail e-mail adress and upgrade to a fancy Gmail account. So, now, feel free to e-mail me at:

ApplesandTelephones [at] gmail [dot] com



To celebrate my 100th blog post, I went to Staples and bought some stationary. No joke. And it makes me happier than I would've been with a cake. I am such a dork. Seriously. I bought new labels for my label-maker, some new dividers, a couple foders and some binder ring-things. I am very happy.

On a more depressing note, my parents are taking out another line of credit. Another. Sigh. I have no idea how much debt they are in, but I'm sure it's more than they should be when they are in their late-40's. We've got two homes, one of which is my grandfather's home that we currently rent out. I know they've got a HELOC or mortgage (or maybe both? Eek) on that one, as well as the home we are currently in. We own one 1999 Chrysler Intrepid that they bought brand new and a 1989 Mecury Tracer that we bought for $100 at an auction - and it's been working (okay) for 2 years now. But it's close to dying.

The problem is, is my Dad recently started a new career. He sells insurance and life insurance and all sorts of stuff. He works for a company called World Financial Group. He started there 2 years ago and he's making okay money I think. The problem is, is that he doesn't make steady money. The aim of the game is to get a team of people around you, who then get a team around them, and since everyone above you takes a cut of your profits, the plan is to get a big enough team together that you earn money eventually by doing nothing. To me it sounds like a pyramid scheme, but apparently it's not. He explained it to the once, but I didn't really take it in.

Another problem: he hasn't made any money in 6 months. Yep. 6 months. Half a year. For half a year we've been living as a family of 4 on my mother's customer service at a grocery store salary. She makes something like $27 an hour - which isn't bad, but due to taxes and union dues, she's pulling in about as much as I am.

I wish I could invite Gail from Til Debt do us Part over to our house to smack my parents around and make them live on cash and jars. I hate seeing my mom stressed out about money. I think that she feels as though my Dad does everything he wants and leaves her to clean up the mess. He always says that It'll be okay, but I think she has a hard time believing it anymore. She hates her job, and I mean hate. When she drops me off at the train station she just loathes heading off to her job, and I hate seeing her like that.

They have a plan, sort of. My uncle, his wife and their children are visiting us from Ontario for the summer. He is a contractor, and a very good one at that, so we're paying him to do some work around the house. He'll be switching out all the windows, re-doing the roof, the siding, a new deck, painting the outside, maybe some back yard work, hauling stuff around, etc. My mom said that for basically doing whatever we want all summer, we'd be paying him $16,000. Seems like a lot of money, but this guy is a machine. He'll re-build a deck in one day. It's insane.

So, he'll be doing that stuff in the summer. Then, between the fall and next spring they will be bringing in people (or maybe doing it themselves) to fix up the bathroom (needs a new floor and some updating), and the kitchen - it's very small and needs major reno's, probably in the area of $5,000 - $10,000. Then, next spring they will sell the house that they are currently living in and move into my grandfather's old house. Currently the house we live in is valued at $450,000, but it will need some major reno's in order to sell for that much. At the same time, we've got a kick ass location (within walking distance: 3 grocery stores, 1 movie store, a mall, 2 train stations and bunch of other stores, a park, the river, and main roads), without being noisy (we're the corner lot of a cul-de-sac).

I guess the thing with Canadian law is that if you sell a home that isn't your main residence, you get nailed for taxes pretty bad. So they are going to stay in that other home until it is officially "their main home" and then, in turn, sell that one. That one also has a great location, being blocks away from the river and a main road directly into downtown, however, seeing as my grandfather built it, and not exceptionally well, it's falling apart. Pretty badly.

My parents want to retire to Nova Scotia and live in a little home on a nice, rocky, windswept cliff. Sounds nice to me, and while the land is cheap, it's starting to climb and it won't be too long before that land is expensive, too.

I just hope that they won't have tons of debt when they decide to retire. I hope I hope I hope. It's scary for me, I can't imagine how they feel. My dad is a lot like me, in that when we get stressed we just ignore the problem. My mom gets wound up easily, though, so I know it's hard.

On one hand, I'd love to sit down with my parents, and go through all their debt and add it up and yell at them, just like Gail would. But at the same time, it's not my place, and it would feel weird. It's their life, and they chose to live it that way. Sometimes I wish I could win the lottery just so I could give it all to them and take care of their debt. It's rough.

Happy 100th Post to Me!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

It's my 100th post! I think I should bake a cake.

Who am I kidding? I don't bake. I'll just sit here and eat this orange. Maybe I'll go find a candle.

Re-Worked Budget

Omg. I think I really do have an Excel problem. I really do enjoy making these too much. Either way... in light of recent decisions to reduce weekly spending from $200 a week to $100 a week, I have re-done the budget. I broke the spending down into each week, rather than the whole month. I also added an area to slap that extra $400 a month I'll be savings towards pre-trip spending cash.

Ch-Ch-Check it out, y'all.
Here's the week breakdown. I chose some nice, spring-y colors.And here's the savings-break down part:
And, finally, here's my weekly/daily break down spending tracking sheet of nonsense.

I've been tagged again!

Okay, so, I've been tagged by Bouncing Back for a Six-Word Memoir meme.

The rules of the meme are:
1. Write your own six word memoir
2. Post it on your blog and include a visual illustration if you want
3. Link to the person who tagged you in your post
4. Tag at least 3 more blogs
5. Leave a comment on the tagged blogs with an invitation to play

This is hard! I'll have to think of a good, six-word memoir.

Okay, I've thought of a couple. I'm not sure if they count as memoirs, but they are catchy!

  • My Budget Saves my Butt
  • It's Easier Than You Think
  • I'm Weirder than I Seem
  • A Good Photo Lasts Forever
  • I'd Rather Take a Picture
  • Travel is Always Worth it
Hmmm.... I can't think of any others...

I'm supposed to tag some of you, but I never want to force things on people! So... you're tagged!

Extra Sleep

So, I totally slept in today. Like, 45 minutes longer than I should've. I was 30 minutes late to work, which, mind you isn't that bad. Especially since my boss isn't in today by the looks of it and no one was around to notice.

The extra sleep felt sooooo good, though. What is it about forbidden sleep that is so damn good? Other than the "omfg I am late" feeling as I check the time and bolt out of bed, I feel good today.

On the flip side, I completely forgot to bring both a breakfast and a lunch today. Bugger. While I have five mini-oranges sitting beside me, I would rather not survive on just those all day, so I'll be eating out. I wandered down to the cafeteria and bought a chicken salad sandwich. For $5.30. Ouch. That one hurt.

Regarding my previous post, I have been thinking. I think that it's a bit outrageous that I'm spending $200 a week. I think I'll cut it down to $100 a week and see how that works out. I'll be adjusting my May budget (and changing the colors for spring!) and I'll let you know how it works out. That way, I can save $400 a month for my pre-travel spending as well as more savings!

I've been thinking...

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

You know, while most people I talk to are impressed with my budget, I was talking to two different people this weekend about money and such, and they both stated the same thing:

You budget $200 a week for spending?! On what?!

And that make me stop. "On what?" What am I buying?! I felt guilt and angry all at the same time. $200 a week didn't seem that big to me, until I really think about it. I am budgeting $800 a month on 'stuff'. Yikes. Yes, that includes food. But right now, as I still live at home and have a wonderful mother that cooks and buys groceries, food is 'stuff' to me.

I also felt defensive when they said that, because really, I'm still saving over $1,400 a month. But, I could be saving more.

What do you think? Is $800 a month too excessive? Should I cut it down? Maybe by half? To $400? $200? I dunno.

Just so you have it, here's my monthly breakdown:

What do you think? When I break it down it doesn't seem that excessive to me, but when I do think about it, $800 is a crap-load of cash.

Much better.

While I didn't buy or consume chocolate or tea last night, I'm feeling much better. Last night should've been a relaxing night at work, but running out of bread makes things more stressful than usual. At least I found out that I don't work there again until Friday, which is nice.

Today is also a much more 'zen' day here at office-job. I have completed 90% of my 'required' tasks for the day and it's only 9:22 a.m. So, for the rest of the day I will be re-working my budget, revamping the budget I'm designing for Leigh Ann over at Save Leigh Ann.

I got paid yesterday, too, which was nice. Today I'm going to deposit my Subway cheque and transfer some more money to ING Direct. I'd like to have as much money as possible in my savings account to prove to the VISA people that I can support myself while in London. Eek.

I do have some "Honeybush" tea (I think it sounds dirty haha), which I may drink later if I can clean the remnants of hot chocolate out of my mug. Gross. For now I'm drinking water. Yum yum.

I'm working at Subway right now...

... and we've run out of bread. Actually, that's a lie. We ran out of bread almost an hour ago, and we've still got an hour until we close. It works out okay for me since it's easier to close, but man, I hate telling people we're out of bread. They look at me as though my head was made of cheese.

"What?!?!?! How can SUBWAY be out of bread???!?!?!"

Siiiigh. I'm picking up some tea on the way home and drink myself asleep. But in a non-alcoholic way. Bah.

What I want to write about

Monday, April 14, 2008

This past week and weekend have been overwhelming to say the least. I don't even feel half-caught up, and all I want to do is sleep and blog and relax, but I don't want to. So, in a nut-shell, here's what I'd like to tell you:

  • My sister and her boyfriend have made up. He was going through a mini-crisis and flipped out at the wrong person. I hope they make it. I really like the guy, he'll make a good brother-in-law one day.
  • I've gathered almost all of the paperwork I'll need when I go to Edmonton on the 29th to apply for my VISA.
  • I'm dealthly afraid that they will reject the VISA (not that they'd have a good reason, but still)
  • I'm starting to feel the effects of working 6 days a week for what, 6 months now? Yeeesh.
  • I spent a nice day on Sunday at an art show with some friends, and didn't buy anything, despite wanting to spend money.
  • I still wished I had slept in and spent the whole day in my jammies doing nothing.
  • I want to have a garage sale in T-minus 4-6 weeks and feel overwhelmed at the amount of crap I have and want to sell. Where do I even begin?
  • I have waves of cold feet about moving to London, which I hope are a mixture of stress and PMS.
  • I bought a mouth-guard to wear at night to apease my teeth-grindingness and I keep spitting it out overnight.
  • My teeth still hurt.
  • I'm starting to realize that I feel much better with an organized room and really want to go home and clean rather than going to my second job tonight.
  • I had such a productive day at work that I feel okay about leaving 15 minutes early.
  • I can't wait until we hire a new person here in the office so I can sleep in every other week!
  • I with the damn phone would stop ringing!!!!
  • I have one paycheque to desposit, another comming in tomorrow and once they do I will finally feel less stressed about my TD account sitting at close to $0. I need to stop transferring every penny I've got to my savings account.

Aaaaaahhhhh! I'm really thinking of taking up meditation or tea or exessive chocolate to apease this stress. I don't like the feeling of butterflies in my stomach the whole day long. Must. be. Zen.

And with that note, I've got to go make sandwiches for the people. Oh! We did get a new debit machine at work, so I am no longer charging people$.25 to use the debit machine. No one has noticed. They only seem to get pissy when we DO charge them, not when we DON'T. (Even the regulars who know my name haven't noticed!). We're taking MasterCard and VISA, too, which I don't really support, but whatever.

I'm out. Cheers.

3 Random things about me

Mama Bear tagged me with a 3 question MeMe. So here I go!

The rules for '3 Random Things':
1. Post 3 random things about yourself.
2. Link to the person who tagged you in your post.
3. Tag at least 5 other bloggers.
4. Let them know you've tagged them by commenting on their blog with an invite to participate.

Hmmm so. Three random things about me. Okay.

1. I'm obsessed with office suplies. Post-its, binders, tabs, pens, markers, it doesn't matter. I own it.
2. I think I have the best fingernails. They are rock-hard, curvy and always look 'oh-so-healthy'.
3. I don't want children. Ever. I don't mind other people's children, but it's not for me.

There. I tried to pick some odd ones. I don't know who to tag, so if you want to do this, consider yourself tagged!