I haven't thought much about what I want to change or accomplish this coming year. I've usually done so in the past but it's not like I've ever followed through, so.. meh. I've learned that there's a lot in this life you can't control, however much you think you can. Living in a shelter while 9 months pregnant with my fourth child was certainly not in my plan, but it happened. I can say that Im determined to never let it happen again, but I don't know what the future holds. Im smarter now and I know how to ask for help and maybe those things are what would make the difference if I was ever faced with something like that again. But then again, maybe not.
I've spent YEARS making up for having a baby at 18. I was so determined to not be a statistic that I just put my head down and plowed through my GED, a diploma in graphic design and a degree in sociology/women's studies. I spent 6 straight years in school (without ever taking a summer off or any other type of break) while having children and watching my marriage fall apart. I did all that so that I could get a well paying job and not be the teenage failure.
It's 2.5 years later and although I have a job, the pay sucks. I can choose to work in my office at the university, full time and pay daycare fees or I can work limited hours at home for measly pay. Even with a daycare subsidy, I was paying $700/month for 2 full time children and one part time (I finished work when the kids got out of school at 3, each day). Next fall when James is in school, I could possibly pay only $300, but they now to go a school too far away from the university for me to pick them up after school so the after school care would end up costing just the same.
I've made peace with this and now accept that maybe it's better that Im home with my babies anyway. I can pay my bills and look after my boys at the same time, so why add the extra stress of working away from home too?
Anyway, all of this is to say that Ill be participating in Penny Saver's The Saved Quarter Challenge.
My current income (or what Im classifying as income is $2475/month, take home). This includes my income, child support and what I receive as part of the Canada Child Tax Benefit (CCTB) and Childcare Benefit (which I group in with my CCTB).
If I were to save 25% that would equal $7425 for the year 2011. I believe this is doable for me and I'd actually like to increase it to $11000, but let's just start with the $7425 for now, shall we?
I don't expect to have $7425 sitting in my bank account next December 31 because I have a lot of debt and it would be irresponsible to hoard money while being charged interest. So instead I plan to put at least $5000 towards debt repayment, $1000 into an emergency fund, $1000 into fixing my van (which is almost how much it needs now) and the rest ($425) for a small vacation this summer with the boys.
If you'd like to read more about the challenge, go here. You can pledge to save whatever you choose and use it for whatever your needs are. The idea is to come up with new ways to cut your budget and earn extra money. I plan to post about my journey with this each Monday and have already prepared topics through February.
Happy New Year, dear readers.