Friday, April 8, 2011

Tipping Point (A Confession) - Part 2


For those of you who are new to this blog, I'd suggest checking out yesterday's post before reading this one. It will make more sense all together. But for the rest of you, continuing on:

April 2010

Having put well over $10,000 into my RRSPs the year before, along with the new homebuyer's tax credit, renovation tax credit and professional dues tax credit, I figured I'd be in for a pretty solid tax return. Imagine the nasty surprise I got when I found out that not only was I not getting a tax return, but I OWED the government money. My former employer did not take off even CLOSE to the amount of tax they should have been taking off. 

Oh to have been a fly on the wall in my room that day...

All of those RRSP credits and other tax deductions went towards my balance owing, and I ended up paying the government several hundred dollars. On top of this, I was now carrying a debt I had been expecting would disappear when tax time came around.

The only upside to this month is that I got a small raise at the end of my probationary period, and my salary was now sitting at $54,100.

May 2010

Despite the financial slap I got in April, I stayed the course of spending without paying attention to my accounts in May. Nothing really noteworthy happened this month.

June 2010

The tax assessment for my house came in, and it was higher than the previous year. My biweekly accelerated mortgage payments went up another $50, which really sucked. However, I wish that's all that had happened this month.

I had an emotional upheaval in the relationship department on the order of: boyfriend's other girlfriend sends me a message on Facebook basically saying "Hey, I've been dating _____ for a few months. He's met my friends and family, I'd like us to be friends too :)"

Yeah, you read that right.

She had no idea he'd been seeing me for years, and that I was waiting for his work to run it's course so that he could come home again. He had made it sound like I was a really close friend to her, and he had made her sound like "the guys from work" to me. He was working out of province at the time.

I soothed that pain and rage with personal spending like nobody's business.

July 2010

July was a lot of carry over from June. I had emotionally shut down and start culling my emotionally draining/toxic friendships. My now pseudo-boyfriend was trying his best to perform damage control on the relationship, and I just couldn't care less. Needless to say I didn't really pay attention to my finances this month other than my month end update. I can tell you that update wasn't pretty, but I still maintained the position of the proverbial ostrich with my head in the sand.

August 2010

My boyfriend came home for a couple weeks and tried frantically to patch things up with me. I was still pretty checked out and emotionally spent, but I let him try. I wanted to believe things could get better again. I was naive, and it did a huge number on me.

Outside of the relationship realm, I wanted to finish the renovating my kitchen before the snow hit, so I bought more construction supplies for my home. I also pre-paid a hotel room in Vancouver for a couple days in the next month. I needed to be within a reasonable distance of Stanley Park for the Vancouver Triathlon, and there really wasn't much in that area that was either a) cheap, or b) not booked full.

September 2010

I knew at this point that I had to do something about my money, I was beginning to feel the pinch when it came to paying the bills every payday.

I was also freaking out in the personal department, because there was a distinct possibility that I was carrying a little mini me. This was causing me a LOT of stress.

After finishing the triathlon in Stanley Park I went back to my hotel for a bath, some soup and some tea. After warming up a bit, and taking my bike apart again for the plane ride, I made the misguided decision to walk around the shops in Vancouver for a while.

Now, I'm in love with trench coats. I have wanted a Burberry trench coat, no word of a lie, since I was 12 years old. God only knows what a 12 year old knows about clothes or what they cost, but I've been stuck on this coat since then. Through all of the seasons and different styles, it has never changed: beige, knee length, dark buttons. I had been looking for one in my size since university, with no success. I searched for it like Bridget did in her the hunt for the Herve Leger dress over at hithatsmybike.

I found one.

In a moment of sheer stupidity fueled by high running emotions, I emptied out what savings I had to pay for it. It wasn't enough. Despite swearing up and down to myself that I would never do this, I called my credit card company and had them increase the limit. For a coat.

That afternoon I bought a Burberry Manston Trench. $1595+HST. I've kept the price tag as a painful reminder of that; it's sitting on my dressing table at home.

What should have been an exciting purchase (I've wanted it for over a decade...), made me sick to my stomach. What the hell did I just do? I couldn't return it, the store was closed and my flight left before it opened again in the morning. I sat on my hotel room bed staring at the bag wanting to be sick. I was having a hard enough time paying the bills, how was I going to pay for this too? What if I am pregnant, how am I going to find the money to raise a kid? What if I have to do it by myself? What am I doing??

I had a problem, and I needed to do something about it. My money was out of control. Seriously, a year ago the only debt I had was my car, what on earth had gotten into me?

I promised myself I was going to turn this around.

October 2010

I started this blog.

Now I'm digging my way out and up.


Louise said...

oh Cassie, so much happened in such a short time! Thats a lot of stress you've been through, sounds like it's a good thing you got out of that toxic workplace though and you've made great progress with your 'digging out'.
Thanks for sharing it, it helps reading other peoples stories.

(have to say that coat is just gorgeous!)

Morgaine said...

Cassie, you are very brave for posting this and for putting out to the world how you got where you are.

It seems that you have made peace with your past and are moving forward, not just harping on the mistakes you've made.

I wish you only the best on getting to where you want to be. I know you have the drive and determination. Keep up the good work! :D

Cassie said...

@Louise - Yeah, it was a bit of a rough year. I'm glad it's over. (The coat has gotten a fair bit of wear since the shock of buying it wore off)

@Morgaine - It was really hard to write it, it's not exactly my proudest moment. I'm just hoping people don't judge me for it, and those in similar situations see that there is light at the end of the tunnel if you look for it.

Thanks for the support ladies, I appreciate it.

Morgaine said...

I'm certainly in no position to judge, I'm in a pretty big mess completely of my own doing.

The main thing is that we realize our mistakes, learn from them (and try not to repeat them!) and move on. Which I think you're doing a great job! :)

The Asian Pear said...

Wow. It's hard to believe that all happened within 1 year or so! That's a lot of ups and downs. I'm glad you left your workplace though. That sounds awful.

PS-The coat is REALLY gorgeous though.

Moonwaves said...

Have just come across your blog and look forward to catching up. I have a feeling that what I say is going to come out the wrong way but I honestly mean it in a positive way and am not trying to make light of your experiences (or something, sorry, still getting over the flu that knocked me out for a week or two, have had a very long week and brain isn't processing very well).

What I wanted to say is, it seems like a lot of silliness to you but really, you're not doing too badly. You have a house (well, I haven't read through the archives so I'm assuming you still do) and a fabulous coat and you realised in just a year that you needed to change something (and a very tumultous year at that). It took me several years before copping on and several more years before really starting to understand and worst of all (in my head), I never ever bought one single thing that I could have ever contemplated selling to try and make back some money to clear debt. So really, you seem to have done pretty well for yourself. :)

Well done for being able to get it all down in black and white. You might have hated it but it's a very helpful thing to do.

banclothing said...

That is one expensive coat! With that said; there are far bigger and worse purchases most of us have made. Those that have put us in 10's of thousands of debt. It also does not sound like you have any student debt... I graduated with 60 000 in debt and my interest was 29%. You have made some minor financial infractions however, we all have done the same. Regarding the coat... I know it was sickeningly expensive BUT it's a total classic and a well build trench. If you wear it for the next 10 years (I am sure you will end up wearing it longer) it's the same as spending $160/yr on a trench. I have had 4 trench coats and I paid more than $160 for each... you did buy an investment piece so you should enjoy wearing it and wear it often (get your money's worth). It isn't like a Herve Leger dress which goes out of style and can only be worn a few times a year.

Cassie said...

Thanks Morgaine, I appreciate it.

@ TheAsianPear - It was a bit of a rollercoaster, I can say that much! I'm glad that year is over, now I just need to fix it. (I like the coat too :) )

@ Moonwaves - I didn't take it the wrong way, I understood what you meant. I know I'm not in the worst dire straights imaginable, I'm just in a position that is quite stressful for me personally. I do still have the home, so if push came to shove I could sell it (It's partially renovated though, so it's not a great time for doing that)

@ banclothing - I don't have any student debt, no. I had finished paying it off in August 2009. I don't know how you managed paying off $60,000 at 29% interest! That's insane! As for the coat, I plan to have it for a very very long time.

banclothing said...

Sadly I have not paid it all off yet...

Cassie said...

You'll get there :)