No catchy titles here, new year’s resolutions are tough to keep.

I’m a bit late on my update but I never said it was going to be a monthly thing either so 😛 And since my mind is a bit all over the place at the moment, I’m going to get right down to business.

The pounds
My first resolution for 2008 was to lose weight. I am happy to report that I haven’t gotten any further on my quest for some sort of exercise or diet routine since my last post. I blame it on the lack of routine in my work schedule (can you say ‘excuses’?). I did manage to take Chris’s advice and am drinking more water and I’m also trying my best to drink more milk. Lastly, I’m (honestly) happy to tell you all that while I have only shed (all of) 1lb since declaring my resolutions, I did manage to lose about 2″ all around which means it feels better to be in my old clothes and I no longer need to go shopping!

Being able to fit into my favourite clothes was the main reason I wanted to lose weight, and I’m glad that I can lose the inches without necessarily going too heavy on not so fun stuff like the dieting and the exercising. If you’ve ever met me, you’d tell me that I don’t need to lose weight. I know this because I hear it all the time, but honestly the belly over the top pants just does not look good – no matter how thin not fat you are! And all it takes is to wear clothes that fit right, you don’t have to be a size zero.

The dough
My second resolution was to save money, although in my first update I only wrote about my resolution to save money for my RSP by February 28. My complete resolution was to save money; Saving money for my RSP was only one part, one that had to be completed before February 28 or it wouldn’t count towards my 2007 tax returns. But I’m continuing my savings till the end of the year or until I become unemployed. I’m on a good track for reaching my goal for my RSP savings which is great because I also have my RSP GIC maturing next year and I can combine the two and earn even greater interest!

I have also succeeded in saving up the flight money for my upcoming trip to Dublin so that my flight is paid for in cash. I also have saved about 40% of the cash I’ll need to spend while I’m there. For those of you wondering, I’m slightly over the mistake I’ve made but I don’t think I’ll be fully over it until I can make it up to him. Thanks so much to everyone for all your support and reassurance that I wasn’t a dumbass. It was much appreciated!

There is a second part to this resolution and it has a little bit to do with a post I wrote recently about my application for a loan. First, I have to tell you that my application got declined. I’m very saddened by this because it means it’s going to take some discipline to pay off my debt, but I’m just going to have to bite the bullet. I have other options available to me like getting someone to co-sign the loan but I want to look after this problem, that I alone created, on my own.

Second, I wanted to talk a little bit about what I know about loans – at least here in Canada. Ate Maeyo, and Jillian were real sweethearts and were very concerned about what I may have been getting myself into so I talked it over with my Mum (the financially adept one in the family) and she explained a few things to me:

She said that most banks in Canada offer loans that are actually targeted to help people get out of debt, the only problem is they are hard to obtain. They don’t like to lend this money to people that they consider ‘risky’. To answer a few questions that Ate Maeyo brought up, the interest rate is about 8% lower than my credit cards and there is no penalty for paying off more than the monthly repayments or for repaying the loan earlier than the term of the loan. I kind of knew these things when I applied for the loan but I had looked at so many descriptions I couldn’t remember for sure so I didn’t want to say anything until I was sure.

I was actually hoping to do a more detailed post on the subject, but seeing as I didn’t get the loan I hope you understand why I don’t feel like it. I’m still assessing my options but for now I’m going to leave it alone and really try to command some self-discipline.

Wish me luck! How are you doing with your new year’s resolutions?

Diving in head first

Sometimes, the only way to do something is to dive in head first. No blind spots. No looking back. Just go. As some of you may know, one of my new year’s resolutions was to save money. And because of my debts I find it rather difficult to save said money. So today, I grabbed the bull by the balls and went to my local bank advisor and enquired about a consolidating loan.

I have never felt more responsible. As I sat in his office, with him tapping away at the keyboard, I was a nervous wreck. With a loan, once you make a payment you can’t access the funds again which is very different to how I’ve been dealing (or lack thereof) with my debt. As long as I had a balance that’s high enough – even if I continue to made payments towards it – I would spend whatever credit I had available.

So I figured that the best way to finally get rid of my debt was to get a loan that will help me pay off my credit cards, laptop, and personal line of credit. It wasn’t an option to simply increase my personal line of credit because then I would still be able to spend the money again once I earned some credit back by making payments. Anyway, after my oh-my-god-I’m-never-going-to-get-out-of-this-debt- I’m-having-a-panic-attack-can’t-wait-any-longer stint of waiting, he finally reported that the automatic approval didn’t go through so he would have to send it through manually (this could take 2-3 business days). Great. More nerve-wracking waiting. “Oh ok.”

If I get this loan, I will not only need to make lower payments per month but I will be able to plan my finances better. The only thing I need to watch for is racking up more charges on my credit card. I do need to keep a credit card for airline tickets and other such online purchases, but I need to watch my spending. This should be a little easier because while I was living in Ireland I had to get a credit card, but Irish banks give you the option to have your entire balance due at the end of the period – an option he made me promise to chose. And I’m glad he did because this has trained me a little bit in paying attention to my credit card balance in mind when I’m spending actual cash.

I know what you’re thinking, “Why couldn’t you just do that with your credit cards now instead of getting a loan?” Because my balances had gotten out of hand, and I just couldn’t keep up with it. And because the balances were so depressing, I usually ended up spending more (money I didn’t have) to cheer me up. It was quite the vicious cycle I had gotten myself into. I really hope I get this loan so I can get a fresh start with my finances – even if it is later than I should have. I was “hmm’-ing and “huh”-ing about whether or not to gethe loan because every application you make to a lending institution lowers your credit score… but heck, it’s better late than never!