Dear 43 Things Users,

10 years after introducing 43 Things to the world, we have decided we have met our last goal: completing the incredible experience that has been 43 Things. Please join us in giving one last cheer to all the folks who have shared their goals with the world, as well as all the people who have worked at The Robot Co-op to build this incredible website. We won a Webby Award, published a book, and brought happiness to a lot of people.

Starting today, 43 Things users can export their goals and entries from the site. Starting August 15, we will make the site “read only”. 43 Things users will still be able to view the site and export their content, but we won’t be taking any new content from users. We hope to leave the site up for folks to see and download their content until the end of the year. Ending on New Year’s Eve takes us full circle.

It has been a long ride (one of our original goals was to "build a company that lasts at least 2 years” - we beat that one!) While we wish the site could live on, it has suffered from a number of challenges - changes in how people use the site, the advertising industry, and how search engines view the site. We wish the outcome was different – but we’ve always been realistic about when our goals are met and when they aren't.

As of today, you will be able to download your goals and entries. See more about that on the FAQ page. Thanks for 10 great years of goal-setting and achieving.

- The Robots.

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Ru in Vancouver is doing 31 things including…

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223 cheers

 

Ru has written 28 entries about this goal

The moolah hula

It’s time to ponder this year’s financial plan and make some fresh goals. I’d like to speak with an advisor again, and since I can re-invest in my TFSA (it’s been a year since I maxed it out, so there’s allowable space again) and they have extra incentives (a higher percent) at my bank right now, I need to decide if that makes the most sense, or if we should consider different investments.

We’ve started using the new credit card for gas, groceries, and other types of things we buy anyway – and paying it off, so our credit rating should finally wake up and saunter in the right direction.

Isak’s RESP has been paid into, I’m still making regular monthly deposits into the nest egg account (I reached my savings goal for 2009! Surprising, since our rent went up considerably when we moved), and we’re hoping there’s a healthy bonus and respectable raise for Markus on the horizon after the Spring review. We’re still pondering this year’s RRSP, waiting to tally up the taxes first.

I’ll work on a new li$t for 2010.



Laying another egg

Our tax refund (and it seems I did everything correctly so it’s a decent amount) showed up yesterday. Fortunately, although June was a tight squeeze, we don’t currently have any major emergency expenses that need taking care of, so we can tuck it away.

We talked about it last night and have decided to follow my suggestion of putting it into a second TFSA & setting up monthly auto deposits -at least $100/m (more if we can swing it). This way if we have an emergency we can take it out, but otherwise we’ll let it grow. Even if it’s a slow grow, this is an excellent kick start.

When M goes in to the bank to set this up, he’ll also press them on the credit card – we never heard back after the online application, but Fred (our realtor) said applications are processed quicker if you go in person. There’s no reason we shouldn’t be approved and we really need to get onto the good credit building.

Due to the recent house purchase pondering, we’ve had a much closer look at our financial situation and what goals we need to have a mutually clear focus on in the future. Speaking with the mortgage broker was very helpful when it comes to taking aim at the big house dream and its exceptionally close ties with this goal.



Not quite swimming

...but I just finished rolling up another $150 for the loonie-toonie fund.



B is for budget (and that's good enough for me)

Somehow, back when Christmas was waxing, our budget turned from an organized system into a chaotic “throw all receipts into a big bag and forget about it”. I thought this had only been going on for a couple of months, but as I started emptying the deluxe Lush bag onto the floor this afternoon, I realized it’s been 5 months since I typed anything into The Budget Files. Today I dealt with it.

Plan of action:

  • Dump out all hellish little bits of paper into a big pile
  • Sort into smaller piles (by month)
  • Type each month’s stack 1 by 1 into excel budget program
  • File receipts away neatly in box

I got through all five months today. I didn’t do much else, but I DID finish this. My brain hurts and I’m going to go lie down now.

A payoff? I found that dental receipt I’ve been looking for just in time for taxes.



Green queen / Bank rant

Yesterday I checked my online banking to go over things and noticed a $20 “inactive account” charge on the account I just switched (from business to savings) in January. This ticked me off, as I’d met with someone, shifted the account around and made a deposit, all in the last few months. I phoned customer service and explained why I thought this was completely inappropriate. She agreed (although she explained that switching accounts doesn’t necessarily mean it’s considered ‘active’) and immediately credited my account. I was happy.

I don’t know how many times I’ve noticed something like this. It’s usually for less, but I’ve called several times and usually had charges reversed. What I notice is, between my two banks, the one I’ve been with the longest will usually make an excuse or tell me why they’re in the right, while my second bank will either credit me or politely explain what the charge is for.

ie. With my old bank, I keep $X in my chequing account to avoid being charged a monthly fee (saving more than I’d earn in interest if I kept in in savings). One afternoon I transferred $4 too much into a different account at the same bank, realized, and quickly returned it. They dinged me for the month even though I dipped only a few dollars for less than 5 minutes. The guy was quite condescending on the phone and while I technically made the error, it was quite small and I corrected it right away & felt it would have been good customer service to forgive it.

It wasn’t as though I bounced a cheque, although I DID do that once because they had phoned me asking if I wanted to increase my overdraft. I said yes, but they neglected to do it. A year later I used the non existent overdraft and bounced a cheque to our landlord which was very embarrassing and as an extra kick to the hoo-haw they charged me $50. They did apologize and credited me that time, but it took a lot of work and left me feeling humiliated. This bank has also tried to pressure me into doing things like locking in my previous GIC, making me feel the way I do when I’m accosted by pushy commission earning sales clerks.

The other bank has gone out of their way to make me happy, credit my account, point out better savings strategies, give me excellent financial advice, and be respectful to me. I have the majority of our savings and investments at my “trusty old bank”, and I’m seriously thinking I may change that if the scale continues to tip in this way.

Anyhow, my point is, it’s worth checking now & then to make sure you haven’t been charged unfairly, calling when you think you have, and having a bank that treats you fairly. I think particularly with the economy being what it is, banks should kiss your sweet patoot for allowing them the privilege of playing with your hard earned cash (instead of trying to find as many ways as possible to slough off a few extra layers for themselves wherever they can).



Ch-ch-ch changes

We have entirely too much change in this house. I don’t just mean the longtime loonie-toonie roadtrip fund overflowing in an old Curious George lunchbox, I mean a piggy-bank here, a juice jug there, a glass bowl over yonder. It’s crazy, and I’m positive it breeds when left alone for too long. Another battle to face.

Today Isak and I took a walk to buy coin wrappers, wrangled it all up, and ran it through the change sorter. He happily manned the machine while I collected, wrapped, and double counted it. This took a very long time, and I ran out of wrappers before completing the job. Most of it is done though (and the rest can wait, because my fingers are achy).

Now the problem is where to cash it in (I spent quite a while on google looking for an answer). We don’t have the ‘coins to cash’ machines in town anymore and I gather the bank will take a pretty big chunk for converting it. Hmmmmmn. At least it’s another step in controlling various chaos. Maybe I should have put this under decluttering instead…

I wonder what the bank would say if I brazenly announced I’d like to buy some mutual funds, waited for them to get excited & then whipped out Curious George…? It’s irritating. Money should be money.



Feeding the glass pig

Our final tax slips showed up in the mail today, so I buckled down to review and finish what I started the other day. When I was done, I thought I’d go through some of the additional write offs that I usually ignore. Just for fun. Things like medical and dental expenses. What was I thinking? Seriously – WHAT?

Then it suddenly hit me that because of this goal, I’m doing a budget now, so I actually have receipts for all these things and knew exactly where they were filed. Not only that, but I read into the medical bit & managed to tweak the 12 month med claims period to included all of M’s dental work that he had done in 2007 (I didn’t even know you could do that). Altogether I found (without fudging a cent, these are all receipts I have in hand) over $2500 in deductible expenses. Of course we don’t get it all back, but I increased our refund by quite a generous bit.

I feel pretty darn impressed with myself. We’re getting back a lot more than when we were paying someone to take care of this for us. Now if I could only find the receipt for those glasses I bought…



Losing our RRSP virginity

We made it! Markus’ bank branch is open late and he managed to get in to meet with a financial adviser after work. He filled out all the paperwork to max out his RRSP (he went with a GIC RSP) with less than an hour to spare before the deadline. Very very happy about this, it was a big step. This is M’s first investment venture, affects potential house buying/retirement, and means happier tax news for both of us. Woot!



$cream

I spent the greater part of today fiddling with our online banking & tax program trying to sort out various investments & interest, deduction possibilities, benefits, and dealing with the fact that the RRSP contribution cut off date is Monday and I didn’t know M’s bank is closed on weekends.

I do think it will be worth it to start investing in an RRSP, but I’m unsure if we’ll be able to swing it in time this year. I hope so. I’m feeling pretty frustrated about how much of our refunds and benefits are getting munched this year, and it would help. I was hoping to get something back to buy nest egg polish with. At least by doing this I’m now 99% through doing our 2008 taxes – a bonus, since it’s not one of my favorite things.



Another step forward

In the pursuit of a good credit rating, I paid for yesterday’s purchases with my unused Bay card. Today I paid the bill off. I’ve always been a “buy it when you can pay for it in full” sort, so I’ve never bothered with a credit card. This means I’ve avoided debt but have no credit rating. My understanding is using even store-specific cards & paying them off will record a thumbs up somewhere relevant, so I’ll continue to do this from time to time. And next time… I’ll be the one coming home with new underwear, because that will be a great way to multitask this list of goals.



Ru has gotten 223 cheers on this goal.

 

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