Monthly Goals – March

Health and Fitness
  • Catch up on YTT class hours (3/5): I need to attend 30 more classes before end of June, as part of my homework. That means I need about 10 classes each month, before July In March, so far I’ve had 7 classes. Need to keep attending more!
  • Try a new studio (4/5): Did this on the last day of March! Part of my yoga teacher training homework. Now have to fill out my participation worksheet.
  • Start a spreadsheet to start claiming medical expenses (4/5): While doing taxes, we realized I will need this for 2018 taxes. Got this started but need to revisit the exact dollar mounts through my receipts. Carry this over to next month
  • Go climbing (3/5): Went climbing twice – once at GRR and once at The Core
  • Order a Squatty Potty (5/5): This has been a goal I totally forgot about for at least a year. Just did it last week. It should come in by April. As Bowman says, #stackyourlife!
  • Start using Twitter again (3/5): Share math resources and get active again.
  • Be amazing at practice teaching (3/5): Didn’t do as much full yoga class practice teaching with friends and family. Practiced with P., N., J. and Liz. Also did the glute/hip/quad work with two people, including my sister.
  • Get feedback for YTT classes (2/5): Developed a Google Form to received feedback. Only used it once as I didn’t do many full yoga classes.
Finance / Professional Development
  • File taxes (5/5): Mom helped me do most of the work and even got my return back! Last year that I get to enjoy the benefits of Northern Residents Deduction. Sigh.
  • Apply for EI (3/5): Applied a bit late but yeaaaahhhh, not eligible because my last school board has not officially sent off my paperwork to the government. GRRRRRR.
  • Send in certification rating to Human Resources (5/5): Oops. Forgot to do this earlier and only completed it in the last week. This took a few months as I had to send off all the transcripts to OSSTF. I’m currently ranked in Group 3.

Submitted My Taxes!

Got a nice break earlier this week; Monday and Tuesday for professional development days at work with no meetings. I had two days to myself, so I spent Monday morning listening to an interview with Rob Carrick on CIC and the afternoon finalizing and submitting my taxes.

Last year was the first time I had filed on my own. And this year, being the second time, I did feel frustrated initially. I mainly used the forms method, and as I slowly started connecting the dots, it felt better. When I got stuck, I called my reliable and loving mom. So although I started over a week ago, I am happy to say that it is finally done! I submitted to both federal and the Quebec government; the projected return from Turbo Tax is $4875, which I am pretty happy with.

Also logged into CRA My Account tonight and saw that the Notice of Assessment should come back by April 18th. Now to sit back and wait!

Federal Tax Return

Woohoo! I checked my bank account and saw that I received my federal tax return of $2231.90! It only took a week to process!

The next question is … what type of RRSP investment vehicle do I use for this giant chunk of change?

Getting Ready for Taxes

I’ve decided I’m going to try to do taxes on my own this year.

I know, I know … I’m suppose to be an adult, and really, I should have done this already, but having an awesome, supporting and lovely mom sometimes means that you forget to do a few things on your own! The past couple of months, I started prepping for taxes:

  • Bought and installed the TurboTax software, since I finally have a laptop that supports Windows
  • Collecting and printing out membership fees, donation receipts and tax forms (T4, RL-1)
  • Utilized the full contribution room on my RRSPs
  • Bought a new book to help me learn more about RRSPs (this will affect me more in the future than this year)
  • Started a Revenu Quebec clicSÉQUR account too (I’ve put this off since last year)

Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 10.57.12 AM
To be completely honest, I hadn’t gone farther than installing the software. I haven’t really looked at it yet … the idea of doing taxes by myself feels intimidating, but I know this is just a mental block for me.

My mom did tell me about a site called AnswerXchange to support Turbo Tax users*, which will be great when I’m trying to find help if I’m stuck.

Screen Shot 2016-03-01 at 9.42.18 AM

That’s as far as I’ve made it so far. It will be a work in process!

Helpful Links

*Ahem, someone needs to buy their software soon!!

Tax Return and (Upcoming) Travel Expenses

I got my tax late last week, at a total of $3420.23! I was able to get the tax credit for medical expenses because I had purchased glasses, contact lens and also paid for a health plan with the school board. In total, it was over 3% of my income, which meant that I was eligible for it.

With the tax return, I put $3000 towards (finally) topping up my TSFAs. My mom, who filed my taxes for me, told me that my contribution room for my RSPs this year is $9493 $10926; now that I’ve maxed out my TSFAs, I can start putting money back in again.

Also, I readjusted my goal of my travel fund for Turkey because my friend, B., had actually won two tickets. That means I can save the money for other expenses. It’ll be nice to travel together, as we’d known each other for 16 years and we’d been saying it for a looooong time.

Hmmm, that reminds me that I should probably start booking some hotels and inter-city flights …

Only 28 more days!

Keeping the Ball Rolling

Interviews: On Tuesday, I did my interview in front of the principal, CEA and a parent committee. The following day, I was told that I have been recommended for the position of secondary science teacher and of course, immediately gave my acceptance. I will be teaching all the secondary courses from Secondary I to Secondary IV.

Keeping Doors Open: I also resubmitted my application to stay in the Native-speaking English Teacher (NET) program in Hong Kong. I’d applied back in 2010, long before I knew I’d be working in Quebec. While I have no plans to go to Asia anytime soon, it make sense to keep some doors open and remain in the applicant pool year after year without having to do anything other than reply ‘yes’ to the emails that the Hong Kong School Board sends out on an annual basis. If I decline, it will be a long hectic process to get back into the pool.

MOOCs: J. encouraged me to sign up for a MOOC through the University of Pennsylvania. Not exactly a topic I would have choosen myself, but Gamification, taught by Kevin Werbach, might actually have some practical uses in my teaching career. I’m about a week behind on the course, but hope to do a lot of catching up on the weekend. So far, I’m enjoying it, as I like it’s based around video lectures, rather than an extensive reading list.

Getting Organized: I’ve been on the road a lot the last two weeks. I was feeling rather disorganized as multiple to-do lists, on pieces of paper, started pilling up in my pockets. I decided to go back to using my planner on the iPad and paid another one-year subscription to the app ($15) through the App Store. I feel more motivated when I know what I’m doing day-to-day.

Taxes: I got $2,788.22 back for tax refunds. It is definitely a lot higher than last year; when my mom sent my taxes in, she also reported the donations I’d been making and my tuition fees.

Update from Whapmagoostui

Taxes and Donations: The school board sent home a T4 for my supply work in November and my fabulous mom, as usual, has taken care of my taxes. Also, Plan Canada called me when I was in my good mood. I bumped my monthly donation of $30 to $40. 

Credit Cards: I’m happy with my new Choice Card from American Express. I’ve been  racking up points with all the gas stops we make for work. In a month alone, I’ve collected more than 2000 points, enough for a $10 iTunes gift card. That would have covered my last purchase off Apple, which is another one of my “Fave Five” picks on my new Amex.

Music: Even a month after Hawai’i, I still daydream about it as I listen to Somewhere Over the Rainbow – The Best of Israel Kamakawiwo’ole. In fact, my favourite song on the album is about Kauai’i.

Presents: Back in January, J. sent some Christmas presents to me in Chisasibi. Unfortunately, I left town before the package arrived. Since I had to fly out from Chisasibi to Whapmagoostui, I finally got to open my presents … three months later! I was very touched by everything he picked out. Last night, I was snuggled in my new flannel sheets and this morning, I tested out the Bose speakers. I couldn’t have asked for better.

Career: The flight has been booked and I get to spend two nights with J. in Waskaganish. My interview is on Tuesday and I will be spending Sunday prepping. Wish me luck!