Monday, 25 September 2017

A Surprise Visit

from my mom and dad! 

They had come at the beginning of the month to visit for a week and have been traveling all over Alberta and BC since they left. Well they texted me in the afternoon on Saturday that they were in Swift Current having lunch and I said they should come to our house for the weekend if they didn't mind driving a bit more north. I think the free nights stay and laundry swayed them ;)  

They arrived in the late afternoon and we had a nice relaxing evening talking about their trip and all the places they went too. G and I have a few more road trip ideas in the future after seeing all their photos!

Sunday morning we all took our time getting up in the morning. G was supposed to work but was able to confirm he could take the day off after learning my parents were coming. After having coffee, breakfast and enjoying more conversations - my dad and G brought my parents car into the garage and G did some regular maintenance for them. My mom and me watched a movie inside and did their laundry. 

Later that day while I was preparing dinner, we hooked my parents laptop up to the TV in the living room so we could view all their photos - more stories were shared, maps came out, it was nice to be in the kitchen and having everyone in conversation. The evening was quiet, and we all went to bed a bit early.

They left this morning the same time I left for work. I shed a few tears, as I had a really good time visiting with them and I won't see them again until next April. Each time I see them it reminds me how far we actually are from home. 

This evening the house feels weirdly empty even though G and Mocha are home with me. I know this feeling will pass - it always does - but the home sickness seems to linger longer and longer each time. I'm glad they surprised me and came back to visit one last time. 

I had a really good weekend. <3

- M 

Sunday, 17 September 2017

Net Worth Update - August 2017

I've been tracking our net worth for a few years now and it is by far my favourite calculation (nerd). It's raw data - the numbers do not lie. If we have hit a certain retirement milestone it won't matter if we also went into debt that month.

Here are our numbers:

Assets:

  • Liquid Cash - $13,204
    • This is everything we can easily liquidate incase of emergency without any penalties. 
  • Retirement - $125,619
    • The largest account in here is G's pension. We use the transfer value on his pension statement (updated everything month), as that is what we would be able to transfer to a LIRA (locked in retirement account) if he were to quit. The rest would be my pension and RRSPs. I toyed with the idea of placing our TFSA's in here but decided against it as if shit really hit the fan: we can easily access that money even though it is invested.
  • Hard Assets (House, Cars (private sale amounts) - $257,000
    • House value is what we paid of the house plus a little extra to account for the new windows. Car values aren't updated every month, but they are the private sale figures I was able to calculate online.
Liabilities:
  • Mortgage - $156,912
    • 16 years and 6 months left on our mortgage! Mortgage term renews in 2021 and our current interest rate is 2.89%. We haven't made any extra payments to our mortgage but did change our payment structure to accelerated bi-weekly when we set it up. This made a huge difference.
  • Consumer (Cars, LOC, etc) - $45,196
    • Working on this...

Net Worth: $193,715

Our big goal for 2017 has been ending the year with at least $200,000 networth, which I believe we should have no issues accomplishing. I would personally love to end the year with $150,000 in our retirement accounts but that would be up to the markets because we aren't going to be adding anything extra, besides our regular contributions, while in debt. 

Does anyone else keep track of net worth? Has it been eye opening to see change over the years?

- M

PS: Our first net worth I calculated was back in March 2014 and we were negative $494! Started from the bottom now we're here ;)

Saturday, 16 September 2017

Slow Moving Saturday

Although I love my husband, I really enjoy when he is working days on Saturday because I always get so much done. I don't really sleep in anymore, but on the weekends I always take my time getting out of bed. Then when I finally do, I take my time having my morning coffee and prepare a proper breakfast (today was scrambled eggs and cheese on a bagel).

Saturday is also my grocery shopping day. This is probably a contraction to something I've said before but I hardly pay attention to flyers anymore. We only have one option in my small town so I tend to shop what we are caving and want to eat for the week - if it's on sale it's just an added bonus. Does anyone else shop this way?

$21.98 worth of groceries for the week
This week our plan is:

  • Macaroni and tuna salad with fresh bread
  • Penne alla vodka
  • Rib meat wraps
  • Salami sandwiches
  • Pumpkin spiced cupcakes (not for dinner obviously lol)
  • Mini pizzas!

The macaroni salad we've been craving for a while. We have ½ a homemade loaf of bread in the freezer that I had made a few weeks ago so that will clear some space. The penne is going to be a new recipe for me to try. When my parents were visiting my mom had purchased a small bottle of vodka for mix and I had no idea what to do with the left overs - pasta it is! Rib wraps is from left over ribs we had made. G removed all the meat from the bones so we could do something different; this will most likely get eaten first. The salami, well that's again just some meat we had in the fridge. We have some mozzarella too so maybe we can make mini pizzas one night (pizza sauce is in the freezer). Adding this to my meal plan now - I guess I'm planning on the fly! The pumpkin spiced cupcakes will be a bit of a treat for G and myself, plus I will bring some to work. I have a spiced cake mix, and homemade pumpkin puree in the freezer from last year (someone at work was giving away free pumpkins so I roasted the two I took and turned them into puree for later use).

I think that should be good for a week if not a little bit more. I always bring left overs for lunch or I've been eating a lot of hummus and veggies recently. G is working days next week and will be gone most of Tuesday as he picked up an overtime shift on his day off. Hopefully he will be home for dinner.

My slow but productive Saturday continues now. I just heard the laundry finish. Lucky for me, my earl grey tea has just kicked in and I'm ready for another round of cleaning! 

- M

Sunday, 10 September 2017

Just Sit-down and Write - A New Introduction

Hi everyone! Yes, I'm still alive even though I haven't written in nearly a year. My life has been pretty hectic during my downtime and I have finally been able to catch my breath.

I apologize for leaving that last post on a cliff hanger, and I promise I will air all the dirty laundry soon. But to be honest - blogging wasn't fun anymore. I don't know why (because no one was forcing me), but I felt the need to write more click-bait blog post. I wanted people to keep coming back to find out what happened. It was stressing me out because I felt I couldn't write what I actually wanted to write - no one wants to read a grocery haul post, even though I personally love reading those. I was seriously starting to annoy myself with all this overthinking. 

I want to give you all a new introduction. I've toyed with deleting the entire blog (or at least those embarrassing try hard post) but just like my high school 'emo-kid' photos: it's part of who I am. 

My name is M, I'm 27 and live in a small rural Saskatchewan town with my husband of 5 years, G, and our blind chocolate lab, Mocha. I'm really happy with my life right now and finally have things back to being organized (somewhat). This won't only be a finance blog, but also a personal blog. Even if no one reads these post I'm using this blog to get my thoughts out.

Since last writing we have:
  • Spent three weeks traveling all across Europe, ending in Romania where we attend a wedding and I finally got to meet G's family and see where he grew up 
  • I recieved another promotion (and raise) within the Credit Union that I work at 
  • Stopped budgeting, if you can't tell (lol)
  • Added $2300 in Line of Credit debt despite my raise 
  • Took out a $14,500 loan for basement remodel and new windows for the entire house
  • Still haven't paid off our SUV 
  • My parents came out to visit us from Southern Ontario (part of the basement reno was setting up a bedroom for them/other guests)
  • We were both asked to stand up in G's best friends wedding next year, we said yes
  • G & I have really gotten into to board games (random fact)
We have basically been living without a plan and it has really shown. Now we dig out from this shit again but I'm done feeling embarrassed - lets just get this paid off. 

Current debt: $16,652.62 (not including car loan because I don't care about that right now @0.99% fixed, call me reckless!)

Current game plan: 
  1. Get back to budgeting (omg so many fails without tracking anything) 
  2. Pay off the Line of Credit
  3. Save up $7000 for annual expenses (property taxes, insurances, etc.) and replace as it gets used
  4. Pay off remodel loan 
So that's that. It was so much fun spending all that money, & now we get to have even more fun paying all of it off /sarcasm.  ;}

- M 

Me in my natural habitat, surrounding myself with flowers (Bucharest, Romania)

Sunday, 9 October 2016

Catching Up: The Job

Hi! Remember me?

I have so much stuff to write about but never had the time (or made the time) to update. Now that the cold weather has arrived (we had a major snow storm this week: see photo of me on our back deck) and yard work is pretty much off my schedule (see photo of potatoes) I'm making more time to get back to writing.

October 6th: Almost at the top of my boots!
One of the piles of potatoes 

One of the first major things to happen was I got a full time maternity-leave position at my work! I was hired back in July and the term will be until December 2017. As soon as the job was posted I got a call from my manager (I was at home that day) letting me know and if I wanted more information to call the other manager as he was hoping I would apply. I had a conversation with him and officially put my name in for consideration. Now, this is a very familiar story for me so I didn't get my hopes up about the job but sure enough a few days after the posting closed I had an offer! Which I didn't take. Nope, instead I countered for more pay. Now let me tell you, this was my first time ever countering an employment offer before and I was SO nervous. I did my research though, had reasons to back up my offer, went into the meeting with a level head: and got my raise! Technically they came in lower than what I wanted (but I went in high & knowing what my tipping point was). Also they tried to tell me this new salary would start in 3 months after my 'training' period but I flat out told them "No". The manager filled that awkward empty silence with a "Okay, it'll start right away."

I told G later that night when I got home from work that I didn't even know who I was: confident, but relaxed and at ease. But he made me realize it's because I wasn't desperate for this job. Yeah, I wanted it - it's a step up from what I was doing before and in an entirely new department - but we put ourselves in a position where financially we don't need my income. I don't feel that stress anymore.

Not needing my new income for our budget is awesome because I'm able to throw 100% of it at our car debt! Car debt???? Oh... I'll explain that in the next post.

- M

Monday, 20 June 2016

Back from Vacation


Technically we were back a week ago but had a good amount of housework to do (the weeds in the garden…) and I picked up three shifts at work that kept me busy. 

The vacation was amazing. Ugh I love the mountains. Definitely more laid back trip this time around, I didn’t feel rushed to do everything but at the same time we seen a lot.

Top of the Whistler's 

Patricia Lake

Kinney Lake

Mount Robson 

Left over pizza and wine ;)

The entire trip came too a little under $2400 (this balance includes some of the stuff that was prepaid: Airbnb and symphony tickets). That is 4 nights in Jasper and 2 nights in Edmonton. Our top categories were 1. Hotels: $733 2. Food: $529 3. Activities: $361. Could we have done things a lot cheaper? Yes of course! But this was the first time I actually didn’t hold back my spending on a vacation and I loved it. I enjoyed myself, indulged in desert every night at dinner, even ordered drinks one night! G and I have never done that because it is so expensive/overpriced. And you know what? That was the best damn Strawberry Bellini I’ve ever had. The reason I was able to relax so much is because as soon as we got home I transferred the balance that was on our credit card over from our vacation fund to pay it all off. Just like that our vacation was paid off without even emptying our savings completely.

Now I’ll just dream of the next vacation while our savings balance creeps back up.

- M

Sunday, 5 June 2016

Vacation

G & I will be headed off to Jasper/surrounding area this next week! Looking forward to hiking :D

Photo taken by G during our last trip there (no wonder we wanted to go back)

- M