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

Friday, 3 June 2016

$50,000 in 17 Minutes

No this isn’t a click bait title: this actually happened to us today. I got some explaining to do...

Since our move, we have been slowing updating our mailing address. I finally gathered up all the numbers for G’s work related things (such as his health insurance, my health insurance, life insurance, pension, etc) and he had the lovely task this afternoon of waiting on hold.

When he called the pension phone number I asked him to inquire about why we haven’t received a pension statement in 2 years. So when he finally got on with an agent he changed the address and then asked about the statements. Turns out a year and a half ago the management of the pension switched and the government (who now is in change of the pension) is having trouble figuring out statements. ...Okay? 

Anyways, the guy told G there was a better way to view his pension information online that gives an up to date (literally to the day) breakdown and a lot more detail. 

G goes to work - as for security reasons the website can only be viewed on the work computers - and sends me a screen shot of the information. “Is this what you need?"

Transfer Lump Sum Amount: $70,486.40

I ask him to click on a few more areas that have definitions/explanations because I couldn’t believe the amount. But after doing a bit more reading: yup, that is the amount he is entitled to transfer if he were to quit today. 

This is crazy to me because I had been using the pension amount of $21,659 in our Networth statements because that’s what I was able to pull off from his last pension statement then adding the amount he contributing to it (what I see taken off his pay cheques). But failed to even think about what the RCMP is matching, plus his years of service, plus some other magical spell - since I didn’t think he would be entitled to any of it if he were to quit! Boy was I wrong...

That phone call was only 17 minutes, I checked the phone log. Most of that time was spent on hold listening to instrumental 'Message in a Bottle' by The Police (omg I just got the irony). That 17 minutes netted us exactly $48,826. 

Although this is pretty sick news and we are more than happy to accept (lol) we are going to stay on the same path as before. This is definitely motivating though!

- M 

Thursday, 2 June 2016

RRSP Contribution

As I said in the last post, even though I wasn’t feeling to good last month that mood didn’t affect our finances. In fact, our net worth was able to jump by $9876 in May. The biggest bulk of that jump was from our transfer getting finalized and our personalized envelope payout. This ‘envelope’ has one month of G’s salary and can be used incase we need something paid for during our move that isn’t normally covered. Luckily for us nothing extra came up so we had the full amount ($7092.33) available to us. We had two choices with that money:

     1. Have a cash pay out.
  • This would have only netted us $3700.06 after taxes, CPP and EI were deducted.
  1. Roll it into an RRSP (spousal or individual)

  • CPP and EI are still going to be deducted but taxes would be waived for the contribution. 



Important thing to note is this payout is 100% taxable for G, just like our CMHC reimbursement we had last month. Although that is a good amount of money to have in cash we didn't need it. We were able to do the bathroom renovation with cash we had already saved up and currently saving enough to cash flow a new patio door plus our yearly property taxes. So really it was a no brainer for us to roll it into my spousal RRSP - G has the tax benefit and we get the long term growth for extra money we weren’t counting on. 

After CPP and EI were taken out there was a $6607.92 contribution done. G will get the CPP and EI back next year when we do our taxes as he is only a few paycheques away from maxing both his out for the year. This entire move has netted us just a little under $10,000 in extra income G will have to pay taxes on, but I’m confident we made the right decisions to help prevent taxes (in the short term) and will net us much more during the decades it’ll be invested!

- M

Monday, 30 May 2016

Bad Month

It’s been a weird month - hence me being quiet on my blog. This happened to me last time we moved, things are new and exciting the first few weeks. I’m busy organizing and cleaning, really motivated. Then things around the house start to settle and depression settles in aswell. This is obviously something I need to get better at handling because G’s job requires us to move in the future, that’s a fact. This time was better than last, I will say. I remember G coming home from work and I would start crying for no reason, I would sleep all day, and online shop like no tomorrow. This time the sadness just sort of drained all the energy from me - I felt completely unmotivated. Looking back on the last month I can’t even remember what I did to make time pass, it’s really weird how days can just get away from you when you are walking in a haze.
 
This last week is the first all month I’ve felt somewhat like my old self again. I’ve been exercising, doing yoga twice a day (morning stretching session and relaxing session after my workout in the evening), starting my vegetable garden, eating better again and paying attention to our finances (still debt free even after this blip!). I’m hoping this motivation continues to get stronger but I’m not trying to rush it either. I’ve got time these days (lots of time) and I want to make sure I recover properly without any ‘quick fixes’. One day at a time, things will get back to a normal. <3

- M 

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Summer is Here!

We were living on the edge this week and it’s only Wednesday. Sunday we only had about $10.00 left in our chequing account to last us until the 11th. I’m being a little over dramatic because we do have savings over an above our Emergency Fund but that money is ear marked for new house windows and I’d rather not spend it if we don’t need to. Luckily I got an EI deposit yesterday which will help us float until G’s next pay.

Regardless - after an expensive April and a vacation coming up in June we both agreed to have May be a low-spending month. I’m hoping it wouldn’t be that difficult since G will be gone for two weeks out of the month and he is the spender lol. With that I’m also hoping to save in our grocery category. I’ve spent nothing so far and have meals planned out until Sunday when G leaves, so I’ll only need to worry about myself. 

It’s been so warm here over the last few days. Saskatchewan is so bizarre with it’s weather - I swear there is no Spring or Fall just Extreme-Winter and Summer. I’ve been spending the last few days working in the yard. We had some grass seed we bought last year I found while moving and used that in the front yard yesterday. No garden planted yet, but there is a giant vegetable garden area at the back of our property which will be put to use. It already some rhubarb growing! If G can till up the garden area we might run to the city and invest in some plants - using some of the grocery budget to make up for that expense as it will (hopefully) provide us food in the long run. 

Here is a view from the very corner of our property (thank god we have a riding lawn mower) & the nasty sunburn I got while working outside yesterday (not sure how I’m going to fix that one).



-M

Saturday, 30 April 2016

Vacation(s)

With me not working full time and G actually in a unit where he can take his vacation time we have a few trips planned for this year. G had 298 hours of vacation and even after booking the ENTIRE month of September off plus two weeks in June he still has 108 hours left. 

September is our big trip home (Windsor, Ontario) to see our family. G’s never been back since we moved and last time I went was two years ago for a wedding (we could only afford to send one of us). Our plane tickets have been purchases and we spent $229.27 for both of us! Thanks to our credit card perks and points we only had to pay taxes and fees. We were able to take that money from our vacation account savings. The only other major expenses: boarding our dog ($30 a night) and renting a car. Although both our parents have told us we can borrow their vehicles it’ll just be easier to rent a car. G and I are going to be doing our own separate things lots of the time so I could borrow my moms car and G can take the rental or vice versa. Just gives us more options.

The two weeks in June is a late anniversary trip to Edmonton and Jasper. There is a symphony we both really want to see in Edmonton and Jasper is just going to be a mid-week adventure. Last time we went was in Autumn and we had perfect weather so hopefully we are just as lucky.

I’m really looking forward to these trips! I’m happy we’ve made saving for vacations part of our budget even when we don’t have anything planned. That way these ideal trips can become reality without it straining our cashflow or going into debt. We contribute $100 bi-weekly (automatically) but snowball money into that savings account as well. As the numbers become more finalized for our trip in June, I will share our trip budget.

But now I leave you with a super cute photo of Mocha enjoying the beautiful weather!

I wish we could take her to Windsor but I don't know how she would be on a plane :(


- M