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


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).


Saturday, 30 April 2016


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 

Sunday, 24 April 2016

Balanced Budget

We are absolutely loving G’s new work schedule - so much more flexibility. This week he didn’t even work in the field - he had courses most of the week and has Friday to tomorrow off. He is using that time starting our main bathroom renovation. It’s not a hardcore reno - just a new tub surround (our old one is cracked), new dry wall, toilet, and vanity/sink combo. We are hoping to save the floor but once G starts pulling out the drywall we will see if there’s any water damage. We priced out new vanities cabinets but found out it was cheaper just for G to build our own - so that’s what he has been working on. I think the actually demo will start during his next round of days off. We have the extra full bath downstairs so there isn’t any rush to get it done, I’d rather have it done correctly. 

I did a detailed budget for next month now that I have an idea what our expenses will be. Even with me not working (I didn’t want to include my income since its not guaranteed) our budget still balances - actually with about $350 to spare. That’s a relief! I was worried without my income and double the mortgage payment some things might need to be cut but thankfully not. I was actually thisclose during one of my ‘overthinking episodes’ to changing my TFSA contribution to $100 bi-weekly instead of the $200 we are doing now. I should have just done the budget properly in the first place instead of stressing, lol. 

I calculated what our retirement savings rate is just for curiosity against G’s base salary (which is what I budget with) and we are at 25%! That doesn’t include G’s pension (which is taken off before taxes and automatically so we never miss it). That also doesn’t include any snowballed money we might toss in there during the year. I feel way better seeing that number and a balanced budget. I have been able to work about one shift a week which helps bring in some 'extra' money. I’m sure in the summer with people going on vacation I can pick up a lot more shifts. I’ve been applying to other jobs in the area but no call backs so far. I’m glad we are in a position where being down one income doesn’t hurt our bottom line.

- M

Sunday, 17 April 2016

Move Update

Just an update from my last post: thank you all that responded! We decided it was best to put the money into my spousal RRSP as it will help G at the end of the year with taxes and we didn’t need the money for anything else. G will also be getting one months’ salary ‘bonus’ once all the transfer paperwork has settled and we don’t have to submit anymore claims - it works out too a little under $7000. This money however, only has two options: either take as cash (this is taxable income so they take regular payroll taxes off) or roll into an RRSP. Since the beginning of this entire process we knew we would roll it into my RRSP without question and that hasn’t changed now that the transfer has happened. We just have to wait for all the behind the scene paperwork to finish up which may take a bit but once it’s done it’ll be another nice boost to retirement.

The move itself went really well. EXTREMELY stressful though; I don’t think I will ever get used to G's transfers. There was one point when the moving staff was unpacking the kitchen and kept asking me where I wanted everything I just got so overwhelmed I had to leave the room. I should have taken an anxiety pill in the morning but I thought I could handle it: obviously not. We opted to unpack ourselves last time so I was able to go at a normal pace not have three people shoving things in my face asking where they go. Everything found a home though and I’m really happy with how everything came together.

Three things did end up breaking, unfortunately. Two lamps and an antique glass jar my parents had given me. It's weird because everything is covered under insurance but they ask you to put prices on the items that broke. The lamps were IKEA lamps, and even though they didn’t have the exact ones we found similar lamps in the current catalogue so those prices were easy to figure out but for something like an antique from my parents - that was a lot more difficult. Not that it was crazy rare or expensive (we found one similar on eBay for like $10) but my dad remembered exactly were he got it from when they were on vacation. I felt horrible telling them it was broken, even they they understood. We submitted the claim this week and they will be sending us a $100 cheque (what we estimated the replacement costs to be). We won’t be replacing any of the items so that money will most likely just be going into the home fund for upcoming repairs. 

And the job. I had my interview and it was an hour and a half long! I had such a good feeling: they were asking lots of questions, open discussions, they seemed sooooo interested. I didn’t get it. I honestly thought I had it, everyone I worked with did, I was so sure... I’m still in a weird funk about it. I’m in-between everything happens for a reason and where did I fuck up? Although I’m mopey it hasn’t stop me from applying for other jobs. Technically, I’m still employed but only as casual. Better than nothing though. One thing I’m extremely grateful during this time: no consumer or car debt. It has made things so much easier this last month, and one more thing we didn’t have to worry about.

- M

Tuesday, 12 April 2016


Hi everyone! I survived the move and will write a more detailed post in the coming week but I need some advice.

We didn't have 20% down to purchase this house so we had to pay CMHC insurance - this was rolled into our mortgage. Now the Crown pays for CMHC insurance - but it is a taxable benefit. We received a cheque from the lawyers office yesterday for $3250.00 to cover our CMHC fees. This money doesn't have to be used to pay CMHC, it's ours to do whatever we feel right - I've checked and rechecked, the only thing that we were constantly reminded of is it will be taxed at the end of the year. So my question is: do we put it on our mortgage - which we are on track to pay off in 18years and have a 5yr fixed rate of 2.89%? Or should we roll it into my spousal RRSP so G gets the tax benefit this year? Or should we go on a vacation (lol jk).

We are leaning towards the RRSP since it'll have more time to compound and we are comfortable with our mortgage amount.

Any opinions?

- M

Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Move Date

The movers are here today !

Last night we took possession of the new house. The final walkthru confirmed we made the right choice. The seller did everything we asked of them and more - I was blown away. 

Going to be a crazy week but it'll be worth it :)

Goodbye old house <3

Saturday, 19 March 2016

Mortgage Chat

We decided with this new mortgage to change things up a bit.

When we first bought our house 3.5 years ago, we went with a 25 year mortgage. It was a manageable payment, that's all we really cared about at the time. I remember the first anniversary of our mortgage we got an information sheet from our bank explaining how much we paid, the interest rate, etc etc. Pretty neat overview of our largest debt - until I got to the principle and interest breakdown from our payments. How depressing to see more money going to interest than principle. But alas, we had much bigger and more expensive fish to fry.

Now we are in a position where the mortgage is our only debt. If we kept things the same and ported our mortgage, we would have been on track to pay it off in 21.5 years (that half is important to me for some reason). But what fun is that? So instead we opted to pay the fee to break our current mortgage and secure a much better interest rate plus change the amortization to 20 years. The biggest difference, however, was when we changed our payment frequencies. Right now we pay monthly, we could have changed this any time but never really thought about it. With the new mortgage we changed our payments to accelerated bi-weekly. Doing that alone shaved off an entire two years of payments! So now we are set to be mortgage free in 18 years - or when I'm 43. How sick is that? And that's not if we pay any extra - which our mortgage allows without any penalties.

I'm really proud since not only did we get rid of 3.5 years off our mortgage by just changing a few things, but we also did this all while doubling the amount of our mortgage. Not that the mortgage amount is something to be proud of but it's a huge motivator to get it paid off even sooner!

We are also taking this opportunity to change our insurances (both auto and house) around a bit, but once I get the final numbers I'll share with you what we saved. :)

10 days until the move!

- M

Tuesday, 15 March 2016


I got an interview for next week!!!


{~happy dance}

Sunday, 13 March 2016

Budget Update

With the transfer pretty much dominating my life, I haven’t really shared how our budget has been. Even though things have been stressful I’m happy to report that we are kicking ass - and extremely lucky because there have been a few windfalls this month.

This week we will have cleared out our chest freezer and can begin to defrost it. Even though it is staying here with the house (the buyers wanted it and it's at least 20+ years old so we were find letting it go) I want to give it a good clean. I have meals planned that will get us thru next weekend - and a rough idea of meals to get us thru until our move. I’m really happy there has been minimal food waste. I’m happy and our budget is happy. We’ve only spent $91.67 this month for groceries and this includes the shop that will get us thru until next Sunday. I have $300 budgeted this month but I’m striving for $200. April will be a big stock up month/city run but at least I see it coming and can budget for it. 

Our dog Mocha has been doing so well! After such a tough last year and the vet bills to prove it, she is perfectly healthy. No issues at all so far this year other than insulin, needles and special food. Next month we will have to take her to the new vet to get checked and most likely purchase some more insulin but other than that she is really good. I’m a bit nervous with how she will adapt to the new house - since she got to know the layout of this house before she went blind. However the new house has less stairs for her so I won’t be worried about her falling. G and I will be home with her the first few days so we can keep an eye on her (there’s a joke here about her having no eyes but it’s too easy).

"It wasn't me who jumped up on the counter and ate that delicious bread..."

February our moving fund took a bit of a hit when we transferred $4000 out to put down as cash on the new house, but we made up for it this month. First, we got our tax refunds: just a tiny bit over $5000 for both of us, that money was moved right to the savings. Then we got medical reimbursements for some massages and eyeglasses. Those appointments were already paid for by the budget so it was extra money, so $400 got moved over to the savings. Our moving fund is $7500 currently. G just signed paperwork for the milage, meals and incidentals for our house hunting trip so we are expecting another $700 sometime soon - which again is extra since it's all already paid for. This is also a three paycheque month for G. If we stick to our budget we will have $4200 extra we can do whatever we want with. I’m aiming to add $3000 to savings, which would leave us some cushion in the chequing account. If G get’s some overtime on his cheques that’s even better - but I’m only calculating what his regular pay would be. 

So goals this month:

  1. Meal plan so all perishable food can be used before the move
  2. Grow Moving Fund to at least $11,000
  3. Groceries budget $200
- M

Saturday, 12 March 2016

Job Crazy: Read at Your Own Risk

Yesterday was the last day the job I applied for was accepting resumes. I’m hoping to hear anything (good or bad) by next week. This waiting is killing me and I’m starting to make theories I don’t think are entirely rational lol.

I was working on a project with the HR Manager - I’m a teller but also help with marketing for the company (yay finding a way to use my University Art Degree) - and she forwarded me a email with some information I needed. This email was from the manager at the branch I applied at… Not only was the information I needed in the email but also something I could be looking into waaaaaaay too much.

See the Credit Union I work for buys us all corporate wear about twice a year and the spring shirts were going around to the different branches for sizing. The manager had all the sizes in the email for the employees and asked the HR manager “Should I be ordering an extra? If so, what size?” Now, if they were still accepting resumes (this was earlier in the week) and hadn’t done interviews yet how would they know the size? And further more, it wouldn’t be the HR Manager who would be doing the interviews because she told me herself it was all going to be done by the branch manager so she would have never seen any other candidates to even guess their size. Hmmmmmmmmmm. 

I just need to stop and ~chill; I’m not being myself. One of my coworkers said “It’s good to be nervous, that means you really want it and aren’t expecting anyone to hand it to you”. And that’s the thing, I really want this job. To have a transfer where not only G gets to have a job in the speciality he wants to be in but for me to transfer within the same company (which is very small mind you): that doesn’t happen often. 

I know, I knew what I was getting into when G joined the RCMP. I was there when he signed the paperwork. The lady said “You understand the RCMP can send you anywhere in Canada?” “Yes” “Think about it, have you seen a map of Canada? Anywhere.” Yes that means anywhere for him but it also means anywhere for me as his wife. G has never put the pressure for me to work, I put that pressure on myself. I’m being my own worst enemy right now... 

Deep breaths and get it together (my mantra this weekend).

- M

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

New Job?

I handed in my resignation last Tuesday after we got the green light with the home inspection. I will work right up until the move, my last day will actually be the same as our possession. I volunteered myself for some overtime Easter weekend – only a few days before the actually move - to squeeze as much pay as I can out of this job.

Last Friday I got a text message from a co-worker letting me know that there was a posting for a position in one of our other offices. I asked her to forward me the email (since I wasn’t at work) and that weekend I dusting off the ol’ resume. 

The job would be different from my current position but since I’m staying with the same company my pension and benefits won’t be affected. Another huge plus: it’s full time!

When I got to work on Monday I loaded my emails and there was the email for the position (everyone got this email) and a personal email from our HR Manager with the following message:

“Not sure how far (town where I live) is from (town where job is) – but this will be an interesting posting for you if you’re interested. Contact (name of manager) if you have any questions.”

I submitted my resume first thing Monday morning and arranged to speak to the manager by phone. I've never met her so I thought it would be good to at least put a voice to my name. The phone conversation went extremely well.

On top of a what seemed like a good impression, I had my current manager pull me aside, letting me know how she thought I would be really good for that position. I let her know I applied and she said she was actually going to contact the manager to recommend me personally. THEN (okay things are going to get weird to explain) I had one of the financial planners I would be working with in the new position pull me aside (he travels to our branch once a week) to let me know he heard I applied and was so excited! I guess they have been looking for a good office assistant for a while. He was also putting in a personal reference for me. I would be mostly working for him, so to have a reference like that is huge. I was so grateful to both - I never asked them to do this for me - so for them to go out of their ways to vouch is definitely a confidence booster. 

Since all that happened I've had numerous co-workers tell me they hoped I applied, including some from our other locations making sure I seen the position. Everyone has been so supportive. 

The job closes this Friday - wish me luck!!

- M 

Saturday, 5 March 2016

Why It’s Important to Have an Emergency Fund

This week I learned why it’s important to have an emergency fund ready and available. G’s paycheque was messed up.

Back in May the payroll systems switched. G said it was a headache at first but once he got used to submitting his claims it was easy. Not only easy but the payout of overtime is down to around 2 months of waiting instead of the minimum of 6 months we were waiting before. Don’t remind me of the 8 months it took to get G’s raise…

Fast forward to Wednesday's paycheque which looked like this:

Notice all those lovely negatives? That new system was being really generous and giving everyone too much money for overtime, on call and shift differential claims. So then this paystub shows up with a wall of scary negatives dating all the way back to June! 

We had no warning that this was going to happen or the amount it would be. Poor G went into the office Wednesday (one of his days off) to compare his accepted claims, with the original paid amount then this new deductions. Oi. He was there for 5 hours. In the end he confirmed that the amount of hours he entered (and were approved) were correct but they had indeed overpaid. But he also found one court date that they originally paid but took back the full amount earned. He sent in a ticket (he even gives tickets to the payroll dept lol) to see about getting it resolved or at least an explanation.

If you add up all those deductions up it comes to $1619.81. If this was a regular paycheque for G we would have only been left about $400. Luckily, he had a payout and it evened this paycheque out for us but I had heard of them leaving people stranded like that. One lady I know was telling me about how when her husband did an isolated posting and their rent from the Crown owned housing they lived in was taken directly off the paycheque. Everything was fine and dandy until a year later when the payroll dept noticed they charged them too little and then took all the money off at once. This was a single income family with two little kids, and they were left with very little for two weeks...

We were lucky enough to have it not really affect the pay it still made me extremely aware how important an Emergency Fund is. G works for the Government of Canada – the Government people! I know I shouldn't bite the hand that feeds us, but seriously? Had this happened to us a few years ago when we had nothing saved, it would have been a disaster.

So thank you Emergency Fund. Although there have been times I pondered if we should do something more with you, I’m glad we resisted. You never know just when you might need that little bit of cushion and piece of mind.

- M

Tuesday, 1 March 2016

A Home Sold & A House Bought: The Final Chapter

If you haven’t read Part One or Part Two click for the links

Okay, so ND Chic totally got it right. We went with house #2!

Not only was it the house I had the best feeling about; it was also in the best shape, in our price range, and was the ‘youngest’.

Okay, so there we were in the basement of House #3. G and I discussing, our realtor adding some input and then G and I discussing even more. We opened up the offers $40,000 below asking price - we knew no matter how much we offered, the seller would counter and we weren’t going to offer the asking price. So we were able to sign the documents right then and there and went along our day.

The next morning our realtor calls up and says we have a counter. The seller only dropped by $10,000. We aren’t impressed. So we add $10,000 to our offer and the seller counters back within a few hours, dropping only $5000 more stating they were firm. At this point we are only $10,000 shy of agreeing and we were getting at the top of what we wanted to pay. There was lots of back and forth that day, all within a short amount of time too. So we backed off, or at least that’s what the seller and their realtor thought. We talked it over with our realtor and she suggested playing a bit of head games since so much had happened that day. Wait and counter in the morning - give the seller one sleepless night with our pause. Let them think about if it was really worth loosing the sale of the house by a few thousand dollars. We agreed we would counter $5000 more - meeting half way but not doing that until the morning. 

It’s totally worked.

First thing that morning (before the offer went in) the sellers realtor was contacting our realtor asking if we were going to consider the offer. “Well they aren’t sure, there are a few other houses they were looking at and they are getting new the top of what they want to spend on this house.” Late morning, our offer went in and we had a signed acceptance within the hour! Yay! 

The only conditions we had: Make sure it was cleaned up, aka all the garbage and crap was gone from the renters, Financing and Home Inspection.

Financing is approved. We were actually approved within two days, lol. I remember when G was trying to get approval for the mortgage on our current house and had such a rough time. No assets, LOC and Credit Cards all with balances, car loan and a shitty income. How much can change in a short amount of time. 
Home Inspection was done today and was extremely positive. The guy was really impressed with everything and confirmed the fix ups we already were figuring. G drove down to do a walk thru with the inspector after he was done and said that the renters had been all moved out and things looked a lot better then when we first seen the house.

Conditions should be removed this week. I’m so excited!

This month is going to go so fast. Now to get everything else organized, at least this move isn't from Ontario to Saskatchewan. Two provinces (then) vs. two hours (now). Much much better.

- M  

Sunday, 28 February 2016

A Home Sold & A House Bought: Part Two

If you didn’t read Part One of this post here is the link.

I’m so glad we went on our own that day, I really needed the time to mental regroup. We looked at every single house that seemed promising - over 15 houses. Two that we really wanted to look at - we couldn’t get appointments for that day.
  • I’m just going to add a little side bar here: I know that doesn’t seem like a lot of houses but it was ALL of the houses in our price range. We are transferring to another small town so that was pretty much the majority of the housing market.

Out of all those houses: only one was left on our list (plus the two houses we couldn’t get into). I have never been so defeated in my life. When we go home to our little sweet old home that night I started crying. We weren’t going to find a home within our price range that was livable. Time was running out, I was exhausted, still sick and stressed. Thank god for G because he calmed me right down and promised me we wouldn’t be homeless (lol).

So the week goes by, we get pre-approved for a $250,000 mortgage (out of our price range/comfort zone). We also finally get approved for the House Hunting Trip. So beginnings lots of conference calls, reading of policy, asking questions, referring back to the policy when answers are slightly confusing. I shouldn’t complain because there are a lot of perks that come with a transfer - which I will get too - but oh my gosh is there a lot to take in.

So fast forward to this last Monday, three houses left.

House Number 1: Slightly out of our comfort zone but if we got it for the right price it would work. A few issues with it that we would need to fix but awesome for resale (remember we aren’t only trying to find a home for us but G will get transferred sometime in the next 5 years so we need to think about resale too). Any changes we do to the property won’t add anymore value, since it’s pretty much all done. Hmmm, something to think about. We get a text from the realtor who is selling the property: very motivated sellers. Hmmm.

House Number 2: This is the only property that made the cut during the first house hunting trip. The realtor (different from House Number 1) texted our realtor and let us know that the seller was flexible with the price. Hmmmmmmmmmm. 

  • Side bar (again) - You might be thinking “Wow. Desperate much?” Yup! We are buying not only a buyer market but a depressed buyers market. In the last 7 months: only two houses have sold and they sold for way under the asking price. So many of the houses we looked during our first trip were vacant, because people up and left due to the downturn in the economy there. It sounds evil but during negotiate we used this to our advantage. 

House Number 2 (cont): Okay, price thing shoved to the back of my mind I needed to focus on the property. It currently is a rental but the people were starting to move out and it would be vacant for March (so might be available for a quick closing). Kitchen is beautifully upgraded, new furnace, brand new fascia, soffits and eaves, new washer and dryer, attached garage with huge workspace for G, very family friendly. The bad: the bathrooms need a complete gut job, the roof is old (no leaking yet) but will most likely need to be replaced soon, the renters completely destroyed the place… It was so dirty, they had a puppy who chewed on the stair railings. I guess the owner didn’t even know about all this and when we texted the realtor to let her know it was disgusting she was shocked. The renters had only been there for two months… Oi. 

House Number 3: This house is a foreclosure, title already had gone thru the court systems and is now owned by a local bank. It has been on the market for over a year, just sitting there empty. G was so excited about this one, it has so much potential! Amazing price, 150k below what the other houses around it were trying to sell for. But once we got inside I understood why. So much work, it wouldn’t even be livable right away. I tried to open some of the kitchen drawers and they wouldn’t open because the tile on the kitchen counters was blocking the drawer from opening… LOL I was just laughing at this point and saying nope nope nope nope nope. Surprise: this isn’t the house we chose. That tile mistake wasn’t just in the kitchen, same thing in the bathroom! The bedrooms were so small, only a twin would be able to fit in two and maybe in a double for the master. And the real kicker: some of the siding was already falling off. Like one piece was crumpled on the ground. Really? 

So while we were in House Number 3’s unfinished basement we discussed our options and made an offer one of the houses. (HGTV's House Hunters Theme Song): Did we choose:

House Number 1: The finished, slightly-out-of-comfort-zone-priced property with the motivated sellers but no room to make money?

House Number 2: The dirty formal rental that needs some work with the good bones but also potentially expensive fixes for the future? 

House Number 3: No, just no.

Stay tuned to find out ;)

Saturday, 27 February 2016

A Home Sold & A House Bought: Part One

Let me just start with: I don’t know how we pulled this off but we had too and we did it. 

WE DID IT!!!!!!!!!! :D

Okay, enough celebrating (yay!), let me go back to beginning:

In the last post, I let you all know that the buyer had accepted a counter offer and our home was under contract. There were three conditions: financing, home inspection, furnace inspection. 

Step One: The financing. The Credit Union wasn’t an issue - the guy that bought our house has been a long time member and helps run the very successful family business here in town. Not a major risk. CMHC however stepped in. They wanted an appraisal of our property. Normally I would think this is routine but the following text from our realtor scared the shit out of me:

“Now you can start praying too. If this appraisal is too low (Buyer’s name) either has to come up with cash difference or you will have to negotiate a lower price for it to go through. (Buyer’s name) argument could be that no bank will finance it at that price. Just giving you the worst case scenario."

I didn’t sleep at all that night, lol. 

So the appraisal came and went. A few days later, we were told the financing conditions were removed. Huugggeeee sigh of relief. We actually just found out that the appraisal did come in under the purchase price (although we will never know what the amount was) but the buyer just put down more money. I guess that’s one plus about living in a small town with not a lot of good housing options: people over pay. We got $4000 more than we were expecting on this house (aka our bottom line) so it was a nice plus for us. 

So one condition down, two conditions left. 

Step Two: Furnace Inspection. Tuesday (two days before the conditions are to be removed) I get a text from our realtor asking if the furnace inspector could stop in a few hours to do the inspection. I'm not going to say no, we are running out of time to do all of this.

Wait - I need to you to also know during this hectic/stressful week was also the week my body decided to get the flu. I haven’t had the flu since I was a kid! I was off work for 4 entire days and technically should have stayed home an additional day because I had no voice from coughing and throwing up. I had an infection PLUS Influenza 1 - I lost a scary amount of weight in a short amount of time, I couldn’t stand up for more than a few minutes before needing to sit because my heart rate was so fast, and couldn't keep anything down. Not fun.

Anyways, so I was home (throwing up and on my death bed) and was able to let the furnace man do what he needed to do. That went well and passed - the furnace in this current house is old but still does it’s job. 

Step Three: Wednesday (one day before conditions need to be removed) we get another text from our Realtor asking if the home inspection can be done Friday morning. Sure…. but conditions are supposed to be removed Thursday with this contract. “Oh shit.” We said the extra day doesn’t matter to us, but we would like to negotiate our closing date. The original closing we supposed to be March 11th, this wasn’t going to happen realistically for us.

Wait! I need to explain a bit with how these RCMP transfers work. There are a lot of people you need approval from to go look for a house. We have our Brookfield rep, who has been awesome and answered every single question we had so far. Then there’s our … hmmm I forgot what she’s called, lets ask G:

Me: “(Name removed), what is her title technically?"
G: “Relocation something or other. The technical term for her job is useless"

We had a good chuckle. 

That woman, works for the RCMP and gives us approval dates for the House Hunting Trip. Then there G’s sergeant. Then there’s also our realtor, although she is very flexible with dates and my manger too. A lot of working parts here... Okay so we were looking at getting our House Hunting Trip approval the week after our conditions removed (oh I guess I should let you all know that Brookfield and the RCMP don’t see your house as ‘Sold’ until all conditions are removed thus leaving not a lot of time if you need a short closing), G’s sergeant stopped that request right away: not enough officers to cover. The soonest they could all make it work was this week (Feb 22-26). So we asked our buyer if we could push the closing date to April 1st to give us more time and we would approve a one day extension on the condition removal date. 1 days for 3 weeks: seems fair right?? Thank a higher power he is flexible with dates because he agreed no problem. Other huge sigh of relief.

And guess what? We went on Family Day to go look at houses anyways. G and I both had the day off and didn't feel like waiting around. I'm glad we did because THAT was a rough day and a huge reality check.

(To Be Continued...)

Sunday, 31 January 2016

Accepted Offer

Wow, what a week!

Remember that little perk of working at the credit union? Well that hunch turned into an offer! Only it was $15,000 below what we were asking. When we got the offer - we countered right away, no waiting around. We dropped our price by $5,000, leaving the buyers conditions. Today our real estate agent came over the signed and accepted offer!

There's still things that can go wrong, of course. The current conditions we still have are financing and home inspection - which is pretty routine.

Staying positive!

Oh wait... now we need to find a house to live in. Fuc--

Saturday, 30 January 2016


So with the realities of moving getting closer and closer, a few weeks ago I had checked out the "Joy of Less" by Francine Jay from our local library. Even though I spent the entire year decluttering our house, I know there is always room for improvement. What I liked about this book is it didn't just focus on decluttering techniques but the mindset behind why we feel the need to keep certain items. Francine was also keen on reminder the reader that minimalism isn't going to be the same for everyone: minimalism is about what is enough for you. That might sound simple enough to understand but I found it extremely helpful to remember when dealing with G's items. Even though we live in the same house, our ideas of enough are different which is okay. I'm getting better at not being so uptight, lol. 

So after being inspired by the book, I went thru my items a few more times. Most of these items were clothes but I was able to fill another entire box for donation. Funny, how many times I've gone thru my closet and yet have still kept items I'm uncomfortable in and never wear. Those were the items I got rid of this week. 

This week the weather was absolutely beautiful here - it actually felt like spring! I got to wear a lot of the skirts and dresses I love but can't wear when it's -30C outside. Felt good to dress up a little and still be able to walk to work. The cold weather is supposed to return next week but at least winter will feel a bit shorter.

The no spend week has gone very well! Decluttering has helped with that since as I toss more things away, my desire to spend goes waaaay down. There was only one hiccup. On Wednesday G was subpoenaed to court (in a different town) on his day off and needed to buy lunch. He put in 8 hours of overtime so a $15 meal was okay in my eyes. We didn't met our goals of a no spend but it turned into a really low spending week instead. I'm still happy. :) 

- M

Wednesday, 27 January 2016


Perk of working at the local Credit Union: You find out when someone is looking to get a pre-approval to purchase your house.

Fingers crossed! Means nothing, obviously, but it is a very good sign.

Sunday, 24 January 2016

Expensive Month

A lot of unplanned/unbudgeted for amounts this month but it still didn't hurt our bottom line.

First, we had a trip into the city to stock up on some things. It was expensive, but it’s completely paid for. We stocked up on a good supply of meat, got four giant bags of Mocha’s kibble (she needs a special kind they don’t sell in town here) and purchased a new humidifier as our old one stopped working. Unfortunately, Mocha’s budget is over this month because we got a 100 day supply of her insulin needles as well as the food - which was on sale thank goodness. Also, as of right now we are $31 over our food budget this month but we have enough food meal planned to get us until the 1st of next month. So I'm hoping we don't have to spend more money there.

Second, $320 for massages. G has really good coverage thru his work so this will be 100% reimbursed once the claim gets approved. As I’ve already taken it out of the budget and made the numbers work, so once that money gets deposited into our account it’ll just get rolled into one of our savings goals. 

Savings goals such as our moving fund! We hit the $2000/month goal again in January and our Moving Fund is now sitting at $4000. Due to the unplanned expenses we won’t be able to snowflake extra to our vacation fund other than the automatic contributions but there will be lots of time to catch up there in the future. 

Lastly, an expense we were extremely happy to be able to make work in our budget. I debated if I should even talk about it, so please don't think we are 'showing off' - I'm just trying to be real while being anonymous at the same time (oxymoron?). Anyways, G and I took our first leap into one of our 2016 goals and gave a $500 donation to a cause in our community. When I heard this group was looking for donations I spoke with G that evening about it and after about 10 minutes of discussion we both agreed that we believed in the cause and wanted to help out. Being able to start 2016 off in the right direction with our goals is a positive sign of the things G and I can accomplish this year.

So January was expensive (and it’s not even over yet) but we were able to adjust our budget accordingly and still reach our savings goals. There’s still a cushion in our account incase something comes up in the next few days but I’m hoping we don’t have to use it. Meals are planned for until next Monday, gas tank is full, bills are all paid and we don’t need much for entertainment. So I guess there’s only one logical goal to aim for: let’s try and go for a no-spend week. Anyone with me?

- M

PS: I got a 57cent raise at work on Thursday - or an increase of about $1500/year. It'll be retro-dated back to January 1st and that will be on my next pay cheque. Yay more money! 

Sunday, 10 January 2016

Extra Income

Our overtime game is off to a strong start this year. 

On Friday, I volunteered to work at one of our other branches as they were understaffed. My milage was paid for as well as lunch and travel overtime will be added to my next pay. Works out to a little over $130 for really no extra work. I am definitely going to let my manager know if they ever need someone to do that again, I wouldn't mind. Pretty sweet deal, although it really has been G who has been killing it.

Monday he got called out in the middle of the night to help night shift (even though he was working days). Then worked late Wednesday to do a prisoner run that was completely voluntary, and worked late again Thursday (although that wasn’t voluntary). Extra income: Around $600.

His hard work makes my hustle look weak but every little bit helps! I also went thru my closet while putting away laundry and found a few items to sell and another bit of household items to donate. Like I said, every little bit helps.

- M 

Wednesday, 6 January 2016

2016 Goals

  1. 100k Networth - I will talk about this in greater detail but I have been tracking on Networth for a while and would really love to hit this goal by the end of 2016
  2. $10,000 TFSA Balance - This is the same goal as last year which I didn’t hit because we withdrew that money to payoff our car loan. I will need to snowball about $1500 outside of my regular contributions to make this goal happen
  3. $5000 Extra on Mortgage - Time to start bring down our only debt left
  4. Donate to Charity - We need to really improve on giving back, I want this to be more of a focus for us going forward
  5. $400/month Average for Groceries - I say average because some months will be up (when we go to the city) but most months will be down {fingers crossed}

I’m going to keep things simple this year. 5 financial goals to really focus our attention on. I’ve spoken about this before but G and I do better when we have a clear goal in front of us. When we were paying off the debt we were so focused once it was paid off we experienced a weird floating feeling. "Now what?" Nothing was holding us back. It’s a good feeling but strange to get used too at the same time.

I have other things I would like to say we accomplished this year. Such as staying consumer debt free, continuing contributions to retirement, tracking our money & budgeting. However, I look at them more as expectations rather than goals.

I’m really looking forward to 2016, I hope it’s good to us : ) 


Sunday, 3 January 2016

2015 Goals Overview

Original post here

1  Fully fund our Emergency Fund (Pass) – Completed even though we had to tap into it in July. We have $5000 in our Emergency Fund, I often wonder if we should bump this up but Icomfortable with that amount at the moment.

2  Pay off Line of Credit (Pass) – Yes! This ties into Goal #4

3  Stay out of debt! (Pass) – Yes! Like I said a few post ago this was the first Christmas in a while that we havent had any debt afterwards. Everything was cash flowed.

4  $5000 left on the car loan – (Pass) What a cute goal that we totally blew out of the water. This baby was gone in August and we dont miss it at all.

5  Plan and pay for Yukon vacation - (Pass) Yukon has been put on the back burner for now but we were able to go to on a really nice vacation to Vegas in October which was paid for in cash!

6  TFSA balance $10,000 - (Fail) No ; ( Balance at the moment is $3372. We withdrew the money I had in my TFSA to pay off the car. 

7  Sell $500 worth of items (Fail?) – I stopped keeping track I know I am around $400ish for 2015 but to be honest I donated so much I had intended to sell just because I wanted it out of my house. Still made a good amount selling items though. I was able to donate in total about 30 boxes/bags of items in addition to throwing out countless bags of garbage that was just cluttering up our household. 

8  Try 40 new recipes (Pass) – I have blown this out of the water. Although I haven’t been keeping track, I know I have tried way more than 40 recipes. A lot of this is due to me meal planning and organizing our recipe book. Im way more comfortable in the kitchen and dont get discouraged when recipes dont work out.  

9  Stick to $500/month budget for food (Pass) - Our average was $470 each month. I know I can do better though as its been in these last few months that Ive really excelled at getting our budget way down. This goal will continue into next year.

10  Fully maximize work benefits (Fail) – I only went for two massages this year even though Im fully covered. Boo-urns!

7/10 Passed. I've pretty much covered a 2015 wrap up in my last post so I won't say too much in regards to that. I just wanted to share my successes and failures for 2015 :) 

- M

Saturday, 2 January 2016

2015 Budget Overview

What an amazing year for us! Income wise; G hustled big time and worked extremely hard to help us fund our goals a lot more quickly and I started a new job which included a huge increase in my salary. We became consumer debt free, including paying off our car. Cash flowed a really nice vacation, vet bills, new furniture; also topped up our Emergency Fund and started saving for a transfer all the while putting 14% of our income into long-term savings. This year I started tracking our net worth every month (something I haven’t shared on here yet), actually writing down and budgeting, thus putting any extra money to help fund any of the goals we were working on at the time. Although I didn’t really update the blog I did complete another year of tracking everything that went thru our bank account thus creating the beautiful pie graph you see below!

Home (9%) 
Yay no major home updates/things going wrong. The majority of this category ($8902.92 of it) was mortgage payments, insurance, property taxes and an inspection we had done on the house this Fall when we started to catch wind that we may be transferred soon. We were definitely lucky that nothing really needed to be done with the house, after putting on the new roof in 2014 I think we were set for a while. Hopefully the next home we purchase won’t bump this category up too much in 2016.

Utilities (6%)
This includes energy, power, water, sewer, cellphones, internet and bank fees; pretty much anything we pay for services. The biggest budget eater: our cell phone plan just a little over $2000 this year. When our contract renews I’m going to look to see where I can cut back on my plan. G’s is pretty good and he uses all his features including his data, mine has a lot of data that I don’t use which we are paying a good amount for. Hopefully they have some sort of reasonable plan with the unlimited long distance I have with my current plan.

Transportation (4%)
This is a really nice category but sort of confusing aswell. We paid off our car loan this year - about $17,000 worth of car payment but I didn’t include it in this category. Instead I put it in the debt repayment category as that’s how we viewed it. Our car is a 2011 and has been extremely good to us with no car repairs other than changing the oil/regular maintenance - all which G does himself. Fuel costs for us are low because I walk to work every singe day and G often gets to take the police truck home so there’s not much driving while we are working. In 2016 we need new summer tires, G has already looked into prices - we are looking at about $350-400 a piece so $1600ish. I’m not sure the labour cost to replace and balance but at least I know a ball park on what to save for once the snow starts melting.

Debt Repayment (20%)
Biggest category & I hope to never see it again in the new year. 2015 was a huge year for us, we really hit our stride in the debt repayment category and now are completely debt free except our mortgage. The biggest decision we made was transferring my TSFA that was in a daily interest savings account to the loan to pay it off completely. I don’t think I said this in a blog post but that money was sort of like a personal emergency fund incase anything ever happened with G and I needed to go back home to Ontario. It was money that he couldn’t touch. Using it to achieve a goal we both shared was huge for me, a big security blanket removed. I’m glad I did it and I feel stupid for ever having such thoughts. The weight is off and all our finances, including personal investment accounts, are written down every month in a notebook I keep to track our Networth. You can truly get anything done when you are working as a team.

Long Term Savings (14%)
Second largest category! Yay. This includes me removing the money from my TFSA so next year this slice should be a little juicier. I’m happy with the amount we were able to save this year regardless. All our retirement is now in mutual funds and on autopilot contributions. I also include G’s pension contributions since if he were to leave the RCMP the cash he has paid into it is what can be transferred - thus still be kept in retirement no matter what the future may hold. He has a pretty solid government pension after 25 years of services which would allow him to be able to retire just after turning 45 with a full pension. I’m cautious of this though and don’t want to rely only on that promise for our retirement plans. I can’t control what happens 21 years in the future but I can plan for the worst starting now which is what we are doing. Anything extra is just icing on the cake. 

Food (7%)
This is the biggest win for me. I came under my goal of spending $500 a month on food I had set for myself at the beginning of 2015. I really hit my stride later in the year though when I really started challenging myself. I know this trend will continue into 2016 thanks in large part to meal planning and only buying what I know we are going to use. The area we need to improve on is restaurants, we spent on average $140 a month. Yikes, as most of these outings are not planned for. I’m hoping without many city trips in the coming new year this category will be way down.

Shopping (9%)
Can you spot the drawers ;P 
The biggest expense this year for us was home furnishings. G & I designed 8 pieces for our home and G built & finished every single one by himself in our garage. These are forever pieces so we did not skimp on the details nor quality of the wood. My favourite pieces: our desks with hidden pull out drawers. I love the modern finish of the top juxtaposed with the rustic wood and exposed hardware on the bottom. It turned out way better than I thought they would. Also the lamp is pretty sweet, even the shade being made by G. He is seriously a talented guy.

There was also a bit of clothing purchases and paying off the mattress I talked about in my last post.

So beautiful!
Travel (9%)
All but $1300 (that’s what we have in our vacation fund) of this was our trip to Vegas. The sinking loonie wasn’t helpfully in keeping our expenses down but we were more focused on having a good time - which we totally did. We did a lot of unique but expensive actives: helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon, G had a private airplane lesson, we stayed at a really beautiful hotel, had nice dinners out, went to a lot of shows. We had so much fun though AND it was all paid for in cash. We hustled to pay off our debt and then we hustled to pay for the vacation. It was a really nice treat for ourselves.

Personal (12%)
This category has Medical, Entertainment, My Spending, G’s Spending, Personal Care. The biggest areas of spending is our personal spending amounts. Every paycheque we each get money automatically transferred into our personal spending accounts. We call it our no judgement money, lol. I can’t scoff at him when he buys another video game or tool and he can’t judge me when I buy clothes or makeup. Also any birthday or Christmas money get’s rolled into these accounts. This system works for us and we don’t fight about using the House money (aka all the other money not in these accounts) for personal expenses. No plans to change this category, it works for us.

Pets (8%)
I hope this category will be a lot smaller in 2016; for our sake and Mocha’s. I know I talk about my dog a lot but I’m clearly obsessed. She has been thru so many surgeries this year. 

First was the diabetes diagnosis - which is now under control and she has gained a lot of her weight back. Her insulin and needles will still be a cost we have to deal with for the rest of her life but it is manageable for us. Then she went blind due to cataracts (from the diabetes). This was terrifying for me because it literally happened overnight. I went to take her downstairs in the morning and noticed she was really hesitant going down the stairs and her eyes were so wide. She wasn’t catching her morning treats anymore and was walking into walls. It still breaks my heart thinking about this… We took her to the vet that afternoon and got the diagnosis. We were referred to a specialist in Saskatoon where she was looked over and had bloodwork done. Goodnews: the cataracts could be surgically removed. Badnews: the surgery, aftercare, medicine and followup appointments would cost us about $10,000. This was not an easy pill to swallow. They did say they were not comfortable doing the surgery until her diabetes was under control so I knew we at least had a few months to make a decision while we were figuring out her insulin dosage. 

A few days after this appointment we got a call from Saskatoon. With the check up they unfortunately found cancer in Mocha’s leg. These were really dark days for us and not easy to look back on. So away for surgery she went. G drove her to Saskatoon in the morning, after coming off a night shift, dropped her off then came straight back home since they were most likely going to keep her overnight. I came home from work that day, the vet called and said Mocha’s surgery went so well if we wanted to pick her up tonight we could. We thought that was best considering she is in pain, blind and in an unfamiliar place. So away we went, me driving so G could get some more rest. We were debriefed and explained exactly what happened to Mocha and given very detailed instructions for post care. They answered all of our questions and I never felt rushed to wrap it up. We didn’t get home until about midnight; that day between G & I: 12 hours worth of driving. When we came home we were so exhausted: mentally, physically, emotionally. We were glad to have her home though. For about a month while she was healing G and I slept on a blow up mattress we had set up in the living room so she wouldn’t try to climb the stairs to our bedroom. 

In that time of healing we had gotten her insulin levels under control but the vets wanted to make sure her cancer was 100% gone before going ahead with the cataract surgery. In September we got her clean bill of health and she has successfully beaten cancer. <3 I was so proud and relieved but then bad things started happening. Long story short, there was no saving Mocha’s eyes. She was in pain despite the three eye drops we were putting in, and her retina was completely detached in one eye and partially detached in the other. We had no option but to have a double enucleation. She had that surgery in November. I won’t pretend this decision was easy and after the surgery I would often start crying and ask G if we did the right thing — looking at her now I know we did. She is so happy now, everything healed perfectly. She still play fights, dances with us, jumps up on the bed, gets into the garbage can, goes up and down the stairs by herself, goes into her toy bin and beats us at games of tug-of-war. She even ‘looks up’ at the treat cabinet when she wants one, lmao. Her energy levels are so much better now. I’m so happy and proud of her. 

I swear she has more energy than this, lol

Charity & Gifts (2%)
How embarrassing. Truthfully, most of this was spent on gifts and a tiny bit on actual charity. I want this area to improve next year and I’ve been researching different organizations to give money too. Again - I’m really embarrassed by this.


So that's 2015 for us! Lots I feel really proud about and other areas I defiantly want to work on. I will be going over my 2015 goals in my next post and also our 2016 but I think I've done enough typing today.

Thank you to everyone who has read my blog, commented and supported us for the year. Also anyone else who writes a personal finance blog thank you, your posts are incredibly inspirational for me to read and keep me on the right path. :) 

- M