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

Friday, 1 January 2016

The $248.87 Secret

I have a confession. I haven’t been 100% honest with this blog and even myself. Earlier this year I was so proud of ourselves for paying off our car, the last of our consumer debt. Only technically there was an extra credit card I had sort of pushed off to the side and was in completely denial about. 

A couple years ago, when I was in way over my head with our finances, G and I needed a new mattress really badly (ours was badly damaged during the move and had mould growing on the bottom - gross). With no Emergency Fund and us living paycheque to paycheque we had an issue that was going to cost us money with absolutely no extra money to our name – so we financed it. 3 years – equal payments no interest. There was a financing fee of course and we had to open a new credit card but we were approved for a good limit and found a mattress. Then we found an elliptical we didn’t even know we wanted but bought that too just because… Anyways, so we’ve been paying that every month for over 2 ½ years at this point. I was living in denial because I thought, hell we’ve already paid the financing fee so why not just keep up the payments (no excuses for myself I know this is completely dumb). 

Anyways – so we got the bill again in December, and G asked how many payments are left. I let him know we will be done by May 2016. Then we looked at the bill a little more detailed and seen we only have $248.87 left to pay. Then G said the sexiest thing: “Why don’t we just pay it off and start 2016 completely debt free?” (I love this man) That statement was most profound because G was the pro-debt/we only live once/we have our entire lives to pay it off kind of person. Even though I’m usually the one moving the money around, budgeting, tracking our networth I do involve him in the process and talk about what I’m doing, however I always thought he was more passive about the entire process. He has definitely been changing too! 

Last Wednesday G got paid and we transferred the balance owing. Yesterday G called the credit card company and let them know that we want the extra payments we made to pay off the card and to close it. Next month we will get a statement of $0. It feels good to be honest and to have the payment be gone from our budget. I’m glad G spoke up and said something when I was obviously in denial - so happy he called me out and made me wake up.

So with that, I swear 110% that we only have our mortgage debt left. I'm a dumbass for lying and an idiot for not closing this account sooner trust me I know, lol. 

& Happy New Year everyone! G and I were sleeping by midnight (we both worked yesterday and he is working days today) but we went to a community supper in the evening and had an amazing time — such good food! On our way back home I could see the Northern Lights so we pulled off the highway onto a grid and watched them dance for a while. I texted my one friend that moved from Ontario to Saskatchewan and let her know they were out - could be the last time she sees them. She broke the news to me the other day that her husband gave his notice at his work and they are moving back to Ontario, I didn’t even know there were issues. I’m sad but if it wasn’t working out they obviously shouldn’t force it. I don’t think I will be able to see her before they leave - I’m going to try my best though. 

- M