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Thanks for Making a Girl Feel Welcome

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I appreciate your comments on my spending. It’s worth noting that the spreadsheet I shared includes what my spending looks like today, but my goal is to turn this around quickly. It’s only a matter of time before I have an urgent situation requiring money – whether it be for my car, my dog, or, heaven forbid, something that calls me across the country on a plane to see one of my siblings. Budgeting apps continue to pose a challenge (I commented about that in the comments of my last post). I think doing all my spending with cards, and having an app track and analyze that, is going to be necessary for me to really see where the money is going. I’d like to share some screenshots of my actual spending so as to be truly accountable to you all (and myself!). 

Something I didn’t mention last time

Retirement savings – I’ve got ‘em (sort of). I only started contributing last year, and they are at about $12k. In Canada, these are called Registered Retirement Savings Plans (similar to a 401K) and my company matches my contributions up to 3%. It’s not much, but I’m certainly happy for the little bit of extra cash my company adds. Did I mention how exciting it is to begin to see my investments compound? Like, holy heck, why didn’t I begin this years ago! I also have equity in my company, but it vests over five years. Something like $9-12k of that vests this December. I won’t count those chickens until they hatch. 

On the subject of retirement savings, have you guys ever heard of FIRE (Financial Independence Retire Early)? There are many FIRE communities online, but it’s probably most commonly discussed on Reddit. I’ve been fascinated with FIRE for the last year, and one of my goals is to move to a low cost of living city and live minimally. Yes, my current living situation is very much at odds with this plan, but I am beginning to think more and more seriously about this. There are many ways to do FIRE, including the very-attractive-to-me “Barista FIRE”, in which one gets a lower-paying job they love in order to make a little extra cash and spend their days happily working. I’m thinking a lot about this lately – what is my one-year plan? Five? Ten? Fifty? 

Steps to take this week

  • Call my service providers to negotiate better rates. A few of you noted I might be able to get a better rate on my credit cards. It’s worth a shot, right? I’m thinking of applying for a line of credit to consolidate those cards. 20% interest is bananas!
  • I’m less optimistic about this one, but I’ll be calling my ISP as well. I’m reluctant to cut cable again, as I just got it back and it’s essentially free (but I pay a lot for internet, needed for my job (mentioned in the comments of last post).
  • Look into posting one of my rooms for short-term renters. I am 100% never having a permanent roommate in my current house, and I would quit cable/going out/just about anything to avoid that, but I’m very open to having people stay with me for a few weeks at a time.
  • I signed up for Rover. It’s an app for dog walking, pet sitting, etc. I have a niche skillset not being used! I can administer IVs, draw blood, and give injections. In addition, I have done multiple dog training seminars and am experienced with dog reactivity. I’ve had so much trouble finding help for my pets when I travel, and I’m certain others are in the same boat. Pending background check, I’m hoping I can make a little extra cash as an occasional service provider in the market of special needs pets. I work insane hours, so I’m not sure how much I can give to this, but I’m very hopeful.
  • Make a plan for Christmas gifts/travel. Travel won’t be until 2020, but I will make a plan to have some money for the holidays. 

Another pet photo – meet my cat, Billy. He’s the most playful, vocal, sassy little guy. I think my dog keeps him young.

Billy


9 Comments

  • Reply Jane |

    Check out Dave Ramsey’s website and his every dollar app for tracking. It is amazing.

  • Reply Canan Onat |

    I am glad you do have a retirement plan. As for the measures you will be taking, I think they are all very wise. Please do be careful with renting your room though. Make sure you can lock your room and keep it locked when you are not home and while you are sleeping at night. Better be safe than sorry. I think, the wisest thing for you should be to put all small savings into your EF to bring it up to at least 1500. Then, you can attack debt. You can also sell some of the things you may want to part with on Craiglist or on Facebook etc. As for gifts, I understand that Christmas gifts are important in your culture but, I am also sure, your family would rather see you out of debt than be getting gifts from you. When you get together, may be you can give the gift of time to some of your loved ones, such as babysitting nieces and nephews while your siblings can catch a movie or go out on a date with their significant others. May be you can propose a new way of gift giving, drawing names and gifting only one person in the family or may be giving gifts to only children etc. Depends on your family situation. My family is rather small and we used to give gifts to each other for birthdays and for the New Year but, it has become so difficult to find gifts for people who already have everything. So, my sister suggested a few years ago that, we should stop giving gifts and rather try to have as much time together as we can, which we all gladly accepted. Good luck with your debt freedom journey!

    • Reply Elizabeth S. |

      Christmas is less about the gifts to my family (I didn’t buy any last year) and more about the travel and many houses I drop in to. It’s bringing wine or chocolate to people having me over for fancy dinners, participating in my department’s secret Santa, considerably more gas usage in my car, friends from out of town home for the holidays asking for reunions at the pub (having a drink or two is well worth the cost!).

  • Reply Jessica |

    This will probably be an unpopular opinion, but I would wait to rent out a room if I were you. There are so many other areas you can cut back on first. Also, this isnt your own home and so many things can go badly. Does your lease allow for subletting? I would hate to see you lose your low priced rental space because of a bad sublet situation

    • Reply Elizabeth S. |

      I’ve done this before and it worked out very well. I don’t post on Air BnB – in the past, some of my work friends stayed for extended periods. This time, I am thinking of posting in my university network.

      I am not concerned about theft. I have a safe for valuables and the rest of my things aren’t worth much. I also have cameras in the main areas of my house (they’re $40 cameras from Amazon with free cloud storage, before anyone asks me why I spent on expensive security, haha!). The cams were to keep an eye on my sickly animals, but they are handy for keeping an eye on other things. When I travel, I let the basement tenants in my unit to control the thermostat and I like that they know they are being watched and that I get notifications of movement in my house.

  • Reply Drmaddog |

    Yes! I am all over FIRE. It has changed my view on life and what is important and what I can do without. I’m hoping to get there within the next five years.

  • Reply Canadian_Sadie |

    Looks like a great plan…Rover is an awesome idea!!! I always struggle to find people to look after our needy (health-wise) pets when we travel.

    Just another banking suggestion: The money you’re saving for your emergency fund, put it into a TFSA. They’re great places to store an EF, with no minimum contribution to open it. What that does, though, is holds your contribution room for you. You can use it like a bank account, or you can use it to house an investment portfolio. The good part is that you can take out the money WITHOUT PENALTY whenever you want, and put it back the next year–and any money inside your TFSA grows TAX FREE. So no capital gains on the growth. There’s no tax credit, like your RRSP, but it’s a really great vehicle for you to store some spare funds in an accessible place. (if you’re already doing this, please disregard 😀 )

    • Reply Elizabeth S. |

      Thanks for the tip – I am not already doing this! I have two (empty) high interest savings accounts (one with Tangerine and one with TD) but I hadn’t considered a TFSA. Am adding that to my list to check out this week.

So, what do you think ?