9/24/2013

Draft 2014 Budget


Since Jordan receiving his raise, I've been spending some time working on the 2014 budget.  I thought I would put it out to all of you for some feedback before we finalise things.  I've also assigned budget percents and added them up in Gails Life Pie Categories.  We don't line up perfectly - but I'm happy we've got really good balance here.

On to the breakdown...

In December we will be look at our cell phones and trying to get a good plan in place for the both of us - I'm also crossing my fingers that Jordan's work will start paying for half the bill.

I'm currently shopping for Auto Insurance - but it looks like we're already getting pretty stellar rates.

Monthly spending includes gas, groceries, entertainment, pets, haircuts, clothes etc.  - it's everything and is currently $300/week which is down from $375 since getting the new car we expect to save a lot on gas.

As I have a pension, we contribute less to RRSP for me and more for Jordan.

The Baby Fund TSFA is counted as savings right now but the intent for this is income replacement when I'm eventually on maternity leave (no, not preggo, just planning ahead).

We've broken the LOC debt into two parts.  One is for the purchase of shares which is considered savings as it's a long term investment. The other is debt we expect to carry forward from the backyard project.  We anticipated being able to pay more of this off then we were.

Also planning on saving more for emergencies/vehicle repair (winter tires for the new car), Christmas/gifts and vacation - we always spend it, so want to plan on saving more (this is included in the life part of our pie).

Questions?  Thoughts? Suggestions?

These draft leaves us with about $2,000 left over.

9/23/2013

Jordan Got a Raise

Jordan is meant to have a performance and salary review around June of each year - though, as is typical it didn't happen on time.  As it turns out, Jordan made exactly the right call when decided to postpone pushing is manager to have the conversation with him.

The summer is a very busy time of year and this past was no different.  By waiting, Jordan was able to ensure that his boss-man was in a positive state of mind, and not stressed from the hectic season.  He took that extra time to make sure that he was performing at the top of his game and even took on extra responsibilities (that he wasn't advised of and expectations weren't clarified) without griping.

I'm so very pleased to share that Jordan received a 6.55% raise - he's now earning $55,000. From $51,400 it's an additional $3,600 gross annually - I've calculated a net pay increase of $86.39 every two weeks.  On top of this, his employer is also looking at either paying 50% of his cell phone bill, or getting him a work phone.  If they pay half the bill (our favorite option), that will work out to be about another $400/year.

Here's a picture of his five year pay history:


What an accomplishment! Over 5 years, he's increased his pay by $16,600 or $7.98/hour.

Congratulations Love!

9/09/2013

Updated Budget


Over the last couple of blog posts I shared with you our recent new car purchase and some of the expected fuel savings that we're looking forward to.  This post is all about how much it's going to cost us to save that gas and how the budget is going to change.

The total price we are financing, including fees and taxes, is $21.013.91.

Not too shabby for wanting to be under $20K.  Here's the breakdown:

We start at just under $20K with a $1K discount because we're good negotiators (at least we think we are) - next up are some pretty standard add on and fees.  I wasn't sure about the protective paint coating but Jordan works in the industry and was confident that it was a good price for a good product.

We are financing at 0%.

The 0% financing deal accompanied terms up to 60 months as well as their 60/84 plan.  I hadn't heard of the latter before but basically is their way to trap people into owing a balance at the end of the plan with an option to re-finance (most people just roll the amount owing and trade in for a new vehicle apparently.

Well, we're not that silly but we like flexibility of lower payments and we like 0% financing.

So, we went with it.  Our payments will default to $115.65/bi-weekly for 60 months with $5,979.41 owing at the end of the term.  We intend on comming up with the extra $1,000 each year to add to the loan (it's open with no penalties for early payments) to make sure it's paid off sooner rather then later.

So!  We have increased payments of $115.65/bi-weekly - now what? Well, we're also saving about $110/month on fuel and will have increased insurance premiums of about $31.48/month (it's about because our insurance is currently under renewal).

We were planning on increasing our day-to-day spending from $375 to $400 in January, instead we have reduced it to $300/month.  That leaves us with an unplanned overage of $77.78 (($115.65*2)+31.48-75-110).  We'll have a little bit less cash going towards the backyard debt, but it's not significant enough to worry about - you'll see more changes coming to our budget in the months ahead, but this will get us to the end of the year.


9/07/2013

Our new Kia Rio - Saving on Gas


Yesterday I shared with you that with you that Jordan and I took the plunge to purchase a 2013 Kia Rio EX manual transmission sedan.

In pearl black with a grey interior an 16" alloy wheels - it looks super sporty!

But looks...well that's just a side benefit.  The big reason we are making this change is fuel economy.  When we moved outside of the city and decided that we would commute into work every day, we didn't realize how taxing that would be on the gas budget.

Here is a graph that shows our average gas expenditure over the last three and a half years.

2010 was back when we lived and commuted in the city - into 2013 we carpool but drive upwards of 100KMs a day plus more on weekends and holidays.

Perhaps an even more interesting graph is the ebb and flow of gas expenditure over the course of a year.  Check out this one:


Clearly we drive a lot - and a lot more in the summer then in other months...of course what's not factored in here is the cost of gas and that does fluctuate a lot too.

I took the number of KMs we drove in July and our gas consumption to come up with our average fuel economy for the escape (10.42 L/100Km).  I used the advertised city fuel economy to come up with this chart which projected a savings of $109/month based on a fuel price of $1.20/liter.

Next week, I'll share with you the updated budget which will encompass the savings in gas, plus the new car payment and increased insurance costs.


9/06/2013

a Second Vehicle

sooo, Jordan and I bought a 2013 Kia Rio EX standard transmission sedan.

We've been looking at second vehicles for a while now, and while I was happy to wait a bit longer - Jordan was ready to buy now.  The plan is to park the Escape except for big shopping runs (ie costco and camping trips and use the Kia for all of our commuting.  We drive up to 100KMs getting to and from work.  So buying now made sense for a few reasons:
  • Start saving on gas now
  • Protect the last 5,000 KM of warranty on the Escape before it expires 
  • Convenience
  • We can afford it
We actually specked out and test drove the following vehicles before narrowing it down to the Kia Rio and the Chevrolet Spark.  While in the price range, we tossed these ones out early on:
  • Fiat 500C
    • Only had two doors, and no headroom w/ the sunroof option, cheap finishings
  • Hyundai Accent
    • Felt cheap, glove box hit my knees, not as comfortable
  • Ford Fiesta
    • Cupholder in door was annoying, no arm rests, lot pricing not consistent with online pricing
...and these once we're just too pricey (I wanted the car to be under $20K)
  • Toyota Yaris
  • Mazda 2
  • Honda Fit
  • Dodge Dart
  • Nissan Versa
The prices of the two vehicles were so close and the comfort and drive ability so well matched that a few small things sealed the deal.

It was a very close tie, but in the end the Kia won because of a few things: 
  • Kia is one of the few sub-compacts that has a proper duel armrest for both front seat passengers instead of a single arm rest for the driver only.
  • Kia had an 'oh shit handle' for the front seat
  • Leather wrapped steering wheel
  • 5 year, 100,000KM bumper to bumper warranty (the others were 60K)
  • General fit and finish

One of the biggest reasons we bought the vehicle now (instead of when I get pregnant which was the original plan) was to start saving on gas now, so naturally one of the biggest decision making factors was fuel economy.

Kia wasn't the bst - but came in at a very respectable 6.9L/100KM in the city and 5.3L/100K on the highway.  For my American readers that's a range of 34 to 44 MPG and for my European readers that a range of 41 to 53 MPG.

Jordan and I tracked our fuel consumption for the last few months and are confident that we will save at least $100/month if not more on our gas bill.

Wowza!  So this post is already longer then I had planned on - tomorrow I'll share a few more details about the fuel savings and how that's going to impact the rest of the budget.

9/04/2013

Cell Phone Usage

Cell phones...can't live without them....can't live without them.

Jordan and I currently have different cell phone contracts by different providers - I'm with Bell and he's with Telus.  We have been waiting years for our contracts to end around the same time so that we could choose one, and have a joint share plan.  In theory, this should reduce our monthly expenditure on cell phones and perhaps even give us enough features (long distance) that we can finally get ride of our house phone.

To start this process, we have first summarized our usage in the table below.  

Can you guess which chart is from me, and which from Jordan? 


Jordan's on the bottom! 
*note that the last line item was current usage up to September 3, I didn't want to wait a few more days so it might go up a titch more for the current months usage. 

He texts wayyyyyy more than I do and I use a tonne  more data then he does.

Over all, a couple of things are clear.  Here's what we need on a share plan:

  • 2G of data
  • At least 500 minutes of local outgoing but preferably up to 700
  • Up to 100 minutes of long distance 
  • Up to 25 picture/video messages 
  • Unlimited text messaging nationally (incoming/outgoing)
  • Unlimited incoming calls

Jordan also would like both call display and voice mail - I hate voicemail and would be happy with just call display.  What do you think, are we missing anything?


9/03/2013

September 1, 2013: Networth Update

Below is our networth update as of September 1, 2013.

We've dipped a bit - and that is because we had one final bill to pay for the backyard last month and the payments we've made to the LOC haven't quite off set it yet.

I'm looking forward to making a lot of headway on the LOC debt over the next few months as things settle down from Summer.


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