11/30/2013

No-Income Transition

I'm now pretty confident on how we'll handle the bills when Jordan's job changes - but I still need to work out the transition between the two.

His last regularly scheduled pay in December will include his last two weeks worked - last day is on December 20th and on December 26th he should be paid for the weeks ending December 13th and December 20th.  He will also be paid out his vacation accrual which is currently sitting at approx $4,300 - so they'll be a tad more added to that from December's accrual.

Jordan's first pay in January will be the 15th....that's almost a full month of no regular pay, just the vacation monies...though if nothing had changed it would have been on the 9th..so it's only six days longer that we're used to.

Juuuust in case I'm going to stash $1,000 from the vacation money to use for bills and the rest (less taxes of course) will go to savings/debt/Christmas.

Am I missing something?  Am I forgetting something?

11/29/2013

Variable Income - Fixed It (I think)

Thanks to an Anonymous poster on my post earlier this week- I think I just might have this variable budget business sorted out.  Check out the updated scenario where the bills/paydays are worked in.

The Regular category includes: Mortgage, Monthly Spending, Escape, LOC, both RRSPs and the Baby Fund.

I had messed up the LOC payments before, and I had to reduce the Baby Fund from $50/week to $40/week - so that we always have greater income then expenses.

With a $2,000 account buffer, it should never dip below $500 - which does allow for some variability in the timing of withdrawals which is helpful when there are holidays and what not.

I will have to be careful in both May and October when there are 5 Friday's but they aren't the months where I get a third pay - those months we'll have to manage the extra savings/debt payments that aren't necessary depending on commissions and the like from the previous months.

The plan for any commission/bonus money is to first bolster our emergency/savings accounts and then full steam ahead against debt.  For the next few months we also have our new roommates $600/month rent money which we'll use for the same purpose.

A big, big thank you to Anonymous who spotted my error earlier this week - I'm feeling much more relaxed about the changes.


11/28/2013

Utilities - Year in Review

It's silly really - but I love being able to do my annual report on utilities because i've been tracking it for so long, I am able to create pretty graphs.  Keep in mind that each month is that which the utilities were billed, so if it was billed in November, it was actually the utilities used in October.

The trend line, while a bit bumpy, cleary shows the dip one would expect to see in the summer - and spikes in colder months.



For those that find the above graph a bit too cluttered, this one shows the monthly average a bit more clearly - I use this data to predict my monthly bills now for budgeting purposes and find that I'm usually within about $10!  I'de say that's worth doing all this tracking.

The last little graph I have for you is the combined monthly average year over year.  Remember that we've only been in our current house for the last two years - and the differences was less than $2.



11/27/2013

Variable Income

How do you manage?
How do you even set up the budget?

I don't know how many different charts/sheets I've already created and tossed because they didn't work as I had anticipated...I need some help on where to start.  I want to create the budget, with all of our automatic payments, based on Jordan getting $0 commission - so I know we're covered.  Then, if/when he does get commission - I want to use that money to 'top up' our debt/savings plans.

Using a typical month, I've sorted out that we cannot continue regular contributions to our Emergency, Vehicle, Christmas, Gifts, and Vacation Funds - so that will come from commissions.  I've also reduced our payment to the Line of Credit to what is mandatory.  I've kept RRSPs and the Baby Fund.  All that and you can see we're left with $43/month - perfect.

So that tells me I'm on the right track - but the part I'm having troubles with is the timing of it all.  Jordan will get paid on the 15th and the end of the month and I get paid bi-weekly.  I feel as though we need to consider the four months that have five Friday's (January, August, May and October) - but in only two of them (January, August) will I get paid three times...and of course Jordan will still just be paid twice.

I also broke down our expenses on a weekly/monthly basis to see if that would help.


So looking at this chart I know that (I think), at any given time - I need to have $2,587.12 in my bank account to account for both monthly and weekly withdrawals.

I also know that every single Friday $1,303.28 is withdrawn from my account.

Given that my take home pay is ~$1,775 and Jordan's base take home would be ~$1,025 - what do we do? How do I figure out what my 'buffer', my personal overdraft should be, to account for the fluctuations in income/withdrawals.


Here's one scenario that I worked through - trying to see how the numbers would jive.

You can see that we don't have get past $0 in the account - but at the end of the month we're down to $1,419...not the $2,500 we would need to start out with.  So I'm stuck again on how to make this balance.

I would appreciate any thoughts/ideas on how to make a budget that works given this new pay structure.


Thanks!!!!
Jessie & Jordan




11/26/2013

We've got Roommies!

Earlier this month I shared with you all that we were inviting our very good friends to come and live with us while they work through some financial troubles.   This helps them with very low rent, and helps us - with a bit of extra cash for the next six months.

They moved in this past weekend - it was busy and a lot of work; but we made it.  It will take a week or so for them to settle and unpack, but I think it's going to work out wonderfully.

11/25/2013

Jordan's got a new Job!!

Yes, a new job!

After all that nonsense over his last raise, Jordan entertained an interview request from a connection he had made on LinkedIn.  Several weeks later and some negotiations - he's accepted their offer!  They are going to match his vacation, he'll have a more comprehensive benefits package and salary will be a combination of base salary as well as commission.  He'll rotate working some Saturdays, but when he does - the following weekend will be a three day one.

His base salary will now be $30K, but the potential is as high as $63K.  This is a huuuge variance with Jordan's current salary being just under $55K.  They are going to guarantee his salary at $4,500/month for the first three months as they don't want him to earn less by making the switch; they want to give him enough time to establish himself and to learn the job.

He starts on January 6th and his pay will be bi-monthly - I've never budgeted for an income that was bi-monthly - especially one that has commissions and end of the month and quarter bonuses - so it'll take some work to match that against all of our weekly payment/savings cycles - anyone have any suggestions for that??

His last day will be December 20th, so we'll have a nice long holiday off together - it will be the the first two week holiday we have ever taken together during the Christmas holidays...I'm so excited!

11/16/2013

Jordan's Raise Finally Went Through

It only took almost two months of fighting - but Jordan's raise has finally gone through.  What is actually slightly funny; is that as much as they were bickering over $600; that actually wound up increasing Jordan's salary by another $200/year...so the difference is now $400 from what they had originally agreed on ($55K).  It's was all so petty.

His take home pay is now $1,551.86 - a gross increase of $123.08 which nets us $75.62/bi-weekly to add to the budget.  I would say that's a couple of months that were worth fighting for.  I think we are almost ready to plan the 2014 budget...

11/15/2013

Making an Investment

http://www.keepandshare.com/graphics/imperativephotos/landingpages/stock-share/choose_the_right_stock_med.jpg
A while back I had let you know that Jordan and I intended on purchases 100 shares where I work - it's an employee owned company with a remarkable return on investment.  The sale is in USD so I was waiting and watching the dollar to see when the best time would be to send in my cheque.  Unfortunately, I got the timing wrong - if we made the purchase back in September it would have cost $111 less....but, we would have paid more in interest (which is tax deductible for an investment).

Everything is starting to line up for 2014's budget - now all we need is confirmation that Jordan's raise actually finally went through and we can have our planning date.

This purchase is not only an investment in my career (share ownership can lead to increased opportunities); it's also an investment in our financial future.  As part of our long-term retirement plan we're starting to make savings choices that are beyond a daily interest RRSP.

11/13/2013

October Spend Summary

I'm a few weeks late, but here is the October spend summary. I'm actually pretty pleased - it was one thing to post yesterday's write up on the gas savings, but another to see it here - where I've calculated what we actually spent for the month and see that compared against this years average!

Groceries/Costco purchases is a bit lower then normal - so that's a good thing too.

Eating out was wayyyy down - super happy with that.  Entertainment clothes/shoes/hair are all down too.

Reimbursables is the most interesting category - this is Jordan's dental work (so far) and the second of my six courses.  We're crossing our fingers on the reimbursement for my school - but it's not a guarantee...I'll find out the end of December.

11/12/2013

Fuel Economy on the Kia Rio

Back in September I had shared that we expected to save approximately $109/month in fuel by purchasing and driving our new Kia Rio then continuing to rely on the Escape as a commuting vehicle.  Well, two months later I am very pleased to tell you that we are doing slightly better than expected.  Except for one receipt where we forgot to right down the KMs here's a breakdown of our fuel ups/kms driven since we purchased the car.

We are averaging 6.65 L/100Km or 35.59MPG! Wahoo!

I would like to see that average push closer to 40MPG, and on the highway I know we can do it (because the week we did it was me driving); but now that we're into commuting in winter conditions there's a lot more stop/go - so we'll see how we make out throughout the rest of the winter.

11/08/2013

Knitting Up a Storm

I started looking at our Christmas shopping-for-who list this year and we're looking at a solid 18 - with three more we haven't decided on and maybe some baking for the neighbors, which I decided I wanted to do just now as I wrote that sentence.

Quite a few people this year are getting home made scarfs..and one lucky one (lucky?) just might get a toque if I can manage to get it done and shipped in time.  The picture to the left is my very first attempt at a toque after completing nearly 20 different scarfs...Jordan's actually already called dibs on one of the scarfs.

I did a few last year; one for my mom and one for one of my cousins and I liked it so much I thought this year would be the year to do the same for Jordan's side of the family.

Crossing my fingers I don't succumb to gift-giving-vitis again this year....and keep the budget in check.  I'm a big fan of thoughtful; not such a fan of starting the new year with a pile of holiday debt.


11/07/2013

Another Increased Expense

I really shouldn't be surprised but here it is, another increased expense.  Just got notice our house insurance is going up $168.96 annually.

For those of you who have owned a home for a long time, is this a lot?  Or, is the increase reasonable?

They also increased my deductible to $1,000.  

11/06/2013

Savings & Debt: Monthly or Lump Sum

I need help...

Jordan and I have a budget date coming soon; and we will need to decide if we should approach paying off the Line of Credit and our Savings (including planned spending) monthly or lump sum as well as if we should count on rent in the budget; or use it as surplus to pay off the LOC early.

If we attacked it lump sum; the repayment/saving schedule would look something like this:

This plan assumes that we will be able to incorporate about $500/month into our annual budget for the first six months of 2014 from our new roommates.  The Emerg fund would see a lot more money then in our plan; because at the end of the year; everything extra would go to that.

Monthly, would look something like this:

This plan does not assume any income from renting out a couple of our rooms.  The monthly plan would see us reaching all of our goals; at the same time, in December, 2014 rather then reaching goals all throughout the year; every couple of months.  Each month we would apply the rent to the Line of Credit to help reach that goal faster - but would not assume/count on the money to reach our goals.  The end of the year would see some cash left over and unaccounted for currently without a plan.

I would really appreciate comments/suggestions/challenges to either plan.

Part of me really wants to 'set it and forget it' and not have a bunch of manual transfers every month - the other part of me wants that debt gone and pay as little interest as possible.  

Jordan doesn't want to count on the rental income; but I think that income is income and we should count it.

What do you think?

11/05/2013

$500/Month for Six Months

My last few posts have been all about extra expenses; so I thought it was time to share with you something that will result in a bit of extra income for a little while. Our very best friends, a married couple with a cat and six month old twins for whom we are the God Parents/Guardians for if anything were to ever happen are in a financial pinch right now. Our city was one that was devastated with the flooding this past spring/summer; and the rental market is pretty tight. Their current place is pricey and in disrepair with a landlord who doesn’t seem to be prioritising getting it fixed up. All that to say; that we have invited our friends and their family to move in with us for the next six months.

We asked for $500/month in rent; and they negotiated up to $600. They’ll be getting half of our basement; two bedrooms and a bathroom to themselves and we’ll share other common areas in the house.

We’ve both had roommates before that were friends/family and there were pros and cons; this time however; is the first time that we’re doing it not because we need to; but because we genuinely want to help our friends. We’ve gone into this with eyes wide open; talking about everything from morning and dinner routine to making sure we have a TV/internet/house phone package that works for everyone.

Jordan works with Mr. so the three of us will all carpool to work and Mrs. will continue to be an amazing stay at home mom to her bundles of joy. This should also help them shave $ of their gas bill. We’ll be sharing the cost of groceries and because Jordan and I often chuck leftovers; I’m betting that our grocery bill might actually go down some.

After running some numbers; I expect that we’ll have an additional $100ish in extra monthly costs including the extra TV/Long Distance Plan for the phone and additional gas/electricity/water….gas bill is the most variable b/c we usually turn the house down to 17C when we’re not there; but now it will be up high 24/7.

So; the big move in day is December 1st but maybe a week or two earlier depending on how things go with packing and cleaning their old place.

For the first six months of 2014; Jordan and I will have an extra $500/month going towards all of our new (and old) expenses.

11/04/2013

11/02/2013

November 1, 2013 Networth

Wow...so it's that time of the month again - net-worth time!

In the last month Jordan and I have spent $600 in education for me, $2,679.50 in dental work for Jordan, and $977.59 in tires for our cars....phew!  We also spent just over $300 at Costco doing a big shop to get our deep freeze stocked and get staples like toilet paper, paper towel cleaning supplies and the like.

it's been quite an expensive month.

Even with all of that, we have managed to increase out overall networth by $2,000 by paying down our mortgage and vehicle debts and increase our retirement savings.

We're going to be spending a lot more money before 2013 is over; but there's a plan for all of it - we just have to stay on track.

You'll see that our chequing account is a bit more hefty than normal - I like to wait until the 8th when most of our monthly auto-debits are withdrawn from the account before making a payment on the cards/LOC and as the next pay day is also the 8th; it will be waiting until then.

11/01/2013

$7,900 in Teeth

Jordan was born with two congenitally missing teeth - every since he was small; his benefits have only provided for a flipper/mouth piece that give the appearance of teeth.  That appliance after 20+ years is now starting to wear on his existing healthy teeth causing more problems.

So...given that for the past year we have been exploring alternatives to the mouth piece.  There are two - either bridge or surgical implants.  For a variety of reasons; primarily longevity, quality and ease of maintenance Jordan has chosen implants.

After many quotes, and many arguments with our benefit providers and dental surgeon...we have a plan.  The total cost of the two implants is $7,900 - are combined benefits will reimburse us $3,000 each calendar year....that led us to the tough decision to plan for two surgeries rather then one.

Jordan's already undergone the first surgery to implant a screw into his jaw bone and now we wait 2-3 months for it to heal. Once healed (end of December), the implant/screw will be fitted with a tooth.  Then, and only then - when the first tooth is considered 'complete' can the dentist submit the expenses to our benefit providers.  So, Jordan and I have had to pay cash (read use the credit card) for the first part of the procedure (and will continue to pay cash each time something happens related to the procedure).  In January we should get our first reimbursement; and then we'll promptly schedule the second surgery.  

Our debt load is getting a bit scary, but we have a plan and will eventually be reimbursed.  Jordan and I would both rather pay the interest now for him to have a happy and healthy mouth before we have kids or anything else when there are more demands for the money.

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