6/30/2014

Home Inventory

Do you know what you own?  Everything, every item - do you know what and where it is, how much it cost or what it would cost to replace it?

The pictures I'm sharing with you this week are from the house fire my family experienced in Christmas Eve, 2003.

Our house/garage fire was not nearly as devastating as it could have been, our family and our pets all got out safely. 

The next several months were spent living out of a rental trailer where my brother and I had to share a room and everyone had to be a lot more mindful of space, noise and mess.  I was home for the holidays from collage, and not working and as a naturally curious person (read snoop?) I spent time with my mom looking at the insurance paperwork and asking questions about what it is she had to do.

We were lucky and had replacement insurance, but in order to claim, we had to know what it is that we had - and that meant sometimes guessing or ball-parking because there were no photos, spreadsheets, or lists that we could refer to.  It was during that time that I swore I would take pictures of everything in my house, I would be prepared.

But do you know what, it's been 11 years and I still haven't done it.

But that changes now.  Over the next few weeks, Jordan and I will categorize EVERYTHING we have.  So that if we ever suffer such a loss, we'll be ready.

Also, my brother has recommended the Delicious Library app which allows you to not only enter things in manually, but also scan barcodes using your iPhone camera and, annnnd fancy graphs.  Who doesn't like a fancy graph.  BUT I don't use a MAC and it requires IOS; so, I did some hunting and found MyStuff2 - which has given me a very good first impression.  You can get started for free to test it out (up to 15 items) and then upgrade if you want to keep going.  It's got some pretty cool export features and the barcode scanner is amazing!

This is going to be a lot of work.

p.p.s.
This is Level 4, Activity 7 in My Money, My Choices.

6/27/2014

Joint Chequing

So we can make the money work; but can we make sticking to the debit card work?

That's the question that I left yesterday's blog post with.

I called Tangerine - and it turns out, things haven't changed...Ugh!

The Tangerine representative suggested that instead of having two chequing accounts; that we basically open a new joint savings account (you can have as many as you like); and transition our salaries and all of our auto-payments to that and then use the pre-existing joint account as the new day-to-day.

What do you think, is it worth all of that effort?

How do you manage having more than one person spending from a single chequing account? 

6/26/2014

Is $300 Enough?

So, it's the middle of June.  We're halfway through the year.  This feels like a good time to look at the budget and to see if it's working.  In particular, is 300/week working for our day-to-day spending?

I thought we should first look at what we actually are spending.  So here's our spending summary for the first five months of the year for what should have been spent out of the day-to-day and wasn't saved for through our planned spending accounts.

Our monthly average is just under $2,000.

Then I looked at how many weeks were in each month, and what we spent per week.

Not a single one was at or under $300, no wonder we can't stick to the budget, the budgets not working.  In fact; in all of the years that I've been tracking our spending; we've NEVER stayed at $300.

We had bumped ourselves up to $400/week for around six months last year, before Jordan's commute was slashed, but then brought it back down because we were saving so much in gas.  The kicker is though; that gas prices have been going up, and we drive a lot - so that did save us money; but now those costs are rising.


Next I took our average of $2,000, multiplied that by 12 months and divided it by 52 weeks.  I came up with $460.  Again, no wonder we can't make $300/week work.  Sheesh.

So...my next question would be, can we afford it?  Well, we obviously can because we're not in debt, we pay of the credit card (s) every month; and we are in fact spending this every month.  

I think a reasonable thing to do would be to bump us to $400/week - and get serious about not using our credit cards so often.  That should help us stay on track; and on budget.  Even on Jordan's current salary guarantee that's set to end this month (more to come on that later); we can make this work.

So we can make the money work; but can we make sticking to the debit card work?

When we set up our day-to-day spending account, Tangerine (then ING) would only allow a single debit card for each chequing account, so it was impossible for Jordan and I to be in two different places making two different expenditures both on the debit card.  So one of us, always has a C/C to use - a big huge pain in my but when I reconcile the spending each month.

So, I phoned them to see if that has changed...more on that tomorrow.







6/25/2014

6/24/2014

June 1st Networth

June 1st we came so so so close to breaking through the $100,00K networth mark - but we're not quite there.  We were up to $99,623.31 and climbing.  Just the way my spreadsheets are set up; it would be more work than it's worth to do the screen shots for June ( would have to remove data, then add it back in) - but I gotta tell you; I'm really looking forward to the July 1st post.


6/23/2014

May Spend Report

It's late - but here it is!

Here it is!  Off the top it looks pretty crazy with over $7,000 in spending - but have a look a the line in orange.  Over $4,000 of that has been, or will be reimbursed by either our employers, our benefit providers or our family (Costco chopping for family).

Items in blue came from planned spending categories - and the Clothes/Shoes/Hair was paid for by gift money that I had been saving for almost a year - it is mostly the shopping spree I shared with you a month or so ago plus new work shoes for Jordan.

As always what goes in our face (groceries, eating out and alcohol is high).  I actually expect it to be higher in the summer because we're off camping so much.

Gifts is also going to start increasing as we move into July.

6/20/2014

Credit Reports

My first post in getting caught up is to answer a reader's question on how/where Jordan and I accessed our credit reports.  I should probably remind readers that this is written from the Canadian perspective.

There are currently two credit reporting agencies - Equifax and Trans Union.  Governed by provincial legislation they collect and disseminate information that pertains to Canadian's credit.  Keep in mind, that lenders are not required to report to these bureaus/agencies - they do so of their own volition; in part, I assume, because they believe it's in their and other creditors best interests to do so.  On that same thread however; not all creditors/lenders report to both agencies - some just report to one.

So the information that the two reporting agencies collect; comes from the lenders/credit giving companies that we interact with - like cell phone companies, banks, and even the government when you apply for student loans.  The information they collect also comes from us!  When we request our credit reports we have to supply personal identifying information; if we give them anything new - they will add it to the file for the next requester.

Now, speaking of requests - companies can't just go requesting your credit history or your score without your consent, so you should always know when it's happening (identity theft aside).

You can request your report, at no cost, by filling out their applications and mailing them in.  You can request a combination of your report and your score by filling out their online application and paying a fee.  The fee's vary, and change overtime; so I won't mention them here.

Speaking of the scores - there is no one; no company; other than the two reporting agencies, that know the magic algorithm that used to calculate it.  There are many people who guess; and I'm sure many educated people who are close to getting it right - but the fact is, it's not public information.

So - Jordan and I ordered our reports; not our scores.  We have no immediate or even short-term need to access new credit; so no desire to know what our scores are (other then curiosity, and we're not paying for that....you know what it did to the cat).

I've linked to the two sites above, and through navigating their sites you can find links to the printable application forms - it can take 3-6 weeks; longer if you have a very common name but when it arrives it's absolutely imperative that you make sure there are no discrepancies and fix them if they exist.

Fixing errors can take time; and if you don't take it when you don't need credit - it will be sure to come back and bite you when you do need credit.

6/19/2014

I'm Back!

...and feel like I have loads of catching up to do.

Over the coming weeks you can expect an update on our credit reports, and the last couple months of monthly financial updates.  There's also changes expected for Jordan's salary; so we'll be looking at that, and what it means for the budget.  We're going to continue on our My Money, My Choices journey as well.

Looking forward to getting writing again!


6/05/2014

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