3/25/2015

Tax Time!

I love tax time.

I've just gone through and triple checked and then submitted our tax returns.  We use TurboTax - for under $30 at Costco, it makes filing sooo easy.

I used to do our taxes by hand first, and then use TurboTax - just in case there were discrepancies...and there never has been.  So this year, I just used the Tax Software to skip that step.

We're ear marking the entire refund to our Baby Fund - that will bring us sooo close to being at 100%.  It will feel so good to hit that goal so early on in the year, and then we can look to the next goal we can achieve.

So, where is the refund coming from?

Well we were actually both under taxed by our employers to the tune of $300 when I first entered in our T4's.  The refund is coming from:

  • Medical Expenses - Jordan's second tooth implant and benefit premiums from both employers
  • RRSP Contributions
  • Pension Adjustment
  • Professional Membership Dues
  • Interest on Investments
  • Educational Credits (I was still in school the first few months of 2014)
How are you guys fairing in your tax returns?  Do you owe?  Are you getting a return?  If you're getting a refund, what are you going to do with it?

3/24/2015

Salary Review

Well, it's that time of the year again...salary review time.

Most of you know that my career in in Human Resources. Specifically right now, I work in the Learning & Development department of my organization. I've been with my organization now for about 7 years, and have about 8-9 years combined experience.

Given the state of the economy right now for my industry, there's not a lot of butter to spread around - but that said, I'm feeling very good about the review of my salary.

I'm technically still below the 100th percentile (the mid-point for my job), but received a 5% wage increase when the average was closer to 2.5.  I feel like my manager really went to bat for me, and was able to get an increase that is fair and reasonable.

drumroll please...

I've gone from $75K, to $78,750.  Wahoo!

3/23/2015

2015 Budget

Last week I showed you our goals and progress for savings/debt repayment - now I'd like to show you how we're getting there with our 2015 budget.

We won't hit each of our goals 100%, but we're going to move the needle significantly on all of them.

Jordan has settled in to his new job, and it is thankfully - NOT Commission based.  You'll all remember how much I wasn't impressed with how wildly his pa could fluctuate under a commission structure.  Now it's reliable.  He get's an advance on the 15th of the month, and then the rest of his pay at the end.

There's some changes to insurance b/c we now have one vehicle in Alberta that we pay for monthly and another in BC that we paid for lump-sum for the year.

The Escape was paid off in 2014, so that's fallen off the budget - but we do still have the Kia to pay off.

We're putting at least $800/month on the LOC (more when we can).

We're saving $1,100/month and putting away $735 as planned spending a month.  We're feeling really good with where we are at with the monthly amounts for each category though I would really like to get Jordan's retirement savings bumped up as soon as we hit the Baby Fund goal.


3/20/2015

Savings/Debt Goals

Moving forward on the update train is where we are at with our saving/planned spending goals and our debt-pay off.

The goals for the first three planned spending categories come  from our average spending over the last few years in each.  It's how we set up our monthly savings rate as well.  The trick here of course, is that throughout the year, we draw on these accounts (which is what their for), so we never actually reach 100%.

We've been chipping away at the Baby Fund for a long time.  The idea here, is then when we do start our family, we won't be stressed and strapped for cash when I go on Maternity Leave.  I would love to see us reach $10,000 by the end of the year - we're actually on track to hit this in 2015, woohoo!

We don't have targets for each year for the Mortgage or the Kia either - these we just chip away at with the regular payments...though I do often do extra payments on the Kia...just little bits to help knock it down.

The LOC goes up and down...every time I make a few really good payments, we get behind somewhere else or something unexpected comes up and I need to dip in.  We are making progress here, but it's slow.  We put $800-$1,000/month here and as we hit other savings or debt targets (like paying off the escape), we add that payment to the LOC.

We don't have retirement savings goals for each year as a dollar value - my goal is to get to 10% of Jordan's gross pay, but right now we're still sitting around 7.75% right now...but each year we get a bit closer....because of my pension, I'm already sitting at 10%.

Phew! There it is.

3/19/2015

Networth Update

It's mid-March, but just to catch up here's where we are at in terms of Networth.

The big dip from January to February was a change in value in my employee-owned shares at work.

Since the dip, my Tangerine funds have done better then expected, we've re-started several automatic-savings plans, I had a bit of OT paid out, and just over $1,000 in refund from a share purchase that was refunded.


I'm feeling pretty good with where we're at so far.

3/18/2015

January/February Spend Report

Catching up from the first few months of the year, here is our January/February spend reports.

January was big on groceries because we were stocking up both my and my mom's pantry's, and gas spiked in February because we'll be driving a lot more to visit each other on weekends.

We had a big expense in February for Vehicle Maintenance - this was getting an out of province inspection on the Escape, and getting it insured in BC.  We paid for the insurance as a lump sum.

Education is my HRIA membership which I maintain to keep my CHRP designation.

January was huge for Home Maintenance because we started putting a lot of focus on getting the house ready to sell.  This included:

  • Carpet Cleaning
  • House Cleaning
  • Home Staging Consultant
  • Purchases of baskets, containers, bedding for when we show the home

So, we're up in some categories and down in others.  After reimbursables - we're on track for our normal monthly expenditures.

3/13/2015

It's March?

When did that happen?

It's been a crazy couple of months.  A lot is on the horizon for Jordan and I, and I'm so excited to share it with you.

I have, for...well, for forever, have wanted to move back home.  At the same time, I also thought that it would be impossible, that there is no work for me there, and so it was sort of wishful thinking.  I certainly didn't think that Jordan and I would ever find employment there at the same time.

All of that said, Jordan and I have been thinking about my home town a lot lately.  We would live in the same town as my family, and be that much closer to his grandmother and his aunts/cousins.  So we started to talk about how maybe we could make a five year plan, and actually make it happen instead of just wish it to happen.

Well, long story short, over the Christmas holidays a position was advertised that was exactly suited to Jordan's skills.  He applied on a whim, and interviewed shortly after.  He was offered, and accepted the job.

Guess what?

That means that Jordan lives in my home town now....and I, still live in Alberta!

Hilarious.

Right now, the plan is for Jordan to try it out.  Make sure that he likes small town living.  At the same time, I've been chatting to my employer about telecommuting options, and starting to network just in case. At the same time, I'm also starting to get ready to sell the house.  It's like non-stop spring cleaning.

We're thinking that by the fall, I'll be home....just in time for the holidays.

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