Pay Statement

A while back I mentioned that at mid-October I would hit my EI then my CPP maximum.  Well, that time is here!  Whoohoo!  I've hit my EI max, so no more deductions for that, and I'm $49.05 from hitting my CPP max, so that will happen on the first pay in November!

I also just started contributing to my Pension at work!  I already have $611.52 socked away....how did that even happen?!  I love employer matched contributions!  This money is on top of the $25/week that Jordan and I each contribute to our personal RRSPs.  Eventually, I would like to increase our contributions, particularly Jordans because he doesn't have a pension or retirement plan through work.

I'm also very pleased that I'll be getting reimbursed tomorrow for all of my work expenses - to the tune of $2215.14.  It's quite a large sum of money that just sitting on my credit card begging to be paid off, so paid off it will be, tomorrow.



We've Hit Our Limit

It's only the 27th of the month, and our budget is meant to last us until the 5th of the following month - and we've already hit our allotted spending cap - plus some Christmas Shopping!  We have 8 days to go, and I'm not sure that we'll be able to avoid spending....

I know Jordan will owe some to his food truck and we need to go grocery shopping too.

I'm doing my part by getting up a bit earlier this morning and having coffee and breakfast here.  I also made a stew last night for our lunches and Jordan's supper tonight - because I'm going to a friends.

We'll have to try hard not to go and spend more than is absolutly necessary....this will be the third month in a row over.  Though the first two had huge wedding purchases and this month had my trip to Ontario, a deposit for our photographer and car repairs.



Do you Bundle?

We currently have our TV, internet and phone services bundled with Shaw.  Normally we are pretty pleased, but leading up to yesterday the customer service has been pretty dismal at best.  The PVR was glitching, the prices went up b/c some promotions fell off, and I've spent far too much time on hold (over 45 minutes during my lunch hour yesterday).

Jordan and I went down to a physical Shaw location - after I was told that we could have a student discount applied to our services, but Jordan would have to take over the bill and there would be quite a bit of jostling to do.  Well, it turns out - if your nice to the lady behind the counter, it's not that hard to get your Shaw services sorted out.

She applied the student discounts to the account even though it was still in my name (I mean, we live together, so what's the big deal) and even gave us an extra $20 bill credit because while standing in line we discovered that we were being over billed for our phone service!

Because the bill for this cycle has already been generated I can't quite figure out exactly how much each service is now, but I know that it's around half what it was before.  It took about two hours yesterday (including on-hold time and waiting in line at the Shaw place), but I'd say it's well worth it!


Weekend Re-Cap

Jordan and I had a fantastic weekend in Golden.  We were able to visit with lots of family, see my grandmother win a volunteerism award, and have our engagement photo's taken!  I'm hoping that there will be a couple I am comfortable sharing here - but we'll have to wait and see what develops (ha-ha-ha).

I don't normally read blogs on the weekend, it's my evening activity, but I was checking out Shaking The Money Tree, and she was reminding people that proctor and gamble are doing their annual brand sampler give away. So if you are interested in some free samples, check it out!


Engagement Photos

I'm pretty excited!  Jordan and I are having our engagement photo's done this weekend in BC.  We've never had professional photo's taken, other then school class pictures - but I don't think that really counts.  I asked the photographer for advise on what we should do/wear and this is what she said:
In terms of prep, just have a think about what you want to wear and what kind of overall feel you're looking for (romantic, urban, quirky, in nature, etc). That will help me determine where we go for locations. If you have somewhere in particular you'd like to be photographed, please let me know and I'll go scout it out ahead of time.
In terms of attire, we'll have time to do two looks, if you choose. You might want to do one that's more casual and one more dressed up, or you might be happy in one outfit . . . that's great too. Don't worry about matching each other, but do take into consideration what the other will be wearing. It might look funny if you're in a sequined cocktail dress and heals but Jordan is rocking his favorite sweatpants ;)
Photographers often advice people to wear solid colors in darker tones, which are safe in terms of looking flattering. I vote for you wearing something you love, that speaks to who you are, and that you feel great in. Nothing translates better in photographs than confidence. If that means you wear a hot pink scarf, and yellow polka dotted jacket, so be it.

The total cost for the package that we're going for is $2,200.  That includes:

  • Engagement session, including 10 digital files
    • up to 2 hours
  • Ceremony/Reception session
    • 5 consecutive hours of photography
    • private online gallery for 90 days
    • complete set of digital files, licensed for personal use
      • approximately 250 photo's that she has professional re-touched
If we want to increase the length of time she's there on the day, that's fine - we just pay her hourly rate.  

This weekend when we meet, we have to bring a 40% retainer = $880!

It feels good to have this service secured, and we're so looking forward to doing this fun thing together!


Potential 2011 Budget

Based on the goals I described in the last post, here our potential 2011 budget.


While we budget on a monthly basis for the big picture, the variable expenses get broken down into weekly transfers to align with our pay schedules.

Rent and utilities are based on having two roommates, so we split the bills four ways.  Hopefully we can keep this going for the foreseeable future.

Our insurance rates recently went down a fraction and my horse board stays fairly steady.  $165 in the winter and $90 in the summer.

We haven't been tracking our spending long enough to know if $1,500/month is enough or too much 'planned spending'.  We're going to roll with this for now and continue to track and post our spending patterns.

Here are where the big numbers lie.  The House Fund and the Wedding Fund.  If we can make this work, we'll meet our 2011 goals.

While I just started my pension, I'm not at the maximum for contributions into RRSP's (neither is Jordan) - so we'll just continue along with $100/month for now.  I would like to see this increase in the future.

I'm hoping my readers will take a look at this and let me know if we're forgetting anything or if something doesn't look realistic.


J&J's Goals

I wanted to do a 2010 checkup on the goals that I started out with this year.  I did a search and found that they changed so often, it's no wonder that I feel like I havn't acheived much.  Of course, we did have the huge success of becoming debt free this year - but we didn't realize any of our savings/planned spending goals.  Part of this was the merging of our finances and working to sort out what that would look like.

In 2011, we have two huge life changing events.  Not only are we getting married, we intend on being prepared to buy a house.  While I can appreciate that it is important to have money set aside for all types of different things - these events will happen, so we best plan for them.  The other part of these two goals is that we wan to realize them before/on August 6, 2011.  That means, we have 8 months to get organized.

We currently have just over $6k in our house fund.  I had to move some money around to pay off our credit card bill before the due date, but have some money set aside to pay ourselves back next month.  By the end of December, we will have just over $11,250 set aside.  We anticipate needing, at a bare minimum $20,000 to purchase our first house (I've posted about the details of this before, but if you want them again, just let me know). 

So, goal Number One:  Save $8,750 in 8 months (by August, 2011)

Next is our wedding.  We currently have just under $300 set aside, but we have also already spent almost $6,000 of a project budget of just over $22,000.  By the end of December, we anticipate having set aside about $1,750.  We also anticipate that we will spend some of our planned spending budget (paid via credit card) will be eaten up by wedding expenditures - so we won't have to actually have that much cash sitting aside next summer.  That combined with talking with some family members, we anticipate some monetary gifts that will help us realize this in time

So, goal Number Two: Save $7,500 in 8 months (by August, 2011)

I imagine that we will continue to put money away for both Christmas/gifts as well as vehicle maintenance/emergencies - however this will be about $100/month - without strict goals.  We need the flexibility to be able to achieve our primary vision of a wedding and a home.


Getting Back On Track

Instead of writing another post complaining about how stressed out I am, I'm going to write a post outlining how I'm going to get back on track.  Some of these things I already took care of today, but writing it all out helps me see that I've actually acheived something.

  • Submit receipts for work visit to Ontario
  • Meet with manager to discuss trip and where I'm at locally
  • Close savings account with CIBC, I don't use it anyway and I want to simplify things
  • Change chequing account options with CIBC (move to a lower fee option)
  • Get Jordan to change his chequing account options as well
  • Visit my great aunt
  • Go home and visit my parents for a weekend
  • Confirm that Jordan submitted his expense receipts for his new work boots
  • Do a goal check up with Jordan, what do we actually want to acheive and is it realistic?
  • Plan and post a potential 2011 budget that aligns with those goals
  • Do a wedding budget check up with Jordan and post it
  • Do a current monthly spending check up with Jordan and post it
  • Sign and e-mail back venue contract
  • Sign and snail mail back photographer contract and deposit
  • Find a DJ
  • Figure out a plan/list of what needs to happen by when


I'm feeling a little bit all over the place.  I'm back in my  home town and done with travel for now, but there are so many things I need to catch up on - both at work, and with my personal life.  I'm feeling a little out of it with regards to where the money is at - but I did a quick check and I think we're okay budget wise - but I'm no 100% sure.

While I have booked the venue/caterer/photographer - we still technically need to sign and fax back their contracts.  While that seems like a small thing, I just haven't had time to do it yet.  I did manage to submit the receipts for my expenses - which for the two weeks came to a total of $2,215.14.  That will be deposited on my last pay of the month - so we'll have it in time to pay of the next months bill.

I'm hoping to actually write some more thoughtful posts over the next few days...but like I said - things feel just Chaotic.


Guest Post: The Best Way to Save Money Is Not Having It

By Bella Paige

If you can’t trust yourself with your own money, then you have a problem.

Let’s admit it – money is never enough even if we get a salary increase, bonuses, etc. Buying and consuming has become such an incredibly big part of our lives that we don’t really make the difference between a necessity and a shopping obsession anymore.

The problem is, I realized, shopping was swallowing most of my finances but I couldn’t help it as it was kind of a therapy after a long day at school and work. I was working really hard, but I was spending as hard, too.

It was time for a change because I didn't want to be like most of my friends with thousands of dollars in debt at the age of 22. So, I opened a savings account and was trying to put a certain amount there every month. Guess what – after a couple of months, I stopped doing it – negligence took over as I was too busy to go online and transfer money from my checking to my savings account. Another problem was, once the money was in my checking account, I had a hard time putting a certain amount aside because I could always figure out a thing to spend it on.

So, to protect my money, I had to trick myself.

I asked my employer to automatically deposit 10% from my monthly salary into my savings account and directly deposit the rest into my checking account. This way, the 10% was saved before it even came to me. If you don’t have it, you can’t spend it, and thus you can save it, right? It required more effort to go to the bank and withdraw from the savings, as well as go online and do the transaction from savings to checking in order to spend it. I successfully forgot about this 10% which, at the time, equaled $150/month. After a year, you can all figure what my savings grew up to – $1,800.

Honestly, I was proud of myself because I was never able to save that much on my own before. It might not look like an achievement to some, but to me it meant I was smarter than my slackness.


This & That

I'm feeling a bit more comfortable with my little hotel life that I'm developing.  While I really miss Jordan and home - I'm settling in a bit.  Maybe it's a bit late, but better than never.  The bartender in the lounge here knows what I drink (coors lite) and makes small chat, the doorman says hello and goodbye - and I like my five minute walk to work in the morning and my mini coffee maker.

I don't so much like that I lost my phone charger.  I thought that I might have left it behind last week, but after going through twenty something chargers that the hotel has in their lost and found - I realized it was a bit hopeless. I was feeling a bit 'stranded' but after a quick chat with Jordan, I found the courage to venture out.  I found a Walmart, a $15 cab ride from the hotel and was able to find the perfect charger.

It cost about $35 which was a shame -but it actually works as three chargers as one.  I can plug it into a wall, into a car or into a USB port - I didn't have alternative charges before - so this will be great!


Ugh...Due Dates!

So when Jordan and I first got our joint credit card, we set up all of our budgets based on  monthly spending patterns, because a credit card bill is due once a month.  That make sense, right?  Right.  Not Right.  We soon realized that our credit card bill came on the fifth of the month - that caused trouble because my budget spreadsheets were based on exact months...the 1st to the end of the month so we had to adjust everything.

The way my spreadsheet is currently set up, when the monthly bill comes in we plan to pay it off by the end of the month - not necessarily right away.  Well, that doesn't work if the last pay day of the month comes after when the due date for the bill is.

crap... I feel kind of foolish for not thinking of this...though, I'm glad I caught it before we got caught in an interest trap.

Last week I told you why the balance was as high as it was....so this week i'll give you the plan to pay it off:

the highlighted green items have already happened

I'm sure.you can see that I've transfered a large some of money from the house fund to pay off the card before the due date.  We'll get paid two days after the due date, and at that time, we'll transfer the money back to the house fund.  It's going to be quite a bit of fiddling around - but the lesson is learnt!

Be aware of your billing cycles, budgeting cycles, and due dates!


Home Today

Today marks the last day of my trip, I'm heading back to my city tonight.  It will be a long day, working in the morning then dealing with the airport!  While this part of my business trip is over, I'm actually going to be coming back on Tuesday after the long weekend.  The office here has decided they need additional support and my home office is happy to support them.  So, the trip continues.  I'm super happy I get to fly home for the long weekend though!  I really miss Jordan!

This week has been pretty quiet for personal spending - for both Jordan and I.  It's done the budget good to not be trying to entertain each other.  We'll have a look at the numbers and probably post those details over the weekend.

Have a Great One!


October Monthly Spend Report

Another month has flown by!

I don't want to get too detailed in commentary around the spending last month - but I do want to share that I am finding this processes is really helping identify our spending trends.  It's fascinating to see the break down like this.  I'll let you see for yourself:

We certainly eat out and drink more booze then I thought!  It feels like this is an area that we can really reign in.  This includes lunches while at work as well as eating out while traveling.  Travel this month include two trips into British Columbia.  When we do this, there is always going to be some eating out - but this feels high.  Naturally, the grocery's seem low.  
The wedding category feels high, because it is high.  That would be my engagement ring and the venue deposit. 

The rest of the categories seem pretty reasonable to me.  Travel was the flight to Vancouver which was subsidized by Air Miles.

If we don't include the wedding stuff....which tends to make me feel better about the over budget number - we would be over by $931. I attribute the eating out and travel to this....but really, it could also be booze....or other items as well.

Funny that we didn't spend anything on 'entertainment'


So far, so good

My trip so far has been pretty good.  It's been a struggle to adjust to the time difference, even though it's only two hours ahead.  I miss Jordan and my house... the quite is very strange. I'm sure the next couple of days will fly by though.

Finances wise...

I had to put my credit card on the room when I arrived, which I wasn't expecting.  So Jordan and I might not be able to pay off the bill right away.  That said, we'll still be able to pay it in full come the due date (the bill just came today).

My office is right across the street from the hotel I'm in, so I can walk in the mornings which is really nice - but it also means I don't have a reason to take a cab or rent a car.  With no mini fridge in my room - I have to eat out for every meal.  It's not particularly healthy and it's pretty expensive.  I will get reimbursed for it all, but it doesn't feel very responsible.


I'm Outta here!

There has been an urgent request to have one of our team members fly out to an office in Ontario to provide some additional support.  Due to a variety of illnesses and emergencies, their office went from six support staff to one, in a week! 

I'll be taking the red eye on Sunday night, getting to the hotel around 6:00am, hopefully I'll be able to catch a few hours sleep on the flight - because I'll have just two hours to get to work after I get situated.

It's a pretty great opportunity for me to network, help out another office - and see somewhere new.  Plus I have a cousin who lives in Ontario - so hopefully we'll get to see each other.  I've never been out there before.

This trip will be like my trip to Saskatoon not to long ago in that I don't have to pay for the flights or the hotel, but I'll have to pay for all food and transportation.  Once I get back, I'll submit all of my receipts for reimbursement.

I'll definitely be banking some over time this week.  There will be 7.5 hours today coded to travel and then regular working hours 37.50/week to the office i'm supporting.  I'll have another days worth of travel to code when I come home - and then of course any additional OT I do during the week.  My home office and the office I'll be supporting have a couple of hour time difference, so that means that I'll likely still do some work for the home office as well.

What does that mean?  I'm guessing around 20-25 hours of overtime.

Today/Monday are going to be very very long days! 


thoughts on retirement

tonight, after a great day of talking wedding talk with my mom we started chatting about retirement income.  I'm really not sure how we got on the subject, but at 26 years old - i'm far too concerned about my life 30 years from now.  I get very stressed out thinking about our income in the future, when Jordan and I are both retired.

One, I worry because Jordan's job does not provide RRSP/Pension matching - and we're currently not really able to contribute to personal RRSPs more than we do now.  I know that will change, and heck, 30 years is a long time - but really, how long is it?

Do any of you worry about things so far in the future that you can't really plan for them?

I mean, how am I supposed to know how much income we'll need in retirement?  Who knows what our incomes will look like, what our savings will be and what kind of debt load will have.  Further to that, CPP and OAS are bound to change.  I think they will still exist - but to what extent?

le sigh.


Fabulous Friday!

I hope you all have one!

It's going going to be a hectic day at work, followed by a bunch of running around and then driving several hours into BC!  It will be so nice once we get there, and hopefully after the weekend is over I'll be able to tell you that we have selected our photographer.

Links ♥