Give Me Back My Five Bucks

February 2012 Goals: Recap

I did fairly well this month with my expenses – only notably going over on the Travel portion of my budget because I prepaid for a lot of travel due to extremely good sales. Going forward, March should see a good amount of income coming in, and less expenses since most of our future travel plans are now already paid for. We still need to pay for our train tickets to Geneva and Vienna, but after that, I believe all of our travel is paid for up until mid-June.

Over Budget:

  • Food – I’m surprised this isn’t a lot higher, to be honest with you. Since we spent half the month living in a hostel, we were buying most of our groceries at a fairly expensive store.
  • Clothing – I didn’t bring enough undergarments, so I bought 7 pairs on sale. I also bought a scarf off Etsy, since I forgot mine at home.
  • Travel – This includes 2 day trips (Esslingen, Tübingen), a weekend trip to Munich, and 3 flights (Faro/Lisbon, Amsterdam, Athens).
  • Personal Care – shampoo/conditioner, soap, etc.

Net Worth Change+ $102 (0.14%)

Well, to be honest I’m surprised to come out with a positive net worth. After having to pay so much money towards living in the hostel, deposit (and commission!) on our apartment, first month’s rent, 3 weekend trips, booking 3 flights for future travel, AND paying for my mortgage back home, that’s a lot of spending!

February 2012 Goals:

  • Practice and learn German every day. PASS. While I haven’t practiced German every day, I have learned something new most days. While I have graduated to mixing some simple German words in with my English, I have yet to speak a full sentence in German. :)
  • Work a maximum of 50 hours/week. CHECK! I still check and reply to e-mails early in the mornings and late in the evening, but my work day starts at 9am, and I’m usually off my computer by 5pm. I would estimate I work about 9 hours M-F, and a few hours on the weekends.
  • Pitch myself for 3 projects. CHECK! Well, I technically pitched myself for 3 projects. I got one of them, but after multiple e-mail follow-ups, I didn’t hear back from the other 2. Oh well. I’ll keep pitching ideas to people, and see what happens.
  • Get my taxes organized for this year, and going into next year. PASS. I’ve done what I could to get organized. My paperwork is on its way to me, and I’m starting to get my receipts in order.

Ongoing 2012 Goals:

  • Only post my own photos on GMBMFB. CHECK!
  • Write one guest post for another blog or website. FAIL. I started a new web project, and just haven’t had time.

Spending Recap: February 20-26, 2012

Monday 20th
$5.93 (€4,50) doner kebab

Tuesday 21st
$1.45 (€1,10) soft pretzel (x2)
$5.82 (€4,33) groceries

Wednesday 22nd
No Spend Day! 

Thursday 23rd
+ $350 freelance income
$18.82 (€14) doner kebab & beer (x2)

Friday 24th –  Munich
+ $330.70 freelance income
$80.65 (€60) train (roundtrip to Munich)
$0.87 (€0,65) soft pretzel

Saturday 25th – Munich
$4.04 (€3) admission for St. Paul Church tower
$26.90 (€20) Mario’s Pizzeria
$3.36 (€2,50) transit
$12.04 (€8,95) Globetrotter (water bottle)
$33.63 (€25) Munich Bavarian Restaurant

Sunday 26th – Munich
$6.73 (€5) snacks 
$29.59 (€22) lunch
$4.04 (€3) soft pretzel (x2)


TOTAL: + $446.83

We ate out a lot this week because we spent the weekend in Munich. Nic paid for our night out on Friday, as well as for train tickets for a day trip to Neuschwanstein Castle. Which is why you see me spending more than average for food on both Saturday and Sunday.

As for my freelance income, it’s still coming in steadily. I’ve been working hard to secure income going forward (including a secret new website project), and I’m also waiting on some big pay cheques to come in. There’s been good movement with my real estate job, so I’m feeling optimistic about the next few months. :)

Do you shop around for auto insurance?

A few years ago when I bought my new car, I just went ahead and bought all of my insurance through ICBC, because that’s what I always did. The idea to shop around for auto insurance never really crossed my mind, because really. How much could I actually save? But when I started looking into auto insurance quotes, I was shocked at how much I was over paying by sticking with ICBC! Just by switching over my extended coverage to a third party company, I would save hundreds of dollars each year.

Here’s what I was quoted for:

ICBC – $1,942 ($883 for basic + $1,059 for extended)

Coast Capital – $848 (total with basic = $1,731)
CDI – $691 (total with basic = $1,574)

I ended up going with CDI, which saved me $367 per year on my insurance. And when I bought my townhouse last year, I bought my home insurance through CDI as well, giving me a multi-policy discount. It kind of makes me wonder how much I could have been saving on insurance costs all these years with my other cars and my scooter. :| Actually, no, I don’t want to think about it.

My main concern with going with a private insurance company was the hassle of having to make a claim if I were ever to get into an accident. Well, when I was rear ended, it was so simple to get the claim processed. I just called CDI, and they took down all my information. Then I called ICBC, and I was done.

Now, I’m definitely going to be getting quotes on my car insurance from now on. It might take 30 minutes of my time, but it’s worth it to me if I know that I’m getting the best possible car insurance rates. The last thing I want to do is give my money away to someone when I can be getting the same service cheaper somewhere else.

If you’re shopping around for insurance is on your list of things to do, don’t forget about that multi-policy discount! My townhouse insurance for a year was only $220 because I have auto insurance with CDI.

There are now websites where you can find find vehicle insurance rates, such as This company compares insurance products through top providers in Canada, giving users access to the most affordable rates possible – based on their needs. Check it out, and see how much you can save!

How has your experience been shopping around for car insurance?

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