Give Me Back My Five Bucks

January 2014 Goals: Review

Yikes.Not a super good start to the year, eh? I mean, sure I was under budget this month – but only because I decreased my mortgage payments. Otherwise I would have been over by about $22.

I’m going to give myself a pass for this month because a lot of expenses were out of the ordinary: my sister came to town two weekends in a row, I had no idea how much I would be spending for gas/parking, and I spent a lot more time at BF’s house than I anticipated, resulting in buying my lunches more often because I was unprepared. The majority of these issues have been fixed for next month.

Here’s how I did:

01 - January Recap

Over Budget:

  • Internet – I’m still in a complaining mood about my internet service. Every time I get my bill, I’m shocked and think to myself “this is so expensive; there must be a cheaper plan I can move to.” And every month I go onto the Shaw website, and am incredibly disappointed to realize that no, there isn’t a cheaper plan to move to. :| My only consolation is that I can write this off as a business expense.
  • Food – This is me being unprepared for work, and not packing lunches like I had intended.
  • Entertainment – My sister visited the city, and also one of my best friends and her husband have temporarily relocated just blocks away from where BF lives for a few months… so we did go out a lot. I’m thankful that most of the time, we stay in, cook dinner, and watch Netflix.
  • Car & Transportation – Wow. This category took me by surprise. The majority of the overage was for parking, as well as a trip out to the ferries and to Point Roberts. Since parking is kind of a shared expense, BF offered to pay for half of my parking fees going forward. I’ve adjusted this category for February.

Net Worth Change+ $2,015 (2.16%)

Even though I’m paying less towards my mortgage, I actually feel really good putting more money into my RRSP/TFSA accounts. My RRSPs gained nicely this month, which is why my net worth increased by more than usual.

January 2014 Goals:

  • Read 2 books. FAIL. I only read one book, a reread of Catcher in the Rye. Are we friends yet on Goodreads?
  • Save $750 into my RRSP/TFSA. CHECK! This was split at a ratio of $600/$150.
  • Run the Chilly Chase half marathon in under 1:53:30. FAIL. Fail, fail, fail, a million times fail. You can read my Chilly Chase half marathon recap for more information.
  • Sell 3 items. FAIL. I have two things listed right now on eBay, but didn’t actually sell anything during the month.
  • Go out for lunch only once per week. FAIL. The month started out well, but it got complicated trying to remember to bring so many things with me as I shuttled between work, my house, his house, and the field hockey field.

Author: Krystal Yee

I’m a personal finance blogger and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I’m a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner’s Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I’m not working, you can usually find me running, climbing, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.


  1. Just a suggestion, investigate other companies to determine if they have a plan tha comes close to yours in price, give them a call and see if you can get them to come up with a lower one. If they do come up wih one that beats your ISP, mthen call your ISOP and say that so-and-so is offering the same for $X. You might ahve to ask for the cusotmer retention people if they don’t put your through immediately. If you get a reduced price, ask that it be loced in for at least a year.

    Ran into someone whose total phone/TV/Internet service is less tan $60 a month for the whole thing.

    Have figures at hand, phone up and play hardball — If they say that they can’t offer a better price, ask to be transferred to a manager or whoever can do this. It costs companies money to shut down or start up a customer and they’re rather negotiate in most cases.

    Also, if they give you a quote, get the name and employyee number for whoever gave it to you. I’ve had to go theough their complaint process when the promised rate did not appear. Having that information at hand convnced the complaints department that I wasn’t slinging bullscoop. Rate got locked in for a year as well.

  2. Aaron says:

    For internet, I would suggest considering another provider altogether. I understand that Teksavvy is now available in B.C. Even if you stick with Shaw (or Telus) you should just call them up and look for retention deals if not something else altogether.

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Yeah I’ve actually considered Teksavvy, but my friend has them and says that the service is horrible. The connection is super slow and spotty, and if he had a choice, he wouldn’t have gone with them (his landlord pays for internet). Telus has the same rates as Shaw, and since I don’t have any other service (cable, landline, wireless) with them, it’s super hard to negotiate. I’ll keep an eye out for Telus promo deals on internet, and then when I see one, I’ll take it to Shaw.

  3. Laura says:

    I just had to respond to your post because aren’t Shaw prices terrible!? I’m glad I found someone else who understands my incessant need to rant about how much Shaw charges for internet. And we don’t even get very good service!

    Also wanted to say that I took inspiration from your monthly goals list to create my own. I love the idea that your goals are simple and attainable (like cook one new recipe – mine was meatloaf)! Thanks for the inspiration :)

    • Krystal Yee says:

      I know! It’s ridiculous that Shaw and Telus can charge so much for such a basic service. And the worst thing is, there isn’t really any other competition besides Teksavvy, and I hear their service in the Lower Mainland is still pretty bad.

  4. Alicia says:

    You don’t even want to know what I pay for interest… granted it’s unlimited Fibre-Op, but it’s 15 bucks more than what you’re paying. Ugh.

  5. Is it just me or did Shaw increase their rates several times in the past year? I feel a bit of shock when I see our Shaw monthly invoice lately

  6. dee says:

    Hi Krystal, Where can i find the budget sheet you use? with maybe a lil explanation on how and why…. i write my expenses/ bills down but never in the exact amounts like you have…. it would be interesting to see my specific left overs.

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