Give Me Back My Five Bucks

March 2017 Goals

With all this gloomy weather here in Vancouver, I’m so excited for our trip to Powell River and Tofino this month. :) We did this exact trip last March (4 nights in Tofino, 2 nights in Powell River), and the weather was perfect, so keeping my fingers crossed that we luck out again. What I’m most proud of was we were able to reduce our accommodation cost by $210 over last year just by booking a month earlier. Not only that, but we’re in a better location in a stand-alone cottage (instead of in a suite in a rental house).

Field hockey is winding down for the year (we’re in the championship game this weekend!), so I’m going to have to start going to the gym to keep my cardio up. In prior years, this is where I’d start taking up running, but since realizing that distance running aggravates my feet (to the point where I need corrective surgery), that’s not really an option anymore. I get a fairly significant discount through work if I wanted to join a gym (much cheaper than the rec centre I currently go to), but I don’t want to commit to anything yet until we know exactly where we will be living long-term.

I was supposed to be on TV last month to do a personal finance segment, but it was canceled at the last minute because the cameras were malfunctioning. What I realized was that I need to update my more formal work clothes. I’m fine from a day-to-day perspective with enough dresses and shirts. But what I’m lacking is a nice suit (I bought one a few years ago, but it’s too big for me and tailoring it would cost almost as much as the suit itself!) and pencil skirts. I feel like I actually need these items in my wardrobe for industry functions for both my full-time job and my freelancing work. So I added $200 into my budget to buy a blazer I’ve been eyeing (when it’s on sale). This is a start. I’m not willing to commit more for the time being, but having a few more professional pieces in my wardrobe is starting to feel like a goal I want to accomplish this year.

Anyway, here is my budget for the month! :)

March 2017 Goals:

  • Rebrand GMBMFB. I should have found the time to make this a priority last month, but I didn’t. It’s going to have to get done in March.
  • Cash out a portion of my corporate stock program. I figured out how to cash out my stock, but the $25 fee is really bugging me. But I just have to get it done.
  • Get pre-approved for a mortgage. We’ve decided to take the step to get pre-approved for a mortgage now, because we realize that there are very few places we really, really like. We started to monitor the listings in the neighbourhood we want to live in back in November, and only 2 places really had us interested – and 1 of those was ruled out due to high strata fees. So if another one comes up, we should at least be prepared if we want to make an offer.
  • Figure out a good system to combining some of our finances. We’ve discussed this off-and-on for a few months now – what would it look like when we eventually combine our day-to-day spending accounts? We both want to maintain financial freedom with our own accounts (we’ll never fully combine our money), but we do have to figure out the best system for our joint expenses going forward. Especially if we’re looking to buy a home.

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. Walnut says:

    Have you considered a joint credit card for putting a toe into joint finance waters? We started using it for restaurants, groceries, and vacations. Each month we would each make half of the payment and never carried a balance month to month.

    Also, real talk, if you’re going to save enough cash, you may want to consider a clothing ban. You manage to find something new to purchase each month and the reality is that it is probably a hard habit to break. You don’t need a jacket or pencil skirt to be professional. Go to a few events in your existing wardrobe and put off any additional purchases for six months. See how it goes.

  2. Jess says:

    You have been talking about “updating your professional wardrobe” for the past 3 years (at least). But I also agree with the previous commenter. It seems like you go over budget every month, you want to make saving money for a down payment, yet you are budgeting TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS for a blazer?! You don’t need to spend that much to buy a nice item of clothing, especially one blazer.

  3. KC says:

    I absolutely agree with this. I can find a 2-3 quality blazers at Ricki’s/Sears.

  4. Carrie says:

    Combining finances: My husband and I have a joint account that we put money for our mortgage payment into. And I pay Gas and Cable/Net and he pays Hydro and insurance, it works out to the same.
    For groceries we just each take turns etc.. but I do like the idea of a joint credit card as mentioned above.
    Re: Clothes, I agree that while quality is important so you don’t have to buy as often, I have been able to get great Blazers for $60 that have lasted. You could also consider a nice consignment store.

  5. Jay says:

    Tofino looks beautiful – I hope to visit there someday. Enjoy! Question for you: TD Bank is getting a lot of bad press for up-selling strategies. I’m days away from starting the process of investing in the TD e-series. Not sure if I should be worried as long as I stick to my guns, but I’m still learning about finances. What’s your take on all that’s been reported?

    • Krystal Yee says:

      I personally think those kinds of tactics happen within all of the big banks, and since the e-series portfolio is online and not actively managed by anyone at TD, I don’t really feel affected by what’s been going on.

  6. Rebecca says:

    I’m trying to grow my income in March to 10$ in such a way I reach 160k in savings. I’m really excited as I’ll be travelling to many countries and would like to hit the 200k in savings before I turn 24. Good luck on your March goals!

  7. Hadley says:

    I want to know what the blazer is………

    I don’t think two hundred dollars is insane for a quality item. I have several that cost around the same but I’ve had them for years and will have them for years to come. Cost per wear, it has been worthwhile.

  8. APF Blogger says:

    Hi, Krystal. Re: getting pre-approved for a mortgage: I realize Vancouver is a very different market than Ottawa, but here is a brief reflection on some of the financial (and other) benefits that we have found after purchasing less of a home that we were approved for. Everyone situation is different of course, but something to consider as you take the plunge.

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