Give Me Back My Five Bucks - Page 11 of 2794 - a quest for financial independence

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Having a car is expensive

carBack in the fall, I wrote a post called How much is your car costing you?, where I calculated that I was spending around $300/month for gas and insurance (11% of my net monthly income). And that didn’t even include maintenance like oil changes, repairs, or the actual cost of buying the car.

Even though I concluded that having a car was a clear “want” and not a “need,” I still depend on my car to lead the lifestyle I want for myself. Deciding to live in the suburbs, that’s the choice I made. And it’s the right choice for me now, but I’m not sure if it’s the right choice for me in the future.

When I start my new job later this month, I’ll be commuting from the suburbs to just outside of the downtown core. In the 6+ years I’ve lived here in Vancouver, I’ve never actually worked in Vancouver before… so I’m not sure what my commute will be like. Based on where I’m located, I think it will be similar to my old job (35-40 mins.). But the big difference is that when I’m over at BF’s house, he lives just 5 minutes away. AND since I’m working in such a populated area, most offices don’t have designated parking – so I had to rent a parking spot for $65/month.

Now that $65 parking stall is almost 50% less than any other stalls I’ve found in the area. That’s because I’m renting a space in an apartment building about 3 blocks from my office, and not in a regular parking lot. But if you combine that expense with having to rent a parking stall near BF’s house, my car costs have immediately risen by 25% to approximately $375/month.

I ran the numbers again, comparing my car costs with buying a transit pass, and my car still wins out even with this added cost. But just barely. If expenses go up again, I’m going to have to make some serious decisions. Even though I love where I live and I love my home, I’ve been spending the majority of my time in the city, and that’s only going to increase with this new job.

So maybe it will mean moving to a more central location down the road. Or maybe it will be as simple as letting go of some of my hobbies and buying a bus pass instead.

Spending Recap: March 3-9, 2014

Monday 3rd
$125 parking pass (12 months)

Tuesday 4th
$9.13 lunch

Wednesday 5th
$24.89 groceries

Thursday 6th
$6 parking
$47.99 dinner (for 2)

Friday 7th
No Spend Day!

Saturday 8th
No Spend Day!

Sunday 9th
No Spend Day!

Freelance Income: $0
Expenses- $188.12

TOTAL: - $188.12

Well the biggest expense for me is buying a 12-month parking pass for a lot near BF’s house. After debating for a few months, we decided to buy the pass before parking rates went up from $6/day to $11/day on April 1 – which means a HUGE savings for me (my portion of the 12-month pass comes out to just over $10/month). Compare that to the parking lot’s daily rate, or the $60/month for a stall in BF’s building! The only downside is that not a secured lot, but it’s so close to where he lives that we can see my car from the apartment building.

My cousin was also in town this week, so we went out for dinner with him and a few other people to a sushi place called The Eatery. Has anyone else been there before? The place was pretty unique, and I was really impressed with the amount of unique and delicious veggie rolls available… but it wasn’t that great for having conversations with people. Still, I’d probably go again. :)

Over the weekend, we had dinner with some of BF’s friends on Saturday night. I also played in a semi-finals field hockey game on Sunday, which we lost. By a lot. :( But our goal for the year was to make it to the playoffs, so I’m proud of what we were able to accomplish.

How was your week of spending?

An exciting new opportunity

2014-03-11 19.24.50-2The last month has been a bit of a roller coaster for me. I was really scared that it would take me a long time to find a job that I’d be happy with (in my head I was thinking I’d be unemployed until April), but yesterday the right opportunity came along, and I am thrilled to be able to write that I am now employed. :)

My new job is in a completely new industry to me, but it’s with a company that I have admired for years. I respect the work that is being done, and the role I’ll be taking on is somewhat new to the organization. I can see how I would be able to grow with the position, and that’s an exciting thought. The salary range will end up being around the same as what I was making before, so in terms of my goals for the year, those shouldn’t change too much (aside from the few weeks’ salary I lost while without a job).

I am really looking forward to getting back to work. Spending the last 4 weeks by myself during the work week has been a bit lonely, but my support system here in Vancouver is strong. And I made it a point to stay as positive as I could – even when all I wanted to do was stay in bed and mope. So now I’ve got 1.5 weeks just to relax and get ready – not to mention a trip to Portland in just a few days. :)

So thanks for sticking around during the last month. I needed the break from blogging and social media to focus my energy on staying sane and job hunting. But I am back, and with a renewed sense of purpose. And there’s a lot to look forward to. First up is getting my RRSP/TFSA contributions back on track!

Spending Recap: Feb 24-Mar 2, 2014

Monday 24th
No Spend Day!

Tuesday 25th
+$200 freelance income
$20.43 groceries
$3.97 Starbucks

Wednesday 26th
No Spend Day!

Thursday 27th
$26.56 prescription

Friday 28th
No Spend Day!

Saturday 1st
$20 groceries

Sunday 2nd
No Spend Day!

Freelance Income: + $200
Expenses- $70.96

TOTAL: + $129.04

This was a pretty good week. I tied up a lot of loose ends, got my EI claim sorted out, and did a bit of freelance work. BF and I also took a day trip down to Bellingham to visit an old friend of his. After shovelling him out of the snow, we took a drive out to Deception Pass, and ended up having lunch at a cute restaurant in Anacortes called Calico Cupboard.

And next weekend, we are headed to Portland! BF has generously offered to pay for the gas and hotel expenses, and I’ll pick up the cost for food. I think it will be really fun, and a much needed trip out of the city. It’ll be my second time there (I was there for one night a few years ago), and BF has never been there before. We’re looking for awesome coffee and brunch places, as well as a place that does brewery tours – so if anyone has any suggestions, please let me know! :)

March 2014 Goals

I’m optimistic for March. The weather is getting better, my cousin is visiting from Australia for the first time in over two years, and the job search is going well. I’m willing to wait for the perfect opportunity to come along, but I’m also realizing that that opportunity might not look exactly what I thought it would look like. So I’m also keeping an open mind; I’m applying for jobs a little outside of my comfort zone, with the understanding that I’m aiming for a career with a company – not just a job.

Nothing is out of ordinary with the budget below. I’ve trimmed back a few expenses – namely entertainment and car/transportation. BF and I have made a conscious decision to spend less money while together, and try to only go out for meals when we’re being social with others. Now that I’m not driving to work every day, I’m saving a lot on gas. I used to get gas every week – and now I can probably go 3 weeks without filling up. See, there’s always a bright side, eh? :)

As for Portland, one of my goals below is to stay on budget while we are there. Along with being our first weekend away together, I think this is going to be a great opportunity for me just to de-stress and take it easy. We’ve also been binge-watching Portlandia for the past few weeks, haha!

03 - March Budget

March 2014 Goals:

  • Try two new recipes. Vegetarian, obviously. Any suggestions?
  • Stay on budget in Portland. I think BF and I are both on the same page in terms of spending while traveling. I’m not into splurging on too many things during this trip. I’d like to eat some good food, drink coffee, and wander around the city.
  • Do my taxes. I’ve already done a preliminary run of my taxes, and everything looks good. Now I just have to tally up my receipts and file online.
  • Focus on my foot. It’s been 7 months since I first injured my foot, and it still hurts. I really need to work on taking it easy. That means no running. If I’m not healthy by the summer because I didn’t listen to my body, I’ll be so disappointed in myself. Summer hiking is something I’m really looking forward to.