Give Me Back My Five Bucks

From home ownership to renting

I mentioned in a previous post that my housing situation has changed dramatically. In the summer I hinted at the idea of selling my house and moving into Vancouver to be closer to work, my friends, and where I spend most of my life. So back in August, I put my townhouse on the market just to see what would happen. There was a lot of interest, and finally I accepted an offer earlier this month. :)

That means I’m moving! But I’m not just moving into an apartment… I’m going to live out my small space living fantasy by renting out a laneway house in Vancouver. For those that are not from the Vancouver area and might be unfamiliar with laneway houses, these homes are typically built on a pre-existing lot (usually someone’s backyard). They are usually detached from the main house and open onto the back lane. My laneway house is a two-storey, two-bedroom house that measures about 685 sq.ft. It’s extremely cute, and I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am to live just a 10 min. drive to work, and within a few blocks of my favourite neighbourhood in Vancouver.

I had a short introduction into small space living in 2012, when I lived in a 215 sq.ft. apartment with a boyfriend for a year in Germany I don’t think I would want to live in a space that small long-term with another person (at least not that specific space – it did not function very well and there was no storage), but it definitely showed me that I can do with a lot less than what I have and still be completely happy. So now that there’s 685 sq.ft. for two people, it seems really doable.

With my new job, I will also be getting a modest bump in salary, which will increase my monthly saving amount. But I want to get right to the fun stuff – and that’s creating a new budget for a new living situation. :)

This is what my initial thoughts are for my new budget:

January 2016 Proposed Budget

A few things to note:

  • This is not a fair representation of home ownership vs. renting as I’m also going from living alone to living with somebody else. Creating this mock budget for the first time really made me realize how much more I was spending over the last 5 years living solo. Back in the summer, I did create another mock budget to see how much I’d save if I went from owning to renting as a single person ($400/month). So while this isn’t a truly fair representation, it doesn’t result in a *massive* difference in my budget living with someone vs. living solo.
  • My townhouse had rental restrictions. A lot of people suggested that I rent out my townhouse and move into the city. However, my building did not allow for rentals, so this just wasn’t an option for me.
  • Monthly rent on this house is $1,650. For a two bedroom in an extremely desirable area in Vancouver, this is quite reasonable, but definitely not the cheapest option out there.
  • We will be splitting the cost of utilities and internet. Electricity will go up a bit as we are heating a whole house, but that increase is offset by the fact that it’s now a shared expense. Renter’s insurance has been quoted at $30 per month.
  • I anticipate my monthly grocery budget will go down a little bit as I’ll have more time to prepare more meals from scratch.
  • Car insurance is not accurate – it will likely cost a bit more now that I live in Vancouver.
  • The cost of gas is cut in half now that my daily commute to work is 10 minutes instead of 45-60 minutes. :)

Related: Single? It’s costing you more than you think.)

As you can see, I *think* I’ll be able to slash over $700 from my budget each month without changing my lifestyle through variable expenses. Unless I’ve made some glaring error. This is a significant amount, and I am really excited about it. If you add to that my modest pay raise, and if I am vigilant in saving my savings, I could potentially put away an additional $1,000+ each month.

Kicking off Financial Literacy Month with Tangerine Bank

Last week I was invited to Toronto to speak on a panel at the Tangerine Bank “Bubbles and Budgets” event to kick off Financial Literacy Month.

This was one of my favourite personal finance events of the year because it was so engaging and interesting. The event started out with a panel discussion (hosted by Winston Sih of Breakfast Television), with Preet Banerjee, Cait Flanders, Silvio Stroescu, Joe Snyder, and me. We were able to open up and discuss personal finance topics ranging from getting out of debt, to Cait’s shopping ban, to saving money and where to invest.

The Tangerine Café was packed for the event, and that was really thrilling to see because it wasn’t just media and bloggers attending. There were so many people from ACCES Employment, a United Way agency that Tangerine works with as part of their Bright Way Forward program, and when we were talking I was able to look out into the crowd and see people really into what we were talking about. Or maybe they were just staring at Preet’s awesome pocket square.

(side note: I think in the above photo I was distracted by the doughnut wall.)

After the panel, we were able to sit down and have one-on-one discussions with people in the crowd who had additional questions. This was set up “speed dating” style, where you only had 4-5 minutes to talk with someone. It was incredibly inspiring to hear stories from people who had fought their way out of debt, come to Canada to start a new life, or saved enough working multiple jobs to create Emergency Funds.

The next day Tangerine hosted a Twitter party. Me, Cait, and Preet headed over to the Café so that we could have ourselves a mini real life Twitter party. J The hour flew by so fast, and everyone was into the chat that we were a little disappointed when it ended. I love Twitter events like this because the engagement level is through the roof. Check out the hashtag #ForwardBanking if you want to check out some of the topics that were discussed!

Anyway I really wanted to share this event with you guys because it was a good reminder for me about how important money is. Our relationship with money is so important, and it will last a lifetime. Often times I can get so wrapped up in my own little personal finance world – where I feel like everyone I know is so into their finances that I start to think everyone is like that. But that’s just not true – and it’s why I started this blog in the first place.

October 2015 Goals: Recap

Well October was an interesting month; it was a month full of new opportunities and change. I guess the first thing I should say is that I got a new job. I’m really, really excited for it because it is a leadership position with a much larger company, and provides me with long-term growth opportunities. After getting laid off from my previous job (where I thought I’d be able to carve out a long-term role for myself), I really wanted to find a company where I could see myself staying for many years to come. The company I just left was close to what I wanted, but wasn’t quite it. I think this new organization has long-term potential, and that makes me really happy. So that’s my first bit of news.

The second bit of news is that my housing situation has changed dramatically. I don’t want to say anything right away, but if all goes well you’ll be seeing what I think is a pretty big change in my budgets going forward. Change is good. And better for my savings rate. :)

Anyway, onward to my recap of October expenses:

10 - October 2015 Budget Recap

Over Budget:

Maintenance/Strata – this was just an error on my part by not allocating the correct amount in my budget.

Internet/Cable – same as above.

Food – wow, okay so I forgot I haven’t updated you on my vegan challenge. Let’s just say it was more expensive than I thought to turn everything in my house over to vegan products. :) I’ll post a recap soon on my 30 days as a vegan.

Entertainment – slightly over in this category due to dining out. It was my lack of organization that led to restauranting too many times.

Travel – slight over in this category too, due to the exchange rate on my Vegas trip. :|

Car & Transportation – field hockey season started, which means driving all over the Lower Mainland to get to games.

Personal Care – I bought some face cream.

October 2015 Goals:

  • Stay on budget with travel expenses. FAIL. I only went a few dollars over, so I’m okay with that. The exchange rate in Las Vegas killed me, as did going out for breakfast three mornings in a row when in Victoria. :)
  • Check my credit score. PASS. Yep I completely forgot. But the good news is doing this recap has prompted me to go ahead and order my credit report. It is on its way!
  • Rebalance my investment portfolioCHECK! Rebalancing was pretty easy this year as nothing had really changed.
  • Look into rock climbing gyms. CHECK! I have decided which gym to get my membership at, so now I just have to sign up for a belay course just to refresh my memory. Haven’t climbed in 4+ years, so figured it was a good idea. :)

I’m currently on vacation Oregon before I start my new job next week. It has been a nice transition, but life is going to get a bit hectic. I can’t wait until January when (I think) everything will be settled with my living situation, I’ll have a grasp on my role at the new company, and I can start transitioning this blog into what I think is going to be a good change.

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