Give Me Back My Five Bucks

October 2016 Goals

img_1298I had good intentions of getting my September numbers all sorted out before going on our trip, but I was pressed for time and didn’t get it done. So instead, I’ll post my October 2016 goals and get back to recapping September when I’m home in a few weeks. :)

Right now I’m writing this post from Haines Junction, YT. It’s Day 5 of our trip, and we’ve already seen and done so much! We’ve already had some pretty crazy weather – including pretty intense icy roads from Chetwynd to Fort Nelson. But since Muncho Lake and into Yukon, it’s been partially sunny weather and surprisingly pleasant. I mean, yes it’s still cold, but it’s manageable. Although I notice in the weather reports for the next week that it should get to -10C in Dawson, so that will be interesting for a weather wimp like me. :)

I’ll be interested in seeing if we will hit our travel budget for the month. One thing I’ve really been surprised with is how cheap groceries were in Whitehorse. And by cheap I mean most of the things we bought were either on par or cheaper than prices in Vancouver – and we shop at the cheapest grocery store in our neighbourhood. Granted, the grocery prices in Watson Lake were outrageous, so I suppose that’s the benefit of living in the biggest city in Yukon.

Anyway, since about 3/4 of October will be spent on vacation, you can see that my October budget reflects that in lower food/entertainment/transportation costs.


October 2016 Goals:

  • Extended health benefits – later this year, I’ll be eligible to change my extended health benefits at work and get onto RD’s plan. So I need to check out exactly what his plan covers to see what combination of cost/coverage would suit us the best.
  • Shared cell phone plan – we’ve talked about getting onto a shared wireless plan for a few months now. My corporate plan is eligible to be shared, and would cut down on RD’s bill significantly. The only issue is that since RD is in remote locations so much during the year, he’s afraid going over to my carrier (Rogers) will limit his cell coverage.
  • Research stocks – I recently sold my shares in the first stock I ever bought, so I have a few thousand dollars to play around with. I have my eye on a few stocks for the long-term, but need to do more research before I commit.

Why a Robo Advisor might be right for you

Note: this post is sponsored by, but all views and opinions are my own.

02A couple weeks ago, I sold the first stock I ever bought. I bought it back in 2013, it peaked in 2015, and then plummeted shortly afterwards. It was a good lesson in staying patient, because it began to slowly rise again until I was able to sell it for a 61% profit.

I have a small investment portfolio with Questrade – most of my money is in ETFs for long-term (retirement), but I have about $4,000 to $5,000 set aside to play around with individual stocks. I haven’t decided what my next stock purchase is going to be, but I’ve definitely got my eye on a few. :)

Investing is fun for me. I love tracking stocks, rebalancing my portfolio, cheering whenever I get dividends, and seeing my portfolio slowly grow over time. But you know what? Not everyone shares the same passion for investing as me. And that’s where I think a robo advisor like can fit in.

Why would you use a robo advisor?
What a robo advisor does is provide you with an easy way to create a solid investing portfolio. And I think this is super important because I have met so many people who are intimidated by investing, or they just don’t have the time and energy to devote to learning about investing, and then managing and growing their own portfolio. So they give their money to a bank and their money gets put into mutual funds instead (the average mutual fund fee in Canada as of 2014 was 2.41%!). uses Exchange Trade Funds (ETFs) which charge much lower fees than mutual funds – most of their portfolios cost less than 0.20%! And after adding in ModernAdvisor’s fee, the cost would be between 0.55% to 0.70%. That could save you 1.71 to 1.86% per year – which may not sound like much, but compounded over 20 or 30 years, and that adds up to some serious cash.

Who would use a robo advisor?

Admittedly, I’m still a DIY advisor (and I think I always will be). Robo advisors are not for me because I’m very comfortable setting up and managing my own portfolio, and since I invest in index funds and ETFs, my portfolio would end up looking quite similar to anything recommended to me through robo advising anyway.

My boyfriend and sister, however, would be the perfect fit for ModernAdvisor’s services. It’s the right balance between DIY investing (which not many people are that interested in), and having to pay the high fees of traditional banking advisors.

They’re both comfortable with online banking, but neither of them know much about investing. They’re not interested in spending hours learning about index funds (and how awesome Dan Bortolotti is) or balancing portfolios, and neither have time to have face-to-face talks with a bank advisor. But they still want their money to go as far as it can. Robo advisors can offer exactly what they’re looking for – a simple portfolio that will grow with the market, with no commissions or sneaky hidden fees.

Why ModernAdvisor?

There are quite a few Canadian robo advisors, so what sets ModernAdvisor apart from the rest of them? There are a few different reasons that come to my mind right away – user friendly website, loads of transparency, and they also have one of the lowest overall fee structures out of all the Canadian robo advisors.

Another big plus about ModernAdvisor is that maintaining their client portfolios goes beyond just rebalancing once or twice a year. They are constantly monitoring their portfolios to make sure they’re investing in the best ETFs for their clients. That means if there’s a better ETF that comes along, they’ll swap their clients into the new fund if it’s appropriate for them. And if you have any questions? You’ll be able to talk to a real human through online chat, phone, or e-mail.

But what I love best is the ability to create a trial account with ModernAdvisor without actually needing to deposit money, or give them your banking information. They’ll even go one step further and will invest $1,000 of their own money on your behalf for 30 days.

If the $1,000 earns money in those 30 days, you will get to keep all of the gains if you decide to open up an account and invest your money. Pretty sweet deal, eh?

AND as a special bonus to GMBMFB readers, ModernAdvisor has agreed to provide everyone with a $50 bonus for opening up a new account in addition to the free 30-day trial and the gains on the $1,000 they’ll invest for you.

Use Promo Code GMBMFB to earn your $50 bonus now!

Does anyone currently use a robo advisor?

Budgeting for Yukon!

I can’t believe we leave on our Yukon adventure in 2 days! There’s so much to do – like make a few batches of granola bars, make sure my kombucha will stay alive, write at least 3 blog posts for while I’m gone – plus we still have to clean out my car and pack.

The last week has been filled with running errands: trips to MEC, finalizing accommodation, getting my car tuned up, and buying dry goods that we want to bring up with us. I’m a bit concerned about how cold it will be up north. We’re a bit spoiled with weather here on the west coast, and I’m afraid I don’t really know what the cold feels like.

With all of this planning, you’d think we’d have a budget in place for this vacation, but we didn’t … until last night. I know, I feel a bit ashamed about that. But I had a rough idea of how much it was going to cost (a lot), and once I actually plugged those numbers into a spreadsheet, our 3+ week trip is actually turning out to be quite reasonable.

The first column below shows our combined expenses, and then the next column is obviously what we are projecting it will cost us individually. $2,000 for a 3-week holiday is okay with me!

Yukon Trip
Accommodation $1,350 $675
Car Maintenance $400 $200
Gas $900 $450
Food $700 $350
Entertainment $300 $150
Supplies $200 $100
Miscellaneous $150 $75
$4,000 $2,000

A few things to note:

  • All of our accommodation is booked. We are alternating between camping, AirBnB, and hotels for the first 2 weeks of our trip. The last week we’ll actually be staying with RD’s family, so accommodation is provided. :)
  • We took my car to a mechanic who did my 100km service, an oil change, and made sure the car was running smoothly for our trip.
  • Without any deviation from our route, we will drive approximately 6,900km. Chances are we will be well over 7,000km once the trip is over – which is a crazy amount of driving. But the drive is part of the adventure.
  • We chose to stay at AirBnBs so that we could have access to a kitchen. My hope is that we’ll buy groceries and be able to make our own breakfast and lunch most days. I’d definitely like to go out for dinner when we’re in the bigger towns, but for some of the more remote locations, we will have to plan. We have packaged dinners for the nights we’re camping.
  • Most of our entertainment will be free because we’re there to hike and explore. :) I don’t really anticipate doing anything that would cost a lot of money, but have budgeted in $300 just in case.
  • We bought some supplies – like warm gloves, energy bars, coffee, bear spray (just in case), and other miscellaneous items from MEC.
  • I added a bit of money for Miscellaneous expenses because you just never know. We’re not big into souvenirs, but I know we’ll buy fridge magnets, and I might get a few Christmas gifts while I’m up there too.

If you have any tips for our trip, or places we must see, please let me know. Neither of us have been up north, and we are open to all suggestions! :)

Buy the Book!

A beginner's guide for Canadians looking to get their financial life in order. Get great info on budgeting and saving, RRSP's and pensions, investing types, insurance, and where to go for additional resources.

Recent Tweets


  • OMG a million times yes! xoxo
  • Current mood
  • Not a bad place to spend the last 5 days!hellip
  • Games and pizza just might be the perfect way tohellip
  • Yep 2017 was a pretty good year! 1 Hiked thehellip
  • Foggy day down by the river NewWest
  • Gorgeous day for snowshoeing!
  • Dreaming about warmer days and incredible hikes like this onehellip

© 2018. Give Me Back My Five Bucks. All rights reserved. Powered by WordPress & Designed by Mike Smith