Give Me Back My Five Bucks

Prioritizing travel plans


barcelona06For the past three months I’ve been quietly saving money for a potential trip in the fall. Thanks to a bit of freelance income, automatic bi-weekly deductions, and Tangerine Bank referral bonuses, I’ve managed to save just over $2,300 – with a goal to end up with about $3,500 by mid-September.

With my freelancing this year, whenever I receive a cheque in the mail, I’ve been using the Tangerine Bank app to deposit the money via Cheque-In. I’ll put away at least 25% of every cheque towards my Travel Fund, and the rest gets transferred over to my PC Financial account to spend/save like I normally would. It has worked out so well that I think I’ll keep doing this going forward, and that will ensure that I always have a bit of money in my account specifically earmarked for travel.

I’ve also got about $700 in Capital One Travel World Aspire Mastercard points, so I’ll have a total of about $4,200 to play with for this Europe trip. I don’t think I’m going to need that much, but I’d rather plan for it than end up without enough cash to do all of the things I’d like to do.

A flight will be about $1,200. Accommodation for 14-15 nights might come out to around $1,200 as well (estimating $80 per person/night using hotel/b&b/AirBnB). Then there’s food, entertainment, travel, etc. which I don’t think will come out to more than $1,800.

It’s a bit tricky to estimate how much everything besides the flight will cost. All we know is that we’re going to Europe, and we’ll either start or end our journey in Paris. We’ve been talking about heading south and going to Spain, because in the end of September the weather will be nicer there instead of going north to Amsterdam and Copenhagen, which was the original plan.

This trip means that I won’t be able to do a few other things that I had wanted to do this year. A tentative trip to Edmonton next month is likely going to fall through. As is our Canada Day long weekend idea of going to the Okanagan. We had also talked about potentially going to Las Vegas with another couple in August, but doubt that will happen either. These axed vacation plans will likely get replaced with more local trips – camping, fishing, hiking, and going back to the island. :)

Do you have summer travel plans that you’re currently saving up for?

Learning a new sport


62737se101080-zmYesterday I spent $50 on a tennis racquet and headed to the courts in Stanley Park. I’ve never played tennis before, although I’ve always wanted to learn. But with so many other competing priorities, and no friends in town that play the sport, I’ve just never gotten around to it. Until now. BF loves playing tennis, and he was willing to teach me some of the basics – so I jumped at the chance. It also helps that the courts are free to play on (when you can actually get space), and are just a short walk from his house.

After spending about 90 minutes learning how to hold a racquet properly and hitting balls against a cement practice wall (which also meant hitting the ball into the other practice court about two dozen times), I decided I liked the sport enough to take the plunge and invest in tennis lessons.

After asking Twitter about recommendations for lessons in Vancouver, I decided to stick with Stanley Park for the convenience factor and the good reviews it got. I paid $80.75 for 4 lessons of 60 min. each (approx. $20.19 per hour). Class sizes are no more than 12 people, and there are 2 instructors that teach the course. This seemed a bit expensive to me, but after talking with a few of my out-of-town tennis friends, they confirmed that this was pretty normal.

I’ve stuck with “comfort” sports like field hockey and running my whole life, and have stayed away from sports I’ve never played before, or that I’m not good at. As someone whose played competitive sports for many years, I don’t like the idea of not being good at something. Or having to start with basics and work my way up to being competent. But I know that being uncomfortable with something means that I should do it, and that it will help me to overcome those feelings. Plus, learning a new skill is never a bad thing! Tennis seems like it would be a great summer sport to play, and good cross training for field hockey and running.

Another worry I have is that I won’t be able to find anyone to play with. BF is a lot better than me, and so are his friends. I’m sure he’ll play with me, but it’s not going to be as fun for him until I can reach a semi-adequate playing level. So until then, I’m going to have to find other newbies to play games and learn with as well. Since this whole tennis thing is a bit of a departure for me, and I’m really excited to try something new!

Does anyone have any advice for a newbie tennis player? :)

Spending Recap: May 12-18, 2014

Monday 12th
No Spend Day!

Tuesday 13th
+ $25 Tangerine Bank referral
+ $200 Tangerine Bank referral bonus
$7.66 Subway

Wednesday 14th
No Spend Day!

Thursday 15th
+ $19.14 Great Canadian Rebates
$45.88 gas
$35 Graze Restaurant

Friday 16th – Victoria, BC
$44.25 ferry

Saturday 17th – Victoria, BC
$62.50 hair cut
$14.49 Bin 4 Burger Lounge
$4 coffee

Sunday 18th – Victoria, BC
$13.88 brunch
$18 Bon Macaron

Freelance Income: $0 (+ $244.14)
Expenses– $245.66

TOTAL: – $1.52

This was a spendy week. On Thursday, I went with a girlfriend to Graze for their one-year anniversary celebration. We were treated to complimentary drinks and appetizers before digging into dinner. Graze is likely my favourite vegan restaurant in the city, although it’s a bit out of the way so I don’t get to go very often.

Over the weekend, we headed back to Victoria. We lucked out and had gorgeous weather, so it ended up being a great little trip packed full of visits with friends and family. :) Although perhaps we ate one too many (unhealthy) meals out, so this week will be all about clean eating: fresh veggie juice every day and simple meals.

As for freelance income, I’m still waiting on FOUR cheques to come in. But I did make some bonus money this week through Tangerine Bank. Thanks to everyone who has signed up using my referral code (30874855S1)! For those that don’t know, if you sign up using my code and open up an account with $100 or more, you’ll earn a bonus of $25 and so will I. So it benefits the both of us. :)

How was your week of spending?

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