March was an insane month, and I’m glad it’s over. :) And even though my poor planning resulted in spending more on food for the month, coming in almost $300 under budget overall for the month makes me really happy. I’m especially pleased with the fact that I only had to fill up my gas tank once for the entire month. And considering we spent without any regard to budgeting while we were gone, I’m really happy we came in under budget for our trip too.
- Food – I decreased my grocery budget this month because we were going to be away for a week … but I failed to realize that as a result of working a lot of overtime during the 2 weeks leading up to vacation (and trying to maintain our regular climbing schedule), we’d be buying lunches and getting take-out for dinner a lot more often than normal. :(
Income & Savings:
This month I saved 71.5% of my income, and brought in just over $5,000 in freelance income. It’s nice when those invoices get paid out on time. :)
March 2016 Goals:
- Practice yoga once a week – PASS. I didn’t practice yoga, but I made sure to bring stretching into my (almost) daily routine. And after running and/or hiking, I did a lot of stretching and yoga poses to cool down.
- Do my taxes and get organized for next year – FAIL. Nope. I was too busy this month to finish.
- Look into getting a credit limit increase on my credit card – FAIL. I didn’t look into this at all.
- Save $2,000 towards retirement – CHECK! At least I was able to accomplish one goal from this month. :)
Talking about money and salaries was much more common among my friends when we were just out of college and looking for our first jobs. Perhaps it’s because we were all on equal ground – around same age, student loan debt, and looking for our first jobs – that made it seem less intimidating.
Now that my friends are in their late 20’s and early 30’s and we’ve been in the work force for almost a decade (!), we don’t talk about exact numbers as much as we used to. They’ll say “I make in the range of X” or “I got a 10%” raise” without saying how much they now make. And so in turn, I use vague references about my salary and finances too.
However, since I have this blog, anyone can poke around and see how much money I currently make (and how much I’ve made in the past), as well as pretty much any other financial detail of my life. And I’m okay with that because I’ve always been pretty open when it comes to talking about money with my close friends. If someone asks me a question, I’ll happily answer (and as a PF nerd, I’m always hopeful for an engaging financial conversation). But as a rule, I don’t bring up anything to do with personal finance or salaries unless specifically asked.
Knowledge is power
Simply knowing what a friend or co-worker is earning will not result in a raise for you. That’s not how it works. But it could help you negotiate more confidently during your next performance review or job search if you know what other people with similar experience in similar industries are making. There have been countless instances where I’ve reached out to my friends in marketing to ask about their salary range and responsibilities, and I’ve been approached often as well to provide the same sort of information. Sometimes we don’t talk specific numbers, but just being able to pass along information seems to help.
If you’re not comfortable talking about money with your friends just yet, at least be sure to check out websites like Glassdoor, which can help you see what others are making in similar jobs within your city. I just pulled the below screenshot from Glassdoor after searching for Marketing Manager salaries in Vancouver. Now, that’s not my exact job title, but it’s close enough. And I feel good knowing that my salary falls comfortably within the range below.
But there are other benefits to knowing what your friends make besides helping each other with job searches and raise negotiations. It can also give us each other a greater understanding of how much to spend when going out to restaurants or traveling. If my friend knows what I make, perhaps she will understand my budget and how much I’m comfortable spending when we are together.
Honesty has consequences
While talking about salaries with close friends can be a good decision, it can also have negative effects as well. Depending on what your relationship is with someone, finding out how much they make might bring on feelings of jealousy. It could also inspire resentment within the friendship when you start to notice small examples of what one person has that the other person doesn’t (like a designer purse, or dining in fancier restaurants, etc.) – a “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality.
I wouldn’t be comfortable talking about my salary or details about my finances with people I’m not close to. But I do think it’s beneficial to have open discussions about salary ranges, responsibilities, negotiation strategies, promotions, etc. with people you trust who are doing similar work or are within the same industry as you.
Do you know how much money your friends are making?
Note: this post was sponsored by Tangerine Bank, however the views and opinions expressed are my own.
You all know how I feel about credit cards. I love them for all the amazing rewards programs, and as long as you are using them responsibly, getting something for nothing is pretty great in my book.
But the thing about credit card rewards programs is that the rewards are almost always applied towards current or future purchases. For example, my travel rewards card helps me redeem purchases I’ve already made. And many cashback rewards cards just put the cash rewards back onto your credit card. This is why I was so excited when I heard about Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card.
What makes the Tangerine Money-Back Credit Card so unique is that cardholders are able to choose two categories where you can earn 2% cashback (you’ll get 1% on all the rest of your purchases). And as an added bonus, you will earn 4% cashback for the first three months in two categories (as well as 1% on all the rest of your purchases) for the first three months.
The categories look like this:
However, there’s an even bigger bonus. If you decide you want your Money-Back Rewards deposited into your Tangerine Savings Account (instead of being applied directly to your credit card balance), you’ll be able to choose a third category to earn 2% cashback.
The Money-Back Rewards are earned automatically, and paid out monthly. And perhaps best of all – not only are there’s no limit to the amount of rewards you can earn, but you can change your 2% Money-Back categories to suit your spending when you need to. This is so empowering because you get to decide where you get rewarded.
I love the option of being able to save your savings by putting your earned rewards into a savings account – instead of onto your credit card where you’d just spend that money on something else. And when you spend your savings, you haven’t really saved anything at all!
Not only will this credit card instantly become one of the better no annual fee cashback credit cards, but for me, it could be a game changer in the credit card industry because of the ability to save your savings. I like that.
Aside from the Money-Back Rewards, Tangerine’s cashback card also offers a few other great features, such as:
- 1.5% Foreign exchange fee (one of the lowest in the market)
- Purchase Assurance and Extended Warranty