Give Me Back My Five Bucks

October 2017 Goals

October is probably my favourite month of the year – I just love the colder weather, breaking out my sweaters, cooking curries and stews, and spending cozy evenings indoors (except when I have field hockey practice in the evenings – brrr!).

One change to our Fixed Expenses it that our condo fees have gone up about $40/month – which is a pretty significant jump, but still cheaper than most condo buildings in our area. I like the fact that we have 24/7 security, full-time caretakers, and regular cleaning to all floors and common area spaces.

This month my spending looks pretty normal, with the exception of a few things:

  • We are installing a screen door to our patio – so we can enjoy some fresh air and kitty can stay safely inside.
  • We will be going away for the November long weekend, and about 12 days over Christmas, so we’ve hired a pet sitter to watch Zoey twice a day while we’re gone. Maybe two visits a day is a bit much, but I want to keep her feeding times on a regular schedule, and she hates (HATES) a dirty litter box.
  • I’m starting my Christmas shopping by giving myself a $300 budget for the month. My budget will likely be a lot more, but for now this will be fine as I have something in mind. :)
  • The car needs an oil change and a couple of small things fixed.

October 2017 Goals:

  • Work out 3-4 times each week (average). Gym, rock climbing, field hockey.
  • Check credit score. Once a year treat, for my birthday!
  • List at least 5 things for sale online. There’s a lot we can get rid of.
  • Research pet camera systems. We left Zoey at home overnight so that we could go to my parents for Thanksgiving, and I was surprised at my anxiety level. I think some sort of camera system will help me with that, especially since we’re gone during the days, and have a couple of vacations coming up. Initial research shows me they’re about $150-300 in price. I know that she’s fine by herself all day, but just being able to see her somehow makes me feel better. Maybe I’ve already turned into a crazy cat lady. :)
  • Work on freelance business. I need to follow up with some clients, and finalize a contract or two for the fall.

Do you have pet insurance?

When we first talked about getting a cat, RD and I were pretty much both on the same page when it came to pet insurance – we didn’t need it. He grew up in a house that always had a cat, and his parents never bought insurance. My sister has had two cats, and she also hasn’t bought insurance.

So it was settled! No insurance. But once we got our little furball home, I started to do my own research into pet insurance when I got paranoid about every little thing that seemed off, and all of a sudden I wasn’t so sure. After all, we have insurance for our own lives, for our condo, for our car, doesn’t it make sense to also insure the newest member of our family?

How pet insurance works

Like insurance for your own health, pet insurance will help you with some of the costs of keeping your pet healthy. There are quite a few different companies, levels of coverage, deductible amounts, and monthly premiums.

And then figuring out what you’re actually covered for can be really confusing. Some plans only cover basic scenarios (like accidents and injuries), some only cover accidents, some cover genetic conditions, and some even cover teeth cleaning and vet check-ups.

Most plans have a deductible (the three companies I looked at had annual deductibles of $200-250), and many of the insurance plans do not fully cover your expenses. Some have a dollar limit per claim, others will pay you back a percentage of the total cost, and almost all of them require you to pay up front, and receive reimbursement afterwards.

How much does pet insurance cost?

I got quotes from 3 different companies, and the price ranged from $28-$42/month for a 3 year old female Siamese mixed on plans with around a $200 deductible, 80% coverage (up to $2,500-5,000 per incident).

I was able to get my insurance quote to as low as $21 by getting rid of dental coverage and lowering cover to $1,000 per incident. For fully loaded insurance packages, I was looking in the $65-70 range, which would then start to affect my monthly budget.

Pet emergency fund

Most people who offered alternative options to pet insurance advised me to self-insure by setting aside the money I would have spent on insurance, into some sort of pet emergency fund. Thankfully we are good savers, but it would take quite a while to “save up” for a crazy $5,000 vet bill if we were only putting aside $50/month. But then again, a vet bill like that doesn’t happen to most people.

Is pet insurance worth it?

Well it’s probably worth it if you use it, but a waste of money if you don’t. :) I decided against getting pet insurance for Zoey based on a couple of key factors:

  1. We are good savers with a healthy joint savings account (as well as our own personal savings).
  2. Zoey will be fed high quality food and will always be an indoor cat.
  3. No insurance company I found covers all of the costs. For example, the quote I got from Petsecure ($28.57/month) offered a $200 deductible, and 80% coverage up to a maximum of $2,500 per accident. So for that $5,000 vet bill, I’d still be out of pocket $2,700 plus all of the monthly premiums I’ve paid. And that’s only if I were covered for the full 80% (the fine print reads that co-pay amounts may be changed from the standard 20% to a maximum of 50%). That made it really hard to justify.

However, if you do end up wanting to set up pet insurance for your little one, it’s best to start early. Get your pet insurance sooner rather than later, because the older your pet gets, the more expensive the monthly premiums will be. Plus, there’ll be a much higher chance that you wouldn’t even get coverage because your illnesses could be “pre-existing.”

Do you have pet insurance (and would you recommend it)?

Have you ever had to make a claim?

September 2017 Goals: Recap

September was expensive, but I’m happy to report that I came in under budget. I went over in a few categories, but thankfully coming in well below my budgeted Travel amount helped me out this month.

Overall for our Portugal trip, I had budgeted $5,400 for the two of us, but we actually ended up spending $4,576:

  • Flights (Vancouver-Azores, Azores-Lisbon, Lisbon-Vancouver) – $2,450 budgeted / $2,424 paid
  • Accommodation (14 nights) – $1,200 budgeted / $1,113 paid
  • Food – $1,000 budgeted / $787.41 paid
  • Car rental (7 days + gas) – $450 budgeted / FREE
  • Transportation – $100 budgeted / $81.59 paid
  • Miscellaneous – $200 budgeted / $170.22 paid

Ending up $824 under budget was due in large part because we ended up using $655 in credit card rewards, but even without those credits, we would have still come in under budget so I’m pretty pleased about that.

Other than that, it was a pretty normal month!

Over Budget:

  • Cell Phone – I ended up buying an international package for my phone while we were away, because I knew we’d need it for navigation, calling our AirBnB hosts, checking into flights, and just keeping in contact with friends and family. The package was $90 and obviously much more expensive than if I had gotten a local SIM card, but having my phone number available in case of a work or personal emergency was enough of a reason to just go with what Rogers had available.
  • Household – As I mentioned in my post yesterday, we spent much more than we thought we would on our adopted cat. But it’s all been worth it so far.
  • Car & Transportation – I ended up renewing my driver’s license a month earlier because I had a day off and couldn’t think of anywhere I’d rather be than waiting in an ICBC line-up. :) Just kidding, it wasn’t that bad.
  • Gifts – I bought a few small things on Etsy for part of a Christmas gift.
  • Miscellaneous – I had to buy a new MacBook Pro cord because I lost mine during our trip. :(

Income & Savings:

I only saved 20% of my income this month because of our Portugal trip as well as having to pay for our Christmas flight up north.

My overall net worth increased 1.70%.

September 2017 Goals:

  • Post once a week to GMBMFB. FAIL. I really had good intentions, but not having access to my computer for half the month made it difficult. Also, I spent the last week of September playing with the cat. :)
  • 15,000 steps per day. CHECK! On average I walked 16,432 steps per day.
  • Focus on healthy eating. CHECK! I did my fair share of pastries, but I also really cut back on chocolate and chips, and only had a little bit of alcohol while we were on vacation. I also cut out dessert most evenings – not that I eat dessert often, but when you’re out at restaurants or on vacation it’s easy to indulge on stuff like that.
  • Say yes when traveling. CHECK. Maybe I should have asked RD his opinion before I give myself a check mark on this one. :) But I think I was more easy going, looser on our itinerary, and willing to adapt more than I usually am. I got flustered a few times, but did pretty well for myself. I think.
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