Give Me Back My Five Bucks - Page 8 of 2802 - a quest for financial independence

Recent Posts

Spending Recap: April 28-May 4, 2014

Monday 28th
$130 Costco

Tuesday 29th
No Spend Day!

Wednesday 30th
No Spend Day!

Thursday 1st
$6.83 Subway

Friday 2nd
No Spend Day!

Saturday 3rd
$2.50 shipping
$8 ice cream
$40 gas
$27.49 groceries

Sunday 4th
$8.82 Starbucks

Freelance Income: $0
Expenses- $223.64

TOTAL: - $223.64

This was a solid week for me in terms of keeping my expenses to a minimum. We ventured out to Costco on Monday night and stocked up on a bunch of different things – vitamins, quinoa, black bean pasta, veggies, cheese, bread, etc. It was a good trip because I don’t think we spent money on anything frivilous – aside from a monster sized bag of kettle corn, that is. :)

I packed a salad for lunch every day this week, and we made dinner at home every night – except for Thursday, when we shared a 6-inch veggie sub from Subway for dinner. :) BF is trying out being pescetarian this month, which makes it easier for us to coordinate cooking meals together.

Saturday we crossed the border to pick up a pair of jeans that I had ordered online. My favourite style of Lucky jeans is being discontinued, and I’m panicing a bit because I only bought one pair. It’s really difficult to find jeans that fit me properly – short, small waist, huge legs. Part of me wants to stockpile, but the frugal side of me is telling me not to be a jeans hoarder. :) Anyway, we stopped in Blaine for some ice cream, and to fill up on gas as well.

Sunday I went to see InRealLife at the DOXA Documentary Film Festival here in Vancouver. It was a great film about social media and the internet, and if it has permanently deformed some of the most basic human qualities – like empathy, intimacy, and love. It’s only playing that one time during DOXA, but if you ever get a chance to see this documentary, I highly, highly recommend it.

An update on life

It’s been a crazy few months, and I know I’ve been neglecting this blog a little bit. But I’ve still been able to keep up with reading all of the other PF blogs I follow, and I appreciate all of the comments you’ve left on the posts that I have managed to get out. :)

Here’s an update on what’s going on in my world…

On fitness:

photo(4)Three days ago, I was supposed to be running in my 4th half marathon – the BMO Half Marathon. I shelled out $132.17 on my registration back in February with the hopes of training hard through the spring and breaking the 1:50 mark.

But instead, I watched from the sidelines. It was really tough. Especially because I was already registered and really looking forward to this race. Injuries are frustrating, and mine keeps flaring up. I ran a pain-free 6km last month (which was really promising), but during a recent field hockey game, I stepped the wrong way, and the pain was back again for a few hours. My foot feels fine now (averaging > 10km of walking per day), but I’m really aware of how easy it will be to reinjure myself.

Related: Why running is not a frugal activity

Seeing those runners sprint by was really motivating, and even BF admitted that he wanted to start running too. I need to remember that feeling as I head into the summer and start training for the Goodlife Half Marathon in Victoria. :)

Oh, and after one full month of using my FitBit, I’m still extremely pleased. BF and I have switched up our diets slightly, and as a result of eating healthier and walking a lot more, I’ve lost 5 pounds since the beginning of April. Not bad! Part of June’s monthly challange will likely be about running and yoga.

On travel:

I was thinking this would be a quiet year for travel, but so far I’ve already gone to Portland, and to Las Vegas. Here’s what else is on the radar:

  • Edmonton (June) – Just a short trip for 3 days. We are staying with people there, so I’ll have to budget for a flight and spending money. Approx. cost: $450
  • Okanagan (July – tentative) – We’ve been invited by good friends of mine to spend the July long weekend in the Okanagan for some sun, swimming, and wineries. I’m not sure if we’ll be able to get the extra day off work, but my fingers are crossed. Approx. cost: $400
  • Seattle (August) – This is my (annual?) family trip to Seattle to watch the Blue Jays play the Mariners. It’s the third year taking my dad to a ball game, and I know he really enjoys it. Approx. cost: $300
  • Europe (September) – Besides going to Paris, we have no real plans. I’m letting BF plan this one out for the most part because I’ve been to the majority of the big cities in Europe already. We’ve tossed around all sorts of ideas (Paris-Amsterdam-Copenhagen, all the way to Athens-Santorini-Istanbul). Approx. cost: $3,000

On life:

Life is really good right now. A few days ago, my aunt commented about how “soul happy” I seem to be these days, and I think she’s right. Despite losing my job earlier this year, I think I was able to rebound relatively quickly. I feel settled and comfortable, which is something I haven’t felt in a really long time … and while I don’t have a lot of friends here in Vancouver, I think I have really good friends. BF always says that you get to choose who you spend your time with, and I think I’m spending them with the right people. :)

Work has been busy as well. I’m still really enjoying my new job, and appreciate how much the company values work-life balance. This industry is unfamiliar to me, but I’m glad that I broke into it, because I feel like this is where I belong. I’ve always been interested in real estate, architecture, urban planning, etc. and to be a part of a company that touches those industries… that’s really fun and exciting for me.

On money:

Back in March, I made a point to stop stressing about money. Sure, sometimes I stare at my RRSP numbers (currently saving 21% of my net income towards retirement), and sometimes I worry that I’m not doing as much as other people my own age, but I try to stop those thoughts as soon as I get them. Because I’m doing the best that I can to live a balanced life, and I can’t continue to compare myself to other people.

I’m also paid twice a month here at work, instead of bi-weekly. So I’ll have to adjust my mortgage schedule to reflect that. And I want to start tracking and reading up on a few companies so I can figure out what my next stock purchase will be.

Anyway, that’s my update! I hope you’re all doing well. :)

Spending Recap: April 21-27, 2014

Yikes, I forgot to post this from last week! A little late, but here it is… :)

Monday 21st – Las Vegas, NV
$25 parking

Tuesday 22nd
+ $493.82 freelance income
$5.25 lunch

Wednesday 23rd
$26.59 groceries

Thursday 24th
$18.06 Pearl Hot Pot
$45.56 gas

Friday 25th – Victoria, BC
$56 DOXA film festival (2 films x 2 tickets)
$71.25 ferry

Saturday 26th – Victoria, BC
$2.50 parking
$24.15 dinner

Sunday 27th – Victoria, BC
$5.25 lunch
$71.25 ferry

Freelance Income: + $493.82
Expenses- $350.86

TOTAL: + $142.96

I had a great weekend back in Victoria playing field hockey with my old team. This is just the third time I’ve gotten to play with them since I moved to Vancouver in 2008, and I definitely miss it. As much as I like my team in Vancouver, it just will never compare to people I’ve played with since I was 13. :)

This week I also went out on my monthly hot pot date with some friends, and bought film festival tickets for BF and I. Is anyone else checking out the DOXA Film Festival?


May 2014 Goals

This is going to be my most social month in a really long time. Not only am I going home over the long weekend, but BF and I have planned commitments to attend (at least 4), and I’m going out with girlfriends an additional 4 times this month. It’s going to be a spendy month for sure, so I’m glad I’m planning ahead with this budget.

Along with an inflated Entertainment category, you will see that once again, my Travel spending is sky high. This is due to the weekend home, as well as purchasing a flight to Edmonton for June. I’ll be tagging along with BF and his family for an extended weekend. :) I have quite a few rewards points saved up with my Capital One Aspire World Travel MasterCard, so I might use those to pay for the flight… but the original plan was to keep saving up those points for our tentative trip to Europe in the fall. :)

05 - May Budget

May 2014 Goals:

  • Contribute $800 into my Retirement Portfolio. My normal contribution amount is $750.
  • Earn $1,200 in freelance income.
  • Review my budget. I’ve been comfortable with my budget for the past few months, but I think there are certain categories where I might be able to reduce my spending.
  • Pay attention to my health. This means doing the following every day: taking a multivitamin, drinking more water, and severely cutting back on my intake of refined sugars and salty snacks (chips are definitely out for this month).
  • Walk 10,000 steps per day 100,000 steps per week. I’ll average this out over each week because even though I might not hit 10,000 steps on some work days, I can make up for it on the weekends. Yep, still loving my FitBit. (**note** After realizing I’m averaging well over 10,000 steps per day, I decided that this goal really wasn’t going to challenge me enough… so I upped it to an average of 100,000 steps per week – wish me luck!)
  • Bring my lunch to work every day. This is going to be an extremely social (and expensive) month for me, so I’ll be dining out a lot in restaurants. Best to minimize expenses and extra calories by sticking to healthy, packed lunches during the week.
  • Stay on budget. With so many things happening this month, I really need to get focused and stay on track with my spending.


April 2014 Goals: Recap

I think I did quite well staying on budget this month. Even though I went over budget in some categories, I saved some major cash on gas because I’ve been staying with BF during the work week. This cuts my commute from 45-60 min. down to less than 10 min. :) This doesn’t happen all the time though, so I still need to be mindful of how much I budget on gas in the future.

As for travel, I’m surprised I stayed under budget. The original plan was to go to Victoria with BF, and we would share the cost of bringing my car across on the ferry. But he got sick at the last minute, and I ended up just bringing my car across anyway.

Other than that, all other expenses this month were normal.

04 - April Recap

Over Budget:

  • Food – I went to Costco and stoked up on staples like quinoa, bread, and some vitamins. We also discovered black bean pasta (my new favourite thing).
  • Clothing – I bought a shirt from Value Village, as well as a pair of jeans because my favourite brand is discontinuing my favourites. :(
  • Personal Care – Random stuff from London Drugs, like tooth paste, Q-tips, etc.
  • Miscellaneous – This was my FitBit purchase!

Net Worth Change: + $1,448 (+ 1.48%)

I got back on track with my Retirement Portfolio contributions, and paid the regular amount to my mortgage. Nothing out of the ordinary here!

April 2014 Goals:

  • Bring my lunch to work every day. PASS. I’m giving myself a pass for the month, because even though I technically did buy my lunch once this month, it was the day after we came back from Las Vegas, and we weren’t able to go grocery shopping.
  • No coffee. FAIL. Okay, okay I had two coffees this month. But one was over the weekend when I was visiting a friend in Victoria. And the other one was when I went into work at 7am.
  • Work out 3x/week. FAIL. I did go for my first run since injuring myself, and I’ve been walking a ton thanks to my FitBit. I also played 4 field hockey games… but that doesn’t equal what I would call 3 workouts per week.
  • Earn $1,800 in freelance income. FAIL. I actually only brought in $932.70. I’ve invoiced out for an additional $650, but just haven’t gotten those cheques in yet.
  • Get back on track with RRSP/TFSA contributions. CHECK! I’m back contributing $750/month into my Retirement Portfolio.