December 2016 Financial Update

Here it is, the last month of 2016.  I can’t believe how fast time flies by… Does that make me sound old?  I feel old.  Ha ha ha!  In any case, it is time to do the last financial update before the new year.  This is the last month for me to get all my financial goals completed… Fingers crossed, right?

November Spending

The goal is to be below the average from last year of $7700, but November came in at $8800… We are over again… But all hope is not lost… Because of the low spending months at the beginning of the year, if we keep December spending under $5700 we could average about the same over the year… Of course, everyone knows that December is the spendy-est month of the year, so I’m not exactly expecting success on this front.  Anyway…  This total includes our mortgage, utilities and normal monthly costs, but doesn’t count special spending that we saved up for (planned spending as I call it).

november-2016-spending

We once again had some extra mortgage expenses that I wasn’t totally expecting because I didn’t really take a good look at the dates…  We took both the dog and one of the cats to the vet this month, so that was a bit of a bigger expense, and we also got life insurance on both myself and my husband now, so we started the monthly payments on that this month.  (Hmmm… Should I do a post about our life insurance?)  And another reason for the higher expenses is that we started buying Christmas gifts and we sent some gifts to family overseas.

Last year, November was another very frugal month for us (lowest month in 2015!).  We came in just over $6000.  But as I mentioned in the last update, I was away for work for a lot of October and November last year, so I am not sure that it is truly representative of our lifestyle or just a fluke…

And now for a quick recap of my finance-related goals for 2016:

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Follow-Up On My Email Decluttering

As a part of my 2015 decluttering goals, I scheduled week #3 to be decluttering my email inboxes.  I posted my results after my first round of decluttering, but I didn’t make huge progress, so I left is as a sort of “to be completed and maintained” type of task.  I have just recently totally changed up my email process, so I thought it was about time to do a quick follow up post.

My original total of emails was: 9300 + 1000 + 100 + 100 + 30 = 10530

After my first round of decluttering my total was: 6170 + 850 + 0 + 20 + 20 = 7060

And then Alicia from Financial Diffraction (who is no longer blogging it appears) introduced me to the Email Game.  It changed my email decluttering task from boring and monotonous, to a game to get points.  I like points.  :)

It worked for a while, and I was slowly bringing down my total… but then I got lazy… and well… I stopped playing the game and stopped deleting emails and just started letting them add up again… Every so often I’d take some time to delete emails, but most of the time, I’d just let them accumulate…

But that has all changed now!  Last week, while I was finally attempting to finish reading the “Getting Things Done” book by David Allen, I decided to check the totals again to see where I stand, and start implementing the GTD process with my emails.  (Side note, I once again did not finish reading the book before I had to return it to the library…) Continue reading

If I had a Million Dollars…

one-million-dollars

Last week, Sarah and Scott over at Couple of Sense wrote a post titled “What Would You Do With A Million Dollars?”  Their post went down the rabbit hole of how a million dollars isn’t really that much these days…  and then discussed what they would want as their cash number to be able to quit work and buy a house…  But you can go read that post and see what they discussed…

Anyway, it got the wheels turning in my head about what I would do with a million dollars and what a random million would do to my finances… So I decided to play a little game…

Let’s say that I was somehow given $1,000,000.  Straight up, no tax implications or whatever (it keeps my game simple).  What would I do with it and how would it help me retire?  I have once done a post where I basically discovered that at my current rate I will basically never retire… But maybe a $1,000,000 boost will help me?

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My Mortgage Renewal – Part 2

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Earlier this week I posted the first part of this process, which was going through the original plan and seeing what I did or didn’t actually complete.  I was pleasantly surprised by the results.  I actually did do most of the list!

But, that post didn’t cover any of the specific details of our renewal, so I promised I would share that in another post.  So let’s get to it.

First up, let’s do a little background.  My husband and I bought our house in the December of 2013.  We bought it the first day on the market and though we paid slightly over asking price, we asked for a long closing time because we had to sell my townhouse and I still think we got a great deal.  So we moved in to the house in March of 2014.

The house itself was pretty clean, well maintained and livable, but definitely not updated.  We had big dreams of renovations, but had to wait a while before we could fund anything major.  But even without any updates to the house, the market has done what the market has done, and the value of the house has increased substantially. Continue reading

My Mortgage Renewal – Part 1

mortgage

As I’ve mentioned since the beginning of the year, our mortgage was up for renewal November 1st.  Well that date has come and gone, so you might be wondering what happened?

Way back in February I put together a plan of 17 steps to follow in preparation of everything that I thought we’d need and want to do before the renewal.  We didn’t exactly follow the plan, but we did do quite a bit…

  1. Discuss the plan with my husband.
    I’m not totally sure that I actually shared the full plan with him at any point, but we did discuss all the things we wanted to do as preparation for the renewal.  So… Done!
  2. Research Bank Accounts.
    I did do some research for bank accounts, and posted about it… so… Done!
  3. Ask Current Bank About Cancellation Fees.
    Yeah, I never really did that… And it didn’t really matter because we waited until the end to get our new mortgage, so we didn’t need to worry about the cancellation fees… Not Done, but OK.
  4. Ask Current Bank About Property Tax Account
    I asked my current bank and they informed me that whatever cash is left in that fund would be rolled in to the payout amount, and that my new mortgage would have to start from scratch if we choose to go with the same set up.  So… Done!
  5. Research Advertised Mortgage Rates at Some of the Major Banks
    Thanks to Jordann at My Alternate Life, I learned about RateHub.ca and did quite a bit of research through them to figure out what the going rates were.  Another one Done!
  6. Visit 2-3 Banks/Brokers to Discuss Options for Mortgages Continue reading

Friends

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I started writing this post almost three weeks ago now, when I had finally arrived home after about 3 weeks away for various reasons.  Amazingly, the day I started writing this post, Cait Flanders published a post that was so fitting to what I was trying to convey, I wondered if somehow we had some psychic connection (side note – I don’t really think that we do, it was just a strange coincidence).

Anyway, after reading that post, I was pretty much ready to abandon this post because Cait is such a great writer, there was no way that I could convey my thoughts in a way that was any better.  I’m also not sure this post will fit in to any of the existing categories on my blog, but since I haven’t really been home lately, I don’t have any of the typical things to post about… And on my 3 hour drive alone the other night, I got to thinking… That can be dangerous when you are alone sometimes, but after an amazing fun weekend with 3 of my good girl friends, it was all very positive.

I think I’ve posted now that I am an engineer.  Being a female engineer is still not super common, and during my time at university, there were only a few girls in my year.  Of those girls, for some reason, 4 of us seemed to stick together after graduation.  It’s not to say that we weren’t friends with other girls in the program, but for whatever reason, now that we have been out of school for 10 years, the 4 of us still manage to stay in touch and be good friends. Continue reading

November 2016 Financial Update

October was a crazy month… Lots going on and so it flew by while I struggled to keep up with life… As such, the blog fell to the side and I only published a few posts.  But, here we are in a new month, so time for another financial update.

October Spending

After successfully bringing our spending down in September, we have come back up again for October.  The goal is to be below the average from last year of $7700, but October came in at $8300… This total includes our mortgage, utilities and normal monthly costs, but didn’t count special spending that we saved up for (planned spending as I call it).

october-2016-spending

Because of the mortgage renewal process that we are finishing up right now, we had some one time expenses related to the mortgage, so that category is up a bit from normal… That of course will level out again for another 5 years of consistent payments after this month.  The other category that was crazy high was our food & drink spending.  Lots of eating out… Bad us!  Hopefully we can bring November down because you know December is always an expensive month.

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