Level Up My YNAB Budget

You may have been expecting another Mins Game post today, but I’m still working on that… So I’m going to start on another topic that I haven’t touched on in a while… my finances! I haven’t done a financial update post in a long, long time… (Last one was June 2018.) But don’t worry, I haven’t stopped budgeting or using my beloved YNAB (You Need A Budget)… So today I wanted to give you a small update on how all that is going…

Note: this post is not sponsored in any way, I just really love YNAB.

I don’t think it’ll come as a surprise to anyone who has been reading my blog for a few years that I love YNAB. It’s a budgeting application that really speaks to me. Originally, when I started using it, it was a software that you purchased (one time purchase), and it used your own drop box account to share the budget between different computers or mobile apps. In recent years, they have moved to a web based app with an annual subscription fee, but you were still able to continue to use your one time purchased software if you wanted. And so I did, because I hate being pushed in to annual subscription fees…

But… Last fall, I decided to finally check out the new app (I think I was actually forced to because a new operating system on our home computer was no longer compatible with the older version that I had been using). They offer a free trial (34 days – so you can go through a full month – and if you use my referral link to sign up we can both get a free month!), which I did before I committed. I exported my existing budget data, and transferred it all to the new app… I didn’t want to lose any of the historical information stored in the years of budgeting that I had done. I will admit that there were some hiccups in the transfer, and the first month in the new app I have purposely noted that it is the “transition” month because there were some messy things I had to do to get the numbers to line up. But… since that process was done, I really liked the new features, and also appreciated that the synchronizing between devices was seamless. It was “supposed” to be before, but there were always weird things that didn’t mesh well when inputting on the phone app, then looking at them on the computer program…

Anyway, fast forward to last month, and I’ve been using the new app for a while, things are going pretty good. I figured I knew what I was doing with the app. I was using it well. We have been through a few changes in our finances, had some large expenses and gained some new debt, had some variable income… We are coming out the other side now, and things are starting to settle out, and then… BAM! I found the YNAB youtube channel… And man, the game changers that I have learned in the last few weeks of watching their videos… It’s not that I was using the app incorrectly, it’s just that there was so much more that I could do. And so I wanted to quickly go over some of those things and how they are helping me get ahead with out finances.

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Maternity / Parental Leave Planning

insung-yoon-369908.jpg

After my announcement that we are expecting a baby in March, I don’t want this blog to turn in to a mommy-blog (it may be a slight inevitability that things will move that direction, but I will resist as long as possible), but there are some financial things that should be worked out before the baby comes, and that is definitely something that I think fits in with this blog, so I will write about that…

In the ideal world, I would love to take a year (or more) off from my traditional job and take on the full time role of mum, but that’s probably not the best option for us.  (And please don’t take that the wrong way, I don’t think that being a stay-at-home mum is an easy job, it sounds quite tough, but from what I’ve heard it can be one of the most rewarding “jobs” there is.)

My income accounts for about 75-80% of our household income right now.  This hasn’t always been the case, but because my husband is currently doing some training to get the necessary certificates for the next step in his dream career, his income has definitely taken a hit lately.  I foresee his income eventually being equal to mine, or at least very close, but until then, we have to plan as if we are in the current income scenario.  I think that’s called worst case planning or something… Continue reading

1-Year Mortgage Anniversary

It has been 1 year since we re-financed our mortgage.  At the time, I posted two posts about it; the first was going over my to-do list for the renewal, and the second was all the details of our new mortgage.

While I am still waiting for the renovations to be actually completed, I am happy with our decision to use money out of the equity in our home for that purpose, even if it goes against a lot of traditional personal finance advice.  And, I am still happy with our decision to not make paying off the mortgage a priority at this point, since we have a nice low fixed rate of 2.34% for four more years.  Since rates have already started to increase, we will have to revisit that decision when we go to renew in four years, but until then we will probably just let it go on auto-pilot.  That being said, I wouldn’t be a personal finance geek if I didn’t play with numbers in a spreadsheet… And so, of course, I have done that with our mortgage…  Continue reading

Baby Step 3, or 4, or Both?

Sunflowers - Baby Steps

When I started this blog, I sort of thought I’d be more in the personal finance genre, but, honestly, I don’t think I ever really fit that mould, and, if I had to classify my blog, I guess I’d put it in more of a lifestyle category… But only my lifestyle… not a stylish lifestyle… So maybe it really is just a personal blog… I don’t really know…

Anyway, the point being, I don’t really write about much personal finance other than my monthly financial update posts.  I do, however, read and follow loads of personal finance and FIRE (financial independence & retire early) blogs.  In the personal finance world, most people are familiar with Dave Ramsey.  While I have never actually read any of his books or attended any seminars or anything of the like, I have read lots of blog posts about his methods, and have visited his website a few times…

The other day I read a post (can’t remember where now, sorry!) about his 7 baby steps and decided to take a look at them for myself and see where I stand… So, here’s my take on our status with respect to Dave Ramsey’s steps: Continue reading

2016 in Review: Financial Goals

At the beginning of 2016 I laid out 4 financial goals for 2016:
(I will label them 1 to 4 here, but they were actually goals 3 to 6 for 2016.  You can see a review of the rest of my goals for 2016 here and here…)

  1. Emergency Fund at $10,000
  2. Save for Planned Spending
  3. Net Worth & Retirement Savings
  4. Mortgage Renewal & Account Consolidation

And, though I didn’t give if an official goal, I also had the goal of keeping our monthly spending under the monthly average of 2015.  So, for the purpose of this review, we will give that the number 5.

5. Keep Monthly Spending Under $7700

I’ve reviewed them often enough throughout the year in my monthly financial updates, but here’s the year-end final review. 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

mortgage-part-2

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

I got my Credit Report… You should too!

As a part of the process I laid out for myself to get organized before going through my mortgage renewal, I wanted to take a look at my credit report so that I would be able to make sure that there weren’t any errors on it.  It is something that a lot of personal finance bloggers recommend doing at least once a year, and honestly, I hadn’t looked at my credit report since I signed up for some 1 month promotion for fraud protection (you know the deals I’m talking about… one month free, and they send you this crazy in-depth report on your credit, with your credit score, but if you don’t remember to cancel the trial, it’ll cost you $X every month… )

Anyway, I managed to get out of that without paying anything, but that was years and years ago… And since then I have had different credit cards, moved a couple times… Got married… Things have changed, so it is good to take a look and make sure that there isn’t anything fishy on the report.   Continue reading

Ru-Ru: Where “Auto”-Pilot Steered Me Wrong

When I started this blog, I was trying to get out of my rut of living in auto-pilot.  I wanted to be more aware of, not only my finances, but my life in general.  I wanted to live with intention.

I definitely feel like I have made strides in the right direction over the last year and a half, but when I was reading a recent post on the Frugalwoods blog about their recent car purchases, I was reminded of the time I bought my car… with a car loan… and then just left it on auto-pilot…

 

My Ru-Ru!

 

Ru-Ru is my first car.  I bought her a few months after I moved out of my parents’ place and in to my first condo, and I’ve had her ever since.  For the first couple months of living in my new condo, my work had a spare truck that they let me use while the normal driver went back to school for a few months to finish up.

So, of course, the moment the he got back from school, I was all of a sudden without the vehicle I had become accustomed to using… Which meant it was time to go buy one.

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