Give Me Back My Five Bucks - a quest for financial independence

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October 2014 Goals: Recap

As you can tell, I stopped posting my weekly spending recaps. I started doing them just as a reminder for myself, and since you guys seem pretty divided about them, I thought I’d just stop posting them altogether. :)

This was a decent month. I went over a little on my budget due to an oil change I forgot I needed to have done, but overall I’m pretty happy considering it was a really social and event-filled month. I went to TheatreSports twice, saw a VIFF movie, two concerts, a couple dinners out with friends, and a Halloween party. Not to mention buying two birthday presents this month (noted in the ‘Miscellaneous’ category).

10-Oct-Recap

 Over Budget:

  • Utilities – I didn’t think I’d be turning on the heat this early in the year, but I did. And I paid for it. :)
  • Car & Transportation – I did a lot of driving this month, and it also included an oil change and a new air filter.

Net Worth Change: + $1,463 (1.44%)

Even though the stock market was up and down this month (mostly down), I still managed to post a small gain. This was due to contributions to my TFSA, RRSP, and my mortgage payments.

October 2014 Goals:

  • Sign up for education info sessions. CHECK! I signed up for two sessions. The first one is in 2 weeks, and the next one is 2 weeks after that. I’m excited to learn more. It feels empowering being able to take control of my future and improve myself.
  • Rebalance my Retirement Portfolio. CHECK! I didn’t have to move around too much money, but it was good to take a look at what my investments have been doing over the past year. Sometimes I feel like my contributions aren’t adding up as quickly as I want them to, but I need to remember that I won’t need this money for another 25-30 years. :)
  • Pull my credit report. CHECK! Everything looks normal to me.
  • Declutter my house. PASS. I cleaned up, but definitely didn’t declutter. Typical.

Looking at surgery

New runners: Brooks Adrenaline!Earlier this year, I mentioned how I wanted to put big travel plans on hold because I could have upcoming medical expenses that could cost me thousands. Well, now that I know a little bit more about the cost, I can share with you. :)

You probably know I’ve been having foot problems for over a year. After finding a passion for distance running last year, I injured myself in August of last year. Since then, I’ve stopped and started training programs a couple of times due to this nagging injury. Well, a few weeks ago I finally went to see a podiatrist, got x-rays, and today I went in and discussed the options available to me.

Basically, I need to get bunion surgery at some point. The bones in my big toe are drifting farther away from my foot, and surgery is the only answer to permanently fixing my problem. Otherwise it’s only going to get worse.

It will cost a total of $6,000 for both feet through the podiatrist (each foot has to be done separately), plus a recovery time of 4-5 weeks for each surgery. 2 weeks in a cast (1 week at home), and then 2-3 weeks of recovery/no exercise until I can start moving again. The cost of the surgery doesn’t worry me as much as the actual recovery, but $6,000 is still quite a lot of money.

So the only other option I have is to get a referral from my doctor to see an orthopedic surgeon. The same procedure done by an orthopedic surgeon should be covered under medical. But the problem is, it’s hard to get into see a surgeon, and the wait time could be extremely long (versus just a month or two with the podiatrist). I’ve booked an appointment to see my doctor in order to get that orthopedic surgeon referral, so fingers crossed! :)

In the meantime, I’m getting custom orthotics made by the podiatrist (covered under my extended health insurance). It won’t solve my problem, and my feet will still hurt, but it will help a little bit. And my bones will stop moving as fast as they have been.

Has anyone done this surgery before? I’d love to hear about cost and recovery time!

It’s time to go back to school

It was my birthday earlier this week, and have spent a lot of time reflecting on what I’ve done so far in life. When I was younger, I always thought I’d be married with kids, and have a beautiful house as well as a flourishing career by the time I was 30. Well, I don’t have any of these things, but life isn’t so bad. :)

I don’t have a house, but I do have a townhouse. Buying my own home was a goal I’ve had for many years, and paying for it myself makes it extra special. It took me 6 years to save for that down payment, but when I finally had those house keys in my hand… it was definitely worth it. As for owning a house? That’s a dream I’m going to have to let go for a long time if I want to stay in the Vancouver area. I’m not willing to live any further out in the suburbs than I already am, and in fact my next move (whenever that is) will likely be closer into the heart of Vancouver.

I’m thankful that I still look young enough to get ID’d buying lottery tickets and alcohol. And while my field hockey skills are definitely fading, every year (when I’m not injured), I’m able to run faster and longer distances. I’m also healthier than I’ve been in years, and have successfully transitioned to a vegetarian diet, which I’m happy about.

I’ve had some pretty great relationships even though I’m not married. Some ended poorly, yes, that’s true. But some ended well, and I got to explore the world, learn about myself, and figure out exactly what I want. Which leads me to today, where I’ve been dating a great guy and we just celebrated one year together. :)

As for my career, that’s a funny one. I used to think I was doing really well for myself. I was confident in my full-time job, and I was working hard at my side projects. But then, life happened. I started focusing on buildng stronger relationships with my friends and loved ones. And then all of a sudden, I didn’t have time to work 80 hours a week anymore. Or rather, I didn’t want to.

And now, I feel like my career has stalled a bit. Sure, I still believe I’m employable. I have well-rounded skills, and even in a tough job market, I’m always able to find work with good companies. But I’m not growing, and I’m beginning to realize that in order to be happy in my career, I need to continue to learn and develop my skills. I’m not satisfied where I am, and education will help me take the next step in my career.

One of my goals for 2014 was to start looking into management programs, and I think I’ve narrowed my choices down to two programs at two different universities. Both are part-time (one is completely online, and one is evenings and weekends), and both will give me a business management certificate.

To be honest, the major reason why I haven’t aggressively pursued further education until now is the cost. I’m not willing to take out student loans, and I’ve had so many other life goals I wanted to achieve before I put my money into myself. But now’s the time, and thankfully it looks like my employer is willing to entertain the idea of helping me with some of the cost.

I’ve signed up to attend information sessions for both of these programs, and have emailed briefly with the coordinators. There are significant differences to these programs – the major one being the length of time required. One is 6 courses, and the other is 14. I’m leaning towards the longer one, but can’t say for sure until I learn more about them at the info sessions.
My goal is to be taking classes as early as January (more realistically, the spring/summer), and by this time next year, I’ll be well on my way to bettering myself and my future.31 was a fun year, but I think 32 is going to be pretty great as well. :)

Building up my savings

Now that summer is over, I really want to focus on building up my non-retirement savings. Next year will likely be an expensive year for me, because I’d like to travel (already have a few places in mind), and I’d also like to put some money into my townhouse.

I haven’t created a budget yet because I don’t know where I want to go, and I don’t know exactly what I want to buy, but I do know I’ll need money for it. And since I’ve gotten into the habit of freely spending my money lately, I want to reign it in for the rest of the year.

The truth is, I don’t really need anything anyway. Whenever my family asks me what I want for my birthday or for Christmas this year, I can never come up with anything. Well, I want an iPhone 6, so I guess what I mean is I can never come up with anything realistic. :)

So here are my goals for the rest of the year:

  • No new clothes. I have enough to get me by. In fact, I should probably get rid of some of the stuff I don’t wear anymore!
  • No Starbucks. I’ve already been doing this one, and it will continue to the end of the year.
  • Pack my lunches more often. It’s about time management. I spend half my time at BF’s, and he’s not much of a lunch packer. So I need to figure this out for myself. Maybe it’s making an extra trip to the grocery store, or batch cooking and leaving a big tupperware of food in the fridge at work. Whatever it is, I need to figure it out.
  • No buying Kindle books. This is hard because I’m a fast reader, and I’m too impatient to wait for books to become available at the library. But I have a bunch of ebooks I haven’t read yet, and a few on my bookshelf as well. They should last me a few months at least.
  • Cook food at home. BF and I got into a habit during the summer of going to restaurants or grabbing take-out just so we could spend less time at home, and more time outside enjoying the summer. Now that the weather is coolling, I’m excited to roast vegetables, use my slow-cooker, and eat healthy meals at home.
  • Say no to things. If a friend suggests a restaurant that’s too expensive for me, or if there’s an activity I’m on the fence about, I’m going to say no and suggest something different.

Aside from these everyday ways to save money, I’m also thinking bigger. I’m going to try really hard to save 75% of my freelance income from now on, as well as all bonuses or raises I receive through work. Even though it’s going to be really tempting to upgrade my iPhone or get a new laptop, I know the money is better spent elsewhere. :)

Spending Recap: Sept. 29-Oct 5, 2014

Monday 29th
No Spend Day!

Tuesday 30th
+ $600 freelance income
$13.67 groceries

Wednesday 1st
$5.25 lunch

Thursday 2nd
$10.35 groceries

Friday 3rd
$12.50 lunch
$21.85 drinks

Saturday 4th
No Spend Day!

Sunday 5th
$20.53 Longtail Kitchen
$6 parking

Freelance Income: + $600
Expenses: - $90.15

TOTAL: + $509.85

After such a spendy holiday away, I was able to keep expenses relatively low this week. I filled up my tank with a gas card left over from September’s Hyundai loaner card, and ate low key meals at home during the work week. Although I did indulge in two lunches out – including Le Tigre Food Truck on Friday. :)

Friday night, BF and I went for a date night on Granville Island to watch an improv comedy show starring Colin Mochrie. It was awesome! We both loved it, although I couldn’t help but wish Ryan Stiles had also been there.

Both Saturday and Sunday I had field hockey games, which was nice to get back into after having missed the last two weekends. BF’s parents treated us to dinner on Saturday evening, and then I met up with my pal Cait on Sunday evening for a stroll around New Westminster and dinner at Longtail Kitchen. So yum.

How was your week of spending?