Give Me Back My Five Bucks

April 2016 Goals: Recap

The last two weekends have been relatively quiet. After our trip to Squamish, we’ve basically been hermits. I really appreciate that RD has about the same capacity for socializing as me, so we’ve been spending a lot of time relaxing, going for walks, climbing, and we even went out for a 3 hour bike ride over the weekend. It’s been nice, and the gorgeous weather here in Vancouver has gotten me really excited for a fun summer.

Yesterday we took the SkyTrain downtown and watched the finish of the BMO Marathon. It was so inspiring to see so many people achieving their goals – from the elite athletes to the recreational runners. I loved it, and it’s really making me reconsider foot surgery so that I can go back to running again. There’s no good time to have the surgery, so it’s something I’m going to have to seriously.

I was over budget this month, which is pretty good considering we bought a brand new backpacking tent. I had been eyeing it for months, and we definitely paid a premium to get one of the lightest tents possible. Thankfully it was a shared expense, but my half of the purchase still put me over budget by almost $100 in the Travel category. :)

One area that I’m impressed with was the drop in our hydro bill. We’ve only had two bills since moving into our house (BC Hydro bills every 2 months). Our first bill back in February was $197.98. This bill was nearly 50% less, coming in at almost exactly $100. We even had a visit from the contractor who built this little laneway, and when he asked what our hydro bills were, he was impressed. It’s not exactly the $15/month I was paying at my old place, but I can definitely get on board with paying $100 ($25 each per month).

04-April2016-Recap

Over Budget:

  • Entertainment – we went out to eat one too many times this month. :) But since we won’t be going out to any restaurants next month, I’m okay with that.
  • Travel – we bought a tent! It was a planned purchase, we just didn’t think we’d be buying it so soon. But RD thought it’d be a good idea for me to test it out on my camping trip next month with Cait, so we bought it earlier than expected. After tax, the tent came to $532.
  • Miscellaneous – I started brewing kombucha! I would have been under budget had I not needed to buy a heating belt. But more to come on my kombucha home brewing adventures. :)

Income & Savings:

This month I saved 52% of my income, but didn’t bring in any freelance income this month. I invoiced out for $2,750, have $5,000 pending, and signed contracts for about $3,000 in new work for May. So the money is coming, just not this month. :)

April 2016 Goals:

  • Practice yoga – CHECK! I didn’t go to the yoga studio like I had intended, but I consistently stretched and did light yoga throughout the month at home. I still have that gift certificate to YYoga and saw that they have a promotion going on (unlimited yoga for a month for $40) – so I’m going to start going in May.
  • Run twice – FAIL. I did not run because my foot started acting up.
  • Do my taxes and get organized for next year – PASS. I did my taxes, but did not get myself as organized as I would have liked for next year.
  • Read more oftenCHECK! I’ve been turning off Netflix and reading every few days.

What rock climbing and personal finance have in common

IMG_9625Over the past couple months, I’ve become quite passionate about rock climbing again. What was once my favourite sport is quickly rising up the ranks again, and I find myself getting excited for the next scheduled climbing day.

Okay leave it to a personal finance nerd to find similarities in money and sport. :) But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the lessons I’ve learned through climbing and personal finance are pretty interchangeable.

Here are just a few examples:

Learn from other people

I love watching other climbers because you can learn so much from them. We have been obsessed with watching climbing competitions on YouTube lately. And even watching RD try to climb a route completely different than I what I had previously tried is both interesting and humbling. Much like personal finance, there isn’t one right way to do anything. All of our decisions are based on our previous experience, the tools that we have on hand, and how we hope to achieve the next problem. Learning from others gives a different perspective – and maybe their way of working through a difficult move is just what you’ve been looking for – or maybe the other person is a foot taller than you and holds that they can reach easily are the ones that you’ll have to jump for. :)

Don’t compare yourself to others

This is something I struggle with both in personal finance and in climbing. It can be easy to be jealous of other people’s accomplishments. Maybe they earn more money than you, or maybe they can easily run up a route you’ve been working for weeks on. But there will always be someone richer/smarter/faster/stronger than you, and it makes no sense to compete against anyone else but yourself.

climbingValue the small wins

It’s important to focus on the process and the improvement you make every time you try – instead of always looking for the end result, or the failures you’ve had along the way. I’ve been working on one route for ages … I’ve climbed harder routes, but for some reason, I couldn’t get past the first sequence of moves. It seemed impossible, and it was demoralizing when I saw RD easily reach for a hold that I struggled for a week to even touch. But each time I tried, I got a little bit closer … until one day I jumped, grabbed the hold, and continued on with the climb. But instead of focusing on the accomplishment of completing the first sequence, I was bummed that I had to bow out half way up the route because of another problem.

It wasn’t until later on that day when I was home, that I realized what I had accomplished. I didn’t finish the route, but I got a heck of a lot closer than I ever had before. And the process of trying (and not giving up) is something that I needed to see and value and be proud of.

Push yourself to achieve more

When I was getting out of debt, I pushed myself to pay off my debt as fast as I could. And when I didn’t think I could squeeze an extra dollar out of my budget, I found a way. There’s always more we can do to achieve our goals – whether it’s working a bit of overtime, finding a part-time job, saying no to a second beer (and actually saving that cash), or gathering all the energy you can muster to get yourself to the next hold on the wall. Which leads me to my next point…

Sometimes it’s really uncomfortable

You know the morning after you’ve worked out hard? All your muscles are sore and you can barely roll out of bed… it’s a hurt-so-good type of feeling, because your body aches, but it only serves as a reminder of how hard you worked the day before. I love that feeling! And it’s the same as with personal finance. When I can close my browser tab with items in my shopping cart – even though I really wanted those sweaters – is a pretty amazing and empowering feeling for me. I was really horrible with my money for a long time, so being able to say no because it doesn’t align with my current short-term financial goals is an accomplishment to be proud of every single time.

It’s okay to fail

A few weeks ago I had a horrible session at the gym. I couldn’t finish a single climb. Routes I’ve done multiple times before all of a sudden became too challenging. And each failed climb made me grumpier and more miserable. I felt bad for RD, because as much as I wanted to be cheerful, I was just wallowing. But he reminded me that it’s okay to have a crappy session – or even a crappy week. And the same goes with personal finance. It’s okay to slip up every once in a while, as long as you acknowledge your mistakes and keep trying to improve.

There’s just something about climbing that draws me in. I love that even though it’s an individual pursuit, it requires good communication, problem solving, and teamwork – much like personal finance. :) And when I do top a problem that I’ve been working on for weeks? Sure, it’s satisfying. But months later, what I’ll remember and learn from is an interesting footwork sequence, or a couple quick power moves that felt really good, or the endurance that it took to get me to the end. So even though the goal was accomplished, it was the work that got me there that I’ll benefit from the most.

CIBC launches new Smart™ Account offering flexible banking

Note: this post was sponsored by CIBC, however the views and opinions expressed are my own.

CIBCOver the last few years, my banking habits have changed from writing personal cheques to switching to Interac e-Transfers. It just makes sense – the money comes out of my bank and into the other person’s bank instantly – no more waiting around for cheques to clear. I send e-Transfers to pay my rent, monthly parking (when I had it), and RD and I frequently settle up our bigger expenses through e-Transfer.

My only issue is that my everyday bank charges $1 per e-Transfer – which isn’t much, but can definitely add up if you’re transferring cash on a regular basis. In fact, I’d send more e-Transfers every month if it weren’t for the cost … meaning RD and I settle up our expenses less frequently than I’d like. :)

That’s why I was interested in CIBC’s new Smart Account. What’s interesting about this bank account is that it offers flexible fees (which are capped monthly) – and automatically adjusts based on each person’s banking needs during that month.

Here’s how it works:

With the CIBC Smart Account, you will pay $4.95 per month for up to 12 transactions. Each additional transaction costs $1.25 to a cap of $14.95 per month for unlimited transactions. What I like about this is the flexibility – my current chequing account merely acts as a way to pay off my credit card balance on a weekly basis. I don’t make any purchases, so I can see myself staying within 10-12 transactions per month. But even better – Interac e-Transfers are included as everyday transactions, instead of as a separate charge. I bet with the amount of e-Transfers I make per month, it’d come pretty close to the $4.95 basic fee for this account.

As a side note, the monthly $4.95 fee is waived if you maintain a minimum daily balance of $3,000, and have a recurring direct deposit, or two pre-authorized payments each month. AND you can actually open up a Smart Account without going into the branch – it can all be done through the CIBC mobile banking app. That’s my kind of feature! :)

Check out this cute video of Percy explaining how this bank account worked for him:

I love how there are more and more banking options becoming available to Canadians. It’s not just about free chequing accounts anymore, it’s about finding a product that works best with what you need. And the CIBC Smart Account could definitely work for someone whose banking needs change from month to month, or someone who wants to take advantage of frequent Interac e-Transfers.

For more information on the CIBC Smart Account, please visit CIBC.com

How often do you send Interac e-Transfers per month?
Do you think the CIBC Smart Account would fit your current banking needs?

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