Want to save money? Ad Ignorance is Bliss.

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Humans love the idea of a deal. It triggers a strange part of our brain that makes us feel like we’ve won something. Like a “HA! I got product X at such a bargain. Those poor suckers who paid full price!”

The thing is, you didn’t really win if the sale was advertised. The retailer wanted you to know about it. If anything, you did them a favour by clearing out old inventory that they might have thrown out anyway, or they simply tricked you in thinking it was a sale when the sale is actually just a price point that’s always there.

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Frugal Approaches to Foreign Currency Exchange

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Frugality and efficiency go hand in hand. Us frugal folk – we’re weird, you see. We overbuy discounted things in bulk to save money and time in the future. We frequently talk the shortest route walking anywhere because any additional step would be inefficient. We are minimalists with little clutter (or at least we aspire to to be).

But one area where efficiency is simply difficult to achieve is when we shop elsewhere – specifically in other currencies. Left and right, the ability to transact in a currency other than the Canadian dollar is provided at sometimes ridiculous premiums of up to 10%.

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March 2018 Financial Update

March net worth

So remember how last month I was complaining how much I spent? I didn’t fare much better. In fact, I wound up spending even more money, courtesy of the car, a concert, and a bit more socializing out on the town. After two months of higher spending, I’m hoping I can use April to get back into my regular $2000/month spending range, give or take 10%. This month, however, I spent $2950.62, which is almost 30% more than my usual outlay amount.

Spending

Car Insurance $128.50
Car Maintenance $641.30
Car Parking $81.20
Cash $12.86
Clothing $1.78
Coffee $18.97
Dating $186.34
Entertainment $135.50
Fitness $37.67
Food $350.31
Gas $74.63
Grooming $53.99
Internet $22.01
Laundry $7.25
Medical $97.40
Networking $8.91
Phone $45.20
Rent $862.75
Supplies $64.05
Transit/Tolls $120.00

Non-Overheard Expenses

Car Maintenance ($641.30!!!) – Holy hell, is it expensive to own a car! I felt it especially this month. Even though I drive less than 8000 km a year, I had to renew my license plate sticker for $240 with Ministry of Transportation and perform a comprehensive maintenance on my vehicle as it hit its 5 year mark. As someone who doesn’t drive that frequently, I do wonder what the cost is for people who commute every day.

Clothing ($1.78) – My Amazon Chase VISA came to an end, so I used up my rewards points buying a fancy tie clip. This is the leftover amount.

Coffee ($18.97) – I’m an addict. I know. I buy one almost every day at work in the afternoon.

Dating ($186.34) – We took a day trip to Collingwood, Ontario one weekend and ate to our hearts’ content out there. Also included in this are 3 dinners together in Toronto and some coffees and desserts. This number has almost tripled since my girlfriend started working and living in Toronto… Is it the spending the new norm? Not sure yet…

Entertainment ($135.50) – I saw Glen Hansard live at the Danforth Music Hall (which was awesome by the way, but no way would I stand for 3 hours straight ever again), two dining out occasions with friends, and snacks for board games nights. It was the concert that did me in this month.

Fitness ($37.67) – I went to gym 4 times this month for $9 a visit! I can do better in April…

Food ($350.31) – This is about $70 higher than last month largely due to purchasing of spices and more bulk goods. I also bought lunch at work about 3 more times this month versus last, which really impacts the bottom line.

Gas ($74.63) – Collingwood road trip gas is built into here, but also gas prices have been insane these days.

Medical ($97.40) – I have 90% coverage through my employer. This amount was 10% co-pay for orthotics, a massage, and some over the counter meds.

Networking ($8.91) – A beer to hear about a prospective job from an ex-classmate. I turned it down.

Supplies ($64.05) – I hate Costco. But now I have barrels of shampoo!

Investment Income (+$268.30)

Inclusive of savings accounts, realized gains and dividend income, I netted $268.30 passively, which brings my total for the first two months of the year to $793.85.

Net Worth Update (+$5,399.16)

A HUGE jump up, especially compared to last month. I credit volatile markets reporting in my favour at this moment in time, a three paycheck month, a neat honorarium from a side hustle lecturing at a university, and a final retroactive pay from my previous employer. That brought this month’s savings rate to just over 67%.

This brings my net worth to $156,227.63.

We Will All Feel the Financial Pinch

Money will inevitably get tighter. Always.

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My sister confided in me how difficult her life is to keep financially afloat. A kid in daycare. Car payments. A mortgage. Flat income growth. This was a woman who was living the life not less than 5 years ago, living rent-free at home, making almost six-figures and saving close to 95% of her take home pay. Now? Not so much.

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Why I despise tax refunds

A refund? No thank you.

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Sometime in April 2015, I logged into my bank account and saw the CRA had deposited over $7,200 into my checking account. My tax refund had come through. I did a little jig and then slapped myself across the face for putting myself in that position.

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