2017: A Personal Finance Year in Review

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2017 was a mixed bag of feelings. Between the joys of travel (a post on my trip to Japan in April is coming soon…), a new job, and starting this blog in June, the year was also mixed in with some sadness. The passing of my girlfriend’s father at 65 particularly stands out  as a moment that kickstarted me on starting this blog.

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Boxing Day: The Day I Didn’t Shop.

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July. November. December. Three dates marked on many a shoppers’ calendar. And why not? There is honestly so much bold and CAPS happening. On mailed flyers. In emails. On websites. In storefronts. It’s like retailers collectively decide to work together to tell you: “GO SHOPPING. PLEASE.

Continue reading “Boxing Day: The Day I Didn’t Shop.”

Getting Paid to Monitor Your Health.

Don’t waste your hard-earned benefits.

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Not so long ago, I was living in the proverbial millennial malcontent. Underpaid, underemployed, and feeling defeated. Whatever jobs I secured were usually on a part time or contract basis and missing things like benefits, vacation time, or sick days.

Even though I was young and healthy (I like to imagine I still am J), the reality was that I was always scared. Scared of the flu. Scared of slipping on ice and hurting myself. Scared of needing emergency dental surgery. I was acutely aware that any illness or injury could keep me unemployed and even more cash strapped.

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Quintupling My Salary in 7 Years

From $20K to $110K.

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I remember staring at my bank account in 2011.

It was pay day and I had received my meagre $800 paycheck for two weeks of full time work. I had no benefits, no vacation time, no overtime pay – nothing but a small suitcase of stuff and my fellow broke colleagues. I’m pretty sure we ate Kraft Dinner.

This was my reality that I lived in for a year working in the arts. But that $20,000 salary experience was invaluable. It taught me frugality and gave me the ambition and drive to generate a higher income.

*Note: This post focuses on strictly my career after graduation. But if you’d like to know –  I worked in retail for about 4 years throughout my Bachelor’s degree renting out DVDs (Gasp!). Yes. I am a dinosaur. I also had a job one summer where I temporarily paused my retail job to dress up as a character at a tourism place and made an insane $29 an hour. That’s another story, though.

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November 2017 Financial Update

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November. The worst month of the year. Dreary. Long. And full of consumerist temptation in the form of Black Friday and Christmas shopping.

Spending went up, thanks to some of that shopping but all in all I had an amazing month. I got a job offer for a new gig with a 24% increase in salary which I start in December, scored a semi-kind of bonus at work, and got offered a side hustle speaking gig for 2018. All in all, that gave me a savings rate of 69.22% despite spending $2554.23.

So dreary? Yes. But life goals are chugging along just fine.

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Oversubscribed

And why I don’t even have Netflix.

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As consumers, we are over-contracted with pay-for-service subscriptions these days. Such as:

  • Fitness clubs
  • Home phone (ha!)
  • Cell phone
  • Home internet
  • Cable television
  • Newspapers
  • Banking plans (technically not a subscription service… but it kind of is, right?)
  • Costco
  • Amazon Prime
  • Netflix
  • Spotify
  • Sirius XM Radio
  • Insurance Plans
  • Software Plans

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Savings accounts & investment accounts – what’s the right balance?

Bad things happen. Best be prepared.

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I have lived most of my life on financial edge. First it was school, then it was contract jobs. There was never a moment of financial stability until about 2 years ago when I transitioned into full-time employment.

In that time between steady job and what felt like drifting, I was a hoarder. I’d save as much as my pay check as I could and stick it in a savings account, watching it grow a measly 0.5% at the time (this is pre-discovery of Tangerine and EQ Bank). My savings allocations were basically 100% emergency fund, 0% investments.

Continue reading “Savings accounts & investment accounts – what’s the right balance?”