May 8/18 – vacation

My hubby and I and his family are on the most wonderful vacation. His family comes to this place regularly and it is the epitome of consumer culture. You can have anything you want and eat anything you want.

I’m so proud of my hunny and his family. We are doing lots of meal sharing instead of eating a whole plate per person. We are doing tons of walking and I have gone to the gym and took a yoga class. I don’t think the calories burned will make up for vacation eating but I’m still feeling good.

My hubby talked about coming here annually for many years which has opened up a conversation about our finances. He doesn’t like thinking about what the future looks like while I am a planner to the extreme. I think we balance each other out very well this way.

We talked about how saving more could facilitate this dream. Or how delaying a car purchase can help. We talked about how the rental properties fit into this scenario and how aggressively we can take on new property.

I think we need 10 paid off rentals to live comfortably. Right now we have two half paid off condos that are working well. One paid that will each give us $700 monthly income. With 10, that’s $7000 income per month. The risk is our investment is concentrated in one asset.

When we get home I’ll investigate how we might buy a 3rd unit. There are several for sale these days and prices have come down so it’s a good time to buy. Then we would have 3 on the way to the 10 we need.

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Apr 30/18 – April spending

Time for my monthly breakdown of where the money went.

This April we went out 6 times and spent $173, while last year we spent money at restaurants 12 times and spent $237. This year’s spend included a birthday dinner for my husband and a congratulatory dinner for a colleague. We are getting closer to our goal of eating out once a week or less.

Transportation spending was low – $103 for my bus pass. I didn’t put gas in my car the whole month! I turned my car in yesterday which is going to save us about $610 per month (insurance and lease). I’m hoping my husband’s car will last another 6 months (it is burning oil, and he just spent a $1000 on it to fix…). I’ve increased one of our mortgage payments by $600 so we don’t just spend it. Last year I spend $287.92 on gas (my commute was 33 km each way).

Retail and grocery spending this month was out of control. 23 purchases totaling $686.96. I knew this was going to be high because of the events through the month (celebrating birthdays for my mother, brother, husband as well as a stagette and bridal shower). I spent $471.04 on gifts. This was surprisingly less than last year, which I spent $750.75 on 23 purchases (including a weekend trip to visit my sister in law in BC).

My total spend in April this year was $1971.91 (includes $478 utilities) compared to last year’s total spend $3176.42 (still doing home renovations, not including utilities).

I am interested to see how May spending goes. I am hoping it is very low, considering we will be on vacation. We will be eating out a bunch but our utilities, grocery, and transportation costs will be considerably less.

Apr 26/18 – school

I’m thinking of going back to school. After my self pity party the other day I’ve decided to take some actions.

Right now I’m manage a bank. With this bank I’ve had a bunch of different roles (call centre, teller, front desk, 2 levels of personal banker, 2 financial advisor positions, and 3 leadership). I’m in a role now that might allow time for outside education. Which might open some doors for me. I feel stuck in retail banking, all my experience is in retail and my education doesn’t give a basis to go anywhere else.

I’m considering starting a diploma program in accounting at a local college. This would be a two to five year program, with the opportunity to continue to an accounting degree from a university. I would still work full time, and would take evening or online courses. I spoke to my boss as well who advised I could take vacation days weekly on Mondays to go to class (or something along those lines).

An education with accounting may lead to opportunities in commercial banking or financial analysis. It will also help with my rental property business, and could lead to a nice side gig of book keeping or tax prep. While not necessarily lucrative, these might have an attractive work-life balance.

I put my application in yesterday. My husband is on board. I need to finish my last choose from the bank (investment management techniques) this summer before I start.

Apr 23/18 – Me time

April has just been crazy. For whatever reason everything is happening in April.

I’m a person who needs some time alone to recharge, like a whole Saturday as an example, or three weeknights in a row.

I haven’t had this in April. I’m getting tired and feeling less patient. When someone asks for my time I feel irritated.

When I’m tired I also make ridiculous mistakes. Like yesterday.

I didn’t have time to meal prep on Sunday. I was up early for a beautiful brunch with my parents and brother, which I thoroughly enjoyed. I went directly from brunch to the mall to meet my in laws and my husband who had just come home from a weekend trip with his father. We shopped all afternoon together (malls are amazing places and make me feel so defeated in my own waste reduction effort) and then grabbed dinner at a restaurant there (I brought my container for leftovers, it was great!). From dinner we went to a concert – The Two Cellos. They were amazing! A nice mix of mellow and rock. It was a lovely show.

So no time to make lunches for the week, but it worked out as my husband has Mondays off and I had leftovers. I figured I would make my lunches Monday night. Well, that didn’t go as planned. My parents had an extra ticket for Nat Geo live and asked if I could go with them. I of course jumped at the opportunity to hear stories from an exotic traveler. The talk was called Standing at the Water’s Edge given by the biologist and photographer Cristina Mittermeier. She is an ecological activist and spoke about the human impact on the ocean. It certainly made me think about going vegetarian and gave me another opportunity to consider what I can do to have a smaller foot print. Again, another lovely dinner with my parents and my brother, and an interesting and thought provoking discussion.

I got home at about 10 pm with no leftovers and no lunch for tomorrow. My lovely husband had spent the day getting us a bit more organized before our vacation. He did not spend it getting groceries or thinking about what we were going to eat for the week. We put a loaf of bread on (trying French bread this time), and I put a pot of quinoa on to make a salad for the rest of the week. We then went upstairs and I finished up our income taxes (needs to be done before we leave) and put my jammies on. And forgot about the quinoa. Our kitchen was full of smoke. I feel so dumb I forgot about it! Thank goodness the burning was contained to the pot! I was able to salvage about half the quinoa for my salad and with the bread that will have to do for my lunches for the week.

Just so much to do, so many people to see, and lots to think about. I’m exhausted.

Apr 21/18 – going car free

It’s my last weekend with a car.  I’ve decided to try going car free. On 5/7 days my car just sits on the street and costs money. I figure giving it up we’ll save us about 550 per month (car payment and insurance).

I cleared all my things out of it to get ready to turn it in and I found myself feeling a bit sad. I’ve only had it for a year but it’s taken me a lot of places. It used to take me to my favorite job (now I take the train), it’s taken us to Fernie several times, and out to visit family and friends around the city. I’m still going to do all those things of course, they will just take longer to do.

I hope that saving that money every month will help me feel better about where we are at in life. I’m guessing probably not, but hoping.

Apr 19/18 – comparison is the thief of joy

I haven’t been feeling myself lately. We have been spending time with our friends a lot recently and it is making me feel so behind in my life.

I’m not going to have a job (with my current company) that pays 500k per year, we don’t own a fancy new house and our mortgage balance is still high, our friends are all having kids and we don’t have any, I’m feeling defeated in our choices.

There are a couple friends we see on occasion that tell me I need to change jobs ASAP, that my job won’t exist at some point soon. I agree, I think I have 5 to 10 years before risk of elimination. I do need to consider what I want to do next. I know I’m not interested in going back to school. It certainly is challenging to think about because the possibilities are so broad.

I really enjoy my job most days, and I’m proud to work for the company I’m with. I know if we continue saving and paying down our mortgage we’ll be in great shape. I’m trying to find ways to be more frugal and consider my spending. This month seems like a big step back with all the spending happening (2 birthdays, 1 stagette, 1 bridal shower). Next month I don’t anticipate will be any better (two vacations planned, one with family and one for a wedding).

I am turning my car in this month to go car free, which will save our house about $600 per month. It’s not enough to make me feel like we’re getting ahead, but it’s something. My husband’s car is having all sorts of issues though, and when he replaces he wants to buy something brand new and fancy (spending 40k!). We’ll have to finance this, which I find frustrating. He doesn’t spend money on much and he loves cars, so I’m willing to do this. The issue is he doesn’t want me to be car free either. This means he wants to keep his current car (could provide 5k towards the purchase). This will totally eliminate the financial advantage of turning my car in as the $600 monthly will need to be paid on the new car! I’m hoping to put this new car purchase off for a year to at least save more down payment.

I’m tired. Maybe I shouldn’t care about this stuff. It seems like 80% of the population just doesn’t think about their finances and are happily living their lives. I don’t know how to not care.

Maybe I’ll make something this weekend that will help me feel better. I’d say tonight but I’m working from 730 am to 9pm. *sigh*

 

Apr 17/18 – bread pudding

I went to Fernie this past weekend with my brother ‘in the van’. We had a lovely time driving up with a family friend and chatting. My brother’s van is a piece of art, decorated and spiffed up for a road trip he took a couple years ago. He lived out of it with his girlfriend for 3 months. It’s an old van and it makes lots of different sounds, thankfully none are engine related.

We went up to meet my parents and so my brother could compete in the classic powder pedal paddle race (he was the paddle). We watched the race and helped pull the canoes out of the water at the end.  The costumes were fantastic (there are awards for this) and it was overall just clean good fun. My dad is thinking about a family team for next year. We’ll see.

Before I left for the weekend I made my hunny cinnamon raisin bread in our new to us bread maker. It turned out awesome but was a lot of bread for one man to eat! There was still some left last night and it was stale to say the least. I decided to use it instead of throwing it out.

I made bread pudding! I followed this recipe – https://www.mccormick.com/recipes/dessert/apple-raisin-bread-pudding# . Because it was cinnamon raisin bread already I left out the raisins. I didn’t have allspice so I used a bit of nutmeg, a pinch of ginger, and a pinch of cloves instead. I always thought bread pudding was so hard to make, but it’s really spiced French toast casserole. We had a ton of apples on hand and our eggs were past the date on the box. I did the egg trick where you put it in a glass of water, if it floats don’t eat it.

The bread pudding turned out perfectly. I decided I’d take it for breakfast for the rest of the week. I’m justifying it as French toast.