What I Gave Up for Lent (And Why)


While The Banker and I are not very religious, he grew up Catholic, and I Presbyterian. As a Catholic, he has given something up during the Lent period for most of his life. As a Presbyterian, we didn’t partake in this tradition growing up, but in high school I started to give something up for Lent, and have done it most years (partially just for the challenge I suppose, as it’s not a tradition that’s followed by a lot of people in my church).

This year The Banker gave up coffee (insane!). I chose to give up Tim Horton’s. It’s proven to be a little difficult, but I’m glad for my choice. The reason I chose to give up Tim Horton’s is that I’ve been spending WAY too much money there, and consuming altogether too many calories from Tim’s. It had become a habit to stop there before work on the weekends, grab something to drink before babysitting, go through the drive-through before an evening shift. I chose it for my waistline and for my wallet!

I would guess I had been spending about $15 a week at Tim Horton’s, so over the 6 weeks of Lent, I will save approximately $90. Not a whole lot, but if it breaks the habit as well, I will see the benefits for the whole year!
So far, I’ve only really wanted it once, but I won’t cave! Have you given anything up? How’s it going so far?

Featured Friday – The Banker – Me Money


Hello again everyone! I know it has been a while since I have wrote a post but I thought that for my return I would write something that you might not expect to hear, especially coming from a person who makes his living helping people plan their finances. The topic of my post today is about spending some money on yourself!

First things first, I am not going against any of the great ideas presented in previous posts and comments, and I am not going to downplay the importance of saving for the future and for the unexpected. Nor will I denounce the need to pay down your debt as quickly as possible. I am actually writing about something that should be talked about alongside those ideas.

We live in a fast-paced, stressful world and spend so much time focusing on things like family, work, school, hobbies, the list is endless. These things can cause us quite a bit of stress and, combined with financial worries, it can almost make you feel helpless. As a financial advisor I see and hear stories like these every day. That is why I truly believe that part of any good budget has to be a little “me money”.

If you have been reading the past post and particularly the previous post (March budget) you can see that we from time to time have a large Miscellaneous or Date Night expenditures. I firmly believe that these expenditures, for example spending $225 to watch an NHL team that is mediocre at best (clearly I am not a Leafs fan) (rude-J). While perhaps they are a little bit much sometimes, they’re necessary for us to maintain a healthy balance. We often speak and focus so much on debt repayment and saving plans that we can forget about having some fun and relaxing. Everyone’s “me money” will be different; might be dinners out, tickets to sports or concerts, or shopping. Whatever it your “thing” may be make sure that you take some time, and money to enjoy it and relax.

Life is short and we never know what’s coming next, why not enjoy some of it!

March Budget


It’s already March! Let’s hope that spring comes soon!! I am so ready for warmer weather and spring clothes 🙂

February was a pretty good month, here’s hoping March is too! I have to pay for my membership to the Ontario College of Teachers for the year, but we’ve got it in the budget, so at least it’s expected. We have a larger than normal “Miscellaneous” budget, and we’ve done that because I’ll be in Toronto for 3 days of training for a new program and will have a large number of expenses during that time. We do have a rather large amount set aside for our anniversary. It’s our 5-year anniversary, and The Banker found some tickets to a Leafs game fairly inexpensively (for The Leafs anyway), and surprised me with them! So with those, and whatever else we spend that night and on the night of our actual anniversary, I thought we should set aside a larger piece of our budget than we typically would. Normally I think it’s outrageous to spend that on an anniversary, but it’s an event that I’m really looking forward to. I’m a lifelong Leafs fan (judge me all you want!) and have never been to a game! Plus, it’s a big anniversary, and the last one before we’re married, so I’m more than happy to spend a lot.

Otherwise, everything else is pretty average. Have a look:

Rent $856.00
Hydro $40.00
Phone/Cable/Internet $275.00
Insurance (home) $27.75
TOTAL $1,198.75
Groceries/Household Items $350.00
Dry Cleaning $15.00
Personal Care $100.00
TOTAL $465.00
Insurance (car) $186.60
Gas/Maintenance $350.00
TOTAL $536.60
Personal Spending $200.00
Date Nights $80.00
Professional Memberships $175.00
Club Memberships $20.86
Gifts $50.00
Anniversary $300.00
Donations $25.00
Miscellaneous $393.79
TOTAL $1,244.65
Student Loans $505.00
My Parents $250.00
Line of Credit $200.00
TFSAs $500.00
Emergency Savings $100.00
TOTAL $1,505.00
GRAND TOTAL $4,950.00

March looks okay, and it should be an okay income month. However, there is March Break, so a full 5 days of potential work that I can’t get. Oh well, that’s what the other jobs are for!
How is March looking for you? Are you as ready for spring as I am?

February Budget Recap


Well, another month is gone. How do they fly so fast?

This month wasn’t so bad, we came in under budget! We only had to pay 25cents for hydro because of a credit we had (woohoo!), and we’re trying to use as little data on our phones which we saw result in a minus for that area (not much, but it means something). Our biggest savings was in gas – I love that it’s been (relatively) cheap lately! So nice!

HOUSING Budgeted Actual +/-
Rent $856.00 $856.00
Heat/Hydro $40.00 $0.25 -$39.75
Phone/Cable/Internet $275.00 $264.15 -$10.85
Insurance $27.75 $27.75
TOTAL $1,198.75 $1,148.15 -$50.60
Groceries/Household Supplies $300.00 $440.04 +$140.04
Dry Cleaning $15.00 $0.00 -$15.00
Personal Care $100.00 $45.71 -$54.29
TOTAL $415.00 $485.75 +$70.75
Insurance $186.60 $186.60
Gas/Repairs/Maintenance $350.00 $144.43 -$205.57
TOTAL $536.60 $331.03 -$205.57
Personal Spending $200.00 $279.05 +$79.05
Date Nights $80.00 $95.28 +$15.28
Hobbies $25.00 $0 -$25.00
Club Memberships $20.86 $20.86
Gifts $50.00 $24.76 -$25.24
Donations $25.00 $27.00 +$2.00
Wedding $50.00 $33.89 -$16.11
Miscellaneous $143.79 $46.36 -$97.43
TOTAL $594.65 $527.10 -$67.45
Student Loans $505.00 $505.00
My Parents $200.00 $200.00
Line of Credit $200.00 $200
TFSAs $500.00 $500
Emergency Savings $100.00 $100.00
TOTAL $1,505.00 $1,505.00
GRAND TOTAL $4,250.00 $3,994.03 -$255.97

Not too bad, I’d say. How was your February?

Why Having 4 Jobs Is Worth It (To Me)


Most of you know by now that I have 4 jobs. I’m a substitute teacher, work at a cheese shop, work for an autism organization, and do at-home care with a child. On an average week, I work between 45 and 60 hours. I’m fairly busy most weeks, but I enjoy what I do and don’t really take any of my work home with me, which is a major perk.

Most substitute teachers I know do it full time, or have one other part time job to subsidize their income and guarantee them a paycheque. It can be difficult when you never know how much you’ll work, and that’s why I have the other jobs. Why so many though?

  1. Everything is so inconsistent
    I’m never sure of how much I’ll teach, and in turn, I never know how much I’ll be getting paid. As you can imagine, this makes it hard to budget. However, the other 3 jobs have fairly regular hours and I normally get around the same amount of work each week. If anything, at the other jobs, I can work extra hours if they’re available.
    2. I can pay off debt much faster
    With a higher income, I’m able to put more money toward my debt. This is something I love to do; the faster I see those numbers go down, the happier I am. Anything extra at the end of the month typically goes toward debt.
    3. I can save more
    Along with the above point, I can save more as well. I’m able to put a decent amount of money in my TFSA each month, and into an emergency saving fund. Now that we’re saving for a wedding, this is more important than ever before!
    4. I may as well do it now!
    My mom always says “better now than when you’re older” when I complain about being so busy. It’s so true! Although I may work 7 days a week, multiple jobs some days, it will be worth it in the end. I can do it, so I may as well. It just means that I can enjoy my life later on. I’ll have savings, I’ll be able to retire at a decent age, and my debt won’t exist for decades.While 4 jobs may not be for everyone (and for most people, probably impossible if you have a full time career), for me, right now, it’s working and I’m happy. And, I enjoy my time off that much more!

    How do you balance everything that you’ve got going on?

Wedding Wednesday – Engagement Photos


One of the first things we did after getting engaged and booking a venue was booking a photographer. A friend of mine from high school is an amazing photographer and I knew I wanted her to do our photos. We’re spending a lot of money on our photographs, and it’s something The Banker wasn’t too happy about at first. However, they are something we’ll have forever, and we want them to be beautiful and we want to treasure them always.

A few weeks ago The Banker and I headed back to my hometown to have our engagement photos done. It may seem strange that we waited so long, but we knew we weren’t doing Save The Dates, so we waited so that we could do a unique shoot. We wanted to go skating for our photos, something we haven’t seen anyone else do (and we argue over who had the idea originally), but something that we love to do – The Banker grew up playing hockey, and I ringette.

We went home on a Saturday and got a few wedding related things done, and on our way back to my parents’ house I suggested we drive by the venue just to see it again and refresh our memories of the space. We could hardly believe our eyes when we saw that there was an ice rink on the exact spot where we will be having our tent! I immediately texted our photographer to see if we could do our skating shots there, and she gladly agreed.

On Sunday we went first to a park and did some photos there. It started to snow just when we got in position. It was freezing, but we didn’t care because the photos turned out to be amazing!!

View More: http://kelseywaterfield.pass.us/taylorlovesjacqui

After we did a bunch of photos at the park, we went to a beautiful church and took some pictures in front of the gorgeous, large door there. Then we finished up with our skating photos. There was only one family there, and they were very nice and stayed to one side of the rink so that we could get some beautiful photos.

View More: http://kelseywaterfield.pass.us/taylorlovesjacqui

We have one more thing checked off our list now, and I am even more excited to see how our big day will turn out. And I know this is the worst attitude for someone to have, but I would pay her 10times over to get photos this beautiful!

Cable – How Much Do We Really Need?


For the longest time The Banker and I had a decent cable package. We got sports channels, TLC (for all those guilty pleasure shows), and a whole lot of stuff we didn’t watch. We paid the bill every month, and didn’t really think too much about it. Until one day when The Banker asked if I would be okay with decreasing our channels. I watch a ton of stuff on Netflix and a lot of things can be streamed, so I said sure. Then, after a few months we missed the channels we no longer had and upped it again. Then, we switched providers but continued to have a large number of channels to watch (and also a free PVR and second box – hello TV in the bedroom!). We kept the package we had for a while, but when The Banker asked again about decreasing our service, I didn’t hesitate and readily agreed.

At the highest, we paid $88 a month. It truly is unnecessary. Why did we feel the need to have so many channels? Yes, it’s nice to always know you can find something to watch, but you can always log in to Netflix. It’s nice to be able to see all the sports programming you want, but we still see all the major games, have TSN to recap, and could always go to a sports bar or friend’s place if we really didn’t want to miss something.

Right now we have basic cable, with the PVR (which is awesome to record stuff during the day or late at night to watch at those times we can’t find anything) and the TV in the bedroom (thanks honey, I know you hate it); we still pay more than I would want to, around $42 a month. And you know what, we’re happy and have more than enough to watch. (Really, we should probably be watching less.) There are a few shows I miss, but I catch up online. I love talk shows, and they are all available to me on basic cable. And for those times there isn’t anything, we pay our small $8/month fee to have Netflix to turn to. There is really no reason to waste so much money on entertainment that we don’t really love. I’m quite happy with what we’ve got now, and our wallets are thanking us too!

What are your thoughts on cable? Have it all? Have none at all?