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$132, 751 (+0.9%)

This month was pretty horrible in terms of spending.  There are many reasons for this- these include a lump sum payment for the car insurance this month (I refuse to pay the auto insurance company interest if I were to pay monthly), $500 for the window treatments (went with Venetian blinds due to the potential toxicity of PVC faux wood blinds), and finally being dragged to a warehouse sale which I have sworn to myself to stay away from.

Warehouse sales are evil.  They even had my beloved Hudson jeans (retail $150+) for only $60!  Impulse buying, deep discounts, final sales, pressure= all a bad mix which often results in buyer’s remorse.  I went in there expecting not to buy anything but of course ended up buying some dresses (dresses + warehouse sale = my kryptonite in terms of frugality).  I bought three dresses and one clutch for $260.  It was only going to be $140, but the sales lady offered to give me an extra 50% off the warehouse price for this dress I really had my eye on (everything else was 50% off, except for this particular brand at the warehouse sale).  She was the buyer for that brand, so she offered to give me a discount.  Ugh…

Okay, so here’s the breakdown for this month:


CASH: $10743 (-0.5%)

  • More money Pictures, Images and PhotosBoyfriend and I have a joint account which our mortgage is deducted from, and our own personal accounts
  • I added up my chequing and savings accounts (High Interest Savings Account). I automatically deduct money from my chequing account and have it siphoned to the HISA account (paying yourself first)
  • I have $1692 saved up for my goal of climbing Mt Kilimanjaro (highest peak in Africa) within 1-2 years.  If you want to help contribute to my personal lifelong dream, feel free to sign up for an ING account with my orange key.  You’ll get $25 if you start an account with $100, and I will get $25 too.  🙂

STOCKS: $18037 (+4.7%)

  • I realize that I forgot to include my shares of a stock I shared with my mother (it was before I had my own brokerage account) in my net worth update since December 2010! So I’ve added it and made a note to include it from now on.
  • These are stocks that capture the “moment in time”, including unrealized gains or losses in my BMO Investorline and Questrade accounts. I added up USD and CAD stocks as “Canadian” money to be simplistic (even though our dollar is high now)

RRSP: $11241 (+1.3%)

  • This includes the pre-authorized monthly contribution into my TD E-Series account, a GIC in my ING Direct Account and my new Questrade RRSP account.
  • I have about $700 contribution room left to max out my RRSP for 2011. The RRSP is maxed out for this year.  I am seriously thinking about maxing out my TFSA instead (read my TFSA vs RRSP great debate over here) from now on, as I will expect to have defined benefit pension when I retire.
  • I owe about $16,000 to myself in my RRSP because I used the Home Buyers Plan, but I won’t have to start repaying until 2012.

OTHER INVESTMENTS: $3234 (-2.3%)

  • If you’re wondering what I hold in my Other investments- check out my post long story
  • I have some investments that were poor choices (I signed up for them before I became self “edumacated”) that were losing money big time. In order to receive a tax credit, I got persuaded into buying some flow through shares, Venture investments that gave out a tax credit, and some more mutual funds about four or five years ago.
  • This lonely mutual fund hasn’t been moving much, unlike the rest of the market. Once I hit January 1, 2012 I’m going to move that money elsewhere ;)

TFSA: $7670 (-2%)

  • I bought some more Exchange Income Corporation (about a 7.8% annual dividend yield) and Sunlife (4.8% annual dividend yield) this month.  A reader suggested I start DRIPing some shares to maximize dividends, so I am looking into this.
  • I signed up for a Tax Free Trading Account with Questrade and my TFSA consists 100% of stocks
  • I have about $8,000 I can put back in this year to avoid the penalty from our good friends at the Canada Revenue Agency.  We are allowed $5000 contribution a year-and this is year 3 of the TFSA, so one can have $15000 in their TFSA.


  • I forked over $1500 for my auto insurance.  I should probably look into some alternative auto insurance providers, now that I have more than 10 years of driving experience under my belt (it is said that the Crown Corporation of ICBC is better for young drivers, whereas alternative auto insurance providers are better for people who have good driving records and are older)


  • I know this it does not make any sense to divide the principle residence and mortgage debt by 50%, but since I cannot disclose my boyfriend’s financial information, I will do it this way to simplify things.  Some of you may not agree to that, and I understand.
  • Vancouver is an expensive city to live in, and many people predict that there will be a housing collapse, especially in a place where their is such a disparity between income and housing price.  The Vancouver market was actually quite unscathed compared to the depressed housing markets elsewhere, and many people believe it is sorely due for a correction.
  • We plan to live in this house for 5-10 years or even more, and we are prepared to “suck it up” if it corrects by more than 25%.  Our house is in a favourable location in the city, and our neighbours have sold recently for about 30% more than what we paid for our house.


Mortgage Debt: $304248 (-0.3%)

  • It’s an accelerated bi-weekly payment (-4 years from amortization) and we plan to add on what we get from our rental downstairs to pay the mortgage off faster.  Target pay off= 15-17 years.

Credit Card: $2339

  • This huge credit card bill is thanks to my friends at the Insurance Corporation of British Columbia for my yearly auto insurance.
  • I pay off my full amount every month (and folks, it’s VERY important you do so otherwise you’re losing out on a 19% return!) but include it in my net worth update so I have an accurate picture of my actual net worth. I sort of think “If I were to sell everything right now, what would my net worth be?”  I guess I shouldn’t put it in the liabilities column since i pay it off regularly, BUT in mint.com it’s under the liability column so I’ll do the same.
  • I basically charge everything to my card to reap the benefits (free flights and hotel stays here I come!)
  • I got the SPG AMEX card and unfortunately the fun has come to an end- I switched to another Amex card (to be announced…!).
  • BF and I got the Royal Bank Avion Infinite Card as our joint credit card (free for one year since we have a mortgage with RBC! So will be using it and letting you how I like it- I would of course never pay $170 a year for this, but since it’s free for one year, why not?)

Article comments

Sam says:

Gosh, insurance sure ain’t cheap on Canada!

young says:

@Sam- Yeah, just in BC though. Because insurance is a Crown Corporation here. It’s not the case in other provinces like Ontario.

It’s standard in BC, not Canada. We still have crown corporation insurance. Mine was 1422$ for a Honda Accord 2003 with 500$ deductible.

MoneyCone says:

That seems like a lot for car insurance! Is that the norm in Canada? (Or do you have an accident history?)

young says:

@MoneyCone- Nope, I have like a 55% discount because I have a 10 year history of no accidents. So if I had an accident history, my insurance would be much much more.

You are on the right track with a positive number change. Don`t beat yourself up too much; we all vere from time to time. Like Sam said, keep your eyes on your goal and you will get there.

young says:

@Miss T- Thanks Miss T. I don’t mean to beat myself up 🙂 I guess it just comes off that way- I am trying to be realistic and convey to readers (and trolls?) that I know the risks I am taking and I am up for the challenge. I haven’t had any trolls comment yet, but maybe they just went somewhere else to troll?

I’m with Leigh, my car insurance deductible is at $1,000. Anything under that, I’ll manage with an emergency fund; hopefully never have to.

Great stuff on the NW! I think you’re doing GREAT with the TFSA and stocks given you just bought your first place 🙂

young says:

@My Own Advisor- Hmm- now I should definitely look into this! I have a bone to pick with ICBC now 😉

You are on the right way. Most of the us are struggle to get on the property ladder in their 20+, particularly for $ 387 K house.

So excellent start on your journey to financial independence!

Wow! That seems like a large amount to pay for car insurance. Almost make you want to walk huh? Just kidding.

young says:

@FSYA- LOL yeah! I have a Civic, and their premiums are $200 more than any other compact car because they are often broken into/ stolen etc. haha maybe I should buy a new car to save $200? (Kidding!! I hope I didn’t shock the PF community with that statement).

Do you have any specific networth goals Y&T i.e. X by certain age etc?

Do you feel more stressed, or less stressed owning a home?

Best, Sam

young says:

@Financial Samurai- I did have a networth goal to increase my networth to 100,000 last year and I did it. I think my new goal would be to increase it to 150,000 by the end of the year. There are lots of expenses that just crop up on you owning a home (especially a house), so dealing with those sudden expenses can be kind of a curve ball. I don’t think I feel more stressed, but I do like that I have new challenges (e.g. pay down the mortgage in X number of years) ahead of me. I may change my mind about the stress level when I get a tenant though. Will keep you posted 😉

Nice update, Venetian blinds and warehouse sales would be a deadly combination!

DRIP-ing shares is a great deal for long term investors. If you look into it I recommend checking out the stocks that have offer a discount. Some offer a 2-4% discount on purchasing shares, and it’s even more advantageous if they all you to buy partial shares. When you think about it that is like an automatic 2-4% ROI! The only problem is that it is labour intensive and it tends to overweight you in certain companies. You also have to keep meticulous records due to the complex tax nature of the automatic re-investments.

young says:

@My University Money- Yeah, I’m loving that idea too, the 2-4% discount on shares. it’s like a “reward” for being a devoted investor. It does seem labour intensive, and once you buy X number of share, it will be difficult to buy more and DRIP them (unless you communicate with them/ fill out more forms etc.). If I were to DRIP i would try and do it in my TFSA account because frankly I’m pretty terrible at keeping records for capital gains/ etc. let alone re-investments 🙁

Leigh says:

I have my deductible at $1,000 since I wouldn’t want the insurance company to pay for anything less than that or my rates would go up like crazy. Then I keep the first $1,000 of my emergency fund for my auto insurance deductible.

My personal goal is to work in the US for long enough that I can pay cash for a house in Vancouver and move back to BC without worrying about the lower salaries ad much. I think that’ll take me about 10 years total.

young says:

@Leigh- That’s a good idea as well. Most damages usually cost more than $500-$1000 so increasing the deductible sounds like a feasible option. I usually don’t do the ‘hitting’ but get ‘hit’ so that might be a good idea. Except that I DO have a tendency to hit inanimate objects, though I wouldn’t likely make a claim anyways and pay for it myself if I did that.

Ginger says:

You may have been bad with spending but occasional hiccups when you normally do well are not so bad. And anyway, your networth is still increase and that is the important thing.

young says:

@Ginger- Thanks for the reassurance. I wonder if this behaviour of mine is secondary to depriving myself from spending on clothes for so long! haha.

With respect to you car insurance, be careful as the end goal is not always to pay the lesser amount. You may find that independent insurance providers create more headache when it comes to claim… I heard that Canadian Direct was OK, but I have not made the move and I doubt I will.

As for reducing your cost, just increase your deductibles. I have both my deductibles at 500$. It means that windshield breaks aren’t covered for me since their cost fall to about 500$ or so depending on the vehicle. I don’t really think a windshield replacement is worth making a claim either since too many goes against you anyways …

young says:

@The Passive Income Earner- I think my deductible is at $300 right now. That’s a good idea- I’ll look into that- how much is the difference for you between a $300 and a $500 deductible? I have heard Canadian Direct was okay too- though you’re right- claiming would be more of a hassle if it was a for profit and not a crown corporation. It’s just so easy to make a claim with ICBC (I’ll give them that!).

Don’t you just love living in the most expensive city in the country in terms of house prices, and the most expensive province in terms of car insurance? Just awesome. 🙁 But I still wouldn’t trade it.

young says:

@chipsforsupper- Aweee yeah. But we have cheap food! Does that make up for it? I wouldn’t trade it either. Today yesterday and Saturday were just gorgeous!! How’s your sunburn? 🙂

Evan says:

Any protection between you 2 in case someone dies? What if you break up?

young says:

@Evan- Unfortunately, we have mortgage life insurance. BF RECENTLY quit smoking (hurrah!!! finally) so we have to wait for 1 year to get regular term life insurance (otherwise he has to pay a premium for history of smoking). If we break up, we will split the house 50%- we have contributed 50% each. I don’t think that will happen though (well, you never know) we’ve been through a lot and I think renovating/buying a place together seems to require more effort than a wedding (for me anyways!).