Why you should be credit card smart

Until recently, I was one of those people that had the same credit card since I was 18. My mother was insistent on starting my credit off right as soon as I turned 18. With that, I have been just going along as normal, not realizing the amount of benefits you could actually get from a credit card. Janine has talked about this before, how she often gets free or greatly reduced flights all from points she has gotten on a credit card.

With that being said, just a few weeks ago my fiancé and I started to look through the copious amounts of credit cards and see which one would benefit us the most. There are plenty of different kinds, from cash back, travel credits, free products, etc. You name it and there is likely a credit card for that… you just have to figure out which one works best for you and your situation.

At the end of the day, it came down to two credit cards for me. The TrueEarnings® Card from Costco and American Express as well as the MBNA Smart Cash Card. I go to Costco quite a bit, and being able to have a card that can cover the Costco membership fee and well as include other benefits was huge for me! At the end of the day though, the MBNA card won me over. They have an incredible cash back plan where, as soon as you earn $50 in cash back, they send you a cheque without you having to do anything. I also considered some of the flight benefit/point cards, but honestly, we just don’t travel enough. We are both stay at home kind of people and our career is our focus right now. Travelling will be a priority for us in the future, just not at the moment.

Janine: Costco has actually just discontinued this credit card! 

With all of that said, I learned a lot more than I thought I needed too, regarding credit cards. Sometimes when you are a fresh 18 year old, you seem to think all things are easy and black and white. Well my friends, they aren’t. So, make sure you know what you are looking for and will help you in your journey to financial freedom.

Overall, make sure you do your research and get the card that suits your needs best. Don’t be like me and not take advantage of the great benefits certain credit cards can have, I learned that one the hard way!

September 2014 Spending Recap

I’m finally getting back into this blogging thing, again I apologize for my absence, but boy were the last couple weeks busy! I don’t actually think I’ve ever been this busy in my life. Moving once takes a lot out of you, but moving twice is just insane. I feel like I can’t comprehend how fast the days are going by, jumping into the end of the third quarter means I’m pretty busy at work and starting my masters-level designation means all of my free time is spent analyzing tax and accounting issues, crunching numbers and writing memos. On top of that, I’ve been back to Edmonton THREE times since we moved … don’t ask me why because sometimes it makes me question my sanity. As many of you know I’m the vice-president of Her Success, and we just successfully hosted our second event at the end of September! Check it out!

This month the fiancé combined all of our finances. It has taken a little while to get the swing of things, but overall it’s been going very well.. I’m just waiting to get paid. We’ve had a lot of expenses this month, we had to fork over a huge damage deposit, set up our electricity in Calgary and we’re waiting to be reimbursed for our moving expenses.

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The 60-Day No Spend Challenge

Happy Monday! 

Last week I was chatting on twitter with Athena and Sofia and Athena suggested a No-Spending Challenge. I was immediately on board since we have recently spent a TON of money. We moved to Calgary, had to put down a very large damage deposit, our rent has increased, we bought a vehicle, and I was waiting to get paid…. I’m still waiting for the full amount to go through! We’re getting married next year, and have a lot of savings goals that have fallen by the wayside this summer with me working part-time and the fiancé studying for the UFE. As such we are back to making what seems to be a liveable income and so we need to buckle down and make seem progress on our goals.

Rules of the 60 day no-spend challenge:

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Decomposing your budget to determine what type of place you can afford

Good god, now that we are finally settling into the new apartment I figured I should update you all on how our hunt for the new place went. I can sum it up in one word.

Horrible.

We knew we were moving down for over a year, I had a contract signed last summer and when I applied for my summer position in 2012 I knew it would likely be a reality that we would move to Calgary once I graduated. In short the Calgary rental market is extremely tight. I’m not sure if it is the flood last year or the fact that we had to commute from Edmonton to go and see some places.

We started pretty early, the first weekend we went down I think we looked at 8 places, however all of them were crap. I was so disappointed when we would walk into these places within what I thought would be our budget and they were dumps. I’ve never really had to search for a place to live, when I moved in with my then-boyfriend-now-fiance he already had an amazing place. This time around things were a little different and a lot more expensive. When we started looking the first thing we did was

Set a budget.

This was extremely important when we were looking at classified ads on the internet. We were able to narrow our search by price. Unfortunately, our budget ended up being a little bit unrealistic. I like saving money and all but I’m not prepared to live in a place I hate for at least a year just to save a little bit extra each month. By no means should you max out your budget so that you are house poor or going into debt to afford your living. Our approach was to take our gross income, subtract off taxes, and start deducting off items that we need to pay for each month: our vehicle, insurance, utilities and of course savings. Then we started to deduct off fun lifestyle things such as eating out, new clothing, travel etc and came to the number we could afford to spend on rent and live comfortably on. Tweaking items in this decomposed budget allowed us to see where we would have to cut things if we wanted to put more into savings or afford a more expensive place. [Read more...]

Our frugal and not so frugal wedding

We’ve been engaged for just over a month and I know many of you have been asking me questions on twitter and in real life for a wedding update! The truth is, with the UFE this summer and a move to a new city and us both starting new jobs it has been an absolute whirlwind! I’ve been working hard at laying some ground work for the wedding because things show no signs of slowing down in the next little bit, but a lot of it is a waiting game.

Have we picked a date?

Yes, absolutely! Andrew had the date, venue and photographer booked 2 months before he asked me! Needless to say it’s sooner than I expected so a lot of things feel like they are moving fast, but I have a great team of people helping me!

Where is your wedding venue?

Those who know me IRL or have a good working rapor with me know where our wedding is being held. It is in one of our favourite gateway places, so I’ll leave it at that!

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New City, New Job, New Finances, New Life!

Eeep! It’s the post you’ve all been waiting for! I’ve alluded to this for a couple months now, but we definitely have some big news for you!

New City! 

We moved! This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone that knows me, but the fiancé and I moved down to Calgary at the end of September for work. This had been a plan in the works since September of 2012, man that feels like such a long time ago! I applied for a summer position and accepted for Summer of 2013 and we decided that once I graduated we would be moving down. I accepted a full-time offer here last August and immediately after the fiancé requested a transfer.

New job! 

I love my new position, even though I’m making less. I have no doubt it will be the challenge I need to succeed and will give me the experience I want to pursue a career up the corporate ladder. The companies both the finacé and I are with are international and you can bet that I’ve already started to look for opportunities abroad. I’m talking the UK, Germany, Ireland, my heart is singing and I can’t wait to go somewhere in a couple years!

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