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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We bought a vehicle

I’ve been meaning to update you all on this for a while. We did in fact end up buying a vehicle, one we are very happy with. Literally two days after we bought our vehicle though we got engaged and had just joined our finances, so things were pretty darn messy and busy in our household! Things haven’t really slowed down, and aren’t showing any signs of doing so in the next little bit but I promise you I’ll update you all in a little bit.

After much deliberation, hours of test driving, we purchased a 2014 Nissan Muranonew.

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Never in a million years did I expect that we would purchase a new vehicle but I guess I’m just too good at negotiating.

By the time everything was all said and done we managed to get the dealership down by about $10,000 off of the initial ask price. It took us about an hour and a half but we did it.

Why didn’t we buy used?

A couple reasons, the first being that the one year used vehicles were selling for equivalent to what we paid for the new vehicle… which seems ridiculous considering they all had about 25,000 km on them.

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Taking the leap to joint banking

I’m sure some of you remember how disastrous I said my finances were at the end of August, well surprise this is why! Once the then boyfriend, now fiancé and I decided to purchase a vehicle together we decided it also made sense to combine our finances. We’ve had a joint savings account for years that we used to transfer money or save up for vacations. Now that we’re getting married it makes even more sense to combine our finances because realistically it was a pain in the butt at the end of every month trying to figure out who owed what. Gone are those days, as our bank accounts are for the most part all joined! We share a credit card (read a faster way to get travel points – for our honeymoon), a chequings account, and multiple savings account. The only thing we don’t have access to are each other’s TFSA’s and RRSP’s, but I’m sure that will come in time. We have put one another as the beneficiaries for our registered accounts, so starting October 1st I’ll no longer be reporting my spending re-cap, it will be OUR spending re-cap.

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Related: Chatting with your significant other about money

Reasons why we decided to join our banking:

  1. We’re getting married and it will make everything a heck of a lot easier every month. As noted above it usually took hours and much pushing from me to get the fiancé to sit down and re-cap his spending. Those days are gone, now I can sit in a corner with my excel spreadsheets and make all the charts I want without ever bugging him.
  2. We trust each other. This is the biggest thing couples need to think about when deciding to join finances and why neither of us had ever combined finances in past relationships. Having a significant other that makes you pay for their lifestyle while they jet off to some destination across the country simply just isn’t acceptable. This has never been the case with us. We have always split everything down the middle. No money arguments here!
  3. We get free banking. So this isn’t really a reason to join finances but I’ll throw it in there. Because we combined our TD chequings account and credit card if we keep $5,000 in the account we get free banking and the fee waived on our TD First Class Infinite Visa. The account fee is $30 a month and our visa charges $120 a year so that’s a combined saving  of $480 a year. Don’t worry I did the math, if I invested the $5,000 I would have to make over a 9.6% return to make it worthwhile. With two incomes coming into this account, this should be pretty easy.
  4. We’re on the same page financially. The fiancé and I have had way too many life chats and I can say that we are 100% on the same page financially. We have the same long term goals and we both watch where our money is going, though I might make a few more spreadsheets than he does.

This is a big step for us financially, but I think we have been ready for a while! How do you and your significant other split the finances? When do you think you will combine your finances or have you already?