Monthly Archives

March 2012

Update: March 2012 Budget & Goals

March 31, 2012

march budget

My original goal for this month was to put 45% of my take-home income on debt. I’m pleased to say I actually put 46% of my income on my three debts and still somehow came under my total monthly budget by $3.60. (Should’ve picked up an extra coffee!)

What you’re not seeing here is that I actually put $1,550 on my credit card debt this month. The other $500 came from the CRA, when they paid me back from a 2010 tax return reassessment. Now all I need is my 2011 tax return to come and that balance will be in the $700 range!

As for my other goals this month… well, I think they were a little crazy. In fact, one of the things I’m realizing more and more is that I don’t want to deprive myself of anything in life. Everything can be had in moderation. But here’s how I did…

March 2012 Goals:

  • No alcoholFAIL! I drank alcohol 4x this month.
  • No take-out coffeeFAIL! I got coffee 7x this month.
  • No take-out foodFAIL! I ate out 5x this month.
  • Bake these – FAIL! I baked muffins instead.
  • Try at least 3 new vegan recipes – DONE! I made muffins, tried a new chili recipe and whipped up a few different salad dressings.
  • Save + shop for a new pair of running shoesFAIL! I spent most of that budget on my gym expenses, while trying to find the right gym for me.
  • Workout 3x per weekDONE! I worked out 4-5x every week this month!
  • Finish reading The Hunger Games by Suzanne CollinsDONE!
  • See The Hunger Games movie – DONE! I got to go to the premiere last week!
  • Then start reading Catching Fire by Suzanne CollinsDONE! Finished. And I started Mockingjay!

How was your month?

March #PFWorkout Update

March 30, 2012

Two weeks ago, I wrote a quick post about using the #pfworkout hashtag on Twitter. The idea was sparked from Cupcakes, Serendipity and I checking in on each other re: our workout goals, and finally realizing that we couldn’t be the only personal finance bloggers who might like the extra support.

I’m so happy to say that many of you have used the hashtag at least once and some bloggers (Below Her Means, Bog of Debt, Elizabeth, Erika and Travis) are using it almost daily! It’s been a great motivator for me on mornings when I don’t feel like getting out of bed and I’ve even learned a few things (like I need to find a kickboxing class stat!).

At the end of each month, I’m going to post a short update on my weight loss progress. Thanks to Lose It! I am able to keep track of everything from pounds lost to my average calorie intake.

This month, I:

  • worked out on 18 of 31 days (including today and tomorr0w)
  • ate an average of 1700.9 calories each day
  • lost 8.0 lbs.
  • lost 4.5″

For my first full month of calorie counting and working out, I’m ecstatic with the results!

What #pfworkout updates are you most proud from this month? Haven’t used the hashtag yet? Join in anytime!

Meet My Boyfriend of 3 Years (It’s Serious)

March 28, 2012

2009 Kia Rio5

Everyone, this is Bandit. He’s a 2009 Kia Rio5 and, despite my dad (and most men) hating his maker, I love him! (See, he really is a bandit! But that’s not where his name came from…)

In March 2009, I was in the middle of the biggest spending spree of my life. You know the one I’m talking about. Remember when I moved into my own place, bought all new furniture, went on a couple trips and put everything on credit? Yea, that spending spree. Well, right in the middle of it, I decided it was time to buy a car.

At that point, I had been without a car for just over 2 years. Roxy, the 1991 Hyundai Excel I learned how to drive on, died in my college’s parking lot and I couldn’t afford to fix her for the umpteenth time. So I became a girl who took the bus. I took 2 busses to school, 1 bus to work after school and 2 busses home from work. It’s safe to say I spent at least 90 mins. on the bus everyday.

In March 2009, I reached a point where I just couldn’t take the bus anymore. Call me spoiled but the freedom that comes with having your own car does, in fact, have a price. After a month of researching and test driving, my price was $17,764.60 (interest and taxes included). And it’s been worth every penny.

Sure, I probably could have spent between $5-10,000 for something used. But at what extra price? Would it breakdown? Need any parts replaced? Leak oil? Need constant trips to the mechanic? No thanks. I am reminded of why buying a new car was the smartest decision for me, on an almost daily basis. Here’s why:

1. The Price

After putting $2,500 down, I financed $15,264.60 over 5 years. And that includes the 1.9% interest rate which totalled only $709 over the term of the loan. If I had bought a used vehicle, I still would have had to finance and at a much higher interest rate. This way, I make payments of $117.42 bi-weekly, so it continues to stay affordable. Yes, that means I’ll be making payments for another 2 years, but I’m happy to pay that small bit of interest for minimal stress.

2. The Gas Mileage

I have learned with this car that what it says on the sticker is a lie… but I do get great gas mileage out of Bandit. We’ve driven up our mountainous island and back (400+ km) for less than $30. I remember paying $35+ for 250 km’s in old Roxy. Oh, Roxy…

3. The Maintenance Fees

I don’t know what other dealerships charge for oil changes, fluid changes, tire rotations, etc. but it feels like I’ve been getting it done for free. Ok, not seriously. But in 3 years, I’ve only paid about $225 for 4 visits to the shop. Who can argue with that!?

4. The Warranty

Kia offered the best warranty of all the dealerships I shopped around at. I have 5 years of coverage on basically every part of the car, up to 100,000 km (60,000 miles). Today is our 3 year anniversary and I’ve only put on 32,000 km (19,880 miles), so I don’t think I have anything to worry about there. Oh, and I’ve had to use the warranty once, to get new door handles. I’m sure they wouldn’t have been expensive but it was nice to get them put on hassle free.

5. The Security

Oh my goodness, why did I save the worst for last? I am a huge dork and thought about a lot of things when I purchased this car: airbags and how easy it would be to get a child in and out of a car seat included. Clearly I’m nowhere near that stage in my life but I knew whatever car I bought would be mine for a long, long time.

My mom bought Roxy brand new in 1991. Despite not working for a couple years, my dad eventually fixed her up and drives her all over town now. She’s 21 years old and still zips around like she’s 5. On top of being one of the top rated cars that year, I bought a Kia because it’s owned by Hyundai. And if my mom can get 21 years out of Roxy, I am positive I can get at least 15 out of Bandit.

So, there you have it. I bought a brand new car in 2009 and don’t regret anything about making that decision. And if I ever did regret it, I’m sure the heated seats would try to change my mind again.

Oh wait. You want to know how Bandit got his name? I think it’s one of those you-had-to-be-there moments… One of my girlfriends and I went up to Courtenay, B.C. for a weekend, to visit a friend. On the Saturday morning, we decided to go snowboarding. We drove my car to the ski hill’s bus stop and left it in a random parking lot. Probably still out of it from the night before, I said, “Car, if you can fight off parking tickets and tow trucks, and be here for when we get back, your name will be Bandit.”

Needless to say, we found him in one piece.