Friday, June 8, 2012

Four years ago this week I graduated from my Masters program and began working full-time.  

My immediate financial future looked pretty rocky.  I had no assets and I owed $33,000 on my student line of credit (I was not able to apply for OSAP or government funding).  I managed to land my dream job right out of school and made a pretty penny at that. 

Over the past four years my average income has been approximately $53,000 (plus benefits + RRSP matching).  

Fast forward four years later and my once -$33,000 net worth is now +$30,000.  Sometimes when I look at my positive net worth I feel that it should be higher, but sometimes I need to remind myself that in four years I've been able to increase my net worth by $63,000!!!

Sometimes you need to look at numbers in a different light to appreciate a significant change  :)


Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Broke the $30,000 net worth marker!

I finally broke through my next net worth marker!!

Despite my investments taking a hit this month, my net worth increased again over the past 30 days.  I'd felt lately similar to what dieters feel when they've hit a weight loss plateau when it came to my net worth.

But, this month I'm happy to share with you my updated net worth:

February 2012
June 1, 2012



Net Worth

This represents a change of +8.9% since February this year.  

While it should be at about +13% based on my planned savings (oops!), I am happy that it's going up.

Between February 15th and June 1st I have "taken home" approximately $11,250 (after tax deductions, but not pension deductions), while my net worth has increased by $3,302 through investments (RRSP and Pension, and paying down my mortgage) .  Not too shabby!

Friday, June 1, 2012

A Change in Direction

Personal finance plays a huge part in my life. But in the past few months I've gotten into living a healthier lifestyle, and I'm still in decor/furnishing mode of my condo.

Often times I'd love to do a blog about a new workout I'm doing, or a health expo I've attended, but I just haven't seen the fit with this PF blog.

Over the past week or so I've been this close to changing Big City...Beer Budget to a self-hosted site, but each time I've stopped, not knowing if that was the right move for what I'm interested in blogging about.  

Soooooo......within the next few weeks, I'll be launching a new blog!!  I'm still working out names, but it will be a self-hosted blog about.....LIFE!!!  A combination of everything.  Personal finance, healthy/clean living (and in my case weight loss), creating a home I'm proud of, travel, friends/family, and career.

I realize that this new blog will require me to come out of the blogger closet, and I'm okay with that!
Hopefully you'll join me on this new adventure!! 


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

How to Earn a FREE $75 Gas Card!

Back in March I'd applied for and was approved for an MBNA Smart Cash MasterCard to replace my Shopper's Optimum MasterCard.  

I was thrilled with not only the Cash Back that I'd be earning just for using my MasterCard (no interest charges for this PF blogger!), but also with the sign-up bonus I'd received....$60.

Fast forward to today, and Rate Supermarket is offering an even better deal!!  When you apply and are approved for either of the two cards listed below, you'll receive a FREE $75 gas card. A cool $75 would have gotten me through two weeks worth of gas!

By applying you'll also be entered to WIN Free Gas for a Year (a $2,500 value)*! 
*Offer valid from 5.00am EST on May 16, 2012 to 12.00am on June 30, 2012.

Here's a breakdown of the benefits of each card:
  • Annual Fee: $0.00
  • Rewards: up to 5%
  • Purchase Rate: 19.99% 
  • Balance Transfer: 1.99% (19.99% after 10 months)
MBNA Rewards MasterCard:
  • Annual Fee: $0.00
  • Rewards: Flexible! (Redeem points for cash back, travel, brand-name merchandise, gift cards from top retailers and charitable donations.)
  • Purchase Rate: 19.99%
  • 1,000 Bonus points after your first purchase + every year after 
My story : My credit card spending averages out to approximately $650/month - the usual charges are for food, gas, entertainment, car maintenance, gifts - which brings my year 1 cash back total to $228.
Since I pay my balance in full each month, the cash back feels like a gift for the convenience of using my credit card instead of cash; these cheques will go right into the travel account.  I LOVE free money!!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

My Energy Conservation

I blogged back in March that in my original 2012 budget I'd included $55/month for hydro.  I've now been through a winter cycle (January - March), and a spring/summer weather cycle.  Seriously, it's May and Ottawa's been hit with 25-28 degree weather a few times this spring.

On my March bill I'd spent $1.24/day on hydro - including all those delivery and service charges.  This billing cycle, I managed to get it down to.......$1.23/day!! 

My two month bill, instead of the $110.00 I'd budgeted was only $70.47 -- off to the travel fund the extra money goes!

While a $0.01/day savings doesn't seem like a lot, my bill would have been much higher had I not been trying to conserve energy.  

I've turned on my air conditioning, but my hydro bill was lower.....that's because I've been unplugging my chargers during the day (cell phone, iPad, Laptop), I've been running the dishwasher cycle in the evenings/weekends when hydro is off peak, and because I've been involved in classes, the gym, volunteering, I just haven't been around to turn on lights or watch tv!

With a beer budget, every little savings counts, right?!  :)


What do you do to lower your hydro/natural gas/water bills?? 

Monday, May 28, 2012

A Referrals Shout Out!

I've noticed since the beginning of the year that my referral blog hits are coming not from Google searches, but from other blogs!  

So, I wanted to give a shout out to this month's top 4 referrals and a note on why I love each of their blogs:

I love Cait's writing style, the topics she addresses, her perseverance to get out of debt and how passionate she is about living a balanced lifestyle....can I say I'm also jealous she's (hopefully) about to embark on an amazing experience at The Bold Academy.  To contribute to Cait's goal, please donate here.

I was sad to see that the original Fabulously Broke blog was sold to the Financial Blogger, but I think that the new blog owners have done a good job of keeping up with quality postings.  Although I do miss reading posts during the course of FB's year off to travel! You can find the 'original' FB at The Budgeting Tool now!

Let's just say every Saturday I now wake up thinking about what Bridget's Personal Finance GIFs will look like that weekend!  When I read Bridget's post about investing a couple of weeks ago she wrote "I have a passive monthly dividend income".  Me...."um, what does that even mean??"  I admire anyone who can educate themselves on a topic that to me, is another language!!

4) Cents of a Country Girl
In some ways our blogs are polar opposites....big city vs. country living.  In other ways, we blog about facing similar challenges, like owning our first homes solo.   I love learning about life in the country, what can I say!

Thanks to these lovely ladies for adding me to your Blogroll and for all of the work that you put into your own amazing blogs!!