Welcome to the non-weekly weekly report. Ok, I realize I really need to come up with a better name. Perhaps I could hold a contest. If you can write a better name for my irregular reports in the comments, you win…uhh, an option for your name to be published as the winner in my next blog post! Yeah, that’s a stellar prize alright!
Anyhoo, the past couple of weeks have been big spending weeks, due to our family vacation to Ottawa!
Good news is, I had budgeted around $1200, and we spent about $1340. Yes, we went over budget. BUT I’ve never been this close to a planned trip budget before! So, there’s that.
See, we have a tendency to abandon any kind of spend-control the second the wheels hit the road/plane hits the sky. NOT THIS TIME! We took steps both before and during the trip in an attempt to keep it reasonable. Anyway, maybe I’ll write a post about ways to save money on vacation a bit later. We didn’t “travel hack” per se, but that is something I do want to get into in the future.
Stuff that got me closer to FIRE over the past 2 weeks
Other than the vacation spend, the last couple of weeks have been pretty fruitful FIRE-wise.
- My contract at work was renewed for 3 whole years! I can continue aggressively paying down debt and aggressively saving once the debt is gone.
- I put an extra $1500 on my RRSP loan. This wasn’t really planned…I just squeezed it out of my sinking funds/other categories because I’m overly ambitious and the loan is SO CLOSE to being paid off. In hindsight, it may not have been such a great idea, since we’ll need to refill those sinking funds fairly quickly. Fortunately May is a 3-pay month for us so hopefully we can fill them back up in a timely manner.
- I found a lower home insurance rate. Home insurance has been steadily climbing in my area due to what has become “annual” flooding (and because insurance companies like to raise rates every year, regardless of what’s happening in the world). After shopping around, I was able to knock it down by about $400. Additionally, I decided to pay the full amount up front to allow me to get cash back on my credit card. This was unplanned…so sinking funds are taking another hit as I gather up the cash. NOTE: In a prior post, I had stated that we were looking at going with Sonnet.ca, an online insurance provider. After reading many reviews, and checking rates with other companies, we ended up not doing Sonnet. Maybe I’ll revisit this next year when they have another year of experience under their belts with residential claims.
- Sold an item for $20. Woohoo! Also, received an item and borrowed for free from my local “Buy Nothing” Facebook group. If you’ve not joined yours, do it now! Historically, I would have just purchased new items. Now my needs have been met for freeeee. Also a great place to unload things you don’t use anymore, knowing it will go to someone in your community.
Things to do this week
- Write up a monthly report for May. I’ll be a bit painful considering extra spending, but needs to happen.
- Complete the “One Tweak A week” Afford Anything challenge. This week’s tweak has to do with the language you use: being honest with yourself about “can’t” vs. “choose.” i.e. Instead of saying “I can’t” make a change that benefits me financially, ask myself if I can replace this with “I choose not to” make said change.
The idea here is to challenge your “can’ts”. Are you sure you’ve explored every other option to save money? Paula says, replace the phrase “I can’t” with the phrase “I am unwilling to”. Be honest with yourself.
Lots of people are probably doing the things that I think I “can’t” do, like getting rid of my home phone, never eating out, getting a roommate, cutting out expensive groceries like meat, or living with only one vehicle instead of two. The fact is, we as a family are unwilling at this time to give up these desires/conveniences. This should be an interesting activity!
Overall, it’s been a pretty good couple of weeks. Hopefully we can get back in a groove post-vacation of focusing on FIRE efforts. Good luck to everyone this week, tell me about what you’re doing to improve your financial situation in the comments!