2 steps back yadda yadda yadda (+a net worth update)

Let’s get this started.

The numbers:

Total applied to LOC:        $7208.82 – this is since the last update in October 21

LOC Balance as of today:  $7999.99

Car Loan:                               $0 – the car loan balance was moved to my line of credit..no, not for the interest (because it’s going to sit there for so little time the interest doesn’t matter, even though it is lower than the loan), but because making random payments is easier to my LOC as it is with my bank and easily accessible via online banking.

This is a disappointing post to me for two reasons:

  1. It’s been so long since I’ve updated and I have made amazing progress since then.
  2. That progress has been hampered by a $2600 bill for car repair  in the last week

I had myself scheduled to be 100% debt free at the end of March, and now if I push it’ll be the end of April. Yes, that is great, but I still feel a little disappointed. But, at 215,000kms my Ford Edge has treated me well and so it’s about time I treated it well since it is the last debt and I’ll be keeping the car for as long as possible.

My net worth is still tracking along, but took a hit with the extra car costs too. Thank goodness for emergency funds, rental house income and health benefit returns!

Drum roll please……

Networth as of today: $128,961

This is more than $50k above my last posted networth. Badda BING!

And this is why I should have been writing all along. Seeing the numbers in black and white, the progress in black and white, makes the small step backwards this week just a little less painful.

So, I guess that means you should see me here more often in the coming weeks and months!






Pay Day (ep. 11) – the one where holidays are adding ($$!!) up

Don’t worry, we’re still making progress. But with the hot months, day camps, boats in the water and working to make the most of it all, my July expenses were DOUBLE March…and April, and May!

I get that we do more ‘low cost’ stuff during the winter. In our house, in this part of the world, we hibernate, work on projects on the house, train for races coming in better weather, entertain at home and read more during the winter. And my spending reflects that.

Summer? It’s like we drop all common sense and, because our summer season is a short 10 weeks or so, just figure ‘eh, go for it!!’. After looking at July, we went for it A LOT.

We’ve already coined this winter as the ‘winter of discontent’, also known as the winter of ‘NO’. Till then, we’ll make hay while the sun shines and the weather is hot, hot, hot.

The numbers, although showing progress, indicate that I’m a little behind plan. Meaning final pay off may not be till October, not September as hoped. C’est la vie, I’ve got to little a little too, right?!!

Total applied to LOC:        $1245

Current LOC Balance:       $5999.23  -see what I did there? Just couldn’t resist pushing the budget a bit to get it below $6k 🙂

Progress on LOC to date:  $8,5778 – man, that feels chunky. That’s a needle move!

Car Loan:                               $15,662.64 -ugh, I want this to MOVE. I’ll update the balance on the day I make the last payment on the LOC.

Pay Day (ep 3)

Hallelujah , after a long week of being on the road for work, pay day is more welcomed than ever. I can’t remember the last time I got to the end of the week and felt so relieved to sit down for just a few minutes. I’ve been planning for days (again) on where my dollars need to head for the next 2 weeks.

Here’s the summary:

Total applied to LOC debt:          $857

Current LOC debt balance:         $13,613.62

Progress on LOC to date:                   $756 – if you’re wondering why progress isn’t more than the $857 applied, welcome to the dark, dark world of interest. Blech.

Car Loan:                                          $16,424.01 -no change, but I haven’t checked the balance in the last 2 weeks since I’m paying the standard regular payments until the line of credit is dead

I’m so happy that I’m below $14k on the line of credit, let’s have a little happy dance. I was really hoping to be able stretch my pennies a little further and get below the $13k mark, but sometimes a girl just needs to get rid of the grey and a car needs an oil change. It is what it is.

The car loan progress will remain slow as I pay just the agreed amount for the loan until I kill  line of credit.

I’ll admit that I cheated a little bit to make the extra payment – in that I worked hard over the last 5 years and just got a nice little raise for a move to a new role last year. I haven’t increased my spending in the last 6 months so the additional income gets added to debt repayment.

Wondering where I have penny pinched in order to make an additional $857 towards my debt?

  • Called my insurance agent to review both my home and car insurance
  • Stopped my magazine subscriptions – I didn’t really have time to read them in full anyway
  • I haven’t purchased any clothing since January – no new running gear, work clothes, or (gasp!) shoes. Something switched in me in January, and new clothes just became extra clutter around the house.
  • I cancelled my auto-reload Tim’s card – this alone saved me $340 over 3 months!!

This doesn’t add up to $857, but it sure helps.

The big change is  in my own home, which is now a rental property. April is my first month with tenants, and by May I’ll have my first profit cheque. It’s not much, but it’s a positive return. Last pay cheque saw me paying the last of most of the utility bills, which were higher than average given some of the ‘closing costs’. I budget for utility bills every 2 weeks, whether they are due or not, so without those there was a little more cash in the bank this week.

I’m already counting down to next pay day, and writing the list of things I need to do before then. I need a side-hustle, running doesn’t pay squat when your’ as slow as I am!

The cost of racing

Whoever said running is a cheap sport was right…and clearly didn’t race. Running requires running shoes, shorts and a t-shirt. Racing is a whole other level of investment.

After running up a pretty high race tab in 2015, which including a trip to Paris (both France and Ontario!), I decided that this year my races should be more local and, hopefully, more affordable.

This past weekend I was in Hamilton for my 3rd Around the Bay 30km race. When I got home, I emptied out my wallet and realized how many receipts I had. For fun (whoopee!) I added up the costs:

Entry Fee     $70  (this is the early bird rate; I registered just days after racing last year)

Hotel             $105 (same hotel as last year, both because of the rate and because of the awesome service they provide to runners including free breakfast, run route poster, and post-run snacks and water at the hotel)

Travel           $75 (4 hour drive each way, yay for diesel!)

Meals           $60 (beer and wings after the race, don’t even try to tell me I didn’t earn it)

Total =          $310 (wowza!)

Whoa. I just paid $10.33 per km to run with over 6000 people for 30km. Nuts, right?

To date, I’ve registered for 5 races this year and have already run 2 of them. A typical year will see me run 10 races. If we did simple math:

10 races x $310 = $3100

It’s a small used car!

Not all of my races will require hotels and significant travel, and some will require one (travel) and not the other (hotel). But if this is meant to be my ‘cheap’ year of racing, I have got to get the average cost down.

On the upside , all receipts were for cash expenses. Other than the race entry, paid by credit card in the hey-days of 2015 nonchalance, everything from the weekend was paid directly out of a chequing account.

Even with the goal to rid my life of debt, I can’t rid my life of racing. I love it, it makes me happy, and gives me a sense of accomplishment. And that’s worth delaying debt-free life buy a couple of months.

What’s your hobby costing you? Did you cut back on doing what you love in order to reach a financial goal? Am I being too stubborn?

When to adjust the plan

In a recent conversation with my massage therapist, who also happens to be a Boston qualifier, we were chatting about training plans. Here’s a surprise: she doesn’t have one. Yep, BQ and no plan. That being said, she has a general idea on the distance she wants to cover in a week, but is flexible on how much she gets done each day based on how she feels. She also runs 6-7 days per week. From her perspective, she just doesn’t feel balanced or prepared for a day if she doesn’t run. So her rest day might be a 5k run only.

Cut to me: No BQ, and a definite plan. I run 4 days per week and strength train 1. I take a definite 2 days of rest, because that’s what I believe I needed. I have a training plan that is strategically designed to increase speed, strength and distance over a 14 week period in preparation for a 30km race next month. I’m no Boston qualifier, and likely won’t ever be. Boston isn’t my plan, isn’t my goal. But running faster is.

This week, I thought I’d try to take a note out of my RMT’s book and decided to add a 3km run to just one of my rest days. Easy, right? Tops 18 minutes and would start my day by doing what I love. This one little more pushed my weekly mileage into the 60KM+ mark, and that’s a significant move for me.

How is this related to personal finance? Because sometimes you can have a plan, be ticking along just fine, and on track for your goals. And then you meet someone who is doing just a little bit more and achieving WAY more.

You realize that if you took just one little step more per week you could also achieve way more, way faster.

Not unrelated: I recently dumped my relationship with Tim Hortons auto-reload prepaid card because a 3 month review showed that I spent $340 at Tim Hortons!! WHAT?!! That’s an extra $28 dollars per week that I am now putting towards the almighty emergency fund.

Yay me!

Do you have an ‘extra step’ that you take to get closer to your goal? Share it with me! If it improves my running time or savings balance, I’m in!