the one where i talk about money.

11:01 AM

I'm trying to be more creative with this here blog because I find myself falling into the same routine/boiler-plate posts that frankly, are even boring me so I can't imagine how you feel.

Many times over, I start drafting a post but then abandon it part way through because I think it'll likely be of little interest to anyone so I went back and thought to myself, what do I like reading about?  What keeps me going back to certain blogs? -- real life, real stories, personal interests, fitness, financial shizz, parenting thoughts...basically,  I like reading about people's everyday lives so I decided to give you a dose of what normally occupies my mind:

Finances.

Not going to lie, finances are at the top of my list each month. Ok, every day is more like it. I have a running total in my head and also recorded in my planner of all bills that are scheduled for payment, upcoming payments, how much we'll have in our checking account once bill X, Y, Z has been withdrawn, how much more we can add to our savings based on our expenses, if my investments are doing alright etc.

Earlier this week, I got a bunch of bills...seems like the aftermath of Christmas is now bumping up with reality and the credit card bills are rolling in.  We're also in the midst of planning (and booking) for 2017 vacations so throw that in with holiday spending and let's just say my freak-out meter tipped to red when I saw the balances.

Oh, did I forget to mention that our interim property tax bill also came in for the first half of 2017?



After the shock of how much money will be flying out the door next month, I went to work on the books.

This is where my asian genes excel. I may not be good with math but I'm cheap good with money and saving like fuck. Where and when I'm not spending, I'm socking money away.  I thank my dad for teaching me how to manage my money from an early age - he drilled it into my head that you always save for a rainy day.... and my super savings skills has saved us many times over.

Like when our water filter and AC broke on the same weekend - those repairs cost us just over $2300 and our savings account saved the day.  Although I hated parting with that money, it served its purpose and we weren't any worse for wear.

The rule is investments first.  We pay ourselves before anyone else.  When it's payday (we both get paid bi-weekly), money is immediately allocated into our portfolio - retirement, Kayla's education, Kayla's TFSA (all automatic withdrawals).  I'm a huge planner when it comes to retirement because I want to be able to enjoy my golden years so when it comes to savings, that gets priority.

Once investments are taken care of, then it's our savings account. The immediate amount that goes into savings is 20% of each pay.  I refuse to leave a large sum of money in our checking account because banks give you jack shit in interest so fuck them; I prefer to have my money work as much as possible.  For that, I use high interest savings accounts - they pay higher interest rates than every bank I know and the beauty of these accounts is I can open as many as I want and transfer money between each of these accounts or directly to my checking account with zero fees.

I have several accounts going:  our Main savings, Kayla's Braces fund (I know she's going to need braces when she's older and braces are hella expensive), our Vacation fund and most recently - the Door fund.  We're planning on installing a new porch/front door this spring so I started that fund just this month and we've estimated it's going to be around $2500-$3000 so I'm targeting about $4000 in savings.

Money that isn't spent from these accounts are re-routed back into our main savings or added to the vacation fund.

Finally, expenses - you know, the usual things that suck joy out of life: mortgage, utilities, groceries, credit cards etc. The bare minimum to cover everything stays in our checking account.  All payments are post-dated at least by 2 days before the due date to avoid late fees and for some strange reason, I check these post-dated payments at least twice a week to make sure that the dates are right.  I have, in the past, made a mistake and set the date wrong and then got charged late fees which makes me rage even harder than shipping fees.

Are you a stickler for savings like me?

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15 comments

  1. I really have a freak out thing about saving. I feel like I have so many stashes of savings everywhere & I never want to use them for anything because I know the sky is going to fall any minute.... if only I could stop spending so freely sometimes ;) .... I just paid off all my Christmas credit cards & OUCHHHHH - that's always rough. It always blows my mind how much money is flushed at the holidays.

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  2. You're officially hired as my personal accountant.

    I've gotten MUCH better in recent years but there's always room for improvement and I would really like to get to where you're at. Not comparing but where you're presently at is #goals. I have 4% taken from every check that goes into my 401(k) and that will increase 1% every year until it caps at 8%. I have automatic withdrawals set up for 3 separate savings accounts (2 are credit unions, one is a 360 account since they have higher rates than my regular bank) and then the rest sits in my checking account. I almost NEVER have cash on me but I'm going to start giving myself an allowance (we get paid the 15th and the last of the month) and that's my spending money until the next pay day. It's too easy to swipe my card and then go into freak out mode as to whether a bill cleared yet or not. All tips/suggestions welcome!

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  3. Yes. I hate math but budgeting and being smart with my money makes my heart go pitter-patter. There are so many people my age who are drowning in credit card debt and I just don't understand what they thought was going to happen when they were using the cards in the first place? I'm really thankful my parents drilled it into my head that savings are important and if you don't have money to buy it you don't buy it, simple as that.

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  4. I worked for 7 years in finance (marketing/education) and it always make me so proud when I see a financially strong and smart woman. You're being so smart with your financial priorities, which is why you are able to treat yo self guilt-free. So many women (and men) treat themselves first and don't have anything leftover. And yes to savings/emergency funds. In a two week span, I had a $1200 car bill and had to replace my MacBook Pro after someone may have spilled soup all over it and killed it. So expensive, so dumb and thank God for emergency funds.

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  5. I wish I was better. Money was such a weird topic and my parents did not go into it with me and now I am really trying to properly learn how to budget and save. It's tricky but I hope by learning myself I will be able to help Kyra in the future!

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  6. OMG, I freak out about money on the daily. We are so bad about budgeting, but we really need to. We're pretty good at saving what excess we have though, so at least there's that. If you've got any amazing budgeting tips, I'd be all over that.

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  7. Finances are ALWAYS on my mind. Like you, I keep strict tabs in my planner. I budget out for about a month in advance and write out what bills are being paid with what paycheck, etc. I also have set up multiple savings accounts (vacation, car repairs, vet bills, etc.). However, lately we've had some emergencies crop up and are just starting to rebuild our savings and pay off our credit cards. I cannot wait until our card is paid off and our savings are built back up because I want to prepared for future emergencies.

    As for retirement... we each have state pensions which takes a % of our paychecks, and I also have a small 403b account on top of the pension. Other than that, I don't know anything about investing. I really, really wish I did because retirement is a priority for me too.

    You have a really good handle on things. I hope to be that awesome one day. :)

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  8. i am slowly maturing and getting better with money, but it's been a long journey for me. i wish i had someone drill saving for a rainy day in my head when i was younger, instead i had credit cards are free money/fine to use.. which got me in a whole lotta awful messes. and i still make pretty poor decisions sometimes. but i am getting better and i think it really helps to look to the future.. like i'm not going to be able to travel, stay home with a kid or buy the house i want if i spend all my money and save none. you know? so baby steps lol
    i wish i could get braces now lol. but $$$.

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  9. My husband is this person. I'm terrible at money. I mean, I don't spend a lot (he does) but I'm also not good at being organized with it.

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  10. I go in phases. I need to get better at just saving ALL the time. I'm tracking my spending this month so I can see what I typically spend, where I need to cut back, etc.

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  11. I know the importance of saving... I just really suck at it. I impulse buy like no other and have absolutely no buyers remorse or guilt. I really have to step away from the damn credit cards. I do however automatically deposit money into our savings account and my retirement account which is a start! I definitely need to get better about my spending.

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  12. I'm glad I'm not the only one with all the different accounts for all the different things. We have a House checking and money market account with high interest returns (and by high I mean .45% instead of the super shittay .01%). SO and I have separate accounts and we haven't discussed if we will keep it that way or not when we get married. Fortunately, we agree on most things financial (big purchases, etc) so that is good, but money is just so tricky.

    I do wish I knew more about investing. I just think of it like gambling and just don't do it. I put money into my Roth (8%) and my company meets up to 4%, which is great for me. I never move that money around and just leave it wherever it is.

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  13. I keep that running list of all expenses in my head & in my planner. I'm always subtracting and figuring what balance will be left in the account. I know where the paychecks are going to go before we get them and I have more of a long-term financial plan than anything else. Lol.

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  14. Ugh budgets and savings and finances oh my! Haha! We are trying to get better about savings and investing and all that jazz now that we make enough money that we aren't exactly living penny to penny from each paycheck haha. I guess I should start putting money away for braces and shit now too, huh. Woof. I need to pick up on some more budget tips though, because they can never hurt!

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  15. I need to learn from you! I know zero things about savings and money. We got the YNAB app which is helping so far, and I'm trying to avoid spending on random things that I want right now.. .but beyond that I'm not great at it! Moving will help.. .though I swear we've eaten out so much because ALL WE DO IS PACK AND MOVE AND PACK AND MOVE. It's the worst. :( XO - Alexandra

    Simply Alexandra: My Favorite Things

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