January 2014 Budget Roundup = $218,737.65 or an increase of +$1462.48 or +0.67%
HAPPY CHINESE NEW YEAR!
So apparently it’s going to be kind of a rocky year for everyone, but if I am willing to work hard I will be able to make a lot of money this year.
(Or so my Chinese horoscope says).
Last year was awful (Year of the Snake).
SCHEDULING ENOUGH POSTS FOR BABY BUN’S ARRIVAL
I initially wanted a buffer of at least a year, posting 3 times a week.
…but if you look at this line, you might think I went a little bit overboard:
Yes, that’s right.
I have almost 300 posts scheduled, as in ready to go.
This takes me up to around March 2016, posting 3 times a week (in some weeks, 4 times).
Drafts? 153 as of today.
I’ve been whittling it down from over 200 drafts, and they all either need to get Scheduled or Trashed.
Jessica of Mo Money Mo Houses asked me the other day when we met up just how I came up with all those posts, and honestly.. I can’t tell you how.
They just kind of happen. My brain clicks on and suddenly scheduled posts spew out onto the blog.
UPDATE: That image was from the day before.
The very next day, I powered through my drafts and scheduled a few more.
- Whittled it down from 153 drafts to 86 in a day (got rid of 67 drafts!)
- Scheduled an additional 33 posts.
- Now scheduled until the end of June 2016
DOES ANYONE ELSE THINK CAR INSURANCE IS A BIT OF A SCAM?
Purely an Ontarian rant, but I can’t believe people pay $300 – $500 a month on car insurance and you don’t even have an option of super basic car insurance like in Quebec.
When I had my beater car before I donated it to charity, I paid about $300 a year for super basic car insurance just to cover fire and theft. Even if I upped the ante to get something more substantial, it would not come close to $300 a month.
$300 a YEAR or $25/month.
(Okay if you must know, it was even lower than that at $240/month but I was trying not to make any Ontarians feel even worse).
A guy I know here in Ontario pays $300 a month for pretty much the same car I had, but he has no option of something super basic, so he basically pays more in insurance than his car is worth.
Then again, the way Torontonians drive, I thought Montrealers were bad, but they’re actually quite careful and reasonable versus the way some of these damn foos drive here.
Torontonians have a consistent problem with not checking before turning right on a red (something that they should outlaw in Toronto as they did in Montreal), as well as driving way too fast and cutting people off or being impatient for no real, solid reason.
Maybe that’s why car insurance is so much lower in Quebec. No one wants to get into an accident the way Torontoians seem to have a death wish for.
INCOME = $6309.15
I sold a stock and that accounts for almost all of that amount.
The rest of the income is finding money on the floor, credit card “cash back” rewards which don’t pay out until the end of the year, and only $80 of it was from actual blog income.
Why I sold my Bank of America (BAC) stock
As a wise woman once told me: Sometimes you just have to take the money and run.
39.62% is a respectable return on a stock for capital gains, and I also collected dividends in the meantime.
I had made a note early January to watch the stock like a hawk because I just had a nagging instinct that I should sell it and seeing as I should really trust my gut more often, I am acting on it this time.
(Funny story, I had a second gut feeling I should have bought Blackberry BBRY stock in December when it plunged, but I didn’t.
This was partly because I didn’t have available CAD to do so and partly because I was exhausted by this stock.
I even picked it for Nelson’s 2014 stock picking contest on a whim wherein he made fun of me but has had since to eat his words. We will see how it fares for 2014.)
Anyway back to Bank of America — lot of pundits are saying it could go up to $20 – $40 a stock, but frankly I am okay with the return I got, even if it does go up to $40 a stock in the next few years.
My plans for the money?
Aside from making a note that I will have to pay taxes on 50% of my capital gains, I’m going to sit on this cache of USD (get it? cache.. cash!) and convert it to CAD because I am seeing a nice downward trend and expect the Canadian dollar to dip to $0.80 pending the outcome of the U.S. Federal Reserve decision.
Half will go into my TFSA because in 2012 I had a SNAFU with my registered retirement savings (my TFSA) with a bank not properly recording my withdrawals, so I need about $10,000 CAD on hand to top up my TFSA account.
The other half I will keep as USD on hand to see if there are any interesting purchases but more than likely I will funnel it into Vanguard index funds, concentrating on Canada and International indexes this time (I have a lot of money in the U.S. index fund already).
EXPENSES = $1052.17
Click on any image below to embiggen.
I thought we were REALLY done with Household Equipment spending but he just keeps finding more stuff to buy for the kitchen. They’re all practical uses (we really do need another small pot because one is not enough), but still!
I was really trying to stay under $1000 this month and I was SO SOOOOOO DARN CLOSE!!!!!!!!!!!
TOP 5 CATEGORIES OF SPENDING
All practical categories here folks. TAKE A LOOK-SEE!
SAVED: $90 ON AN ALL-CLAD POT
We had a voucher at Williams-Sonoma for $90 to use towards something.
We had wanted to buy the Vitamix 300 but they apparently don’t give discounts (it’s a bloody $600 machine!), so we decided NOT to buy the darn blender and bought a pot instead, paying about $46 for something at retail that would have been $150.
SPENT: $$$$ STOCKING UP FOR BABY BUN
Food, diaper liners, you name it.
We’ve been stocking up on essentials, including chicken (he pre-cooked some food and froze it for me to eat during this month).
SPLURGED: $10 EXTRA ON UNLIMITED INTERNET PER MONTH
I couldn’t take it any more.
I upgraded my internet plan to Unlimited at an additional cost of $10 a month or $120/year; a cost I am taking solely on my shoulders because no one else in my family uses as much as I do.
Once we leave for Montreal however, I will no longer have to pay this (the hotel has unlimited internet).
NET WORTH: $218,737.65 or an increase of +$1462.48 or +0.67%
Hey not bad!
Considering a good chunk of my “income” this month is mostly just capital gains (which means I just shift the money into registered accounts), I still managed to go up in net worth, no small part due to the Canadian dollar tanking.
I have about 57% of my entire net worth in USD and I am not adverse to waiting for the CAD to drop to $0.80 to convert it and lock in some currency gains (woo hoo! 20%!).
I won’t convert ALL my USD into CAD, but I could bring it down to maybe 30% held in USD.
NET WORTH FROM THE PAST 12 MONTHS
Almost back up to my peak from May 2013.
Not to shabby considering I haven’t worked.
Also, my Chinese horoscope for 2014 The Year of the Horse tells me that this is a bad year to dabble in stocks (I will lose a lot of money apparently), and this is my year to really make money if I am willing to work hard.
(And I am. Trust me. I AM SO READY TO WORK!)
DIVIDENDS EARNED = $1010.80
Now that BAC (Bank of America) is gone, I have lost that ~2% yield in dividends, but gained a sense of relief because I wanted to divest the stock after locking in some gains, and now it’s sitting at around $16.73 as we speak (I let it go at $16.83).
Anyway, I also have these dividends on a DRIP (Dividend Reinvestment Plan), so I am not receiving any of this money in cash per se.
So far, a nice start to the year.
MY 5 FAVOURITE POSTS FROM THIS MONTH:
- How to look for and choose an index fund to invest in
- Ever wonder how your country / city compares worldwide in terms of cost of living?
- How to get out of debt in 10 steps
- If I had my way, I’d throw out everything and burn it all
- Where are the women working in STEM professions? (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math)
BEST BLOG FEATURES FROM THIS MONTH:
- Got featured on Rockstar Finance with my post on How to get out of debt in 10 steps!!
- Liquid and Suburban Finance really liked my post on how to pick an index fund.
- Urban Departures liked my post on the most expensive cities to live in the world.
- 2 Ringgit’s Worth did a good 2013 roundup and included my Ideal Household Spending Budget in there.
- My Life I guess liked my post comparing renting versus buying in Montreal
- Shop my Closet connected with my post on wanting to toss everything out in my parents’ home
CARNIVALS I SUBMITTED TO:
- Carnival of Personal Finance with Clever Dude with my What it costs to buy a home versus renting one
- Carnival of Personal Finance with Figuring Money Out, Young Adult Finance (Editor’s Pick!), Carnival of Money Pros and OMG Money with my post on How to get out of debt in 10 steps
- Carnival of Personal Finance with Broke & Beautiful with my post on how your cost of living compares worldwide
NO RETAIL SHOPPING UNTIL BLACK FRIDAY / BOXING DAY.. ARE YOU IN?
So my new challenge for 2014 is no retail shopping. It’s not a goal it’s just to see if I have any willpower.
Single Ma (my partner in crime), and Nest and Grow is!
As the bump gets heavier and bigger, this is kind of all I am thinking about. I’m also having some really vivid, able-to-recall-them-even-hours-later dreams.