In Budget Roundups

May 2013 Budget Roundup = $219,663.41 or an increase of $5935.56 or 2.78%



Some people have asked why I don’t just go and join a company to earn a 6-figure salary and make some money in the meantime while waiting for a contract.

“Isn’t it better than working retail or at Starbucks? You make SO much more money.”

Er… depends on how you look at it.

I’d probably enjoy working at Starbucks more than for a company doing a job that I love, because at least at Starbucks, you can punch in and punch out.

You aren’t being forced to work weekends*, long hours, dealing and picking up the slack of others in the company who have been coasting for years.

*UPDATE: Er.. I mean “Weekends in addition to a 40-hour full workweek..”

You don’t have the long-term stress that causes sleepless nights, and although customers yell at you and are bossy/bitchy, it isn’t for serious things, just for messing up a drink or so.

You aren’t traveling long commutes from one end of the country to the other, on a tight budget because the client is a cheapskate and won’t pay for normal flights, so you have to take red-eyes, or travel by goat cart.

Other more rational reasons why:

  1. I’d be screwing my own business if I joined a company, they sent me out on projects and those clients would not be looking for freelancers (like me) as a result. Why would I cut off my own legs, so to speak?
  2. I can always do this, it is not an option that will disappear, and I will re-visit it if I don’t get something in the next 2 years if money gets tight.
  3. Bad years come and go, by the time I get a job and work a few months, I might end up quitting again, this kind of churning of employee joining & quitting is not something companies enjoy and if the time ever comes that I need an actual permanent job (knock on wood), they’ll blacklist me.
  4. I really effin’ don’t want to — companies + me do not mix well, and I don’t like all that unnecessary team building, paperwork, HR crap and all the things that they try to get you to do for the company.
  5. Did I mention how much I don’t want to? I value free time more than money, and this is the price I pay.

Anyway, it’s not like I’m living paycheque to paycheque, which is the #1 reason why I’d join a company ASAP if I was getting swamped with bills.


I heard this song on Departures Season 3 and it is just catchy.

I’d call this.. .. what would I call this?

I don’t know, but it’s a good song. It says Genre:¬†Electronic and I guess it’s Electronic but .. it’s kind of Pop-ish.

Aren’t these cherry blossoms gorgeous?

I missed the full bloom in April, but I managed to catch the last of it and take a few photos to share with you:

Yes I very much enjoy macro (close up) photography of flowers and plants.)





I moved as many of my accounts from TD to Questrade as I could.

Still have a TFSA one outstanding, but that’ll get moved at the very last possible second at end of the year (December 31st) so that I can re-contribute without penalty in 2014.

INCOME = $646.61

Met my casual goal of $500 a month.

Making more money online… or not!

Thank you so much for being readers and just visiting the site! May was an incredible month, and I think it might be due to Google having tweaked their algorithms?

I dunno I don’t really follow that stuff but I have been reading around that a lot of bloggers got dinged for having sponsored posts on their sites, as Google considers that a conflict of interest versus their Adsense network.

Additionally, I’ve realized why I don’t make more money online compared to other bloggers who regularly pull in $500 – $600 a month.

P.S. I am not complaining about my Adsense and Lijit earnings AT ALL!!!

I realized it’s because I don’t do sponsored posts (they are really out of place on my blog versus my style of writing and it shows) and I don’t have any paid links.

(I will however considered paid links, but I’m not really hustling.)

Chalk that up to laziness? Nah.

This blog doesn’t even have a PageRank yet, so I’m fairly sure advertisers aren’t interested.

Why my interest (banking) rates are not higher and at a piddly 0.035% in comparison

It’s because if you live in Canada, PC Financial is running a promotional interest of 2.6% for any NEW deposits being transferred into your account.

I cleaned out ING Direct of about $40,000 and transferred in all the money to sit in my account.

Now this is how it works with PC Financial’s new 2.6% promotional rate

  • It is across all savings accounts and even your chequing account.
  • The regular banking interest rates still apply from April 15th > July 15th 2013.
  • The payout for the total amount earned at the end (calculation) is done a week AFTER July 15th, so you won’t see the promotional interest in your monthly account yet, only the regular monthly interest earnings
  • If you have your money in the Interest PLUS savings account, you earn MORE monthly interest, but will get LESS promotional interest when July 15th rolls around.
  • If you have you money in the Chequing account you will earn LESS monthly interest but MORE promotional interest when July 15th rolls around.
  • The total interest earned on all the accounts still stays at 2.6%, it will not change no matter where you stick your money (interest plus or not).


Only took 2 phone calls and 2 weeks of back and forth to figure that out.

I am expecting about $75 – $80 a month in interest, so from April 15th to July 15th, it is about 3 months worth of interest.

3 months x $75 = $225 in promotional interest, less whatever interest I earned, so let’s say about $200 in July as a payout.

EXPENSES = $2582.51





Don’t answer that, I know why. ūüėõ

May is spendy month because it seems like everyone and their dog is born in May.

I had so many birthdays… this was not a good month for eating out in terms of expenses, but I did have a lot of treats by eating sushi all the time (no meat, just fish and no tuna), now that I’m about 99% vegan.

It was a real pleasure to eat sushi. I did NOT take it for granted.




I had about $300 left on my J. Crew gift card, so it was money that was pretty much already “spent” as in I couldn’t get it back in cash.

So the fact that I was able to get rid of it (FINALLY) while they had their 20% off sale (which means “regular” retail prices), made me feel like it was the biggest load off my wallet this month.


Seriously? $356 on TEETH?

Thank goodness this is once a year. It also sucks I had a bad dentist for the first round but a better one for the second.


See above. This is not happening again for June, although June might see an uptick in the Travel category.

NET WORTH = $219,663.41 or an increase of $5935.56 or 2.78%



This time last year I was down at about $191,656.87 as a net worth.

This is quite possibly the highest my net worth has ever been.





  • PWT – Penn West Petroleum — up $1.25 since last month per stock
  • BAC – Bank of America — up $1.25 since last month per stock
  • SBUX – Starbucks — up $2.64 since last month per stock


  • BB.TO – Blackberry — Down $2.05 since last month per stock
  • FTE – France Telecom — Down $0.58 since last month per stock
  • ECI.TO – Enercare — Down $0.07 since last month per stock

My ETFs are boring — they’re index funds of the S&P 500 and the Canadian stock market, and I have about $57,000 invested in these.

The other portion of my money is invested in index mutual funds (bonds and the stock market), at about $20,000.

I also hold about $40,000 in cash in a savings account out of practicality rather than chasing returns, I need the money to pay bills for however long it takes for me to get my next contract.

So the break down looks like this:

  • SUPER RISKY: 46% or $102,000 in individual stocks
  • MODERATELY RISKY: 28% or $57,000 in ETF index funds
  • MODERATELY RISKY: 9% or $20,000 in Mutual Fund index funds
  • CONSERVATIVE: 17% or $37,000 in cash

This is the general breakdown of where my money is that I am comfortable with. 50% is really the maximum I feel comfortable with for individual stock investing, any higher and I’d probably be breathing into a paper bag each month.


  1. Think you’re not a minimalist?
  2. When did it become taboo to fail?
  3. Where do millionaires hold most of their wealth?
  4. All shoppers want are to feel like they’re getting a deal
  5. Top 5 mistakes freelancers make


The most interesting post of all was this reddit thread about things you were dying to ask other cultures/races but didn’t want to come off as ignorant.

In the spirit of the thread, it’s pretty informative.

The runner-up has to be Seth Godin‘s post, which sums up precisely why I do what I do, and think what I think, even if it’s unpopular and people think I’m a paranoid freak about food, toiletries, etc.

The funniest I’ve read this month was DEFINITELY, HANDS DOWN, The Asian Pear’s post on her mother experiencing Empty Nest Syndrome.

I describe Mom to others as “the woman who never wants to experience empty-nest syndrome.”

She wants to hold her children on for dear life.

She’s not one of those mama-birds who wants to see her children fly.

Oh no… She’ll glomp on chicks telling them there’s no need to fly and she’ll bring them food FOREVER.

(Psst.. tell her she can adopt me!)








Think I’m paranoid and kind of weird for wanting to avoid China in my life?

There’s been a recent Chinese¬†crack down on 900 people for “meat-related” crimes¬†such as selling rat, fox and mink as fake lamb.

Even worse, there was a diseased pork bust in Fujian:

Police in Nanjing county, Zhangzhou, detained a 44-year-old woman surnamed Lin and a 33-year-old man, busting an illegal operation in which 40 tonnes of pork was allegedly sold in three months, according to the Strait Metropolis Daily, a newspaper affiliated with the propaganda department in Fujian.

The report added that both suspects were hired by the county government to properly dispose of pigs killed by a viral disease called pseudorabies and by the highly infectious porcine reproductive and respiratory syndrome, also known as blue-ear pig disease.

Lin, the prime suspect, allegedly saw potential for profit and began buying dead pigs cheaply from local farmers at a price of 10 to 80 cents per half kilogram, as well as collecting dead pigs dumped on the sides of roads.

Note: Red highlights are mine

You all might think I’m a biased freak for wanting to avoid China, but when it comes to money, some Chinese citizens will stop at nothing.

Case in point: In the U.S. a scandal erupted when they were selling paddlefish eggs in place of the uber expensive beluga caviar, and charging an arm and a leg for it.

THAT is how low some people and companies might go, but they couldn’t imagine making fake plastic fish eggs to sell, or re-selling diseased pigs to turn a profit.

There’s a minimum, basic code of honour among humans and some people in China have no scruples whatsoever.

Big thanks to @theasianpear who tweeted the link to me @saverspender, and China Digital Times for a rather comprehensive overview.

You can really make music with anything, the same way that you can really make your own opportunities happen if you keep your eyes and ears open:

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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  1. Julie

    Love your website! would you consider sharing what stocks you invest in? Average dividend yield of 8.5% is awesome!!

    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      Right now this is my list:
      BB.TO – Blackberry — A dud so far, luckily I bought it low and am not losing a lot.
      BUSE – First Busey Corp — Waiting for it, bought it below book value
      FLWS – 1800 Flowers — Did really well so far
      PGF.TO — Pengrowth — Long term hold
      PWT.TO — Penn West Petroleum — Long term hold
      AJX.TO — AG Junction — Doing well so far
      APT — Alpha Pro Tech — A gamble
      BAC — Bank of America — Bought below book value, doing well
      ECI.TO — Enercare — Long term hold
      JE.TO — Just Energy — Long term hold / gamble
      ORAN — Orange — Gamble
      REI.PRC.TO — RioCan REIT — Long term
      RSI.TO — Rogers Sugar – Long term
      SBUX — Starbucks — Gamble

      Not all of them worked out, FLWS and BAC were my best buys so far, but I have hopes for the others. ūüôā Some hopes. The rest of my money is in index funds.

      Some I took a gamble on, others I plan on keeping for the long haul.

      1. Julie

        @saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.: thanks for sharing Mochimac, it’s a good list! I’ve recently just started investing again (got bitten really bad in 2008). So far I have BMO, COH, KO, BAC, SU and REI.

        1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

          You’re welcome. 2008 was a rough year, I didn’t invest then, but my index funds tanked and I was crying in the corner.

          BMO is one I have my eye on but I want to buy it when the market lowers a bit, which I think will happen in 2014 – 2015.

          BAC is good. REI is also good, I like the company. CO or Coca-Cola is also a solid investment, but I am more of the bargain-hunting type. Suncor I also have my eye on but want a good price ūüėõ

  2. The Asian Pear

    I’m glad you got to see SOME cherry blossoms before they wilted. Very nice photos.

    Also thanks for the shout-out. I think my Mom would be so confused if she adopted you… She would want to feed you. And when you tell her you’re mostly vegan, she’d be like, “Okay… So steamed chicken?”

    I’m using Feedly… It’s okay… I don’t love it though. =/

    PS – I hope your What I Bought in May post is coming up! ūüėÄ

  3. Jane Savers @ Solving The Money Puzzle

    In the green portion of your net worth you are at 219K but state that you don’t think you will ever get to 225k. Do you mean you don’t think you will get there in 2013 or you don’t think you will ever get there? What’s up with that? Is it because your income is smaller?

    Thank you for mentioning two of my posts. I will notice in my site traffic which is really small and so every little bit helps. Too bad Google AdSense hates me and won’t let me have any of their ads.

    I love caviar on sour cream on top of the tiny little pancakes.

    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @Jane Savers @ Solving The Money Puzzle:

      It’s more that I will not make it in 2013 to $225,000 because I have a feeling there won’t be any contracts for this year, and it will be in 2014 that a contract will come along.

      I have high hopes for August/September, but this is usually how it pans out in a “bad” or slow year.

      You could try Lijit instead of Google Adsense (

      Mmm… caviar.

      1. Jane Savers @ Solving The Money Puzzle

        I signed up for lijit and Yahoo ads but who knows what will happen. Google doesn’t know what they are missing.

        I think you will hit $225,000 without doing anything. That amount should generate enough on it’s own to get there as long as you don’t touch the principal. I don’t think it will take too long for it to grow from $219,000 to $225,000 all on it’s own.

        Remember the old saying the first quarter million is the hardest.

        1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

          @Jane Savers @ Solving The Money Puzzle: Google has no idea how funny you are as a blogger!

          Well I hope it won’t take too long to go from $219 to $225. I was aiming for $250 this year but.. *shrug*

          I’ve always thought that snowballing your money worked to get rid of debt (paying more and more, and less interest paid, more principal cleared), so snowballing it to increase your net worth gets easier and easier as you accumulate more because it’s on larger and larger amounts.

  4. cj

    Wow, a tour de force of a post!!! I will pick one thing among many to agree with. I prefer my time over $$$ any day. I can (nearly) always make do with less;)

    1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

      @cj: My budget roundups are usually all the things I wanted to share about the month but don’t want to do a weekly post on. I find weekly posts are hard to come up with for links only, simply because some days I don’t want to post ūüôā

      Time > Money. That’s all I have to say!

      1. PK

        @saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.: I hear you on the weekly posts. I mail articles to myself that I like, and try to ‘Like’ them in RSS (I use TheOldReader now).

        Thanks for the double include in your massive post!

        1. saverspender @ save. spend. splurge.

          @PK: Yeah I’m still holding on to GR until I am forced to switch to Old Reader.


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