Save. Spend. Splurge.

My Money Plan for the rest of 2012

This is coming in a bit late, considering that 2012 is already a quarter of the way finished, but I had a lot of variables (like moving to the U.S.) that I couldn’t quite account for.

Here are my following decisions:


I have still yet to figure out my NET income because I keep having all of these taxable work reimbursements come in. 😐

At any rate, assuming my net income is approximately $7782 a month, I want to save:

  • 50% = $3891 a month
  • 75% = $5836.50 a month

Impossible? Perhaps. But it’s nice to have goals you think are attainable…. but really challenging to reach.


I had thought hard about buying a car, getting car insurance and so on, but frankly I don’t think it’s going to be a good idea for now.

Why it isn’t a good idea for me to buy a car right now:

  • I am traveling 100% of the time, only home on weekends
  • I don’t really want to spend the money
  • I can always rent a car at $40 a day plus gas
  • Apparently car insurance here is a mess if you don’t have a credit score/previous U.S. car insurance

All of that adds up to me renting a car for the weekend, at about $80/week, which is $320/month. I feel like it would be $3840 a year.

In the long-run it would definitely be cheaper to buy a car, but the initial outlay of $20,000 – $30,000 in cash is not very appealing at the moment.

I could rent 2 days a week at $80 a week for about 5 years for the same price as buying a car at $20,000.

Not to mention that I am not including the cost of car insurance at $70 – $100/month in that!

Besides, BF is here, and I can just pay for half of the gas for his car.


Not in the way you think.

I am asking them to take the maximum out for taxation, because it’s my first year as an American Tax Resident and I want to see what these withholdings would end up being at the end of the year.

The least amount of tax I pay at the end, the better. I don’t really want to optimize it and save aside that money into a savings account and then pay a big tax bill at the end of the year.

The savings interest rates here in the U.S. are pathetic, at less than 1%. I mean, SERIOUSLY?!

Ally in Canada pays you 2% on your savings, and that’s with any balance with no holding period.


I can’t contribute to Social Security in Canada, nor to RRSPs (our 401K equivalent).

Therefore, to save money in my retirement, and under the U.S. – Canada tax treaty that acknowledges tax-sheltered retirement savings, I am going to max out my 401K every year and contribute the full $17,000.


This one was a hard one for me to reach for a number of reasons:

  1. I’ve been shopping my Wardrobe List *guilty look* & some extras
  2. BF wasn’t here to foot half the bill for a month or so
  3. I just haven’t been diligent on my spending because I’ve been carefree & lazy

My new proposed budget is $2000 and it looks like this:

  • Rent = $1500
  • Food = $250
  • Medical = $125
  • Other = $125

Rent is my half of the bill.

Food is my half of the bill but I will fully disclose that I travel most of the week & my food is paid, which includes Starbucks runs (I am a Gold Member now!)

Medical includes checkups, co-pays, doctor’s visits .. all things I never used to have to pay for before in Canada.

Other includes Makeup, Toiletries, and .. well, ‘Other’. I don’t know if I’ll stick to this, but I’m trying to give myself a bare bones budget so that I feel a sense of guilt when I spend over it. 🙂

The good news is I’ve been working so much, that I haven’t had TIME or the ENERGY to go spend money. I’ve been dead tired each morning and day, and it feels good. 🙂

(Anyway, if I want to reach my goal of saving 50% – 75% of my net income, I don’t have much leeway to spend more than $2300 a month!!!)

For any kind of extra spending like vacations, I’ll just dip into the savings for that and use my accumulated hotel and flight points from traveling for work as much as possible.

So that’s it!



  • Jacq

    That doesn’t seem right about the insurance.  I didn’t have a problem as a transplanted Canuck with (I think) no credit score?  But maybe something’s changed in the last 10 years.

  • Mochi & Macarons

    BF is definitely an over saver. More than me if you can believe that!!!!

  • Laura @ No More Spending

    I love that you’re aiming for a 50% + savings rate. We’re at 60% approx but doing it in a totally different way (paying off mortgage). I suppose we should say we’re living on 40% of our income.
    Anyway. You’re doing great and working in the US so all good 🙂

    • Mochi & Macarons

      I am trying to live on less for 3 reasons:

      1. Get used to less money do I can save more
      2. Be grateful for that extra cushion which forces me to be conscious of waste (in money) 3. Rebuild my net worth and try to hit my goals

      I also think this will help when I have kids in the future who will take up $$ and I should be prepared for that
      Thank you!

  • Leigh

    Saving 50-75% of your net income is a pretty good goal 🙂 I net a comparable amount and I generally save about 50% of my net monthly income.

    Not buying a car right now sounds like the smart idea for you. I would work on getting a credit card though. If you can’t find one that is unsecured, get a secured one with your bank or credit union. Basically, they’ll hold $500 or so in your savings account and after 6-12 months, you can ask them to convert it to an unsecured (re: normal) card. It just takes some patience, but you’ll get there – trust me.

    Our savings account rates may be pathetic, but you now have access to the wonderfully low expense ratio Vanguard index funds!!! 😀

    Maxing out your 401(k) should reduce your tax liability quite nicely. Beware high-expense ratio funds in your 401(k) though.

    As for medical costs – it really depends on what type of plan you have as to how much stuff will cost. HMO, PPO, CDHP, HDHP are all different. My birth control is super expensive – $90 AFTER insurance negotiations, but my employer pays for part of my deductible, which makes it not so bad 🙂

    • Mochi & Macarons

      Wow thanks for all of the help.

      I definitely want to save at least 50% and I am trying for the goal of 250k at the end of this year so the closer I get, the better.
      I will probably get a card via my company that is their corporate card. I am not sure of that counts towards my score but then I am going to ask another bank for a card. One that can check my score in Canada (TD)
      I am looking into Vanguard for sure and am going to watch out for the MERs under my new 401K.
      Thank you!!

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