Author Topic: Reader Case Story - Just Starting Out - What is my next step? [Canada]  (Read 1322 times)

queenvictoria21

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I am fully aware I deserve a few punches, no need to remind me!

Pertinent Data (all figures are in Canadian dollars, I live in Montreal)

Salary data (per week):
- Gross pay: 923.08
- Federal income tax: 77.21
- Provincial income tax: 109.04
- Unemployment: 12
- Quebec Pension Plan (aka social security): 49.87
- QPIP (parental leave insurance): 5.06
- Health insurance (split 50/50 between my SO and I, my share): 19.48
- Net pay per week: 649.90
- Average per month: 2816.23

Expenses (monthly basis & my share due to my SO and I rigorously split expenses 50/50):
- Rent (includes hot water, heating, air conditioning, electricity and parking): 640
- Internet: 30
- Phone (going down in August when my contract expires. Bought my phone cash): 65
- Costco executive membership (we actually make money out of it): 5.71
- Car Lease (2017 Honda civic EX): 152.92
- Car insurance: 60
- Gas: 60
- Car registration: 12
- Driver license: 7.5
- Car maintenance: 5
- Outside parking: 10
- Bus tickets: 5
- Christmas gifts: 30
- Groceries (including shampoo, soap and the like): 300
- Restaurants: 200
- Netflix: 5
- Apple music: 6
- Random/miscellaneous: 40
- Student loan payment: 102.47

Total: 1736.60 (roughly, this is an average)

Recent big expenses:
- Trip to Las Vegas/California/Chicago
- Furniture
- Trainer for the year (700$ package insurance paid 500$. Try to convince SO to diminish frequency, but very difficult to do)
- Class package at a gym (our new building has a gym, so it will last quite a long time)

Context for some expenses:
- Car lease: my SO's office does not have public transit nearby, which is why we got a car. He chose the model and financing, since I do not know anything about cars.
- Apartment: moving to a new apartment this Saturday, I put the new rent as my rent in the pertinent data section. It is a 20 minutes walk away from my current work, but I don't plan to stay at that company for the long-term.

Assets/debts/contribution room:
- Emergency fund: currently at 4000, will have 10,000 by April/May to have 6 months of living expenses saved up.
- Student Loan: Quebec government loan with a 3.95% (variable, prime rate + 0.5%) and a balance of 8470.35
- TFSA (roth IRA for americans) contribution room: 46,450
- RRSP (traditional IRA for americans) contribution room: 10,000

Questions/Issues:
- SO makes roughly 50% more than I do and we still split the bills 50/50 because our salaries will go up quickly (both working in the CRM field) and we would have to have a how to split the bills conversation every few months. We are both equally spendy, but he pushes travel on me when I try to control my expenses. I told him no, I cannot go to NYC but we are still going. We are planning a trip to India to see his family for Christmas, but he wants to stop in 2-3 other countries and my finances are tight. How can I tell him that I cannot afford it without getting the blackmail of "If you don't come, I will find someone else who will be willing to come"?

- I want to avoid contributing to a TFSA, since I am in a field with a strong chance to moving to the USA (in 3-5 years) and the IRS does not recognize TFSA as retirement savings vehicle.

- Should I pay back my student loan ASAP or contribute to a RRSP and use the tax refund to pay back my loan over the next 2 years?

- Any other advice on how to improve my financial situation?


EDIT: I do now have any money at the moment in RRSP/TFSA, this is the amount I am allowed to put in according to the Canada Revenue Agency.

Thanks :)


« Last Edit: February 08, 2018, 05:32:28 AM by queenvictoria21 »

Beard N Bones

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Re: Reader Case Story - Just Starting Out - What is my next step? [Canada]
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2018, 03:24:45 PM »
I am fully aware I deserve a few punches, no need to remind me!

Pertinent Data (all figures are in Canadian dollars, I live in Montreal)

Salary data (per week):
- Gross pay: 923.08
- Federal income tax: 77.21
- Provincial income tax: 109.04
- Unemployment: 12
- Quebec Pension Plan (aka social security): 49.87
- QPIP (parental leave insurance): 5.06
- Health insurance (split 50/50 between my SO and I, my share): 19.48
- Net pay per week: 649.90
- Average per month: 2816.23

Expenses (monthly basis & my share due to my SO and I rigorously split expenses 50/50):
- Rent (includes hot water, heating, air conditioning, electricity and parking): 640
- Internet: 30
- Phone (going down in August when my contract expires. Bought my phone cash): 65
- Costco executive membership (we actually make money out of it): 5.71
- Car Lease (2017 Honda civic EX): 152.92
- Car insurance: 60
- Gas: 60
- Car registration: 12
- Driver license: 7.5
- Car maintenance: 5
- Outside parking: 10
- Bus tickets: 5
- Christmas gifts: 30
- Groceries (including shampoo, soap and the like): 300
- Restaurants: 200
- Netflix: 5
- Apple music: 6
- Random/miscellaneous: 40
- Student loan payment: 102.47

Total: 1736.60 (roughly, this is an average)

Recent big expenses:
- Trip to Las Vegas/California/Chicago
- Furniture
- Trainer for the year (700$ package insurance paid 500$. Try to convince SO to diminish frequency, but very difficult to do)
- Class package at a gym (our new building has a gym, so it will last quite a long time)

Context for some expenses:
- Car lease: my SO's office does not have public transit nearby, which is why we got a car. He chose the model and financing, since I do not know anything about cars.
- Apartment: moving to a new apartment this Saturday, I put the new rent as my rent in the pertinent data section. It is a 20 minutes walk away from my current work, but I don't plan to stay at that company for the long-term.

Assets/debts/contribution room:
- Emergency fund: currently at 4000, will have 10,000 by April/May to have 6 months of living expenses saved up.
- Student Loan: Quebec government loan with a 3.95% (variable, prime rate + 0.5%) and a balance of 8470.35
- TFSA (roth IRA for americans) contribution room: 46,450
- RRSP (traditional IRA for americans) contribution room: 10,000

Questions/Issues:
- SO makes roughly 50% more than I do and we still split the bills 50/50 because our salaries will go up quickly (both working in the CRM field) and we would have to have a how to split the bills conversation every few months. We are both equally spendy, but he pushes travel on me when I try to control my expenses. I told him no, I cannot go to NYC but we are still going. We are planning a trip to India to see his family for Christmas, but he wants to stop in 2-3 other countries and my finances are tight. How can I tell him that I cannot afford it without getting the blackmail of "If you don't come, I will find someone else who will be willing to come"?

- I want to avoid contributing to a TFSA, since I am in a field with a strong chance to moving to the USA (in 3-5 years) and the IRS does not recognize TFSA as retirement savings vehicle.

- Should I pay back my student loan ASAP or contribute to a RRSP and use the tax refund to pay back my loan over the next 2 years?

- Any other advice on how to improve my financial situation?

Thanks :)

A couple of points:
What I think you are doing right:
1.  Renting is great in freeing up cash (ie. Opportunity Cost minimal compared to owning a house).  $640 is low.
2.  Being generous with your SO in paying the lease and vehicle costs.  When you move, walk the 20min (or bike?).  You will save thousands/year & you will be physically healthier in doing so.
3.  Good job in building the nest egg you've accumulated in your TFSA and RRSP thus far.  Keep on feeding them like they are hungry children that need to be fed.

What can be improved upon:
1. Phone. I bought my phone as well and I pay as I go for less than $30/mn
2.  Car lease.  Ouch.
3.  Associated car costs.  Ouch. 
4.  Food.  My family of 5 lives off of $700/mn and I think that is excessive (we buy lactose free stuff, too much cheese & meat, etc)
5.  Restaurants.  Ouch!  Eat in.  Pack lunches/suppers.  Check out this forum for even more details.
6.  Try to cut out the $500/yr "Random/Misc" category if possible
 
General comments.
- Some people like Emergency Accounts.  I don't.  My investments and job are very secure.  At worst, I would tap into my currently unused Line of Credit to pay off the emergency - and then the following month(s) savings would be used to pay it off again.  I think the $4000 or $10,000 are green employees that are best used to make you money.  But if you have high risk with job/life, then an EF is best for you.
- If the SO respects/cherishes you/loves you, he will respect your desires in keeping spending to a minimum with travel (at this point in time).  If he can't respect your financial goals and chooses to blackmail or find someone else, he doesn't deserve you.  (Good communication is important in dealing with these matters.)
- To pay off loan vs invest.  Either.  To each their own.  $8475.31 isn't a huge amount of money.  When I had student loans, I paid them off first because of the mental freedom it brought.  Financially speaking, investing and paying off the loans over 2 years wins out. 

Making a few changes will make a huge difference in your case.   All the best!

ginjaninja

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Re: Reader Case Story - Just Starting Out - What is my next step? [Canada]
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2018, 03:42:27 PM »
A few thoughts:  I have some friends who are in a similar situation (one makes 50% more money).  I would have an open conversation about this.  If you are not using the car then you should not be paying for half of it.  If he is guilting you into travel I would make sure to explain to him that you cannot afford if and if he would like you to come he can help to subsidize it like you are with his car.  Start the conversation with I have $XX to spend this year on travel after all of our living costs, I would really like to travel with you but I cannot do all that you want to.  For example:  I really want to go with you to visit your family over Christmas in India, I also really want to go to NYC with you, but this year I can only do one or the other.  Which would you rather me come for?  You are welcome to do both but I can only do one.   

How is he with other areas of spending?  Is he more spendy with just travel?  Or does he add some lifestyle inflation to what you are comfortable with?  If he is open to splitting the bills according to salary, it is not a difficult conversation to have every few months and would only take 30 minutes to adjust when you get additional income. 

Other than a crazy car lease (no reason to lease a brand new car when you can buy a 5-8 year old honda civic for Less than $10k), a little bit of fancypants spending on travel and food it seems like you are in good shape!  The interest rate on your student loan isn't crazy, but I would double the payment to $200/month because you can.  I also don't understand the trainer and gym membership aspect of what you posted but $700 for someone telling you how to work out when there is the internet seems like a ton of money leaking from your life. 

Also during the conversation with your SO it might be worth bringing all of this information to him and telling him what your goals are.  If he has different goals that is okay too, but this is definitely worth a convo. 

Good luck!  Keep us posted.

daverobev

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Re: Reader Case Story - Just Starting Out - What is my next step? [Canada]
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2018, 10:08:30 PM »
Use your TFSA. There is NO downside; if you want to liquidate it all in a few years and move to the US, no problem. You will - hopefully - have grown your contribution room for if you ever return to Canada. Even if you get a cash TFSA and have your emergency fund in there, you don't pay tax on any interest!

The 'perceived wisdom' with the RRSP is that any refund/reduction should also be invested. I would not worry about the student loan. $8k is not a lot to fret over, either. I mean - if you want rid of it, do it.

Look into reddit.com/r/churningcanada - you can get a load of good credit card points for free (or at least huge reductions on) flights.

If your SO is passive aggressive in terms of you saying no, you - from what you wrote - need to evaluate life. Do you want to be pushed around forever? Maybe I'm reading too much into that.

There is also lots of good info on reddit.com/r/personalfinancecanada.

queenvictoria21

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Re: Reader Case Story - Just Starting Out - What is my next step? [Canada]
« Reply #4 on: February 08, 2018, 05:44:21 AM »
A few thoughts:  I have some friends who are in a similar situation (one makes 50% more money).  I would have an open conversation about this.  If you are not using the car then you should not be paying for half of it.  If he is guilting you into travel I would make sure to explain to him that you cannot afford if and if he would like you to come he can help to subsidize it like you are with his car.  Start the conversation with I have $XX to spend this year on travel after all of our living costs, I would really like to travel with you but I cannot do all that you want to.  For example:  I really want to go with you to visit your family over Christmas in India, I also really want to go to NYC with you, but this year I can only do one or the other.  Which would you rather me come for?  You are welcome to do both but I can only do one.   

How is he with other areas of spending?  Is he more spendy with just travel?  Or does he add some lifestyle inflation to what you are comfortable with?  If he is open to splitting the bills according to salary, it is not a difficult conversation to have every few months and would only take 30 minutes to adjust when you get additional income. 

Other than a crazy car lease (no reason to lease a brand new car when you can buy a 5-8 year old honda civic for Less than $10k), a little bit of fancypants spending on travel and food it seems like you are in good shape!  The interest rate on your student loan isn't crazy, but I would double the payment to $200/month because you can.  I also don't understand the trainer and gym membership aspect of what you posted but $700 for someone telling you how to work out when there is the internet seems like a ton of money leaking from your life. 

Also during the conversation with your SO it might be worth bringing all of this information to him and telling him what your goals are.  If he has different goals that is okay too, but this is definitely worth a convo. 

Good luck!  Keep us posted.

Hi!

He also wanted to go to Europe this summer, and I told him no quite firmly. I also tried to speaking against going to NYC, but I already have some USD left from a previous trip. I used to have a gym membership, but now I don't.

I am the one cooking and meal planning and I love to try new recipes. The main expenses we have food wise are: 
1. Chicken breasts (we don't eat red meat at home, only from the restaurant. And we don't eat fish/seafood)
2. Smoothies from the gym (9$ a pop, but I told him that buying a 100$ Ninja blender and the ingredients is more cost efficient)
3. Protein bars (way to avoid eating junk)

The main things he spends his money on are travel, apple products and gym.

In terms of splitting expenses, we discussed and he told me that he would feel like I am "stealing" money from him if we don't split according to benefits. However, he is open to stop splitting the car 50/50 since I would be walking to work unless of a major snow storm/way too much rain/below -20 weather.

queenvictoria21

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Re: Reader Case Story - Just Starting Out - What is my next step? [Canada]
« Reply #5 on: February 08, 2018, 05:51:41 AM »
I am fully aware I deserve a few punches, no need to remind me!

Pertinent Data (all figures are in Canadian dollars, I live in Montreal)

Salary data (per week):
- Gross pay: 923.08
- Federal income tax: 77.21
- Provincial income tax: 109.04
- Unemployment: 12
- Quebec Pension Plan (aka social security): 49.87
- QPIP (parental leave insurance): 5.06
- Health insurance (split 50/50 between my SO and I, my share): 19.48
- Net pay per week: 649.90
- Average per month: 2816.23

Expenses (monthly basis & my share due to my SO and I rigorously split expenses 50/50):
- Rent (includes hot water, heating, air conditioning, electricity and parking): 640
- Internet: 30
- Phone (going down in August when my contract expires. Bought my phone cash): 65
- Costco executive membership (we actually make money out of it): 5.71
- Car Lease (2017 Honda civic EX): 152.92
- Car insurance: 60
- Gas: 60
- Car registration: 12
- Driver license: 7.5
- Car maintenance: 5
- Outside parking: 10
- Bus tickets: 5
- Christmas gifts: 30
- Groceries (including shampoo, soap and the like): 300
- Restaurants: 200
- Netflix: 5
- Apple music: 6
- Random/miscellaneous: 40
- Student loan payment: 102.47

Total: 1736.60 (roughly, this is an average)

Recent big expenses:
- Trip to Las Vegas/California/Chicago
- Furniture
- Trainer for the year (700$ package insurance paid 500$. Try to convince SO to diminish frequency, but very difficult to do)
- Class package at a gym (our new building has a gym, so it will last quite a long time)

Context for some expenses:
- Car lease: my SO's office does not have public transit nearby, which is why we got a car. He chose the model and financing, since I do not know anything about cars.
- Apartment: moving to a new apartment this Saturday, I put the new rent as my rent in the pertinent data section. It is a 20 minutes walk away from my current work, but I don't plan to stay at that company for the long-term.

Assets/debts/contribution room:
- Emergency fund: currently at 4000, will have 10,000 by April/May to have 6 months of living expenses saved up.
- Student Loan: Quebec government loan with a 3.95% (variable, prime rate + 0.5%) and a balance of 8470.35
- TFSA (roth IRA for americans) contribution room: 46,450
- RRSP (traditional IRA for americans) contribution room: 10,000

Questions/Issues:
- SO makes roughly 50% more than I do and we still split the bills 50/50 because our salaries will go up quickly (both working in the CRM field) and we would have to have a how to split the bills conversation every few months. We are both equally spendy, but he pushes travel on me when I try to control my expenses. I told him no, I cannot go to NYC but we are still going. We are planning a trip to India to see his family for Christmas, but he wants to stop in 2-3 other countries and my finances are tight. How can I tell him that I cannot afford it without getting the blackmail of "If you don't come, I will find someone else who will be willing to come"?

- I want to avoid contributing to a TFSA, since I am in a field with a strong chance to moving to the USA (in 3-5 years) and the IRS does not recognize TFSA as retirement savings vehicle.

- Should I pay back my student loan ASAP or contribute to a RRSP and use the tax refund to pay back my loan over the next 2 years?

- Any other advice on how to improve my financial situation?

Thanks :)

A couple of points:
What I think you are doing right:
1.  Renting is great in freeing up cash (ie. Opportunity Cost minimal compared to owning a house).  $640 is low.
2.  Being generous with your SO in paying the lease and vehicle costs.  When you move, walk the 20min (or bike?).  You will save thousands/year & you will be physically healthier in doing so.
3.  Good job in building the nest egg you've accumulated in your TFSA and RRSP thus far.  Keep on feeding them like they are hungry children that need to be fed.

What can be improved upon:
1. Phone. I bought my phone as well and I pay as I go for less than $30/mn
2.  Car lease.  Ouch.
3.  Associated car costs.  Ouch. 
4.  Food.  My family of 5 lives off of $700/mn and I think that is excessive (we buy lactose free stuff, too much cheese & meat, etc)
5.  Restaurants.  Ouch!  Eat in.  Pack lunches/suppers.  Check out this forum for even more details.
6.  Try to cut out the $500/yr "Random/Misc" category if possible
 
General comments.
- Some people like Emergency Accounts.  I don't.  My investments and job are very secure.  At worst, I would tap into my currently unused Line of Credit to pay off the emergency - and then the following month(s) savings would be used to pay it off again.  I think the $4000 or $10,000 are green employees that are best used to make you money.  But if you have high risk with job/life, then an EF is best for you.
- If the SO respects/cherishes you/loves you, he will respect your desires in keeping spending to a minimum with travel (at this point in time).  If he can't respect your financial goals and chooses to blackmail or find someone else, he doesn't deserve you.  (Good communication is important in dealing with these matters.)
- To pay off loan vs invest.  Either.  To each their own.  $8475.31 isn't a huge amount of money.  When I had student loans, I paid them off first because of the mental freedom it brought.  Financially speaking, investing and paying off the loans over 2 years wins out. 

Making a few changes will make a huge difference in your case.   All the best!

Hi!

I need the emergency fund in order to be free from quitting my job if I want to and to be able to sleep at night. I see it as an insurance policy, not an investment. I live in Canada, where we have the highest telecom costs in the world. My plan will only go down to about 55$ a month once I go to pay as you go.

I am moving a 20 minutes walk from my place of work and I will walk unless of a major weather event. My boyfriend's office does not have public transit around, so he needs a car. I know it's expensive.

Food: I never buy lunch outside, but we do buy smoothies from the gym, roasted chicken take-out and uber eats deliveries. I am the one meal planning/cooking.

Beard N Bones

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Re: Reader Case Story - Just Starting Out - What is my next step? [Canada]
« Reply #6 on: February 08, 2018, 08:08:05 AM »
Hi!

I need the emergency fund in order to be free from quitting my job if I want to and to be able to sleep at night. I see it as an insurance policy, not an investment. I live in Canada, where we have the highest telecom costs in the world. My plan will only go down to about 55$ a month once I go to pay as you go.

I am moving a 20 minutes walk from my place of work and I will walk unless of a major weather event. My boyfriend's office does not have public transit around, so he needs a car. I know it's expensive.

Food: I never buy lunch outside, but we do buy smoothies from the gym, roasted chicken take-out and uber eats deliveries. I am the one meal planning/cooking.

The emergency fund is right for you.  Some people call this "F-you money."
http://jlcollinsnh.com/2011/06/06/why-you-need-f-you-money/

I am also from Canada and live in the prairies.  I mainly use my phone for texting and when around WiFi, the internet.  I don't have a data plan.  Depending on how you use your phone, you may be able to do far better than $55.

Regarding smoothies... $9/smoothie is crazy.  My wife makes a smoothie almost daily.  We bought a second hand Ninja for $20 via a Facebook buy & sell site.  You can certainly do way better than $9, and have a healthier product than the gym is giving you. 

queenvictoria21

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Re: Reader Case Story - Just Starting Out - What is my next step? [Canada]
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2018, 08:26:30 AM »
Thing  is I got "grandfathered" by luck into a Videotron plan where I get 10 GB of data for 55$ a month. I mainly use it for Waze and Apple Music in the car.

I know 9$ smoothie is insanity. We looked on Kijiji/Craigslist/Facebook marketplace for a used blender but there is none available right now, unless you want to pay 300$ for a used vitamix

TrMama

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Re: Reader Case Story - Just Starting Out - What is my next step? [Canada]
« Reply #8 on: February 08, 2018, 10:56:52 AM »
Honestly, your expenses look pretty reasonable to me, with the exception of spendy travel and fitness related things that you didn't specify numbers for. I think the most expedient path to FIRE for you will be via increasing your income. In your shoes, I'd do whatever you can to expedite that.

- SO makes roughly 50% more than I do and we still split the bills 50/50 because our salaries will go up quickly (both working in the CRM field) and we would have to have a how to split the bills conversation every few months.

This is a bit of a red flag. Clearly another way to decrease your expenses would be to make your SO pay a proportional amount based on your incomes. The fact that the ratio will need tweaking as your incomes increase is just part of being in a relationship. My DH and I have been married for 12 years and we still have this conversation several times a year. If you and he aren't able to have a rational, adult conversation about finances, I'd either spend some time working on your (plural your, aka vous) communication, or reconsider if this person is a good SO for you.

How can I tell him that I cannot afford it without getting the blackmail of "If you don't come, I will find someone else who will be willing to come"?

This is a huge red flag. To be clear, is he threatening to cheat on you if you don't go on these trips? Or is he just saying he'll find some platonic friend to go with him? In either case, the response is that he's welcome to go on any trip he likes with whomever he likes. However, if he threatens, or chooses, to cheat on you, then he's not welcome back and you'll go back to being single. If he wants to go with a platonic friend, then he's welcome to go and you'll miss him while he's gone. Or, he could foot the bill for your travel expenses because he makes more and wants to spend time with you.

For smoothies, Costco carries a very nice Oster blender for under $100. It's perfectly sufficient for what you need.

ginjaninja

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Re: Reader Case Story - Just Starting Out - What is my next step? [Canada]
« Reply #9 on: February 08, 2018, 11:05:46 AM »
If he wants to spend $9 on a smoothie, let him.  You do not have to participate.  If he wants to play the stealing game you can get really petty and only pay for the things that you use (with regards to the car, food, travel, etc.).  But I don't recommend that because you are partners and adults and this would just cause more fighting.  This comment makes me irrationally angry with your SO.   Also now that you have a nice shiny 2017 car there is zero reason to order uber eats.  It is so freaking expensive.  If you called the same restaurant for a take out order the prices are 20% lower and there is no delivery fee.  Do not waste your money on this when there is food at home.  Also I would be willing to bet most of the places you are ordering from are also within walking distance. 

If you want to start making changes to your spending habits you can no longer let your SO push you into spending ridiculous amounts of money on things that don't make you happy.  He is more than welcome to spend his money as he pleases, you need to take control of your own.

queenvictoria21

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Re: Reader Case Story - Just Starting Out - What is my next step? [Canada]
« Reply #10 on: February 08, 2018, 12:12:40 PM »
Honestly, your expenses look pretty reasonable to me, with the exception of spendy travel and fitness related things that you didn't specify numbers for. I think the most expedient path to FIRE for you will be via increasing your income. In your shoes, I'd do whatever you can to expedite that.

- SO makes roughly 50% more than I do and we still split the bills 50/50 because our salaries will go up quickly (both working in the CRM field) and we would have to have a how to split the bills conversation every few months.

This is a bit of a red flag. Clearly another way to decrease your expenses would be to make your SO pay a proportional amount based on your incomes. The fact that the ratio will need tweaking as your incomes increase is just part of being in a relationship. My DH and I have been married for 12 years and we still have this conversation several times a year. If you and he aren't able to have a rational, adult conversation about finances, I'd either spend some time working on your (plural your, aka vous) communication, or reconsider if this person is a good SO for you.

How can I tell him that I cannot afford it without getting the blackmail of "If you don't come, I will find someone else who will be willing to come"?

This is a huge red flag. To be clear, is he threatening to cheat on you if you don't go on these trips? Or is he just saying he'll find some platonic friend to go with him? In either case, the response is that he's welcome to go on any trip he likes with whomever he likes. However, if he threatens, or chooses, to cheat on you, then he's not welcome back and you'll go back to being single. If he wants to go with a platonic friend, then he's welcome to go and you'll miss him while he's gone. Or, he could foot the bill for your travel expenses because he makes more and wants to spend time with you.

For smoothies, Costco carries a very nice Oster blender for under $100. It's perfectly sufficient for what you need.

Increasing income: I am currently learning development and working on it. Very few people know CRM and development.

50/50 split: we are not married and both agreed to revisit the question once that's happened (not for the next 5 years for sure).

Travel: He wants to travel a lot (which is fine, I love it to travel as well). However, I am not in the same financial situation as him and I explain him that I have to stick to a budget and I cannot afford as much as him. When I mention that he makes 50% more and can afford more, he becomes defensive and says that he earned his money (which is true) and can spend it as he wishes (also true). It would be a platonic friend, but I think he wants me to come as well.

Smoothies: we are getting the 95$ ninja blender from Costco!

Recent expenses:

Travel to Vegas/California/Chicago (all included, during Christmas): 3000$
Fitness: Trainer package (20 semi private sessions, 700$ but insurance pays 500$, 20 sessions remaining), 20 class package: 320$ (I have 17 remaining classes).
« Last Edit: February 08, 2018, 12:22:04 PM by queenvictoria21 »

queenvictoria21

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Re: Reader Case Story - Just Starting Out - What is my next step? [Canada]
« Reply #11 on: February 08, 2018, 12:17:34 PM »
If he wants to spend $9 on a smoothie, let him.  You do not have to participate.  If he wants to play the stealing game you can get really petty and only pay for the things that you use (with regards to the car, food, travel, etc.).  But I don't recommend that because you are partners and adults and this would just cause more fighting.  This comment makes me irrationally angry with your SO.   Also now that you have a nice shiny 2017 car there is zero reason to order uber eats.  It is so freaking expensive.  If you called the same restaurant for a take out order the prices are 20% lower and there is no delivery fee.  Do not waste your money on this when there is food at home.  Also I would be willing to bet most of the places you are ordering from are also within walking distance. 

If you want to start making changes to your spending habits you can no longer let your SO push you into spending ridiculous amounts of money on things that don't make you happy.  He is more than welcome to spend his money as he pleases, you need to take control of your own.

We have probationary licenses (we have less than 3 years of driving experience in Quebec) and it would be an offense to drive with any amount of alcohol in our blood. We only order food if we drink alcohol (once or twice a month).

I am trying to be more strict in terms of budgeting. I told him when we bought our couch That my budget including taxes and delivery was 575$. We ended up buying the floor model of a couch retailing for 1000$ for 600$ plus delivery and taxes.

Novik

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Re: Reader Case Story - Just Starting Out - What is my next step? [Canada]
« Reply #12 on: February 08, 2018, 12:48:16 PM »
Questions/Issues:
- SO makes roughly 50% more than I do and we still split the bills 50/50 because our salaries will go up quickly (both working in the CRM field) and we would have to have a how to split the bills conversation every few months. We are both equally spendy, but he pushes travel on me when I try to control my expenses. I told him no, I cannot go to NYC but we are still going. We are planning a trip to India to see his family for Christmas, but he wants to stop in 2-3 other countries and my finances are tight. How can I tell him that I cannot afford it without getting the blackmail of "If you don't come, I will find someone else who will be willing to come"?

Your costs are reasonable, if not mustachian in some ways.... but your SO's behaviour is NOT reasonable. At all. And you are NOT equally spendy if he pushes travel, car payments, furniture and gym expenses on you when he knows you are trying to stay on a budget!! He doesn't sound like a good partner right now, from your description, I'm sorry to say, and it doesn't sound like you're both in this for the long term.

Something else that stood out to me... it almost sounds like you split all expenses 50/50, instead of just joint expenses that way. ie. if it's his car to get to his work and he chose the lease and model, why are you paying for it? Are you paying half the gas even though most of it's probably for his commute? Whose name is the lease in? If his, can you offer to pay a fixed amount (50-100$?) towards your usage and joint usage?

I earn about twice as much as my partner (although I am the more frugal one). We split rent (and included in that some utilities) based on income, but groceries/restaurants/events/furniture etc 50/50. Since rent is the biggest expense, this gives him the most relief on expenses, while not forcing us to do tricky math on everything else, or feel like I'm paying too much.  Would something like that work for you?

The other thing we do is subsidize each other when it's important to us. When I wanted him to come on a trip for a sports tournament, I paid the gas, brought food in a cooler for most eating, and paid all our joint meals out. If your SO wanted you to travel so badly, could he cover your airfare and hotel or other big fixed costs of the trip?



A few other things:
- open the TFSA and just cash out if you move to the US (ideally the tax year before you move to the US). If you move you will 100% have other tax problems... being invested in canadian mutual funds or ETFs which are PFICs... Just don't worry about it now but plan 1-2 years in advance if it looks likely (using a book like "The Canadian in America" for help).

- what are you currently doing with your extra 1000$+/month? If you're spending it on trips/furniture/gym, that should be in your budget  (unless this is a going forward budget vs. report on spending, I guess)

- rent and internet look good - phone could probably be cheaper but I get the ON/QC pricyness... would reducing your data help? I have a 100 MB/month plan and it's more than enough. Or depending on usage, you may be better off with a pay as you go.

- groceries and restaurants are both much bigger than they need to be (my partner and I spend ~200$/person/month with much less restaurant food than you).

- Christmas gifts seems a little high to me, although it's far from the most important thing to work on




queenvictoria21

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Re: Reader Case Story - Just Starting Out - What is my next step? [Canada]
« Reply #13 on: February 08, 2018, 01:37:13 PM »
Questions/Issues:
- SO makes roughly 50% more than I do and we still split the bills 50/50 because our salaries will go up quickly (both working in the CRM field) and we would have to have a how to split the bills conversation every few months. We are both equally spendy, but he pushes travel on me when I try to control my expenses. I told him no, I cannot go to NYC but we are still going. We are planning a trip to India to see his family for Christmas, but he wants to stop in 2-3 other countries and my finances are tight. How can I tell him that I cannot afford it without getting the blackmail of "If you don't come, I will find someone else who will be willing to come"?

Your costs are reasonable, if not mustachian in some ways.... but your SO's behaviour is NOT reasonable. At all. And you are NOT equally spendy if he pushes travel, car payments, furniture and gym expenses on you when he knows you are trying to stay on a budget!! He doesn't sound like a good partner right now, from your description, I'm sorry to say, and it doesn't sound like you're both in this for the long term.

Something else that stood out to me... it almost sounds like you split all expenses 50/50, instead of just joint expenses that way. ie. if it's his car to get to his work and he chose the lease and model, why are you paying for it? Are you paying half the gas even though most of it's probably for his commute? Whose name is the lease in? If his, can you offer to pay a fixed amount (50-100$?) towards your usage and joint usage?

I earn about twice as much as my partner (although I am the more frugal one). We split rent (and included in that some utilities) based on income, but groceries/restaurants/events/furniture etc 50/50. Since rent is the biggest expense, this gives him the most relief on expenses, while not forcing us to do tricky math on everything else, or feel like I'm paying too much.  Would something like that work for you?

The other thing we do is subsidize each other when it's important to us. When I wanted him to come on a trip for a sports tournament, I paid the gas, brought food in a cooler for most eating, and paid all our joint meals out. If your SO wanted you to travel so badly, could he cover your airfare and hotel or other big fixed costs of the trip?



A few other things:
- open the TFSA and just cash out if you move to the US (ideally the tax year before you move to the US). If you move you will 100% have other tax problems... being invested in canadian mutual funds or ETFs which are PFICs... Just don't worry about it now but plan 1-2 years in advance if it looks likely (using a book like "The Canadian in America" for help).

- what are you currently doing with your extra 1000$+/month? If you're spending it on trips/furniture/gym, that should be in your budget  (unless this is a going forward budget vs. report on spending, I guess)

- rent and internet look good - phone could probably be cheaper but I get the ON/QC pricyness... would reducing your data help? I have a 100 MB/month plan and it's more than enough. Or depending on usage, you may be better off with a pay as you go.

- groceries and restaurants are both much bigger than they need to be (my partner and I spend ~200$/person/month with much less restaurant food than you).

- Christmas gifts seems a little high to me, although it's far from the most important thing to work on


Furniture is common, and he wanted to buy a 1100-1200$ couch but we ended up getting a 600$ floor model (with a lovely 40% discount). We have our own expenses (if he buys the Home Pod, that's on him. If I buy popcorn at dollarama, that's on me). But the car is included as a household expense. Lease is under both of our names.

Extra 1000$ a month: going into an emergency fund until April/May and then will be used for other goals, just want to know what to prioritize (RRSP/student loan/TFSA).

Christmas gift: Include SO's birthday gift, since his brithday is really close to Christmas.

Phone plan: I got grandfathered into a Videotron plan that will go down to 55$ a month (taxes included). I have 10 gb a month, unlimited call across canada, unlimited texts, etc.

Trying to save some money on groceries! Our most expensive items are chicken breasts, protein bars and gym smoothies (will be cut down to zero, will be getting a blender from costco instead).