Financial Fitness Check-In: March 2022

Coming into March I had a feeling that this would be the month that turned things around. I had so many reimbursements, so much overtime, so much COVID pay, some pet sitting (that turned into a lot of pet sitting!) and I have never been so right about something. I have money in multiple savings accounts, I am not in the red after paying my rent, water, cell phone, student loan and getting groceries in a 24 hour period. It feels really, really nice, and kind of unbelievable.

I think I need a whole blog post or something else to completely delve into all the weird feelings I have been having about how just getting out of the red in your chequing account can impact your overall financial well-being. I had for so long been living where my paycheque did not fully belong to me because I was always in overdraft, and if I got out of overdraft it was just a matter of time (at most 6 weeks) before I was in overdraft again. And then not only did I need to pay back the overdraft to get back to a 0$ bank balance, but I was also charged a fee for overdraft protection, and interest on the amount I was overdrafted. I’d heard it before, but it really cemented the lesson that being poor is really expensive.

However, I cannot get used to the amount of income that I had this month. It was the exception, not the rule and I want to take this opportunity to have gotten out of the small hole of chequing account overdraft into the bigger hole of credit card debt (which is contained in the bigger holes of car loan and the student loan) that makes me think of the book (and movie, but I haven’t seen the movie) Holes lol.

So I did save all of my pet sitting income this month, I am currently mid-job and I ask that my clients pay me after the job is done, and I am pet sitting for nearly the entire month of April (although one is for a friend and we are doing a bit of a labour swap, so I won’t make a ton from that job), so I will have more pet sitting money again. But I’ll get into how I’m splitting that up later. But I made $510 from pet sitting in March. I deposit this directly into my CIBC bank account. And this is my social/emergency money. Both the curling club and the Legion (aka the only social venues in town) only take cash, and I don’t like to get charged to use an ATM, so I keep a certain amount of money in my CIBC account so that I can always take out cash at the branch in town (my other bank ScotiaBank doesn’t have a branch until either Thunder Bay or Kenora, so minimum 3 hour drive). It’s a security blanket. I think I would like to get this account to a $1000 balance? I almost never make a purchase from this account so it would just kind of sit there, and then if I did ever need cash, it would just be there. Although I did spend about $100 out of this account this month in social spending, so it’s currently sitting at a little over $400.

My cell phone bill was a bit higher this month, I used a lot of data when I was up in Mishkeegogamang and I had gone a little bit over my usage limits. So instead of the normal $90.41 it was $91.88, which isn’t bad for going over. Although, yes, Canadian cell phone bills are absolutely outrageous and yes we as a population see that we are being ripped off, but we don’t know what to do about it, other than advocate for regulation of the telecoms industry and break up of the oligopoly that exists here.

Another expected cost was my car repair, I had to get a new battery in my car, and honestly it was so worth it. I haven’t needed a boost, and I can really feel a difference when I start my car. It sounds so much better, even then it did before it got cold. That was $277.38, I also went through the car wash to wash off all the salt. I’ve been told you don’t want to wash your car when it’s below -15C, so I hadn’t washed it since I had driven from my parents to Guelph, Toronto, and then back up north so there was so much salt and sand on it from those highways that had been sitting there for a couple months. So when it got to consistently be about -15 for a bit I went through the car wash and got the deluxe one, $15.

Also expected was my Skims and Sephora order, although I did add a couple unplanned, but wanted for several months, lipsticks to my Sephora order.

So for the unplanned or unexpected expenses this month.

Electric bill, this is more of a comment for all the winter months than anything else, but for the past three months my electric bill has been between 200-250$ a month. My heat is electric, so I knew it was going to get expensive over the winter, but knowing as an abstract thought and then experiencing it in contrast to my $75 summer electric bills was icky.

I also used my larger than normal income as an opportunity to get some house stuff that I had been putting off, not exciting stuff, just a back stock of toilet paper, a new mop, mop bucket and a back-up mop head, cat treats, toothpaste, nothing exciting.

Then I came across this girl on TikTok, Geena Hunt, and I should see her in small claims court, because I have never been so quickly influenced by anyone for hair and make up. So I finally replaced my hot rollers (listen I did grow up in Tennessee), and got velcro rollers and those foam rollers you sleep on (these give me childhood sleepover flashbacks), but this does fit in to my wanting to do my hair and makeup more, so I’m not that mad about it. I also bought two new domain names, one for my name, and one with the correct spelling of millennial. I cannot believe that I misspelled it last January, especially since the correct spelling was available! So now I have to figure out if I want to try and migrate there or what to do, but I wanted to make sure the correct spelling didn’t get bought out before I figured out a solution. And finally, the Instagram needlepoint community I’m part of started doing a “White Whale” series on the first of the month. So I randomly submitted the canvases I have been looking for (that there is a whole saga behind), I didn’t think anyone would have them, but someone did! And was willing to ship them to Canada! I couldn’t believe them. I got them on Friday, and they are even cuter than I imagined! I am truly so thrilled. So overall I did spend about $900 on various shopping things this month, but every single one of them is an item I have had on my list for several months, if not well over a year. So I am fine with it.

I think the thing I still can’t believe for this month, is that I spent money, I kind of allowed myself to ball out a bit, I got coffee out a couple times a week. I allowed myself to get stuff off my lists that had been there for ages, and I still have credit available on my credit card, and I didn’t go into overdraft. I’m slightly in shock, honestly. And that sets me up to have better future months, shocking really.

So let’s get into April plans. I had somehow convinced myself this was a three paycheque month, and it is not which is a bit of a bummer. But I will have a big pet sitting payment come in, so it will balance out my expectations a bit. I also haven’t quite figured out what I am going to do with the pet sitting income. It’s going to be roughly $1100 (there some question still about which day they will be back). And I’m torn between fully funding my CIBC account (would be about $600 of it), and putting the rest to my credit card or putting it all on my credit card. And the internet gives really conflicting advice about whether to build your emergency fund or pay off your credit card first.

I also am determined to bring down my monthly grocery bill, it was about $700 in March, which is way too much for one person. I would love to see it at $500. So in my grocery list in my notes app I have put a new section at the top of the note, where I have total = 500, and then will list the amount that I spend each time I go to the grocery store (so far I’ve spent . I have also decided that I want to stop buying chocolate every time I go to the grocery store (except on period weeks), so I’m curious to see what impact these two things have on my bill.

Other than that I haven’t really figured out my plans for the month. So I’m not certain what all I’m going to be doing with my money this month. I think I might want to finish my bedroom, but I’m also not going to really be there, except to stop in and check on my cat once a day, so I don’t know if there is any point and may push that to May. I also really need some spring and summer clothes and new workout clothes and I’m not certain what to do about that either. But that’s why I make my “What I’m Buying in…” post a separate post, because I often don’t know unless I was super restrictive in the previous month.

So here’s to one month changing everything, have a great month,


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