Monthly Archives: February 2012

February 2012 Networth and Goal Recap

February Expenses

Over budget – Epic FAIL

  • Groceries  – I’ve been cooking a lot and have even had a few friends over, instead of going out to eat.
  • Clothing – I bought a pair of winter boots, 2 pairs of shoes during the MySpringShoes sale, and also a pair of skinny jeans – that (finally!) fit!
  • Entertainment – I bought an extra pair of movie tickets from my sister at a discount for use in March/April
  • Transportation – I forgot to budget in for an oil change and buying washer fluid ~$60.
  • Toiletres/Grooming – This was a bad month.  I got a haircut, serum and succumbed to the Revlon sale at Rexall and Shoppers Drugmart.
  • Gifts – BF and I split gifts for weddings 25/75.  But we decided this the day of, and so it wasn’t in my original budget.  I also got a few baby books for my friend who is expecting!  (You guys should really check the Baby Owner Manual).
  • Travel – Plane tickets for a spontaneous trip to Boston with BF in March.
  • Career – Forgot about the sitting fee for my professional licensing exam.

I think my only saving grace (can I still say that when I am >$700 over budget?) is that I stayed within my eating out budget! 🙂

February Net Worth

Because this month’s budget had been shot to hell, and I also gifted my parents with bus tickets to NYC, I will only be able to contribute $305 – instead of $750 – towards my TFSA.

I hope that I budget better for March!

February Goal Recap

  • Update my resume – check!  I’ve completed the first draft and am asking my friends to look over it. 
  • Prepare to file my income taxescheck! I’ve completed a first draft (by hand) of my income taxes this year.  I’m expecting a refund of ~$1,600.
  • Re-balance my Portfolio – pass. I’ve figured out my current asset allocation, but I want to move my RRSP money out of my current ING and my Manulife account to save on fees.  I am working on the allocation of those funds to my e-series funds.
  • Make my shopping list pass.  I made a list, but I haven’t published it, yet.  It’s long.
  • No buying make-up EPIC FAIL!!  I was really good up until the last week.  Rexall’s sale on Revlon products just got me really good.  The good news is, that I have enough lip glosses and lip butters to last me until next year.
  • Walk for 30 minutes, 3 days a week – fail! I started doing this with a co-worker during our lunch.  But when the weather got cold, or work got busy, I flaked out.
  • Get my credit report check!  I got my free Equifax credit report and I paid $9.95 for my credit score.  Score is coming up! 🙂

On-going Goals Recap

  • Pack my lunch everyday – check!
  • Eat more fruitspass… I’ve been having smoothies in the morning, and packing an orange with me for lunch, until this week.
  • Exercise 3 times a week – fail! 
  • Get off the computer by 10pm – fail!  I got off the computer by 10pm, but then, I’d check my iPod.
  • Finish a book – fail!  I’m almost halfway through Jean Chretian’s autobiography.  I’m really enjoying it and hope to finish next month.
  • $0 Budget – check!  I tallied up both my expenses and savings and figured out how much I could allocate to my TFSA.

I think I have too many goals.  I must prioritize which ones are most important and have 3 monthly goals, and 3 ongoing goals. Seeing all those red fails are getting me down and discouraged.

Whew.  That was tough.  Readers, how has your February?

Cheers,

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Filed under Budget, Finance

Tagged …and a Profile Picture :)

For those of you who read my blog via reader, I’ve recently made a small change to blog, including tweaking the background image and added (gasp!) a profile animated image of me (via Yahoo!).   I was really exciting, and have my animated image in various outfits (of course).  I’d love it if you headed on over and checked it out! 🙂

I’ve been tagged by Cassie over at Digging Out and Up.  Since she posted this up over a week ago, I obviously suck at tag!  I hope that late is better than never! 🙂

1) When you started paying off your debt, did you do it by balance or interest rate?

Luckily, I only had about $9,000 of student debt when I graduated, since I only used  my credit card as a debit card.  So, I paid off the balance in full within 6 months.

2) What was your first job, and how much did you make doing it?

My first paid position was pulling out white hair for my aunts and uncles.  We’d get $0.10 – 0.25 per hair 🙂

My first job was a “pantry staff” at a summer camp.  Basically, I prepared the dining area, cleaned  the dining area, washed dishes, before and after every meal.  It really sucked.  I quit after 2 weeks because we had to work 6 days a week and I had to save up several days of vacation before I could leave since it was a 4-hour drive out to the middle of nowhere.  I got a check for $294 in the mail.

3) Have you ever stalled on an investing opportunity and regretted it?

Not really.  I invest mostly in index funds, so sure, I’d see a stock and think, I should have bought it as $ XX, but it’s based on guessing stock tips, as opposed to thoroughly researching it.

4) What was the blog that first got you interested in blogging?

Back when I was in second year university.  I had a long distance relationship with my ex and a really crappy internship = blog material! 🙂  I have gone through several blogs since then, ranging from a non-anonymous personal blog, anonymous personal blog, fashion blog, minimalistic blog… and now, a personal finance blog.

However, the first blog that really got me interested in writing about personal finance was Fabulously Broke in the City.  I started reading her blog back in the day of her first closet clean out, and have been hooked ever since!

5) If you had to trim your budget to the bare bones, what is the last thing you’d cut?

Toiletries and grooming. I know it seems like such an extravagance, but a good haircut will last a long time.  And helps me look more put together and feel more confident.  My skin is also really sensitive and acne prone, so I like to use good moisturizers and proper exfoiliants.  This is probably ~$500/year.

6) What was the worst piece of financial advice you’ve ever received from a well intentioned person?

Buy a house as soon as you can and stop wasting money on rent.

I understand they want me to build up my equity and increase my networth, but as long I am increasing my networth through other means of assets, then I am going to wait until I am ready for a house before buying one.

Besides, have you seen the housing prices in Toronto, lately.  They are outrageous.

7) What do you wear to work?

My work is pretty casual, so you will find me in jeans and a blazer/cardigan, on most days.

8) How much money would it take to make you feel “set”?

I wrote about a post of how I’d spend $1M if I won $1M, and that exercise made me realize that if I had $1M, I still wouldn’t be completely “set”, if I wanted to buy property and take care of my parents. Even with $1M, I’d still need to still make investments and make that $1M work for me.

So, for me to have no worries at all about money, I’d say $2-3M will do it.

9) If you were to start over, which money mistakes would you make again because they contained valuable lessons?

I’d start investing when I was 18 or 19 and take advantage of the magic of compounding! 🙂

10) Are you following in your parent’s financial patterns? Why or why not?

Yes and no.

I am trying to be frugal like them, but I do take on more risks with my investments.   I also don’t want to sink everything into a house, which was one of their financial priorities.

11) When you’re short on cash, what are your go to cheap meals?

  • Ramen noodles with an egg
  • Soaked dried beans and soy sauce with rice
  • Soy sauce and rice
  • Canned sardines with soy sauce with rice

As you can see, soy sauce fixes everything 🙂
Thanks for tagging me, Cassie.   They were great questions.

I think that most people I follow have been tagged, and I am too lazy to find out who hasn’t been tagged.  But I’d love to hear your answers to the above questions in the comments (if you haven’t already written about it), so tag yourself!

Cheers,

13 Comments

Filed under Random

My Job Analysis

Special shout out to Shopping to Saving for posting this job analysis up!

Truth be told, I’ve been thinking about this for a while, in a random-rant-kinda-way.  Like most people, I have my good days and my bad days at work.  I think it’s really good to look back and reflect on where I am, and where I want to be – in life, in general but also to specific aspects of my life, as well.

I am approaching the 4-year mark at my workplace, so this analysis is long overdue.  I complete annual evaluations at work, so it only makes sense to complete a personal evaluation of my job, as well.

As background, I have a Bachelors in Applied Science from an Engineering School and I am working towards getting my professional license (soon!) while working the field of construction.  This is my first job post graduation.

I decided to give a rating out of 5 for each aspect I was rating.

  • 1 = very unsatisfied
  • 2 = unsatisfied
  • 3 = neutral
  • 4 = satisfied
  • 5 = very satisfied

Let’s get started! 🙂

Salary (3/5)

I make just over $60,000 as a full-time employee.

My company has an employee 100% RRSP match (up to 2.5% of my salary for me), 80% medical, dental and vision coverage, profit sharing and 3 weeks paid vacation.  We are expected to work over-time and we do not get to bank our hours. There are no paid days off between Christmas and New Years, but we are “encouraged” to use vacation days.

On average, I’d say I used to work about 50+ hours, but now, I work about 40-45 hours –  and I am being paid for 37.5.

I have yet to work our my net hourly earnings, but we will save that for another post 🙂

Job Duties (4/5)

Without going into too much detail, I am involved the initial investigation or review of building problems, all the reporting including recommendation for further repairs, design, construction review and administration of the contract for construction repairs.

My job is very technical and very hands-on, and I get involved in a variety or projects, including: mold sampling and removal projects, concrete repair and construction projects, sewer pipe repairs (yuck!) – to name a few.  In addition to the technical aspects of my job, I am the main client contact on most of my projects, I co-ordinate between internal and external clients, and generally run about 80% of the project.

Commute (4.5/5)

I really happy with this aspect of my job.  I can drive to work (~10 minutes) or take public transportation (~30 minutes) :).  It is definitely nothing to complain about!

The only that thing that would make this perfect is if I could WALK to work in about 30 minutes or so.  I love walking, and sadly, I really don’t do enough of it.

Co-workers (2/5)

I must preface this low rating by saying that I think the people I work with are genuinely good people. My manager is really awesome – someone whom I really look up as a mentor, and I (selfishly) want for there to be more mentors and more interaction for junior staff to interact with mentors.

I find it frustrating to work with a lot of my co-workers, especially when people show up late (regularly), miss deadlines, asking people to “eat” their time for certain projects and a general lack of professionalism.  I believe this is mostly due to a lack of professionalism and proper training for co-workers to become better mentors, leaders and co-workers in my workplace.  There is potential, but I feel the lack of support system is reflected culture and the attitudes of the employees and hindering the company’s growth.

Atmosphere (4/5)

The atmosphere at my workplace is relaxed but professional.  A lot our work is in the field, and so wearing jeans, is very normal even during the week.  If we are to represent our company at a conference of to a client, generally, more formal attire is expected, but this is not a usual occurrence. I really like that my manager’s door is always open, and they are generally receptive to me dropping in to ask questions, or discuss anything.

I think that the atmosphere is quasi-stressful, more due to to the nature of our work, rather than the workplace, itself.

Flexibility (4/5)

Even though we are expected to work overtime at my work place, I like the flexibility of being able to work from home, sometimes.  I also understand that one can choose to work part-time (30 hours); however, it is with an understanding that 30 hours usually means 35 to 40 hours a week, or work as needed to get the job done.

I have never had a vacation request rejected and we are allowed to carry-over up to 1 year of vacation,if we wish to do so.

Advancement (2/5)

There is room for advancement, but the longer I remain at my company, the more I realize just how much one has to sacrifice to be able to make it to the next level, and even more to make it to the top.  The path to advancement is difficult, and it’s due to a combination of the nature of my work (firmly rooted in a male dominated field), the structure of the company pyramid, lack of mentors, and in too many cases – valuing seniority over work experience and  capabilities.

Final Grade ( C+ 23.5/35)

I think it’s safe to say that there is definitely room for improvement in my job!

I will be writing more about what steps I have taken to improve this (i.e., asking for mentorship, asking for a raise) and would love to discuss and write more on this topic.  I appreciate every single comment and I hope that we can all help one another in this wonderful community to find satisfaction all factions of our jobs.

Please check out these awesome analyses done by these fabulous ladies:

How does your job stack up?  Is there another aspect you think is important in the analysis that hasn’t been included?

10 Comments

Filed under Career

Reflection on: The Role of Appearances in Women

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This week’s of TLC’s What Not to Wear episode was on the lovely Beryl of NYC really resonated with me and stirred up a lot of emotions and reflections for me. To say that I was a little teary eyed at the end would be a huge understatement.  This episode helped me reflect a lot on the role of appearances in my own life, which brought about a slew of both positive and negative emotions, thoughts and questions around the role of appearances in women.

Empowerment of women is an issue that is very close to my heart, and something that I want to take an active role in my life – not just thinking about it, and writing about it, but really do something about it.  I truly believe that empowerment and confidence comes from within, but I also think that the role of our appearance is connected to that empowerment and confidence.

The Role of Appearance Growing up

In the case of Beryl, she grew up kinda nerdy and awkward with thick glasses and really not feeling very attractive.  She didn’t give much thought to what she looked like out on the outside, because she was brought up to value what is on the inside, only.  Often times she put very little effort in her clothes, because she didn’t want to be judged.  Wait a minute, that sounded like me!

Growing up in my family, looks were not a high priority. My sisters and I needed to look neat and tidy (i.e., no ripped pants), but other than that, higher education and moral values were deeply ingrained in myself and my sisters.  My parents taught my sisters and I so much about being a good person – to be kind, compassionate, fair and to be strong.  Education was a super priority in my family, as it was one of few opportunities to climb out of poverty.

But, looks? Clothes? Make-up? That was so superficial and frivolous in my household.  Wearing dresses, or nice clothes, was not something that was valued or brought up for discussion.  I think I saw my mother put on make-up once – when her and my father went to a wedding reception.  My father never allowed my sisters and I to wear nail polish during school.  I remembered I begged my mom to allow me to tweeze my eye brows in grade 11.  I’m not complaining, I’m just saying, this was how I grew up.

I love my parents deeply and am grateful for them shaping me into the person I am today. I truly believe that media (especially in today’s society) has too much say in how a woman should look and too often, media objectifies and diminishes a woman’s stature.  I understand now, that parents were only try to protect me and keep me on the path of success, in the best way that they knew how.   And I am grateful they shielded me away from the unhealthy messages of appearance from the media the way that they have done.

Discovering the Impact of Appearances

It was really only after high school and university, when I started caring a bit more about how I looked and how I presented myself.  Being catapulted into the life of college student, I learned about how to dress for a club to how to dress for a job interview. I learned how harshly women were judged, how harshly we can judge one another, and most important, how harshly we tend to judge ourselves.

I slowly discovered how appearances can play both a negative and positive role in my life.  It became clear that my appearance definitely had a role.  I am learning that caring about how I look doesn’t necessarily make me a selfish or a bad person.  It is simply part of me – and whether I agree with it or not, the message it projects can have a huge influence on how others (including my peers, my superiors, strangers and even friends) perceive me.

Media and Appearances

I truly believe that there is much more pressure for women to look nice, than for men, in general. And I believe that pressure comes from any number of sources, including the media, our culture, our role models, our family, our friends – but most of all, I think it also comes from within ourselves.  And despite the efforts of (a lot of mainstream) media pitting women against other women – I find this is not the truth in my personal experience.

I find that most women and men – but especially women – are about supporting one another and mentoring one another.   Just take a look at the various blogging communities, whether the niche is personal finance, fashion & style blogs, or make-up and beauty blogs – and these are only the blogs which I know and read.

My Conclusion on the Role of Appearances in Women

How we choose to project ourselves through our appearance, is making a statement, whether we like it or not.  The statement we choose to make, is up to us, and there are any number of tools and accessories we can use to help project the message we want (or don’t want) to share about ourselves.  Our clothes, our hair, our make-up, are all part of a message we are giving to the world around us about how we see ourselves and how we want to be treated, whether we are in a job interview, negotiating for our next promotion or going for a date.  Our appearance affects almost all aspects of our lives.

Is this healthy or right?  I don’t know, but it is the reality of our world, and our culture today.

And I think it’s only by understanding the role that appearances play in our lives, that we can utilize it to make the changes we want to see.   When abused, the role of appearances degrade women (and men) and encourages oppression, ignorance, violence and a false ideal of beauty.  When leveraged, the role of appearances can encourage acceptance, creativity, confidence, strength and true inner and outer beauty.

Readers, what are your thoughts on the role of appearances in women and men? How do you think it affects our daily lives?

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Filed under Personal

Link Love (powered by the Grammys)

I’m not a huge fan of watching award shows, but I just can’t help and ogle at the celebrities all glammed up on the red carpet. My favourite look was Jessie J and Gwenyth Paltrow, and least favourite was Fergie.

It’s been tough keeping up with my favourite blogs, but here are a few of my favourite reads.

Money

  • Friends or Enemies? Single Mom Rich Mom asks at what point do our friends become our enemy when her son was dishing out money to all his friends.
  • Is Being a Grown-up all you Wanted? Well-heeled asks the question. Even though it’s great being a grown-up, it definitely comes with its pros and cons. Yes, I can eat ice cream for dinner, but, yes, it will also make me sick.
  • Curling is for Cheapsters by Country Girl. I’ve gone curling a few times with work functions and it has been fun – I just never thought about it as a frugal hobby.
  • How did we survive before cell phones, internet and (gasp!) Facebook? asks Debt Ninja.
  • Life is hard but the Fight has Merit by Revanche. She writes about a self-entitled blogger who doesn’t work hard. Instead, the blogger be-littles other people, then whines and complains, refusing to do more to fix her situation.

Fashion and Beauty

  • DIY newspaper clutch by I Spy DIY. Isn’t this lovely?
  • Black and White is my favourite colour combination and I love this look from Kendi. It’s totally something I would wear!
  • Graphite smokey eye look from Rae at the Notice. I’m loving this look and can’t wait to try this with my moonbaked palette as per Rae’s advice!
  • January Favourites shared by Jen. I really enjoy Jen’s reviews and I really want to run out and buy ALL the items!

New Blogs

I’ve been adding a lot of new blogs to my Google Reader feed since its epic failure new look.

Anyway, I hope you enjoy these blogs as much as I have!

  • Nouveau Cheap
    I have been obsessed with G.’s blog of affordable drugstore brands that deliver great performance without breaking the bank. G. seems like such a sweet heart and you can really feel her passion for beauty in her writing.
  • Victoria’s Make-up Secret
    Victoria is a college student with a great eye for beauty. She also uses a lot of affordable products and makes make-up seem easy and fun. Go on and check out her statement lips look and this beautiful taupe smokey eye! 🙂

Hope everyone has a great weekend 🙂

4 Comments

Filed under Link Love

Horror Story: Refusing RRSP Employee Matching aka Free Money

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My Dad

One of the most outrageous stories, I’ve heard was from my dad. Even though my dad is an immigrant and English is not his first language, boy, can he navigate his way around tax documents well.

When it comes to filing for personal income taxes, I bet that my dad knows more than the average Canadian. In fact, my dad is the go-to-tax man in my family and his circle of friends.

I say this with a lot of pride because if it wasn’t for my dad, I might not be as interested as I am in personal finance and how taxes relate to me (I started filing my personal income taxes in high school).

I love having our debates discussions about the merits of Registered Retirement Savings Plans (RRSPs) versus Tax Free Savings Accounts (TFSAs). We don’t always agree, but I always learn something new.

Funny Story

My dad told me a story of how his co-workers and him were discussing RRSP during lunch one day. My dad’s employer had a RRSP company match program where they would match their employees’ contributions up to 6% of their annual salary.

His co-worker contributed to his RRSPs (outside of the company plan) so that he could receive his annual tax refund. But my dad’s co-worker refused to put money into the company RRSP matching program because the way he saw it, he wouldn’t get a tax refund on the money the company is matching.

So let me get this straight…

At this point, I wasn’t even sure if I understood my dad’s co-worker’s train of thoughts.

Instead of seeing the 100% free money that company is giving to him to put into his RRSP, all he sees is that he doesn’t get a tax refund on the free money the company is giving him.

That’s right, buddy. You cannot get a tax refund on FREE MONEY.

So, his co-worker refused to contribute to the company match plan, and has never contributed to the company plan for the entire 15-20 years he has been working at the company.

Refusing ~$80,000 of Free Money

Let’s assume his annual salary was $40,000 for simplicity sake. That’s $2,400 annually of free money he is missing out on. Compound that over 20 years at 5% interest rate and he’s missed out on $79,440 of free money. And that’s assuming no salary increases over the 20 years.

All because he wanted to get a tax refund. On free money.

My dad tried to explain to him the logic that he cannot get a tax refund on employer contribution, but he is missing out on a 100% return but simply refusing the match. It fell on deaf ears.

The Lesson

I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir, but when one refuses to participate in a company matching program, you are loosing out on free money. Even if your contribution doesn’t increase in value – you are already getting a 100% return on the money you put in – from your employer.

Right now, most of my RRSP contributions go to my employer plan since I like to get my tax savings right away (money going directly to my RRSP plan is not taxed in my paycheck). But since the TD e-series funds offer better rates, I will contribute only the amount my company will match into my employer’s RRSP plan, and direct the remainder of my contributions to my e-series fund.

This way, I get my free money and lower fees 🙂

Readers, do you have any RRSP horror stories to share? Does your company have RRSP matching program?

Cheers,

27 Comments

Filed under Finance, Random

Happy Valentine’s Day

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Isn’t this the sweetest thing?

Wishing all my readers a wonderful an amazing Singles Awareness Valentine’s Day.  No matter what you are doing, I hope that you can be silly around with the people in your life – whether they be your friends or your friends.

Go on over to check out more great illustrations by HJ Stories!

Cheers,

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Filed under Admin

A Friendship I Let Go

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This post was inspired by My Money My Life’s post on Toxic Friendships.

The Wedding

I was a part of my high school friend’s wedding. We were good friends in high school, but lost touch in university. But when she got engaged, she asked me to be in her wedding party. I accepted but I wasn’t sure what to say. I hadn’t even met the groom.

The month prior to her wedding, I would bus back from the City (2hrs each way!) to my hometown to help prepare an event or attend an event. Some weekends, I would bus back, only to be waiting for her call – all weekend – for nothing.

On the day of her wedding, I was asked – the day prior – to make a speech to my friend. I felt so awkward – playing the part of the “best friend” when I felt I hardly knew her. But I put on a smile and made a toast to my friend and her new husband, wishing them all the best in their new life together.

After the Wedding

For an entire year after the wedding, I tried to get in touch with my friend, but she never returned my calls and after a few times, I stopped calling. Then, out of the blue, I got a call from her. My friend had settled into her new life, and I guess she wanted a friend. She thought that we should meet at least once a month to “catch up”.

She only wanted to meet back in my hometown. Others were last minute cancellation or change of plans on her part. I remember making plans a couple of times, but only once did we end up meeting close to her work. I get it, she has a husband and I’m single. I should be more flexible. But I got tired of it.

Letting Go

The truth was, that I only had so much time, energy and patience. And I felt that I was more annoyed than I was caring. I didn’t tell her to her face, I just kinda stopped making the effort. I stopped letting her know when I was back in town, or suggesting we meet up.

I left the ball in her court, but kinda knew that it would probably just stay there. I haven’t really heard from her, aside from a Facebook message last summer.

Bad Friend?

Maybe I should have been a better friend. Maybe I should have tried harder to be there for her when she might have needed me. But I just didn’t feel like it anymore.

I’m not sure if that makes me a bad person. I still feel guilty writing this out. But, it really felt draining trying to keep up what felt a “facade” of a friendship just because we were friends in high school.

Readers, have you ever had to let a friend go? How do you feel afterwards? Do you ever feel guilty?

25 Comments

Filed under Personal

My Experience Buying “pre-owned” from Kijiji

In my January Recap, I mentioned that I bought my new-to-me winter jacket from Kijiji. Kijiji is an online classified website similar to Craigslist where people can list items to sell.

The last time I bought something off Craigslist/Kijiji was when I got some of my furniture for my apartment. At that time, I bought a couch ($200), a coffee table ($30), and a dining table set ($50).

But I’ve never bought clothes from Kijiji/Craigslist.

Why I Decided to buy Pre-owned

I’m not the best shopper and I don’t love rummaging through sales racks and picking at left-over… but I still want to get a good deal :).

Hat tip to Bridget for reminding me that people may be getting rid of unwanted gifts on Kijiji/Craigslist in January. I’ve had my eye on The North Face knee length parka for almost 2 years now, but I didn’t love the $400 price tag.

What I Bought

I wasn’t able to find The North Face jacket on Kijiji, but there were several TNA knee length parkas listed. I have heard great things about the TNA parkas, and also their not-so-lovely $300 price tag.

The jacket I bought was advertised as almost new. The lady was selling it because her daughter never wore it. I got the Aspen parka in my size for $160 – cash.

What I Learned

Know what you want and your budget

I knew that the jacket retailed at $275 and on sale for $250. If I were to buy the jacket new, I would also have to pay 13% tax for a total cost of ~$300. I would have been happy with getting this jacket for $200.

Be decisive and quick

When I saw the $180 list price, I immediately called the lady, and asked her for details.

I offered to come see the jacket within 2 days.

Negotiate

Since she was located out of town, I offered to come out to try on the jacket and pick up.

Even though I thought the $180 price was pretty good, I also asked if she could drop the price a bit, since I was driving out of town. She agreed to drop the price by $20 for a total of $160.

Safety, First

Since I was going to check out the jacket at the lady’s home, I brought BF along with me.

Always let someone know where you are going, and then check in with them when you get there and before you leave. If possible, send them the correspondence between yourself and the possible seller.

And always follow your instinct.

Double Check Everything

There are no return policies, so make sure you check everything for any damages or mal-functions. I checked that the jacket didn’t have any tears/rips at the interior lining, and the exterior, and I made sure all the zippers and buttons worked.

In general, make sure you ensure the item is the same condition as advertised.

There will be hits and misses

Even though this jacket was obviously a hit, I’ve also had misses when buying things off classified ads.

If an item is damaged, more worn/used than how you think it was advertised, say so. If it’s a miss for you, say so, and let it go. You are not obligated to buy something that you don’t want and won’t be happy with.

You win some, you lose some.

Boot Example

I saw a pair of Sorel boots online, listed as almost new for $90; however, when I got to see the boots in person, I noticed that the treads at the back heels were worn flat. I pointed this out to the seller, and he said that he was selling it for his fiance and she said that she barely wore it.

Even though I had a bad feeling and wasn’t completely happy with it, I gave him the money and took the boots. Then, when I got back in my car, I questioned why I did that. I obviously wasn’t happy with the boots.

So, I swallowed my pride, went back and asked if I could have my money back due to the condition of the boots. The seller obliged, accepted his boots, gave me my cash, and then shut the door in my face.

Conclusion

There are a lot of great deals that can be found by buying pre-owned of classified ads. Like anything else, I learned as I went along. I hope that the lessons I shared can help you on your next pre-owned purchase! 🙂

Readers, do you buy clothing from Kijiji or Craigslist? What has been you best find to date?

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Filed under Fashion, Finance

February 2012 Budget and Goals

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February Budget

Better late than never right?  Seeing that I already dropped $500 bucks this weekend.  Eeeeks!  Can I make it through the rest of February?

February Goals

  • Update my resume – I haven’t done this since I graduated. It is long overdue.
  • Prepare to file my income taxes – This includes making sure my RRSP contributions are topped up and printing out my charitable donation receipts.
  • Re-balance my Portfolio – I need to figure out my current asset allocation first, and then start buying some e-series fund to re-balance my portfolio.  Hopefully my TD e-series RSP is set up soon.
  • Make my shopping list– I need a section for home, clothes and make-up.  I really need to focus and differentiate what my reasonable wants and wish list items are.
  • No buying make-up– In particular, no more lipstick for me.  I do have 6 compacts I can trade into MAC for a free eyeshadow or lipstick.
  • Walk for 30 minutes, 3 days a week – I really need to start moving around and being more active.  This is a pretty painless way to start.  I really enjoy walks 🙂
  • Get my credit report – I’ve never checked my credit report or credit score.  I know, it’s bad.  But I’m going to do it this month.

On-going Goals

  • $0 Budget – Tally both expenses and savings at the end of the month then allocate the “extra” to something.
  • Eat Fruits – Incorperate more fruits in my diet.  At least once a day.
  • Bring my lunch to work – Not only does this save me money, it is also much healthier.
  • Offline by 9:30pm – 10:oopm – I need to spend time away from the computer and read/unwind/chill-out before I go to sleep.
  • Read 1 book a month – I started reading Jean Chretien’s “My Years as Prime Minister”.  I’m really enjoying it and BF and I sometimes read it together.

Readers, what do you have planned for February?

PS.  Have you joined in on the discussion on my post: Should I Buy Chanel?  I’d love to hear your opinion. 🙂

Cheers,

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Filed under Goals