We have set goals and I feel in control of my money
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I am 25. I have been married to my husband for nearly 2 years now. We rent a condo in Toronto. I am currently working for the City of Toronto on a 6-month contract. David has a permanent job working at a non-profit organization. We currently make a combined net income of $85,680.
At the start of our marriage we owed $16,500 to OSAP ($7,500) and our car ($8,900).
When we got married I had just finished my Master’s degree and my contract with the government had ended, so I was unemployed for about 2 months before starting a new contract position with the government. Fortunately, I have been able to find employment ever since and have secured employment to at least May 2014.
I read your book Money Rules and watch your show Til Debt Do Us Part. I believe I owe much of our financial success to your wisdom. Here are some of the ways we have applied your tips:
- Put our earnings from tax return and those extra pay cheques on the months we are paid 3 times into debt repayment or savings
- Pay off our credit cards in full every month (we have 2)
- In times of plenty and few, I always make sure we save even if it is $50
- Save about 30% of our income for: emergency fund, house savings, and short term savings like gifts and vacations
- Set up an automatic withdrawal into TFSA and are on track to have saved $30,000 by May 2014
- Invested some money in medium and low risk stocks
- Share 15 percent of our income with 3 causes we believe in and support
- Maximized my husband’s RRSP contribution because his company matches it up to 6% of his earnings (free money!)
- Set up universal life insurance for us both
- Track our daily spending and have a budget that balances
- Took your advice about renting vs. buying. I have been in two short-term contract positions over the past 18 months and in that sense, I do not feel that we are in a position to commit to a mortgage. We also value living close to the city for short commute times. We value saving and not being house poor. We value not having to worry about house maintenance. And as long as we are able to continue investing and saving 30% of our income while renting, I believe it is a smart financial option.
- Never buy impulsively: when I see something I want, I write it down, and if I want it in a week (most cases I don’t I will buy it if I can afford it
- Learned to take care of all the material things we have (for instance, I have a pair of boots I love, they got damaged after 18 months, so I am getting them repaired instead of replacing them)
- Negotiate every dollar on our bills and regularly ask our providers for new promotion or deals (insurance, phone, cable, internet)
- Still treat ourselves as long as it is within our means: go out for dinner, buy a nice jacket, go on modest but fun vacations (NYC, Niagara-on-the-lake, downtown Toronto)
- Learned to appreciate our abundance, including our family, our faith community, our friendships, our health, our sense of accomplishment, our desires, our goals, our sense of wonder
As a result of your wisdom we paid off our debt in 8 months. Some of our current financial goals including saving for a trip to Portugal, saving for a new car which we plan to pay for cash, and saving for a down payment on a home in a location that works for us.
Thank you for all the advice you provide. It has given me financial peace and a sense of security despite my precarious job situation. We have set goals and I feel in control of my money.