Sunday, April 26, 2009

Biweekly Breakdown: Waiting for Godot?

Right now I'm waiting for what seems like everyone I know to pay up. Health insurance, work reimbursements, a damage deposit, two paycheques, my tax return, you name it... I want it! As fun as spreadsheet projections are I feel a little better when it's visible in my account and at my behest.

The pension plan informs me that a quick switch last summer has meant averaging 5.8% on my "investments." Impressive in the year of mass depreciation. This has made me consider whether I should leave the cash in the account during the impending sabbatical, as high interest savings right now aren't paying close to that and my student loan rate remains fairly low. The plan would look like this:
Pension - hold
Bank account - $5000
All excess - student loan

The $5000 is essentially the trip budget ($3500) plus $1500 to negate bank fees plus provide a cushion for damage deposits and start-up expenses upon returning home. When I get back I can look at rolling over the pension to an approved investment (avoiding the tax consequences) or cashing it out and applying it to my loan, whatever appears more reasonable. Especially attractive would be some way of moving the money into a TFSA (tax free savings account) investment, but I'm not sure if that's allowed and produces the result I want. If it is possible, my TFSA amount would be essentially maxed out in one shot, I would avoid some tax consequences, and I would have relatively accessible cash earning tax-free interest.

Doing my taxes this year was very educational. Although I knew a bit beforehand having to actually do it has given me the knowledge to streamline document management in the future. It also made me aware of when and how I might want to incur certain expenses and where I want to file in the next couple of years. If I had known while going through school how valuable this knowledge would be I would have been managing my own returns much earlier.


Staying with my Other has been really awesome. I've offered to cover more but he's pretty content with how we usually do things, i.e. switching off who pays for groceries and entertainment, and has no interest in rent as he owns the house and has a couple of tenants to cover the mortgage (he's a pretty finance savvy Mr.).

We tend to eat in because both of us can cook well and we like our food a little healthier than most restaurant fare (says the girl considering what she can get for take out from her Vietnamese joint in a few minutes), and both of us like dabbling in in the gourmet sections of delis and experimenting. Picking up groceries, making food and cleaning up is and always has been one of the major ways we spend time together.


Also: cleared all rewards programs lately. At least one has quietly announced some changes, I suspect more will follow. I used one particular reward to satisfy the niggling Spring shopping urge I wrote about, another for some movie tickets.

After getting a particularly good gift-with-purchase last week, full of small products, I paused to wonder why sizes can't be smaller in general. I like tiny tubes of gloss and little bottles of polish because it's likely all I use in a year. Similarly, in a lot of other countries you can get more expensive but single-size amounts of things like baking powder. For a solo household, or even one with two people, fairly attractive. I've read articles about this being standard practice in minimalist countries like Japan and dream of the day the world realizes I don't need super sized anything.


Follow up: my friend from this post is actually a guy. I guess one of the things I'm always interested in is how gender roles (and expectations) might affect money management.

No comments:

Post a Comment