Learn More About The Undomesticated & being Twentysomething in the city.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Shopaholic Savings Plan - Part 3: RRSP & TFSA

*The following information is based on personal experience - please consult a financial planner to determine if RRSP's and TFSA's are right for you.*

When I was a kid, I suffered from ‘over thinking’ purchases. I would cry at the thought of exchanging my glorious allowance for an object of my desire (like a Lion King journal with a lock).  As I got older this process reversed. My money now ‘burns a whole in my pocket’ (as my mum would say) and I can’t get rid of it quick enough. The accumulation of ‘things’ like clothes, shoes, décor, etc. outweigh swiping my credit card a little less each month.

I have 2 closets full of clothes, a closet full of shoes, my own bachelor apartment in the heart of the city, nice décor, a car, social outtings – so ‘savings’ have to give right? Wrong.

The contributions to my closet now match the contributions to my future.

Long Term Goals: RRSPs
I learned about RRSP’s (Registered Retirement Savings Plan) from my parents.  How I understood it was: when you have extra money, you can put it in this magical account. It will grow & grow and be there for when you retire, plus it’ll help increase my tax refund each year.

The definition of RRSP: A Registered Retirement Savings Plan is an account that provides tax benefits for saving for retirement in Canada.

I knew I would spend any extra money I had vs. contribute it to my RRSP's so I made a commitment (funny how financial commitment is less scary than emotional…).
I committed to contributing $25.00/every 2 weeks. The money came directly out of my chequing account (out of sight, out of mind).
When I started earning a bit more, I decided I had the capability (see SSP Part 1 – Budget) to bump up my contributions. I am now contributing $50/each week to my RRSP’s.

Little did I know (blonde moment) you couldn’t touch that money unless it was for school, buying a house, or retiring, so after learning that, I added on a TFSA (Tax Free Savings Account) for short term goals.

Short Term Goals: TFSA's
Whether it's a dream vacation in 2 years, or a new car in 5 years, the TFSA fit me perfectly for my short term goals.

The definition of TFSA: A Tax Free Savings Account is an account that provides tax benefits for saving in Canada. 

Again, I went with the ‘out of sight, out of mind’ strategy, and I now put $25/week directly into my TFSA.

That means, between my RRSP's and TFSA's, I am contributing $75/week. I’ll admit, that’s a lot, but you can get started with as little as $25/month. Any little bit helps, and as soon as you earn more, you can budget for more contributions. 

How do I do it?
I use Freedom 55 Financial to manage my contributions each month. Specifically Ryan Wing. Being 'twentysomething' means there is a lot of change happening in your life and despite how 'little' or how 'much' I am able to contribute, or how often I need to make changes, Ryan has been able to offer me support. In only 2 years I have been able to put $10,000 into my RRSP's and bump up my savings, and it was as easy as:
1. Automatic withdrawals - taking money I didn't have a chance to spend.
2. Being patient - little by little, you'll reach your goals, both short and long term.

And in closing, you can totally budget, spend, AND save, following the Shopaholic Savings Plan. 
I rest my case.

ttfn, Elizabeth
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Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Deighton Cup Hat Guide

Now featured in VancityBuzz

With only 2 and a half weeks before the social event of the summer, women in Vancouver are topping off their outfits with the perfect accessory - A hat fit for a day at the races.

As soon as I got my ticket for The Deighton Cup, I visualized myself as Audrey Hepburn circa My Fair Lady. (Isn't she classic?) 

I began looking for the best places to buy a hat. I searched and searched, and I realized I was putting more effort into finding a hat than I did for a final at UBC. So to save everyone the trouble I created a list of the must-have hat shops in Vancouver. The list includes websites, contact info, hours of operation and pricing for every budget.  

Now if you're new to the hat scene, like I was, you might not know what a milliner is (initially I thought everyone making hats in Vancouver shared the same last night - blonde moment), so here you go:

Although Vancouverites aren't known to dress up, The Deighton Cup is the perfect excuse to look like royality. Enjoy - and check out my hat(s) at the end of the post!


Where did I get my hat
Entitled Hats

Entitled Hat's creator, Benita Dibdin, spent 20 years in costume design for movies such as iRobot, Red Riding Hood, A Very Muppet Christmas, X-Men, Catwoman and Twilight (just to name a few). She imports quality materials from England and her price point was just right for my 'twentysomething' budget. Here's a sneak peek at the hat & head-piece I'll be donning at this years Deighton Cup.

ttfn, Elizabeth

Where to get a hat for the Deighton Cup.
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Monday, July 22, 2013

I Heart Uncle Harry

William and Kate welcome a bouncing baby boy! 

In celebration, I mocked up a bib I hope he will wear - we all know Prince Harry will be an awesome Uncle!

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Sunday, July 21, 2013

Shopaholic Savings Plan - Part 2: Credit

*The following information is based on personal experience - please consult your bank or financial planner to determine if credit-base spending is right for you.*

It may seem strange to suggest that credit is a good way to lower expenses, organize spending, and actually make you money, but it works for me.

There are 3 C’s to Credit:
Character – determining if you have the honesty and ability to pay back the credit.
Capital – determining if you have any valuable assets to repay debts if necessary (and no – your shoes and clothes don’t count – jewelry might though…)
Capacity – do you have the capacity (income) to repay any debt you might accrue.
These were taken from the documentary “Maxed Out” – I watched it on Netflix. I've recently become obsessed with documentaries on fiscal responsibilities and economic downfalls, totally normal phase, I’m sure.

This year I’ve gone from using debit to using credit for spending.
Important things to remember about ‘credit’ base spending is:
  • Do not spend more than you have allotted in your budget, or to put it nicely: only spend money you have.
  • Consult a financial planner or your financial institute before considering this plan.
  • Keep track of your spending. With a credit card it’s easy to forget that this IS your money.
  • Keep and review all of your bank statements. You never know when they might come in handy.
  • Keep track of withdrawal dates of monthly expenses and document it in your budget.
  • Your building up credit! When all of us twentysomething shopaholics are ready to buy a house, this credit will help to get us an amazing low-rate mortgage! 

This is how I use credit:
  • I have the cheapest debit card (low fee, low transactions) and I leave my cash in there.
  • I have a mid-range credit card that gives me 1-2% cashback on certain purchases. I use the Scotiabank Momentum VISA.
  • I synced ‘monthly expenses’ with my credit card so that: (a) funds will be withdrawn automatically (I’m forgetful) and (b) I can earn cashback. As a reminder, I mark the due date of the monthly expenses I can’t sync with my credit card (Hydro and Car Insurance) to my budget.
  • I use my credit card for everything. From a tea at Starbucks to a shirt at H&M (and I keep all my receipts). I document all expenses in my budget (see SSP Part 1).  
  • At the end of the month, I pay off my credit card. What's the benefit of leaving cash in my debit vs. using it to pay for everything? If I ever have an emergency, my debit is the source of cold hard cash. 
  • Lastly, GET RID OF CREDIT CARDS THAT DON’T HELP YOU. For example: Low, to no, cashback cards or cards that give you nothing in return aren't helping you. Pay them off and cut them up (you can use old credit cards to make art - see above).
In 4 months I’ve earned $200 cashback.  Once a year the bank transfers your cashback to an account of your choice. I’ve opted to put it back onto my credit card (to avoid spending the money I’m saving).

Now that you have a tight budget, and credit sense, remember to SAVE! Check back for 'SSP Part 3: RRSP’s and TFSA’s' to learn how to put money away for both long and short term goals! 

ttfn, Elizabeth
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How To Make A Super Summer Coke Float

On these super hot summer days you really want to treat yourself to something deliciously refreshing. I'm on a diet (yeah I know - when am I not?) and I was feeling the heat after rearranging my apartment. I felt like adding a modern twist to a retro favourite - The Coke Float, so I created the Super Summer Coke Float.

It requires 4 things:
1. A slammin' summer outfit. 
2. Frozen Low Fat Cool Whip
3. Coke Zero
4. A super awesome cup... duh.

1. Slammin' Summer Outfit - Check

2. FROZEN 95% Fat Free Cool Whip - Check

3. Coke Zero - Check

4. A super awesome cup - Check

Tada - Super Summer Coke Float! 


ttfn, Elizabeth
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Thursday, July 18, 2013

Tinder Toss

A lower level has been added to the Totem of Chat circa HBO Girls...

Tinder Chat

Up until 11:00pm last night I was leading a productive life. I was writing a new post (about Dane Cook Days - out soon) and I was finishing my laundry.

At 11:00pm I got a text from my friend saying she got a date! I immediately replied with a text asking "WHO? WHAT? HOW?" and I haven't put my phone down since... (it's now 1:30am)

It turns out the source of her upcoming date is the new Tinder app. As we were talking, I downloaded the free app, synced it with my Facebook, and I've been playing what I like to call the 'Tinder Toss' ever since...

I'm obsessed, nay, addicted to this app. It finds your location and matches you with people in your area who also have Tinder. 
You can plan a coffee in an hour or a date in a week. You can see your mutual friends (from Facebook) and common interests (from Facebook) ALL without the hassle of having to create a long-winded profile. 

I found myself being a little superficial; looking at the photos and clicking X. After a few moments I found an even quicker way to say "NEXT" - The Tinder Toss. I discovered that you could simply swipe your finger across the screen to make their profile disappear. At the swipe of a finger I'm tossing away fine specimen of men (and the occasional woman) without a second thought. 

For every 30 guys, I'd pick approximately one. And within an hour I was up to 8 matches. You can see how this can get addicting. 

You can only see who "liked" you, if they "liked" you back, so there's no harm in "liking" that mega-babe, cause he won't know you picked him unless he picks you too.
If I may quote Shoshanna - "If you don't want to date me, that's fine, cause I only want to date people who want to date me, and that's called self respect."

I found myself with a collection of matches ranging from Channing Tatum 'look-a-likes' (so out of my league - or so I thought),  'forever bachelors' (typical) to short/stocky guys (swoon - my type). 

When I finally put down my phone (because my finger cramped up) I realized it was too late to 'Tinder Chat' with my matches, so instead I planned out a few initial questions: 
"Hey, what's up?" 
"Hey, how are you?"
Yeah, I think I'm covered... 

What did I look at in a profile?
1. Picture(s)
2. Age
3. Shared Interests
4. Mutual Friends
6. Tagline
Some good tagline's I've found are:
- swipe right to get smitten (swiping left is the Tinder Toss)
- Tinder surprise

Tinder has taken my phone obsession to a whole new level.

Good luck playing Tinder Toss; Vancouver is full of babes (babettes), bachelors (bachelorettes) and brainiacs.

ttfn, Elizabeth
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