$1,500 SMASH

I don't usually do a blog post every time I pay debt down - which is just about every pay day - but I think sometimes because I often just tell you where we spend money; maybe you don't know that we pay down significant debt every month.

Today was my pay day; and I just paid:

  • $94.01 on our Mastercard
    • This was from my last physio appointment (reimbursable) and Netflix
  • $98.44 on the AMEX
    • This was Gas and a small grocery shop
  • $750 on the Ford Escape
    • This was because I enjoy paying this off with 'gazelle like intensity'
  • $574.93 on the LOC (minimum is just over $400/month)
    • While our focus is on paying the Escape off, we still have minimum payments to make.
  • $73.55 on the Kia Rio
    • This was because I like round numbers.
Here's where the non-mortgage debt stands after these payments are processed:

DIY - Christmas Cards

Every year, Jordan and I send Christmas cards to about 65 people.  The list started at over 100 (everyone we invited to our wedding three years ago), and has been whittled down over the years from moves/address changes that we weren't told about and from people who don't respond etc.  I imagine it will continue to get smaller over the years...but 65 is where it's at now.

This year, instead of buying cards, I'm making them using the crafting supplies that I've had stashed in the basement for way too long.  Like so many others, I had briefly hopped on the scrapbooking bandwagon long enough to collect more paper, scissors, stamps and stickers than I know what to do with.

This year, I'm using them!

Money Has Wings - Other Deductions

Yesterday we looked at the employer paid benefit premiums that can suck money off your pay cheque without you even realizing it.  Today I want to  look at some of the other deductions.


  • $15/month for social club
I'm sure there would be a way out of this if we needed to - but this is money that goes to team lunches, coffee, and other events in the shop.  For the fuss it would cause to not pay it (and then to not participate in activities) I won't even ask Jordan look into it.

  • $35/month for parking
  • $288.46/month for pension
  • $150/month purchasing shares at work
I think we would all agree to leave my pension alone - so I'll do that.  For parking in my city, $35 is SUPER cheap (some people pay $$$'s).  I could look at transit, but the costs in time and money would far exceed the cost for parking.  Also, I hate transit.  

Then we come to my shares.

If I someday want to become a senior owner of the organisation I will need to have purchased a certain amount of shares.  It is a significant part of our culture here to invest in the company.  The shares are a good value, and are not publicly traded.  I consider this savings as part of our long-term retirement planning/saving.

So...I'm not going to cancel any of these things - but I think it's important to look at every now and again to make sure that you're aware of and comfortable with your employer dedications. 

Money Has Wings - Employer Benefit Premiums

As we're looking to our 2015 budget and where we're spending money - I thought it would also be a good idea to look at the money that is spent before we ever see it, the money that is deducted straight from our pay cheques.

First up - benefits! A lot of folks think that health care is free in Canada. It's not.

We do have basic health care services (doctor visits, emergency room visits) that are paid for through provincial health care premiums and some provinces - like mine - pay for those directly (we pay in taxes I'm sure). Many employees also have benefits through their work - but often time employees and employers split the costs of those benefits.  These sometimes include long and short term disability insurance, extended health and dental, and life insurance.

The premiums that I want to look at are the extended health and dental - they are the most $$.

We currently have family coverage from both of our employers for both dental and health care which costs us $277+/month...a month!

When Jordan was looking at dental surgery we knew this was the right plan for us, but now that it's over - it's time to reassess.

If we switched to single coverage from both employers - but kept extended health for Jordan (b/c it's free through my employer) - we would save $185!!

Okay...but do I need the extended health care offered through Jordan's employer?

Right now I have about 4 physio appointments a week - but that will only last for a couple more months.  Those cost $75/visit and my benefits pay for $60/visit...Jordan's pay for $15.  That's $60/month that wouldn't be reimbursed any longer BUT we would still be saving $26.90 (rather than $86.90).

I can't see a reason to keep extended dental - it's not needed to pay for regular dentist visits/checkups...it's really only necessary when you need big dental surgeries and what not.  The kicker here though - is that it's a bit of a risk.  If we move from family to single dental premiums, we can't change it again for a 12 month period following the change.

So...what do you think?  Is it worth it?  Should we switch to single?  That $125-185 (depending on physio) would sure help in the month budget!

Cashing in Points

There's nothing like the impending holiday shopping that inspires me to look in on all of our points/rewards card balances and see if we can get a few gift cards to help with shopping or straight out gift-giving.

I checked in with Aeroplan points and thanks to my recent work trip to Washington, DC - we had just enough to get a $100 Costco Gift Card.  That should arrive early November which is great!

Next I looked in on AirMiles...we have over 5,000 dream miles of them but unfortunately they no longer carry gift cards; so I'm at a bit of a loss there.  For anyone familiar with their programme, they are pushing their AirMiles Cash over the Dream and a lot of the Dream benefits are now gone.

Well...I'm not sure what we're going to get yet with those miles...as their don't seem to be flights available or accessible either...so we'll have to see.

But yay, for $100 for Costco!

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