March 2018: What did I buy.

*Side note: I decided to not call this a ‘No buy’ as I am I still purchasing things. Maybe Low Buy? Yeah, that doesn’t have the same ring to it. Will update with a new title when I have a better name for it.

March has been one of the most stressful seasons I have ever encountered. I am thinking on putting a number of things I can buy in a month (excluding transportation passes) but still continue with a no clothing buy.

I’m going to try my best to decrease the number of purchases in April as I am aiming to build a good savings buffer before moving out in the summer.

What did I buy:

  • Brunch with family
  • Coach Chelsea boots
  • Lunch x 5
  • Uniqlo blouse x 2
  • Salsa dance lessons

What did I not buy:

  • Vince Camuto blouse ($40)

Loan Payment #22

This post is to officially announce that I paid off my $28,300 loan on March 15, 2018!

FREEDOM never tasted so sweet.

I woke up exactly at 5AM to check my paycheck deposited in my bank account. Then, made the final transfer of $1,800.

In all honesty, I did not feel any different. It didn’t seem like as if I paid off everything. Instead, it was just like any other payment. I have a feeling that it will truly hit me in April when I can actually keep a large sum of money for the first time in two years.

No Buy – February 2018: What did I buy.

I put myself on a ‘No Buy’, for clothing or new tech, after setting a personal record in spending during the holiday season and noticed that I had spent a little over $3 000 on clothing over two years. It helped that work kept me in the office all February and out of stores.

To put it into perspective, that’s essentially two months worth of student loan payments. TWO MONTHS. I can’t even remember what I bought or how much I wore the items. Lesson here is, everything adds up and know your habits.

Clothing is my weakness. Back when I was younger, we would only have one shopping trip a year and that is because our grandfather wanted to treat us. My folks were (and still are) incredibly frugal as they came as immigrants with barely anything. So, now that I have disposable income, being able to buy clothing gives me a sense of freedom to do what I want and have what I want.

My ‘No Buy’ is not meant to deprive me of enjoying life but rather train healthy, financial habits. I like how I use to only buy clothes once a year, it made the purchasing that much more special. On the other hand, you can’t save as much money because certain items are cheaper during the end of certain seasons. In order to not pay ticket price and recreate the occasional purchasing trip, I have a list of pre-approved items:

  • Black Chelsea boots with 2-inch heel (specifically the Coach BOWERY boot) – $470
  • White blouse (Uniqlo) – $35
  • White flowy, button-down shirt (Uniqlo) – $35
  • Red dress (or any one-piece in that tone) – $100
  • Black blazer – $80
  • Black pair of jeans, solid, no-distressing (Levi’s) – $80
  • Merino Wool crew-neck, knit, sweaters x 2 – Uniqlo ($80)

Notice that most of them have a specific store assigned already. That’s from me doing research on what exactly I am looking for and prevents me from wandering off and seeing other things. These are all officewear as I have more than enough of ‘university/lounge-wear’ and not enough professional outfits. I identified that these should be the remaining pieces to have a well-rounded office wardrobe that I can wear many times over.

Finally, I think it would be really interesting to document what I wanted to buy and what I did end up buying this month.

What I bought:

  • Treated family to dinner
  • Reunion dinner with high school friends
  • A chicken soup because I felt sick that day
  • Tea x 2
  • Weekend Cottage/Snowboarding trip
  • Gift for Dad’s birthday

What I wanted to buy, but didn’t:

  • Gold chevron ring ($60.00)

Why I pay rent when living at home.

Yes, I pay rent when living at home and I think it is the right thing to do.

No, the money is not going back to me sometime in the future. My folks are not holding it for safe-keeping for me.

Two main reasons:

1. I am a working adult who has a job and I am using their space.

If I am contributing to the monthly utility bill, eating food, and utilizing a room that they could have rented out, I think it is only fair that I pay my share. My folks are paying for the monthly mortgage and groceries, so it is not like they are skipping out on paying their part of living expense.

2. Teaches me to live realistically.

Because I am paying rent already, my monthly expenditures already have a buffer for rent. If I were to move out, it would not be as much as a shock to my budget as not having paid it at all. I am use to living with a certain amount of disposable income after basic needs are accounted for.

All in all, there is a sense of pride of being independent and self-reliant because of my own finances.

Why I manually input my expenses.

Mint. Adaptu. HelloWallet. All great budget and spending apps.

But.

I will still keep all my physical receipts, manually input my expenses, and plan out my budget through the good ole Excel spreadsheet.

Why though? Why make an extra step in your weekly routine to do book-keeping?

Because I want to literally be hands-on with my money when I keep tapping my cards. Apps are great because they compile everything for you in a nice diagram to see where you are spending the most. However, when handling receipts and logging it in individually yourself, this truly gives you the pain of how every little purchase adds up.

When everything becomes digitized, it is much easier to be disconnected from your cash flow. Looking at every receipt from my purchases that week forces me to revisit regretful purchasing decisions and think before another impulse buy. Editing my spreadsheet keeps personal finance top-of-mind, and prevents me from having a passive attitude towards it.

 

 

Loan Payment #20

 

And another one bites the dust.

I never thought that I would be able to say this. Now, there is only $3,600 remaining of my $28,300 student loan!

My goal is to pay it off by my 24th birthday in March, making the payback period a little less than two years since I graduated in June 2016.

This journey has honestly not been smooth sailing. I remember moving back home from university, after an unsuccessful recruiting season (AKA not finding a full-time, salaried job), and being incredibly overwhelmed by the sheer number of it. Even when I started working and paying it off, it seemed like no matter how much money I chucked at it each month, the number never went down significantly. $28,300… $27,200… $25,800…

I was upset, thinking that I was not getting ahead or living my fullest life in my early 20s. Seeing classmates and friends moving out of their parents’ house to live downtown or travelling to amazing adventures made me incredibly envious and resentful. On top of that, I was, and still am, commuting almost four hours a day from nowhere to get to work, in order to save money on rent. Knowing that a large portion of my paycheck was automatically locked up each month is not a pleasant feeling.

Eventually, I came around to figuring out what I can do to make me happy and enjoy the journey. Still didn’t make it any easier, just a little more enjoyable. Finally seeing the light at the end of the tunnel has never felt so satisfying.