March 2011 Budget Roundup = +$8945

Biggest news for my roundup? I finally hit the $200,000 net worth.

By the way, this is not an April Fool’s post. I hate all that, so there are no tricks or jokes hidden in this post.

First, I forgot to mention this but I am now an unpaid writer for Thanks to Tom of Canadian Finance Blog for the recommendation πŸ™‚

Check out my first post: Why Canadians love to shop in the U.S.

Second, a shout out to Well Heeled. What a doll!

She put me on her list of blogger she’d like to meet in person and believe me, she’s definitely on mine πŸ™‚

Third, this… just made me cry with laughter.

Seen first on Geek in Heels but the original graphic is from High Expectations Asian Father.

My mom says: “FB! FB! Book Face Book Page this company.

They’re giving away free ice cream if you can find their Book Page and Face them or something. I don’t know what I’m talking about.

Find out for me and get free ice cream for yourself.”

Fourth, these two amazing blog posts made me tear up and sniffle.

I know it’s easier to do so these days but.. even so.

I loved them so much, I couldn’t bear to put them nearer to the bottom of my post just in case any of you missed them.

  1. “Oh that’s all? I love you” — Acceptance of her brother and son (I am the working poor)
  2. The purpose of work — The older generation and working (Your fab life)

Now onto the money!

Theme Song for this month? HEY BIG SPENDER!

Actually it isn’t all that bad. Just a bunch of expenses coming together in one month.

Clothing purchases = not necessary but I wanted them anyway.

INCOME = $20,800

  • Gross regular contracting income with a lot of over time.
  • Not contracting for the rest of the year.
  • Taking the year off to relax because this is the Year of Travel. BF suggested going to Spain this year after Asia.
  • No blog or freelance writing income included.



  • No $1000 budget this month, but April should be good for it.*
  • Went back to Toronto to see family & friends. Ate out quite a bit.
  • Replenished birth control pills for 18 months (big hit in the wallet).
  • Bought my Canon G12 camera to be ready for Asia. Short review? GET IT πŸ™‚ It’s amazing.
  • Bought 5 items from Anthropologie. 2 secondhand, 3 new.



*I still like the $1000 budget mentality because it forces me to try and hit some sort of target.

On top of that, is my travel budget as well, which is another $10,000 for this year, so $30,000 in total.

Ideally I’d like to make it $20,000 including traveling, and I almost made it last year (I went over by a couple hundred), but this year will be a full year of not working & traveling here and there.

The only problem with this strategy is I buy things in bulk.

I pay for yearly subscriptions all at once rather than monthly, and I see spikes in spending in the months where I stock up on pills or pay for insurance, for instance.

So it hits $1000 or under, once in a while, but not all the time.

My general goal is around $20,000 a year for personal expenses or $1600/month.

$12,000 is for $1000 a month for rent, utilities, laundry and so on

Other $8000 is for things like pills, paying insurance a year in advance, or anything that would otherwise eat up an entire $1000 budget (like buying a camera).

I kind of like loose goals and budgets, so this works for me.


  • None this month.
  • I should mention that I will pay a lot of taxes next month so expect negative numbers.

NET WORTH = $203,851.89 which is a + $8945.05 or 5% increase*

Finally at $200,000! After April, it will drop significantly after I pay taxes, but at least they’ll be done and over with.

Now here are the numbers:

  • Cash: $125.73
  • Emergency Fund: $31,389.36
  • Savings: $200.29
  • Retirement: $52,378.74 (TFSA included)
  • Business: $119,757.77

*I donated my full 10% yearly gross and a little extra to charity this month rather than at the end of the year.

I did this because I’m done working for 2011 and this accounts for the smaller increase.

Some of you asked where I put my money:

My main bank for savings and chequing is PC Financial (quite annoyed with them right now), and so is my main (and only) credit card (PC Mastercard) for the points.

My RRSPs are in TD Bank (not TD Waterhouse) where I bought index funds and have kind of just let them sit there and grow.

My TFSAs (Tax-Free Savings Account) money, are in Questrade under their TFSA account. I buy stocks and index funds with it.

Sign up here for a new Questrade Canada TFSA account using my referral ID and you and I will each get $50.


(It’s hard to read but it is OZeroSOEHDS)

It’s only open for people who sign up under affiliate members like me, and it doesn’t have to just be TFSA.

You can put RRSPs in here or taxable investments as well.

Thanks in advance.

My Emergency Fund cash is in ING Direct.

Sign up here for a new ING Direct Canada account using my referral ID and you and I will each get $25!

You can also put TFSA or RRSPs in here as well, but they only have their own Streetwise Mutual Funds to pick from, not the whole range.


Thanks in advance!

Best Posts of March 2011


$$$ talk all done now. Now for some random stuff.

I kind of like doing these roundups so I can just throw everything into one post.


Every time I see footage or read about it, I get depressed and my heart just gets heavier and heavier for all that I hear they have to deal with.

It’s gotten so I have trouble sleeping at night, and it makes no sense because I’m not even Japanese, nor do I personally know anyone in Japan.

Maybe all that Japanese culture I soaked up as a kid, and my love for almost everything Japanese has made me feel like I know them as a people so well.

Then I read things like this:

…and it makes me so proud of them. After reading and re-reading those articles, I started to sleep a bit better at night, but I can’t stop thinking and stressing about the whole situation.

They’re going to pull out of this stronger than ever.

Six days after repair work began on an earthquake-demolished section of the Great Kanto Highway in Naka the road was ready to be reopened.

They’re really doing this magnificently:


Jenny from Geek in Heels was talking about her parents and technology. Here’s an excerpt:

Dad: Jenny I want a smartphone.

GiH: That’s great. What kind do you want?

Dad: …theΒ smartphone.

GiH: Okay, but there are many different types of smartphones. Do you have a specific brand in mind?

Dad: The one that my friends have.

LOL!!! πŸ™‚

That said, they sound a lot more tech-savvy than my folks.

My mom has problems knowing how to plug in a laptop and turn it on.

On top of that, she has labeled every part of the computer with tape and numbers to know the ORDER in which to touch each button.

She also has a little map with things like: #1 – Power Cord Plug, #2 – Mouse Plug, #3 – Internet Plug…

My 2-year old nephew knows how to use the computer better than she does. I have visual proof! Even a video of him using the mouse and the iPad with the ease of an adult.

My father is the more tech-savvy of the two.

Out of necessity he has taught himself:

  • Photoshop
  • How to use the internets (haha)
  • Watch YouTube videos about photography
  • Download plenty of malware and viruses from popups that frustrate and annoy him

He still has trouble with knowing what to do if Windows gives him an error message.

Still, he’s quite savvy for someone who hasn’t had any training on a computer whatsoever.

I also make screenshot tutorials for him when he gets stuck.


I usually like eating plain food during the week, so for me, it’s too boring to post about. Like strawberries. Pretty, but not exciting. (Look how gorgeous they are, taken with the Canon G12!)

Last week, I ate chickpeas with salt, pepper, asparagus and tomatoes among other meals like eggs and rice with veggies and so on.

Then I ate some plain steamed fish with rice and a side of zucchini and tomatoes (chopped).

This week, I came up with my own recipe (at least I think it’s original): Chickpea and Potato Pancakes with a side of Garlic Asparagus!

It’s chickpeas mashed with shavings of potato and made into a “cake”, then pan fried with a tablespoon of olive oil.

(I don’t like a lot of oil in my foods, it makes me break out.)

I had a side of asparagus and garlic beside it.

Totally vegetarian (I would have kept it vegan, but I had to add eggs in the ‘batter’ to make sure it bound together properly in the pan.)

It was a HUGE hit with BF and me. Especially BF who is THE pickiest eater ever.

He inhaled my leftovers I made that day, and eyed my portions until I gave them to him.

We didn’t miss the meat, and if I could make it vegan without using the eggs to bind it all together, I would.

I’d also like to add green onions and more pepper into the mix next time.

Quick recipe for Chickpea & Potato Cakes:

  • Shaved or grated potatoes (any thicker and they won’t cook)
  • Cooked chickpeas until 10 minutes before they’re hummus-like*
  • Baking Soda (to cook the chickpeas with)
  • Bay leaves (Added to the chickpea cooking)
  • Diced garlic
  • Flour
  • Diced onions
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Cumin — BF wanted more cumin, I hate it being the only flavour
  • Paprika
  • Olive Oil — one tablespoon per full-pan fry

*Dried chickpeas that as soaked overnight are the best. The smaller the better, but the Mexican chickpeas I bought were probably too old and lost all their flavour. I should’ve bought them in the bag, not from the bins.

Then all you have to do is grate the potatoes, cook the chickpeas, let them cool while you take a break.

(Grating/shaving potatoes is not an easy task for someone as weak as I am).

Mix them all together and then heat up the pan to medium-high heat, add oil and flatten it out into a pancake style so that it all cooks quickly and evenly.

2 minutes per side or less.

Experiment with how you like them. It’s pretty tasty and the mix keeps for the next day.


I put 3 drops of oil of oregano under my tongue, hold it there for 10 seconds, once it starts to burn (it will be super spicy like raw garlic), swish around your mouth a bit and swallow.

It tastes like hell, is spicy and super herb-y but worth it.

I do it every 3-4 days, and so far, no morning breath or bad breath the whole day.

Thanks for the tip, Mom! (Who doesn’t read the blog at all. See above.)


Goats climbing steep barriers in Italy to lick the salt!

Mubarak’s pinstripes is in a whole other league of douchebaggery:

It’s a trap! A leprechaun trap!

I am so happy Kevin of Closet Cooking made it into Google Reader’s Top Shared Items, with this Guinness Chocolate Cake (it looks amazing!):

An anatomy of a cupcake.

This Red Tibetan Mastiff is almost a million-dollar puppy

Dear Noah…

Great Photo Manipulations…you can see a lot more here.

Creating my own world

If fire were made out of water

Make your own Pantone chip magnets.

Bookmobile poetry.

A journey of journals. AWESOME idea. I’d like to try it for Asia to chronicle the best parts of each city.

Large Japanese Moleskine Album here I come!

Beautiful sterographic projection photos.

Postcards from Google Earth. Amazing how an angle can change everything.

This is what happens when you neglect customer service. Peeved off Chinese Lamborghini owner smashes his car publicly with sledgehammers in frustration.

How to hide money.

Life is too short for the wrong job.

If you have a (212) Manhattan, NY area code, you could try selling it for a million bucks. πŸ™‚

Hope everyone had a safe and wonderful March.

What are your plans for April?

About the Author

Just a girl trying to find a balance between being a Shopaholic and a Saver. I cleared $60,000 in 18 months earning $65,000 gross/year. Now I am self-employed, and you can read more about my story here, or visit my other blog: The Everyday Minimalist.