September to November Monthly Reports


The last few months of the year are when I really started to feel the effects of having little income. And the Canadian dollar kept falling. So I had to tighten my belt a bit more, so to speak.

Please note that as of September 2015, I began using a $1.35 USD-CAD rate.

September 2015

NAME JULY 31, 2013 SEPTEMBER 30, 2015
Mastercard $6,123 CAD $12,427 CAD
Visa $8,653 CAD $35 CAD
B-school loan $96,800 USD
($125,840 CAD)
$76,504 USD
($103,281 CAD)
Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loan $20,931 CAD $2,249 CAD
Student Line of Credit (LOC) $9,678 CAD $0
TOTAL $171,225 CAD $117,992 CAD

I reduced my CAD$ debt by $1611 , but since the CAD$ fell yet again and my US loan accumulated over $500 USD interest, my total loan balance went up. Depressing.

October 2015

NAME JULY 31, 2013 OCTOBER 31, 2015
Mastercard $6,123 CAD $11,977 CAD
Visa $8,653 CAD $0 CAD
B-school loan $96,800 USD
($125,840 CAD)
$76,940 USD
($103,869 CAD)
Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loan $20,931 CAD $1,719 CAD
Student Line of Credit (LOC) $9,678 CAD $0
TOTAL $171,225 CAD $117,565 CAD

In October, I paid off $1015 CAD of my Canadian debt, but again because of exchange rate and interest on my US$ loan, my total debt only went down by just a few hundred CAD dollars.

November 2015

NAME JULY 31, 2013 NOVEMBER 30, 2015
Mastercard $6,123 CAD $11,777 CAD
Visa $8,653 CAD $685 CAD
B-school loan $96,800 USD
($125,840 CAD)
$77,462 USD
($104,574 CAD)
Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loan $20,931 CAD $486 CAD
Student Line of Credit (LOC) $9,678 CAD $0
TOTAL $171,225 CAD $117,522 CAD

November was the same story as in October. Actually, it was worse…as my total balance was only down $43 CAD, although I poured in over $1400 CAD into debt…

I’m trying to focus on a bright side, anything: I only took home under $3000 CAD per month in income, so being able to put $1400 of it towards debt was not bad. Depressing though it was to the overall picture…

In my next post I will do my 2015 year end report.

April to August Monthly Reports – Some Progress

Hullo, it has been a while! I hope you have had a great holiday season!

The main reason I haven’t been updating is because I haven’t been making much progress. At least compared to before. Also, the Canadian dollar is still freefalling so I don’t know how to keep track of my progress anymore. Do I keep updating the conversion rate? In which case, my balance will keep increasing and not really decreasing. Or do I continue using the rate I had been using the past few months before I stopped updating? But if I do that then my balances would not be truly reflective of how much I have to pay…

I really didn’t/don’t know what to do. However, instead of letting decision paralysis continue to prevent me from posting, I have just now decided that I am going to use a 1.30 USD-CAD rate for April to August and then a 1.35 USD-CAD rate for September to December.


Also, today the program I was using to track my finances basically erased all my entries from the end of July onwards. Well, technically it wasn’t the program’s fault, but the fault of my cloud sync provider. But the main thing is that I do not have any transaction data from July onwards. So I am going to have to redo my financial tracking for those months. The hard part will be redoing the cash transactions as I can barely remember the transactions I did in December, much less going 5 months back…Sigh.

I really hope this is not indicative of how my financial situation will be in 2016.

Thankfully, I had a separate file where I was storing my balances at the end of every month so I can post my end-of-month balances here so you can see the little progress I made.


To sum up what you are about to see though:


I did not get money owed from overdue client. I stopped working for them in April. But I only just found out a couple weeks ago that even the part payment I was promised at the end of this year is not possible. They have no money. So I am writing off that $50K+ of income. I did end up taking that other longer contract with another client, a very low-paying one, starting in June. Let’s just say my take-home income for half a year at this job is less than half of $50K. But it had income consistency to the end of Jan 2016.

As of today (this post actually being written Jan2016, though “published” Dec2015), I am planning to proper dive back into independent consulting full-time by the end of February. I will also apply to a few full-time positions then and if I get a really good job offer somewhere I will take it.

Basically, as seems to be my status quo in my life, my future is uncertain and I am not sure where my income will be coming from, if any, in a couple months. But I do know that I am a hustler and I will try my best to make it work somehow. And maybe other people will be able to pick up some tips from me.

As an example, although I haven’t been earning much, I did still manage to pay off something.


I won’t go into detail about my expenses the past few months. Basically, I had a good summer. I went out and socialized quite a bit. Dated and had fun. I also moved downtown in summer as planned and then at the end of September I decided to stay where I am as I have a decent deal ($900 rent for a shared 2Bed/2Bath condo) and it was much more convenient with getting to and from work (bike share + public transportation). Will explain more in a future post.

Winter seems to have finally arrived in Toronto and just like that my socializing has significantly decreased. Hopefully, this break will continue for a little while for my wallet.


Please note that I converted my 2013 USD balance to the $1.30 rate. The new balance gives me a mild heart attack every time I look at it…

April 2015

In April, in an effort to reduce my interest payments, I took advantage of a 0.99% interest rate offer I got from MBNA to transfer over most of my OSAP balance ($13,500 CAD). This was when I thought I would at least get back $10K from overdue client. This special 0.99% rate is supposed to go til around May 2016.

NAME JULY 31, 2013 APRIL 30, 2015
Mastercard $6,123 CAD $13,635 CAD
Visa $8,653 CAD $38 CAD
B-school loan $96,800 USD
($125,840 CAD)
$77,571 USD
($100,843 CAD)
Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loan $20,931 CAD $4,109 CAD
Student Line of Credit (LOC) $9,678 CAD $0
TOTAL $171,225 CAD $118,625 CAD

The Canadian dollar part actually went up by $8 and the US dollar amount went down by only $413.

May 2015

NAME JULY 31, 2013 MAY 31, 2015
Mastercard $6,123 CAD $13,966 CAD
Visa $8,653 CAD $651 CAD
B-school loan $96,800 USD
($125,840 CAD)
$77,296 USD
($100,485 CAD)
Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loan $20,931 CAD $3,895 CAD
Student Line of Credit (LOC) $9,678 CAD $0
TOTAL $171,225 CAD $118,997 CAD

I traveled a bit in May – twice for work and once for fun, all three times to the US. So there were some extra expenses in May. Also, I had a massive amount I had to give to the government for taxes and HST payments I collected. So my debt went up that month😦.

June 2015

In June I tried to make up for the previous month, although I had more expenses in June because that is when I moved out of my parents’ home and into a downtown condo share. Rent of $900/mth, including utilities and internet, begins here. This was also the month where I started to work full-time hours for a client (VERY low-paying but consistent hours).

NAME JULY 31, 2013 JUNE 31, 2015
Mastercard $6,123 CAD $13,265 CAD
Visa $8,653 CAD $35 CAD
B-school loan $96,800 USD
($125,840 CAD)
$77,311 USD
($100,504 CAD)
Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loan $20,931 CAD $3,673 CAD
Student Line of Credit (LOC) $9,678 CAD $0
TOTAL $171,225 CAD $117,477 CAD

It was a tiny miracle that I was able to bring my debt down by $1520 CAD that month.

July 2015

In July, started to realize that overdue client would not be able to pay me all that was owed so ensured that I start putting away a little of my measly pay cheque to savings, instead of putting all dollars into my debt as I was tempted to do.

NAME JULY 31, 2013 JULY 31, 2015
Mastercard $6,123 CAD $12,974 CAD
Visa $8,653 CAD $15 CAD
B-school loan $96,800 USD
($125,840 CAD)
$77,097 USD
($100,227 CAD)
Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loan $20,931 CAD $3,450 CAD
Student Line of Credit (LOC) $9,678 CAD $0
TOTAL $171,225 CAD $116,666 CAD

My overall debt went down by just $811 in July.

August 2015

In August, I decided to stop making payments on my US$ loan by the end of that month. I had prepaid the minimums to June 2017. At the end of August the CAD$ was worth $0.76 USD. I was hoping that the Canadian dollar would rebound a bit. Even if it only went back to $0.81 USD by the end of 2016, I would only have lost an extra $1000 or so. Whereas if it did well and rebounded to anything over $0.82 I would be better off. So far, my bet seems to be going horribly wrong and it is looking like not only will I NOT get back the extra dollars lost from the exchange rate, but I will also end up quite a ways in the red. Yet another sign that I should never try gambling….

Anyways, without further ado, here is where things stood at the end of the month:

NAME JULY 31, 2013 AUGUST 31, 2015
Mastercard $6,123 CAD $12,794 CAD
Visa $8,653 CAD $122 CAD
B-school loan $96,800 USD
($125,840 CAD)
$75,988 USD
($98,756 CAD)
Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loan $20,931 CAD $3,226 CAD
Student Line of Credit (LOC) $9,678 CAD $0
TOTAL $171,225 CAD $114,898 CAD

I put all my extra money into the US$ loan because I wanted to reduce the principal by as much as I could, before it started collecting interest again. It was also quite satisfying to get my US dollar debt to below $100K CAD. That satisfaction was very short-lived though, since the Canadian dollar kept falling and also interest started to pile up on the amount owed….But for one brief period it was below that $100K. And I managed to make a whopping $1768 dent in my debt that month!

Stay tuned for my next update on my progress from September to the end of 2015.

March Monthly Report – Hopeful


I started writing this post during the Easter weekend. And though it is now over a week since then, I hope you had a Happy Easter/Passover/break from work last week Friday! Since I am an independent consultant, I never really take a break from work. But it’s ok because I like the other benefits of working for myself. That is, when I have ’em.

Back to business, this past month I again didn’t make much progress reducing my debt. Sad face.

However, the great news is that my monthly income went up, because I got a couple extra contracts! So I pretty much earned almost what I would earn in a normal month. The first new contract is already finishing up. But the other client is longer term so I will have somewhat steadier income for at least the next 6 months. Will still need another contract though to make close to what I was earning before income dried up in October.

My main client, that I will be leaving, also has a deadline to start paying up some of their outstanding debt by the end of this month. And then more next month. Hopefully, that will happen. So I can pay off more than the minimums on my loans, for at least the next 3 months.

Anyways, as implied earlier in this post, I didn’t put much of my earnings into my debt, because I have to build up back my emergency fund. And also, taxes.

I tried to keep down my expenses as though I had no income. Here are some ways I spent my money.


$59 $81 $143

Ok, dining expenses don’t look like the dining of someone living as though she had no income. Most of that money was spent on dinner for a friend on her birthday, along with paying for my dinner. And then I also went to one networking dinner. Besides that, all my “dining” expenses were really coffee/juice at coffee shop meetups with clients.

In March, I spent literally no money on entertainment. Add that to the dining situation and I think you’ll have a good idea of my social life in wintertime in Canada (as mentioned in my last post, February’s spending on recreation was a fluke).


$0 $10 $136 $0

This was fantastic news for my wallet. Not so fantastic news for my social life. I always question my reason for living in Canada, whenever I go through winter and its associated blues.

In total, apart from money put towards loans and a little money I gave to my Mum, I only spent $310 for the month. That includes the expenses noted here.

Anyway, time to stop putting off the inevitable: the summary of where things stood at the end of March. I’ll give you a hint. It wasn’t much further from where they stood at the end of February.

NAME JULY 31, 2013 MARCH 31, 2015
Mastercard $6,123 CAD $0 CAD
Visa $8,653 CAD $39 CAD
B-school loan $96,800 USD
($109,142 CAD)
$77,984 USD
($88,036 CAD)
Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loan $20,931 CAD $17,774 CAD
Student Line of Credit (LOC) $9,678 CAD $0
TOTAL $154,527 CAD $105,849 CAD

February’s balance was $106,223. So that means that in March I paid off a paltry $374, even less than the month prior.

What hurts the most is that I dumped well over $1000 CAD into my loans , not to mention the loss I make monthly whenever I convert my CAD$ to USD$ at the bank, for them to wire to my loan account. Also, in March, I actually put in $149USD more than the minimum, whereas in February I had put in just the bare minimum. Yet, I STILL paid off less in March than in February. Furthermore, if the exchange rate wasn’t so horrible, I would be much closer or already at the point where I’d be celebrating getting my loan down to under $100K.

So again I will leave you with a song. What hurts the most, was being so close…

By the way, while I will easily admit to liking country music, I do listen to all types. And I swear country music is not the predominant music that plays in my head!

Also, I am TRULY thankful I live at home and don’t have to truly worry about rent and other expenses that come with living on one’s own. And I am hopeful that the coming months will be better than the Oct to Feb period.

February Monthly Report – I’m Blue


I’ve been feeling like it doesn’t make sense to update when things are going downhill. But hey, maybe I can be inspiration to others for persevering, to show the dark before the light.  You know, when my luck turns around as I know it will. Eventually.

Actually, I thought I’d have a great post for you today, thanks to an expected influx of cash. Main client who owes me a ton of money had promised they’d be able to pay me this week. Alas, it doesn’t seem like it is going to happen, as the money they received is now tied up and might be going to someone else they owed money before me. *Siiigggghhh*

I have told them that I am likely going to leave entirely at the end of this month if things don’t change. And in two weeks, no matter what, I will start doing more hours for another client and reduce my time working for main client. Because I need to start getting more regular income again.

This month, I uncharacteristically counted my chickens before they were hatched (expected windfall from overdue invoices). I waited until last week but the client was so good at convincing me that I would for sure have gotten paid by this week that I went ahead and splurged a little to try a winter sport. So I spent quite a bit on doing outdoor recreation last week and also paid in advance for it again next week. Ended up losing my phone during last week’s excursion, of course. So I then had to buy a new phone…I was planning to get a new phone in May anyways, but it would’ve been nice to not have to unexpectedly spend hundreds with my precarious financial situation.

And I believe the Canadian dollar fell more.

Needless to say, I didn’t make much progress reducing debt this month.

My dining expenses went back up but is still not too bad. I went out a little more overall in February because I could feel myself getting hit with a big case of S.A.D. And I wanted to curb it by distracting myself. That’s why I did the winter activity too – I need to find something that will lessen my winter depression. Still in the process of trying to improve my mood at the moment, especially since it seems like winter WILL NEVER END in Canada.


$201 $59 $81

Groceries went down from $83 to $35.

Entertainment wise there is that outdoor thing I did. So my entertainment expenses definitely increased in February. And will likely be a similar figure next month.


$13 $0 $10 $136

You should really add another $120 for the gear I had to buy to be properly dressed. Got the cheapest gear available but cheapest available is still darn expensive. Winter sports is a pretty expensive pastime! Another reason to intensely dislike, nay abhor, winter!

Here is where things stood at the end of February:

NAME JULY 31, 2013 FEBRUARY 28, 2015
Mastercard $6,123 CAD $0 CAD
Visa $8,653 CAD $0 CAD
B-school loan $96,800 USD
($109,142 CAD)
$78,302 USD
($88,286 CAD)
Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loan $20,931 CAD $17,937 CAD
Student Line of Credit (LOC) $9,678 CAD $0
TOTAL $154,527 CAD $106,223 CAD

January’s balance was $106,705. So that means that in February I paid off a paltry $482. Not even $500. The heart is low. The heart is so low…

January Monthly Report – Giving Thanks

Hi all,

I am back with my January report!

I’ll start with the good news. I got a small contract that will help cover my monthly expenses for January and February! Very thankful for it, especially because I wasn’t out looking for another contract (got my hands full with my current contracts). It literally just came to me.

The bad news is that the loonie, i.e. the Canadian dollar, keeps falling. I will probably have to re-adjust my debt reduction tables in 3 or 4 months to better reflect the average exchange rate. Not looking forward to that at all as it will increase my amount owing by at least $10K CAD. *sigh*

Anyways, let’s go back to business.

My dining expenses went back down! Only went out to eat with friends once and the rest was for family takeout.


$133 $201 $59

My spending on gifts actually went up from the $240 it was at Christmastime. I spent $291 in January! That was mainly for a snowblower for my Mum because I was tired of having to shovel snow and I didn’t want my mother to be breaking her back to do it either. And, since I earned money this month, I gave a little to my Mum.

I also spent $82 on groceries.

For entertainment, it was again another good month spending-wise. Not so good though for my social life. I only spent $10 for a Groupon type recreation deal that I will be using in the next couple months.


$30 $13 $0 $10

And my dental expenses went back down to normal monthly levels.

Here is where things stood at the end of January:

NAME JULY 31, 2013 JANUARY 31, 2015
Mastercard $6,123 CAD $0 CAD
Visa $8,653 CAD $15 CAD
B-school loan $96,800 USD
($109,142 CAD)
$78,555 USD
($88,571 CAD)
Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loan $20,931 CAD $18,134 CAD
Student Line of Credit (LOC) $9,678 CAD $0
TOTAL $154,527 CAD $106,705 CAD

December’s balance was $108,196. So that means that in January I paid off $1491, far below my minimum threshold of $2500 per month in debt reduction. But I’m in lockdown mode financially now so I am okay with that number.

I have started out the year behind schedule. But one of my clients promised to pay me the massive amount owing by the end of this month. Hopefully that happens. So that by March I will be square again and can make up the payments. At the same time, if things don’t improve I will have to start finding new contracts around then too.

Here’s to hoping things work out financially for me this month!


2014 Report – Another Year Over

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

2014 is over and, as always, I am thankful to get the opportunity to see the start of another year.

Today, I bring you the end of month report for December 2014 as well as a debt progress summary.

In December, I had zero money coming in and the Canadian dollar fell even further against the US dollar. At the same time, some of my expenses went up instead of down. For instance, I spent a bit more on dining out because of the holiday dinners and meetups with friends.


$172 $133 $201

I also spent about $240 on gifts.

Thankfully, my family is not big on Christmas gifts. However, a family member had a significant birthday, there are kids in my household and I also bought little holiday gifts for a few friends so that’s why the figure is $240. AND I also spent $1000 more on health (dental) expenses than I had been averaging the past few months.

Another thing to give thanks for is that my holiday spending was limited to eating out and gifts. I had no entertainment expense! The cold weather is not conducive to my going out. Yesterday, for instance, the weather was feeling like a positively depressing -30C/-22F. When winter hits in Canada I know I can look forward to spending much less on entertainment!


$0 $30 $13 $0

Also, since I had no incoming cash flow, I did not give my Mum money for the family this month. A bit of the dining expenses up above though was towards a couple family takeout/delivery meals (pizza and takeout).

Here is where things stood at the end of December:

NAME JULY 31, 2013 DECEMBER 31, 2014
Mastercard $6,123 CAD $0 CAD
Visa $8,653 CAD $38 CAD
B-school loan $96,800 USD
($109,142 CAD)
$79,667 USD
($89,936 CAD)
Ontario Student Assistance Program (OSAP) loan $20,931 CAD $18,260 CAD
Student Line of Credit (LOC) $9,678 CAD $0
TOTAL $154,527 CAD $108,196 CAD

November’s balance was $110,767. So that means that in December I paid off $2571, just meeting my minimum threshold of $2500 per month in debt reduction. A minor miracle considering I had no income!

At the end of December 2013, I was $139,881 in debt. So that means that in 2014 I paid off $31,685 or an average of $2640 per month. On a salary that ended up being quite a long ways below the six figures it would have hit had I been earning proper income the last 4 months of the year.

Overall, I have paid off $46,331 in 17 months! And that doesn’t include most of the interest payments!

I am currently on track to meet my goal of eliminating my debt in a total of 5 years and that is great! I may not be quite where I want to be right now financially, my savings are currently being depleted and my future is still quite uncertain. But I’ve begun to accept uncertainty as my permanent status in life anyways. And, more importantly, I am super thankful that I got good income for as long as I did and that I was able to pay off as much as I did! Many people’s entire gross income is the total I paid off this past year and many of those people work a helluva lot harder or at least expend a lot more physical energy working in their jobs than I ever will. So I AM thankful!

My financial wish for 2015 is that I, and any readers in a similar boat, will attain our debt reduction goals this year!

Debt and Retirement

Hi all,

Today I woke up thinking about the future. The Canadian dollar keeps falling, my debt is going down but is still massive and I have not saved anything for retirement.

Ok, that last part is not entirely true. I have around $30K in assets. This contains cash, savings, TFSA savings and a $1,150 TFSA investment fund which I was proud to finally open a couple months ago. However, because of my current income situation, I am basically disregarding most of the amount I have saved, because I can easily see myself depleting the saved amount by a monthly average of $4K in the next 6 months, if things continue as is cash flow-wise.

Sad eeyore
Anyways, as I was saying, I have been thinking about my future. More specifically, I have been thinking about my lack of retirement savings.

Every time I think about retirement I think about finally starting to invest, to start that retirement savings train up. However, the thing that has always stopped me from turning the ignition is my debt. Even now, any gains made from my beginner investing in stocks and/or ETFs are likely to be less than the 8.13% interest rate on my high 5-figure US$ b-school loan. Also, the fees for a small-time novice investor like me are terrible.

However, I am 31 years old and self-employed. So, besides actually saving for a rainy month or few, I need to start saving for retirement. Properly. And that means dipping my toes in the investing water, in order to possibly pay off debt faster and mostly save more quickly for the future.

Unfortunately for me, one of the things business school confirmed was how much I dislike finance. I like accounting but hate finance. So my efforts in core finance classes were the bare minimum and I avoided finance electives like the plague. Well, unless they concerned venture capital and related topics. That I love! I am a techie after all so it would be bad to not care about venture capital. But besides VC stuff, most of what I learnt in finance classes has long since left my brain. Thus, whenever the thought strikes me to turn to investing to increase my net worth, I start regretting the fact that I don’t like finance at all. I usually then spend a ton of time reading investing sites and personal finance blogs to get tips for first time investors. This was the case today, and a couple months ago.

A couple months ago, I woke up with the same things on my mind as I did today. Two months ago, I decided to finally take the plunge. Or more like a little dip. I plopped $1,000 in a Tangerine TFSA Balanced Growth investment fund. The 3-year annualized return from it is 12.97%. I hope to pay off the remainder of my debt in 3 and a half years. If the fund continues as is or does better then I will come out ahead, even considering that investment money diverts from the b-school loan payments. If things end up a bit worse, I’m hoping it won’t be much worse than the 5-year fund return rate of 8.71%, which is still higher than my loan interest. And if things end up dismal, well you will understand my line of thinking about that in a couple sentences.

I also set up automatic monthly payments of $75 to the fund (today increased to $100).

In my mind, I could afford to risk losing the entire $1000 initial deposit and $100/mth is an amount I could also afford to lose if it ever came to it that I lost everything (Queen of Positive Thinking here, remember?). Today’s mind wandering into worrying-about-the-future got me thinking though that, instead of dumping 98% of my savings into savings accounts with no more than 1% interest, I should be putting more money in investing options. Even if I stick with a fund instead of doing my own thing, I am more likely to get a return greater than 1%.

At least 10% of my savings should go to investing!

So as a start, this upcoming year, if I ever start getting income again, I plan to put 10% of my savings into investing. I will start with the Tangerine Balanced Growth investment fund now and the Equity Growth one sometime in 2015, because they are tailor-built for lazy investors like me with assets under $50K. Then, maybe one day I will enter the world of self-managed investment portfolios.

EDIT: Thanks to reader ricodilello, I realized that it is better to put my money first into an RRSP, at least as it concerns paying off debt more quickly. As he highlighted in his comment on this post, if I put $5,500 in a TFSA fund and got a 10% return, I’d be looking at an extra $550/yr to pay down debt. However, if I put that same $5,500 in an RRSP savings account I would lower my taxes by over $1,500, which is basically the same as saying I’d get an extra $1,500 to pay toward debt. And if I went a step further and put that $5,500 in an RRSP investment fund then not only would I lower my taxes by $1,500 but I would also likely have a return, hopefully of at least $550 (10%).

Whatever the case though, all money invested will be untouchable. Separate and apart from an emergency fund. Once my money goes towards investing I will consider it dead to me, until retirement🙂.

sheepish smiling eeyore