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.

SLIGHT DETOUR

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.

BACK ON-TOPIC

To sum up what you are about to see though:

INCOME

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.

EXPENSES

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.

LIABILITIES

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.