August 2021 Review


I hope you had a beautiful (and certainly warm) August! For my part, I sur did. I enjoyed the nice weather and had a great time with friends and family. What more could you ask for? Oh, and I blew out my thirtieth candle, and I’m doing great. After all, I’ve heard that the best is yet to come. 🙂

Also, it was a month full of changes on the financial side. I couldn’t wait to share the details with you! Basically, the changes are due to buying my mother’s house, as I had already mentioned in my last article. Although the purchase is not expected to be finalized until October, the process is underway and it has allowed me to get some things sorted out.

So, let’s see those changes!

Net Worth as of August 31, 2021

Checking Accounts:
Questrade TFSA:
Questrade LIRA:
Questrade RRSP:
Fondaction RRSP:
Total assets:$165,319
Line of credit:
Credit cards:
Total liabilities:-$1,199
Net Worth$166,518

First of all, I can’t pass up the absolutely mind-blowing returns of the last month. It seems to me that almost every day ended in the green. Considering this, we can’t help wondering when the next correction will be, right? But in the meantime, let’s appreciate the good results and not try to time the market!

The same can be said for crypto which continues its recovery. After spending about 2 months in the red on all my positions, I am starting to see substantial profit again!

Thus, my net worth increased by a whopping $10,198. Wow! A 5-digit increase, now we’re talking. 😉


Indeed, there are a few changes here and there on the asset front.

Indeed, I no longer have worker funds RRSPs (FTQ and Fondaction). Why is that? Because I used them for the Home Buyers’ Plan (HBP). Since worker funds are very inflexible RRSPs for a FIRE goal, I thought that this was the best use I could make of it.

So, with the withdrawal of these RRSPs (totalling about $21,000), I was able to invest the majority of it in my TFSA. Yes, there is no obligation to use the entire HBP for a house down payment. This brings about a good change in the proportion of my TFSA in my total portfolio. See here the evolution of my different accounts over time:

Just last month, my TFSA represented 30% of my portfolio. Now it’s 40%. I love it!

Now I have about $14,000 left to receive from Questrade to use the HBP to its maximum of $35,000. Of that, I’ll take the minimum required for the down payment and closing costs for the house, and then the rest will also go into my TFSA.

In the end, I should have just under $9,000 left to contribute before my TFSA is maxed out. That shouldn’t take too long! Without the HBP, I had estimated that I would not have maxed it out before 2023! Hooray!


There are also some changes on the liability front. Yes, I gave in to temptation when I received the funds from my RRSPs for the HBP. I ended up paying off my car and my vision correction surgery! Good riddance!

Otherwise, I have a lot of credit on my credit cards due to the recent cancellation of my Hawaii trip. The current surge in Covid cases there forced my hand a bit. However, there are several other destinations where cases are better under control and sanitary measures are less severe. Stay tuned for the new destination!

In the end, my 5-digit net worth increase was actually a bit inflated by all these recent refunds. Still, it looks very nice. 😉


Here are the details of my August savings:

  • August 11: $575 out of $1,836.98 net
  • August 25: $1,200 out of $1,836.99 net
  • Total savings: $1,775 out of $3,673.97 in August or a 48% savings rate

Of the $1,775I saved, I contributed $1,400 to my TFSA and bought $375 worth of cryptocurrency outside a registered account.

Since I paid off my car entirely on August 17, there is a world of difference on my savings rate between the two pays I received this month. It averages out to 48% for the month, but I can expect to average 65% or more for the next few months!

Also, although I will have a mortgage to pay probably starting in November, but the payments should entirely be absorbed by my October pay raise. 🙂

In short, it’s looking good for the end of the year!

Expense Report

2021-08-05$44.90Car Insurance
2021-08-05$15.69Home Insurance
2021-08-13$403.85Car Payment
2021-08-17$2,539.08Car Payment
2021-08-25$7.48Hydro Québec
2021-08-28$68.99Costco Membership
2021-08-29$26.45Home Internet

In July, I spent $4,275.43, which is $51,305.10 annualized. If we take out my car loan payments, it comes down to $1,332.50, which is $15,989.94 annualized.

Just like that, it sure looks like a big month, considering my total car loan balance payment. However, without that, it was a pretty frugal month (even for me!). So even though it’s summer and the weather is nice, my activities are still pretty cheap. It costs almost nothing, after all, to enjoy the outdoors by hiking, biking, or visiting or entertaining friends. On the (rare) rainy days, we can always watch Star Trek on Netflix. 😉

Actually, there was originally more spending than that, but the cancellation of my trip changed that. It’s only a postponement in September, really!

Reading List

August was a month of slightly lighter reading. I allowed myself a little fiction and mindset refresh.

Here is my August reading list:

I decided to read Un pas à la fois after seeing a lecture by Sebastien Sasseville organized by my employer. I found him truly inspiring and his book did not disappoint. His adventures and exploits make us think about how much we can accomplish ourselves and we can learn a lot of lessons that can be applied to different areas of life. In short, I recommend. 🙂

I also allowed myself a little rereading of La retraite à 40 ans. Although the material has been well assimilated over time, it’s still excellent for staying motivated.

The next reread will probably be Liberté 45!


So that’s it for the month of August. We already have more months done than we have left in 2021. It’s amazing how fast time flies. However, now that I’m on vacation for three weeks, I wouldn’t mind if time slowed down a bit. Pretty please! 😉

In addition to my plan B for travel, I’m going to use my vacation time to practice being free. I’m so used to running one way, then the other, making lists and chasing the clock. It will be important to try to deprogram all of that for the next three weeks. I think I’m going to like it 😉

What about you, how does September look like for you? Back to the daily grind, or like me, you have a late vacation?

Either way, I wish you good weather and a great September, folks!

Expenses from the last 12 months

A promise is a promise. I had planned to expose here all my expenses of the last twelve months. Here they are!

As you already know, I have a rather frugal lifestyle and I’m quite happy with it. You’ve probably noticed just how frugal when I break down all my expenses in every monthly review. However, it still fluctuates from one month to the next. So, what does it look like on a yearly basis? I was really looking forward to having a full 12 months of expense tracking to assess, see trends and have a better overview.

So let’s get to it! I’m going to go from the biggest expense item to the smallest. The first positions should not surprise you! Then I’ll follow up with some findings and what’s next.

I remind you that all these figures represent expenses for a single person with a single salary.

Car: $12,468.66

So, let’s start big! Of course, you probably expected this. I’ve been talking about my worst financial decision for a long time now! In addition to getting a new financed car in 2016 (for the second time, dare I add), I also maxed out my car payments to pay it off faster. Add to that the other related costs and this expense item obviously take the top spot.

How did I arrive at this total? First of all, there was $10,263.55 in payments on my loan. That’s a big chunk right there. Then I paid $787.40 for maintenance (including new brakes), $542.54 for my car insurance with Intact, $477.80 for gas (a cost I almost always share with my pedestrian sister), $230.43 for registration, $87.94 for my licence and finally $79.00 for a speeding ticket.

So, obviously, the biggest chunk goes to loan repayment. If it wasn’t for that, I’d only have $2,205.11 in expenses related to my car. That’s a much more respectable amount, but still quite significant. It goes to show that even a paid car is still expensive.

Housing: $6,494.38

Not surprisingly, housing is my second most expensive item. For many people, the total amount spent may still seem quite low. This is mostly due to the fact that I rent and have a roommate. I paid 5,975.00 for rent, $345.40 for my share of Hydro-Quebec and $173.98 for home insurance.

So, it’s not difficult to add up all related expenses compared to a homeowner. There would necessarily be more related costs. Nevertheless, it still takes the second spot.

Vision Correction: $2,990.00

Technically, it’s not all paid off yet, since I’m stretching the balance on my credit card with a 2% promotional rate, but it’s easier to calculate like that. The real price was actually $3,790.00, but I got an $800.00 refund from my insurance.

And thankfully, this expense will not show up every year. So that’s a big exception for this year!

Food: $2,796.93

If it weren’t for my vision correction surgery, food would be in third place, despite all the optimization in the world. The majority of this expense item comes from groceries with $2,525.62. I wasn’t kidding when I said that I don’t go to restaurants very often, since I only spent a grand total of $146.95 in the last twelve months! And that includes my many Starbucks coffees. 🙂 Finally, I also include my SAQ alcohol purchases for a grand total of $124.36.

My observation: I am not an alcoholic. No kidding, I mostly see that no matter how careful we can be with groceries and avoid restaurants, this expense item will always remain a big chunk of the budget.

Vacation & Travel: $2,029.39

I was a little surprised at this figure, considering I haven’t really travelled in the past year. However, after reviewing each expense, it makes sense.

First of all, I include in the total the different credit card annual fees that I paid to accumulate travel miles and points. That’s $360.00 here (for three different American Express cards). I also spent $400.00 on an Air Canada gift card and $68.99 on Aeroplan points to earn even more points. I still haven’t used said card. So, in a way, I paid in advance a future travel expense.

Other than that, I also booked a small Airbnb cottage last January ($206.55), I took a small frugal trip to Gaspésie in June with Mr. Slap ($159.74) and I already paid some expenses related to my trip to Hawaii ($834.11) which will take place in September.

Still, it’s interesting to see the total amount. It’s more than I thought it would be, but fortunately it’s a lot less than it could have been, considering all the points accumulated and already used. For example, just for Hawaii, I’ve already saved over $1,000 with my miles and points. Hooray!

Memberships: $698.00

For many, this is a category worth optimizing. How many people say they don’t know where to cut expenses? In my opinion, this is a great place to start.

Fortunately, I think I’ve narrowed this category down quite a bit. My share of our home internet only cost me $365.43 for the whole year with Fizz. My cell phone cost me only $134.82, mostly thanks to the dear readers of this blog who used my Fizz referral code (N5MMB).

Finally, Netflix cost me $117.70 and Spotify cost me $80.05. I share both subscriptions with my sister.

By the way, thanks to my Cobalt American Express card, I got a free one-year Spotify Premium subscription recently. It’s funny, since I was thinking of switching to the free subscription soon. Now I have the best of both worlds: free and no ads. However, after this promotion ends, I’ll definitely make the switch to the free subscription. 🙂

Donations & Gifts: $799.98

Here is another category that surprised me. I made $170.00 in donations (not including those deducted at source by my employer) and made $629.98 worth of gifts to different people. I may be more generous than I thought. And I don’t see a need to optimize here. It’s important to know how to give back, too, in life. 🙂

Cats: $466.22

I want to clarify that this is for two cats, not fifteen. I am not (entirely) a cat lady.

So this amount basically includes food and litter. I very rarely buy them treats, and even less often toys. They’ll play with just about anything, anyway.

My observation in this category is that inflation is undeniable. Prices have gone up a lot in just twelve months. I buy mostly the same brands all the time, so it was easy for me to see the glaring difference of over 10%. Otherwise, I manage to keep costs at a respectable price for quality products by buying the largest sizes available and load up whenever it’s on sale. 🙂

Blog: $96.62

Yes, this blog is not free. Notably, I had expenses related to the logo, the beautiful Trek drawing on my About page and various fees related to hosting this website.

However, now that I calculate the total amount of money I put in, I realize that I made a profit with this blog, mainly due to bonuses. Also, the recently integrated ads alone should now cover the costs alone.

However, let’s not talk about the total time put into the blog. That’s just embarrassing. 😉

Other: $1,001.21

Finally, here’s the category that includes several small amounts of no real consequence, at the time anyway. However, when added up, it’s still a good amount. A category like this can be treacherous! Beware. 😉

Total Expenses: $29,841.39

So, what’s the bottom line? I spent $29,841.39 in twelve months. I’m way off target, aren’t I? Yes, I am. But that’s not exactly a realistic picture either. My car loan will be ending soon and I certainly won’t be getting eye surgery every year. So if you deduct these expenses, it comes down to a total of $16,587.84 for a year. Now that’s the frugal lifestyle I aspire to.

Now, considering that my net income for the last twelve months was about $54,000, which means I spent about 55% of my disposable income. That left room for 45% savings on average.

Let’s also look at the proportion of each expense on total expenses with a graph:

We didn’t need a graph to know where the problem lies, but still. It’s striking.

Hopefully, there’s optimization on the horizon and all of these conclusions will come to change for the better 🙂

What’s next

Of course, the best way to dramatically lower expenses and therefore achieve financial independence faster is to tackle the biggest expense items. So, once my car is paid off, my biggest expense item will be housing. While many could say I already have it optimized, I know I can do even better. Since working remotely is going to be commonplace in my future, I will be able to optimize this expense item in the not too distant future.

I broached the subject in previous posts about the hypothetical purchase of my mother’s house. Well, things are slowly but surely becoming official. I should go to the notary in October to finalize everything. In fact, I will buy the house with my sister. As we both aim for financial independence, it seemed the best strategy.

Ideally, I would like to have a house paid once I quit the 9 to 5. Since it’s a not too expensive house in the countryside ($80,000), it shouldn’t be too much of a challenge. After that, if I only have to pay other related costs with my sister, my annual housing expenses should be less than what I currently spend on rent.

Of course, since interest rates are very low right now, I’ll still put the amortization of the house over 25 years and a minimal down payment to concentrate the maximum of my current cash flow in the stock market. In addition, I will use the HBP at its maximum ($35,000) to use the majority of it to reinvest in my TFSA. This will bring me closer to maximizing my TFSA contributions much earlier. After all, a dollar in an RRSP is not the same as a dollar in a TFSA. I’ll sure take advantage of that.

When FI will be at my doors, I could simply pay off the mortgage in full before I pull the plug. Whether I follow this plan remains to be seen. I know it’s an eternal dilemma. Invest or pay the mortgage? We’ll see when we get there, depending on the state of the markets and, of course, interest rates.

Anyway, I got off track a bit here, although it’s still essential to understand how my expenses will change in the next few years before and after achieving FI.


So there you have it, I was looking forward to having a full year of expenses to assess. Now that I have, I’m happy to see that I didn’t stray too far from my projections. Now it remains to be seen what the next few years will look like. One thing is for sure, I am very happy with my frugal lifestyle and I love to optimize. So I plan to continue on this path.

Do you have a realistic idea of how much you spend in a year? Do you keep track as closely as I do? Don’t hesitate to let me know.

See you next time!

July 2021 Review

Another month, another review!

How is your summer going? I hope you are enjoying it as much as you want. Personally, since my vacation is only in September, I’d sure love to take a little more time off to enjoy the summer. No big deal, I’ll make it up in Hawaii. 🙂

Nevertheless, I still find time to hike, bike and even meet a few of this blog’s followers! It was nice to discuss personal finance with other people who don’t think I’m some sort of alien. I think the feeling was mutual. Let’s do it again!

My second dose of the vaccine, originally scheduled for September, is now a thing of the past. I’m very happy about it, and I can bow spend some quality time with friends, family and new acquaintances completely guilt-free.

Finally, I had a little scare one evening… A “critical error” made my blog inaccessible! I went to great lengths to try to solve the problem. In the end, I had to restore to an earlier date and lose a few things, but it was better than losing everything! Let’s just say that I had a few cold sweats that night. After all, I did invest a lot of time and energy in this blog. I’m glad it’s back on its feet, so I can once again present you a nice monthly review!

Net Worth as of July 31, 2021

Checking Accounts:
Questrade TFSA:
Questrade LIRA:
Questrade RRSP:
Fondaction RRSP:
Total assets:$160,823
Car loan:
Line of credit:
Credit cards:
Total liabilities:$4,503
Net Worth$156,320

Slow and steady wins the race, as they say. 🙂

It was another great month on the stock markets. However, it sometimes feels like we’re waiting for the other shoe to drop. It sure can’t stay in the green forever! But no matter the colour, I keep dollar-cost averaging every two weeks.

I have found that my net worth has increased by an average of over $5,000 per month since the beginning of the year. Considering my average savings of just over $2,000 and my debt repayments of about $800 per month, that leaves room for a substantial return. At this rate, I’ll have a very nice number at the end of the year.

In addition, you may have noticed that crypto is starting to pick up again. It’s comforting to see my purchases of the last few months bear fruit. Even if, ultimately, only the long term really matters. 🙂


Here are the details of my July savings:

  • July 14: $400 out of $1,835.89 net
  • July 28: $600 out of $1,836.99 net
  • Total savings: $1,000 out of $ in July or a 27% savings rate

Of the $1,000 I saved, I contributed $700 to my TFSA and bought $300 worth of cryptocurrency outside a registered account.

My savings rate is still pretty low this month and it’s likely to stay that way until November. It must be said that my debt repayments still take up 35% of my disposable income. Starting in November, my savings rate should explode. 🙂

It’s amazing how saving becomes an almost addictive habit. I have to talk myself into not feeling too bad about not saving more. Since I’m aiming for an average of 50%, I feel far from the goal! But I have to remind myself that 27% is still a very good savings rate! I can be very demanding of myself. Do you sometimes feel that way?

Expense Report

2021-07-01$257.94Rental Car
2021-07-02$403.85Car Payment
2021-07-05$45.00Car Insurance
2021-07-05$15.69Home Insurance
2021-07-16$403.85Car Payment
2021-07-22$87.94Driver's license
2021-07-29$27.02Home Internet
2021-07-30$403.85Car Payment

In July, I spent $2,677.24, which is $32,126.88 annualized. If we take out my car loan payments, it comes down to $1,842.52, which is $22,110.24 annualized.

It’s a bit better this month compared to June! I still had one other travel expense to make, which was booking a rental car. Fortunately, it’s not too expensive, having paid half of the bill with my Aeroplan points and having divided the rest with my sister. Of course, the points help a lot. However, even without the points, I found that renting a car through Aeroplan (as a member) was much cheaper than through other typical sites such as Expedia, Kayak, and so on. By much cheaper, I mean easily half the price. For those who are shopping for a rental car and are an Aeroplan member, go check it out!

Otherwise, as activities are starting to pick up, I bought myself a ticket for the first NSPW wrestling gala since the pandemic. I’ve missed it so much, so that’s going to be a lot of fun! Yes, another unconventional passion, in addition to Star Trek. Are there any other fans in the room? See you there?

Otherwise, there’s nothing particularly out of the ordinary in my spending. My life’s simple pleasures keep me satisfied on a daily basis, rain or shine. 🙂

Also, July 2021 concludes my first full 12 months of expense tracking! While every personal finance book I’ve read since 2017 encourages tracking expenses, I didn’t start until August 2020. I’m glad I did the exercise, which allows me to draw some interesting conclusions and see trends. This will be the topic of a future post, by the way. I’ll let you guess how much I spent in restaurants in the last 12 months. Starbucks included. 😉

Of course, I won’t stop tracking my expenses there, since my FI goal is closely linked to them. In fact, I expect a lot of changes in the next few years, both from an inflationary point of view, as from a personal choices point of view. So I want to continue to follow everything closely and adjust my goal accordingly.

That goes without saying that tracking each expense also allows me to think them through and make sure they’re really necessary. That’s a great way to avoid mindless spending!

Reading List

My reading list was much more finance-oriented this month! It was particularly interesting.

Here is my reading list for July :

I definitely fell in love with Victory Lap Retirement. The author describes the “Victory Lap” somewhat like Coast FI, or any other form of semi-retirement. For anyone who aspires to this kind of lifestyle, this is a must-read. I had this book on my list for a while, and I’m glad I waited until now to read it. It is very appropriate in this stage of my journey.

Also, Retirement Heaven or Hell is kind of a logical sequel and explains the nine principles needed for a great retirement. It definitely provides some food for thought on what we really want after the dreaded Rat Race. And no, it doesn’t just involve getting a cocktail and a tan on the beach.

Anyway, my everyday friends who stumble upon my Goodreads list must find my reading choices pretty peculiar for a 29-year-old woman.


So there you have it, I hope you have some nice numbers to update too after July. While saving money may not have been everyone’s top priority with the nice weather and doing all kinds of activities, there were some nice returns.

We are now into August, the last month before my vacation! I can’t remember the last time I took three weeks off, but I’m sure it’ll do me a world of good. Plus, I’ll be starting my new position (along with the new salary) once I get back from vacation. That’s a lot of good things to look forward to!

Until then, I will continue to work on my mindset with lots of reading and possibly more discussions with new FIRE friends. And let’s not forget that I’ll be blowing out my 30th candle this month. All the more reason to keep the fire burning. 😉

Have a great month of August, friends!

I’m Not Cheap!

“I’m frugal!”

Rings a bell to anyone? Are you having a bad case of déjà vu?

Honestly, I often say as a joke that I’m cheap, since that is the general opinion of people faced with frugal choices. Oh, and I don’t really care what people think anyway.

I once said this in front of my aunt, who also tends to make wise choices with her money. She then said, “No, you’re not cheap. You’re just like me, you like to pay the right price.”

I thought that was pretty accurate.

Or, in the same vein, there’s the 3rd rule of acquisition for the Ferengi in Star Trek:

Never spend more for an acquisition than you have to.

Yes, I may be a little too inclined to assess everything in dollar terms. For some, that makes me Scrooge McDuck or a Ferengi, for you Trekkies out there. However, I do make judicious choices in order to get closer to my goals faster, and never at the expense of others. In fact, just by looking at my net worth‘s progression in the past year, I like to think it’s working out pretty well. It may be extreme for some, but I prefer this extreme to the alternative.

Mindless Spending

With the exception of my aunt, many people around me are very good at practising mindless spending, which I believe can only be detrimental to their financial health. By mindless spending, I mean those who spend on anything and everything, on the spur of the moment, without comparing or looking for a better price.

For example, I went to the hardware store with my mother the other day to buy something specific for her garden. As soon as we walked in the door, she saw a BBQ on sale for $250 plus tax. She immediately said, “I’ll buy it”!

In my opinion, if I hadn’t been there, she would have come home with a new BBQ. Fortunately, I was able to calm her down. I reminded her that she already has a working BBQ. That even though it’s not very new and shiny, you can still make delicious meals with it. You understand now what I mean by mindless spending? This potential expense was not thought out and planned in any way. She would have walked out of the hardware store with almost $300 less in her pocket when all she was going to buy was a $3 gizmo.

In short, the wise words of Pierre-Yves McSween come to mind. Mom, do you really need it?

Conversely, in my case, every expense is analyzed and calculated. And I always make sure I pay the right price on everything.

Find Deals

I’m not saying to jump on every bargain. Because, of course, the best deal is the one that costs nothing. But for some unavoidable expenses, it is good to bargain shop.

I have to come back to the subject of groceries, yes. What can I say, it’s a big chunk of the budget. So it’s absolutely important to pay the right price.

Why would I buy my pound of ground meat for $6 when I know it’s $3 on sale elsewhere? Some may say that they don’t like to do multiple stores for a lack of time or they don’t want to go the distance. Well, if those reasons applied, I’d simply go without ground meat that week. I would buy something else on sale.

Of course, this also applies to just about anything else. Anything you want to buy deserves to be carefully shopped and compared. Just taking the time to shop around will calm down your impulsivity. So, why buy something at full price in one place, if it is at a better price or at a discount elsewhere?

Making Your Own Coffee

I may sound like a bit of a hypocrite, since my monthly reviews show some recurring visits to Starbucks. However, you should know that out of my 14 coffees per week (yes, two a day), only one comes from Starbucks.

Because yes, it doesn’t make sense to pay $3 for a coffee every time.

Not when I know that my cup of homemade coffee costs me about 6 cents. Starbucks coffee may be delicious, but it’s certainly not 50 times more delicious than my coffee at home. So, yes, I do indulge, but only occasionally.

Want another example of outrageous prices? The other day I had the bright idea to try an iced coffee at Starbucks. So I order the same recipe as usual, but with ice. It was 1$ more expensive. For what? Ice (which takes up space), and therefore, I end up with less coffee!

Let me tell you, I’ll make some at home in the future. Otherwise, the one at McDonald’s is $1 all summer. 😉

Cooking Your Own Meals

With restaurants reopening, maybe you feel like rushing in for a good meal.

Well, I don’t.

The other day I made a delicious tuna tartare for me and my partner. At Metro, the tuna (tartar grade, I might add) was on sale for $8.99/lb. With homemade cheese chips, a small spinach salad and cucumber slices, I estimate that the meal came to a maximum of $6 per person. Since it was all unprocessed food, it was literally tax free!

Now, how much would it have cost me at the restaurant? A plate of tartar is easily $25 on the menu. Probably more. I don’t know, I rarely go to restaurants. Then, of course, there are the taxes and tip, so it’s really $33 minimum out of pocket.

And that’s with a glass of water. That’s without even adding a glass of wine! While a glass of a nice cheap bottle at the SAQ is $2-3, at the restaurant we’re talking more than $10. And once again, you have to add taxes and the tip.

In short, between the two, I know which one I prefer. Especially since my tartar was really delicious! I wouldn’t have had the feeling of satisfaction of having cooked a good meal nor the compliments from my partner if we had gone to a restaurant. 🙂

Go for Second-Hand Goods

Whether it’s items donated by a loved one, purchases made at a thrift store or from a third party via Facebook Marketplace, Kijiji, etc., this is a great way to pay the right price on a variety of things.

By the way, we’ve just passed the moving season in Quebec. You may have noticed the multitude of things that people are trying to get rid of at a loss? Or, at any time of the year, people who get rid of clothes in good condition, simply because they are “out of fashion,” or because they no longer fit? To get rid of them, they must necessarily sell at a fraction of the price they paid.

As an example, let’s say I need a nice jacket for work for the occasional important video conference. Instead of paying $100 for one new in a store, I can find one for $20 on Marketplace. It can be a bit difficult to find something that fits perfectly. However, for a piece of clothing that you’re going to wear occasionally, it’s worth the cost.

If you take advantage of these bargains, you can dress or furnish your home for very little money, while reducing your ecological footprint. By letting others absorb most of the real price tag, you consume less and keep more money in your pocket!

Time Is Money

Since most of us work for an hourly wage, it’s wise to remember that time is literally money. So if you had no choice but to spend, I hope you paid the right price.

Indeed, let’s say you bought a gadget of some sort for $500, not knowing that it was discounted to $400 elsewhere, or even going for $250 on Kijiji. Do you have any idea how much that extra $100 or $250 spent really means?

If you want a little reality check, take that amount and divide it by your net hourly wage. You’ll see how many hours you had to work just to pay that amount, only to throw it out the window. You didn’t just waste your money, you wasted your time. And time is precious!

Or, as my partner likes to calculate, see how many units of your favourite ETF that is. Two hundred and fifty dollars is 9 XEQT that won’t appreciate in your portfolio. 😉

Of course, it’s even worse to do the math if it was mindless spending on something you didn’t really need.

After doing the exercise, maybe you’ll try to avoid paying more than necessary.


So, I may look cheap to some, but I prefer to make wise choices that will positively impact my long-term financial health. If I spend money to please others, who will really benefit from it? Certainly not my wallet!

As Nicolas Bérubé said in his book Les millionnaires ne sont pas ceux que vous croyez (loose translation: Millionaires are not who you think they are):

Every purchase hurts our ability to grow rich, to build our financial independence and our ability to use our time as we see fit – now and in 10, 30 or 50 years.

Cheap, frugal, thrifty, call it what you will. As my aunt says so well: I like to pay the right price. Sometimes the price is $0, if I just don’t feel I need it.

And yourself, do you make certain financial choices that have your loved ones a bit confused? By watching their mindless spending, do you feel like teaching them some frugal basics sometimes?

Don’t hesitate to tell me about it.

See you next time!

June 2021 Review


I can hardly believe that June is already over, let alone that we’re halfway through 2021!

I believe that anyone who aspires to reach FI has a special focus on the notion of time. Well, let me tell you, it sometimes feels to me like time is slipping away!

I don’t know about you, but this perception of time flying by is increased tenfold in the summer. The good weather is already very short-lived in Quebec, we don’t need for time to go to warp speed! Honestly, I can’t wait to enjoy it a bit more, without the dreaded 9 to 5! Getting 35 hours a week back is so appealing to me, especially after a short vacation week this month. I want more!

Anyway, during this short month, I took the opportunity to soak up some vitamin D, bike, run, hike, read and spend time with family and friends (now that it’s finally allowed!) and… I neglected my blog.

Don’t worry, I’m still very much invested in my goals. I just need to find the right balance for writing in a slightly busier schedule. 🙂

Net Worth as of June 30, 2021

Checking Accounts:
Questrade TFSA:
Questrade LIRA:
Questrade RRSP:
Fondaction RRSP:
Total assets:$156,378
Car loan:
Line of credit:
Credit cards:
Total liabilities:$5,941
Net Worth$150,437

That’s a substantial increase! Yes, a $9,974 more in net worth! You don’t see that every month. It’s also a $32,632 increase (or 28 %) for this first half of the year. I  just love how the snowball effect is getting bigger and bigger!

Let me also turn your attention to my total assets. I remembered that at this time last year, I was particularly proud to cross the $100,000 mark. Well, one year later, I’ve already crossed the $150,000 mark by increasing my assets by over $56,000! Out of my own pocket, I contributed about $28,650. How is that for spectacular returns? It won’t always be this way, of course, but it’s pretty nice to see.

The same can’t be said for crypto at the moment. Are we already in for a multi-year bear market again? Only time will tell. In the meantime, I continue my dollar-cost averaging, especially for projects with excellent long-term potential like VeChain.

Otherwise, I’m still doing my debt repayment (the never-ending car loan and my vision correction surgery) as planned. Can’t wait to be debt-free in November!


Here are the details of my June savings:

  • June 2: $650 out of $1,835.89 net
  • June 16: $475 out of $1,836.99 net
  • June 30: $300 out of $1,836.99 net
  • Total savings: $1,425 out of $5,510.96 in June or a 26% savings rate

Of the $1,425 I saved, I contributed $1,100 to my TFSA and bought $325 worth of cryptocurrency outside a registered account.

Granted, it certainly wasn’t my best month on the savings front, but that was to be expected. Fortunately, I’m still on track for my 2021 savings goal of $25,000. I’ve already reached 58% of my goal, so I’m still ahead of the game despite a slightly slower June.

Plus, I have good news for my future savings. I actually got (another) raise! Indeed, my former boss offered me a position I’d never thought I’d get in years within her team. Even though it’s at the same level as my current position, she offered me a 3% salary increase. I asked for 6%, which I got almost immediately. Clearly, I should have asked for more. 😉

Since I wasn’t expecting to change jobs anytime soon, let alone get a raise, it’s all very much welcome. This will bring my annual base salary to $83,596 once I start after my September vacation. In short, the end of the year looks promising for my savings rate!

Another side effect of a salary increase is an increase in my contributions to my DB pension. Since I plan on taking my pension’s commuted value once I resign, it’s one more step towards achieving my goals. Hooray!

Expense Report

2021-06-03$120.00American Express Annual Fee
2021-06-04$403.85Car Payment
2021-06-05$37.74Car Insurance
2021-06-18$403.85Car Payment
2021-06-30$27.02Home Internet

In June, I spent $2,913.42, which is $34,961.04 annualized. If we take out my car loan payments, it comes down to $2,105.72, which is $25,268.64 annualized.

Here’s why my savings rate is down this month: high expenses! Of course, with the summer and the getting back to a more normal life, it was to be expected. Also, I helped my mother with some renovations at home. It’s all nice and good to save, but you also have to help sometimes. 🙂

Additionally, I paid part of my Airbnb for my upcoming trip to Hawaii with my sister, and I went on a little frugal trip to Gaspésie with my boyfriend during my vacation week! Having the same money mindset makes things so much easier! 🙂

For your information, I was able to cut my travel expenses considerably thanks to my credit card points. In fact, I was able to cut about $380 from our Airbnb booking with my Cobalt American Express card and about $100 from my Gaspésie trip with my CIBC Aventura Visa Infinite card.

Finally, I am happy to note that I only spent $16,477 in the first half of the year. This includes $5,250 in car payments and $2,990 for my vision correction surgery. So, if you leave out those expenses that will definitely not be recurrent once I reach FI, that comes down to $8,237 in expenses in six months.

Let’s see what the rest of the year holds for me!

Reading List

Summer or winter, any month is a good month for a little reading. Although I didn’t read much about finances, some of my reading was still very relevant for developing my mindset. So, here’s my June reading list:

Digital Minimalism was an eye-opener on my (and our collective) addiction to technological devices. For those who’ve seen the Netflix documentary called The Social Dilemma, it’s in the same vein. I have since been trying to reduce my exposure to my smartphone. Needless to say, it’s not simple.

For crypto fans, the book Bitcoin Billionaires was particularly interesting. There aren’t tons of books on the subject yet, by the way, so it was nice to read something on the subject. We get to learn more about the early days of bitcoin and the Winklevoss twins’ early involvement. A must-read!


So there you go. Slow and steady wins the race, as they say. With the first half of the year already behind us, I can hardly believe how far I’ve come. Sometimes it can feel like not much is happening. You just need to take a step back and look at the big picture. Zoom out!

With any luck, I should have a slightly less busy July. So, I really want to meet some of you who are interested. Talking finances and FIRE would be especially invigorating! I’ll contact directly those who already came forward. 🙂

What about you? Have you made any observations about the beginning of your year? And how is the second half looking? Please let me know.

I look forward to hearing from you. 🙂

How to Save on Groceries

Hello everyone!

After a reader asked me for my tips on how to save on groceries, I decided to make it the subject of an entire article. I think it’d be relevant for everyone to see the possibilities to optimize this budget item which, as we know, can monopolize a good chunk of our budget!

For my part, I manage to maintain a level of expenses that I consider acceptable. I have to say it wasn’t always optimal, and I’ve had to improve my method over time! It’s the same for everything. With practice and a little perseverance, we get better, and we find the right balance.

So, I’m going to start by giving you an overview of my grocery spending. You’ll be able to see the average I spend at the grocery store and how much of my disposable income it represents.

Then, I’ll share with you the tips I always use, as well as what I try to avoid doing. I hope you’ll find something that’ll help you save a couple of bucks!

My Food Expenses

Firstl, I wish I could give you a more comprehensive picture, but I only started tracking my expenses in August 2020. So I can’t go back any further to do an average. Still, it’ll give you a good idea!

Also, as of September, you have access to it in detail through my monthly reviews , and you’ll continue to have access to it for future months.

So, let’s see how much I spent at the grocery store every month:

That means my average monthly grocery bill is $211.21, or $2,534.52 annualized. This represents about 5% of my disposable income. Considering that food expenses are generally part of the three big budget items (along with housing and transportation), that’s a pretty good number!

My tips

So, it would seem I have a good method, since my food expenses only take up 5% of my disposable income. Of course, I make a fairly respectable salary, but that’s no excuse for eating caviar!

I have been following a ketogenic diet for several years now, but the following tips absolutely apply to anyone.

Make a Grocery List

First of all, the best way to really buy what you need in a structured way is to make a list. As soon as you run out of something, add it to the list for the next grocery run. That way, you never forget anything and you don’t have to go back.

Although there are many apps for this, I personally use Google Keep to make my list. The advantage, compared to a paper list, is that I am much less likely to forget it, since my smartphone follows me just about everywhere. Plus, you can share the list with someone else for review and editing. That way, my sister and I can both access it at any time and add to it as we go along.

Of course, making a list is nice, but you have to stick to it. That means not adding too many unplanned items at the store just because you’re hungry.

Buy in Bulk

It’s the same thing for just about anything else. Buying larger sizes means you benefit from an economy of scale! If you’re not sure whether the larger size is actually cheaper, most grocery stores will show the price per 100 g on their price tags. This makes it much easier to compare what gives the most bang for your buck!

Of course, the bulk champion is Costco. I personally do more than half of my grocery shopping at Costco, so I benefit from a pretty impressive economy of scale! Let me tell you, the subscription pays for itself pretty quickly.

Don’t Go to the Store Too Often

Let’s face it. People who go to the grocery store every day almost always end up buying more than they needed, under the influence of emotion or appetite. Moreover, if they go back so often, it is most likely because they buy sizes too small in the first place, and therefore, pay more per 100 g.

Personally, I go grocery shopping about every two weeks. This is actually another advantage of buying in bulk. It takes longer to get through everything! And when I run out of something, what do I do in the meantime? I do without. I eat something else and cook what I have left.

Buy on Sale

No, not everything is cheaper at Costco. It’s worth going elsewhere too! And before you go to other stores, take your good old flyers out. Even better, use a flyer application (and unsubscribe from the paper version)! There are several available, such as Flipp, Reebee, etc.

Then, you can buy only the best-priced food. Personally, I know that for nuts, cheeses and many vegetables, Costco is the best. However, when it comes to meat and dairy products, it’s worth looking elsewhere!

Buy House Brands

Don’t be married to name brands. Many savings can be made by simply choosing the house brand! The big name brands, even on sale, are often more expensive than the house brands. Again, compare the price per 100 g. The difference can be impressive.

Also, it is not uncommon for house brand products to be actually manufactured by a third party, such as another well-known brand. They just put a different label on it! Let’s take a well-known example like Costco’s house brand Kirkland. Who knew that Kirkland coffee really came from Starbucks? The more you know!

Meal Prep

If you thought living on your own keeps you from buying in bulk, let me contradict you.

Unless you lack storage space, there is nothing to stop you from buying large quantities of the same food, cooking it in large amounts and then freezing it in single servings for later.

Don’t want to eat the same thing all the time? Buy more versatile proteins (ground meat, chicken) that allow you to make different recipes.

Personally, I always have small, single-serving meals in the freezer that I prepped in advance. In the past, when I worked in an office, I always had a lunch in the freezer, ready to go. That way, I was never tempted to eat at the cafeteria. Now that I work from home, it’s handy when I don’t feel like cooking or when the fridge is getting empty.

Stock Up On Versatile Foods

Some foods can be prepared in a multitude of ways. These will be your best friends.

For me, it’s eggs. Not only are they versatile, they’re good for a long time and cost next to nothing. 30 eggs for $5? I love that! However, when I run out of eggs, I know I need to stock up.

For some, it could be beans of any kind, pasta, frozen or canned vegetables, whatever.

The important thing is to have back-ups like this when supplies are running low, and you’d rather wait a bit more before you go grocery shopping.

Practice Intermittent Fasting

Fasting is not so popular, because it is profitable for absolutely no company. Although I know it’s not for everyone, you should know it has many health benefits.

However, the best side effect is for your wallet.

I’ve read some frugal bloggers who calculate their food expenses at about $2/meal. In my opinion, that must be a lot of bread, pasta and canned beans.

Personally, I average at about $4/meal, but I eat very differently and much less often. The final tally ends up being very similar. Remember, keto does not include bread, pasta or beans.

And everything tastes just so much better after a long fast! 🙂

What to Avoid

Now, maybe you already know and apply most of these tips, but you still find your grocery bill too high. So maybe the problem lies elsewhere. Here is a short list of things I avoid to keep the grocery bill at a decent price.


I don’t know about you, but when I was young, I remember being told not to snack, or it’d ruin my meal.

Nowadays, it’s completely the opposite. Everyone eats snacks, all the time. Of course, if we make people believe that it is necessary to snack all the time, Big Food gets even richer.

Personally, I don’t snack. I only eat at meal time and I feel great. I eat (very) hearty meals that keep me full until the next one. That’s saying a lot, because the next one is sometimes 24 hours away.

Letting Food Spoil

No matter how much you buy your food at a good price, it’s all for naught if you let it go to waste (because you’ve eaten out too often, instead of cooking).

To avoid food waste, I also use Google Keep to keep an inventory of my fridge and freezer. Some might say it’s a little intense, but I like to be organized in just about everything.

When I’m wondering what to cook, I don’t even have to go through my fridge because I have a list. If something is hiding in the back of the fridge, it won’t be forgotten because it’s also on my list.

When I’m about to cook, I can pinpoint what needs to be eaten first (fresh meats and vegetables, for example), and I can add it to my recipe.

Of course, you still have to know how to improvise meals with the leftovers. Fortunately, we have the best possible tool in the world when we lack inspiration: internet. And the more comfortable you are with cooking, the more you can improvise intuitively without a recipe.

Finally, if you really don’t think you’ll be able to eat something before it goes bad, freeze it (if possible)!

Processed Food

Making everything from scratch with ingredients purchased in bulk will save you way more money than buying ready-made or processed foods. Especially considering that processed foods are taxable, compared to non-processed foods. By avoiding them, you automatically save 15% (in Quebec, anyway)!

Also, to avoid processed foods, here’s an easy trick. Just don’t do the middle aisles. It’s the realm of processed food. Stick to the foods on the periphery. 🙂

Also stay away from ready-made food at the grocery store. Yes, it can save time, but it’s expensive per meal and often not very nutritious. You’re no better off if you’re still hungry an hour later!

The Benefits of Lowering Your Grocery Bill

Of course, if you manage to lower your grocery bill a little, this could impact directly your savings rate. This will inevitably bring you closer to financial independence. Hooray!

Also, remember the 4% rule which recommends having a nest egg equivalent to 25 times your annual expenses. After that, annual withdrawals of 4% will cover your expenses.

If you do the exercise by expense items, it gives you an idea of how much money you need to have to pay for a particular expense once your FI.

So, if you spend $12,000/year on groceries ($1,000/month) and multiply that by 25, that means you need $300,000 to pay for your groceries at a 4% withdrawal rate.

However, if you manage to cut it in half, or $6,000/year or $500/month, only $150,000 will be needed. That’s a lot less money!

Using my previously mentioned numbers of $2,534.52/year, that means I only need $63,363 to pay for my groceries. Considering my nest egg is currently around $150,000, it’s like this part is already taken care of for me.

So, reducing the grocery bill allows you to increase your savings and decrease the amount of money you need to reach financial independence. In my opinion, it’s a win-win. 🙂


I have to say, I enjoyed taking stock of my grocery spending. I’m happy to see that I’m staying pretty much within my desired numbers, and without feeling any sense of deprivation. Looking at the numbers, it doesn’t look like I eat meat, nuts, cheese, avocado and tons of greens on a regular basis. But I do! 🙂

Also, I’ve been tracking my spending for almost a year now, and I’m starting to see some trends. I should have started doing this a long time ago!

One thing is for sure, food will always be a big part of anyone’s budget, and all tips are welcome to help lower the costs! I hope mine will be useful to you! If you have any other good tips, don’t hesitate to leave it in the comment section. 🙂

See you next time!

May 2021 Review


I hope you’ve all had a great month of May, despite the uncertainties of the stock markets. Personally, I’ve simply stayed the course. 😉

So, what happened in May? Well, despite the lack of motivation, things are going well at work. I had an excellent early midyear evaluation with my now-former boss. Yes, I’m talking about the manager who hired me last February on my current temporary position. Too bad, because I had never had such a decent and human manager before.

As a matter of fact, she asked me if I was concerned about a new manager handling my possible tenure. You know what? I hadn’t even thought about it.

Is that the power of F.U. Money (chaste ears, beware)? No matter what happens next, I know I am in a good enough position to put up only with what’s best for me.

Otherwise, I went on some delightful bike rides. Here’s a good example of life’s simple pleasures. 🙂

Plus, I got my first dose of the vaccine! My second dose is scheduled for September, but the latest news suggests that it’ll be much earlier than that. What great news!

You may have noticed that my articles are getting a little more scarce. What can I say. I don’t feel like staying in front of my computer when the weather is nice. Especially since I’m enjoying the nice weather with good company these days. Yes, you can really meet someone on Fire Dating. 😉

How should I refer to him on the blog, now? Mr. SLAP? I’m open to suggestions. 😂

Okay, let’s get down to business now.

Net Worth as of May 31, 2021

Checking Accounts:
Questrade TFSA:
Questrade LIRA:
Questrade RRSP:
Fondaction RRSP:
Total assets:$148,316
Car loan:
Line of credit:
Credit cards:
Total liabilities:$7,853
Net Worth$140,463

Yes, it has not been an easy month on the stock market, as well as for crypto. In fact, it’s especially not easy for new investors who are experiencing their first dips. For the regulars, we know what that means. It’s sales time!

Let’s remember Warren Buffett’s words, after all:

Be fearful when others are greedy, and greedy when others are fearful.

By the way, did you know that there are stock market and crypto indexes that monitor market sentiments? Fascinating what you can find on the internet. 😉

Anyway, despite all this, I continued my regular investments. And despite that, my assets barely moved! Thus, the +$2,326 change in my net worth is essentially due to my debt repayment.

Of note, I received $800 from my group insurance to pay off part of my vision correction surgery. I put in $500 myself, in addition to my two car payments. So while my assets have stagnated, my liabilities have decreased quite a bit. Yay!

Also, you may be wondering why I’m carrying a balance on my credit card? After all, it’s basic personal finance not to carry bad debt! Actually, I meant to transfer it all to my personal line of credit (5.45% interest with Tangerine). However, I found out that my BMO AIR MILES credit card has a 9-month promotional rate on balance transfers. The promotional rate is 1.99%, which is much lower than my line of credit. So that’s where I transferred it instead.

This way, I feel less of a need to pay it back quickly,  and I can keep investing. 😉


Here are the details of my May savings:

  • May 5: $825 out of $1,835.89 net
  • May 19: $975 out of $1,837.00 net
  • Total savings: $1,800 out of $3,672.89 in May or a 49% savings rate

Of the $1,800 I saved, I contributed $1,350 to my TFSA and bought $450 worth of cryptocurrency outside a registered account.

I’m quite happy I managed to save so much! As mentioned earlier, I still have my surgery to pay off, so I was anticipating that this would pull my savings rate down. However, I’ve been able to offset that a bit by selling a few things here and there, such as books and Blu-rays that I’ve been meaning to get rid of for a while.

In fact, I finally got rid of my old hybrid bike that I haven’t used since I bought my road bike in 2018. Considering I paid $120 for it, used, selling it for $200 in 2021 felt absolutely great! 😉

Expense Report

2021-05-01$11.50Sport Olympe
2021-05-05$37.74Car Insurance
2021-05-06$49.33Sport Clothes
2021-05-07$403.85Car Payment
2021-05-10$88.41Oil change
2021-05-21$403.85Car Payment
2021-05-29$28.75Home Internet

In May, I spent $2,142.71, which is $25,712.52 annualized.If we take out my car loan payments, it comes down to $1,335.01, which is $16,020.12 annualized.

Most of my expenses are the same as usual. I also bought some sports clothes at Decathlon. The prices there are really extraordinary. Needless to say, I will never go back to Sport Expert.

So it was pretty quiet on the spending front until I finally decided to use my United flight credit. So, yeah, my Hawaii trip is finally booked, come what may. My first dose of the vaccine finally convinced me to do it. 😉

Of course, prices having increased since then, I still had to pay $221. I will have other expenses to do in the next few months in preparation for this trip. So there is a good chance that the savings rate will continue to take a hit. 😉

Finally, still on the topic of expenses, a reader recently wrote to me for tips on how to buy groceries at a lower cost. Since this is usually one of the biggest expense items, it’s worth looking into. Since I’ve been tracking my expenses, I see that the average I pay for groceries per month is $206.

So, I’m not forgetting you, dear reader. Although I’ve touched on the subject here, it could definitely be the subject of a future article. Stay tuned!

Reading List

Curiously, I have done a little less reading this month. Maybe for lack of time or lack of interest? The nice weather and Mr. Slap make reading somewhat less frequent and appealing. 😉

Despite that, my May reading list looked like this:

Predictably Irrational was particularly interesting! It was actually a suggestion from one of my Facebook page subscriber. Thanks for the recommendation, it was right up my alley!

I think Think Like a Monk is worth a special mention. I have often joked that I live like a monk. I can confirm that many of the concepts detailed in the book resonated with me.

Finally, I reread I Will Teach You to Be Rich. I realize that many of my good financial habits today took shape from reading this book in 2017. Now, it’s a little less relevant to me, as most of the content is now perfectly implemented. However, it was a nice change to read about the wealth and abundance mindset, compared to frugality and the FIRE movement in general.

Of course, I’m perfectly happy with my frugal lifestyle, but it’s always interesting and rewarding to see things from a different perspective. One thing is certain. Ramit Sethi certainly wouldn’t tell me to cut back on my Starbucks coffees. 😉


So here we are, another month gone and it’s already June. How time flies!

This month, I have a week of vacation planned for the first time in almost a year. I didn’t see the point in taking a lot vacation in 2020, oddly enough. After that, my real vacation time (three weeks, two of them in Hawaii) will be in September. The week in June will only serve as an appetizer. 😉

Spending will most likely be more frequent in the months to come. However, no worries, I’m already ahead on my savings goal for 2021. 😉

If any of you are interested in a little meet up in a park or something in the Quebec City area, don’t hesitate to let me know. It’d be nice to talk in person with other FIRE and personal finance enthusiasts!

Hope to see you there. 🙂

My Investment Portfolio

I hesitated until now to make a post like this, for fear that it’d be uninteresting. Indeed, I’m a long-term investor, aiming for growth by investing in boring index funds. I want to have as little to do as possible. I buy and hold. Nothing exciting, right?

I don’t do any kind of stock analysis and I couldn’t care less about P/E ratios and such.

Honestly, all-in-one ETFs? Best invention in the world!

However, I sincerely believe that this should be the main investment method for the vast majority of people. The simplicity of it makes it so accessible. Considering that, I think it’s appropriate to explain it in detail for those who find investing a bit intimidating and would like to have an example of a very simple (boring, even) portfolio.

You should also know that I hate keeping cash. In fact, I don’t even have an emergency fund. It is therefore worth noting that I always keep only the bare minimum in cash, and this, in all my investment accounts.

Finally, I do all my personal investing through Questrade, one of the cheapest online brokers in Canada. If you are interested in opening an account, enter my QPass Key 665709686438830, and we’ll both get $25. 🙂


I am not a financial advisor, tax specialist or retirement planner.  Nor am I legally certified to give financial advice. This article is not financial advice.

I only want to show you my investment portfolio, as an example and for the sake of transparency. 🙂


First, you may recall that I took the commuted value from my previous employer’s DB pension in 2018. The funds were deposited up to the maximum transfer value ($29,826) into a locked-in retirement account (LIRA) in October 2018.

So as of today, I only hold XEQT, which is a 100% stock ETF, in that account. The Management Expense Ratio (MER) is only 0.20%, which is fine with me for such a passive approach. I used to have different ETFs that I had to rebalance myself. Now I prefer to have to do (or be tempted to do) as little trading as possible. With that in mind, an ETF like this is a perfect fit for me.

So, I currently hold 1,848 units bought at an average price of $21.66.

Let me remind you that you cannot contribute any money to a LIRA, other than by transferring a previous pension. Thus, my LIRA’s growth has only been due to compound returns and the quarterly dividend payments, which I reinvest immediately.

As of today, considering my 1,848 units and my few dollars in cash, I have a balance of $46,089.66.


As for my Questrade RRSP, I have exactly the same approach as in my LIRA. I hold 1,443 units of XEQT, purchased at an average price of $21.44.

As of last Friday’s market close, considering my 1,443 units and my few dollars in cash, I had a balance of $36,007.03.

I also have a FTQ RRSP, a Québec worker’s fund, to which I contributed when working for my previous employer. I have 117.1339 units valued (as of December 31, 2020, the value being updated every six months) at $49.11. Thus, I have a balance of $5,752.45.

Finally, I have one last RRSP with Fondaction, another similar worker’s fund. I have 954.2905 units valued (also as of December 31, 2020) at $14.07. So, I have a balance of $13,426.86.

Adding all of that give me a total of $55,681 in RRSPs.


Since the TFSA is a very different investment vehicle than the RRSP and LIRA, I decided to take a slightly different approach. Since this account will provide me with tax-free income in retirement and I plan to delay withdrawing from it until as late as possible, I can afford more risk and volatility in exchange for a better return.

In addition, I have plenty of Canadian exposure in my RRSPs (notably with FTQ and Fondaction who are focused only in Québec). Thus, I decided to opt for an almost exclusively international ETF with ZGQ. This ETF has a more active approach, which explains the higher MER of 0.50%.

Thus, I hold 863 units, purchased at an average price of $44.99. Considering last Friday’s value, that’s a total balance of $39,689.37.

Also, I decided to go for some more volatility and speculation with the newest cryptocurrency ETFs.

That means I hold 55 units of ETHH.B bought on average at $10.15. Considering last Friday’s value, that’s a total balance of $976.80.

Finally, I hold 160 units of BTCC.B bought on average at $10.10. Considering last Friday’s value, that’s a total balance of $1,454.40.

So, considering my 3 different ETFs, and the couple of dollars in cash, my TFSA’s total balance is of $42,126.12.


As you may know, I’m a nerd, and I like to play around with Excel (Google Spreadsheet, actually). It allows me, among other things, to make different charts to help give me pretty visuals of my portfolios and my progress. Let me show you some of them.

Country Breakdown

The big difference between my two main ETFs (XEQT and ZGQ) is the percentage of Canadian stocks. While XEQT holds about 24% of Canadian stocks, ZGQ holds less than 1%! Also, let’s not forget that my FTQ and Fondaction RRSPs are 100% invested in Canada (Québec, specifically).

So, considering all this, I wondered what my country allocation looked like for my entire portfolio.

Thanks to this tool provided by Vanguard, I was able to compare in detail the two ETF’s country allocations and input the data in my glorious spreadsheet.

Here is the result:

I hold 26.9% in Canada! So ZGQ has indeed allowed me to reduce my home country bias a bit. Otherwise, I would be somewhere around 34%, which sounds way too heavy to me. The 46.2% in the U.S. is actually not very far from XEQT’s 47%. Finally, 26.9% comes from the rest of the world, with Japan, the UK, and Switzerland among the largest. I honestly didn’t know that, and I find that very interesting.

Of course, by continuing to invest in ZGQ only in my TFSA, I’ll keep decreasing my exposure to the Canadian market and increasing my exposure to the global market. That’s the goal!

In the end, there’s a proof you can be extremely diversified worldwide with very few ETFs.

Portfolio Growth

I pulled up another interesting chart that shows my different account’s growth since I started investing. Here it is:

Despite the fact that I haven’t invested anything in my RRSP since about April 2020 or in my LIRA since the transfer in October 2018, you can clearly see the growth due to only return and dividends.

Also, I especially like to see the growth in my TFSA since April 2020, when I started focusing most of my savings there. It’ll continue to gain momentum over the next few years as I get closer to maxing it out. In fact, I have just under $40,000 left to contribute to it as of today.

Taxable vs Non-Taxable Accounts

Finally, this brings me to the proportion of each account within my portfolio. As of today, it looks like this:

So, that means 71% of my portfolio is taxable (RRSPs and LIRAs), while only 29% is non-taxable (TFSAs). Of course, since I am focusing almost all my savings in my TFSA now, the non-taxable portion (and therefore future non-taxable income) will continue to increase.

Remember, there is no downside to having a big fat TFSA. The same cannot be said for an RRSP. 🙂

Asset Allocation

Yes, this makes for a pretty aggressive portfolio. What can I say? I do have a very long investment horizon and an excellent risk tolerance. 😉

So I hold close to 100% stocks in my traditional investment portfolio. The few percentages that are not invested in stocks are invested in cryptocurrency ETFs, which are definitely considered even riskier than stocks.

While I will most likely revisit my asset allocation as I get closer to retirement, I have no interest in sacrificing my returns with bonds, in the meantime.

In fact, I’m still one of the lucky ones to have a DB pension plan. This type of pension plan is so generous that it’s just like having a certain amount of bonds.

In fact, I checked and my pension’s 2020 annual report indicated that 45% of the money is invested in bonds. That means I have some exposure myself. I may not have direct access to that money right now, but I plan to take the commuted value when I leave the rat race.

As Simple as That!

There, I hope that was interesting for some of you, dear readers. This is a particularly simple approach to investing. However, it’s been proven to work. After all, the investors who get the best returns are usually… dead. There are clear benefits to being inactive. 🙂

While everything about my stock portfolio is pretty boring, I think I’m making up for it with my cryptocurrency portfolio. My next article will be in the same vein. This time, I’ll offer more details about my famous crypto portfolio. This might be a bit more interesting. 😉

And no, I don’t hold Dogecoin.

Hope to see you soon!

April 2021 Review


Can you believe that we’ve already made it a third of the way through the year? How time flies!

I hope you had as nice a month as I had. That nice weather, here and there, was delightful. Of course, Mother Nature had her ups and downs, but the worst is behind us now. Can’t expect snow in May, right?

I’m glad to notice, and report that things are getting better and better at work! I did most of the training, and now I’m actually working on real files. It feels good to be useful. The days are a bit intense, but that just helps add fuel to my FIRE goal. 😉

Of course, I’m looking forward to being able to do a little more activities, as the weather gets even nicer and the days get longer. I have my fingers crossed for a little less Covid restrictions. At least, I’ll be getting my road bike out soon. What a joy that’ll be to be riding again outside! 🙂

Also, I’ll soon be able to do one of my favourite activities in the sun. You probably guessed it, I’m talking about reading, of course. 🙂 As you know, I love life’s simple pleasures. 😉

Finally, I’ll also be able to enjoy all these simple pleasures without glasses! As planned, I had my vision correction surgery on April 30th. The recovery is going wonderfully well. My wallet, a little less, but it’s okay. I see it as a long-term investment. 😉

Anyway, enough with the chit-chat. Let’s get down to business!

Net Worth as of April 30, 2021

Checking Accounts:
Questrade TFSA:
Questrade LIRA:
Questrade RRSP:
Fondaction RRSP:
Total assets:$148,042
Car loan:
Line of credit:
Credit cards:
Total liabilities:$9,905
Net Worth$138,137

Thanks to the stock markets recovering a bit this month, after two rather slow months, my net worth has increased nicely. So, the large sums injected in March have already been able to get to work. I’m very satisfied with this result!

Despite the cost of my surgery ($3,790), I am still in the black this month. So the returns were really quite positive. 🙂

On the cryptocurrency side, it’s still very volatile, of course. How many times has Bitcoin been declared “dead” this month? It’s definitely not for the faint of heart! Personally, I’m handling it perfectly well. That just proved to me that I’m in it for the long run. I haven’t had a sudden urge to “panic sell” yet. 😉

Despite the ups and downs, or shall I say, the roller coaster ride of cryptocurrency, I remain largely in profit on my investment.

In fact, I don’t just hold Bitcoin. Although I bought Bitcoin as low as $39,000 initially, I am not in that much profit. It’s actually altcoins that are giving me the best bang for my buck right now. For example, I quadrupled my initial investment in VeChain (VET). Ethereum’s (ETH) recent new all-time highs have also had a noticeable impact on my portfolio, after a couple of slow months. For cryptocurrency, of course. 😉


Here are the details of my April savings:

  • April 7: $875 out of $1,787.59 net
  • April 21: $1,100 out of $1,838.07 net
  • Total savings: $1,975 out of $3,625.66 in April or a 54% savings rate

Of the $1,975 I saved, I contributed $1,500 to my TFSA and bought $475 worth of cryptocurrency outside a registered account.

I have to admit that I am really proud of my savings rate this month. 🙂 I didn’t have any surprise income like I did in March, but I still managed to save a little more than I did in January and February. The only slight difference in income was due to my annual raise starting on the April 22nd pay.

For your information, my annual base salary (without bonus) is now $79,281. For more details on the progression of my annual salary since I entered the job market, take a look here. 🙂

There’s a proof that you don’t need to earn millions to be able to save!

Also, my 2021 savings are already approaching half of my goal, after only a third of the year has passed! This gives me a bit of leeway to be able to pay off my surgery on my credit card, which I will eventually transfer to my personal line of credit.

Expense Report

2021-04-05$37.74Car Insurance
2021-04-09$403.85Car Payment
2021-04-23$403.85Car Payment
2021-04-29$27.02Home Internet
2021-04-30$3,790.00Lasik MD

In April, I spent $5,628.94, which is $67,547.28 annualized. Of course, I won’t be getting eye surgery every month. So, when taking out all surgery-related costs, it comes down to $1,805.33, which is $21,663.96 annualized. If we take out my car loan payments, it comes down to $997.63, which is $11,971.56 annualized.

So, if not for the surgery, I had very little spending in April, which explains the previously mentioned savings rate. 🙂

Once again, I’m still reaping the benefits of the expenses I had done in advance in February to unlock credit card bonuses. Otherwise, this month’s expenses were all pretty routine, except for my damn speeding ticket. 😉

Reading List

April was another beautiful month spent reading. I spent many mornings reading, with my cat on my lap and a delicious coffee in my hand. 🙂

So, my April reading list goes like this:

For all Grey’s Anatomy, Scandal and How to Get Away With Murder fans, I strongly recommend Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes. What a delightful read!

Otherwise, I’m glad I waited until later in my FIRE journey to read Early Retirement Extreme. There’s not much talk about investing per se in this book. The focus is much more on how to minimize expenses, mostly by doing everything yourself (DIY) and developing your own abilities. It’s a great resource for people who are frugal or are aiming for frugality. 😉

Also, someone recommended I read the Early Retirement Extreme 21 Day Makeover on the author’s blog, which I am told has a more practical approach. I will try to read it very soon! 🙂

As for The Latte Factor, that is a book I’ll keep in my back pocket for anyone who is starting to take an interest in taking control of their finances. I see it in the same light as Do You Really Need It? or Wealthing Like Rabbits.  Those have always been my go-to references for beginners, but The Latte Factor just joined them. It is a very short, accessible book in narrative form. I think it has a lot of potential to give a nice reality check to beginners. 😉


Anyone who knows me in real life will have noticed that I sing basically all the time. I constantly have a song in my head that is playing on a loop. Sheppard’s The Best Is Yet To Come is often stuck there these days.

It must be because I couldn’t agree more. The best is yet to come, folks. May will be a great month! 🙂

I’m thinking of doing an article soon to give some more details on my portfolios, both conventional investments and crypto. Of course, on the conventional side, you already have a good idea from reading this blog so far. However, I’ll try to go into even more detail and my reasoning behind my investments.

On the cryptocurrency side, as mentioned above, I hold more than just Bitcoin. As of today, I actually hold nine different cryptocurrencies. So I could give you a bit of details about each one and how I go about buying them.

Of course, none of these articles would be financial advice. 😉 It’s always for the sake of transparency. And, let’s face it, we like numbers and details.

Don’t hesitate to let me know if you’re interested, or what you’d like to know exactly!

Hope to see you soon! 🙂