Category: Monthly Review

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!

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!

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. 🙂

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. 🙂

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! 🙂

March 2021 Review


I don’t know about you, but I’ve had a pretty busy month.

Among other things, the new job is keeping me very busy. Compared to my previous job, it’s the complete opposite. I need to justify that raise increase, huh? After every workday, my brain is just mush, and I still feel like I need to learn a million things. Thankfully, I see a progression. Until then, fake it ’til you make it, they say.

I also participated in the Quebec podcast 20 ans, pas l’temps?, as my Facebook page subscribers may have noticed. I actually participated in three different parts. Although I was apprehensive, as any introvert would have been, I absolutely loved the experience! 🙂

On top of all that, spring has arrived and with it, sunshine and warmth! I’m not mad about it. I feel like I’m slowly coming out of hibernation.

In short, I’ve had a little less time and energy to write, but I’m not giving up on this blog. The frequency of publication may slow down a bit, but don’t worry. My motivation towards my FIRE goal is still very much alive! 🙂

Now, let’s see if the numbers are also motivating.

Net Worth as of March 31, 2021

Checking Accounts:
Questrade TFSA:
Questrade LIRA:
Questrade RRSP:
Fondaction RRSP:
Total assets:$142,151
Car loan:
Line of credit:
Credit cards:
Total liabilities:$6,578
Net Worth$135,518

We can see a very nice progression this month! This increase is mostly due to an exceptional savings rate, which will be detailed below. Also, the car loan continues its slow descent, which increases my net worth at the same rate.

My crypto portfolio is growing rapidly, as much due to the rapid increase in value of the various cryptos I hold, as well as due to the $30 bonuses I received thanks to my Shakepay referral link. Thanks again to everyone who used it. 🙂

You may have noticed my crypto portfolio value has already surpassed 1% of my overall portfolio. While I’ve invested $1,400, the value is already quite a bit higher. In fact, I must admit that I am already very tempted to increase my “psychological limit” of 1%. The next big correction might convince me to put in more. Stay tuned. 😉

However, as far as the stock markets are concerned, it was an up and down kind of month. I’m glad I was able to put so much money into the market this month, while it was kind of at a standstill. The next big leg up will be all the more appreciated. 🙂


Here are the details of my March savings:

  • March 10: $975.00 out of $1,789.71
  • March 24: $4,103.45 out of $5,077.03 net
  • March 26: $331.83 out of $331.83
  • March 29: $964.72 out of $964.72
  • Total savings: $6,375.00 out of $8,163.29 in March or a 78% savings rate

Of the $6,375 I saved, I contributed $5,700 to my TFSA and bought $675 worth of cryptocurrency outside a registered account.

As I mentioned earlier, this was truly an exceptional month in terms of savings, thanks to so much money coming in! Indeed, in addition to my two regular paychecks, I received my annual bonus and both tax refunds.

In addition, I’m happy to see that I’m in a good position to reach my savings goal of $25,000 in 2021. I’ve already saved and invested $9,700 this year, or 39% of my goal, in just 3 months. That leaves me with $15,300 to save to reach my goal at the end of the year. That means I’ll need to save an average of $765 per pay until the end of the year to reach it.

Considering my annual raise next month (3.5%), the maxing out of QPP before the end of the year and my car loan paid in full in November, I should be able to do it. 🙂

Expense Report

2021-03-05$48.04Car Insurance
2021-03-12$403.85Car Payment
2021-03-26$403.85Car Payment
2021-03-29$27.02Home internet

In March, I spent $1,877.18, which is $22,526.16 annualized. If we take out my car loan payments, it comes down to $1,069.48, which is $12,833.76 annualized.

I had very few expenses this month, and I’m very happy about it! This has actually been one of my best months since I started tracking my expenses! One of the reasons for this is that I did some expenses in advance in February in order to unlock bonus points on my credit cards.

Also, I’ve noticed another benefit to very low spending. It’s much less time-consuming for me to track and prepare the tables for this blog. 😉

Other than the usual stuff, the one out of the ordinary expense was on Indiegogo. I helped fund the upcoming Star Trek Voyager documentary, while also getting a nice T-shirt of my favourite Captain. 😉

Next month, I already know about an out of the ordinary expense. I had the nice surprise of a speeding ticket in the mail. Long live those photo radars.

Reading List

Despite a busy month, I’m still reading as much as I can! It’s really important to me, both for learning and entertainment purposes. 🙂

I would like to thank my Facebook subscribers who share their book suggestions with me every weekend. You really give me great book ideas!

So, my March reading list goes like this:

Beat the Bank is truly a must-read. Contrary to my expectations, it was not just theoretical and educational about the questionable practices of the big banks. There are also many concrete examples, such as portfolio models that you can build yourself, etc. Really an excellent Canadian resource!

I also really enjoyed 5 years to freedom. Although a bit of a typical FIRE book, the simple fact that it is a Canadian book is a huge bonus! Also, unlike books like Quit Like a Milionnaire and La retraite à 40 ans, it really shows how it’s possible to reach financial independence in a frugal way, even with children. Without hesitation, I added it to my recommendation page in the Canadian books section.

Otherwise, I want to make a special mention of The Autobiography of Kathryn Janeway, just because. I actually took advantage of the free trial period to listen to Kate Mulgrew, herself, read it. What a treat! 🖖


I love this moment of reflection these monthly reviews give me. It’s a great exercise to see my progress, see where I am in relation to my goals and to start planning the month ahead.

By the way, I scheduled my appointment on April 30th for my corrective eye surgery. Another 2021 goal I want to get done! 🙂

The company seems to offer financing up to 24 months at 0% interest. I might go for that, if they don’t boost the price to make up for the 0% interest, of course. That way I wouldn’t be slashing too much of my immediate cash flow.

I’ll have the exact figure on that day, but I’ve been told it should be between $3,200 and $4,200. Of that amount, my workplace health account will cover $800.

Therefore, it’s possible that the April monthly review will come out a little late, while my eyes recover. 😉

Finally, I am already working on my next article about travel hacking and how I intend to travel at low cost. Although it is still impossible to predict when we will be able to travel again, it also doesn’t hurt to dream (and plan)!

See you next time and enjoy that spring!

February 2021 Review


I just knew February was going to go by very fast. 🙂

Seriously, between finalizing my old job’s last few files, starting my new position and writing my withdrawal strategy article, time just flew by! It’s quite a good thing for someone who doesn’t like winter too much. During a lockdown, on top of it! I’m also quite glad to see that we’re gaining a few more minutes of daylight every week. That’s a very positive thing in my book. 🙂

I’m also happy to report that things are going really well in my new role. I have a lot to learn, since I’m far from my usual field of expertise. So that usually means my brain is mush at the end of the day, but I’m confident I’ll handle the work fairly quickly.

Now let’s get down to business.

Net Worth as of February 28, 2021

Checking Accounts:
Questrade TFSA:
Questrade LIRA:
Questrade RRSP:
Fondaction RRSP:
Total assets:$136,470
Car Loan:
Line of Credit:
Tangerine Master Card:
Amex Air Miles:
BMO Air Miles:
Amex Aeroplan:
Total liabilities:$10,384
Net Worth$126,086

What a weird month in the markets! Seriously, how many days in a row were the markets green at the beginning of February? It was not rare to see clickbait articles predicting an imminent crash almost every day. Reaching all-time highs every day, week (and even month) was obviously cause for concern. So it wasn’t too surprising to see the second half of the month rebalancing things.

However, I would like to emphasize that the recent decline has not completely erased the bullish rise that preceded it. In fact, both the S&P 500 and the S&P/TSX show an overall increase in February. 🙂

Personally, I try to remove all emotion from my transactions. Mr. Spock would be proud of me. 🖖

My plan is to save as much as I can on every paycheck I get. I invest on every second Thursday, whether it’s green or red. It doesn’t matter. I invest, no matter what happens in the short term. Anyway, what matters is long-term.


Good news! My employer confirmed our annual bonus. It will be paid out on March 25th. Knowing the amount in advance ($6,000 gross), I have decided to take the net amount ($3,000) out of my personal LOC and invest it right away while the markets were down.

I was already planning to save and invest my entire bonus anyway. So I just got ahead of the curve.

Once I receive my bonus on March 25, I will simply pay off my LOC. For your information, it’s a personal LOC offered by Tangerine with a 5.45% interest rate.


Contrary to my very boring index investments in the stock markets, I allow myself to speculate a bit more with crypto. Actually, I only allocate a small portion (1%) of my portfolio that I intend to hold for the long term. I am looking into the mechanics of cryptocurrency and the blockchain, and I place my pawns as I go along. It is a very wild ride. Faint of hearts beware. 😉

I also got three $30 bonuses on Shakepay this month. Thanks to the readers of this blog who used my reference code. 🙂

Also, thanks to Shakepay’s feature that allows me to stack Satoshis (a subunit of Bitcoin) every day by shaking my phone, I have now accumulated 0.0004352 BTC for a series of 47 consecutive days. At the price of the BTC as it is now, it means about $26 only for shaking my phone. I have also deposited all my BTC in BlockFI which allows me to earn 6% interest on it.


Here are the details of my February savings:

  • February 10: $700 out of $1,710.66 (41% savings)
  • February 24: $840 out of $2,017.17 net (42% savings)
  • Total savings: $1,540 in February or 41% savings

Of the $1,540 I saved, I contributed $1,050 to my TFSA and purchased $490 worth of cryptography outside a registered account.

It could definitely be better on the savings rate front, but I had some spending to do to unlock my credit card bonuses. I’ve made some expenses ahead of time by buying Spotify, Netflix and SAQ gift cards. I also made my annual donation all at once, rather than spreading it out on a monthly basis. Since these are already paid for, I should be able to save a little more in the next following weeks and months.

These expenses have allowed me to get my bonuses of 3,950 Air Miles and 10,000 Aeroplan points (as well as the Buddy Pass). Now, I just have to wait to actually travel. 😉

With my promotion, my March bonus and my yearly raise in April (3.5%), I expect a slight increase in my average savings rate. I should be on track to reach my savings goal!

Expense Report

2021-02-05$48.04Car Insurance
2021-02-12$403.85Car Payment
2021-02-26$403.85Car Payment
2021-02-28$27.02Home Internet

In February, I spent $2,315,94, which means $27,791,22 annualized. Excluding my car loan payments, it comes down to $1,508.24 or $18,098,82 annualized.

In addition to my travel hacking expenses, I had to renew my passport and I bought a Valentine’s Day gift for my mother and my grandmother.

I also had a somewhat big expense on Amazon for a treadmill that I had been looking to buy for a while. Luckily, my employer reimburses a fair amount for sports activities. That means I only had to pay $168 out of my own pocket. Considering that the treadmill should be good for a couple of years, that’s much cheaper than a gym membership. 😉

Finally, I still don’t have a mobile phone bill to pay this month. Thanks to everyone who used my Fizz promo code (N5MMB)! As things are right now, I won’t have to pay anything until June. That’s very much appreciated!

Reading List

February was another great month to read. I’m not at all a winter sports fan, so I’ll be found more often cuddled in a blanket with a book, rather than out playing in the snow.

At the same time, although I’m outside much more often in the summer, you’d probably still find me with a book in my hands. Once a nerd, always a nerd.

You can see that it would be totally unprofitable for me to buy every book I read! There’s a reason why I love the public library so much. 🙂

So, my reading list for February looked like this:

From this list, I highly recommend the book on Elon Musk. Whether you like him or not, he is undeniably a genius and human beings will benefit from his long-term vision.

I also liked Courage, Vision, Passion after I stole this reading idea from L’investisseur caféiné. I don’t necessarily plan to invest in real estate, but it was still a fascinating read. The focus on the millionaire mindset, the importance of thinking big and controlling our fears were the highlights for me. That goes to show that a success starts in the mind!

My Favourite Season

Of course, with March comes tax season. 😉

Seriously, I can’t wait to get started. I already have my T4 and Relevé 1 in hand, but I won’t have the form for remote work (detailed method) until mid-March. Only then I’ll be able to do my tax return, plus my sister’s and my brother’s. At the very least, I want to send my sister’s tax return as early as possible. She boosted her RRSP and she’d like to avoid paying interest on her loan for too long. 🙂

For my part, despite the fact that I filled out the T1213 form for my employer to withhold less tax in 2020, I still expect a tax refund of about $1,500. Guess what I’m going to do with it?

For future articles on this blog, I’m thinking of writing an article on my worst financial mistake (I’ll let you guess which) and the associated opportunity cost. I’m also planning an article on the emergency fund, or my lack thereof. If you have any specific topics to suggest for a future article, please feel free to let me know in the comments section.

I look forward to hearing from you!

January 2021 Review


Already one month behind us! Even though it’s a rather boring time of the year, even without a pandemic, I feel like time went by pretty fast. My blog and Facebook page keep me pretty busy, on top of the overtime I did at work and the time I’ve spent preparing for a job interview!

It just goes to show that the best way to survive this never-ending pandemic is to stay busy. 🙂

So here we are, already starting a new month. Let’s see how my net worth has grown in this past month!

Net Worth as of January 31, 2021

Checking Accounts:
Questrade TFSA:
Questrade LIRA:
Questrade RRSP:
Fondaction RRSP:
Total assets:$130,352
Car Loan:
Line of Credit:
Tangerine Master Card:
Amex Air Miles:
BMO Air Miles:
Amex Aeroplan:
Total liabilities:$9,234
Net Worth$121,118

My net worth is now $121,118! That’s a $3,313 increase since December 31, 2020. It had been a good month for the stock market, right up until last week, when everything went haywire. It doesn’t matter much, since I continue following my savings and investment plan and as a result, my investments slowly but surely keep going up. 🙂

As a matter of fact, a reader wrote to me recently and wondered if the monthly portfolio value was the best way to track one’s net worth. She thought that it fluctuates excessively from one month to another, and it could be discouraging during periods of decline.

I have to agree that tracking my net worth so closely involves a lot of fluctuations. However, I am aware that this is part of the game and I have an excellent risk tolerance. Since I already track my net worth in my spreadsheets on a monthly basis, I decided to include it on my blog on the same basis, along with my expense reports.

However, I realize that I will eventually have to compress the data on the graph (due to lack of space) on my net worth page, possibly to three-month intervals. This should smoothen the curve a bit. 😉

Portfolio Changes

I decided to start the year with a few small changes to my portfolio. As I mentioned in previous articles, my main investments are with Questrade, split between a LIRA, an RRSP and a TFSA. In all three accounts, I held only XEQT, an all-in-one ETF by iShares made up of 100% equities, 22% of which are Canadian.

Reducing Home Country Bias

After doing some reading, notably Ed Rempel‘s blog, I decided to reevaluate my home country bias, i.e. being too widely exposed to one’s own country’s stocks. Indeed, Canada represents about 3% of the world economy and is primarily based on resources and banks. Knowing this, how is it good diversification to hold 22% of my portfolio in Canadian stocks?

Especially since I have (unfortunately) about 15% of my portfolio in labour-sponsored funds that invest only in local companies. That means my home country bias is actually quite high. It actually amounts to about 33% of my total portfolio in Canadian equities.

After some thought, I chose ZGQ (graciously brought to my attention by one of this blog’s reader) to reduce my home country bias a bit, in addition to getting a bit more exposure to emerging countries. This ETF actually seeks to replicate the performance of the MSCI All Country World High Quality.

However, I only made the change in my TFSA, where I want to get the maximum return. I still hold XEQT in my LIRA and RRSP. This will gradually reduce my portfolio’s total exposure to Canadian stocks as I continue contributing to my TFSA.

A Healthy Dose of FOMO

Yes, I joined the Bitcoin train (or rocket?). It finally went down after its all-time high in early January. So I took the opportunity to learn a bit more about Bitcoin, then invested a small amount of money. Initially, I decided to do this by buying a few units of the new Bitcoin ETF QBTC. This way, I can take advantage of the possible gains of Bitcoin in my TFSA, which cannot be done by the traditional method.

Afterwards, I continued to read up on Bitcoin and learned about the Montreal application called Shakepay and decided to actually buy Bitcoin this way. In fact, by using a referral link, I was getting $30 by buying $100 worth of cryptography. So why not? An instant return of 30%. 😉

More seriously, I prefer to set myself a limit of 1% of my portfolio with regard to cryptocurrency. I think setting a limit will prevent me from going overboard on this. What’s more, it’s an amount I’m willing to lose. And if I ever make a  sizeable profit, even better! I just don’t intend to speculate, but to buy and hold it like with my other holdings.


Here are the details of my January savings:

  • January 13: $750 out of $1,710.67 (44% savings)
  • January 27: $1,035 out of $2,005.17 net (52% savings)
  • Total savings: $1,785 in January or 48% savings

Of the $1,785 I saved, I contributed $1,550 to my TFSA and added $235 to Shakepay.

The higher pay is justified by a few extra overtime hours in January.

Also, starting at the end of February, I’ll start getting bigger pays because I got a promotion! Before the holidays, I had applied to a higher-level position within another team. I didn’t necessarily have a lot of hope to get a call, as I didn’t know anyone on that team. You know it: it’s better to know someone than to know something. Luckily, I got the call and a few days after the interview, I was offered the job. 🙂

So, I will go from a base annual salary of $71,180 to $76,600, which is a 7.6% increase. There will also be a yearly increase in April, which should be around 3%, which would bring my salary to $78,898.

I’m not just talking about increasing income. Trying to walk the talk!

Finally, my $25,000 savings goal for 2021 will be slightly easier to achieve than I thought. You know me well enough to know I plan to save 100% of my raise. 🙂

Expense Report

2021-01-01$120.00American Express Annual Fees
2021-01-04$403.85Car Payment
2021-01-05$14.39Home Insurance
2021-01-05$48.04Car Insurance
2021-01-13$71.95Home Insurance
2021-01-15$403.85Car Payment
2021-01-29$403.85Car Payment
2021-01-30$27.60Home Internet

In January, I had $2,396.83 in total expenses, or $28,761.96 annualized. Excluding my car loan payments, it comes down to $1,185.28 or $14,223.36 annualized. The big difference between the two is explained by three car payments I had this month, instead of the usual two.

Otherwise, one month look like the next! I should be ashamed: $23.09 in Starbucks coffee. Just think about it! That’s $277.08 a year! It would take $6,927 invested to generate enough passive income to pay for this bad habit! I just can’t wait to do anything other than car rides. 😉

Also, there are some transactions related to travel hacking, such as the $120 annual fee on my Prestige Aeroplan American Express. I also paid my home insurance policy balance in full to help me reach the required spending on my BMO AIR MILES Mastercard to unlock the 850 bonus miles. Once again, I didn’t spend more to earn points, I spent money I was going to spend in the future. 🙂

It’s ironic, really. My biggest challenge with Travel Hacking right now is to find a way to reach the spending thresholds necessary to unlock my bonuses. Luckily, Milesopedia gives good tips on how to do this.

Reading List

My Facebook page followers may have noticed: I am an avid reader. I often read several books in parallel, in addition to the occasional audiobook. Who knows, maybe one day I’ll reach Warren Buffett’s level:

Read 500 pages like this every day. That’s how knowledge works. It builds up, like compound interest. All of you can do it, but I guarantee not many of you will do it.

In addition to reading, I also like to share about the latest books I’ve read and know what others are reading. In that vein, I thought adding this section to my monthly reviews could be interesting to my readers. 🙂

So, my January reading list looked like this:

I have to admit it: I’m a Self-Help junkie. I still try to balance a bit between fiction and non-fiction. By the way, don’t be surprised to see a Star Trek novel in it from time to time.

Of this list, the one I recommend the most is definitely The Psychology of Money. For me, it was a perfect mix of two subjects I love.  Also, anyone who is struggling to make lasting changes in their lives would also benefit from reading The Power of Discipline.

February Is Going to Fly By!

February only has 28 days, after all.

Next Monday’s article will focus on job interviews and how to prepare for it, especially when you’re an introvert like me. The following week, I’m going to take a little break. I’ll start working on my new position then, and I want to be able to focus mostly on that. 🙂

So I’ll still have two weeks to put together an article on my withdrawal strategy once I’ve reached FIRE. Many of you are asking me to do an article on this, so I’ll try not to disappoint.

I will also have access to my T4 & RL-1 on February 16. This nerd will be very happy to get started on doing tax returns ! In addition to mine, I always do my sister’s and brother’s tax returns. 🙂

I’m especially looking forward to doing my sister’s tax return to apply the method to boost her RRSP contributions as perfectly as possible before March 1st.

As a matter of fact, do you have any suggestions for a good software to do multiple tax returns? I’ve been using UFile since 2014 without looking too closely at what others offer. I’m open to suggestions!

See you next time!


December 2020 Review

Hello there!

Finally, a new year has begun!

To all my readers, I wish you a very happy new year, full of wealth and prosperity, of course, but also happiness and, above all, good health. I hope that we’ll have as much fun learning and supporting each other on the road to financial independence.

Also, I hope that this ugly pandemic will fade away and that we’ll find a semblance of normalcy in our respective lives. And I don’t know about you, but I wouldn’t say no to a trip or two. 😉

Before completely turning the page, I want to do my usual monthly review of December 2020. In fact, these monthly reviews have helped track exactly where my money is going and assess how realistic my FIRE goals are.

I’ll keep doing those very enlightening reviews in the new year, as previously mentioned in my 2021 Goals article.

So without further ado, let’s get down to the juicy details.

Net Worth as of December 31, 2020

Checking Accounts:
Questrade TFSA
Questrade LIRA
Questrade RRSP
Fondaction RRSP
Total assets:$127,208
Car Loan:
Line of Credit:
CIBC Aeroplan:
Tangerine Master Card:
Amex Air Miles:
BMO Air Miles:
Amex Aeroplan:
Total liabilities:$9,403
Net Worth$117,805

Full disclosure: I never dared hope to reach such a high net worth at the end of the year. I’m so grateful that I have been able to save so much throughout the year, in good times and bad. By following my automatic and regular savings plan (every two weeks on payday), I have been able to get exposure to different market prices throughout the year. This is what we call taking advantage of dollar-cost averaging.

I must admit I also made an effort to invest a little more than normal whenever the markets were down, too. 🙂

It wasn’t that long ago that I was hoping to end the year with $100,000 in net worth. I certainly wasn’t expecting to end with $117,805, which is 17.8% more than expected. Needless to say, I am extremely pleased with such results after a year like we had. I’d never have expected that back in March! So, there is something positive to come out of 2020. 🙂

I am ready to tackle a new month and a new year with those very motivating numbers!

Debt repayment

Finally, I also reached a new milestone on the debt front. My car loan went below $10,000! I can’t wait to see it disappear forever from my calculations.

In fact, some may wonder why I don’t pay off the balance in full and get rid of it once and for all. After all, I do have the money in my TFSA.

Ultimately, it’s a question of opportunity cost. If I take almost $10,000 out of my TFSA to pay off my balance, I’m turning my back on the return I could have earned on that investment. Of course, the return I could earn is hypothetical and cannot be predicted or guaranteed. However, I believe there is a good chance that the return will be higher than the interest rate on my car loan.

Believe it or not, the interest rate on my loan is 0.04%.

See the dilemma, here?

So while being debt-free is very appealing, I can’t possibly give up on the return I’d get on my TFSA to pay down a debt that costs me next to nothing in interest.

Nevertheless, I believe I made a compromise between the emotional side (being debt-free) and the rational side (getting a return on my TFSA) by increasing my regular payments to the maximum. I reduced the amortization by more than two years. The maturity date will be November 2021 instead of December 2023.

Additionally, I don’t rule out the possibility of making additional payments throughout the year. For example, I expect a tax refund in the spring, as well as a hypothetical bonus at work. If I use these to repay my loan, I’ll reduce the amortization even further.

However, selling investments to pay off my debt is the last thing I want to do.


Here are the details of my December savings:

  • December 2: $1,200 out of $2,148.84 net (56% savings)
  • December 16: $1,000 out of $1,892.52 (53% savings)
  • December 30: $1,000 out of $1,897.52 net (53% savings)
  • Total savings: $3,200 in December or 54% savings

Of the $3,200 I saved, I invested all of it in my TFSA. That leaves me with about $44,000 of unused contributions, in addition to the new $6,000 contribution limit for 2021.

I still managed to save a large portion of every pay, considering (yes, again) this never-ending lockdown and the low expenses associated with it. The fact that I was paid three times instead of two in December and that I did some overtime also helps a lot. I had 27 pays in 2020, instead of 26. Apparently, it happens once every 11 years!

Expense Report

2020-12-04$403.85Car Payment
2020-12-07$14.39Home Insurance
2020-12-07$48.04Car Insurance
2020-12-18$403,85Car Payment
2020-12-29$27.60Home Internet

In December, I had $2,203.62 in total expenses, or $26,443.38 annualized. If we take out the car loan payments, it amounts to $1,395.92, or $16,750.98 annualized. I consider this very reasonable.

There is little difference from the past months again. There aren’t many opportunities to go splurge, after all! I spent the holidays with only my sister at our place, out of concern for the sanitary measures. For Christmas, we had already planned not to give each other presents. In fact, we both consider that we don’t need anything, and we really didn’t want to buy a useless thing just for the sake of it. Actually, we much prefer to offer each other experiences (tickets for shows, activities, travel) and these are rather limited nowadays. That was definitely the least expensive holiday season I’ve ever had! 🙂

My slightly more outlandish expenses are generally related to keeping me sane during the lockdown. So you’ll notice a few Starbucks coffee here and there, again, and even a visit to SAQ. I also used my travel account to book a small cottage for a few nights in January with my sister. After the last few months, we feel like seeing something other than our 2-bedroom apartment (and our noisy neighbours).

Finally, I still don’t have any charges on my cell phone plan this month. By the way, a huge thank you to those (two) who used my Fizz code (N5MMB) so far! I’m not going to say no to $50 applicable on my cellphone bill. That’s a great way to reduce both our expenses. 🙂

Here’s to 2021!

That’s it, that was my December monthly review. All in all, an unusually uneventful month, but also very beneficial for my savings goals. I’m sure we’ll get to celebrate with family and friends soon.

My next article will officially be the last one regarding 2020, as I will make a full review of the whole year, regarding various financial aspects. As you know, I love numbers and statistics, and I will have plenty to give you.

So, did you start tracking your expenses like I do, after reading my monthly reviews? Were you surprised to see where your money is really going? Have you noticed that simply tracking every expense makes you spend more consciously?

For me, it’s been more than beneficial! I hope it is for you as well, or that you will try it out soon. 🙂

See you next week!

November 2020 Review

Hello there!

It’s already time to do the November monthly review! It’s fascinating how relative the perception of time is, especially this year. On one hand, I can’t believe that the year is nearly over. On the other, I have the impression that this pandemic is never ending and that each day of lockdown goes by at an indescribably slow pace.

But we’re not here to talk about that. It’s time for numbers! Nice numbers, by the way. 🙂

Net Worth as of November 30, 2020


Checking Accounts:
Questrade TFSA
Questrade LIRA
Questrade RRSP
Fondaction RRSP

Total assets:



Car Loan:
Line of Credit:
Tangerine Master Card:

Total liabilities:


Net Worth$110,113
Difference+ $11,697

Remember that $100K I didn’t quite officially reach at the end of October? Well, here it is, and then some! After two rather slow months in September and October, the stock markets went wild for most of November. This is partly due to a nice mix of good news about promising vaccines and a presidential election that seems to be making Wall Street happy!

Thus, between October 31 and November 30, there was a variation of + $11,697! Unbelievable, isn’t it? That’s 11. 8% in a single month! If every month was like that, it would be too easy, wouldn’t it? 🙂

Also, I realized by doing this review that I doubled my net worth in the last twelve months. Indeed, my net worth as of November 30, 2019, was $53,184. While I know I saved and invested a lot in the past year, I never expected such an impressive result! I am more than grateful for that. 🙂


Here are the details of my November savings:

  • November 4: $1,000 out of $1,892.51 net (52% savings)
  • November 10: $100 out of $110.82 (90% savings)
  • November 18: $1,000 out of $1,892.52 net (52% savings)
  • Total savings: $2,100 in November or 54% savings

November was another great month for savings. Lockdown keeps making it even easier to lower expenses, which has a direct impact on my savings rate. We can say whatever we want, but this pandemic has really boosted my savings. That is considering I was lucky enough to have no loss of income whatsoever throughout the year. It will allow me, in the long run, to reach my goal considerably faster!

The small amount I got on November 10th came from a small translation contract that sort of fell on my lap. While I don’t usually do this professionally, I do have a bachelor’s degree in translation. I couldn’t say no! 😉

Out of the $2,100 I saved, I invested $1,900 in my TFSA and $200 was added to my travel account.

As a matter of fact, some may be surprised to know I’m saving to travel while on the path to FI. It’s certainly quite expensive to travel after all. However, I absolutely want to do it. I love it, it makes me happy and it ironically helps me stay on track with my goals as well. Since I want to travel once I reach financial independence, I have to practise. Right? 😉

Expense Report

2020-11-06$403.85Car Payment
2020-11-08$14.39Home Insurance
2020-11-08$48.04Car Insurance
2020-11-20$403.85Car Payment
2020-11-23$30.78Google Drive
2020-11-23$120.00American Express Annual Fees
2020-11-28$468.99Air Canada
2020-11-29$27.60Fizz Home Internet

So in November, we are talking about $2,406.35 in total expenses, or $28,876.20 annualized.

That’s a large amount, even pretty far from what I’m aiming for, but it’s exceptional. I wanted to take advantage of Air Canada’s Black Friday offers! While it may seem like a big expense, the money was actually coming out of my travel account and would have been used for that at some point or another. I just decided to spend that amount in advance, in order to earn more Aeroplan points.

Otherwise, there is not much difference compared to previous months, outside fixed expenses. There are a few Starbucks coffee here and there, more out of a need to keep me sane and get out of my apartment, than anything else.  You gotta do what you gotta do to survive this lockdown (or to avoid noisy neighbours). 🙂

Also, I had no cell phone expenses this month, thanks to Fizz‘s referral bonuses. I had gotten $40 by subscribing with someone’s code and then $40 when my sister subscribed with my code. Since I took the $27/month plan, that’s three months covered. 🙂

If you are interested in subscribing, please enter my referral code N5MMB and we will both get $50. That’s right, they raised the bonus! This is valid for mobile plans as well as Home Internet plans.

Little Travel Hacking Lesson

Let me share my strategy when taking advantage of Air Canada’s Black Friday offers. The golden rule of Travel Hacking is not to spend more than normal to get points, otherwise it’s counterproductive. In my case, I was already accumulating money in my travel account for eventual plane ticket fees or other.

Air Canada had several Black Friday offers. The more offers you combined, the more points you got:

  • 2 offers = 500 bonus points
  • 3 offers = 1,000 bonus points
  • 4 offers = 5,000 bonus points

So I took advantage of a first offer by purchasing a gift card:

  • By buying an Air Canada gift card, I could accumulate 2 points per dollar spent.
  • By purchasing the gift card with my CIBC Visa Infinite Aeroplan credit card, I could accumulate 1.5 points per dollar spent.

I purchased a $400 gift card, and I was able to earn 1,400 Aeroplan points for this first offer.

Then I took advantage of a second offer by buying points:

  • The promotion offered a 50% bonus on the points purchased. The minimum possible was $60 for 2000 points + 1000 bonus points.
  • By purchasing the points again with my CIBC Aeroplan credit card, I could accumulate 1.5 points per dollar spent.

I paid the minimum possible of $60 to get 3,090 Aeroplan points.

Finally, I took advantage of a third offer by buying a product from a partner via the Aeroplan eBoutique :

  • Purchases at Amazon gave 2 points for every dollar spent.

I was already planning on buying running shoes in the near future. I actually had enough Amazon gift cards accumulated (thanks Swagbucks!) to get them for free. The shoes cost about $50, so that’s 100 Aeroplan points.

Since I used three offers, I get the 1,000 bonus points.

Result: 5,590 Aeroplan points.

The awesome part is that I get all those points for expenses I had already planned. It’s all a matter of timing.

Is Paying Annual Fees an Investment?

Additionally, you may have noticed in my expense report the $120 annual fee for my American Express AIR MILES Platinum Credit Card. Does it seem counterproductive to you to pay an annual fee?

The idea behind it is that I only signed up for this card to get the 3,000 Air Miles bonus, which can be worth up to about $600, if you play your cards right. I plan on cancelling the card before I am charged the annual fee again next year. So despite the annual fee, I’ll have made a profit. 🙂

I’m still a Travel Hacking beginner, but I’m already starting to accumulate nice amounts of points and miles. In a possible future where travelling will be more accessible, I’ll be more ready than ever to go at very low cost. 🙂

For those interested in the various Travel Hacking strategies, check out Milesopedia. It’s a real gold mine!

2020 is almost over!

I can’t wait to see what the stock markets have in store for us before the end of the year. Everything that goes up inevitably ends up going down, so who knows. One thing’s for sure, the markets have fully recovered from last March’s historic crash, and then some.

As far as I’m concerned, I think my income will be pretty good in December. In addition to being paid three times instead of two in December, I will also receive paid overtime. As for expenses, there is very little risk of splurging, except perhaps for food and drinks. My family and I had already agreed that we wouldn’t give each other Christmas presents, so no worries about that.

I’m already looking forward to my next monthly review. 🙂

See you next time!