Monday, December 5, 2022
HomeBusinessMoney SavingReader Case Research: Canadian Atmospheric Scientist and Household

Reader Case Research: Canadian Atmospheric Scientist and Household

Sidney lives in a west-coast Canadian metropolis along with her husband, Steve, and their nine-year-old son. Sidney works as an atmospheric scientist for the federal authorities and Steve is an analyst, additionally with the federal government. They’ve been renting out their basement suite to associates for the final three years, however these associates will probably be shifting overseas in Could. Sidney’s grappling with whether or not or not they should proceed renting out the basement for the earnings, or if they’ll reclaim that house for dwelling places of work and a visitor room for visiting household. We’re off to Canada as we speak to assist out Sidney and Steve!

What’s a Reader Case Research?

Case Research handle monetary and life dilemmas that readers of Frugalwoods ship in requesting recommendation. Then, we (that’d be me and YOU, expensive reader) learn via their scenario and supply recommendation, encouragement, perception and suggestions within the feedback part.

For an instance, take a look at the final case research. Case Research are up to date by contributors (on the finish of the put up) a number of months after the Case is featured. Go to this web page for hyperlinks to all up to date Case Research.

The Purpose Of Reader Case Research

Reader Case Research intend to spotlight a various vary of economic conditions, ages, ethnicities, areas, targets, careers, incomes, household compositions and extra!

The Case Research collection started in 2016 and, thus far, there’ve been 73 Case Research. I’ve featured of us with annual incomes starting from $17k to $200k+ and internet worths starting from -$300k to $2.9M+.

I’ve featured single, married, partnered, divorced, child-filled and child-free households. I’ve featured homosexual, straight, queer, bisexual and polyamorous individuals. I’ve featured ladies, non-binary of us and males. I’ve featured transgender and cisgender individuals. I’ve had cat individuals and canine individuals. I’ve featured of us from the US, Australia, Canada, England, South Africa, Spain, Finland, Germany and France.

I’ve featured individuals with PhDs and folks with highschool diplomas. I’ve featured individuals of their early 20’s and folks of their late 60’s. I’ve featured of us who reside on farms and people who reside in New York Metropolis.

The objective is variety and solely YOU can assist me obtain that by emailing me your story! Should you haven’t seen your circumstances mirrored in a Case Research, I encourage you to use to be a Case Research participant by emailing

Reader Case Research Pointers

I most likely don’t have to say the next since you of us are the kindest, most well mannered commenters on the web, however please word that Frugalwoods is a judgement-free zone the place we endeavor to assist each other, not condemn.

There’s no room for rudeness right here. The objective is to create a supportive setting the place all of us acknowledge we’re human, we’re flawed, however we select to be right here collectively, workshopping our cash and our lives with optimistic, proactive ideas and concepts.

A disclaimer that I’m not a skilled monetary skilled and I encourage individuals to not make critical monetary selections based mostly solely on what one individual on the web advises. 

I encourage everybody to do their very own analysis to find out one of the best plan of action for his or her funds. I’m not a monetary advisor and I’m not your monetary advisor.

With that I’ll let Sidney, as we speak’s Case Research topic, take it from right here!

Sidney’s Story

Steve and their son on trip in California

Hello there, my title is Sidney (age 39), and I reside in a west-coast Canadian metropolis with my husband, Steve (age 42), and our 9-year-old son. Steve and I spent most of our 21-year relationship as college students or in low-income jobs, and solely up to now yr and a half have we been a full-time, two-income family.

That stated, I come from a privileged background. My dad and mom paid for my undergraduate training and a part of my first masters diploma. My mother has additionally helped out through the years with monetary items, most of which we saved for the 20% down cost to purchase our first home in 2019 (20% down is required in Canada to be able to qualify for a 30-year mortgage).

I estimate that half of the down cost got here from my mother’s items through the years. Steve comes from a extra blue-collar household background, and is the primary member of his household to acquire a college diploma, which he acquired as a mature pupil when he was 40 years previous.

Sidney’s Upbringing

I’m fairly frugal by nature, which I consider was strengthened by seeing how funds performed out in my mom’s life. My fabulous, beneficiant, loving mom raised me and my sister as a single guardian. She’s a contract skilled who began her personal personal follow within the Eighties and is doing that to today. Thus, my mother has a really excessive earnings, however she additionally spends some huge cash on gadgets I think about luxurious (numerous garments, sneakers, good automobile, newest tech, jewellery, dwelling renovations and paid-services like dwelling cleansing, gardening, and so forth).

And so, whereas she’s a high-earner, my mother has at all times nervous about funds, and now that she’s 73, she’s nonetheless working full-time, and afraid she doesn’t have sufficient to retire on. Though she has substantial retirement financial savings to reside off of, she’s nervous about having to chop again on luxuries. After I was a child, my mother would say issues like, “Oh I’d by no means go downhill snowboarding. If I broke my leg, I wouldn’t be capable of work, after which we’d don’t have any earnings!” This made me really feel like I don’t ever wish to miss out on the enjoyable issues in life due to an absence of economic safety. That stated, my mother was additionally a superb instance of loving one’s profession and following your coronary heart to get what you need in life.

Sidney & Steve’s Story

Steve and I acquired collectively in 2000 in Ontario, when he was 21 and I used to be 18. Steve had accomplished one semester on the native college, however was compelled to drop out as a result of he couldn’t afford to proceed. We met whereas each working at a quick meals restaurant, which for Steve was his solely supply of earnings, since he was residing independently with roommates. For me, alternatively, it was a summer season job whereas I nonetheless lived in my childhood dwelling.

Tenting in Goldstream

A yr later, we moved in collectively in one other metropolis about 2 hours away from my hometown in order that I might attend college. My tuition and residing bills had been paid for by my dad and mom who had an RESP (RESP=registered training financial savings plan in Canada) for me and my sister, for which we’re extraordinarily grateful. Over time Steve acquired barely higher–however nonetheless not nice–jobs. Finally, Steve went to a non-public school with a pupil mortgage and a retail part-time job for one yr to get skilled as an audio engineer.

Over the subsequent few years, nonetheless, we discovered that the music trade is aggressive and exploitative – with many unpaid internships and below-minimum wage jobs. Steve struggled for quite a few years in a number of cities to make a residing as an audio engineer, however when the chance to show at a department of his former school got here, he took it for the comparatively steady and better earnings. He taught audio engineering for 7 years in Toronto, with hours starting from 20-40 hours/week relying on the semester and would additionally get sporadic freelance gigs.

After I acquired my BSc with a physics main in 2005, I had no concept what to do for work, so I went to grad college to be able to proceed my sheltered life! That stated, I had a extremely nice time doing a 2-year masters in astronomy in one other metropolis, which fortunately paid an excellent stipend, which was sufficient for me to be financially unbiased from my dad and mom, however not sufficient to save lots of something. After that, nonetheless not clear on the place I might work, I moved to Toronto to be with Steve and struggled to discover a job. I ultimately acquired an IT job that I saved for about 9 months, nevertheless it was thought of an internship so it didn’t pay nicely, and I hated the job. Steve and I acquired married in 2008 (marriage ceremony paid for by our dad and mom) and due to beneficiant present cash from our household, we paid off Steve’s pupil mortgage at the moment. We’ve been debt free ever since!

Sidney’s Profession

Tenting in Goldstream

Round that point I did some info interviews, which helped me decide that I wished to do scientific work for environmental safety as a profession. I ended up going to the College of Toronto for a second masters diploma and a PhD in atmospheric physics.

Because of untaxed scholarships and stipends, I truly made the next internet earnings as a grad pupil than Steve was getting as a school instructor. That stated, our mixed earnings was nonetheless too low to have the ability to save a lot. However being a grad pupil on this program allowed me to journey to great locations for scientific conferences and conferences. I acquired to journey to France, Germany, Scotland, New Zealand, Australia and the USA as a grad pupil, and we paid for Steve to hitch me on a number of of these journeys.

Lastly, in 2014, I graduated and acquired my dream job as a scientist within the federal authorities!

Main as much as that, we determined that Steve must go to school to be able to have higher profession prospects. So the identical yr that I lastly began my profession, within the fall of 2014, Steve, at age 36, began his bachelor diploma in Media Manufacturing. 4 years later, he turned the primary individual in his household to get a college diploma. He additionally acquired an important job at a TV studio throughout his final yr of research, so for about 8 months in 2017, we had an excellent set of two incomes coming in for the primary time in our lives!

Steve and Sidney’s Son

Going again to 2012, whereas I used to be nonetheless a PhD pupil, we had our one and solely little one! Because of residing frugally, renting an inexpensive basement condominium, kiddie hand-me-downs, and our metropolis’s income-based childcare subsidy, we had been in a position to get by in an important family-friendly Toronto neighborhood, regardless of town being extraordinarily costly. I’m tremendously grateful for my scholarship, which paid 4 months of maternity depart; for our nation’s Employment Insurance coverage program, which permits for 1 yr of paid parental depart (for these historically employed – Steve used 4 months of it to maintain our child after I returned to my PhD program); and our metropolis’s childcare subsidy, which sheltered us from the true price of daycare for our son.

A Cross-Nation Transfer

Lunch exterior

Across the time Steve graduated together with his BA, I acquired a promotion that inspired us to maneuver throughout the nation to the West Coast. So in 2018 we moved throughout the nation! Steve began a Masters of Public Administration (a 2-year program with co-op phrases and a very good scholarship for his first yr) in our new metropolis.

Now that we had been in a barely less-expensive metropolis for home-buying, and I used to be making an excellent earnings, we began saving aggressively for a down cost (impressed by the Frugalwoods weblog, we minimize means again on our primary luxurious, which was consuming out!). We purchased our first, and sure without end, dwelling in 2019.

Homes price loads in our metropolis (although not as a lot as they do in Toronto!), so we lease out our basement suite to some great associates to be able to assist pay the mortgage. At this level, Steve has gotten an important job as a coverage analyst with the federal authorities (totally different division than mine), working from dwelling. So, it’s solely as of September 2020 that had been are each working full time in our chosen careers (aka, now not college students or precariously employed).

What feels most urgent proper now? What brings you to submit a Case Research?

1) To lease or to not lease:

Given our late begin in life to having well-paying jobs, we are actually wanting ahead and attempting to determine one of the best path ahead financially. We’ve loved having our two expensive associates lease out our basement suite, however in about 3-4 months they’re shifting to a distinct nation. Once they transfer, we’ll should make some selections. We’ve already agreed to undertake their little previous canine! However they’ll even be seeking to offload their automobile and furnishings, which implies we have to determine if we wish to supply to purchase some furnishings from them to be able to hold the basement suite furnished. Then, we have to determine whether or not or to not proceed renting it out.

We get $1,200/month in lease now, which is a buddy fee. Market worth is nearer to $1,600/month if we provide it furnished and all-inclusive of utilities. We’re near a college in a metropolis the place rental demand is excessive, so getting renters shouldn’t be an issue.

Nevertheless, there are a variety of things that make me NOT wish to lease it out:

  1. House for family and friends:
    • We reside very distant from our household and lots of of our associates. We’d like them to go to us and we’d like to have the ability to host them comfortably at our place after they do.
    • However this isn’t potential in our a part of the home on the primary flooring. Nevertheless, we might have home company if we had the basement house out there.
  2. Mountaineering

    House for dwelling places of work:

    • Since September 2020, Steve’s been primarily working from dwelling. I’m additionally working from dwelling throughout the pandemic, and anticipate solely returning to the workplace part-time post-pandemic.
    • Subsequently, having the basement house year-round would enable us to arrange good home-office areas for Steve and me, with out cluttering up our primary flooring with work (like it’s now).
    • But when we do that, we’d don’t have any rental earnings… although on this state of affairs we’d be capable of declare some portion of our dwelling workplace house and bills on our taxes.
  3. Lease it out for a part of the yr:
    • I’ve thought of as a compromise that maybe we must always lease it out, furnished, for 4-8 months of the yr to co-op college students, for instance, and hold that house for ourselves throughout the summer season months, after we count on most of our out-of-town household and associates  to go to.
    • In that state of affairs, we might get $1,600/month for 4-8 months of the yr. However, we’d should hold our “dwelling places of work” up in our front room (the place they’re now) in that state of affairs.
  4. Local weather adaptation:
    • We didn’t have entry to the basement – which is a number of levels cooler than the primary home – throughout final summer season’s “warmth dome.”
    • Houses in our area don’t have air-con, so it could be good to have the basement to hangout and sleep in throughout future warmth waves.

2) To automobile or to not automobile:

We’ve got a second “good dilemma,” which is whether or not or to not supply to purchase our associates’ 2006 Honda Civic for ~$800 after they transfer away in a number of months.

Sidney biking along with her son

Steve and I’ve lived as a car-free household since 2007 and we love the liberty of not having automobile bills and tasks, in addition to the environmental advantages.

We’ve at all times biked (with our child in a baby seat on the again of our bikes) or taken public transit for commuting and native journeys. We’ve rented vehicles after we took longer journeys. In Toronto, this technique labored nicely for us.

Our new metropolis is geographically smaller, however hillier. The primary variations in our new metropolis are that:

  1. The tradition right here is extra car-centric. Most households have vehicles and count on everybody else to have vehicles, so usually birthday events and different actions (e.g. scouting) are situated farther away and never simply bikeable. We’ve primarily solved this downside by asking to carpool with different dad and mom, however I don’t wish to come throughout as a mooch since we are able to’t reciprocate!
  2. Our associates/tenants have allow us to borrow their automobile at any time when we’d like, which has resulted in a creep up in our automobile utilization! Anytime I would like one thing large from the ironmongery shop, I borrow it. Anytime it’s raining when we have to pick-up/drop-off my son someplace a bit of far, we borrow it. Any time we wish to discover one thing exterior of city, we borrow it, and so forth and so forth. Mainly, we’ve turn into used to the comfort of a automobile, however with out the tasks and prices of a automobile, and whereas I’m not desirous to take these on, I’m additionally nervous about going again to zero automobile availability (until we lease one) after our associates depart city.
  3. Our son is getting larger and older and in a number of extra years, he’ll be too large or received’t wish to be using in a seat on the again of our bikes. I’m hoping at that time, he’ll be a adequate bike owner to bike in addition to we do to be able to get round. For now, he can solely journey brief distances on his personal bike.

On the environmental entrance, Steve has recommended we reap the benefits of scraping rebate applications that present as much as $6,000 while you commerce in an previous gasoline-powered automobile (the one we might probably purchase from our associates) and purchase a brand new electrical automobile.

Further authorities subsidies for getting an all-electric automobile exist too, for about $7,000 extra. For instance, shopping for a brand new Nissan Leaf, which prices $39,000, would truly price about $26,000 after the subsidies. Whereas that’s a number of financial savings ($13k in subsidies), it’s nonetheless an enormous outlay of cash to have an, albeit new, electrical automobile, that we received’t want to make use of fairly often. I do know Mrs Frugalwoods extremely recommends shopping for used vehicles, however I’m undecided we are able to simply discover a low cost fully-electric automobile on the used market and the subsidies could not apply to the used market.

What’s one of the best a part of your present way of life/routine?

We love our home, neighborhood and metropolis and really feel extraordinarily fortunate to reside right here. We additionally love working from dwelling and luxuriate in spending the additional time collectively. I really like lastly having a yard to backyard in. We like going for hikes regionally and to close by lakes and seashores, discovering new playgrounds, and exploring new areas.

We take pleasure in having our two expensive associates lease out our basement suite (it was pretty to be a “family” with them throughout the isolation of the pandemic), and the power to borrow their automobile with out the duty of possession and upkeep.

We additionally each love our jobs and Steve is raring to advance in his. I like having the ability to journey as part of my job (pre and, hopefully, post-pandemic), and wish to deliver my household alongside extra usually, in addition to take our personal journeys on trip.

What’s the worst a part of your present way of life/routine?

The canine Steve and Sidney plan to undertake from their associates

As a result of we reside throughout nation from our household and lots of associates, I’d like to have the ability to have them stick with us after they go to. However, as talked about above, we don’t have the house for out-of-town company in our a part of the home. Now that the pandemic is slowly ending, we anticipate a number of households wanting to go to beginning this summer season. We wish them to have the ability to stick with us as an alternative of at a lodge, however that will solely be potential if we reclaim the downstairs house in our home (after our tenants transfer out).

We additionally discover our present house (750 sq ft) in the home a bit of constraining when our child has associates over inside, and with Steve and I having our work desks facet by facet in the lounge. If we had the basement out there, we’d go as much as 1,350 sq. toes of residing house.

I additionally often discover my job to be too difficult, and nonetheless often undergo from imposter syndrome. It’s higher than it was earlier than, and I count on the longer I’m on this position, the better issues will turn into. Nevertheless, a part of me needs for the choice to retire early if my job continues to be too difficult and tense.

The place Sidney & Steve Need to be in 10 years:

  • Funds:
    • Whereas we’re not desirous to retire in 10 years, it could be good to have the liberty to retire a bit early if we wish to.
    • As federal authorities staff, we’re entitled to an unreduced pension if we’ve labored not less than 30 years, or attain the age of 65. For me that will probably be in 2044 at age 61 (30 years of labor). For Steve, that may also be in 2044 at age 65 (24 years of labor).
    • Our pension mixed with the Canada Pension Plan (CPP) would quantity to 2% × # of years labored* × our common earnings throughout the 5 consecutive highest earnings years.
      • *to a most of 70% if we work 35+ years
    • We really feel very fortunate to have this profit, however we’re additionally confused on how a lot we needs to be saving within the meantime, on condition that we all know we’ll have a reasonably good earnings from our pensions. We at present have about $27k every in our RRSPs (registered retirement financial savings plan), and are including $500/month every into these.
    • A latest pension estimate confirmed we’d get roughly $4,733(mine) + $1,950(Steve) = $6,683 monthly from our pensions if we each retired in 2044.
    • If we retire any earlier, our pension is diminished by about 5% per yr that we’re early in taking it. (e.g., if both of us retires 5 years sooner than said above, our pension could be 25% decrease).
    • Our son will probably be 19 in 10 years, and we’d like to have the ability to pay for his tuition and residing bills for a bachelor diploma. We’ve got about $30k saved up in his RESP (registered training financial savings plan) now, and we contribute routinely $200/month plus occasional lump sums when he will get birthday cash. We hope to have $100k in there when he’s 18 (this quantity is the present recommendation for Canadian universities for the yr 2030, I consider).
  • Life-style:
    1. Household: I hope that Steve and I nonetheless have a robust marriage, and that our household and associates from out of city are nonetheless visiting us often and us visiting them in Ontario each couple of years or so.
    2. Journey: I additionally hope that within the alternate years we are able to go on worldwide journeys for trip – beginning post-pandemic and persevering with the remainder of our lives. My work nonetheless requires worldwide journey for conferences and conferences, so we are able to avoid wasting cash (the price of my airfare) by including some trip on to these journeys when desired.
    3. Social life: Pre-pandemic and in our previous metropolis, I loved social actions like enjoying on a softball crew, taking an aerial acrobatics class and going indoor rock-climbing with a buddy. Steve used to play bass guitar in a band… post-pandemic and into the longer term (10 years and past), I believe it could be nice if Steve and I added extra hobbies and social actions to our lives once more. I simply began an grownup gymnastics class for instance!
  • Profession:
    • I’d nonetheless be in my profession, although promoted up 1-2 ranges to a extra senior scientist position (and hopefully feeling extra assured).
    • Steve nonetheless working for federal authorities, however at the next degree, extra advisory-type job.

Sidney and Steve’s Bills

I’ve been studying the Frugalwoods weblog for the previous 4 years or so and have discovered loads! I’ve saved meticulous monitor of our household’s bills over the last two and a half years. I even take pleasure in doing it manually in my excel sheets. All greenback quantities under are in Canadian {dollars}.


Merchandise Quantity Notes
Sidney’s internet pay (after taxes and all different deductions) $6,734.61 Scientist in federal authorities. I not too long ago topped out salary-wise for my degree, however might go for promotion subsequent yr to get into the subsequent wage scale.
Steve’s internet pay (after taxes and all different deductions) $4,335.75 Analyst in federal authorities. Resulting from a pay error, he’s not truly getting paid on the correct degree. He additionally not too long ago acquired a promotion. So this quantity needs to be about $200/month greater within the close to future
Lease from basement suite $1,200.00 We love renting to our good associates, however they’re planning to maneuver out ~Could 2022. Market worth for renting that house furnished is probably going extra like $1,600/month. Or may very well be $0 if we reclaim that house for ourselves.
Tax credit $971.24 Canada Little one Profit ($135/month) plus our annual tax return averaged month-to-month
Items from household $80.00 Our dad and mom are very beneficiant, however now that they’re getting older, we’d like to show this round and begin paying for his or her flights out to go to us, and any future care they could want from us.
Money again from bank card spending $49.00 Common money again from our Tangerine World Mastercard
Promoting stuff on-line $5.00 I often promote our son’s previous toys and garments that he’s outgrown if they’re nonetheless in first rate form.
Month-to-month subtotal: $13,375.60
Annual complete: $160,507.20

Mortgage Particulars

Merchandise Excellent mortgage steadiness Curiosity Charge Mortgage Interval and Phrases Fairness (quantity you’ve paid off) Buy worth and yr
Mortgage $573,229 2.49% 30-year fixed-rate mortgage (with remaining amortization 23 yr, 3 months) $188,771 $762k; bought in 2019

Money owed: $0


Merchandise Quantity Notes Curiosity/sort of securities held/Inventory ticker Identify of financial institution/brokerage Expense Ratio
Sidney’s Tax Free Saving Account (TFSA) $40,475.48 The TFSA is a financial savings account the place you don’t should pay tax on the quantity it grows. There’s a contribution restrict of $6,000/yr per individual. I’m at present contributing $500/month routinely to this + occasional bigger lump sums.

I’ve about $40k of contribution room at present since I didn’t max out my contributions in earlier years.

A part of our TFSAs is our emergency fund.

Diversified mutual and index funds. IA securities 1.60%
Steve’s TFSA $40,206.01 Contributing $500/month routinely + occasional bigger lump sums.

A part of our TFSAs is our emergency fund.

Diversified mutual and index funds. IA Securities 1.60%
Our son’s Registered Schooling Saving Plan (RESP) $30,565.01 The federal government matches contributions at 20% as much as of $500/yr to $7,200 complete. This cash can solely be used for instructional bills. We contribute $200/month routinely + occasional lump sums to this account, and would really like the overall to be $100k by the point he’s 18 (although the contribution restrict to the RESP is $50k – so we would want a separate account after that). Diversified mutual and index funds. IA Securities 1.60%
Sidney’s Registered Retirement Saving Plan (RRSP) $27,570.25 The RRSP is a retirement financial savings account the place you possibly can deduct your contributions out of your earnings the yr you contribute (although you pay tax while you pull from it throughout retirement). I’ve ~$7.6k of contribution room left this yr. I’m at present contributing $500/month routinely to this + occasional bigger lump sums. Diversified mutual and index funds. IA Securities 1.60%
Steve’s RRSP $27,116 Contributing $500/month routinely + occasional bigger lump sums. He has room to contribute $31k extra this yr alone Diversified mutual and index funds. IA Securities 1.60%
Sidney & Steve’s chequing account $12,231.00 This can be a joint account from which we pay month-to-month payments and a part of that is our emergency fund. 0% TD
Sidney’s webbroker TFSA $6,323.97 I take pleasure in shopping for and promoting shares by myself. Shares and ETFs TD Waterhouse webbroker $9.99 payment for each purchase or promote transaction
Whole: $184,487.22

Autos: none


Merchandise Quantity Notes
mortgage $2,700.00 That is $2,404 that we’ve to pay (for 30-year amortization) + $295 further on the principal that we began a number of months in the past to be able to pay the home off about 5 years earlier. 
meals $1,152.00 groceries, toiletries, & propane for BBQ. My objective is $1,000/month, however I do not know tips on how to get there. We don’t waste meals and we eat primarily entire meals…
family & backyard gadgets $437.31 This consists of a number of gardening stuff and we needed to substitute our fridge a number of months in the past. This month-to-month avg relies on the final 2.5 years of latest home-ownership
Child’s actions $421.46 This price included a aggressive gymnastics program that our son determined to give up in Oct ’20, which saves us $396/month going ahead!

He continues to do Cub Scouts and can do swim lessons and different kinds of actions sooner or later however for considerably much less $$ than this.

trip $413.14 Prices for journey and lodging. Final summer season we took a long-awaited journey again to Ontario. Generally we are going to lease a automobile and a cottage to have a pleasant weekend get-away nearer by.
consuming out $392.06 This can be a bit excessive! My objective is $100/month for primarily one good household dinner at a restaurant, however appears to be like like we creep over that fairly a bit!
alcohol and bars $318.00 Primarily for Steve who’s seeking to reduce
bikes and bike upkeep $311.33 This quantity is excessive as a result of 1.5 years in the past we purchased two model new electrical bikes that we completely love. Upkeep is just about $10-20/yr, however this quantity displays the price of the bikes over the 18 months that we’ve had them thus far
electrical energy $247.27 Our electrical invoice consists of heating & sizzling water for our home. We even have an electrical mower and electrical bikes! That is month-to-month avg. It’s greater in winter and decrease in summer season.
property tax $244.53 We pay in June for the entire yr. That is averaged month-to-month.
leisure $214.33 This quantity is kind of excessive as a result of it features a new pc buy within the final yr. Except for that, this class is ~$125/month. This class primarily consists of video video games for Steve, and infrequently doing enjoyable stuff like going mini-putting, bowling, to a film, going skating, to a museum, and so forth. Although for essentially the most half our weekends are spent on free actions like parks, seashores, climbing, and so forth. And we love our library for books!
items $177.63 Birthdays and Christmases. Our household usually has a “no items for adults” coverage with the occasional exceptions. We purchase items for ~8 youngsters who’re household or shut household associates, and we give ~$10 money items to my son’s associates at birthday events, which appears to be the tradition right here. Occasional instructor, pupil, or coach items too.
Misc $115.59 E.g., Steve’s tuition & textual content books, which received’t be an expense sooner or later + our son’s summer season and spring break day-camps, which lower as he’s getting older.
metropolis utilities (e.g., water, sewage, rubbish assortment, and so forth). $109.22 paid 3x per yr. That is the month-to-month avg
dwelling insurance coverage $108.27 TD insurance coverage
garments & equipment $86.44 Almost all of our garments, sneakers, and lots of housewares come from the thrift store. Stuff like underwear and socks are from Walmart. This can be a month-to-month avg based mostly on the final 2.5 years
dad and mom’ actions $73.00 This can be a new class since I only in the near past began an grownup gymnastics class for enjoyable.
web $62.67 from Tech Saavy – every other suggestions?
life insurance coverage for Sidney & Steve $58.05 Sunlife time period plans
College provides, subject journeys, & day camps $56.55 day camps are unintentionally break up between this one and the “Misc” class
Charity donations $51.00 Automated month-to-month, although we often contribute to different charities one as a one-off. 
cell telephones $48.16 from Public Cell. That is Canada’s equal to an MVNO I believe. And I’ve Canadian members of the Frugalwoods fb group to thank for this advice. We converted to this service a few yr in the past, and not too long ago diminished Steve’s knowledge plan.
Child’s allowance $36.00 $(his age)/week. He buys his personal toys, video video games, sweet, and whatnot together with his allowance. We solely purchase him these issues as birthday or Christmas items in any other case.
money $21.50 2.5 years in the past, to be able to higher monitor bills and get essentially the most out of our money again bank cards, we stopped getting money out and used our bank cards to purchase all the things. Nevertheless, the occasional money remains to be wanted (e.g. to offer our child’s allowance or a buddy’s birthday present) and so this class nonetheless creeps in in some way, and this cash shouldn’t be accounted for (it’s the change leftover after allowance, and so forth). 
medical, dental, and remedy $1.99 We used to have a co-pay on this class, however now that Steve has an insurance coverage plan too, all medical, dental, and so forth are absolutely coated by the mix of our plans. The remaining quantity is for a “findadoc” service since we don’t have a household physician attributable to a extreme scarcity in our metropolis (and province apparently).
babysitter  $0.00  $0 throughout pandemic. Was $14.92 the yr earlier than. Will most likely keep near $0 since our son is getting older and we attempt to “date” whereas he’s busy with different issues.
Month-to-month subtotal: $7,857.51
Annual complete: $94,290.12 ghaa!!

Credit score Card Technique

Card Identify Rewards Kind? Financial institution/card firm
Tangerine World Mastercard money again (2% in 2 classes and 0.5% in all different spending classes) Tangerine

Sidney’s Questions for You:

  1. Ought to we proceed to lease out our basement or not?
    • As soon as our associates transfer out in about 3 months, ought to we proceed to lease it out? Lease it out for a part of the yr? Can we afford to not lease it in any respect?
  2. Sidney on a piece journey to Bordeau

    Ought to we purchase our associates’ 2006 Honda Civic for ~$800?

    • Though we don’t actually want a automobile and received’t use it usually?
    • If we do purchase it, ought to we hold it or commerce it in for a backed new electrical automobile?
    • Is there some calculation for the knowledge of car-buying in case you solely plan on utilizing it ~3 instances monthly?
    • I’m to listen to the opinions from carless households with youngsters aged 9 and up on this matter.
    • Additionally, are there any Canadians in BC who can communicate to tips on how to get cheap automobile insurance coverage?
  3. Ought to we repay our mortgage early?
    • Since we had been late in life shopping for our first home, I’m desirous to pay the mortgage down extra shortly than the unique 30-year amortization.
    • We’re overpaying by about $295 each month (which might imply it could be paid off in 24 years). 
    • At this fee, we’d have it paid off at roughly the time we’re pondering to retire (in 2044).
    • Ought to we proceed to do that? It’s our solely debt.
  4. Ought to we save extra for retirement?
    • In gentle of our pensions, ought to we nonetheless be attempting to save lots of as a lot as potential in our RRSPs yearly? (we’ve been contributing $500/month). If we retire earlier than 2044, we’d nonetheless get a pension, however it could be considerably diminished.
    • Our retirement financial savings are nowhere close to the three×earnings recommended for 40-year-olds! Nevertheless, is that components for individuals with out pensions? Or ought to we begin saving like loopy for retirement to catch up?! In that case, this would possibly assist us reply questions #1 and #2. I do hope/count on we’ll have our home paid off by then, which might deliver our month-to-month bills down significantly.
  5. Given our bills, are there some good locations the place we are able to reduce, in order that we are able to save extra in the direction of our targets?
  6. Credit score Card technique:
    • We’ve got just one joint bank card between the 2 of us: a Tangerine World Mastercard (no payment, 0.5% money again on all purchases, 2% money again on purchases in two spending classes – groceries and eating places in our case). It has one profit that we actually search for, which is rental automobile insurance coverage. So this bank card account satisfies all of our bank card wants – however my query is; is okay that we solely have the one bank card between the 2 of us? Or does that current an issue?

Thanks on your assist!

Liz Frugalwoods’ Suggestions

Sidney and Steve are in nice form and have labored laborious to get there! I get the sense that coming into “grownup” salaries and residential possession solely not too long ago has impacted the best way Sidney views their future. Previous uncertainties over cash are very laborious to let go of and it takes awhile to settle into the belief that you just’re truly doing nice from a monetary perspective! I hope that Sidney will make the most of this Case Research to achieve confidence round her funds and to acknowledge that she and Steve are doing nicely. Rather well!! Okay, let’s dive proper into her questions:

Sidney’s Query #1: Ought to we proceed to lease out our basement or not?

There are two variables on this query:

  1. The monetary facet
  2. The approach to life facet

If this was a purely monetary query, I’d say YES! Completely proceed to lease out the basement as a result of it’s a comparatively straightforward solution to make fairly some huge cash. Renting it out at $1,600 monthly is $19,200 per yr, which is critical. Additionally, I ponder if they may cost much more on condition that Sidney famous they’re, “near a college in a metropolis the place rental demand is excessive.” I’d suppose you possibly can cost greater than $1,600, in order that’s one thing to look into.

Sidney requested a number of instances whether or not or not they may afford to not lease it out, so let’s try this math now.

Right here’s their earnings minus the rental:

Merchandise Quantity Notes
Sidney’s internet pay (after taxes and all different deductions) $6,734.61 Scientist in federal authorities. I not too long ago topped out salary-wise for my degree, however might go for promotion subsequent yr to get into the subsequent wage scale.
Steve’s internet pay (after taxes and all different deductions) $4,335.75 Analyst in federal authorities. Resulting from a pay error, he’s not truly getting paid on the correct degree. He additionally not too long ago acquired a promotion. So this quantity needs to be about $200/month greater within the close to future
Tax credit $971.24 Canada Little one Profit ($135/month) plus our annual tax return averaged month-to-month
Items from household $80.00 Our dad and mom are very beneficiant, however now that they’re getting older, we’d like to show this round and begin paying for his or her flights out to go to us, and any future care they want from us.
Money again from bank card spending $49.00 Common money again from our Tangerine World Mastercard
Promoting stuff on-line $5.00 I often unload our son’s previous toys and garments that he’s outgrown if they’re nonetheless in first rate form.
Month-to-month subtotal $12,175.60
Annual Whole $146,107.20

The rental would add $19,200, for a grand complete of $165,307.20.

Sidney and Steve’s backyard

Sidney and Steve’s annual spending is $94,290.12, so sure, they’ll afford to not lease it out, when it comes to having the ability to cowl their month-to-month bills.

That being stated, it’s powerful to show down $19,200 in further earnings, which may very well be deployed for retirement financial savings, investments, journey, and so forth.

One other means to take a look at that is to ask themselves if having the basement house is price $19,200 per yr to them? There’s not a proper or flawed reply right here, only a consideration of how a lot that further house is price to them.

If the primary challenge is their dwelling workplace house, might they lease a small workplace house elsewhere (for lower than $19,200 per yr)? May they be a part of a co-working house? Is there a inventive means–aside from utilizing the basement–for Sidney and Steve to have a greater dwelling workplace scenario?

May Sidney and Steve lease it out for yr and see the way it feels? They might then do an evaluation on the finish of the yr to find out the price/advantage of the additional $19,200 versus the inconvenience of not gaining access to that residing house.

As a facet word, one thing that’s potential within the US is deducting home upkeep as a part of your rental enterprise in case you’re renting out a part of your major dwelling. Is that this potential in Canada as nicely? One thing to look into.


A serious query I’ve for Sidney and Steve pertains to their liquidity, by which I imply money out there to them at a second’s discover. Often known as an emergency fund. As I’m not Canadian, I’m not terribly conversant in TFSAs so I learn the Canadian authorities web site on TFSAs and discovered this:

Relying on the kind of funding held in your TFSA, you possibly can usually withdraw any quantity from the TFSA at any time.

What considerations me is the “usually.” If Sidney and Steve’s TFSAs aren’t in a position to be withdrawn from at any time with out penalty, then I’m involved about their liquidity. Outdoors of their TFSAs and all different restricted accounts (retirement, training, and so forth), they’ve $12,231 in money. This wouldn’t be sufficient if, say, they wanted to exchange their roof and restore a water leak in the identical month. As owners (and probably landlords), they’d have to have extra cash out there. Nevertheless, in the event that they are allowed to withdraw from their TFSAs at any time with out penalty, then they’ve $92,912.49 readily available, which is greater than ample.

So, Sidney and Steve, please look into your TFSAs and make sure that you just’re in a position to withdraw cash from them with out penalty and at any time.

Sidney’s Query #2: Ought to we purchase our associates’ 2006 Honda Civic for ~$800?

Sure. I really like how completely Sidney is contemplating automobile possession, however in my view, that is a straightforward sure for quite a few causes:

  1. Sidney notes a number of instances that their new metropolis shouldn’t be as bike-friendly.
  2. Sidney notes that their son’s actions usually happen at non-bikeable areas.
  3. Sidney notes that they’ve been borrowing this automobile, renting vehicles and getting rides from their son’s associates’ dad and mom.

All of this factors to: you want a automobile. And a Honda Civic is a good little automobile and $800 is a good little worth.

Subsequent Query: If we do purchase it, ought to we commerce it in for a backed new electrical automobile?

A piece journey to Colorado for Sidney

Completely not. I absolutely perceive the will to have an electrical automobile (it’s what I would like too!!), however Sidney’s taking an $800 automobile and turning it right into a $26,000 automobile. NOPE. Will the 2006 Civic final without end? In fact not! However since Sidney’s not even positive they really NEED a automobile, this isn’t the juncture at which to spend $26,000. Moreover, this can be a traditionally atrocious time to purchase a automobile–used or new. As a result of epic provide chain points, there are few vehicles available and people that you may have are terribly costly. 

If it had been me, I might:

  1. Purchase the Civic for $800 as we speak. ASAP.
  2. Drive the Civic for a yr.
  3. Re-evaluate the will/want for automobile possession in a yr or two.

Sidney and Steve want knowledge on how they operate with a automobile earlier than making a $26,000 expenditure. Or any automobile expenditure over $800.

Plus, in one other yr or two, there will probably be extra electrical automobiles available on the market and hopefully the BANANAS provide chain scenario can have sorted itself out. Ready so long as potential to purchase a automobile makes a number of sense proper now (written by an individual who tried VERY HARD to exchange her ailing 2010 Toyota Prius final summer season with zero luck).  

Moreover, since Sidney and Steve are in a position to get by with out a automobile, it’s okay if this aged automobile isn’t 100% dependable. Since they’re in a metropolis the place they CAN bike or stroll if they should, the automobile is a nice-to-have, not an absolute necessity.

Canadian readers, please supply them recommendation on automobile insurance coverage firms!

Sidney’s Query #3: Ought to we repay our mortgage early?

Nope. In my view, this doesn’t make sense from a mathematical perspective (others will disagree with me, however that is my opinion). Right here’s why:

  • The home is actually their solely main asset and so they don’t have a lot in financial savings given their incomes (which I completely perceive as a result of these incomes are latest). Therefore, from a liquidity standpoint, they’ve not acquired a lot.
  • Paying off a home early–and even simply overpaying as they’re doing now–ties up a ton of cash in a single single, illiquid asset.
  • There’s an unlimited alternative price to paying off a mortgage early as a result of there are such a lot of different issues one can do with that cash.
  • By funneling your whole cash into your own home, you’re lacking out on potential features within the inventory market, and so forth. It’s type of like chopping off your nostril to spite your face. Sure, you’re fixing one “downside”: your mortgage, however you’re hindering your means to develop your wealth in a big means. In fact there are dangers concerned with investing, however the salient level is the inherent alternative price.

If Sidney and Steve wish to repay their mortgage earlier than they retire, I believe that’s nice! If it had been me, I might save and make investments that cash over the approaching a long time after which pay it off in a single lump sum previous to retirement. In my thoughts, it simply doesn’t make sense to tie up further money in a fixed-rate mortgage.

Sidney’s Query #4: Ought to we save extra for retirement?

In Ottawa

This can be a powerful one. On one hand, Sidney and Steve have beneficiant pensions to look ahead to. Alternatively, pensions could be undercut and underfunded.

Nevertheless, in gentle of the truth that they each work for the federal authorities, it appears unlikely their pensions could be underfunded or diminished. However then once more, it feels dangerous to place your whole eggs in a single basket–the pension basket.

If Sidney or Steve needed to take an early retirement (attributable to well being, for instance), they wouldn’t be eligible for his or her full pension quantities. If they’re able to work their full variety of years and nothing occurs to the pension system, then sure, they’re all set. But when any a kind of variables falters, they’re not in pretty much as good a place. There’s not a concrete, particular reply right here because it relies on future occasions, however the adage I at all times come again to is:

Nobody has ever regretted having more money saved up.

As Sidney famous, if we don’t have a look at their pensions, they’re certainly fairly far behind on retirement financial savings. Sidney’s spot on that the (kinda oversimplified, however nonetheless useful) rule of thumb is:

Goal to save lots of not less than 1x your wage by 30, 3x by 40, 6x by 50, 8x by 60, and 10x by 67 (supply: Constancy Investments).

At current, that equals:

  • ($6,734.61 x 12) = $80,815.32 x 3 = $242,445.96 for Sidney
  • ($4,335.75 x 12) = $52,029 x 3 = $156,087 for Steve

This can be a great distance off from the $27,570.25 Sidney has in her RRSP and the $27,116 Steve has in his. Nevertheless, this isn’t inclusive of their beneficiant pensions.

If it was me, I might begin saving much more for retirement. If it was me, I might lease out the basement condominium, search for locations to cut back my spending and absolutely max out each retirement account I might discover. However I’m relatively conservative in relation to my very own cash and I absolutely acknowledge that not everybody feels that means.

One of many causes I’m selling this concept for Sidney and Steve is that they’ve the salaries to take action. They’re each making nice cash and positively have sufficient to funnel in the direction of retirement. Perhaps Sidney and Steve each work for a similar employer (the federal authorities) till 2044 and the federal government doesn’t underfund their pensions and so they retire with their full pensions. And possibly in addition they have a ton invested of their RRSPs. The “worst case” state of affairs then is that they’ve a really well-funded, luxurious retirement.

Sidney’s Query #5: Given our bills, are there some good locations the place we are able to reduce?

I think about Sidney is aware of the place they’ll reduce and that is, once more, going to be pushed by whether or not or not they wish to lease out the basement and the way a lot they really feel comfy investing for retirement. The better their earnings, the much less they should reduce. The extra they wish to make investments for retirement, the better will probably be if they arrive at it from each ends of the equation (earnings and bills).

Sidney’s Query #6: Is okay that we solely have one bank card between the 2 of us? 

On trip in Gabriola

Sure. The basis of this query is, I think about, about their credit score scores. Having a bank card open for a few years and FULLY PAID OFF each single month helps your credit score rating loads. Nevertheless, you don’t essentially have to have multiple bank card.

With bank cards, the hot button is that you just pay it off in full each month and hold it open for a few years. The rationale this helps your credit score rating is that it demonstrates to lenders that you’re a accountable borrower. It demonstrates to lenders that you may deal with debt and pay it off on time. That’s the entire concept. And the first factor most individuals want an excellent credit score rating for is to qualify for a mortgage. Sidney and Steve have already accomplished that, which is great!

In the event that they wished to, they may look into opening a journey rewards card (assuming these exist in Canada?) because the factors can be utilized to offset journey bills (affiliate hyperlink).

Funding Expense Ratios

One thing that jumped out at me are the comparatively excessive expense ratios (1.6%) on Sidney and Steve’s investments. That’s a good bit of cash going to charges yearly! I did a really deep dive on expense ratios on this Case Research, so head over there to learn up on them. 

I googled “Vanguard Canada” and landed on this web page, which lists a bunch of funding choices with expense ratios within the vary of 0.15%, which I think about to be good and low. I encourage Sidney and Steve to do their very own analysis to search out brokerages that provide decrease expense ratios, since I believe they’re getting fleeced with that 1.6% fee.


  1. Rental: do they need dwelling places of work and further residing house or do they need an additional $19,200 per yr?
    • May they lease it for a yr after which do a value/profit evaluation?
    • Is there a inventive means–aside from utilizing the basement–for Sidney and Steve to have a greater dwelling workplace scenario?
    • May they cost much more than $1,600 given their prime location?
  2. Automobile: if it had been me, I might purchase the Honda Civic for $800 and drive it for not less than a yr. Then, do a evaluate of the benefits/disadvantages of automobile possession. Contemplate buying and selling it in for a (hopefully barely used) electrical automobile sooner or later when (a) they know they need a automobile for the long run; (b) the automobile provide chain has normalized.
  3. Mortgage: if it had been me, I might cease overpaying on the mortgage. I personally would as an alternative make investments that cash after which, if I wished to, pay it off in a single lump sum on the time of retirement.
  4. Retirement: decide your danger tolerance for the pensions. Should you aren’t in a position to work for the federal government for the complete 30 years, will you have got sufficient in your RRSPs? Will you are feeling extra assured in case you max out your RRSPs and know that, when you is likely to be OVER funding your retirement, you’re not UNDER funding it.
  5. Bills: positive, reduce on luxuries. Contemplate once more the price/advantage of the rental earnings and the danger tolerance degree with the retirement financial savings. You’ve gotten the earnings degree to do all of it, so long as you’re conscious about your month-to-month spending.
  6. Bank card: completely nice to have only one so long as you pay it off in full each month. Look into journey rewards playing cards if you wish to because the factors might assist offset journey prices sooner or later (affiliate hyperlink).
  7. Expense ratios: search for a brokerage that provides a a lot decrease expense ratio on their investments.

Okay Frugalwoods nation, what recommendation would you give to Sidney? We’ll each reply to feedback, so please be at liberty to ask questions!

Would you want your individual case research to seem right here on Frugalwoods? E mail me ( your temporary story and we’ll discuss.

By no means Miss A Story

Signal as much as get new Frugalwoods tales in your electronic mail inbox.

Supply hyperlink



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

- Advertisment -
Google search engine

Most Popular

Recent Comments