With the holidays feeling like it's just around the corner, it's been a super busy time here at the Nguyen/Wei house! After trimming down my Christmas shopping list to the BARE minimum, it's still about 15 family, friends, kids and business associates I still have to buy for. Ouch right? Thank goodness I've been putting money away each week in a fund for this very expensive time of the year! And I've been hitting the clearance racks and shelves for the past little while and scooped up some amazing stuff! At least for birthdays they are spread out! Ok, let's see what my shopping trips have been and talk about Virtual Brokers!
Nov 14th at No Frills
- Highliner Frozen Fish pm'd for $5.97 and had $1 coupon each
- Gallo Olive Oil $3.97
- 3 X 18 bottles of water (left them in the car, way to heavy to carry up)
- Caesar Salad Kit $1.97
- Black and Diamond Cheese $2.97 and had 75 cent coupon
- Raspberries pm'd 2 for $3
Nov 27th at No Frills and Walmart
- PC Tortillas $1.87
- Kettle Chips $1
- Neilson Milk $3.97
- Bananas $.57/lb
- No Name English Muffins $1
- 2 X Gingerale 2L Pops for FREE ( 2 coupons from T&T Nightmarket)
- Fresca and Barqs 2L Pop $1
- Hunts Sauce $1
- Apple Juice $1
- Nestle 24 pk water $1.97
- Miracle Whip $3
- 2 X Hellman's $3 each
- 6 Ziploc Container's at $3 each and had 2 coupons for 1 Free WUB2. Great for when we have family over for Christmas dinner to take home leftovers. Dollarama containers were more expensive and we don't buy styrofoam containers for environmental reasons.
- 4 X Maple Leaf frozen meat pies $1 each
- PC Blue Menu Alfredo sauce $2.50
- Dempster's Bread $2
- 2 X Village Chicken Wings $3 each
- Halal Chicken Hot Dogs $1
If you haven't already own a PC Mastercard, you should totally get one! They are so awesome! I save up my points all year and by Christmas time, I get a huge family Christmas dinner for almost free! I have over $150 last time I checked to spend at any Loblaws or No Frills! In my non-budgeting days, I use to hoard them for when I returned after vacation so I would have food to eat when I was dead broke! Hahaha
Ok, to the juicy stuff! As a novice of investing, it is super hard enough to figure out how to set up an account with a discount brokerage, pick your stocks and get your portfolio up and running. I had the most horrible time working with Questrade to even open a damn account. The main problem was that I have two names! My Vietnamese name and my English name. On my government issue ID it lists both names, but on all my accounts I just go by my English name. Apparently, at Questrade they were real sticklers about having the full name and having it verified on every piece of ID I gave them and my bank accounts. It was a huge pain in the ass dealing with them for months and to be bounced around from customer service agent to another with no one wanting to help me deal with the situation and being clearly ignored. I even went to the head office like they asked with my ID's and even the receptionist said he has heard numerous times how bad their customer service was! My only choice with them was to change my name on all my accounts! Which, as a performer/self employed person who get cheques written in my English name is next to nearly impossible! Who has time to track down every person who writes you a cheque and have them write your full name! Plus, I'm the one who wants to give them business and invest my money with them! They have one messed up business model with too many flaws. The only time I heard from anyone after leaving several emails with different people and voice messages is when I emailed customer support to delete my application for an account! WTF! It was so horrible, I got so fed up and went over to Virtual Brokers who are so much better! They were more understanding with my multiple names as long as the address and names match in some variation, they said I was good to go! So, after months of struggle I'm happy to say I have all my accounts opened up and funded. I have my ETF's chosen and now I'm just at the stage of bidding on them. Their website is pretty easy to use but being totally new to the world of investments, it's not like you can just bid and buy ETF's. There are all these options and stuff you need to choose along with it which make it so confusing. So, hopefully I'm getting some help tonight on how to properly buy what I want. I honestly hope all this trouble is worth it in the end! Or I'll want to have kick myself really hard and should of went the easy route of buying those StreetWise funds from ING or something that's just as easy. Or even hire a *gasp* commission based financial advisor to help me out and get me started.
Well, to leave you on a jolly note I hope you have enjoyed following me on my journey to financial wisdom, or somewhere around there! There is so much work that needs to be done budget wise before I can put my pen down and enjoy the festivities of stuffing my face with family and good friends! Since tracking my expenditures, I've been able to see what my income vs. expenses are from month to month and how much money is being spent on such categories like groceries, eating out, and etc. If you haven't started, you should give it a shot! The information you get from it is so valuable! I've been tracking for the last few years and I can see when my lean months are and prepare ahead of time! It definitely helps you sleep at ease knowing where you stand with debt and such. I've also adjusted my budget for 2014! It's amazing not to have an OSAP debt column that needs to be paid each month and that is higher than my housing cost! I love being able to allocate that money to my downpayment fun, vacation fund or other fun things I've missed out on while paying down the student loan! Eating out on a patio and spending money to do fun things with family and friends never felt so good when you are free from debt! And knowing that every dollar you earn is now yours and not on loan from the government or some other financial institution!
Eros And Pookie