OAME 2017

Excited that I will be attending the annual Ontario Association for Mathematics Education (OAME) conference in Kingston, Ontario in May. Apparently, registration has been filling up fast. I got a reminder email to sign up for workshops, so these were my choices.

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The first one in the list is actually mine! I’ll be running my workshop Thursday, May 11th as one of the very first sessions. This means that the groups will likely be small – Saturday mornings tend to be the most populated – but I’m happy that it’s in the beginning, I get it over with, so I don’t have to stress out about it for two days and struggle to enjoy the conference itself!

I haven’t done any planning at this point – no surprise – but I had made rough notes after doing a webinar on NOMA. This will be the basis for my presentation. So I’ve got the skeleton, but I just haven’t fleshed it out yet.

Some other chores that are keeping me busy :

  • Starting new units on trigonometry in both Grade 10 and 11
  • Trying to get transcripts of my online course so I can expense it to the school board
  • Getting marking done for the end of term 2, which is on Thursday
  • School board applications – two more deadlines this coming week
  • Getting another reference letter from an administrator

It’s been rather busy since coming back from the holidays and although it’s slowed down a bit with the completion of my online course, other things just pile up!

I’ll feel much better after then end of this coming week!

15 Minutes of Fame

Just wanted to share some exciting news – the Ontario College of Teachers did a one-page article on my Grade 10 and 11 classroom in Waskaganish, Quebec. It was published in the March copy of the quarterly magazine; if you want to check it out, my ugly mug is on page 45

Thanks to Stefen Dubowski for the interview and letting me yabber on. It was also great fun hanging out with the photographer, Matt Liteplo, as we showed him around Waskagnish for the week. Also, big thanks to OCT for sharing the love. It means a great deal to get a little bit of recognition!

Most of all, my students, including one of my former graduates, S., who ended up in the photoshoot and making us laugh like crazy. I would not love my job if it weren’t for the kids, even if they drive me mad!

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New Indian Recipes

On Sunday afternoon, I tried two recipes from Vegan Richa’s Indian Kitchen cookbook, which I purchased from Indigo a few weeks ago.

First, I tried to make Spiced Roasted Tofu and Vegetables, which uses a tandoori-like yogurt marinade*. It is then oven-baked (or grilled) to get the flavour into the tofu and vegeables. I didn’t end up making the dipping sauce, but the yogurt marinade itself was amazingly delicious and I found myself dipping everything into it!

Secondly, I made the Easy Curried Green Beans, which was fairly simple and fast. Both recipes turned out well and I must admit that the flavouring was quite spot on.

For now, I don’t think I’ll repeat either of the recipes. They were alright but I wasn’t in love with it. I’m just happy to find more recipes that require black salt because I had only ever had it on hand to make tofu scramble!**

It was a pretty chill evening, since I finally finished my Additional Qualification course last night (around 2 a.m.). J. and I ate our dinner while watching the first episode of WestWorld.

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*Ashamedly, I ended up unveganizing this because I didn’t have non-dairy yogurt on hand. 

**Black salt has a strong sulphurous smell. In Indian cooking, it can also be used to mimic an egg-like smell or create a sour taste in dishes.

WealthSimple ASP

Change my mind again, on the RSPs investments. I had mentioned last week I wanted to set up an ASP biweekly to match the paychecks. I’ve decided to contribute $333 off each paycheck towards my WealthSimple account, rather than into Tangerine Portfolios, which still has an MER of 1.07%.

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It’s sort of the funny, the more and more you talk and the more you think about this stuff, you realize how each decision prior could have been better made …

It’s a learning process!

Taking Steps Towards Budgeting

On Wednesday night, feeling restless and unable to sleep in the wee hours of the morning, I sat on the couch with my laptop and stumbled across Cait Flander’s Mindful Budgeting Planner ($40).

I recently heard about Cait through one of Jessica Moorhouse’s podcast and was also impressed with Cait’s articles, namely one on the privilege of financial advice; I’ve since admired her and have been following her on Twitter.

Even my personal definition of what minimalism means to me is a privilege. Being able to decide what adds value to your life and letting go of what doesn’t – how fortunate am I to be in the position to apply that to any area of my life!? If my diet is making me feel bad, I can walk into a grocery store and buy better food. If the work I do is leaving me unfulfilled, I can find other work. If I need/want to learn a new skill, I can take a class. The list goes on and on.

Since then, her blog has intrigued me.

And seeing her planner, I suddenly wanted it. At the moment, it felt a bit like a sleep-deprived impulse buy, but given the impeding changes coming up in 5 months, moving back south, I’m going to have to start budgeting … soon.

I’ve never really budgeted and hated doing so. I really just spend as much as I feel is necessary, occasionally buying a treat for myself (i.e. leggings, bath bombs). Even when I travel, I don’t budget.

Anyway, I ended up ordering the planner, which is printed on demand and then shipped in Canada. With the shipping charges, it was a bit steep at $58. I balked when I saw the price and nearly changed my mind, but the biggest draw for me is to have an online Facebook community where I can share thoughts and tips as I being using the planner.

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Other the past month, I’ve really been enjoying participating in Jessica Moorhouse’s Facebook group, Money. Life. Balance. and also got included in a recent group chat with some old high school friends on investing (I got roped in due to the posts I’ve been sharing on social media). It’s the social support that I need the most. I also occasionally bounce ideas with family and friends, but love the diversity of information that comes to me when I can connect with people of different backgrounds, situations and privileges.

Really looking forward to the planner. It should, hopefully, arrive here by next Friday. Fingers crossed!
 

Updated Koodo Plan

Made some changes to my cellphone plan with Koodo. I went from a $57 plan with 2 GB and unlimited text and call to a $60 plan with 4 GB with unlimited text but limited minutes (1000). The minutes aren’t a big deal, because I am nowhere even close to using 16 hours of talk time a month!

It’s the data that I have to fret about, because sometimes I need to use a website at work and end up tethering. Earlier this week, I actually ended up tethering and downloading 400 MB of video because I was trying to work on an assignment. That pitched me over the 2 GB mark easily, before month end, so I’ll be paying another $5 extra.

As it’s happened a couple of times in the past year, paying $3 more a month to ensure that doesn’t happen seems like a much better approach!

Siggghhh, thank goodness my online course will be over soon.

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Free Credit Score Check

This morning, since I woke up ridiculously early, I decided that I would finally get a credit score check. I hadn’t done one in more than a year – when Home Depot had a security breach and gave out free one-year Equifax reports – so I knew I was due for one.

I had found Borrowell, mentioned through Jessica Moorhouse’s podcast. It was pretty easy to register and really only took less than 10 minutes for the entire process. When I saw the number, I was super elated!!!

It’d only ever briefly had inched over 800 a few years ago when  and then was 797 and in in the 720s back in 2013. Woohoo! Pretty happy with this on a Monday morning!

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Places I’ve Traveled In the Past 5 Years

I love traveling, I won’t deny it. I was bitten with the travel bug early on and my parents took my sister and I traveling regularly as we were growing up. I remember that there were periods of our lives where we were going overseas every 2-3 years and taking car trips in between. It wasn’t until I went to university that I was grounded for 4 years … it sucked and I hated it.

Over the past 4 or 5 years, I’ve been grateful for being able to afford travel, since being fully employed. Here are the other places I’ve been to in the past 5 years:

2013

  • Portland, Oregon
  • Hawai’i, HI

2014

  • Turkey
  • Mumbai and Rajasthan, India
  • London, England (layover)

2015

  • Chicago, IL

 2016

  • Disneyworld, FL
  • Albany and New York City, NY
  • Jordan
  • Tel Aviv and Jerusalem, Israel
  • Palestinian Territories

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ABOVE:
Checking out one of the tombs in Petra, Jordan

Having said that, I know next year might be different. I might not be going oversea and due to the current political situation, going to the United States doesn’t even seem like such a good idea anymore (although that won’t stop me).

I’ve been happy that I can do trips without budgeting much (really, I don’t budget at all), but if I am going to save for a house, I will have to tighten the belt a bit more and figure out how to be a better budget traveler.

Yes, I might be downgrading a little, but I love my freedom and I love being able to see people, spend time with them and learn about the world. I’ll never give that up!

Net Worth – January 2017

I skipped the December net worth calculations. Doing it on a monthly basis is a lot of work, so I might switch over to every other month. The annoying think is that NetwordIQ won’t show you the percentage difference from your last entry if it does not have (GRRRR).

Having said all that, I don’t want to yet until I figure out how to yet automate a few bill and credit card payments, so that I forget!

Even with a very costly trip to Jordan and Israel over the holidays, things are good! That gives me a green light to start thinking of some more ambitious finance goals for 2017 …

More on that later!

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Starting ASPs for RSPs

I read Robert Brown’s Wealthing Like Rabbits, over the Christmas holidays. For a personal finance book, it was a really easy and quick read. I picked it up because it was recommended on Jessica Moorehouse’s podcast and I really like Brown’s interview.

One of the things I haven’t done in a while is set up RSP ASPs. I used to do this, but in the past few years, I’ve just been throwing chunks of it money once in a while, which is really just making more work for myself than i need.

Since reading the book, I’ve realized I need to restart an ASP at the same time as my biweekly paycheques come in, because it at least allows time for my investments to grow. If my contribution room is approximately $8000 (based on last year’s contribution room), then $8000 divided by 12 months, over two biweekly pay would be about $333. If I transfer it from my chequing account right away, then I also won’t be tempted to think I have lots of money to spend stupidly :/

Thank goodness for Tangerine though. It’s so easy to just click and make it happen!

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The only thing I don’t like about the ASP setting within Tangerine is that you can’t make them go to external accounts. I might give them a call to see if I could do this, because it would great to put it in my TD Canada account when I make my car and car insurance payments.