Wintery Updates

Just some financial updates:

Sirius XM: Canceled my annual subscription (~$250), since I moved back south.

TSFAs: As I’m not working every single day, and I still have a habit of eating out, cash flow is a bit tighter. For the second time in my life, I withdrew about one year’s worth of contributions from my TSFAs. I don’t feel particularly guilting for eating out with friends or on my own. If anything, I’m just focused on being good to myself and enjoying my life. I’ve lived for 4 years without being able to do this much.

RSPs: I cancelled my ASP transfers ($333/month) to Wealthsimple for the reasons stated above. Going to reassess what my finances look like this coming January. For now, I am depleting my TSFAs and not making that much, so putting RSP contributions on hold for a little bit.

Auto: Recently had to make a CAA service call, when my battery wouldn’t start on a cold morning. The battery itself is only 3 years old – on average, it should last 5 – but I believe living in the north, where it can be -30 C for many days at a time, wore it down a lot more quickly. I did get a DriveClean test today, since my vehicle is now just over 7 years old, and will be renewing my license stickers ($240).

Books: Just finished Roxane Gay’s memoir, Hunger, as I was inspired to read it after seeing her TED Talkafter seeing her TED Talk. This is definitely one of the best memoirs I have read (it’s not necessarily my favourite genre). Highly recommended. She really is a good writing and choosing words is quite the craft.

Desire Mapping: I’m still working on this Cody plan, that was put together by Danielle LaPorte. I put it down for about a month and am at the halfway mark right now, module 5. If you’re a Cody App member, you’ll know that everything is switching over to subscription ($20 USD/month*), since Alo Yoga bought out the company. You won’t be able to buy individual plans after December 2017.

Happy winter solstice!

*I’m paying a special rate of $10 USD/month as a long-time member. It’s been, what, 3 years?

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Winter Car Issues

Yesterday, my car wouldn’t start.

This sucked, considering I had stacked 5 full substitution jobs into my schedule this week, I had to call the school and make the cancellation at 7:30 am in the morning. Then I called CAA*.

Since I wasn’t on the road and just sitting at home, the wait was quite long. After 20 minutes, I hung up and went to do something else. Eventually I downloaded the CAA app. The initial wait time that was suggested was one hour, but as they can track your location and the type of job that you need (i.e. battery boost), they can prioritize you more efficiently. The wait time quickly dropped down to 20 minutes! Therefore, if you’re waiting for CAA, you should use the app! Don’t wait on the phone because there’s no way you can tell them what is happening. The app will get you help much more quickly.

The battery on the Honda CR-V is about 3 years old right now, but since it was used to having a block heater in Waskaganish, suddenly not having it plugged in this winter may be the reason it’s been struggling.

I ended up going to Canadian Tire after work and picking up NOCO’s Genius Boost Jump Starter ($125/USD or $155/CAD). This specific model is called the GB40 and delivers 1000 amps. NOCO products – a variety of them – have been popping up all over the shelves, since the technology for the battery jump starters have come a loooooong way. The old ones, which my ex had bought up north, were the size and weight of a large watermelon. You had to carry it with two arms and charge them every 3 months. If you forgot, too bad … now you have a paperweight!

The NOCO only needs to be charged, at minimum, once a year. The entire unit is about 2.5 pounds, fits into your purse or glove compartment. The jumper cables are beautiful quality and the whole package comes with a bag to hold it all. The unit even has an extremely strong double-headed flashlight on one side and can signal SOS.

Still don’t think it’s all that useful? You can even use it to charge your iPad or phone!

Overall, I’m really happy I picked this up. I’ll likely have to go in and get a battery check on the car** or perhaps a cable so that I can use the block heater in during cold mornings. And while I’m not much for Christmas presents these days, this would be a good one if you’ve got a friend or family member who’s on the road a lot.

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*I have the Plus membership, which is approximately $141 a year.
**Canadian Tire does battery checks for free if you bring it into the store. If it’s the garage, they’ll charge.

November Update

Lots of life updates. Here we go ….

Yoga Teacher Training: I won’t write so much here. I tend to microblog important notes on Cody, since that’s where other people discuss anatomy and yoga with me. Otherwise, this is the third weekend and it’s going well. The studio director, L., spoke with me privately yesterday. She knows that I have been feeling going through an emotional rough patch (still dealing with my break-up), but at the end of the night, she told me that she’s very glad to have me in the program and in Waterloo. It was really sweet and it meant a lot to me.

Also, can you spot which one I am?

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Accepting compliments: I used to struggle with accepting compliments and brush them off / deny / deflect. Over the years, as I spotted this behaviour, I worked on it. I am better at receiving them, which includes simply looking at the person who said it, smiling and saying thank you.

As I’d mentioned above, the director gave me a HUGE compliment last night. Today, I also got several compliments. 1) The (same) yoga director said that she liked my pineapple tank top, which was nice on a cloudy and dreary day, 2) a classmate that I ate lunch with said that I was smart, attractive and charming and lastly, 3) another peer said that my teaching instructions were spot on and that I was a natural at it! Internally, I can still have difficulty accepting these as truths, but I want to embrace that this means I am valued and worthy, which isn’t a feeling that’s consistent when you are living in a new place and still trying to make new friends.

Occasional Teaching: Hard to believe but I’ve already hit the minimum 20 days I need to apply for the LTO list next year. So far, I’ve worked about 30 days. I took this week off as a much needed mental health break. I only worked a 0.5 on Thursday. And that’s fine. No need to shame myself for taking a break.

Career options: On Friday, I went to EdTalent, which is an annual job conference held in Toronto by Apply to Education. I got a chance to say hello to the Cree School Board and chat with my friend, E., who is now a vice-principal. We gabbed for 15 minutes and it was really nice just to say hi to a friend. But I still have wanderlust that will never ever die, and after sticking around Canada for 5 years – yes, I did travel during the holidays – I still want to go somewhere. I spoke with a few UK agencies. They will do anything as short as one month but I was considering a 2-month term.

Reading: One of the optional books to read for Yoga Teacher Training, is The Gifts of ImperfectionBe compassionate with yourself, according to Brene Brown. As I’d mention above, shaming myself for taking a mental health break is not productive. I used to do it but I don’t anymore. Over the past 4 years while working in the north, I took days if I wasn’t physically sick but was emotionally overwhelmed and needed a recharge.

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Employment Insurance: I need to apply for EI for Christmas! My classmate, N., tipped me off as she also works for the same school board. She said you can often get more money from EI than a summer job.

Financing my car: I paid off my car in 52 months, instead of 5 years! This is 8 months ahead of schedule as I threw several years of tax returns at the balance. I am feeling very proud about this! It helps too as I’m not making very much money right now.

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Saying Bye to Mechanics

Just did a 1600 km round trip with my sister. We went to Val D’Or, Quebec to grab my old winter tires, get them swapped on and then drove the summer tires back. I said bye to some of my favourite mechanics and I was a bit sad. The people at Honda Val D’Or have been very good to me the past 4 years.

It was a good 3 day trip and it gave my sister and I a chance to catch up. We didn’t have any solo time together since the summer was so busy with relatives from Hong Kong and then I moved in September.

Feeling emotionally drained though, as I bumped into mutual friends and acquaintances during the trip. I ended up discussing and disclosing my break-up much more than I had intended, so I don’t plan on working much this week.

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YouTube Series: Vantage Credit Union

Was looking for information for a former student, who recently graduated. She is considering buying a brand new car.

In my humble opinion, especially for someone who does not have a high-paying full time job with lots of security is not to buy brand new. I was digging for information to comparing leasing versus financing and came across this super cute YouTube series from Vantage Credit Union. They are based out of Missouri, USA, but I found the explanations very captivating, succinct and informative. Check them out and pass it on if you know anyone looking for personal finance information:

Moving to Waterloo

Yesterday, I rented a cargo van from Discount for my move to Waterloo. This was my first time driving a cargo van, and while I was a bit nervous about a big vehicle, it was fine as I adjusted to it fairly quickly (also, everyone seems to move out of your way!). The coverage was:

  • 200 km inclusive, $0.20/additional km
  • Return with same amount of gas
  • Used my car insurance to cover for the rental

Altogether, the basic rental was $99.99 for a 24-hour period, returning the vehicle to the point of origin. I went over by 70 km, but since I had given them a bit more gas than there was to begin with, they didn’t charge me the extra mileage.

The move went fairly smooth. I asked a friend, B., to help me with the boxes. He was actually super helpful, because he was far more careful (and experienced) about packing the van than I was! I paid him with Indian food take-out – we had palak paneer, channa masala, basmati rice and some garlic naan ($19) and movie tickets to Dunkirk after we were done. I’d say that was a pretty good trade off to have a friend with the transition.

Weekend Update

Books: Re-reading an old James Herriot novel, All Creatures Great and Small. It’s probably been 18 years that I’ve read it. Just going back to some master story tellers. (Also, if you can’t tell, I’ve been obsessed with all things Brit lately.)

Car insurance: Been shopping around, as I am looking for a new insurance company for the start of July, when I move back to Ontario. I was paying far too much for Meloche Monnex, although I didn’t have much of a choice, since they were one of the few companies that would take me as a client (i.e. living in Quebec with Ontario plates). After talking to five companies, I believe my best bet is OTIP. It does pay to call around though; I got a $25 Amazon gift card from OTIP just for speaking with an agent and CAA also gave me $25 for chatting with them!

Roboadvisors:
 Finally transferred about $22,000 of RSPs out of Tangerine Investment Funds and over to another roboadvisor. There’s a nice spread of iShares and Vanguard ETFs. Will need to sit down and look through my asset allocation when I’ve got more time in the summer. Got a $50 bonus when I started the account since mentioning the referral from Jessica Moorhouse.

School Boards: All registered with my new school board, and getting calls for substitution on my cellphone (it took me a week to figure out how to turn it off until September). However, I am disappointed I did not get an interview with Ottawa-Carleton (OCDSB). Out of four other friends, only one person I knew got an interview for the OT list. I suppose I just try again next year … should I apply for Thames Valley? Will work on an application later this week.

Media: Podcasting as usual and enjoying BBC’s The Documentary. Also learned about Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) on the SickBoy podcast*. Taking a pause after finishing seasons 6 of Call the Midwives and switching over to AMC’s Humans. AHHHH!!! Great show to watch after HBO’s WestworldWatch the trailer:


*This is a Canadian podcast and it is tastefully done, not what you’d expect when the three hosts are three white dudes. What’s even cooler is that one of the hosts is my gym buddy’s brother-in-law!

Fixing a Blown Fuse

When I was in Kingston a couple of weeks ago, at the math conference, I picked up a nail in my rear right tire. I didn’t know this had happened yet, and only noticed that my tire was losing air.

Thankfully, I had a portable air compressor with me. J. and I bought this a couple of years ago. While it has been helpful in emergency situation, the problem with the compressor is that it actually blows the fuse on the cigarette lighter charger!!! I didn’t have a pair of pliers on hand – the little things are tricky to pull out – so I finally managed to fix this today*.

Nice way to spend my Victoria Day. Wrapping up some loose ends and chores at home, plus some of season 6 of Call the Midwives.

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*The other barrier was not knowing which fuse it was. The numbers on the interior fuse box vary between different years of Honda CRVs.

Honda Finance Car Loan

Thought hard about what I would do with my federal tax return and decided to put it towards my Honda CRV. Just recently, I sent off $2000 to Honda Finance. That means I only have a bit more than $2000 left on my 5-year term.

At this time, I’m still waiting for some travel expenses back … I haven’t fully decide yet, but I might actually just pay off the last $2000 before the beginning of July and just get rid of that debt! If so, then I would have paid it all off within 4 years.

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