Negative Numbers, Positive Outlook

I suppose if I’m going to write about paying down debt, and saving money while trying to cut back on unnecessary or wasteful expenses, I should probably clarify what I mean by teeny means. That probably means different things to different people.

Because Joe recently put a lot of his own money into a new business, his debts are more substantial than my own. He also has car payments, and is indebted to his mother for university. My debts are considerably smaller. I graduated in 2013 with ~$20,000 in student loans ($14,000 federal, $6,000 provincial), plus $18,000 owed to my amazing dad who paid off my student credit line the day after I graduated. The $20,000 from the government was only for 2 school years, while I was doing my Masters. They refused to give me loans for my RD credentialing because it was a diploma program, so I had to open a credit line for that year.

By working 2-3 jobs at any given time from 2013-2016, I managed to stay in the same ancient apartment (that I adore) downtown, pay those government loans down to $3,900 (federal, 5.2% interest) and $4,500 (provincial, interest-free), save enough to go backpacking with my best friend in May 2016 through Iceland, Sweden, Norway and Denmark, and somehow never fall behind on bills. I also am not a big shopper, I lived by myself those 3 years, so groceries were cheap, and I was too busy making money to spend it anyway!

Joe on the other hand, managed a cafe chain for a few years in that time, and made decent money which he saved by eating rice and beans every day (he’s a man of discipline… I would never be able to do that)! He also had money saved by selling his house in Ottawa when he moved to Halifax, and renting a cheap apartment here instead. He put all of that savings into his business, and only then did he rely on credit lines and credit cards.

Together, for now, we’re bringing in about $4-5,000 per month, depending how many extra assignments I can get, and our bills add up to about $3000 (mine are about 1/3 of it, as he has car payments and higher minimum debt payments).

So really, we’re not doing too bad. It just looks really daunting whenever we look at how much we owe vs how much we earn vs how much we need to save.

It’s hard not to stare too hard at the huge mountain looming ahead, but we have to focus on each step, each month as it comes. We look at money left over after bills, interest payments, etc. and move most of that into our highest-interest debts, and a little into our savings.

It is of course, very tempting to put it ALL into our Europe Trip Fund, but we both know it will feel soooooooo good to see each debt paid off in full!

Oh. I got tingles.


5 thoughts on “Negative Numbers, Positive Outlook

  1. broadsideblog says:

    You both look like you’re doing well. Good for you!

    Half the battle is making sure you share values and set goals you STICK to.

    My dream has always been to retire — to not have to work all the bloody time. Living in NY means (yes) we now pay $1800 a month for health insurance (more than our mortgage) so saving is impossible now, even with a combined income of almost $100,000 U.S. We drive an old car and live in a 1 bdrm and have no kids or pets.

    You have to set priorities; we could dump the health insurance but I have no interest in medical bankruptcy, very easy here if you need lengthy hospitalizations, treatment or surgeries.

    Luckily, we do have enough saved (plus social security and a pension) to be able to retire. I look forward to that, praying for good health to enjoy it!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Gina says:

      I have no idea how Americans deal with no health care… it’s terrifying. If I break my leg, it’s covered. If I need stitches, there’s no cost. Basically anything considered necessary is covered nationwide. The only things we have to pay for out-of-pocket, unless we have extra insurance through work (which for me is ~$80/month), are dental bills, prescriptions and vision care. That being said, our taxes are significantly higher than yours but man, it’s worth it for the peace of mind!!! :/

      As for Joe and I, we do indeed have many shared dreams and values, and we both are very smart when it comes to money, interest, investing, etc. I think we’ll be ok! 🙂


      • broadsideblog says:

        I grew up in Canada to age of 30, when I moved to the U.S.

        Most Americans need/keep a FT staff job because they get subsidized health insurance through their employer — it is FT freelancers who have to pay market rates and they are exorbitant because the health insurance lobby is very powerful and millions of $$$$$ are depending on status quo.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Gina says:

        I went a few years after graduating without any additional insurance, which really hit home when I got a few cavities! I’m very thankful for my full-time job now! Even better will be when Joe’s business makes enough that he can afford to get group insurance for his staff OR when we’re legally recognized as a couple and he can join mine (whichever comes first). For now, he flosses and brushes really well! 😛


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