Renewing my mortgage without consumer debt for the first time

When my mortgage was last up for renewal, my credit score was in the low 600s and I had $43K in consumer debt and owed $20K to the CRA. I decided to stick to my existing lender since I figured nobody would give me a good rate. My rate was 4.1% for a 3 year term. This is horrible considering the Prime Rate was the lowest it had been in years.

Fast forward three years and a credit score in the high 700s (Equifax) and low 800s (TransUnion). My credit report doesn’t even reflect that I’m debt free yet but that didn’t matter. I was ready to find a new lender to renew my mortgage with and give the double finger to my existing one.

The first step was to gather all my documents which consisted of:
● Two years of Notice of Assessments
● Property Assessment & proof that Property Taxes are up to date
● Condo docs (Bylaws and two years of Meeting Minutes)
● Recent pay stubs
● Letter of Employment

I met with my mortgage broker who is wonderful and handed off the documents. Our family has dealt with her mom and her for years.. I told her I was looking for a 3 or 4 year term. She said she would, of course, look for the best rate for me.

In the meantime, I received my mortgage renewal notice from my existing lender and laughed my ass off! The rates were atrocious:
6 month open: 7.00%
1 year closed: 5.99%
3 year closed: 4.99%
5 year closed: 3.74%

I also noticed my TransUnion credit score went down 15 points. I get weekly updates through my Capital One credit card. I didn’t panic since I knew she’d be taking a hard credit check as opposed to a soft one.

Within one week, my broker contacted me and said she secured a 4 year term at 2.99%. Yay! I met with her the following day to sign my mortgage commitment which basically states the conditions of the mortgage and that they’d pay out my existing lender. I also had to gather a few more documents for her, one of which I had to pay $199 for. Grr. She also got me to sign a document that I was aware that she will make about $1500 from the lender for going through her. Of course, that was fine with me.

My mortgage payment will be dropping to $880.75 per month which frees up more than $100 per month for saving. I highly recommend using a mortgage broker when buying a house or renewing your mortgage. Don’t blindly agree to what your existing lender offers you unless you have no choice. Mortgage brokers will get the best rate for you and take the stress off of buying a house or renewing a mortgage.


We eloped in the mountains. Here’s how much we spent.

I never wanted to marry The Ex and I confused that with not wanting to get married at all. Then I met my now husband. We are both simple, frugal people and are on the same page about weddings in that we don’t want a big one or one at all. That’s why we eloped.

It was a ceremony involving us, the marriage officiant and a paid witness and our photographer. We wanted to get married in a picturesque location so we could show pictures to our family and friends. Finding a marriage officiant that would hike out to the location we wanted was a bit tricky. Finding a destination photographer was easier. I know we could have done it for way cheaper had we stayed in our home city but we wanted something truly memorable and great pictures we could give to our parents. A city elopement would have been way cheaper but the pictures wouldn’t have been as jaw dropping.

Actual cost $3823:
$105+15 = $120
Makeup+lash extensions: $30+160 = $190
Kilt+shirt/tie+tailor: $577+45+105 = $727
Wedding bands: $212
Wedding officiant: $652 (pricey because of the travel time and there’s a 15 min hike to our location. Also includes witness fee.)
Photographer: $1360
Hotel (2 nights): $334
Wedding license: $103
Dinner: $125

I chuckle when I see how much my dress was compared to my husband’s kilt but now he can wear it to special occasions… or just around the house for me. Haha! Yes, I know I spent $160 on lash extensions but to me it was worth it. I’m Asian so I have short lashes and I can’t put on strip lashes for the life of me. I wanted to look good on my wedding day and lash extensions really helped me feel like a queen. #noregrets

The process of getting married was exhausting! Who knew? I spent the first half of the week packing and making sure I got everything on my list. I’m normally a very light packer so this drove me nuts. I had to bring all my full-sized hair and skincare products, makeup, makeup brushes, etc.

The second half of the week was spent driving there and finding the precise location for the ceremony. The instructions that I found on a trail website were so vague. It was as if they didn’t want us to find this treasure but once we did, I could totally understand why they were so vague. I did my own hair and makeup which thankfully, turned out well.

We are very happy that we chose to elope instead of having a full-blown wedding. It felt so intimate and we felt so happy and at peace in the mountains. Most of all, we have a memory to share that is truly ours.


July 2018 Goals

  • We got married last week and I went into a wee bit of debt after becoming debt free. My goal is to clear this debt.
  • Continue intermittent fasting (16/8) 6 days a week. This method has helped me lose some belly weight.
  • Purge closet again. I feel I have too much clothing again although my husband says I don’t at all.
  • Get rid of uncomfortable shoes. I was going to wear these sexy, gold heels to dinner after we got married but my feet said NOPE! I decided then and there that I am finished with uncomfortable shoes.
  • Work out 20 days of the month
  • 15 no spend days

June 2018 Goals Review

  • Pay off remaining consumer debt and finally be debt free! Pass!
  • Workout 20 times Fail! I worked out 16 times
  • 15 no spend days Fail! I had 12 no spend days but I did get married last week so was extra spendy
  • Contact my mortgage broker to renew mortgage. I can’t wait for this because my credit score is finally decent! Pass! My mortgage was approved and I have to set up an appointment to sign my mortgage commitment
  • Figure out how much to allocate towards RRSP and savings. I have no fucking clue what to do with this extra money I’ll be saving every month. Do I aim for early retirement or aggressively save for a house down payment? Or balance both? Pass! I settled on $500/month for RRSP and will hold the extra cash to “feel rich” then dump it into RRSPs whenever I see fit

I’m finally consumer DEBT FREE & can now save 50% of my income but still feel poor!

I became consumer debt free last Friday due to it being a three paycheque month (I get paid bi-weekly). While I am absolutely ecstatic, I still feel poor. I still feel like I am in debt and need to be in austerity mode. I think it is due to being in debt for about 10 years. This is something I know I need to work on.

Now that I am consumer debt free (still have my pesky mortgage so not completely debt free), I can allocate half of my paycheque to savings which is about $2,100 per month. One thing I’m struggling with is how much to save for retirement and savings (house down payment, TFSA, etc.). I don’t get a company pension anymore or RRSP matching so this is all up to me. I read articles saying you should save 10% of gross income and other articles that say 10% of net income. Can you see why I was confused as to what to do?

I was planning on saving $1000/month for RRSPs to aim for early retirement at 55 but then I realized I am now part of a team. I will soon have a husband to help out with retirement savings and I also have CPP and OAS benefits to rely on in retirement. So I’ve decided to halve that amount to $500/month for now and see what happens. Part of me worries if I don’t put $1000/month away for retirement that I’ll end up spending the money.  I’ve been obsessively plugging in numbers for different scenarios on the Canadian Retirement Income Calculator and $500/month seems like a good place to start for now given that I have under $100K in my RRSP/LIRA already.

What am I going to do with the rest of my money? I’ve decided to start paying back my family. While I am consumer debt free, I am not technically debt free. I still owe them for lending me money to make stupid decisions with The Ex. My plan was to give them the proceeds from the sale of my condo but I won’t be selling for 3-4 years. In the meantime, I’ll be paying them $500/month. I’ll be saving the remaining $1100/month in a high interest savings account such as EQ Bank. I can always give my family or RRSP a lump sum payment whenever I feel comfortable.

These saving streams are just new “payments” to me and that’s why I still feel poor. Don’t get me wrong. I am extremely happy to be in this situation now. I have never had an opportunity to save this much money before and it’s all new to me. I am so excited to learn so much more and am looking forward to what the future holds!

June 2018 Goals

This month is exciting for me because I’m getting married at the end of the month. It’s also the month where I will finally be consumer debt free since it’s a three paycheque month! I thought this day would never come! Now onto this month’s goals:

  • Pay off remaining consumer debt and finally be debt free!
  • Workout 20 times
  • 15 no spend days
  • Contact my mortgage broker to renew mortgage. I can’t wait for this because my credit score is finally decent!
  • Figure out how much to allocate towards RRSP and savings. I have no fucking clue what to do with this extra money I’ll be saving every month. Do I aim for early retirement or aggressively save for a house down payment? Or balance both?

May 2018 Goals Review

  • 21 no spend days Fail! I only had 13 no spend days. I didn’t even try to achieve this goal this month.
  • Work out 20 days Fail! So close! I worked out 19 days.
  • Fit into wedding dress better. I’ve been indulging in too much fried chicken. Pass! I’ve always fit in it but wanted it to fit better without having to do alterations.
  • Get accepted into health care program I applied to Fail! Literally got word 1 min after posting that I didn’t get in.
  • Bring down line of credit by $1500 Fail! I paid off a credit card that I used to book wedding stuff with
  • Stick to $180 budget for gas and restaurant Fail! Gas prices went up so it costs me more than ever to fill up plus it was my fiancé‘s birthday and we went out for a nice dinner. I’ll need to adjust this goal.

Man, that’s a lot of red. Oh well. Onto the next month. Next month will be exciting because we’re eloping!