Thanks everyone for taking so much time to respond in detail. I have a LOT of reading to do (thank god I love research).
The past year has been a big adjustment for me. Last May I signed the contract, anticipated a significantly higher salary, and purchased a condo July 3 (just hit my anniversary). My old monthly expenditures for rent (with roommates) and utilities was about $850. I never used to have a credit card balance (just used it for points) and paid it off every two weeks.
Up until last July I had been saving $600/month. I used the majority of my savings/retirement fund for the down payment. I currently have $5,000 in a TFSA (tax free savings account). I think my largest problem is my expenditures have increased dramatically, without the corresponding pay increase that I was expecting. My work noticed they had “overpaid” me in August, and “generously” did not make me pay back the commission bonus they had paid me for the first three months when they had me on the wrong contract.
The $2,000 work money coming in next paycheque is because my contract finished April 30. I’m still working here, and they have given me a raise, and as part of our negotiations arranged to back date it (I wanted to discuss salary before my contract ended, but the partners were on holiday/had spring break with kids, etc.).
I do not have a work pension/RRSP (401k I think it is in US?). So right now I have some equity in my home and $5,000 in savings. I met with a financial planner and discussed automatic withdrawals from my account to investments every paycheque. We are going to start this as soon as a I pay the credit card off, and that is my #1 priority.
I am going to put the $2,000 from work and the $420 from my friends immediately towards the credit card. I looked at August. I think it would be a great time to try the “no spend” month. I am signed up for a women’s technique rock climbing course, so that knocks off one night a week, and my only large expenditure will be a $300 gift for a friend’s wedding (me and my SO).
I am going to take some time early next week (unfortunately commitments the rest of this week and the weekend) to put my spending in an excel spreadsheet to at least give me an idea. I like the idea of keeping receipts though and tracking it that way. When I see Costco $400 I don’t know if I’ve bought a ton of produce and frozen it, or if I bought fancy lightbulbs that I probably didn’t need (guilty of this).
I stopped at the grocery store on the way to work this morning, and bought a bunch of frozen lunches. I know it isn’t ideal health wise, but probably no worse than the fast food I’m eating right now. I’m out of town the next two weekends and won’t have time to meal prep. I also bought some snacks, which will hopefully keep me from constantly being in the extortionate convenience store.
PP had questions about debts:
Student Loans: $93,808
I will re-post about the horrifying amoutn I spend on useless things once I go through my credit card next week.