Frugal Dividend Investing Saving Personal Finance Blog Canada Winnipeg Jordan Maas

A Man’s Gotta Eat! Cheap Frozen Lunch Edition.

I am not your typical “frugal” blogger.  My retirement/saving plan has never been extreme frugality, or sacrificing everything you enjoy for a few years to ensure early retirement.  My philosophy has always been – life is short – enjoy as much as you can afford to – but make sure you always pay yourself first to ensure you don’t HAVE to work forever.

This brings me to today’s post. Although I still spend way too much at restaurants, bars, and on entertainment – one area I have actually done a good job cutting back my spending over the past year is by bringing lunches to work 4 days a week.  For about 8 years straight, I would go out for lunch every single day.  Aside from the cost savings – I have found that there are actually some pretty enjoyable frozen lunches that are easy to make/cheap.  I figured I’d use today’s post to showcase a few of my favourite frozen/ready made lunches and see if anyone else has any suggestions.  I will not be including sandwiches – because most mornings I am too lazy/rushed to make them and I wanted to keep it fair across the board.  So without further Ado….

My top 4 Value Frozen lunches.

 

 1- Stouffers Bistro Crustini Meatball MozzerelaValue Investing Dividends Frugal Blog Personal Finance

So far my personal favourite.  This one can be found on sale at Walmart or Superstore for $1.88.  It includes two crustini’s and is fairly filling.  What makes it great is the sauce & the crust.  I’ve also tried the Turkey Bacon Club – and although still pretty good – does not compare to this one.

2 – Swanson’s Fried Chicken

Swanson Frugal Dividend Investing Blog

I’ll be the first to admit, I always though these TV dinners would be gross – but I never actually tried them.  I decided to give these a shot about a month ago because they were on clearance.  I was able to find them for $2.00 each so I tried a few different varieties.  So far I have tried the Turkey Dinner, Fried Chicken & Stuffed Turkey.  While all of them were actually surprisingly good – the Fried Chicken one was the best.  This chicken is somehow tastier than KFC/Chicken Delight.  These meals are also nice, because unlike a pizza pop or something – you get a bit of vegetables (usually corn or beans).  When on sale – you can’t go wrong for $2-3 each.  Another great thing about these compared to pizza pockets, crustinis, etc is they are more filling.  The brownie/apple or cranberry treats are never really great – but the rest of the meal makes up for it.

3- El Monterey Chimichanga

Chimichanga

 

These things are GOOD!  Even better if you have some sour cream/Salsa or hot sauce around.  I don’t get these as much as the others for the simple fact I don’t have my Costco membership anymore and that seemed to be where I could always find them.  I plan on renewing my membership soon, so I’ll probably be chowing down on some of these bad boys again in the coming months.

4- No Name Pizza Pockets

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If you like Pizza Pops but have never tried these – you are missing out.  The pepperoni one is my favourite, and these no name brand pockets are better than any other pizza pocket/pop I’ve tried.  You can get 8 of them for 4 bucks – which for me works out to $2.00 per meal.  I find the dough and sauce to be better than a Pilsbury Pizza Pocket.  The only downside with these (for me) is that they sometimes wont fill me up. These pair great with some potato chips or jalapeno cheezies!
I am always looking for new quick and easy lunches to try, and if they are on sale or cheap even better.  If you have any suggestions on others to try – let me know!

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Well that was easy…How a 1 hour bank appointment will save me over $20,000

On Friday I had an appointment at the bank, it last just over an hour – and it will easily result in savings over over $20,000 over the next 10 years (or less).

How is this possible?  It’s actually a lot simpler than you would think.  All I did was follow through on one of my goals for this year.  I finally decided to transfer my high cost RBC mutual funds to my direct investing account.

At the time of transfer I had the following 2 funds:

RBC GLOBAL DIVIDEND GROWTH FUND

RBC CANADIAN EQUITY INCOME FUND

The RBC Global Dividend Growth Fund was my very first Mutual Fund I ever purchased.  I’ve owned this fund for over 10 years.  This fund has been pretty terrible for me (10 year return of 5.3%) AND has really high fees (2.14%).  Truth be told I’ve been unhappy with this fund for years, but just kept putting off doing something about it.  Now that I am taking things more seriously, and have this website to hold me accountable I finally did something about it.  I plan on replacing this fund with an International/Global ETF.  I am currently trying to decide which low cost fund to replace this with.  So far I am leaning towards one of the funds below- although I plan to do some more research this week:

VANGUARD FTSE GLOBAL ALL CAP EX CANADA INDEX ETF (0.27% MER)

ISHARES CORE MSCI ALL COUNTRY WORLD EX CANADA INDEX ETF (0.22% MER)

Even if I end up choosing the Vanguard fund with a slightly higher MER – I would be paying 1.87% less per year in fees than I currently am.  With my current portfolio amount this would result in yearly savings of  $1215.50.  This savings amount would continue to increase each year as my portfolio increases – but even if we assume I don’t contribute to this account ever again, and it returns 0% for the next 10 years, that means in 10 years I will have saved $12,155.00.  The crazy thing is that this ETF outperformed my high cost mutual fund by close to 4% over the last 3 years as well so not only will I be saving money in fees each year, I should be getting a better return as well.

Truth be told, even with the high MER (1.92%) – I’ve been really happy with the Canadian Equity Income Fund.  It has a 10 year annualized return of 10.4%, and currently pays me a monthly dividend of over $200.  I did a little bit of research and found out that RBC offers Series “D” funds for people who use direct investing.  This is the exact same fund – but with a lower MER.  I decided to transfer this fund to a series D fund rather than liquidate my position.  This will reduce the MER from 1.92 to 1.04.  This is a reduction of 0.88% per year. Based on my current shares this will save me: $572 this year (and even more every following year as my portfolio increases).  Even if I never put another cent into this fund – and it returned 0% for the next 10 years – this would result in savings of $5720 over the next 10 years.

While I was at the bank I also finally set up an RESP for my kids and increased my spousal RRSP contributions by $100 every 2 weeks.  I normally hate these appointments – but I’d say that was a pretty good use of an hour.

If anyone has any recommendations on any low cost global/international ETF’s I’d love to hear them so I can research them this week.  Thanks in advance!

Jordan Maas Winnipeg Canada Financial Blogger Dividends

Tracking My Spending For 30 Days

Hi,  My name is Jordan and I have a drinking  spending problem.

I have never been one for tracking expenses but I decided it would be a fun idea for a blog post and the results were downright depressing.  I decided to use the last 30 days (May 25-June 25) for my research.

There were a few “one off” expenses for this month (Hot Water tank needed to be fixed at cabin, we opened up the cabin so had to do our annual big shop, and a good friend had a bachelor party & wedding).

Here is everything that came out of my account in the last 30 days:
30 Day Spending Tracker

 

 

The Good:

  • Got my tax return back and used that to pay down Line of Credit & Pay off Visa
  • Was still able to invest $950.00 (not including the amount I invest through my work plan)
  • Lots of room to trim non essential expenses
  • My “essential” expenses are under control
  • Cell Phone & Internet will be reimbursed by my work
  • Will get money from Massages back from my insurance provider.

 

The Bad:

  • Paid $178 in interest on Line of Credit
  • Cable bill still seems high even after cutting out Sportsnet World ($137.44)

The Ugly:

  • $23.00 in Bank/Interac Fees
  • $277.50 in lunches/beers (not including wedding or bachelor party)
  • I’m an idiot and turned the break on at cabin before filling hot water tank which resulted in 2 elements needing to be replaced : $587.60

Summary:

Total money out of my account(s) in last 30 days: $7926.44
One off expenses(Bachelor Party, Cabin & Wedding): $1353.69
Essential spending: $1881.87

Since one of my goals is to have my Line of Credit completely paid off by the end of the year I expect each month the expenses out of my account will be fairly high until the debt is eliminated.  I was able to pay off my credit card in full as well as reduce my Line of Credit balance by 5%.  In the next 30 days I plan to pay down another 10% of the total L.O.C balance (potentially more if I start selling some of my Jets tickets this month).

Aside from my regular contributions (Mutual Funds & Work Funds) I don’t see myself being able to invest in anything for the next few months until I have paid off my line of credit.  This upsets me – so I am going to try and supersize my savings and ATTEMPT to be as frugal as I can without going crazy for the next 30 days.  I will post my results next month to see if I was successful.  Wish me luck.