How my brother and I lifehacked Christmas

How my brother and I lifehacked Christmas

Lifehack Christmas - From Rags to Reasonable

Does anyone else find adult gift giving kind of crazy?

Every year I’m asking the people in my life what they’d like for Christmas and it’s always: “I don’t really need anything”, or “I don’t know”.

And that’s how I feel, too.

But I’m still going to buy them something, because… I don’t know… it’s what we do, and it feels super mean to just give up the tradition. Plus, giving gifts is fun! Right? (more…)

How my business ate my money in 2015

How my business ate my money in 2015

business spending in 2015

Reflection abounds in December, and I sure haven’t been spared from it. Over the last few weeks I’ve broken down my favourite ways to save in 2015, and all the many ways I spent my take home pay.

Today I’m breaking down my business investment. That’s a much fancier way to talk about how I spent money on my (now) two business ventures: singing, and this whole financial thing.

And just like I did in the breakdown of my personal spending, I’ll use my handy dandy YNAB charts to show you exactly where the money went this year!

A few things first:

  1. This is my spending, not my income. Sometimes income gets squirrelled away for next year’s spending, and sometimes money gets spent from a previous year’s savings. There are lots of ways to look at that, but today we’re just looking at what went out the door. Pure spending.
  2. Just because these are in my business budget doesn’t mean that they’re all taxable business expenses. I sort things in a way that makes sense for me (and I still keep finding things that don’t quite make sense in the macro sense). This isn’t a list of deductions… just spending.
  3.  Sorry, no real numbers. I mentioned in my personal spending breakdown that I’m still trying to figure out the whole share-your-real-numbers thing and whether or not it’s useful. But for now, it’s all shown in percentages… if you really want to figure out how much money I make and spend I guarantee you can read all my posts and piece it together, but I don’t think that sounds like a fun use of time.

Okay! Let’s dive in!! (more…)

5 things I’m doing to get ready for 2016

5 things I’m doing to get ready for 2016

5 things for 2016 - From Rags to Reasonable

It usually happens around December 5th.  Something in my brain clicks over and I start to defer every thing I need to do to ‘next year’.

Even though I’ve got weeks left in this year… my brain has thrown in the towel.

Don’t pretend that you don’t know how it feels. It feels like there’s no reason to invest in big change. No reason to start something new. No reason to even do some of those little things that I’ve been putting off for most of the year.

I’ve pretty much decided that 2015 is over.

Which is a little crazy.

December is a weird month

I usually end up spending a big chunk of December back on the homestead (in good ole Winnipeg, Manitoba). It’s great to see friends and family, but it’s always weird to be tossed out of my routine for a few weeks. It’s a new place, it’s harder to get work done, there are so many events related to the holidays, so many people to see. It’s easy to decide any personal progress must wait!

There are just a lot of distractions in December.

But riddle me this…

Are those distractions really the reason I’m not doing any work or have I just decided that I don’t want to?

There are some December distractions that only happen once a year and I’m so grateful for them. Coffee with friends I barely see, moments with family, and even a few real minutes of the kind of absolute rest that everyone deserves after a long year.

But if I’m honest with myself, there’s still a lot of time that I spend wasting and making excuses. So here’s what I’m thinking… (more…)

Where did I spend my money in 2015

Where did I spend my money in 2015

It’s hard to work in December, so I’m throwing in the towel on starting new projects. What I’m going to do instead is talk a little bit about the last year.

One of the coolest things about budgeting consistently is that at the end of the year you can take a look back at how you spent your money. It’s like a financial scrapbook, and if you’re budgeting in YNAB they even make the reports pretty and shaped like pies… so, double plus!!

So I’m going to break it down for you guys.. where my money went and how I feel about that.. but first, here are a few provisos (#fancyword).

  1. I’m not going to use exact figures. This isn’t just because I’m not entirely sure how I feel about sharing my numbers online yet (it’s kind of a weird thing to think about), but because I think that exact numbers can be misleading.
    I can spend 3000 dollars a month on rent and have that be a completely reasonable expense if I’m making six figures, but that sounds insane to someone who’s making just above the poverty line. A number means something different to everyone.
    Instead, I’m going to use percentages of total income.  That shows where the big chunks are going, and where my financial priorities are.
  2. This is not a clear representation of all my spending. I’m going to start with just my personal side, so there’s no business stuff in here. One of the things that I separate between business and pleasure is food costs. When I’m on a gig it’s a business cost, when I’m not it’s usually a personal cost. So my food costs on the personal side of my record keeping are way lower than they actually are in total, because sometimes food is a business cost.
    There are a few things like that… I’m not trying to trick you, or show false date… it’s just the way I order things.
  3. This is just my spending. Not my income. Seems like they should be related, and they are, but a bunch of my spending (particularly the dental costs) came from previous savings… not from income I made in 2015. These charts just talk about how I spent all the money that I spent this year.

What I’m trying to show is how I order my spending, and what kinds of things I’ve chosen to invest in (ya… it all counts as investing). (more…)

The one where all my stuff broke

The one where all my stuff broke

The one when all my stuff broke

Risk proof your life they said…

It’ll be great they said…

If things go wrong you’ll be peach keen financially they said…

The problem is sometimes something goes wrong, and other times lots of things go wrong… all at once… right before Christmas.

This has been my last few weeks. (more…)



The Mortgage Files Part 7

** This is part 7 of a longer story. If you want to understand what’s going on I recommend starting with PART ONE (which is packed full of intensely awesome action), but if understanding isn’t a priority… by all means… read on!**

So here we are. The last chapter of the story, and I’m not going to lie to you… you won’t like the ending.

It’s not a complete cop out… I promise you it hasn’t ‘all been a dream’. It really happened.

In fact… it’s still happening.

Yup, our five day financing clause has become (after 2 extensions given by an extremely gracious seller) a 15 day financing clause. And although we’re close to having to make a final decision I won’t pretend like I know exactly how it’s all going to end.

So there won’t be a satisfying, conclusive ending today. But, let’s be honest, if you thought an ‘X files’ themed mortgage story was going to have a conclusive ending… I kind of feel like that’s on you.

Coming away a little richer

Even though it’s up in the air whether we will add to our net worth, we have definitely added to our store of knowledge. The entire process has been a series of lessons. So here are a few of the things that I’ll definitely be walking away with… (more…)