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March 2019 – Income, Expenses & Goals

Last month, I thought maybe March would be perfect all around, it wasn’t! My dividend income wasn’t as good as last year for the same period and the cash flow for my rentals was negative (again!). But it was still an awesome month because of some amazing moments I got to experience with my new volunteer work. Check out my latest monthly money report for all the details: March 2019 – Income, Expenses & Goals.

Highlights – Life & Money

  • We started the month by taking a little trip to Waterloo University so my son could do a “shadow day”. It’s almost 6 hours of driving from Ottawa! He spent the day following a student to see what life on campus would be like and attended some of the classes. Apparently girls there are pretty! (And I drove how many hours!?)
  • Went on a balloon ride for $10 at Park Omega!
  • By the end of March, my son received three acceptance letters, one of them was from Waterloo University! His top choice. He is so happy (and a little scared too). We were so worried after the one rejection letter last month. And me? I am in shock, my baby is going away ๐Ÿ™ And also because his tuition is going to be $18,500 plus books and residence! On line calculator estimate: $30,000/year! In Canada! Not the same as my daughters (related post: (Why I don’t pay for my kids education, even with an RESP! ) . I guess I better come up with a new and improved plan soon.
  • A good dividend month but a slight decrease compared to last year.
  • Dryer broke down at one of my rentals, and I finally checked the mold problem in their bathroom.
  • I started volunteering!
Pretty cool!


Monthly FI (Financial Independence) Income Summary:

Dividend & Interest Income: $1,221

My dividend income in March was $1,221! Not a bad amount but a decrease of 1.5% over last year. A pattern to expect for the rest of the year due to Corus Entertainment Inc.(CRJ-B.TO) and Crescent Point Energy Corp. (CPG.TO) drop in dividend payments.

If you want to find out which stocks/ETFs I received income from, check out my Monthly Dividend Income Page Here.

Stock/ETF Purchases this month:

I bought more ZDV – BMO Canadian Dividend ETF. I am hoping it is going to help me achieve my dividend income goal.

Rental Income: $687 – Cash Income: ($676)

Rental income from my three rental units, all condos. You can read more info on my units here.

What Happened In The World Of Condo Rentals?

# 1 Condo –  Nothing to report in condo #1. It is the unit where I had the tenants from hell so I am enjoying the break while it last. (Related Post: Landlord’s Nightmare? Tenants From Hell!)

# 2 Condo โ€“ So far the new tenant is working out great and I am getting $100 extra a month in rent. She sent me a few texts with questions but nothing major. I did receive and paid the contractor’s invoice for the work done last month. He was way overpriced, I won’t use him again. It is so hard to find a good handyman. Mine was in Florida for the winter, I hope he is not going to retire anytime soon! Cost: $959.85

#3 Condo โ€“ Their rent is going up on April 1stโ€Œ by 1.8% (as per Ontario’s Guideline) and they paid their outstanding balance.

The dryer at the unit died (as per my tenant). I was going to order a new one but then I thought I should get my (appliance) repair man to check it out first. he charges around $30 to go and check, that’s a good investment if he can fix it, and he did! Total was $136.16, much cheaper than a new dryer and I didn’t have to go to the unit.

Then I finally checked the mold in their bathroom. I met with a contractor and he told me he had to come back to check the attic as it seems that the issue was with vents and insulation. That’s when I love condos! I contacted the condo corporation right away since roof, vents and anything in the attic is usually their responsibility. They sent an engineer (I had to be there too) who confirmed it was the condo’s responsibility. So now it’s in their hands, they are a little slow to get back to me about fixing the issue but I am just glad I don’t have to spend any extra money.

I also bought a little baby outfit ($10) to give my tenant when I was there. She is expecting a fourth child shortly! They drive me crazy but they are really nice people.

Estimated time spent on rentals in March is around 5 hours – Met the contractor and then the engineer, both at the condo, for a total of about 3 hours. I usually try to do it on my way to or from work so I don’t waste any time. Lots of text, calls and emails that may have added up to a couple of hours maximum over the month.

My hourly rate (includes principal repayment)

  • March: $137/hour
  • Year To Date: $189/hour (approx. 19 hrs to date)

Related post: To Be A Landlord Or Not To Be!

Side Hustle/Other Income:

  • I received $8.75 from Ebates! It was the savings from my Christmas shopping. I don’t shop online very often, but when I do, I try to remember to activate the Ebates button. If you didn’t sign up for Ebates yet, you should consider it. It doesn’t cost anything and you may receive a cheque once in a while depending on your purchase habits! If you click one of the following links to register, we may both be eligible for a little extra cash (offers vary)! Ebates.com or Ebates.ca (The offers are only valid if you sign up and complete the qualifying purchase during the Offer Period).
8.75!! Woohoo๐Ÿ™‚ Source: Giphy.com

EXPENSES – $2,918

See where it all started and why I keep track of my expenses at Monthly Money Reports

Tip: Update your spreadsheets regularly.

You can refer to the December post for details on expenses not covered in a specific monthly report.

Related Page: Monthly Money Reports 

Variations This Month:


I do an annual review of our house expenses and come up with an estimated monthly amount to deposit into our join account for the coming year, to cover all house expenses, including groceries. I find it easier to manage our “needs” that way. This year, my share is up by $130/month (My partner and I keep our finances separate except for house related expenses for which we have a joint account). Were were a little too close to budget this year so I added a little cushion. I also adjusted for an increase in property taxes and house insurance and added a few expenses to our joined account. I will have more on this topic in the next month.


Annual dues for my CAA Membership. It includes all three kids too.


A lot more reasonable this month:

  • $120 deposit for some prom event for my son’s graduation.
  • $112 for one night hotel near Waterloo University. It included breakfast. My partner came with us and paid for dinner and gas. He had some business to take care of while there.
  • The rest was miscellaneous expenses for my son.

Coffee Shop & Restaurant/Take Out

Coffee Shop expense was way more reasonable than the $63 last month!


  • I bought Shawarmas for the kids and I one night. I love Lebanese food! Sorry no pic, I always forget.
  • I went our for dinner (Portuguese) and lunch (Little French Cafe) with a couple of girlfriends.


  • $33 for a 10 minute balloon ride for my son, my cousin’s daughter and myself at Park Omega! I always wanted to do it but never willing to spend the $200-$250 so when we saw the deal, we took it. We didn’t go very high but it was still pretty cool. Park Omega is an awesome place to visit in Quebec. My cousin’s daughter was with us for a few days.
  • Bought a puzzle for the kids and I to do in the evening (when they are around) for $17 at Michaels. I used the online coupon to get 50% off one item. It is always available, make sure to check it out.
  • Spend $12 to go to a movie with my partner (I had a two for one coupon from Pizza Pizza). We went to see a documentary on Peru, including Machu Picchu. It is in my bucket list of places to visit.
Park Omega: New meaning to French kissing?

And Free Money! None

No free money this month again.

Summary – FI ratio 27%

FI ratio is 27% YTD including ALL expenses. Not very good but mainly due to the high expense ratio in January.

For Core Expenses, without kids related expenses and legal; 

My FI ratio is 58%.

(Kids related expenses include kids’ cell, kids’ portion of car insurance & CAA, bus pass, kids’ expense category)

GOALS Update


  • Keep Grocery budget at or below $200/week. We are back on track! We averaged $183/week for food in March. You can check all previous reports here.
  • 50% no spend days: I did it! But it’s a boring goal so I am removing it.
  • ย Increase my dividend to $16,000. I am not on track but will keep trying to purchase new stock/ETF to make up for the loss of dividends from Crescent Point & Corus.


  • Working on making it TWO years! In progress.
  • Post at least once a week. I hate schedules, it takes all the fun away from blogging, so I am removing this goal.
  • Figure out Pinterest! Not motivated enough at this time so I will remove the goal for now.


Cookies are just sooo good! Source: Giphy.com
  • No sweet during the week. Still a fail. I want to, but it’s so hard. Is it how spenders feel about saving money? (Related post: What if Frugality Is Not In Your DNA!)
  • 10,000 steps a day: The weather was still pretty bad so I didn’t go walk as much as planned.

Other Goals

  • Travel: No progress on planning any trip. We went to Waterloo for one night! And Omega Park for the day. That’s a start:)
  • Volunteering: For my first month of volunteering, I managed to volunteer for 24 hours. Each shift is 4 hours and there are lots of options to choose from. I have been trying to find the best fit for my schedule and to meet their needs. My goal is to volunteer between 8 to 16 hours per month so I still have time for work, my kids, my rentals and life in general! So far it has been an amazing experience and I feel blessed to finally be doing something that makes such a difference in other people’s life. Better late than never! You will definitely hear more about it in the coming months.
  • New goal: 15 minutes of Spanish a day. I learned Spanish in high school but lost most of it. One of my goal is to travel to South and Central America for pleasure and to volunteer. I noticed how bad my Spanish was when I went to Mexico with the kids last year! So I figured I would learn Spanish again! One of my co-worker told me about the app Duolingo (Not an affiliate). You need to check it out , it’s pretty cool. Lots of languages to choose from and it’s free. We will see how well I manage. Have you ever tried it?

That’s it for March. It was a busy month as usual. I know it’s a little late now but I hope you had a great March.

Thank you for your on-going support!

10 thoughts on “March 2019 – Income, Expenses & Goals

  1. Yay! Congrats on your son getting into the college of his choice! I will admit that I did a double take when I saw the tuition and housing amount, but I guess that’s the world we live in now (especially here in the US – we don’t seem to value public institutions in the same way as you folks up north). We’re just now starting on the family business and I’m seriously considering working at a university so that our (hopefully future) kiddos can have free tuition when the time comes.

    I see that you eliminated the figure out Pinterest from your goals list. That one is still a mystery to me too. I seem to get some traction when I work at it, but I’m not sure if it’s enough to justify the time and effort.

    I can’t wait to hear about your adventures in volunteering! It really is the best. I’m excited because after a year of filling in for vacations and illness, I was finally given a regular weekly spot at Meals on Wheels. It’s the highlight of my week. I hope that you have a great rest of the month!

    1. Congratulations Bec! I know you were looking forward to getting a regular spot. How many hours is it each time?
      Pinterest seems to work out great for some bloggers. I enjoy playing with Canva once in a while for the pin but the rest of Pinterest is foreign to me still. And I am not ready to spend any money for Tailwind.
      Tuition was a shock to me. My girls paid (and one of them still does) an average of 8K per year and they stayed in town. It depends a lot on the program too.
      Have a great week-end. Cheers

  2. Thanks for the summary, Caroline! Your dividend income was for March is impressive and still very close to last year. Great work! Your post is packed with lots of cool information, as per usual. Congrats on your son getting into Waterloo. That’s a fantastic school. Glad that you enjoyed volunteering! I can’t wait to see you make it 2 years of blogging! And all I do for Pinterest is alternate sharing my pins and someone else’s pin. I don’t use TailWind so I just go down my board list one by one and share to each board. I usually always have 1 new pin on the go. It doesn’t seem like much work, but Pinterest is really starting to increase traffic for me. Over the last few months, there was a month or 2 when it was bringing it the most traffic out of all social media channels. Anyways, thanks for sharing about your Month, Caroline! Happy Easter!

    1. Hi Graham, thanks for the info on Pinterest. I may reach out to you at some point to understand better the sharing one by one. I get so confused with it all! It’s an age thing maybe:)
      Yes Waterloo is supposed to be an amazing school, just wished it was a little closer.
      As far as dividend, you are right $1,200 for a month is still very good, I just wish it was a little more than last year!
      Cheers. And Happy Easter to you too.

      1. Yes, feel free to reach out anytime! Pinterest took me years to finally figure out and I likely still have a lot to learn. In regards to sharing one by one, I just meant that I try to share to all of the applicable boards. I probably have 20 to 30 boards, maybe more. So to keep track of which ones I’ve already shared to, I start at the very top of the board list when I’m sharing through the Pinterest App. Then I just work my way from top to bottom down the list pinning in sets of 3. So if the first 3 boards are “Money, Finance, blogging” and the pin is applicable to them all, I will share to first to money, then finance, then blogging in that order. After sharing my 3 pins, I’ll go to one of those boards and share a someone else’s pin. I hope that helps!

  3. Congrats Caroline that your son got into his first choice! Will there be any kids at home with you in September? ๐Ÿ™
    How come the tuition is so expensive? $18500 per year plus residence? I thought Canadian tuition was around $5000 a year (maybe there was massive inflation that I wasn’t aware about).

    1. Hi GYM, I couldn’t believe it either! University of Toronto and Queen’s are around $15,000. I checked Waterloo again and engineering (his choice) is the most expensive program (of course!), the cheapest is around $7K for Arts. Maybe it’s different in BC. It does say “first year estimate”, so maybe it gets cheaper afterwards. First year, they have to be in residence and must purchase the meal plan too. We will look for cheaper alternatives in year 2.
      The good news is that his program is 100% co-op so except for the first year, he should be able to cover most of his cost in year two. The degree is five years and they do co-op the entire time, 4 months at a time.
      And in September, we will still have my girls at home! One of them is going to be in 4th year and thinking of doing her Masters and my oldest one is “figuring out” what she wants to do when she grows up:) Cheers

  4. Woah $8 bucks from Ebates?! How! Nothing I purchase seem to go to any of these categories that gives me cashback darn it. Great update Caroline! It’s sweet you’re giving your tenant’s kids a gift! Why do they drive you crazy? You’re too nice! I’m hardly figuring out Pinterest but you’re right in that it is a bit of work involved, especially upfront.

  5. pinterest? i don’t even know what i would do with more traffic. where you gonna travel this year? we’re going on a budget trip to the ocean at viginia beach in a month. my brother in law lives there so free lodging!

  6. Hi Caroline, wow, you had a busy month. The hot balloon ride must be fun. I guess the moment it takes off the ground must be very exciting. I love watching those balloons.

    Congratulations! Your son is going to the school of his first choice. That’s a huge milestone for him, and for you as well. Yeah, the college is getting more expensive for sure.

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