Happy Monday everyone! I know it’s not Monday but it was a long weekend here on PEI, so today is definitely monday-y!

Last month I wrote an entry on exploring a world without meat. It was probably a bit random given this is a personal finance blog most of the time. 😮 Today marks 1,440 hours (thank you phone timer! haha) , or approximately 60 days since choosing to go animal-free.

We didn’t start off totally 100% committed to being vegan, at least I didn’t, but it has turned in to that and as days pass by it has turned into that there is just no other choice for us – environmentally speaking, health reasons, compassionately…

Tom’s doing it for health reasons, I’m changing ways for ethical AND health reasons. I spent one day working on a battery-cage chicken farm when I was 11, it was absolutely awful… it took until age 33 to stop eating chicken.

I made it! Crispy tofu with teriyaki soy & green onions

Things I’ve learned

  1. Animal products are everywhere, it’s hidden in everything and that is completely unnecessary! Dairy-free creamer that contains milk-protein? What? (And that’s perfectly allowable apparently?!)
Non-dairy you say?
Sodium caseinate… a milk derivative. Oh.. you lied? Ok!

2. I have (had) an unhealthy dependence on cheese, only after about 45 days have my cravings for cheese dissipated. I ate way too much cheese and have never been able to do the whole moderation thing with it. I craved the fatty, salty stuff. It also tended to make me terribly bloated. I’ve tried a couple of non-dairy cheeses made in my town and they’re pretty good! I’m not committed to a dairy-cheese-free life just yet, I think it’s perfectly possible to have some cheese from a local farm. We have family friends that farm, they love their cows and treat them well – I mean they do die in the end but I don’t think it is inherently wrong to eat an animal.. I do think how things are done and how the stuff ends up in stores is very very very wrong so I choose not to partake in THAT any further.

3. Spices! Recipes! Baking! Cereals! I have done SO MUCH learning! I’ve tried so many new things I otherwise would have. Even IF this ends up not being a forever-change, I will have a ton of new ideas and a very much expanded spice cabinet to come along – which is also awesome for my finances; homecooking = money saved. 🙂

Peanut butter brownies; absolutely amazing, totally vegan; courtesy of this gal

4. Health… I feel fantastic, I’ve lost a couple of pounds without trying. (some reading suggests that vegan diets naturally reduce the amount of calories eaten per day without purposeful calorie restriction) Tom says I look about 5-10 pounds lighter, he also feels great. I never get that ‘heavy’ feeling after a meal anymore. All purely anecdotal.

I was trying to find some scientific studies on this for ya’all but I’m feeling fairly lazy and felt this gives a good glimpse of the benefits of going vegan.

I’d offer you a brownie in closing, but we already at them all. Toodles!

My gosh you guys, I wrote a quick little post in December on how my 2018 went.

It’s time I do an actual full update and set some new goals! I didn’t update a whole lot through 2018 as I was much too busy being my workaholic self to bother with writing nonsense on the internet. 😉 I did note that I went from about $130,000 networth in April 2018 to about $179,000 in December 2018. I took the time today to actually review the true stats;

I use YNAB to track all my expenses and accounts and it tells me that at the end of December 2017 I had a networth of $110,413.61. Now that all the marbles have been tallied and updated for 2018, my final stats are….

Holy cow! Isn’t that just incredible? I increased my networth by $71,726.43 through saving and investments. I’ve double-and even triple checked the numbers and all my accounts appear to be listed accurately. I’m pretty happy with how the year turned out.

I tracked by expenses as well, approximately $15,000 was spent on living.

I had a huge year for medical spending, I am thankful to live in Canada where doctors visits are covered.. but I spent quite a lot this year on orthodontics, the dentist and supplements and ND visits that are not covered. My other largest bill was food… I do not pay rent or a mortgage (as Toms house is PIF) but do cover more of the food bill,

Not including in my spending was travel spending;

  • 11 week RTW Oct-Dec cost $3,975.63 + approx $700 cash
  • One week in NYC August $331.58
  • January 3 week Philadelphia/Florida: $853.11
  • and various weekend totalling about 2 weeks away which I did not factor in, an approximate $750 orso was spent on that (my share)
    Total spent on 17 weeks of travel: $6,610.32  or $389/week. Not bad!

I also spent a rather large amount on my new-to-me baby-SUV, a 2014 Chevrolet Trax for which I paid $12,900 when all was said and done.

All in all, I spent a fortune on EVERYTHING in 2018, I also earned a fortune and saved A LOT.

Now, about those goals, what about 2019?

For 2019 my singular goal will be to keep increasing passive income and consequently my networth! I haven’t done any recent updates with regard to my current portfolio so that shall remain a mystery for now. I created a spreadsheet that tracks my current holdings and passive income, and shows my monthly number at one glance;

As you can see, at $273 a month or $3,276 a year I have quite a while to go before I’m anywhere near retiring off it. My magic number for my current financial situation is $239,000 invested, this generates a measly $700/month in income, of which it’s possible for me to live off.. but not enjoyably, most likely.

So for 2019 I’d like to increase my NW to $220,000, this is a $38,000 increase and its a conservative number compared to what I accomplished in 2018…. and at the end of 2019 I’d like that monthly passive income to come in at $385/month.

As in previous years, I’ll be tracking using my progress bars in the side bar —>

2 goals, 11 months to go, let’s do this. 🙂

I can’t figure it out on my own! :p

Back in June 24, 2018 I wrote about planning for a sooner rather than later retirement. Like many PF bloggers I’ve moved from getting my financial life in order, to becoming debt-free, to choosing to become financially independent. From the beginning it’s always been by goal to become financially independent. The entire reason I began getting my finances in order is because of the ultimate reward I set of financial independence. 

To me financial independence means having enough money in the bank and passive income to sustain my basic monthly and annual expenses, to be able to walk away from any job at any moment if I choose, and to be able to pursue things like helping others, hobbies, and further learning as well as having my own family with no worries.

One of my contracts in 2017 was a total disaster, and a prime example of the reason I want to be FI. In my post about it I wasn’t overly negative, that was actually REALLY hard. My manager was a terrible match, I was bullied by a co-worker, and I should have walked away after a few months but decided to sit out the 7 month contract. 2018 led me to an amazing contract with amazing co-workers, and I was sad to leave in October when I took off to a) study, once again and b) travel around the world for 3 months with my SO. 

For those of you who have perhaps read this blog before you know that I not only have one job, I usually have multiple gigs on the go. My primary gig for a long time and when I started this blog was a small commercial cleaning company (1) operated by my family for over a decade, for which I am now solely responsible, it’s not big but it definitely keeps me occupied and I’ve hummed and hawed about leaving it behind but have been hoping to keep it going for just a little while longer to recoup some more ROI. Aside from that I’ve kept myself busy with a couple of government employment contracts in two different agencies (2), rentals of seasonal properties for others (YAY AIRBNB!) (3) and Sidehustle X (4) – a little company on the side that I’ve been working on for a couple of years with Tom.

I guess that’s all to say that despite me quitting a full-time contract AND leaving the country to travel AND enrolling in an online course through Athabasca… I haven’t QUITE managed to actually start working part-time, rather than full-time.  😆 

This is probably the worst how-to ever written.

I’m making good progress to becoming financially independent, and in some ways I already am a lot more financially free than most people… I just wish I could figure out how to balance EVERYTHING. 

i wrote about my adventure with Lending Loop a year orso ago, I know many folks have had positive experiences with them but I’ve chosen this week to stop investing in any loans and withdraw funds as they become available, it will take some time  to get all my principal back… assuming the majority of borrowers repay as planned.

So, why am I withdrawing?

I’m not super happy with the process and how companies appear to be vetted. You can read about Lending Loops vetting process here, and it all sounds decent enough, better than what I could do anyway.  For the first handful of loans I did them manually, I had a go at researching the company and decided which amount to put where. After that I chose to go with auto-lend, where an amount you set is automatically invested.

Currently my profits look like this;

You can also see my gross yield here;

Which looks pretty good, for the about $4,200-ish I have had invested. BUT that 11.5% gross yield is BEFORE the Lending Loop fees, which are 1.5%, and also before any defaulted loans… which is my sore point here.

5 out of these 6 loans were invested on auto-lend. $265.75 is currently delinquent/in default, the majority I don’t have high hopes for and expect a write-off based on the notes. That certainly reduces my $425.17 life time earnings… down to $159.42 between November 2016 and January 2019…. Now I did write previously that I expected some defaults, but ouch, that’s more than I had hoped for!

In comparison if I deposited $4,200 in a high interest savings account, and moved it along to wherever the highest rates were, averaging about 2.75%, I would have earned $265 in the same time frame and would continue to until I withdrew. 

Now I started depositing funds to Lending Loop in November 2016 with my first $200, and gradually kept adding until my last deposit at the start of 2018 so I did not have $4,000 invested during that entire time, which makes the math a little bit hard to do to compare with straight-up savings instead.  I am ALSO not able to forecast what portion of the $3,900 I still have invested will default and what my earnings will be on that over the coming years of repayment, my last loan will not mature until 2023-11-07. However, I do know there will be SOME defaults and I also know that it’s hard to try to beat any market. 😉

My summary? Lending-loop was a fun adventure, I haven’t actually lost any money overall yet. Will I continue to invest? No. Would I recommend it? Meh, it depends! Are you up for an adventure?

My personal preference is probably the more boring high interest savings or occasional splurge on an ETF. 😳