I Spent How Much Last Week

in Automobile, Income Tax, Shopping

Quicken is a valuable tool for me to track my family’s spending habits. Sometimes it helps highlight spending changes. A while ago it found an interesting “I spent how much” moment.

I started working full-time in 1986, so some might say more than a generation ago. Depending on how you count, and when I was first hired, I was paid a reasonable wage (not an excessive one, but fair). My wife and I lived on this income in a good apartment, and we lived a frugal but reasonable life.

Flashback to a few years back. Two purchases eclipsed my yearly gross income for 1988 (2 years after I had started working full time). What did I buy? A house? A yacht? Nope, our “spent how much” moment of spending was on:

  • A used Toyota Sienna.
  • A knee brace for my daughter who has damaged both her MCL and ACL

That’s it, yes, a fairly significant expenditure, but remember this was more than I made gross (before the CRA got a hold of a lot of my income). The knee brace was actually about the price of 3 months’ rent from back then. It was, however, a necessary purchase (and I was reimbursed by my health plan).

Spent How Much?

  • The van cost about 43% less than our last van which we purchased new. We paid it off, with 0% financing over 5 l-o-n-g years.
  • We were offered “financing” from Toyota of 6.5% annually. I pointed out that my bank would give me a rate of nearly half that, they didn’t seem to care.
  • The purchase was not financed, and if I assume a 4.0% financing rate I have saved in the neighbourhood of about $4000 in interest charges (assuming a pay back over 4 years or so).
  • The knee brace comes in many interesting colours and styles (colour styles), including: Snakeskin, Butterflies and Star Spangled Banner. My daughter chose metallic black (I think Black is the new Black this year).
  • Didn’t get any car matts from Toyota, but given the recall issues about the placement of their car matts, maybe it’s a good thing I bought some replacement matts at Canadian Tire
  • Believe we got a full tank of gas with the Van (given gas prices that’s about $100 added in (at the time))
  • Got a reasonable trade in for the my GM Montana (that had a distinct odour of Anti-Freeze), so no complaints there
  • Knee Braces should never be worn backwards, or your knee will end up bending like an Ostrich’s knee, which is bad.
  • Certified cheques cost more to get from my bank, than a bank draft, so I saved $2.50 by getting a bank draft.
  • What is undercoating for, and why does it cost so darn much?

Lots of exciting factoids (where factoid means things interesting to me, most likely me alone).


  • bigcajunman February 9, 2019, 10:31 AM

    A good deal more than that!

  • 2Hirondelles February 9, 2010, 7:51 AM

    For some odd reason, I still remember my annual gross salary from my first full-time job, as a secretary in an embassy. $9,800 Cdn in 1978. As a newly-wed in 1980, our 1 bedroom apartment at 1407 Prince of Wales Dr. cost $318 a month. Wonder how much they go for now?


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