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I Spent How Much Last Week

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).

Feel Free to Comment

  1. 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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