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Name: Duncan Collis
Annual income: $73,000 to $100,000 (depends on overtime); defined benefit pension, benefits
Savings: $250 in TFSA, $6,500 in savings account; $2,500 in RRSPs
Debt: $270,000 mortgage; $500 on credit card
What he does: Diesel mechanic
Where he lives: Kanata, Ont.
Duncan Collis used to be a spendthrift. “When I was younger, I was very bad with money,” says the 24-year-old diesel mechanic from Kanata. “Then I met this guy who changed my mindset. He talked about how important it is to save money – and about being an adult.”
Mr. Collis has taken his former colleague’s advice to heart. Gone are the $400- to $500-a-month splurges on high-end tool sets. Instead, he and his 22-year-old fiancée recently bought a $280,000 home just outside Ottawa, using $12,000 in RRSPs for the down payment.
The couple eats at home, consuming the same meal – chicken, sweet potatoes and rice – every day of the week. They rarely head out to restaurants. Clothing expenditures are minimal: “I live in sweatpants,” laughs Mr. Collis.
The couple’s free time is spent at the gym, where his fiancée trains six days a week for bodybuilding competitions. The bodybuilding comes with costs: $860 a month in groceries, a $150-month gym membership, and approximately $1,000 a year for competition outfits, travel, accommodation, protein and vitamin supplements, massage therapy, show entry fees, and hair and makeup.
But the couple’s solid income – his fiancée brings in $48,000 as a chef while Mr. Collis earns $73,000 – pays the bills. So does a sponsorship agreement which his fiancée recently landed after placing first in a bodybuilding competition. “She’s sponsored by a nutrition firm,” says Mr. Collis. “They pay for all of her supplements – protein powders and vitamins – and it helps us out a lot.”
Having apprenticed at a sewer lining firm as a teen, Mr. Collis has parlayed his hydraulic skills into his role as a diesel mechanic, fixing large rigs and buses. “I absolutely love what I do,” he says. And he feels confident he’ll never be short on work. “There’s a lot of older guys retiring – so there’s demand,” he says. “If you look for a job, within a week you have one.”
Mr. Collis is confident that if and his fiancée work overtime this year, they’ll clear $150,000. And they’ll need it, if things go according to plan. After paying off his mortgage, Mr. Collis aims to buy an income property to generate revenue in retirement, on top of his pension to which he contributes $350 every two weeks.
“We’re going to try to expedite the payments on our mortgage. We want to buy a rental property – that’s our game plan,” he says. “Two to three years is what we’re giving ourselves.”
In the meantime, there’s a wedding to plan. “We’re budgeting $10,000 to $12,000 for our wedding. We’re going to take a month off of work next July and get married in Colombia,” says Mr. Collis.
“We fell in love there.”
His typical monthly expenses:
$400 on gas. “I have to drive to work. It’s on the east side, the industrial side of Ottawa. It’s half an hour each way.”
$100 on bus pass. “My fiancée takes the bus.”
$218 on car insurance. “I have a 2010 Mazda 3 and a 2002 Jeep Wrangler. We own them both. We just finished payments on the Mazda in January.”
$86 in home insurance. “We bought the home last June.”
$257 on cellphone. “We have iPhones – I’m with Telus. They are the worst. We’re done [the contract] in October. I’m going to try to get a new plan.”
$0 on alcohol. “I can’t remember the last time we actually sat down and had a glass of wine.”
$150 on gym memberships. “I work out five days a week. My fiancée works out six days a week – mostly weightlifting. We’re with Goodlife.”
$67 on cable, and Internet. “We have unlimited usage.”
$125 on hydro.
$102 on gas and water.
$75 on home repairs.
$860 on groceries. “We go to Superstore. We eat a lot of chicken – we spend $60-80 on chicken a week. We eat clean. I do one day of meal prep a week.”
$40 on eating out. “I work nights. I drink a whole pot of coffee every day. I buy a coffee at Tim Hortons at work.”
$1,115 per year on bodybuilding competitions. “My fiancée does bodybuilding – she came first in her last show. It’s $250 for tanning, hair and make-up; $100 for the membership; $100 to do the show; $295 for the suit; $75 for special shoes; $65 per session of massage therapy for 3 sessions, plus travel and accommodation.”
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