Well our big trip of the year is in just a few days – we’ll be headed off to Portugal for 2 weeks, and then when we get home, we’re headed up into the mountains for a 3 day trip. This vacation, plus field hockey insurance fees, getting our home set up for a cat, and paying for a Christmas flight to see RD’s parents means that September is going to be very, very expensive.
I doubt I’ll actually be able to save any money this month, but that’s okay. I’m secretly hoping our Portugal trip will end up costing less than we think (our flight/hotel/car rental are already paid for) because we have about $300 in travel rewards that I can put towards our expenses. But if not, the monthly budget can accommodate that.
You might notice that I’ve added another line to my budget’s Fixed Expenses below – which is my climbing membership. This is the first time we’ve actually gone ahead and committed to a membership – and it’s also the only time I’ve bought a gym membership of any kind! :) But it’s a significant savings from the single month pricing ($110) or the punch card ($95 for 5 visits). We’re averaging 2-3 climbs per week, so it’s worth it for sure.
Also, field hockey season starts up again! I’ll be missing the first 3 games because of holidays, but I’m really excited to start the season. For the past few years I’ve been a bit down about my game. I’m getting older, and I’m not as fast as I used to be. But near the end of last season I felt little flashes of the player I used to be, and that was pretty thrilling. I’ve been saying “just one more season” for the past 2 or 3 years now, so we’ll see how it goes. :)
Anyway, here’s my budget for the month:
September 2017 Goals:
- Post once a week to GMBMFB. I’m hoping to have the first three posts scheduled while I’m away.
- 15,000 steps per day. On average.
- Focus on healthy eating. I’d like to scale back on the junk food and focus on healthy eating. This will be interesting since we’ll be on vacation for much of the month, but I think that’s when it’s most important.
- Say yes when traveling. One of my big goals for the year was to be more relaxed when we’re traveling and say yes to opportunities that come up which may change our plans. Travel should have an element of spontaneity, but sometimes I find that I’m stuck in my ways that I may miss an amazing opportunity just because I’m worried about my itinerary. RD is much better at just going with whatever comes his way, and I need to adopt a little more of that attitude in my life. :)
August has been full and active and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. Even if it has been just so, so so uncomfortably hot at times. I’m not sure how anyone survives in a climate where the temperatures are regularly above 25C. :)
We were able to get out hiking three times this month, including two hikes we’ve never done before (Harvey Mountain and Coliseum Mountain). Despite not being as fit as we should have been, I’m glad we challenged ourselves with harder hikes. This will help us get ready for longer hikes this fall (including this weekend where we’ll try for a 35-40km day).
We started climbing again a few weeks ago, which I’m finding really enjoyable but also super frustrating. We were just getting into a really good grove back in April when we had to quit for 6 weeks while RD was away for work … and with moving earlier this summer, we’re only now starting back up again. It’s very frustrating not being able to do the routes we used to be able to do, but I know we’ll get there eventually. :)
We also celebrated our two year anniversary this month with a 3-night camping trip to Mayne Island. It was a lot of fun exploring the island on our bicycles, and we also had perfect timing because that weekend was their annual Fall Fair!
I’ve also been monitoring the real estate listing closely in our building (and in the neighbourhood). It’s been really interesting seeing the prices continue to climb (even though I was certain prices had peaked when we bought in the spring). There was a unit that sold in our building complex with the same layout as us (just one floor higher) for almost $60,000 more than what we paid back in April – WHICH.IS.CRAZY. I know it doesn’t mean anything to us since we’re here for the long term, but still. It’s validation that our little city is growing, but at the same time it’s also kind of crazy how many condo towers are going up within just a few blocks of us.
Anyway, here’s how I did this month:
- Groceries (work lunches/coffee) – went over by just a little bit because I bought a couple too many work lunches.
- Restaurant & Entertainment – I actually came in under budget with our regular spending in this category, except for I didn’t take into account for the fact that we went in on two tickets to the 2019 World Jr. Hockey Championships in Victoria ($400) with my sister and this month we had to pay in full.
- Travel – Spent a little more than I thought when we were on Mayne Island, and we also booked two nights of camping ($40) for September.
- Personal Care – my trip to Sephora was more expensive than anticipated because I bought a new (more expensive) face cleanser, as well as a travel sized version.
- Fitness – we signed up for the climbing gym, but because we were coming in mid billing cycle, we had to pay a pro-rated charge, in addition to the following month. We also stocked up on energy bars for hiking.
Income & Savings:
I brought in $4,000 in freelance income this month in addition to my full-time job. I still have about $1,000 pending and am in negotiations for some new projects for the end of this year and into 2018.
My savings rate was 55% of my net income, and my net worth grew 3% this month. In terms of hard numbers, my net worth has grown just over $30,000 since January 1st, which I’m pleased about. I’m hoping that despite the extra $ we’re putting towards our mortgage and the monthly padding of our joint accounts, I’ll still be able to hit my personal savings goal of 50% of my net income this year.
August 2017 Goals:
- 450,000 steps – CHECK! We tackled some long hikes which put me over this goal with well over 560,000 steps taken in August.
- Bring lunch 4x/week – FAIL! But still a win to me. :) Last month I spent $147.42 on lunch/coffee, and this month I only spent $66.66 – so a huge improvement. And I actually did take my lunch to work way more often, there was just one week where I was pretty bad.
- Schedule blog posts for September – PASS. I’ve got one scheduled, and three drafts half written. I still have 8 days before we board that plane. :)
- Budget for a new cat – CHECK! I did an inventory on how much it will cost to get us the basics, and then I’ll worry about the other stuff (like toys) when the time comes.
I’ve always been interested in art, and find wandering through art galleries a great way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon. I’m a competent graphic designer (although I’m way better at layout than design), and love taking on crafty projects. But I don’t really know much about the art world. Still, we have managed to fill our walls with our combined collection. There’s just something about how hanging art on walls really makes a room feel homey and complete; like you’re not going anywhere anytime soon. Plus I love the contrast between a colourful piece of art and our white walls. :)
RD and I have very different tastes when it comes to art. He has broader, more eclectic tastes than me, but thankfully some of what he likes also overlaps into what I like too. We are both really into a Canadian artist named Meghan Hildebrand. The past few months we’ve been randomly going online to look at her pieces, and this year she came out with a couple of amazing ocean themed watercolour paintings.
So one of the big purchases we eventually wanted to make this year was one of her larger paintings (they’re selling for $2,500 to $3,000), so we decided to start saving so that we could buy something as a Christmas present to ourselves. I had never seen any of her work in person before, so a great opportunity came up when we were in Victoria a few weeks ago visiting my family – there was an art gallery which had a lot of her pieces on display!
Obviously you know where this is going. :) I saw that my favourite watercolour from her new collection was still available for $1,000 (framed). It was way cheaper than our anticipated budget, so after debating for a few minutes, I knew we were going to buy it. Yes, it was an impulse purchase. A big impulse purchase. But we are both thrilled to have gotten exactly what we wanted. The money came out of our House Fund, as closing costs/moving/furniture/renos came in well under what we had budgeted.
I feel really weird admitting that we bought a piece of art, and have been sitting on this blog post for a few weeks now. I never thought I’d ever be in a position to spend that kind of money on something that is just so clearly not a necessity, and I’m not comfortable with the realization that these are things we can afford. For some reason I really feel like buying (expensive-to-me) art is not relatable, but at the same time I’d never think twice about it if a friend had bought the painting. I think this might turn into a bigger post in the future as I’m struggling with my financial identity at the moment. But, I’m happy and grateful and really love looking at this beautiful painting every single day.
Have you ever bought an expensive piece of art?