Give Me Back My Five Bucks

Budgeting for Yukon!

I can’t believe we leave on our Yukon adventure in 2 days! There’s so much to do – like make a few batches of granola bars, make sure my kombucha will stay alive, write at least 3 blog posts for while I’m gone – plus we still have to clean out my car and pack.

The last week has been filled with running errands: trips to MEC, finalizing accommodation, getting my car tuned up, and buying dry goods that we want to bring up with us. I’m a bit concerned about how cold it will be up north. We’re a bit spoiled with weather here on the west coast, and I’m afraid I don’t really know what the cold feels like.

With all of this planning, you’d think we’d have a budget in place for this vacation, but we didn’t … until last night. I know, I feel a bit ashamed about that. But I had a rough idea of how much it was going to cost (a lot), and once I actually plugged those numbers into a spreadsheet, our 3+ week trip is actually turning out to be quite reasonable.

The first column below shows our combined expenses, and then the next column is obviously what we are projecting it will cost us individually. $2,000 for a 3-week holiday is okay with me!

Yukon Trip
Accommodation $1,350 $675
Car Maintenance $400 $200
Gas $900 $450
Food $700 $350
Entertainment $300 $150
Supplies $200 $100
Miscellaneous $150 $75
$4,000 $2,000

A few things to note:

  • All of our accommodation is booked. We are alternating between camping, AirBnB, and hotels for the first 2 weeks of our trip. The last week we’ll actually be staying with RD’s family, so accommodation is provided. :)
  • We took my car to a mechanic who did my 100km service, an oil change, and made sure the car was running smoothly for our trip.
  • Without any deviation from our route, we will drive approximately 6,900km. Chances are we will be well over 7,000km once the trip is over – which is a crazy amount of driving. But the drive is part of the adventure.
  • We chose to stay at AirBnBs so that we could have access to a kitchen. My hope is that we’ll buy groceries and be able to make our own breakfast and lunch most days. I’d definitely like to go out for dinner when we’re in the bigger towns, but for some of the more remote locations, we will have to plan. We have packaged dinners for the nights we’re camping.
  • Most of our entertainment will be free because we’re there to hike and explore. :) I don’t really anticipate doing anything that would cost a lot of money, but have budgeted in $300 just in case.
  • We bought some supplies – like warm gloves, energy bars, coffee, bear spray (just in case), and other miscellaneous items from MEC.
  • I added a bit of money for Miscellaneous expenses because you just never know. We’re not big into souvenirs, but I know we’ll buy fridge magnets, and I might get a few Christmas gifts while I’m up there too.

If you have any tips for our trip, or places we must see, please let me know. Neither of us have been up north, and we are open to all suggestions! :)

September 2016 Goals

The next two months are going to be expensive for travel, there’s no way around it.

  • Seattle – Our train fare, baseball tickets and accommodation has been paid for, but we still have to pay for meals and entertainment Accounting for the exchange rate, I’ve budgeted $200 for the two days we’re there. I’m also really excited to meet up with an old high school friend I haven’t seen in ages!
  • Yukon – We have to book a couple more hotels for our trip, and that expense will come in September. We’re good for actual camping supplies and gear for the most part, but the three weeks in October we’ll be gone will be pricey. Lots of driving = gas bill, and lots of restaurants. I’m hoping to get a small cooler to keep in the car so that we can go to grocery stores often. I’m anticipating September’s Yukon expenses will come in around $400.
  • Canadian Personal Finance Conference (Toronto) – I just booked my flight/AirBnB for 3 nights in Toronto for November. For those who have booked your tickets to the conference, I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone! And if you haven’t yet? There are still tickets available, so get yours soon!
  • Christmas – This will be the first time I’ve flown anywhere for Christmas! We’ll be headed up north (again) to spend the second half of the holidays with RD’s family. A quick peek at Expedia showed me that we can grab flights for about $600 – which RD was excited about because apparently that’s cheap. For a flight less than 2 hours long. :|

On the plus side, I was able to bill out for just over $4,000 in freelance income a few days ago and an negotiating a bit more work for the rest of the year … so I should still be able to save a little bit this month – likely not enough to hit my 50% target, but I’m hoping it won’t hit my overall savings rate for the year too much.
09-september2016-budget

September 2016 Goals:

  • Hike every weekend. Field hockey season has started, so that means weekends are going to be super active. But it’s important we keep our momentum going and our legs strong, because those Yukon hikes look like serious work. And there’s nothing worse than feeling out of shape on a super hard hike.
  • Rebalance my RRSP portfolio. It’s that time of year again! I like rebalancing my investment portfolio every year around my birthday. It’s a nice treat. :)
  • Check my credit score. And as another birthday present to myself, I also get to check my credit score, w00t!
  • Make a Christmas gifts budget. I’ve already purchased a few gifts for family, but I want to make a more solid budget as we get closer to the holiday season.
  • Continue to meal plan. Since I’ve more or less taken over meal planning and grocery shopping, I feel a lot better being able to prep healthy foods for lunches and dinners. I want to take more time out this month to ensure our freezer has a good supply of frozen curry and stews for the upcoming months when it could get more difficult to cook with a busier schedule.

August 2016 Goals: Review

I clearly forgot to post my August budget onto this blog, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t been tracking my spending carefully – especially during the summer. I still record every expense in my budgeting spreadsheet, so I’m able to at least recap my month of spending for you. :)

It was a busy month for me, and I felt like I needed to disconnect from the internet and social media and just enjoy the last of what has turned out to be a pretty amazing summer. I wrote minimally here on the blog, and stayed away from Twitter and Facebook and Snapchat … but I did end up posting a few times each week on Instagram, which is turning out to be my favourite social media platform. In August I was more disconnected than I’ve been in a long time, and it felt good – I think I only opened up my laptop a handful of times. Instead, I filled my time with friends and exercise, and quality time with RD.

Here are a few of the highlights from the month:

  • Camping on Mayne Island – in August we celebrated our one-year anniversary with a two night camping trip to Mayne Island. We ditched our car and rode bicycles onto the ferry instead. Our oceanfront camping spot was perfect, and we spent the weekend exploring the island on bikes – visiting the farmer’s market, checking out beaches, reading, and just relaxing.
  • Field hockey – practices have officially started and we had our first exhibition game earlier this week. Physically, I’m feeling a lot better this season than I did at the end of last season, so I’m hoping I can continue to contribute to the team. Last year, we were in Division 1, and we have since moved up to a newly formed “Champions Division,” whatever that means. It likely means the competition will be about the same, but it seems like the sport is growing in Vancouver, and that makes me pretty happy. :)
  • Hiking – I’m really happy that RD is as into hiking as I am. This month we hiked every weekend we were in town. Some hikes were more challenging than others, but it’s always great to get out of the city and into the mountains. We’re already trying to figure out what hikes we’ll do in September to keep our legs strong for our Yukon trip in October.
  • Household chores – we seem to have fallen into an agreeable arrangement with dividing up our household chores. :) RD seems to like to clean more often than me (and I really dislike it anyway), so he has taken on the role of cleaning the house every week. And since my schedule is a bit more flexible than his (and I get home earlier), I’ve started to do all of the grocery/household shopping and most of the cooking (which he happens to dislike). This seems to be working pretty well, although RD still teases me about how I really, strongly dislike cleaning. :)

Anyway, onto the August budget:

08-August2016-Recap

Over Budget:

  • Internet – Shaw Cable increased their internet rates this month (boo!), so as a result, I’m a tiny bit over on my budget. :) I’ll fix this for next month. Internet really shouldn’t cost $70/month, especially considering we are on a basic package. But there are really no other alternatives.
  • Entertainment – we went to three baseball games this month, which helped us go over budget on this category. I just can’t say no to mini donuts! Speaking of sugar, we’ve also developed a habit of going to Rain or Shine ice cream a couple times each week (it’s about a 5 min. walk from our house). Both our mini donut and our ice cream habits will die once the summer ends, so I don’t feel too bad about the $52 extra we ended up spending this month.
  • Gifts – an online sale came up and I couldn’t resist getting a couple of Christmas gifts for people. I always start shopping for Christmas around this time, so I should have expected this expense.

Income and Savings:

This month I hit my 50% savings target by saving 54.5% of my income! :) I’m really happy about this because we actually had a lot of expenses this month – including booking two AirBnB rentals for our Yukon trip, and paying my field hockey fees for the year.

August 2016 Goals:

Because I didn’t post my goals on the blog, I actually didn’t create any goals for the month. I’ll be better next month, I swear. :)

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