Give Me Back My Five Bucks

January 2017 Goals: Recap

January was an expensive month, and not how I wanted 2017 to start – but that’s just the way it works sometimes. :)

This month marked our official goal of trying to save $150,000 for a future down payment. RD has already saved his half of the down payment, so now it’s just up to me. You’ll be able to see my progress every month in the details below.

I also started a crafty project for the year: I’m cross stitching Christmas stockings for RD and I. :) The one pictured here has about 50 hours worth of work already (thanks horrible January weather), so it’ll take some time for sure. This idea started back in December, when we were in his hometown visiting his parents. We realized that since our hometowns are so far apart, and we want to visit both families every Christmas, we’ll always be busy over the holiday break. We thought it would be nice to start up our own tradition so that we could celebrate the holidays together, before embarking on our travel plans. My hope is to get both stockings stitched and sewn before December of this year … the only issue is that I don’t own a sewing machine, so I’ll likely have to enlist help for that part. :)

Anyway, onto how I did this month with my budget!

Over Budget:

  • Household – just barely went over budget on this one, but we bought an air plant and a hipster planter to go with it. :)
  • Entertainment – a friend decided to throw a last-minute birthday party so we went to a pub to celebrate and bought her a couple rounds as well.
  • Clothing – well, I bought a Patagonia 3-in-1 coat for $500 (on sale), but then really couldn’t pass up the holiday sale at Anthropologie. I felt guilty afterwards so unsubscribed to their newsletter. Thankfully, I no longer work within walking distance of that store, so I doubt I’ll be shopping there much anymore.
  • Travel – the 50% deposit on our accommodation for Tofino (March) put me over in this category. I should have known this expense would happen in January, as we booked our accommodation last year in February and I wanted to book earlier this year.

Income and Savings:

This month I saved 66% of my net income and brought in $3,500 in freelance income. I still have about $4,000 in freelance work that should be coming sometime in February.

  • Current Down Payment Fund: $128,600 / $150,000 (+ $3,900)

January 2017 Goals:

  • Look into making my budgeting spreadsheet available to blog readersCHECK! I’m 95% sure I’m going to do this, but over the years my spreadsheet has become so customized to my taste that I’m going to have to spend some time making it a bit more generic.
  • Try 3 new recipes. CHECK! I tested out a bunch of new recipes from the Oh She Glows Every Day and Plenty More cookbooks – a kale and delicata squash salad, butternut squash with chili yogurt cilantro sauce, a new veggie burger recipe, Thug Kitchen burritos, smashed potatoes, maple glazed rainbow carrots … and made a few of my staple recipes a bit more fancy by making simple things from scratch like my own mango salsa, pesto sauce, roasted garlic, and salad dressing.
  • Bring my lunch to work every dayPASS. I bought my lunch twice – once was the first day back from vacation (which shouldn’t really count, right?), and the other time was when we only had enough leftovers to pack for one lunch, so I gave it to RD because he works in the middle of nowhere.
  • Try to lower my internet bill. FAIL. I actually did try to call into Shaw Cable (since I was told existing customers cannot use the chat function on their website to look at promo pricing), but the hold time was too long and I couldn’t wait any longer since I was at work.
  • Get into the mountains. CHECK! We only got out once this month because the weather has been so horrible (and because field hockey season has started back up again), but it was still nice. Next month I hope to get out more.

Author: Krystal Yee

I’m a personal finance blogger and marketing professional based in Vancouver. I’m a former Toronto Star (Moneyville) columnist, author of The Beginner’s Guide to Saving and Investing, and co-founder of the Canadian Personal Finance Conference. When I’m not working, you can usually find me running, climbing, playing field hockey, or plotting my next adventure.


  1. Not a bad month but wow you saved 66% of your net income. It’s awesome and you will get your down payment soon :).

  2. Emily says:

    Krystal where did you get the cross stitch kit? The stockings look so nice!

  3. Bill says:

    What do you eat for 31 days at 9.68/day? Just curious?

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Breakfast is usually just coffee and an english muffin. Lunch is always, always leftovers from dinner. And as for dinners, I make a variety of different things – I don’t restrict myself to “cheap” ingredients and allow myself to buy pretty much anything for a recipe. But I’m able to keep costs low because I batch cook everything and eat them for leftovers, or freeze them for another time. :) Favourites in our house are pizza, veggie burgers, burritos, lasagna, chili, curries, one-pot bowls, etc. and will almost always roast some veggies as a side dish. I guess it also helps that we’re both vegetarian so don’t have to spend money on meats, and I make almost all of our sauces from scratch so I don’t have to spend the money buying jars of pesto or salad dressing or salsa or pasta sauce.

  4. BA says:

    I was so disappointed with the Oh She Glows Everyday cookbook! The recipes are complex…but boring at the same time. Her soba noodle salad actually calls for sesame seeds three ways (oil, tahini and actual seeds) but the only other real flavours are peppers and cilantro.

    Sorry, off topic. Good job on January – you’ve done way better than most of us despite being slightly off target.

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Really!? I haven’t made a lot of the recipes, but really liked the improvement to the veggie burgers from the first cookbook, as well as a few of the salads. I haven’t made much more than that to be fair, maybe I’ll feel that way once I try more of the recipes. I’ve been really into the Thug Kitchen book lately!

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