Give Me Back My Five Bucks

February 2017 Goals: Recap

Well I did better this month than last month, but still went over budget. :)

I ended up buying a new purse/laptop bag for my commute because I don’t have any way to carry my work laptop home, and it was interesting how quickly I switched to wanting to buy stuff. I decided I wanted to buy new black flats for work, which then made me realize I’d like to buy cute summer work shoes … which made me think about our Portugal vacation and how I’ll probably want to buy some light weight casual dresses that wouldn’t wrinkle in my backpack … which made me wonder if I needed new shoes for the trip go to with these new dresses? It was incredible to see where my mind went and what I thought I absolutely needed to get. Of course I didn’t buy any of it, but it didn’t stop me from going into Banana Republic and J.Crew on my lunch break one day. I was only able to stop this thought cycle of “SPEND!” by reminding myself about how important it is for me to focus on saving for a home and for my future. And as soon as I left those stores on my lunch break, I transferred an extra $100 into my down payment account as a further act of commitment to save.

Switching gears to talk about travel for a second, has anyone been to the Azores before? We’re seriously considering spending 7-10 days there during our Portugal trip. Seems pretty ideal to do some snorkeling, surfing, and relaxing – oh and Portugal’s tallest mountain is there, which I definitely want to summit. :)

Anyway, onto how I did in February…

Over Budget:

  • Utilities – this is billed every 2 months, and December was so cold, so it’s no wonder we went over budget a little bit in this category.
  • Food – we went a tiny bit over budget this month for groceries. This is due in part to my laziness – instead of walking a little further to the cheaper grocery store, I’ve been shopping at a more expensive one. That will change for March.
  • Entertainment – I was doing so well until two concerts came up that we both really, really wanted to see: Ryan Adams and Jurassic 5, both in June. So we splurged and bought tickets. Worth it.
  • Clothing – I ended up buying a laptop bag because my work lap top is too big to fit in my purse. I was able to get away with it when I was driving to work, but now that I’m commuting, I wanted something that would act as a laptop bag, purse, and lunch bag combined.
  • Fitness – I bought some energy bars, Nuun, and a pair of much needed athletic sunglasses.

Income and Savings:

This month I saved 63.7% of my net income. I still have about $5,000 in freelance income that should be coming to me for March.

My down payment account is growing slowly, and it’s been interesting to really start paying attention to the new property listings that have been coming out. There has only been one listing that has really wowed me (and that was 3 months ago), so I think it’s going to take a while to actually find exactly what we’re looking for.

  • Current Down Payment Fund: $129,750 / $150,000 (+ $1,150)

February 2017 Goals:

  • Rebrand GMBMFB. FAIL. I should have found the time to make this a priority, but I didn’t. It’s going to have to get done in March.
  • Cash out a portion of my corporate share program. PASS. I did look into this, but it’s not done yet. I’m not able to transfer it myself through the online options, so I’m going to have to call in, and I just haven’t found time to do that yet.
  • Go to the optometrist. CHECK! I swear my eyesight has gotten worse over the past few years, but apparently I still have 20/20 vision.
  • Take breaks at work. CHECK! Instead of doing my errands after work or on the weekends, they’re all getting done on my lunch break. I’ve been able to get out for a walk at least 2 or 3 times each week.
  • Unsubscribe to all triggering e-mails. CHECK! I’ve been unsubscribing like mad to any emails I got during the month. It was hardest to say goodbye to Anthropologie, but it’s best that I just don’t know about all the amazing sales I’m missing out on.

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. Carrie says:

    I just got relocated at work and will now have a 1.25 hour commute each way :(
    So I’m in the market for a laptop/lunch bag. I have been thinking of getting a backpack but always open to other options.
    Mind sharing what you bought? :)

    • Krystal Yee says:

      I also thought about getting a backpack but I couldn’t picture wearing a backpack with a suit or with dresses in the summer. So I ended up getting the Throw and Go Tote from Lululemon ( It was a bit expensive but has worked out so far. Nice enough to carry to the office, and I like how the tote rolls down if you don’t need as much space. I’ve even been able to carry groceries home in it, which is ideal because I often do my household shopping on my lunch break. :)

  2. Claire says:

    Have to make my first-ever comment because I went to Sao Miguel in the Azores last year and LOVED it! Beautiful – we stayed in Caloura and ate amazing seafood, hiked, went canyoning and ‘coasteering’ with Paolo from Azorean Active Blueberry We went in March (off season) so we had the place to ourselves and would be hiking and come upon surprise hot springs we could just jump in to. Can’t wait to go back and visit the other islands! We stayed at a hotel jutting over the volcanic rock cliffs and had a blast exploring and swimming in the mini pools crated by the rock. But we are from Halifax so used to chilly sea water!

    • Krystal Yee says:

      Amazing, thanks for your comment! :) Glad to know you had such a good time, and that Active Blueberry company sounds pretty cool. Did you rent a car for your trip, or did you use taxis or bus?

  3. Richard Hsu says:

    I recent saw an unbelievable photo of Azores with directions on how to get to that location. Have a look.

  4. Carrie says:

    Thanks for the info! I thought the same about a backpack, but Matt & Nat has a lovely vegan leather one that looks really professional. Also pricey, but worth it I think, and I love the idea of being hands free.

  5. Matt says:

    Can’t be perfectly on budget every month, but there is always room for improvement. For groceries have you considered going to costco for certain items and freezing the extra?

    Most of your over budget categories are “the usual suspects”.

    Car insurance is quite high, have you called them to challenge them on price? Maybe Vancouver is just a lot higher than here, Montreal.

    Anyway good work hitting most of your goals, keep it up!

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