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?
I’ve been looking forward to August for a long time because 1) it is full swing hiking season, 2) we have an awesome 3 night camping trip planned on Mayne Island for our anniversary, and 3) there are just 5 weeks left until we head to Portugal! :)
August will be less hectic than July, as we both agreed to curb our household spending (the only thing I want to buy is a plant for the dining table, as the one we have there currently did not survive in our laneway house). I’m also looking forward to being less social this month. I love my friends and family, but it’s been a busy summer, and I can’t wait to just do nothing. There are a few dinners planned so far, but nothing as crazy as last month.
August is also the month that my boss gets back from her amazing 3-month vacation, which means (I think) things will slow down for me. I’m happy to have her back, but also happy that I was able to accumulate some banked hours over the past few months. :)
This month we are also hoping to get back into climbing – we haven’t gone since RD left for his work trip back in April. It’ll be slow going, but hopefully it won’t be too much of a struggle to get back to where we were. I had just cracked into the 5.11b routes back in April, and was pretty proud of myself because that’s the farthest I’ve ever gotten.
Anyway, enough with the talk, here is my budget for the month!
August 2017 Goals:
- 450,000 steps – that’s just slightly under 15,000 steps per day on average, which I think is attainable now that I’m running 3x/week and we’re also hiking every weekend!
- Bring lunch 4x/week – even if it’s just toast and avocado, it’s significantly cheaper than buying my lunch. Obviously this doesn’t count if it’s a work lunch.
- Schedule blog posts for September – I’ve been trying to be more consistent with my blog posts, so I want to get out at least one post per week while we are on vacation.
- Budget for a new cat – We are starting with no pet supplies, so I’m going to have to source out everything. I’m assuming I can get some stuff used on Craigslist, but I also have a feeling that the initial set-up to get our cat will be more expensive than I think. That’s why I want to start researching now so that we can pick everything up easily at the end of September. Any tips on initial costs would be much appreciated! :)