Give Me Back My Five Bucks

October 2017 Goals: Recap

Well I was able to come just in under budget this month, which I’m pleased about. Our pet sitter has been booked for our two trips this year, and soon we’ll have a screen door on our balcony. But buying a screen door got me thinking about all of the other projects I want to tackle in the house. You wouldn’t think a 9 year old condo would need much work, and while none of it is ridiculously expensive, it will add up quickly. Here are the projects I’m hoping to tackle in the next few years:

  • New blinds. Ours are the cheapo blinds that come standard with most condos. They’re bent in some places, and are starting to look shabby. I’d like something more substantial that will look and last longer. But since we are a corner unit with floor to ceiling windows, I feel like this is going to be expensive.
  • Glass shower doors. We were spoiled in our last place with having a beautiful glass shower door, so now having to go back to shower curtains makes me feel unreasonably cranky. Shower doors just look so much nicer and makes the bathroom look bigger.
  • Kitchen sink. Our kitchen still looks modern and new. We have stainless steel appliances, granite countertops, and bamboo cupboards. But the sink isn’t very nice and the nozzle buttons are starting to fall apart.
  • Baseboard moulding. The current moulding is pretty dinged up from the previous owners, and it’s also a cream colour which we are not fond of. We would have painted it when we moved in, but thought that we’d replace it in the next few years anyway. It doesn’t look horrible, but I think would really freshen up the condo.
  • Deck flooring. Our balcony is concrete, and not super great to look. So it would be amazing if we could lay down something that will feel nicer on our feet, and will be easier to clean. A few other balconies have it in our building, and it looks really nice.

Anyway, I have a sneaking suspicion there will always be something one of us would like to change about the place. :) But for now it’s fine. I’m thinking we’ll probably get the deck flooring project done this coming spring, so that we can enjoy our balcony next summer.

Enough about home improvement projects! Here’s how I did with my budget in October:

Over Budget

  • Groceries (work lunches/coffee): There’s no excuse for spending so much money on lunches and coffees while at work. I just got into a habit and didn’t plan ahead. One of my November goals is to not spend any money on food at work (unless a friend comes into town, it’s a team lunch, or some sort of networking event – none of which are very common).
  • Household: We had budgeted for a pet sitter and a screen door for the condo, which would have put us well under budget. But we also decided to buy pet insurance for Zoey, and RD really wanted to buy a vacuum to deal with the cat hair that is just everywhere.

Income & Savings

I saved 44.5% of my income this month, and thanks to a great months for my investments, my overall net worth increased by 3.6%.

October 2017 Goals:

  • Work out 3-4 times each week (average). FAIL. I only worked out 11 times this month because for the past 2 weeks I’ve been nursing some sort of weird hip flexor issue. I know I injured myself in a field hockey game, but am not sure how I did it. So I haven’t been doing any cardio except for field hockey games (not even practices), and have gone easy on the climbing. It’s slowly getting better though, so fingers crossed I can get back into it soon.
  • Check credit score. CHECK! Because I’m a Capital One customer, I now have access to their CreditKeeper website. So I can check my credit score for free on a weekly basis if I really want to.
  • List at least 5 things for sale online. FAIL. I listed one thing and it didn’t sell. :(
  • Research pet camera systems. CHECK! We ended up buying the PetCube Play. I found it new on eBay for $125 (regular $260 + tax/shipping on their website). I have it set up now, and it’s actually really fun to check in on Zoey. Except that most of the time she’s sleeping. :)
  • Work on freelance business. CHECK! I’ve got a couple of freelance jobs scheduled for this year, and one potential one for the first few months of 2018.

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. Dang, you have a good car insurance plan! Seems like we’re paying an arm and a leg for insurance here in Florida. Keep up the great work!

  2. Laura says:

    Great monthly recap and future plan. As a fellow home owner I really like that you are planning out your home upgrades for the next couple of years. We moved in five months ago and were really tempted to replace our white sink and counter top right away but by making a five year plan we decided to leave the kitchen alone until we renovate the kitchen in five years!

  3. Leigh says:

    My condo is older, but not historic. It was built in the latter half of the last century. The previous owner did a ton of remodeling, but I and we have still found things to change. Small projects even add up over the years! I averaged $2,300/year on projects between 2012 and 2016, so that’s what we budgeted this year and we’ll roll forward any unused money from that fund to next year and keep budgeting for that amount, to help cover replacing appliances in the future.

  4. Vadym says:

    I always thought that with ICBC (local car insurance monopoly) there are two ways to pay: monthly (which incurs interest) and annually (without interest).
    Was there any reason why you went monthly versus annually?

    • Krystal Yee says:

      That was the way I had mine set up a while ago for some weird reason that I never corrected (I paid my comprehensive insurance annually privately and my ICBC basic insurance monthly). I had our apartment insurance and comprehensive car insurance at the same place so I got a discount. But then when we bought our condo together I switched insurance providers, which meant I wasn’t going to get the car discount anymore. Anyway, it became a bit confusing. Once the car insurance is up next month, we will just go to annually for the entire thing.

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