Well, not tracking my finances for the last month has left me in a bit of a bind right now. I can’t believe how reckless my spending has been. I really need to remember that I’m making an entry-level salary, and until I get myself back up to the $50k+ that I’ve been so used to making, I need to chill out and stick to a budget.
I’d like to do a mid-month review of my proposed budget:
- Projected monthly income (after taxes) from FT job: $2,200 – this is just about right. After tax, I’m making about $675 per week after taxes, so that should equal to $1,100 after tax for 2 weeks. I’ll know for sure on Friday.
- Rent & all utilities: $700 – my rent and all utilities will come out to around $670. I could have found something a little cheaper (around $600-650, all utilities included), but I’m saving so much money by being close to work (I don’t even need a bus pass), I really like my landlord, and the house I’m living in is clean and looks new, and I feel safe in this particular neighbourhood. That’s really important to me, especially living in a big city like this for the first time.
- Cell phone: $40 – my bill this month was $64 b/c of LD charges when I answer calls while in Vancouver. I plan on switching my number over to a local number sometime soon, and that should drop my cell phone bill down to around $35/month b/c I added a $6 text messaging plan so I can chat throughout the day with BF, my sister and a few of my friends. It’s cheaper than calling them LD, and it’s a frugal way to keep in touch.
- Gas & public transportation: $50 – I definitely don’t need to budget this much money. I live so close to work that I anticipate spending less than $5/month (!!!) on gas (1 tank costs $5 and will last me about 160-180km of city driving), and maybe about $20/month on public transportation. Although I did take a $6 cab ride last week, but that was because I didn’t have my scooter over here yet. So I’m probably going to reduce this category down to about $25.
- Groceries: $150 – this is a tough one. I eat so simply, but I feel bad because I don’t feel like I have anything that BF would want to eat whenever he comes over (which is often). And one time, he brought his own food over. I think this may improve once I get some time to do some mass cooking/freezing. I think I’ll keep this at $150 and just see how I do. I know I’m going to go over this amount for the month of February, because I had to re-stock on a bunch of the essentials that I needed, but I’m sure I can stick to this come March.
- Entertainment: $100 – I haven’t exactly done anything exciting this month, but I’m confident I can stick to this budget. Looking at it, $100 seems like a lot of money, but when I think that a dinner out at a decent restaurant will probably cost $50 for two people, it doesn’t seem like it’ll go far at all. We’ll see.
- Miscellaneous: $80 – This number still seems appropriate, but I think I’m going to add an additional $55 to bring it to $135. It gives me a little more flex in my budget, so that if I do want to do something fun, or if I decide I want to make a fancy meal at home with specific ingredients that I don’t normally buy (or even go out for dinner), I have the money in the budget. Plus, this category will house my clothing, personal care items and renter’s insurance.
- Travel: $80 – I’ll have traveled 3 times to the island in February, when it’s all said and done. Last weekend we took BF’s car across on the ferry, which I wasn’t anticipating … so my cost was around $62 for that trip alone. Ouch! But bringing the car was necessary – I was able to bring back so much stuff that I otherwise wouldn’t have been able to carry across on the ferry myself. The next few months I only anticipate going back home twice a month, and each trip should cost me between $24-40, depending on what my transportation method will be to get to and from the ferry terminals.
All in all, I’m pleased with my budget. I can still save around $1,000/month, and I still don’t feel like I’m depriving myself of anything. If anything, I feel a little more at ease after adding the $$ I’m saving on my original budget for rent/transportation, to the Miscellaneous category.
Well, I updated the sidebars and my NetworthIQ. I’m not as bad off as I thought I was, but I know I’ve been spending a lot more than I should be spending. It’s such an expensive pain in the butt, this whole moving thing. I’m glad it’s over, so I can settle into some sort of financial routine.
After paying off my moving expenses on my credit card (and my new glasses), I was able to put $1,300 of my EI payout back into my EF (new total of $1,514.25), and then I just shoved $200 into my Condo Down Payment fund, just so it didn’t look so sad.
I initiated direct deposits into my Travel Fund of $50 bi-weekly. I want to be able to contribute more, but at this time, I’m not sure I can afford to … and I’m not exactly going to be taking vacation anytime soon, so I think I’m fine. The next trip I’m anticipating is a 2 or 3 night trip down to Seattle for Canada Day long weekend, but that’s not until July … and it’s so much cheaper now that I don’t have to take into consideration bus/ferry/bus costs just to get to the mainland.
Anyway, this Friday I will get my first full pay cheque from my new job, so I hope to be able to set up some sort of concrete budget I can stick to. Since I’ve moved here, my budget has been pretty loose. I am quite satisfied that I only spent $27 on groceries yesterday though. :)
Slowly but surely I’m getting back on the money bandwagon. It’s hard after essentially having nothing to do with personal finance for the past 3 months, but I think I’m well on my way again.
I’m not gonna lie, the walk home from the grocery store this evening was hell. My bags were SUPER heavy, it was windy and rainy, and I was all hot and sweaty (even though it was freezing outside) and in a bad mood. So I called a cab. It only cost me $6 after tip, so I don’t feel too bad about it, but I was literally only 2 km from my house. I could have done it, but I really really wasn’t feeling it. I spent a lot on groceries. A LOT. $86.63 to be exact. I didn’t realize how much I needed to buy … so along with my usual weekly purchases, I also had to get things like a Brita filter, dish detergent, hand soap, extra virgin olive oil, etc … stuff I had back home, but didn’t bring with me to Vancouver.
The good news is that my place is looking organized and pretty darn nice, considering the limited amount of space I have. I just have to bolt up my coat/shoe rack, hang some pictures/artwork, and get a bed (BF said he would probably have it finished by early next week). Once everything is set up the way I want it to be, I’ll take pictures and post them here.
I’ve been ignoring Quicken for the past few weeks. I’m scared to see how little money I really have. I’m hoping that my EI payment comes in soon, so at least my bank account doesn’t look so pathetic. And my fingers are crossed that my last T-4 comes in this week so I can pick it up when I come this weekend.