I hate having to start a new year with an expensive monthly budget, but sometimes it just can’t be avoided. Luckily I have over $4,000 in freelance work invoiced out for January payment, so that will help. :)
The biggest expense by far is investing in a waterproof winter coat. Yes you can certainly buy coats for much less than $500, but I am a firm believer in buying quality items that are going to last me for a long time. The last time I bought a winter jacket was 9 years ago for skiing. I still wear it all the time in the city and in the mountains. But I wanted something more versatile. I wanted it to be wearable for both the wet Pacific Northwest client of Vancouver, as well as for the chilly Northern BC winters (mine currently does not) – plus it had to look nice enough to wear to work. After tons of research I narrowed it down to a Patagonia 3-in-1 parka (pictured). Waterproof outer for rain, puffy removable liner for winter, and looks gorgeous. Perfect! Expensive for sure, but I’m hoping it’ll last me 8-10 years. :)
I also wanted to get ahead of the rush by booking RD’s birthday present. Last year, we went to Squamish for 2 nights, and this year I booked us 3-nights over the Easter long weekend in April. I’d tell you where we’re going, but RD wants it to be a surprise. :) His birthday is very close to when he leaves for his annual 4-6 weeks of field work, so this might become an annual weekend getaway, as it’s nice to get a mini vacation together in before he goes.
We will also be traveling back to the island for Chinese New Year (likely just two nights, and might not bring a car over). We also needed to replace my car windshield since it got damaged on our Yukon trip – we’ll split the cost on that. I’ll also have to renew my membership to the climbing gym.
January 2017 Goals:
- Look into making my budgeting spreadsheet available to blog readers. I’ve never offered my spreadsheet before, but a few people have been requesting it. Is this something you’d be interested in?
- Try 3 new recipes. We got two new cookbooks for Christmas (Oh She Glows Every Day and Plenty More), and I’m dying to try out some of the recipes. The Plenty More book is a lot more complicated than the recipes I’m used to, but I’m up for the challenge. I love spending a bit more time on the weekends preparing meals. :)
- Bring my lunch to work every day. If I’m going to be spending all this time cooking, I’d better be making enough food to take for leftovers the next day!
- Try to lower my internet bill. We currently pay about $75 for internet, and I’m constantly complaining about it. I don’t think it should cost this much, especially since the plan is so bare-bones we really both can’t be using the internet at the same time. :|
- Get into the mountains. Time to break out those snowshoes and get into the mountains!
I’m currently typing this blog post out on my new Macbook Pro. :) After I wrote about my purchase at the beginning of November, my friend Nic convinced me I needed to upgrade the graphics card on the computer since I plan on keeping it just as long as my last one (hopefully longer).
The original budget for my computer was $3,500, and after tax, my computer came to $3,619.84. But I had $300 in Apple gift cards (which I got for my birthday in October), and I managed to sell my old computer for $400 – meaning the grand total of my computer actually came to $2,919.84! :)
Unfortunately I went over on a few other categories in my budget this month, so I wasn’t able to save my savings. But at least I didn’t go over budget, so that’s a small win.
- Tenant Insurance – One of my goals this month was to decrease our annual insurance, but we ended up increasing it because I wanted to add earthquake coverage.
- Household – A few weeks ago we went to the Circle Craft Market downtown to do some Christmas shopping, and we ended up buying a few pieces of art for ourselves. Whoops! :)
- Entertainment – One extra trip to the pub put me over budget this month.
- Clothing – I had budgeted $300 for boots and pants, but ended up using the entire amount for a pair of tall Phillip Harness Frye boots I had been lusting over for years. They are $629 on the Frye website, and I saw them locally in Vancouver for $480 after tax. But I was able to get them on a Black Friday sale through Amazon for $296.76 after tax and duties.
- Fitness – We bought a one-month membership to the climbing gym, and I also lost RD’s water bottle so I had to get another one for him. :)
- Gifts – I thought I’d just *start* my Christmas shopping for the year, but decided just to finish it off since we’ll be traveling in mid-December to celebrate some birthdays and an early Christmas with RD’s brother. The money I spent was gifts for 11 people (9 Christmas presents, and 2 birthday presents).
Income and Savings:
This month I was only able to save 19.2% of my income, because of the MacBook Pro purchase. But I’m just pleased I was able to save anything at all.
- Shop around for tenant insurance – PASS. I mean, I kind of did this by getting two different quotes. Both were about the same, so I went with the same insurer as last year. But just today I found a policy for about $200/year cheaper … so am going to try to switch. And if I cannot switch, I’ll know better for next year. :|
- Create my budgeting spreadsheet for 2017 – CHECK! My spreadsheet is bigger and better than before, and I’m so excited to start using it in January. Yes, I am a nerd.
- Freelancing – CHECK! I have one outstanding invoice for 2016, and have quoted out for 3 projects in 2017.
November is going to be an expensive month … not because I’m going anywhere (although I am going to Toronto next week for the Canadian Personal Finance Conference), but because I pre-ordered one of the new Apple Macbook Pro computers.
I bought my current MBP six years ago, and it has served me well. In fact, aside from it running hot, it’s still a very good computer … it just doesn’t work for my purposes anymore. I work my computers hard, and the lag in the last 6 months has become so bad that I’ve stopped doing any sort of photo editing or design work. And that needs to change.
So with some of the freelance money I’ve earned this year, I’ll be getting my new computer in just a couple of weeks! I had budgeted $3,500 and with taxes, my purchase came to $3,269.84. I’m really pleased I was able to come in under budget, and I plan on selling my old computer which I think should get me a few hundred dollars.
Anyway, onto this month’s budget!
I’ve included money in my budget this month for clothing – I’d like to get a pair of black boots as I had to throw away my last pair two winters ago. I also need to get two pairs of shoes repaired, and would like to buy a pair of pants for work.
Also I’ve included about half my budget for Christmas gifts. :)
November 2016 Goals:
- Shop around for tenant insurance – ours expires at the end of the month, so I’ll call around to a few places to see if we can get a lower rate.
- Create my budgeting spreadsheet for 2017 – I stopped using Quicken a few years ago and track my budget in my own Excel spreadsheet. Except that it has gotten quite robust and complicated over the years with so many linked cells across multiple tabs. I want to set up a clean version for 2017 so that I don’t have to worry about it next month. :)
- Freelancing – I need to wrap up the last of my freelance contracts for 2016 and start the negotiating for contracts during the first half of 2017. I’ve also been getting inquiries about doing some freelance design work, which I might pick up just for fun … haven’t done any contracted design work in a while!