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May 2017 Goals

Well May is a difficult month because RD is gone and I already miss him, but I have a lot of fun things planned – and work is going to be super busy, so I’m looking forward to picking up a lot of OT hours to help pay for all the travel we have left in the year. :)

This coming weekend I’m headed to Seattle for a girls trip with one of my best friends. We’re splurging a bit and taking a cruise ship from Vancouver to Seattle for one night. :) We’ll then stay another night in the city and catch a Mariners game. I’m excited for this trip because we used to travel a lot together, but she had a daughter now, and understandably it’s much harder for her to get away.

I’m also headed home for the May long weekend to take my sister out for her birthday. I booked us a session at the Float House, as well as a massage afterwards. It’ll be pricey, but I’ll be able to claim my massage through benefits, so it’ll be less expensive than last year’s birthday trip to the spa. :) I’ll also get to see some friends that I haven’t seen since Christmas, so I’m really looking forward to that.

News

I mentioned in my April goals review that I got a raise. It’s not a huge bump, but every bit counts, and it does increase my net income by about $220/month which definitely affects my budget. I’m mostly really happy that my  hard work was acknowledged! After thinking it over, $75 of that will be saved for retirement, $100 will go towards general savings, and the rest will be eaten up by lifestyle inflation because this fall we are getting a cat. :)

The second bit of news is that RD and I have bought a condo. We were both really surprised that we found something in just a few months of looking. But it was exactly what we were looking for, and came in under our budget so we’re pleased. We don’t take possession until mid-June, so May’s budget is not affected. I have a big post scheduled for Monday that will run through the details, so stay tuned for that.

Here is my proposed budget for May:

May 2017 Goals:

  • Exercise. I bought a one-month pass to YYoga on Monday because it was on sale, but it was still expensive! I went to YYoga last May when they were having a sale on passes, and I loved it because they offer both spin and yoga classes. It was a nice break from the climbing gym, and helped me get my cardio up for the hiking season. I can’t justify a studio pass AND a climbing membership for the year, so this is my one month to get as much yoga and spin in as I can. :)
  • Organize our move. When RD and I moved into our little laneway house 1.5 years ago, he did all of the legwork because I was in Toronto doing some freelancing. So now that the roles are reversed, I have a lot to organize. I’ll need to get quotes from movers and painters (to see if it’s even feasible that we hire them), organize move-in times with the building, look into getting strata approval to do a quick renovation, and start to pack up our home with the things I know we’ll be taking with us.
  • Refresh GMBMFB. I’ve been wanting to do this all freaking year, but this is going to be the month to do it.

April 2017 Goals: Recap

April was expensive, but I ended up coming under budget because we decided to use our credit card rewards points to offset some of the cost of our Portugal trip, and I booked cheaper tickets to the Blue Jays games. The prices of the good seats were just outrageous, especially with the exchange rate, and all the seats at Safeco Field have a great view anyway.

We started organizing and setting aside items for donation and to sell, which feels really nice – but the place looks like a bomb went off. And now that RD is off on his annual 5-week trip for work, I’ll have a pretty busy May trying to sort through and sell what we no longer need. 

In work-related news, I might have mentioned before that my boss has taken the next 3-months off to go on an epic around-the-world adventure with her partner. I’m so thrilled that she’s on such an amazing trip, and I’m also very happy that the company I work for is flexible and allows for life events like that. While she’s gone, I’ll be working a lot more overtime because I’m taking on some of her workload. But I’m more than happy to do it. And the extra hours means more banked vacation time. :)

I also got a raise a few weeks ago, which will allow me to increase my retirement contributions. I haven’t figured out exactly how much I’ll be increasing it by, but will have the numbers in my May Budget post later this week.

Anyway, here’s how I did this month:

Over Budget:

  • Utilities – The amount we were billed was for March and April. It’s been chilly the past 2 months, and we used our heat more than I thought we would. We’ve since turned the thermostats all the way down, so I don’t anticipate the next two months to be very expensive.
  • Food – We fell out of sync with our normal grocery shopping routine near the end of the month when we were both preparing to go away but didn’t want any leftovers in the fridge.
  • Household – RD ended up buying some plastic totes because they’re more durable for storing stuff in the garage. I’m glad he did because our stuff is just sitting on the floor in cardboard boxes.

Income and Savings:

I only made a few hundred dollars in freelance income for the month, but am in negotiations for two or three projects in May. I also have a cheque from the conference that I spoke at this last weekend, but will group that in with my May income.

  • Current Down Payment Fund: $133,650 / $150,000 (+ $500)

April 2017 Goals:

  • Be openCHECK! I’m introverted, so public speaking can be difficult for me. Actually, even a lot of social interaction is difficult. Thankfully I’m able to overcome it most of the time, and perform in a way where people might not know how scared/nervous I actually am. I felt like when I was at the conference (more so talking one-on-one with people and not during my talk), I was able to be authentic and show my true self. And that’s all I really wanted. :)
  • Be budget consciousCHECK! I tried really hard to watch my budget this month, and because of that (and some rewards points), I was able to save $500 to my down payment fund, in addition to my regular automated retirement contributions.

April 2017 Goals

There’s no way around it, April is an expensive month – and travel is the reason why. We went away for the Easter long weekend (also for RD’s birthday), I had to buy baseball tickets for my family’s annual trip to Seattle (now that the Blue Jays are a good team, we have to play premium prices – baseball isn’t cheap anymore!), and we wanted to book our flights to Portugal for September because our flights are very specific and the prices are really good right now. PLUS, I’m headed up to Smithers for 4 days at the end of the month to speak at a writing retreat/conference.

All this spending goes against our goal of saving for our down payment, but we’ve made conscious efforts to scale back our trips, and I’m currently on at least a 3-month shopping ban. We also plan on doing a major purge of our belongings in the summer – including selling RD’s car, as well as a (somewhat) valuable painting that will never hang on our walls. I also have a nice Leica camera I don’t use anymore, a good amount of clothing that I can try to sell or donate, as well as some kitchen items (juicer, blender, etc.)that can go.

Anyway here is the budget for April:

April 2017 Goals:

  • Be open – I’m sure some of you can relate to this, but speaking is basically the hardest thing for me to do. I’m introverted, but can do presentations and lead meetings when needed. I’ve also gotten quite comfortable leading meetings and discussions at work, but speaking to large crowds is something I’m just not used to. So when I go to my speaking gig at the end of the month I want to be open to whatever happens. I know my presentation will resonate with some people, but it might not be for everyone. And that’s okay. I want to be open to meeting new people and also being honest when I don’t know the answer to something. I’m not an expert, but I’m passionate about blogging, social media, and being online … and I know enough to help people get started. :)
  • Be budget conscious – Since I have an enormous budget this month, I won’t be able to save anything aside from my automated retirement contributions. So I really want to monitor my budget and make sure I’m not spending unnecessarily.

Those are my only goals for the month. To be honest, this month has been really difficult so far – which is why my monthly goals are so late. Between preparing for RD to leave, freelancing, the personal finance conference, gearing up for work to start getting busy, lots of people wanting to visit, and my upcoming speaking gig, I’ve been stressed. Usually I’d have at least 2 or 3 more goals I’d try to accomplish this month, but honestly I don’t think I can do much more than this. And I think that’s okay! May will be better. I hope. :)

How is your April coming along?

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