I can’t believe it’s already December! Yes this post comes a little late, but I’ve been busy creating my 2018 budgeting spreadsheet, and getting ready to wind down the year financially so that I can start calculating my final numbers for 2017.
2017 has been a great year so far, and I think the last few weeks of December will be a lot of fun as well. There are year-end dinners and catch-ups with friends and family, and I’m also really excited to go up to Smithers for a snowy Christmas (although I hope it’s not too cold!), and then to Victoria to hang out with my friends and family.
My budget for the month is a bit higher than normal, and that’s because:
- December is a 3 pay cheque month for me, which is why my mortgage amount is higher than it normally is.
- We had to have some bloodwork and tests done on Zoey to make sure she was physically able to have the dental surgery in January. All of her tests came back great, which is a relief. The cost of the testing was included in the quote we got a couple of weeks ago, we just had to pay for that portion up front.
- I’ve budgeted for a few last minute Christmas gifts just in case, but I think we’ve managed to cover everyone already. :)
December 2017 Goals:
- Go see a physio – I’ve had issues with my hips since October when I somehow injured myself playing field hockey. I immediately stopped running and tried to rest my hips. And due to travel as well as how the field hockey schedule worked out, I even had a 2.5 week break from any real physical activity. But they’re still bothering me. So have to go get it dealt with before it becomes a real issue.
- Realistically plan for 2018 – there could be some major expenses coming up next year which could hinder our ability to take our normal ‘big’ vacation. I want to finalize my budgeting spreadsheet and make sure I have enough money saved up for these expenses – and if I don’t? Then I’ll see if my monthly budget need adjusting, or if I need to try to bring in more income.
- Pack my lunch every day – So far for December I’ve packed my lunch every day, and I hope to continue to do so for the rest of the month.
- Get out of the office – I’ve fallen back into the habit of never leaving the office during the work day. I need to start taking walks again, or going grocery shopping on my lunch break, so that I get a break from my desk.
So I went over a little on my budget this month, but I feel good about all of my purchases. I’m especially proud of the fact that I significantly cut down on buying lunches and coffee this month – I didn’t go to Starbucks during work at all, and only ended up buying my lunch twice during the month (the day before I left for Toronto, and the day after).
All of my Christmas shopping is done. Okay, all of the major shopping is done. I’m only giving myself a small budget for December to pick up some odds and ends, wrapping paper, shipping expenses to get out gifts up to Smithers, etc. It feels good not to have to worry about buying gifts at all in December.
I also think I’m going to have to increase our Household budget because we are spending more on cat food each month than I had anticipated. I can’t bring myself to buy lesser quality food for Zoey, so as a result we’re spending about $80 on her food, and then there’s litter as well as treats. So I imagine we’re coming close to $100/month on her.
Speaking of Zoey, we took her to the vet for a dental consultation today because we were told at our previous check-up that her teeth were horrible. And it turns out they were not exaggerating. One of her canine teeth has broken off at the base (the root needs to be extracted), and another tooth has ground down to next to nothing. Plus, she has severe plaque build-up and her bath teeth are so bad that he thinks a few of them will need to be extracted as well. Poor cat!
They gave us an estimate of about $1,700 (!!!). The vet said she’s likely been in a good amount of pain for a while, so this will drastically improve her life. It’s a lot of money to spend since our pet insurance won’t cover something that’s clearly pre-existing … but it’s worth it, and I’m grateful that we don’t have to worry about the expense and can pay for it all out of our savings.
Also it’s interesting to talk to the vet about how old he actually thinks Zoey is. The SPCA estimated she was 3 years old, but he said that it’s very unlikely that a 3 year old would have that kind of dental damage, so he thinks she’s closer to 6-8 years old. He said that a lot of times the shelters estimate a lower age so that the pets are more adoptable. It’s a bit upsetting that she’s a lot older than we thought she was, but it doesn’t really change anything. Anyway, we are booked for her all-day dental appointment on January 5th, and I’m hoping that she won’t be in too much pain for the next month.
Anyway, here are my numbers for November:
- Household: We had to take Zoey to the vet for some vaccinations, and then we also bought an Instant Pot during Black Friday sales. It was a bit of an impulse buy, but the slow cooker has been broken since last winter, so I see it more as a replacement. :)
- Clothing: Getting my shoes re-soled ended up being a bit more expensive than I expected.
- Travel: It was raining when I was in Toronto for the Canadian Personal Finance Conference so I took Ubers to the conference centre, and also when RD came to pick me up from the airport, my flight was delayed so parking was a lot more than I had anticipated.
- Personal Care: Ended up getting my hair cut. Normally haircuts at this salon are $50, but if you go in with already washed hair, they drop the price to $30! I’m happy giving a 50% tip if it means my hair cuts stay under $50 total.
- Gifts: I splurged a bit on my sister’s gift, and also I put down a deposit on accommodation for RD’s birthday getaway in April.
Income & Savings
I saved 38.2% of my income this month and my net worth went up 2.56%.
Also, I earned an extra $1,000 in freelance income and invoiced out for $3,000 which I’m hoping I get next month but realistically it won’t be until January. :)
November 2017 Goals:
- Set up a joint savings account. FAIL. Because of the way we have our accounts set up, RD has to be the one who initiates opening up the joint savings account. But it’s something we know we want to do, so it’s just about making the time.
- Consolidate my TFSA accounts. CHECK! I moved my Tangerine TFSA over to Questrade and into ETFs. I feel really good that I was able to move everything over and that I’m working at simplifying my investment accounts.
- Get my boots re-soled. CHECK! I took them back to the only place I trust with my boots. They’re a bit more expensive than other places, but worth it because they do really good work.
- Pack a lunch every work day. CHECK! Technically I bought my lunch twice this month, but I’m giving myself a pass because the work days before and after a trip are always difficult. And my flight home was delayed so that I didn’t even have a chance to get to the grocery store to pick up lunch items anyway.
How was your November?
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:
- 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.