October is probably my favourite month of the year – I just love the colder weather, breaking out my sweaters, cooking curries and stews, and spending cozy evenings indoors (except when I have field hockey practice in the evenings – brrr!).
One change to our Fixed Expenses it that our condo fees have gone up about $40/month – which is a pretty significant jump, but still cheaper than most condo buildings in our area. I like the fact that we have 24/7 security, full-time caretakers, and regular cleaning to all floors and common area spaces.
This month my spending looks pretty normal, with the exception of a few things:
- We are installing a screen door to our patio – so we can enjoy some fresh air and kitty can stay safely inside.
- We will be going away for the November long weekend, and about 12 days over Christmas, so we’ve hired a pet sitter to watch Zoey twice a day while we’re gone. Maybe two visits a day is a bit much, but I want to keep her feeding times on a regular schedule, and she hates (HATES) a dirty litter box.
- I’m starting my Christmas shopping by giving myself a $300 budget for the month. My budget will likely be a lot more, but for now this will be fine as I have something in mind. :)
- The car needs an oil change and a couple of small things fixed.
October 2017 Goals:
- Work out 3-4 times each week (average). Gym, rock climbing, field hockey.
- Check credit score. Once a year treat, for my birthday!
- List at least 5 things for sale online. There’s a lot we can get rid of.
- Research pet camera systems. We left Zoey at home overnight so that we could go to my parents for Thanksgiving, and I was surprised at my anxiety level. I think some sort of camera system will help me with that, especially since we’re gone during the days, and have a couple of vacations coming up. Initial research shows me they’re about $150-300 in price. I know that she’s fine by herself all day, but just being able to see her somehow makes me feel better. Maybe I’ve already turned into a crazy cat lady. :)
- Work on freelance business. I need to follow up with some clients, and finalize a contract or two for the fall.
September was expensive, but I’m happy to report that I came in under budget. I went over in a few categories, but thankfully coming in well below my budgeted Travel amount helped me out this month.
Overall for our Portugal trip, I had budgeted $5,400 for the two of us, but we actually ended up spending $4,576:
- Flights (Vancouver-Azores, Azores-Lisbon, Lisbon-Vancouver) – $2,450 budgeted / $2,424 paid
- Accommodation (14 nights) – $1,200 budgeted / $1,113 paid
- Food – $1,000 budgeted / $787.41 paid
- Car rental (7 days + gas) – $450 budgeted / FREE
- Transportation – $100 budgeted / $81.59 paid
- Miscellaneous – $200 budgeted / $170.22 paid
Ending up $824 under budget was due in large part because we ended up using $655 in credit card rewards, but even without those credits, we would have still come in under budget so I’m pretty pleased about that.
Other than that, it was a pretty normal month!
- Cell Phone – I ended up buying an international package for my phone while we were away, because I knew we’d need it for navigation, calling our AirBnB hosts, checking into flights, and just keeping in contact with friends and family. The package was $90 and obviously much more expensive than if I had gotten a local SIM card, but having my phone number available in case of a work or personal emergency was enough of a reason to just go with what Rogers had available.
- Household – As I mentioned in my post yesterday, we spent much more than we thought we would on our adopted cat. But it’s all been worth it so far.
- Car & Transportation – I ended up renewing my driver’s license a month earlier because I had a day off and couldn’t think of anywhere I’d rather be than waiting in an ICBC line-up. :) Just kidding, it wasn’t that bad.
- Gifts – I bought a few small things on Etsy for part of a Christmas gift.
- Miscellaneous – I had to buy a new MacBook Pro cord because I lost mine during our trip. :(
Income & Savings:
I only saved 20% of my income this month because of our Portugal trip as well as having to pay for our Christmas flight up north.
My overall net worth increased 1.70%.
September 2017 Goals:
- Post once a week to GMBMFB. FAIL. I really had good intentions, but not having access to my computer for half the month made it difficult. Also, I spent the last week of September playing with the cat. :)
- 15,000 steps per day. CHECK! On average I walked 16,432 steps per day.
- Focus on healthy eating. CHECK! I did my fair share of pastries, but I also really cut back on chocolate and chips, and only had a little bit of alcohol while we were on vacation. I also cut out dessert most evenings – not that I eat dessert often, but when you’re out at restaurants or on vacation it’s easy to indulge on stuff like that.
- Say yes when traveling. CHECK. Maybe I should have asked RD his opinion before I give myself a check mark on this one. :) But I think I was more easy going, looser on our itinerary, and willing to adapt more than I usually am. I got flustered a few times, but did pretty well for myself. I think.
Well our big trip of the year is in just a few days – we’ll be headed off to Portugal for 2 weeks, and then when we get home, we’re headed up into the mountains for a 3 day trip. This vacation, plus field hockey insurance fees, getting our home set up for a cat, and paying for a Christmas flight to see RD’s parents means that September is going to be very, very expensive.
I doubt I’ll actually be able to save any money this month, but that’s okay. I’m secretly hoping our Portugal trip will end up costing less than we think (our flight/hotel/car rental are already paid for) because we have about $300 in travel rewards that I can put towards our expenses. But if not, the monthly budget can accommodate that.
You might notice that I’ve added another line to my budget’s Fixed Expenses below – which is my climbing membership. This is the first time we’ve actually gone ahead and committed to a membership – and it’s also the only time I’ve bought a gym membership of any kind! :) But it’s a significant savings from the single month pricing ($110) or the punch card ($95 for 5 visits). We’re averaging 2-3 climbs per week, so it’s worth it for sure.
Also, field hockey season starts up again! I’ll be missing the first 3 games because of holidays, but I’m really excited to start the season. For the past few years I’ve been a bit down about my game. I’m getting older, and I’m not as fast as I used to be. But near the end of last season I felt little flashes of the player I used to be, and that was pretty thrilling. I’ve been saying “just one more season” for the past 2 or 3 years now, so we’ll see how it goes. :)
Anyway, here’s my budget for the month:
September 2017 Goals:
- Post once a week to GMBMFB. I’m hoping to have the first three posts scheduled while I’m away.
- 15,000 steps per day. On average.
- Focus on healthy eating. I’d like to scale back on the junk food and focus on healthy eating. This will be interesting since we’ll be on vacation for much of the month, but I think that’s when it’s most important.
- Say yes when traveling. One of my big goals for the year was to be more relaxed when we’re traveling and say yes to opportunities that come up which may change our plans. Travel should have an element of spontaneity, but sometimes I find that I’m stuck in my ways that I may miss an amazing opportunity just because I’m worried about my itinerary. RD is much better at just going with whatever comes his way, and I need to adopt a little more of that attitude in my life. :)