Wow am I glad May is over. Not because it was completely horrible – there were some really great moments – but because May was super expensive, and the end of May means that RD comes home in just over a week. :)
I had planned two trips for may – home for the long weekend, and a camping/hiking trip with Cait. My three nights home were really great. I got to spend time with friends and family (and eat a lot of delicious food!). Plus, I took my sister to the spa (as you can see in the ‘Gifts’ category below). However, my camping/hiking trip with Cait ended up not happening. She got super sick with the flu – and even if she hadn’t gotten sick, the weather last weekend was so horrible I doubt we would have gone anyway.
- Food – I got lazy and stopped cooking meals at home. It was surprisingly hard to keep disciplined, even though we’ve been cooking the majority of our meals at home for the past 6 months.
- Clothing – I got two dresses altered, and bought a new pair of workout pants.
- Car & Transportation – Well, now. My little car got new tires, an oil change, and a couple of other random fixes that I’ve been putting off for a while. I knew I was going to have to get this done before our October road trip, but I didn’t anticipate doing it this month. One of the little fixes got to be too bothersome, so I ended up taking it in and just getting everything done just out of convenience. I’m glad it was all taken care of, but ouch!
Income and Savings:
This month I saved 48.6% of my income, which is just a bit below my target of 50%. I brought in $3,000 through freelancing, and still have $6,250 in outstanding invoices yet to be paid.
May 2016 Goals:
- Be diligent with cooking meals at home. FAIL. Oh, yes, this was a complete and total fail. I had all these grand ideas of cooking my meals at home and not getting lazy just because I was cooking for one this month. :) I actually did fairly well for a while, but a bachelor mentality set in, and I ended up going $60 over budget for the month – mostly in take-out food.
- Workout 5x/week. CHECK! I worked out 19 times this month, and did a mixture of yoga, spin class, climbing, and the gym. I shed a couple pounds (which was not the intention, but I’ll definitely take it!), and feel much stronger.
- No alcohol or coffee. PASS. I did quite well with not drinking alcohol (I had 4 drinks all month), and I was doing well with coffee for the first three weeks … but the last week has been hard. Work got really busy and I ended up coming in early a lot and grabbing coffee on my way in.
- Be creative with freelancing opportunities. PASS. I had some good conversations with potential sponsors. Nothing has been confirmed yet, but I’m just glad I was able to flesh out my ideas and pitch them.
- Save $2,500 towards retirement. FAIL. My huge car bill ate up the majority of my freelance income from the month, but I still managed to put over $3,000 away in retirement and savings combined – so even though it was a fail, that’s still a win in my books. :)
The last two weekends have been relatively quiet. After our trip to Squamish, we’ve basically been hermits. I really appreciate that RD has about the same capacity for socializing as me, so we’ve been spending a lot of time relaxing, going for walks, climbing, and we even went out for a 3 hour bike ride over the weekend. It’s been nice, and the gorgeous weather here in Vancouver has gotten me really excited for a fun summer.
Yesterday we took the SkyTrain downtown and watched the finish of the BMO Marathon. It was so inspiring to see so many people achieving their goals – from the elite athletes to the recreational runners. I loved it, and it’s really making me reconsider foot surgery so that I can go back to running again. There’s no good time to have the surgery, so it’s something I’m going to have to seriously.
I was over budget this month, which is pretty good considering we bought a brand new backpacking tent. I had been eyeing it for months, and we definitely paid a premium to get one of the lightest tents possible. Thankfully it was a shared expense, but my half of the purchase still put me over budget by almost $100 in the Travel category. :)
One area that I’m impressed with was the drop in our hydro bill. We’ve only had two bills since moving into our house (BC Hydro bills every 2 months). Our first bill back in February was $197.98. This bill was nearly 50% less, coming in at almost exactly $100. We even had a visit from the contractor who built this little laneway, and when he asked what our hydro bills were, he was impressed. It’s not exactly the $15/month I was paying at my old place, but I can definitely get on board with paying $100 ($25 each per month).
- Entertainment – we went out to eat one too many times this month. :) But since we won’t be going out to any restaurants next month, I’m okay with that.
- Travel – we bought a tent! It was a planned purchase, we just didn’t think we’d be buying it so soon. But RD thought it’d be a good idea for me to test it out on my camping trip next month with Cait, so we bought it earlier than expected. After tax, the tent came to $532.
- Miscellaneous – I started brewing kombucha! I would have been under budget had I not needed to buy a heating belt. But more to come on my kombucha home brewing adventures. :)
Income & Savings:
This month I saved 52% of my income, but didn’t bring in any freelance income this month. I invoiced out for $2,750, have $5,000 pending, and signed contracts for about $3,000 in new work for May. So the money is coming, just not this month. :)
April 2016 Goals:
- Practice yoga – CHECK! I didn’t go to the yoga studio like I had intended, but I consistently stretched and did light yoga throughout the month at home. I still have that gift certificate to YYoga and saw that they have a promotion going on (unlimited yoga for a month for $40) – so I’m going to start going in May.
- Run twice – FAIL. I did not run because my foot started acting up.
- Do my taxes and get organized for next year – PASS. I did my taxes, but did not get myself as organized as I would have liked for next year.
- Read more often – CHECK! I’ve been turning off Netflix and reading every few days.
May is going to be an expensive month for me. There’s lots of fun things being planned, and I’m excited for good weather so that I can get outside and explore! Here are a few highlights of what I’ve planned so far:
- A weekend camping trip with Cait. We planned a trip to the Sunshine Coast for 2 nights!
- Two day hikes. I’ve got a separate hiking trip planned with Cait, as well as one in the works with Nic. I suspect the hike with Nic will be a long day, as we tend to try hikes that really test our (well, my) limits.
- Home for the long weekend. I’ve planned a 3-day trip home over the long weekend. It’ll be my first time home since the beginning of February, so it’ll be nice to see friends and family.
- My sister’s birthday. Her birthday was back in March, but I promised to take her to the spa the next time I was in town. I splurged and got us a 3-hour spa package, which was actually reasonably priced at $400 total (before tax and tip of course).
Although if I’m being honest, I’ve been dreading the month of May since RD and I first started dating, because it means he’s gone for the entire month for work. He’ll be in a very remote part of the province where there is absolutely no chance of cell reception or internet – meaning no communication unless he’s able to call me on the satellite phone (which will be rare). May is shaping up to be really busy for me, so I’m happy about that … but it’s still going to be hard. We spend almost all of our spare time together, and it will be weird not talk at all.
Now onto the budget I’ve prepared for the month. There are three increases to my normal budget – Travel, Car & Transportation, and Gifts. Life is a bit more expensive with RD gone – I’ll pay more for gas (as we usually take turns driving), and we usually split ferry costs. Gifts is a new category I’m introducing this month. I usually put gifts in Miscellaneous, but I feel like I spend enough on gifts throughout the year that it deserves it’s own category.
May 2016 Goals:
- Be diligent with cooking meals at home. Because cooking for one isn’t much fun, I feel like it’s going to be so easy to slip into the habit of getting take-out for dinner. I want to really eat healthy this month, batch cook a bunch of meals for the freezer, and make most of my meals at home.
- Workout 5x/week. My climbing pass is good until May 22nd, and I’m signing up for YYoga’s newbie promotion: a 30-day unlimited pass for $40. What I love about YYoga is that they offer a lot more than just yoga classes – I can’t wait to try out their spin classes too!
- No alcohol or coffee. Now that I’m brewing kombucha, and RD isn’t around to keep the fridge stocked with my favourite beer, I want to cut out alcohol and coffee for the month.
- Be creative with freelancing opportunities. I haven’t sought out any sort of freelance work in a very long time – but I’ve got a few good ideas that I think could turn into some pretty fun projects if I can find the right partners. I’d also like to try something outside of personal finance and over into travel/outdoors. It’s a more competitive space, but I’ve done it before with some pretty successful travel sponsorships and writing opportunities.
- Save $2,500 towards retirement. I’m set to get a few cheques from clients this month, so I’m earmarking a portion of that cash to put towards retirement.