January was an expensive month, and not how I wanted 2017 to start – but that’s just the way it works sometimes. :)
This month marked our official goal of trying to save $150,000 for a future down payment. RD has already saved his half of the down payment, so now it’s just up to me. You’ll be able to see my progress every month in the details below.
I also started a crafty project for the year: I’m cross stitching Christmas stockings for RD and I. :) The one pictured here has about 50 hours worth of work already (thanks horrible January weather), so it’ll take some time for sure. This idea started back in December, when we were in his hometown visiting his parents. We realized that since our hometowns are so far apart, and we want to visit both families every Christmas, we’ll always be busy over the holiday break. We thought it would be nice to start up our own tradition so that we could celebrate the holidays together, before embarking on our travel plans. My hope is to get both stockings stitched and sewn before December of this year … the only issue is that I don’t own a sewing machine, so I’ll likely have to enlist help for that part. :)
Anyway, onto how I did this month with my budget!
- Household – just barely went over budget on this one, but we bought an air plant and a hipster planter to go with it. :)
- Entertainment – a friend decided to throw a last-minute birthday party so we went to a pub to celebrate and bought her a couple rounds as well.
- Clothing – well, I bought a Patagonia 3-in-1 coat for $500 (on sale), but then really couldn’t pass up the holiday sale at Anthropologie. I felt guilty afterwards so unsubscribed to their newsletter. Thankfully, I no longer work within walking distance of that store, so I doubt I’ll be shopping there much anymore.
- Travel – the 50% deposit on our accommodation for Tofino (March) put me over in this category. I should have known this expense would happen in January, as we booked our accommodation last year in February and I wanted to book earlier this year.
Income and Savings:
This month I saved 66% of my net income and brought in $3,500 in freelance income. I still have about $4,000 in freelance work that should be coming sometime in February.
- Current Down Payment Fund: $128,600 / $150,000 (+ $3,900)
January 2017 Goals:
- Look into making my budgeting spreadsheet available to blog readers. CHECK! I’m 95% sure I’m going to do this, but over the years my spreadsheet has become so customized to my taste that I’m going to have to spend some time making it a bit more generic.
- Try 3 new recipes. CHECK! I tested out a bunch of new recipes from the Oh She Glows Every Day and Plenty More cookbooks – a kale and delicata squash salad, butternut squash with chili yogurt cilantro sauce, a new veggie burger recipe, Thug Kitchen burritos, smashed potatoes, maple glazed rainbow carrots … and made a few of my staple recipes a bit more fancy by making simple things from scratch like my own mango salsa, pesto sauce, roasted garlic, and salad dressing.
- Bring my lunch to work every day. PASS. I bought my lunch twice – once was the first day back from vacation (which shouldn’t really count, right?), and the other time was when we only had enough leftovers to pack for one lunch, so I gave it to RD because he works in the middle of nowhere.
- Try to lower my internet bill. FAIL. I actually did try to call into Shaw Cable (since I was told existing customers cannot use the chat function on their website to look at promo pricing), but the hold time was too long and I couldn’t wait any longer since I was at work.
- Get into the mountains. CHECK! We only got out once this month because the weather has been so horrible (and because field hockey season has started back up again), but it was still nice. Next month I hope to get out more.
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.