Well this is the first time in a long time that I’ve actually hit all of my goals for the month. I feel good about this past month. I think I settled into a routine quite quickly after returning from Morocco, and am looking forward to tackling some major goals I have for myself coming up.
- Food – This was as a result of an excess of baking, stocking up on staples like quinoa, and experimenting with different recipes (more expensive ingredients). The good news is my freezer and pantry are full of food, so all I will likely need is to buy produce for the rest of the year.
- Entertainment – Yeah… I went out to eat a lot this month, and it shows. I think it’s the cost associated with the beginning of any relationship; you want to go out and do things. Like weekend brunch, sushi dinners, etc.
- Car & Transportation – I spent the same as I usually do for gas, but it was the parking that got me this month. I parked at least 3 or 4 times in Stanley Park (that’s $5+ each time), as well as a couple of other places around town. I’m going to look for a cheaper alternative for parking, because public transportation at this point isn’t an option.
Net Worth Change: + $2,106 (+ 2.35%)
After my post earlier this month about not saving enough for retirement, I made a conscious effort to increase my RRSP contributions and put more into my TFSA every pay cheque. Right now I’m sitting at a retirement savings rate of 16-17% of my net monthly income (from my full-time job only), with my end goal of saving around 20%.
This was also a three pay cheque month, so I had an additional mortgage payment to make, which helped with the net worth increase.
- Make a homemade version of Holy Crap Cereal – CHECK! You can check out my Holy Crap Cereal recipe to see how you can save almost 45% just by making it at home yourself.
- Research and track new stocks – CHECK! I’ve started looking at 5 new stocks, and will track/research them over the next few months.
- Run in my second half marathon – CHECK! Here is my recap of the Vancouver Historic Half Marathon.
- Start thinking about what goals I want to set for 2014 – CHECK! I took a few hours one night and really thought about what I wanted to accomplish for next year. I’m almost done writing them all out, and I’m excited to share them with you next month.
- No Starbucks fancy drinks – CHECK! Yep, I did it. Not only did I cut out all fancy Starbucks drinks, but I only went to Starbucks once this month. That surprised me a lot, because I didn’t think I could resist the lure of their holiday drinks. My wallet and my waist line are both thanking me.
Better late than never, right? I’ve had this sitting half finished in my draft folder for the last few weeks, and am finally able to publish it. :) After a pretty hectic month of October, I’m looking to settle into more of a routine. This means more cooking at home, taking time for myself (hopefully at least one evening at home per week without commitments), and getting my house in order (current status: disaster zone).
I’m also heading back to Victoria for the long weekend. Usually going home means running around frantically, doing as much as possible with the little time I have there. I have a feeling that this trip will be no different, but I’m hoping to make it a more relaxing trip. It’s been a long time since I’ve been able to just enjoy the city that I love so much.
November 2013 Goals:
- Make a homemade version of Holy Crap Cereal – I have become obsessed with this cereal ever since I tried a sample of it last month. The only problem is, the cost. It’s about $10-11 per bag, which yields just 8-10 servings. I did a bit of research online and people have been replicating it for much, much cheaper. So that’s a huge goal of mine this month.
- Research and track new stocks – A few days ago I made my first stock purchase into my TFSA, and it got me excited about investing again. So I’m going to do a bit of research, and start tracking a few new companies that I might want to invest in.
- Run in my second half marathon – After a somewhat successful first half marathon last month, I’ve severely undertrained for the one this month. My original goal was to beat my time of 1:54:31 … but realistically? I haven’t run in 3 weeks (travel, and getting over an injury), so I’d be happy with anything under the two-hour mark. :|
- Start thinking about what goals I want to set for 2014 – This year wasn’t what I thought it would be. I didn’t hit a lot of financial goals that I had set for myself, so I really want to regroup and focus on next year. I need to set ambitious, yet realistic goals, but I haven’t quite grasped where that means I’ll end up.
- No Starbucks fancy drinks – Yep, that’s right. My goal is to cut out lattes, mochas, and any other specialty drinks (from all coffee shops – not just Starbucks) for the entire month. Is it possible? I think so. But it’s going to be hard.
Well, I grouped 5 days of travel spending from November into my October expenses because that’s how I budgeted for it. Thankfully, even though I went over on my budget, I had a good month for bringing in freelance income to make up for it.
As for the entertainment category, I was only in town for like 10 days of the month, so I clearly went crazy. I just couldn’t help myself, even though I knew I would be going over budget. This was a result of going to 5 movies (4 from VIFF), as well as a birthday dinner with my neighbour.
I also took the time to analyze my travel spending this year… and yikes. It’s a rough one. 2013 was supposed to be the year I stayed home and explored Vancouver (since 2012 was all about travel). But so far this year, I’ve gone to the Okanagan, Las Vegas, Toronto, France, Morocco, and Seattle. :| I want to do another big trip next year, but looking at how much travel is costing me (when I could be saving it for retirement), I’m apprehensive.
Net Worth Change: + $2,192 (+ 2.50%)
- Run in my first half marathon. CHECK! I ran the Victoria Goodlife Half Marathon with a time of 1:54:31. You can read my recap of the race here.
- Stick to my travel budget. FAIL. As noted in my Morocco trip recap, I was $351 over budget because apparently I can’t control myself when it comes to leather bags and jackets.
- Post on this blog 3x/week. FAIL. I was surprised at how little free time I had while traveling, and internet connection in Morocco (surprise, surprise) was spotty in most places we were at. I have a lot of ideas for posts though, so this is going to have to be a priority going forward.
- Earn $2,000 in freelance income. CHECK! I’m happy to say that I brought in $2,752 this month in extra income.
- Increase my RRSP contributions. CHECK! I was originally contributing $350/month into retirement, and just increased it to $400/month ($300 RRSP, $100 TFSA). My goal by the end of the year is to have it up to $500/month, but I really should have it up closer to $600/month. :|