Yikes.Not a super good start to the year, eh? I mean, sure I was under budget this month – but only because I decreased my mortgage payments. Otherwise I would have been over by about $22.
I’m going to give myself a pass for this month because a lot of expenses were out of the ordinary: my sister came to town two weekends in a row, I had no idea how much I would be spending for gas/parking, and I spent a lot more time at BF’s house than I anticipated, resulting in buying my lunches more often because I was unprepared. The majority of these issues have been fixed for next month.
Here’s how I did:
- Internet – I’m still in a complaining mood about my internet service. Every time I get my bill, I’m shocked and think to myself “this is so expensive; there must be a cheaper plan I can move to.” And every month I go onto the Shaw website, and am incredibly disappointed to realize that no, there isn’t a cheaper plan to move to. :| My only consolation is that I can write this off as a business expense.
- Food – This is me being unprepared for work, and not packing lunches like I had intended.
- Entertainment – My sister visited the city, and also one of my best friends and her husband have temporarily relocated just blocks away from where BF lives for a few months… so we did go out a lot. I’m thankful that most of the time, we stay in, cook dinner, and watch Netflix.
- Car & Transportation – Wow. This category took me by surprise. The majority of the overage was for parking, as well as a trip out to the ferries and to Point Roberts. Since parking is kind of a shared expense, BF offered to pay for half of my parking fees going forward. I’ve adjusted this category for February.
Net Worth Change: + $2,015 (2.16%)
Even though I’m paying less towards my mortgage, I actually feel really good putting more money into my RRSP/TFSA accounts. My RRSPs gained nicely this month, which is why my net worth increased by more than usual.
- Read 2 books. FAIL. I only read one book, a reread of Catcher in the Rye. Are we friends yet on Goodreads?
- Try one new recipe. CHECK! I wanted to make Thai sweet potato veggie burgers, but ended up making a vegetarian curry instead.
- Save $750 into my RRSP/TFSA. CHECK! This was split at a ratio of $600/$150.
- Run the Chilly Chase half marathon in under 1:53:30. FAIL. Fail, fail, fail, a million times fail. You can read my Chilly Chase half marathon recap for more information.
- Sell 3 items. FAIL. I have two things listed right now on eBay, but didn’t actually sell anything during the month.
- Go out for lunch only once per week. FAIL. The month started out well, but it got complicated trying to remember to bring so many things with me as I shuttled between work, my house, his house, and the field hockey field.
This was a surprisingly good month for me, even though I went over budget. I spent much less than anticipated on food – which just goes to show you how many times I went out to eat during the month. But it also helps that whenever BF and I hang out, we have been cooking meals instead of going to restaurants. I also spent much less than I thought I would on clothing. I guess I thought I’d do more shopping during the Boxing Day sales, but nothing appealed to me.
- Internet – why is internet so expensive? This is the second cheapest plan that Shaw offers (the cheapest plan is just $5 less). I’ve considered TekSavvy because they’re only $35-40 instead of the $60 I pay with Shaw… but a friend uses them and says the service is horrible.
- Household – I bought a $450 LG TV. But in order to pay for it, I sold my iPad ($350) and my old Canon digital camera ($125).
- Entertainment – I’m actually surprised this number isn’t more, considering how many meals I ate out over the month.
Net Worth Change: + $1,546 (1.68%)
My net worth keeps increasing every month, so I’m happy about that. It shows that I’m moving in the right direction. That being said, I’m really motivated to see even bigger gains going forward. The increase shown this month is due to RRSP contributions and payments to my mortgage.
December 2013 Goals:
- Run 100 km. FAIL. I want to say that there was a valid reason why I didn’t hit this goal, but it was basically because I was lazy. I mean, field hockey season did last an additional week longer than I thought it would (we finished on Dec.15), but still. I only ran 61.7 km.
- Save $700 into my Retirement Portfolio. CHECK! I contributed $750 this month.
- Take on a new freelance writing contract. CHECK! Well, I mean, it’s not a contract, and I’m not contributing weekly or anything. But I am getting paid on occasion, and it’s a legitimate gig, so that still counts. :)
- Earn $1,200 in freelance income. PASS. Well, I only earned $770 in freelance income. A few deals fell through, and I haven’t been paid out for some of my work yet. But, I did manage to bring in an additional $630.71 by selling things that I own and through Great Canadian Rebates. SinceI did bring in $1,400 extra, I’m giving myself a pass even though maybe I don’t deserve it.
- Clean out my closet and my storage area. FAIL. I’ve set aside a pile of clothing in my closet to either sell or donate, but I didn’t even touch the storage area… except to pile more crap into it.
- Make a list of home improvement projects that need to get done. CHECK! I’ve made a master list of all the things I want to change in my house, and then I narrowed it down to three projects that I’d like to tackle for next year.
I want to start 2014 off right, so it’s time for a spending detox. This budget is pretty frugal for me, considering most of my monthly budgets are around $2,600 to $3,000. I haven’t actually created a budget under $2,500 since December 2011, and what’s most horrifying is that I actually went over-budget that month by like $1,700.
There is more than enough money floating around in my budget to eat healthy, see friends, and pay for gas/parking… I’m just cutting down on all the stuff I usually spend on that I just don’t need. I have no big plans or travel scheduled for the month, and I don’t need any clothes or personal care/household items. Still, this month will be a challenge because I’ve been guilty of just ignoring the numbers in my budget if I want to go out and do something fun.
I’m hoping a good January will set the tone for the rest of the year. My goals are ambitious (they’ll be posted tomorrow), but definitely achievable.
January 2014 Goals:
- Read 2 books. I got a bunch of books for Christmas, so it’s time to get started. Are we friends yet on Goodreads?
- Try one new recipe. I will attempt to make Thai sweet potato veggie burgers. :)
- Save $750 into my RRSP/TFSA. This will likely be split at a ratio of $550/$200.
- Run the Chilly Chase half marathon in under 1:53:30. My current half marathon PR is 1:53:52 – so I’d like to shave a few seconds off my time, but I’m not expecting anything unrealistic.
- Sell 3 items. I have a lot of things that I just don’t use anymore… and if there’s one thing I’ve learned from Craigslist, is that people will buy just about anything.
- Go out for lunch only once per week. Every Friday my co-workers and I go out for lunch. So for the rest of the week, I’ll have to stay organized and pack my own food.