This past long weekend was our first weekend in the new condo. We spent our time building new IKEA furniture and planting flowers and herbs on the patio. I also started really organizing our pantry by putting most of our bulk dry goods into labeled jars. I also finally got our spice cupboard in order. These are all things we just didn’t have room for in our old place. It’s funny how much difference there is when you have a bit of outdoor space and an extra 150 sq.ft. inside. Although RD kept wandering around the condo the other day, muttering that the place was too big because he kept misplacing things. :)
We also got approval from strata for our renovation project to remove our electric fireplace, so I got a quote for the job (about $750) and fingers crossed we can book someone to do it in the next few weeks.
As for July, it’s shaping up to be a pretty busy month. My sister will be visiting us for a few days later this month , we are hosting a couple of dinners in the next few weeks, plus we have a trip planned back to Victoria, and we’re still chipping away at those home projects. I’ll try to keep our costs low by cooking as much as possible at home, and finding fun (free) local activities to keep us occupied.
Here’s my budget for the month:
July 2017 Goals:
- Work out 12 times this month. I’m feeling pretty sluggish from about 3 weeks of very inconsistent physical activity and so much take-out and restaurant food. Ugh. Can’t wait to go running along the water, work-out in our building’s free gym, get up into the mountains, and join the (amazing) climbing gym near our place.
- Try 3 new recipes. We have our favourite 5 or 6 recipes on rotation, but I’d like to try out some new ones from the cookbooks that we have. Plus I really, really want to try cooking with jackfruit but it is impossible to find! Might have to venture out to a T&T or another Asian market to try to find some.
- Unpack all boxes. We’ve done pretty good so far, but the last 3 or 4 boxes are mine to unpack. Once we get our pantry delivered, I’ll be able to organize everything and finally feel moved in.
- Grow herbs. I already have rosemary growing on the patio, but I decided to buy some some seeds, soil, and pots so that I can grow the other herbs I use the most (basil, cilantro, parsley, and chives) on our windowsill in the kitchen. I’m really excited to stop buying huge bags of herbs from the grocery store and having more than half of it go bad before I can finish using it all. Seriously, tell me who actually uses a whole bunch of cilantro before it starts rotting? :)
What are you up to for July?
Okay, June’s expenses weren’t as bad as I thought they would be, BUT I made a few errors when developing my budget back in May because I had no idea what our mortgage payments would look like, and for some reason I put July’s rent into the budget. Whoops. Obviously we didn’t have to pay for July’s rent, and the way our mortgage payments work, we don’t actually make our first payment until July.
Speaking of our mortgage, after running the numbers with RD, we decided we’ll be increasing our accelerated bi-weekly payments by 20% and going from there. It’s an easy way to bring our mortgage down by a few years, and it doesn’t really affect our overall budget. Or at least it doesn’t seem to. We can re-adjust the amount later if we find it’s impacting our other goals.
Overall, our move went smoothly. We spend an entire weekend shuttling boxes back and forth between our house and the condo, so when the movers actually came, all they had to move was our big furniture. We also spent about 3 days painting – it was a lot harder than I thought it would be, but the place looks much better.
This month we also spent a weekend in Seattle with my family. It’s always a really fun trip, but with the exchange rate being what it was, it came out to be more expensive than we thought. I had also budgeted that we’d book the rest of our Portugal accommodation this month, but we ended up being way too busy, so that will just have to wait until July!
Freelancing went well this month and it was also a 3-pay cheque month. So because my cash flow this month puts me in a decent spot, I took on a bit more of the household expenses. We went to an antique store and found a beautiful teak dining room hutch (I’m going to use it as a pantry). It was originally $1,700 but we got it on discount for $570, so I’m pretty excited. I hadn’t anticipated buying furniture until July, so it wasn’t accounted for in the June budget, but the sale was too good to pass up. :) We’ll be going to IKEA this weekend to pick up a few more things.
Anyway, here is how I did this month with my budget:
- Property Tax – we pre-paid for our property tax for the year when we closed on our condo.
- Groceries – because we weren’t cooking at home that often, I ended up going out for lunch way more often. I tried going to more inexpensive places, but I still went over budget by a lot.
- Household – as mentioned above, I bought an amazing pantry hutch for the house (it’s getting delivered next weekend). We also bought some stuff from the dollar store, got keys cut, bought cleaning supplies, and other small miscellaneous expenses.
- Clothing – when we were in Seattle, I bought 2 pairs of jeans that were on sale. I also got a pair of Birkenstock sandals repaired, and bought a t-shirt at a concert I went to.
- Personal Care – bought some miscellaneous toiletries at Target in Seattle.
Income and Savings
I brought in about $575 in freelance income this month, but still have about $7,500 pending. I thought I’d get some of it paid out in June, but looks like it’ll be more like July. :)
My savings rate this month was at 53.1%, and my average for the year is 54.5% – so right on target.
May was a very busy month for me. I thought I’d have a lot of free time since RD has been gone since the end of April, but my evenings have been filled with overtime, freelancing, organizing our move, booking travel plans, and seeing friends more often then normal. But I’m happy, my To Do list is getting smaller, and I feel organized, so that’s always a positive. :)
I will admit that this month I was lazy when it came to cooking at home. I ate very simple dinners (cooking meals for just one person seemed like too much effort), and then didn’t have leftovers for lunch … which is why I went over budget in the Groceries category (bought my lunch too many times). But other than that, it was a pretty normal month of spending for me.
- Groceries – Like I said above, it was pure laziness. I bought my lunch more than normal, and also went to Starbucks because the thought of making coffee just for myself in the mornings at home seemed like a lot of effort? I know. And even though Starbucks was just $2.20 each time, it added up!
- Household – when my friend and I were in Seattle, I impulsively bought two side plates at the market. I couldn’t help myself! They were just too nice. :)
- Personal Care – I ran out of shampoo and some hair products.
- Miscellaneous – RD and I bought a Garmin InReach device, which allows us to text message through satellites (instead of cell towers) so that we could communicate while he’s doing his field work. 5-6 weeks is just too long to go without talking
Income and Savings
I only brought in $600 in freelance income this month, but billed out for about $5,000 which should be coming to me for June.
My retirement portfolio got its normal $1,600-ish contribution, and I was able to put about $500 towards my down payment. Now that we’re about to wrap up saving for our down payment, I’m looking forward to funneling that savings into my TFSA. Maybe over time I’ll be able to catch up with my maximum contribution amount. Maybe. :)
May 2017 Goals:
- Exercise. PASS. I’m giving myself a pass because while I didn’t use my YYoga membership as much as I would have liked, I did go hiking, running, and I walked a lot. Not quite the same, but working overtime almost every day meant that I was canceling my booked classes a lot.
- Organize our move. CHECK! I booked a mover, organized move-in times with the building caretakers, inquired about doing small renovations to our place, got quotes for painters (decided to DIY this one), bought condo insurance, canceled renter’s insurance, and bought 12 months of mail forwarding for the both of us. Whew!
- Refresh GMBMFB. FAIL. I’ve started working with the theme on my test site, and it should be ready to launch soon. I wanted to get this done, but working so much at my day job this month meant the last thing I wanted to do was be on my laptop when I got home from work.