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November 2016 Goals

November is going to be an expensive month … not because I’m going anywhere (although I am going to Toronto next week for the Canadian Personal Finance Conference), but because I pre-ordered one of the new Apple Macbook Pro computers.

I bought my current MBP six years ago, and it has served me well. In fact, aside from it running hot, it’s still a very good computer … it just doesn’t work for my purposes anymore. I work my computers hard, and the lag in the last 6 months has become so bad that I’ve stopped doing any sort of photo editing or design work. And that needs to change.

So with some of the freelance money I’ve earned this year, I’ll be getting my new computer in just a couple of weeks! I had budgeted $3,500 and with taxes, my purchase came to $3,269.84. I’m really pleased I was able to come in under budget, and I plan on selling my old computer which I think should get me a few hundred dollars.

Anyway, onto this month’s budget!

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I’ve included money in my budget this month for clothing – I’d like to get a pair of black boots as I had to throw away my last pair two winters ago. I also need to get two pairs of shoes repaired, and would like to buy a pair of pants for work.

Also I’ve included about half my budget for Christmas gifts. :)

November 2016 Goals:

  • Shop around for tenant insurance – ours expires at the end of the month, so I’ll call around to a few places to see if we can get a lower rate.
  • Create my budgeting spreadsheet for 2017 – I stopped using Quicken a few years ago and track my budget in my own Excel spreadsheet. Except that it has gotten quite robust and complicated over the years with so many linked cells across multiple tabs. I want to set up a clean version for 2017 so that I don’t have to worry about it next month. :)
  • Freelancing – I need to wrap up the last of my freelance contracts for 2016 and start the negotiating for contracts during the first half of 2017. I’ve also been getting inquiries about doing some freelance design work, which I might pick up just for fun … haven’t done any contracted design work in a while!

October 2016 Goals

img_1298I had good intentions of getting my September numbers all sorted out before going on our trip, but I was pressed for time and didn’t get it done. So instead, I’ll post my October 2016 goals and get back to recapping September when I’m home in a few weeks. :)

Right now I’m writing this post from Haines Junction, YT. It’s Day 5 of our trip, and we’ve already seen and done so much! We’ve already had some pretty crazy weather – including pretty intense icy roads from Chetwynd to Fort Nelson. But since Muncho Lake and into Yukon, it’s been partially sunny weather and surprisingly pleasant. I mean, yes it’s still cold, but it’s manageable. Although I notice in the weather reports for the next week that it should get to -10C in Dawson, so that will be interesting for a weather wimp like me. :)

I’ll be interested in seeing if we will hit our travel budget for the month. One thing I’ve really been surprised with is how cheap groceries were in Whitehorse. And by cheap I mean most of the things we bought were either on par or cheaper than prices in Vancouver – and we shop at the cheapest grocery store in our neighbourhood. Granted, the grocery prices in Watson Lake were outrageous, so I suppose that’s the benefit of living in the biggest city in Yukon.

Anyway, since about 3/4 of October will be spent on vacation, you can see that my October budget reflects that in lower food/entertainment/transportation costs.

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October 2016 Goals:

  • Extended health benefits – later this year, I’ll be eligible to change my extended health benefits at work and get onto RD’s plan. So I need to check out exactly what his plan covers to see what combination of cost/coverage would suit us the best.
  • Shared cell phone plan – we’ve talked about getting onto a shared wireless plan for a few months now. My corporate plan is eligible to be shared, and would cut down on RD’s bill significantly. The only issue is that since RD is in remote locations so much during the year, he’s afraid going over to my carrier (Rogers) will limit his cell coverage.
  • Research stocks – I recently sold my shares in the first stock I ever bought, so I have a few thousand dollars to play around with. I have my eye on a few stocks for the long-term, but need to do more research before I commit.

September 2016 Goals

The next two months are going to be expensive for travel, there’s no way around it.

  • Seattle – Our train fare, baseball tickets and accommodation has been paid for, but we still have to pay for meals and entertainment Accounting for the exchange rate, I’ve budgeted $200 for the two days we’re there. I’m also really excited to meet up with an old high school friend I haven’t seen in ages!
  • Yukon – We have to book a couple more hotels for our trip, and that expense will come in September. We’re good for actual camping supplies and gear for the most part, but the three weeks in October we’ll be gone will be pricey. Lots of driving = gas bill, and lots of restaurants. I’m hoping to get a small cooler to keep in the car so that we can go to grocery stores often. I’m anticipating September’s Yukon expenses will come in around $400.
  • Canadian Personal Finance Conference (Toronto) – I just booked my flight/AirBnB for 3 nights in Toronto for November. For those who have booked your tickets to the conference, I’m really looking forward to seeing everyone! And if you haven’t yet? There are still tickets available, so get yours soon!
  • Christmas – This will be the first time I’ve flown anywhere for Christmas! We’ll be headed up north (again) to spend the second half of the holidays with RD’s family. A quick peek at Expedia showed me that we can grab flights for about $600 – which RD was excited about because apparently that’s cheap. For a flight less than 2 hours long. :|

On the plus side, I was able to bill out for just over $4,000 in freelance income a few days ago and an negotiating a bit more work for the rest of the year … so I should still be able to save a little bit this month – likely not enough to hit my 50% target, but I’m hoping it won’t hit my overall savings rate for the year too much.
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September 2016 Goals:

  • Hike every weekend. Field hockey season has started, so that means weekends are going to be super active. But it’s important we keep our momentum going and our legs strong, because those Yukon hikes look like serious work. And there’s nothing worse than feeling out of shape on a super hard hike.
  • Rebalance my RRSP portfolio. It’s that time of year again! I like rebalancing my investment portfolio every year around my birthday. It’s a nice treat. :)
  • Check my credit score. And as another birthday present to myself, I also get to check my credit score, w00t!
  • Make a Christmas gifts budget. I’ve already purchased a few gifts for family, but I want to make a more solid budget as we get closer to the holiday season.
  • Continue to meal plan. Since I’ve more or less taken over meal planning and grocery shopping, I feel a lot better being able to prep healthy foods for lunches and dinners. I want to take more time out this month to ensure our freezer has a good supply of frozen curry and stews for the upcoming months when it could get more difficult to cook with a busier schedule.
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