February was an interesting month. I’m still trying to get used to my new salary at work, and I had a few unplanned expenses for the month – namely a massive payment towards my mortgage, and a trip to Las Vegas for May.
- Mortgage – I paid my regular monthly payment of $1,098, as well as an additional payment of $659 to get me onto an accelerated bi-weekly schedule.
- Food – The overage was entirely due to the fact that I bought like $65 worth of tea from Silk Road.
- Household – Miscellaneous stuff like a tool set and cleaning supplies.
- Entertainment – I went a little over this month because I had a field hockey team dinner I hadn’t budgeted for.
- Travel – Aside from a trip to Victoria to celebrate Chinese New Year with the family, I also purchased a trip for 2 to Las Vegas as a graduation present for my boyfriend. We won’t be going until May, but I found an amazing deal, so I snapped it up quickly.
- Car & Transportation – I did pretty good this month considering I’m only $6.78 over budget, and that total includes a $50 oil change and maintenance.
- Personal Care – This was a prescription I had to pick up. I had a $25 deductible on my health insurance, so going forward all my prescriptions will be covered 100%. :)
- Miscellaneous – My MacBook Pro’s hard drive died, so I had to replace it. I also paid a $120 annual fee for my new Capital One Aspire Travel MasterCard. Which, p.s. has already earned me over $360 in travel credit. I’ll have a full review of my new credit card sometime soon.
Net Worth Change: + $502 (+ 0.65%)
Even though my net worth didn’t change as much as I would have hoped, I’m still happy about the increase. And it’s good to know that even with a hefty mortgage payment and a big travel expense, I was still able to stay in the positive. If I hadn’t bought that Vegas trip, that money would have more than doubled my net worth increase for the month.
- Buy work-appropriate clothing. CHECK! Okay, I mean I only bought a suit, and that’s not for everyday wear. But it’s a step in the right direction, and something I’ve needed for a really long time.
- Sell three things. PASS. I didn’t actually sell anything, but I did create a huge garbage bag full of things to donate to charity.
- $200 into my Emergency Fund. FAIL. I put most available funds towards my mortgage this month.
- $700 towards Retirement Portfolio. FAIL. I saved $475. $300 into my RRSPs and $175 into my TFSA.
- Have 3 or 4 No Spend Days each week. PASS. Okay, I didn’t have 3-4 each week, more like 2-3. But I’m still giving myself a pass because I think I did well. :)
- Figure out my 2013 travel plans. CHECK! Okay, well kind of. I have 3 weeks of vacation (15 days) to use up. I’ll need 4 days for Las Vegas, 1 day for a bachelorette party, 1 day for a wedding, and I’ll want to take 4 or 5 days of vacation in France when I’m sent there on business in the fall. That leaves me with 4 or 5 vacation days left for the year. I’ll likely use them for the Canadian Personal Finance Conference.
This post is a little late, but I’ve been having computer problems again. This time, I was unlucky and 3 weeks after my logic board failed, my hard drive died. It happens. So I took it into the Apple Genius Bar to confirm, and they suggested I buy another hard drive online and install it myself. It was a relatively cheap fix ($75), and I was actually able to upgrade the size and speed of my hard drive as well, so I consider it a success.
Hopefully with the $700 I put into my laptop over the past month, it will last me another two years. I’d like to eventually upgrade at the end of 2014, so that gives me almost 2 years to save up. :)
Anyway, here is my February budget:
February 2013 Goals:
- Buy work-appropriate clothing. For years, I’ve been getting by with “office casual” clothes, and a few nicer pieces. But now is the time to finally invest in a proper grown-up look. I’m a Marketing Manager now, and I need to look the part. This includes finally buying a suit. We wear them at trade shows, so I know I’ll get a lot of good use out of it. I’m giving myself a healthy budget so that I can buy a nice suit (blazer, skirt, pants) and a couple of blouses – likely from Banana Republic, because I like their clothing a lot and their petite sizes fit me perfectly (no alterations needed!).
- Sell three things. After spending 2012 living out of a backpack, I don’t like the idea of owning so many things. I’m not about to become a minimalist or anything, but I know I have a lot of things that I just no longer need or use. So the goal is to start selling off some of my things.
- $200 into my Emergency Fund. Gotta get my account back to $10,000!
- $700 towards Retirement Portfolio. $400 into RRSPs and $300 into TFSA.
- Have 3 or 4 No Spend Days each week. I’ll have to bring my lunch nearly every day, but this should be doable if I make sure to plan ahead.
- Figure out my 2013 travel plans. I need to really figure out where I’m going to allocate my vacation days this year. I could take as much vacation as I wanted last year (and I did – 3 months worth of vacation!), but now that I only have 3 weeks, it’s a bit tougher. I know for sure that Nic and I are going on a road trip for about a week in May. Then in the summer, I have a bachelorette party and a wedding to attend. This may mean no big trip for the year, but I could potentially be traveling internationally for work, so that might be an okay compromise. :)
After my expensive month of December, I was hoping for a really frugal start to 2013. But, that didn’t happen and I e nded up $764.45 over budget this month. So maybe it’s a good thing my additional mortgage payments don’t end up going into effect until February. :)
Because this was a transition month for me (quit working for Moneyville & only got one pay cheque from the new job), I had to dip into my Emergency Fund to cover the damage to my windshield and to fix my computer. I will likely be able to get my EF back up to the $10,000 mark within a few months, and I’m just really grateful that I have cash to fall back on. If this were 5 years ago, I don’t know what I would have done. :|
- Maintenance/Strata – I paid more this month for my natural gas fire place.
- Food – groceries were a little more than expected because I had to replace a lot of stuff in my fridge after coming back from Germany. We basically had to restock everything.
- Household – I bought a frying pan, slow cooker, and a few other miscellaneous cleaning supplies.
- Entertainment – We splurged on a couple of (expensive) nights out with friends since we hadn’t seen them in a year.
- Clothing – A silk blouse from J.Crew, purchased on eBay.
- Car & Transportation – I had to replace my car windshield.
- Miscellaneous – This was the cost of repairing the logic board on my Macbook Pro. :|
Net Worth Change: + $1,782 (+ 2.35%)
I’m happy that even though I had an expensive month, I was still able to raise my net worth. This was mostly because of contributions to my RRSP as well as a $725 payment on my braces (only one more payment to go!). Here’s hoping for an even better February! :)
- Run 50km outdoors. FAIL. You wanna know how many KMs I ran this month? ZERO. That’s right. I play field hockey 3x/week and now that I’m taking a spin class as well, I just don’t have anymore time to run. While I like the spin class, I’m looking forward to it ending (in 4 weeks) so that I can run that day instead. And once I get used to this 4x/week workout schedule, I can likely increase it to 5x/week and get a second run in during the week.
- Increase my mortgage payments. CHECK! I increased the payments back to accelerated bi-weekly with an extra 20% on top, but because of the billing cycle, it won’t become active until February. That should work out to an extra $222 onto my mortgage each month.
- Get back on track with my Retirement Portfolio. CHECK! I’m contributing $400/month into my RRSP, and $300 into my TFSA. It isn’t enough to get me to my goal of $16,000 for the year, but I’m getting there.
- Start contributing monthly to a charity. PASS. While I didn’t start contributing, I think I’ve found the charity I want to donate to. It’s a Canadian charity called WaterCan. They’re dedicated to helping people in third world countries gain access to clean water, basic sanitation, and hygiene education. Has anyone donated or done any work with them before?