July was more expensive, social, and busy than I thought it would be. You’ll see that I went over on my budget by a lot – but perhaps I should have expected that as we spent the month settling into our new place. We also made an unscheduled trip to the Sunshine Coast to visit with RD’s brother who was vacationing from Alberta, and we had guests stay with us (RD’s mom and my sister) just a few days after we moved in.
We made some larger-ish home purchases that were needed (like a mattress for the spare bedroom), and a few that were clearly wants and not needs – but our closing/moving costs were less than what we had budgeted, so we were happy to use some of that money towards making our home more cozy. The biggest change was removing the fireplace, and I’m so excited to take photos and show you how much it made a difference! Hopefully I’ll have a blog tour of our home posted in the next couple of weeks.
I already have a list of home improvements I want to do in the future (like new blinds, painting the kitchen, getting new doors and baseboards, deck flooring, and installing shower doors for our bathtubs), but we’re happy for now and will start to look at costs for the more important improvements next year, once we’ve saved up enough in our joint account.
Anyway, here’s how I did this month:
- Mortgage – we decided to increase our accelerated payments by about 12% to get to a round number. This may change in the future as we get more comfortable with the amount.
- Groceries – I went for lunch a few times with co-workers/friends, and also if there’s only leftovers for one person to take a lunch, I usually give it to RD because he works in the middle of nowhere with no access to restaurants. I work downtown and it’s much easier for me to grab something.
- Household – LOL. These expenses include the renovation, an antique hutch, a custom made spice rack, multiple trips to Canadian Tire, and buying plants. Oh, and one more large expense that I’ll talk about next week. :)
- Restaurants & Entertainment – Nothing out of the ordinary, we just went out once or twice more than we normally would during the summer.
- Personal Care – I got my hair cut.
- Gifts – Bought a couple of cute cards for occasions coming up.
Income & Savings:
I made just over $2,600 in freelance income this month, but was only able to save 25.25% of my net income because of how much we spent on getting our condo in order. I still have $4,900 pending in freelance work billed out though, so I’m excited to throw most of that towards my saving next month to make up for July. :)
July 2017 Goals:
- Work out 12 times this month. CHECK! I actually only worked out 11 times, but I’m giving myself this one because I slippedon one of our hikes and deeply bruised my upper thigh. :( I’m glad it wasn’t anything serious, and only had to take 5 or 6 days off to fully recover from it.
- Try 3 new recipes. CHECK! I made cauliflower cake, jackfruit burritos, and made a zucchini lemon loaf.
- Unpack all boxes. CHECK! We are officially unpacked!
- Grow herbs. CHECK! I planted basil, parsley, and chives on our windowsill and am happy to see they’re growing strong. I still want to grow cilantro but when I was at the store, they had sold out of seeds. Will get to it in August.
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.