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Here’s how much I spent and saved in 2017

2017 was really smooth in terms of our shared finances. We’ve come up with a system that works perfectly for us, in that I can be as detailed with my money management as possible, while RD can learn as much (or as little) as he wants to learn, while knowing that all the bills are being paid (and we’re even saving a little bit in our joint accounts too!).

Related: How I saved 50% of my income in 2016

Last year was the first time I’ve done a spending recap before, but since the numbers continue to be easy to extract, I’m going to keep on with the trend – and now I’ll get to compare 2017 data with 2016, which makes me extra excited. :)

What I spent in 2017

Note that the lines in orange are expenses that we share 50/50 – and the numbers you see below are my portion of the expenses.

Yikes.

I had seriously grand ideas of spending less than $30,000 in 2017, but then life got in the way. Just looking at the chart, I can see exactly what I bought that put me over budget, as well as well above what I spent in 2016. It’s not horrible, but it’s really not that great either.

Related: Here’s how I spent $34,700 in 2016

Now, just for fun, let’s compare what I spent in 2017 with what I spent in 2016:

Fixed Expenses

(Rent/Mortgage, Utilities, Strata Fees, MSP, Insurance, Cell Phone, Internet)

Everything looks about normal. I’m super proud of lowering my Shaw internet bill though, saving me $105 from last year. Not that it mattered in the overall scheme of things, haha. It was just a one year price, so I’ll have to call again in the next few weeks to see what else they can do to keep me. There’s so much competition now that even if they can’t give me the promotional rate again, we can just go to another company with pretty much zero issue.

Variable Expenses

(Food, Household, Entertainment, Clothing, Travel, Car/Transportation, Personal Care, Fitness, Gifts)

Ok it’s not that bad. I mean, if you take out the $4,500-ish that we spent on closing costs and moving into our condo, my total spending was almost exactly the same as in 2016. Moving is not cheap, and those expenses include hiring movers, buying new furniture, painting, and pro-rated property tax for the year. So, actually that makes it a lot better.

 

The cat was more expensive than I thought it would be (her costs are in the Household section of our budget). After our initial start-up costs (which weren’t that cheap), I’d say we spend about $100/month on her food, litter, treats, and toys.

I’m embarrassed at how much I spent on Entertainment and Clothing though. I bought a winter coat, so that took up at least 40% of my clothing budget, but Entertainment? That’s a lot of money spent keeping me entertained during the year. I guess 2 or 3 film festivals, a couple concerts, and a few dinners out each month would do it. I seriously want to cut this down in 2018.

Other than that, my spending looks *fairly* normal. My cell phone was over budget a little bit because I bought a roaming package when in Portugal.

What I saved in 2017

Overall, I saved 45.4% of my income in 2017, and increased my net worth by $47,645. I think I would have been able to save more throughout the year (because my savings rate is 4.6% less than 2016), but we are putting down more towards our mortgage than necessary. This helped me increase my net worth, but didn’t do anything for my bank account. :)

Speaking of the mortgage, you may recall that our purchase price was $468,000. We had a down payment of $115,000 which meant our mortgage was $353,000. After the first 6 months of payments, our current mortgage balance sits at $345,700. I’d like to be more aggressive with our mortgage in 2018, however I think our wedding might get in the way of that. More to come about how the wedding will affect our budget and spending in the next 8 months.

And that’s it! Any questions?

Was 2017 what you had expected financially?

Hello, please meet Zoey!

It has been a long time since I’ve been able to set aside some time to write on this blog. I had such good intentions of posting while we were on vacation, but near the beginning of the trip I lost my MacBook Pro power cord, and then decided to suffer without a computer until we got back to Vancouver. And then when we got back, we ended up adopting the most adorable cat and I lost track of time. I know, excuses, excuses. :)

First, I want to introduce you to the newest member of our family, and tomorrow I’ll have my September Goals recap.

This beautiful girl is named Zoey, and we got her from the SPCA last week. She is approximately 3 years old, and came to the shelter as a stray – so we don’t know anything about her past. We originally went to the Maple Ridge branch of the SPCA because we were interested in a couple of other cats, but ended up falling in love with Zoey.

She was super frightened at the shelter, and wouldn’t come out of her cage. Eventually we were able to feed her a couple of treats, but we didn’t see more than her small little head poking out of the blankets. We decided to put in an application for her anyway because I had already fallen in love, and two days later she became ours. She was so scared during the car ride home, so when we got her to the condo I was really surprised that she just walked out of her carrier and started to explore our bedroom (which we used as her safe room for the first two days we had her). She was very timid and frightened of every new noise, and would constantly hide under the blankets or cower in a corner if she felt scared. She barely ate the first few days, and the look of horror on her face when she realized we were putting her back in her carrier for a vet visit – well that was pretty heartbreaking.

Five days later, she now has access to the entire condo and she has also made huge improvements. She can be ridiculously affectionate at times, but like any other cat, she has her grumpy moments. But she is never aggressive, never scratches or hisses, and really doesn’t make much sound at all. She’s also eating better too, but there’s still a lot of work to do. Based on what we’ve seen (not that we’re experts or anything), we think that she was a house cat at some point, and then ended up on the streets as a stray. The vet told us that she’s in good health, but needs to gain some weight. We’ll also have to take her into get some shots later this month.

I thought I knew how much start-up costs would be for our cat, but I underestimated for sure. Here’s how much we’ve spent so far:

  • $205.00 – adoption fee from SPCA (includes a free check-up with a vet).
  • $236.75 – initial cost of cat stuff (litter box, litter, litter locker, wet and dry food, food dishes, a couple of toys, cat bed, brush, treats, fish oil, and a scratching post).
  • $15.75 – pain medication after being spayed.

Moving forward, I anticipate her monthly costs to be around $50-60/month for her food, litter, and treats. This will come out of our shared household budget. I’m still trying to figure out which food she likes the best (the pet store near our house gave me a ton of samples to try out), and what the most cost-effective (and convenient) way would be to get her ongoing supplies. I think it’s Amazon, but I could be wrong?

Anyway, I’ll try really hard not to turn my blog and social media accounts into one big catfest, but no promises. :)

Have you ever bought an expensive piece of art?

The most expensive painting I own cost me $50, and then I spent $150 getting it professionally framed. So I guess my answer would be no, I’ve never owned an expensive piece of art. :)

I’ve always been interested in art, and find wandering through art galleries a great way to spend a rainy Sunday afternoon. I’m a competent graphic designer (although I’m way better at layout than design), and love taking on crafty projects. But I don’t really know much about the art world. Still, we have managed to fill our walls with our combined collection. There’s just something about how hanging art on walls really makes a room feel homey and complete; like you’re not going anywhere anytime soon. Plus I love the contrast between a colourful piece of art and our white walls. :)

RD and I have very different tastes when it comes to art. He has broader, more eclectic tastes than me, but thankfully some of what he likes also overlaps into what I like too. We are both really into a Canadian artist named Meghan Hildebrand. The past few months we’ve been randomly going online to look at her pieces, and this year she came out with a couple of amazing ocean themed watercolour paintings.

So one of the big purchases we eventually wanted to make this year was one of her larger paintings (they’re selling for $2,500 to $3,000), so we decided to start saving so that we could buy something as a Christmas present to ourselves. I had never seen any of her work in person before, so a great opportunity came up when we were in Victoria a few weeks ago visiting my family – there was an art gallery which had a lot of her pieces on display!

Obviously you know where this is going. :) I saw that my favourite watercolour from her new collection was still available for $1,000 (framed). It was way cheaper than our anticipated budget, so after debating for a few minutes, I knew we were going to buy it. Yes, it was an impulse purchase. A big impulse purchase. But we are both thrilled to have gotten exactly what we wanted. The money came out of our House Fund, as closing costs/moving/furniture/renos came in well under what we had budgeted.

I feel really weird admitting that we bought a piece of art, and have been sitting on this blog post for a few weeks now. I never thought I’d ever be in a position to spend that kind of money on something that is just so clearly not a necessity, and I’m not comfortable with the realization that these are things we can afford. For some reason I really feel like buying (expensive-to-me) art is not relatable, but at the same time I’d never think twice about it if a friend had bought the painting. I think this might turn into a bigger post in the future as I’m struggling with my financial identity at the moment. But, I’m happy and grateful and really love looking at this beautiful painting every single day.

 

Have you ever bought an expensive piece of art?

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