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?
This will be the 12th time I’ve moved in my adult life. Some moves were temporary, and some were longer-term, but they all cost money. It kind of makes me sick knowing that I’ve spent thousands of dollars in my lifetime just on moving, but it’s obviously unavoidable. And in Metro Vancouver, where rent is expensive (and the vacancy rate is less than 1%), the cost of a move could be the reason you don’t move at all.
When we bought our home back in April, we decided to hold back $10,000 of the money we had saved for our down payment so that we could pay for moving expenses, closing costs, a small renovation, and furniture. And with the way the timing worked out with our rental and our condo financing, we don’t actually pay rent or a mortgage payment in July, which gives us a bit more breathing room to pile up some cash in our joint account (our ‘buffer’ money) instead of dipping into our savings.
Now that we are finally nearing the end of paying for all of our moving expenses for what I anticipate is my last move until I retire, so I thought I’d break down everything that we’ve spent so far on our move. I’m going to leave out closing costs, the renovation, and furniture, because they’re not really “moving” costs, and I’ll talk about them in another post anyway. :)
Move-in Fees – $75 + $250 damage deposit
Our condo building requires a $75 payment for a 2-hour window of time to block off one of the elevators for a move. They also need a $250 cash damage deposit (which we will get back at the end of the move, provided we – or the movers – didn’t ding up the common property).
Movers – $450 (estimated)
We decided to hire movers to save us the headache of moving everything out of our tiny two-storey laneway house, and into a high rise condo. Sure, we could have done it ourselves, but it would take us at least twice the amount of time and just so much unnecessary headache. This is the first time either of us has ever hired movers, so I’m kind of excited to have this luxury. Their quote was for $360 (4 hours), plus a $90 one-way travel fee. It could be less if we’re finished within 4 hours – which I think we will be.
Cleaners – $164.64 (includes tip)
When I sold my townhouse in 2015, I paid for professional cleaners to come in before the new owner took possession. So I was pretty choked to see that the person who previously lived in our condo didn’t bother cleaning anything. I mean, they didn’t have anything behind, but the place was just dirty. Like they had never taken a sponge to a single surface of the home, ever. There was a thick layer of dirt over all the windows (and the blinds were filthy), make-up smudges all over the bathroom, cat hair everywhere, and random dried food splashes on the doors and some of the walls. I started to clean the place myself, but it took me 6 hours to clean just the living room windows, and I still had the kitchen and both bedrooms to tackle … we just ran out of time.
Paint & Supplies – $210.71
We wanted to buy a condo that needed no updating except for painting … little did we know that painting was kind of a huge chore to tackle when we’re already tight on time. But it needed to be done, otherwise we’d be living in Taupe City.
After getting quotes from 4 different painters (ranging in price from $800 to $1,800), RD decided that since we were paying for movers and cleaners, he wanted to try to save money and tackle the painting himself since he had 2 days off work. Neither of us had ever painted a home before, but RD is pretty good with a paintbrush, so he was stoked to take on the project. Except that it took us so, so, so much longer than we thought. By the time RD had to leave for another work trip, I still had one bedroom and a cement pillar to paint. And after it was all said and done, it took us about 4o man hours total to paint the entire place. For reference, we have a 2 bed/2 bath condo of about 825 sq.ft.
Household Items – $229.42
There were a bunch of things we needed to get that I just hadn’t thought of. For example, going from one bathroom to now having two, meant I had to buy a bathmat, soap dispenser, shower curtain, toilet scrubber, etc. I also bought cupboard liners, a splash mat for wet/muddy shoes, a step ladder, closet organizer, and a small succulent plant because I couldn’t help myself.
Restaurants – $300 (estimated)
Long days painting and moving meant there hasn’t been any time to cook meals at home. I do not feel healthy eating in restaurants or getting Subway all the time, so I can’t wait until this is all over and we can get back to our normal routine.
Gas – $90 (estimated)
RD is currently on another work trip, so I’ve been shuttling boxes to the new place, as well as whatever I can fit easily into my car. This is in part to make our time with the movers go faster, but also because I want to at least be partially moved in by the time RD gets back. The more I can get done now, means less stress on us the closer we get to our move-in date. I’ve spent $41 on one tank of gas so far, and I’ll have to fill up again before we actually move in.
Condo insurance – $412.08
We’ll be getting back a portion of our renter’s insurance for 2017, but I haven’t included it against our condo insurance because who knows when we’ll actually receive the refund.
Before we started spending money on the move, I had hoped to keep our moving costs under $1,500 – but the added cost of hiring a professional cleaner, as well as paying for our condo insurance annually (when I had initially thought we’d pay monthly), put us over our budget. That leaves us with just over $8,000 left for closing costs, a small renovation project, and furniture. This should be doable, although I’m a bit concerned about how much the renovation project will cost. I have a few people coming over this week to give us quotes on the job, so fingers crossed!
How much did you spend on your last move?
2016 was the first full year in a long time where I’ve shared expenses with someone and it has been split evenly. I’ve never done a recap like this before on GMBMFB, but since it was so easy to separate out my numbers, I thought I’d show you exactly how much I spent this past year, as well as what the monthly average was of how much I spent – down to the penny.
I actually did struggle with sharing this much information on my blog, but I want to be open and honest with my spending – to you, but mostly to myself. Plus, anyone could have come up with the numbers below, based on my monthly recaps. It was an eye-opening exercise though, to add up my monthly numbers … it’s also a bit embarrassing to see that I spent over $1,200 on non-athletic clothing and shoes when my budget for the year started out at being $500. :)
Related: 2016 Annual Goals Recap
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.
(Rent, Utilities, MSP, Insurance, Cell Phone, Internet)
Our hydro bill will fluctuate but I don’t see much of a drastic change, and we are frugal with the amount of heat we use (which is why I put this bill in with the fixed expenses). I’ll be looking at getting a cheaper internet rate in the next couple of months, but other than that, I don’t see my fixed expenses changing much for 2017.
(Food, Household, Entertainment, Clothing, Travel, Car/Transportation, Personal Care, Fitness, Gifts)
The numbers are a bit skewed for 2016 because I bought a Macbook Pro, which set me back about $3,000, and we did a crazy amount of overnight travel this year (about the equivalent of 2.5 months when you include weekends). Although, I anticipate my travel to cost more in 2017… which is why I want to save in other categories. Ideally I’d like to see my expenses under $30,000 for 2017.
I made my budgets quite generous in 2016, and I didn’t hold back on my spending that much. You can see that for yourself in the Entertainment and Clothing categories. :) I’m hoping to get these back down to a more reasonable monthly average for 2017, especially now that I have almost every piece of cold weather athletic gear I can think of (except a winter coat – waiting on sales!).
It surprised me to see how much I spent on Gifts, as I thought I was fairly frugal in the giving department (plus for the most part, my friends and I don’t really exchange gifts for birthdays or Christmas). But I booked a long weekend getaway for RD’s birthday last year (I plan on doing the same for 2017), and I bought a spa day for my sister and I which was about $500, so it makes sense – I’ll just have to increase my Gift budget for 2017 because I don’t see that changing much.
I’m fairly certain our Groceries and Entertainment budgets will drop considerably. The first 6 months of the year we often went out to restaurants (Entertainment) instead of cooking, or went to the pricey grocery store since it was closer to our house, because we weren’t as organized as we could have been – and that definitely changed during the last half of 2016 when I took over all grocery shopping and cooking duties. :) I’m also going to work harder at buying what’s on sale (and not necessarily just what we like to eat).
My Car/Transportation budget will also decrease for 2017 once I stop driving to work. I’m being transferred to another office location, and will have to start taking the SkyTrain to work. My company will be reimbursing me for the monthly transit pass, so that will cut down on the cost of random transit trips, gas, car insurance, and wear and tear on my vehicle.
I’m fairly pleased with my spending for 2016. Take away the price of my laptop, and I’m at $31,700/year. Trim a few of my other expenses, and I should be in good shape to hit my $30,000/year goal for 2017. Hopefully.
2016 also saw a nice increase to my salary, which in turn saw an increase to my savings rate – which now sits at about 50%. But I’ll talk more about that later this week! :)
Adding up my monthly numbers and looking at my spending on an annual basis really made me more aware of where I can trim my budget and where I should be more generous. I’ll definitely be doing it again at the end of 2017, and I’m excited to see how the numbers compare!