Give Me Back My Five Bucks

Here’s how I spent $34,700 in 2016

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.

2016spending

Fixed 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.

Variable Expenses

(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.

2016 Conclusion

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!

Do you know how much you spent in 2016?

2016 Annual Goals: Recap

With 2016 winding down, I thought I’d share how I did with my annual goals for the year. It has been a pretty crazy 12 months – completely different in almost every way from 2015. I have a new job, a new house, a new boyfriend, and a new future to look forward to.

12797765_230793770590927_1054840509_nMy biggest achievement this year was being able to really, truly enjoy life and spend money on the things that I value – like being outdoors and traveling – all while saving over 50% of my income. I attribute this to staying on top of my monthly budgets, and working hard at increasing my income this year. I’ll be posting more about my final 2016 numbers in January. :)

Anyway here is how I did with my goals this year:

Financial

  • Stay debt-free. CHECK! I took on zero debt this year.
  • Save at least 50% of my income. CHECK! There’s still a few numbers I have to calculate, but it looks like I’ll end up saving about 55% of my net income this year.
  • Save at least $1,300/month into my RRSP/TFSA. CHECK! Including my employer’s matching contributions, I was able to save $1,700/month towards my retirement.
  • Create realistic monthly budgets. CHECK! I really tried hard this year to anticipate large expenses at least one month in advance. I also made sure to update my budgeting spreadsheet once a week with any purchases and/or transfers from my accounts.
  • Live one month with a bare-bones budget. FAIL. Nope I didn’t even try. If I were smart, I would have done it while RD was away for work for 5 weeks, but I didn’t think it would be a true experiment if I didn’t include him and his expenses. So I stalled, and then felt bad for subjecting him to a bare-bones budget, and just ended up not doing it.
  • Spend less than $500 on clothing and shoes this year. FAIL. Yep, this was a huge fail. I spent well over $2,000 on clothing and shoes this year. In my defense, most of the spending was in pursuit of athletic endeavors and investing in cold weather outdoor gear, which I’m okay with it. But I still failed this goal spectacularly.

Personal

  • Make my body strong. CHECK! I finally gave up on the idea of becoming a runner, and didn’t run more than a 10km distance all year. Instead, I focused on hiking, rock climbing, yoga, spin class, field hockey, and lots of walking. As a result, I lost 10 pounds and two pant sizes (not my intention, but I’ll take it!), and feel so much stronger.
  • Go on a multi-day hiking trip. CHECK! We went on a 3-day hike of the Sunshine Coast Trail in Powell River, and it was amazing.
  • Bring lunch to work most days. PASS. I was horrendous at this earlier in the year, and am actually embarrassed at how many times I ended up buying lunch. But I’ve never been interested in spending the time to pack lunches or meal prep, and I was really frustrated with our cooking situation at home. We were still sharing cooking duties and grocery shopping, but those were two tasks that RD absolutely hated. So after work, we often found ourselves without a plan and too lazy to go grocery shopping. That led us to going out to eat often, and then not having anything for lunch the next morning – which was such a waste of money. So in the summer, I took over all cooking and grocery shopping duties. ALL OF IT. I now do all of the meal planning, prepping, cooking, and shopping. In exchange, RD does all of the household cleaning (and the dishes). This works perfectly for us because I honestly love cooking, and RD has a higher standard for a clean house than me. :) I’m really proud of how we were able to divide up the household tasks without argument, and came to an arrangement where we are both really satisfied.
  • Stop going to coffee shops. CHECK! I started getting up earlier for work to make coffee in my french press. This eliminated any reason to stop at a coffee shop on my way to work. Of course, I still went out with my friends if I was socializing or traveling.
  • Eat less dairy. CHECK! I made a lot of vegan recipes this year (we own 4 cookbooks and they’re all vegan), using a different variety of substitutes, or just leaving out dairy altogether. It was an interesting experiment, and I’ll definitely keep it up. But so far the only dairy products we’ve completely eliminated from the house is milk and butter.
  • Bring more creativity to my life. PASS. I didn’t really do this. I had a few crafty projects on the go, and did a bit of colouring, but I don’t feel like I’ve really found my creative outlet yet. Someone told me that cooking could be my creative outlet, as I really love trying out new recipes and experimenting to make them better. Which I suppose is true.

Professional

  • Rebrand GMBMFB. FAIL. I thought about it and started asking around for quotes, but didn’t actually end up going through with anything. It’ll be something I’ll be really thinking about for next year.
  • Go to three marketing conferences/seminars this yearPASS. I registered for three events, but ended up being busy at the office one day, so ended up only getting to two of them.

I’ll be posting my annual spending recap and goals for 2017 soon. :) Hope you all have a great holiday break!

November 2016 Goals: Recap

2016macbookproI’m currently typing this blog post out on my new Macbook Pro. :) After I wrote about my purchase at the beginning of November, my friend Nic convinced me I needed to upgrade the graphics card on the computer since I plan on keeping it just as long as my last one (hopefully longer).

The original budget for my computer was $3,500, and after tax, my computer came to $3,619.84. But I had $300 in Apple gift cards (which I got for my birthday in October), and I managed to sell my old computer for $400 – meaning the grand total of my computer actually came to $2,919.84! :)

Unfortunately I went over on a few other categories in my budget this month, so I wasn’t able to save my savings. But at least I didn’t go over budget, so that’s a small win.

11-november2016-recap

Over Budget:

  • Tenant Insurance – One of my goals this month was to decrease our annual insurance, but we ended up increasing it because I wanted to add earthquake coverage.
  • Household – A few weeks ago we went to the Circle Craft Market downtown to do some Christmas shopping, and we ended up buying a few pieces of art for ourselves. Whoops! :)
  • Entertainment – One extra trip to the pub put me over budget this month.
  • Clothing – I had budgeted $300 for boots and pants, but ended up using the entire amount for a pair of tall Phillip Harness Frye boots I had been lusting over for years. They are $629 on the Frye website, and I saw them locally in Vancouver for $480 after tax. But I was able to get them on a Black Friday sale through Amazon for $296.76 after tax and duties.
  • Fitness – We bought a one-month membership to the climbing gym, and I also lost RD’s water bottle so I had to get another one for him. :)
  • Gifts – I thought I’d just *start* my Christmas shopping for the year, but decided just to finish it off since we’ll be traveling in mid-December to celebrate some birthdays and an early Christmas with RD’s brother. The money I spent was gifts for 11 people (9 Christmas presents, and 2 birthday presents).

Income and Savings:

This month I was only able to save 19.2% of my income, because of the MacBook Pro purchase. But I’m just pleased I was able to save anything at all.

November Goals:

  • Shop around for tenant insurancePASS. I mean, I kind of did this by getting two different quotes. Both were about the same, so I went with the same insurer as last year. But just today I found a policy for about $200/year cheaper … so am going to try to switch. And if I cannot switch, I’ll know better for next year. :|
  • Create my budgeting spreadsheet for 2017CHECK! My spreadsheet is bigger and better than before, and I’m so excited to start using it in January. Yes, I am a nerd.
  • FreelancingCHECK! I have one outstanding invoice for 2016, and have quoted out for 3 projects in 2017.

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