This was a month of split personalities. I was extremely frugal for the first half of the month while I was unemployed – and then once I signed the job offer, I made a conscious decision to revert back to my regular spending habits. I do feel a bit bad for abandoning this month’s budget, but at the same time I don’t regret making the most of my time off. It’s not often that you get a break from work like that, so it was nice just to be social and celebrate a new chapter of my career. :)
That being said, two of the main reasons why I went over budget – in the Car/Transportation category, as well as Miscellaneous – were virtually unavoidable.
- Food – We hosted three get togethers this month, so I’m actually pleased I didn’t go over budget by even more. This includes snacks, ingredients for dinners, and alcohol.
- Entertainment – There’s no excuse for this one. As soon as I got the job, I reverted back to my normal spending habits.
- Clothing – I spent a small fortune on buying nylons for work. This was the cost of 5 pairs.
- Car & Transportation – I would have been under budget had we not bought a 12-month parking pass in a lot near BF’s building. We split the cost, so my share was $125. This is a bargain considering it costs $10+ to park in the lot every day, and street parking doesn’t exist in his neighbourhood (it’s all permit-only).
- Miscellaneous – Again, I would have been under budget if I didn’t have to renew my passport. But, the passports in Canada are valid for 10 years now, so I’m pretty happy about that. Looking forward to filling up my new passport with stamps. :)
Net Worth Change: + $764 (0.79%)
Well, I wasn’t working this month, so I consider this a success. My net worth increase is due to my regular mortgage payments, and the stocks in my TFSA plugging away in the upward direction.
- Read 2 books. FAIL. I started two, and am still plugging away at them.
- Try two new recipes. CHECK! I made a baked pasta, as well as experimented with a few different salads.
- Stay on budget in Portland. CHECK! Although I must admit, I think BF was pretty generous in how he spent his money on this trip. He paid for the hotel while we were there (2 nights), as well as a few other things around town.
- Do my taxes. FAIL. I did the preliminary run of my taxes, and have organized my receipts, but I haven’t actually filed yet.
- Focus on my foot. CHECK! This was a really difficult task. All I want to do is go running and be active. Especially when it’s beautiful and sunny outside… but I know that if I don’t take care of myself, I’m going to regret it. I haven’t run on my foot in about 2 months (although I was playing field hockey on it for a while), and it hasn’t gotten better. So when my doctor said my foot pain was as a result of getting older, at first I was insulted, but maybe he was actually right. Maybe I’m just old now. Dammit.
Well I’m really looking forward to April. Not only are BF and I going to Las Vegas together, but I can actually start to make progress on my financial goals for the year. And that starts by getting in the right frame of mine – limiting the daily money bleed, bringing in more money, and getting back on track with my fitness. I might be screwed for the BMO Half Marathon I signed up for on May 4th, but I can at least focus my attention on staying healthy and getting back into half marathons for the fall.
I’ve also added the Parking line to my monthly expenses. Other than that, and my travel expenses, the budget is relatively normal.
April 2014 Goals:
- Bring my lunch to work every day. Unless it’s mandatory for business or for legitimate networking purposes, there’s no reason why I should be buying my lunch at work. It only takes a few minutes to pack a lunch the night before, and it will save me $5-10 every time.
- No coffee. On my short 10 minute walk from my car to the office, I pass by not one, but two Starbucks locations. Plus a Blenz. It’s going to be hard to resist going in there, but if I can do it for a month, then I think I’ll be less likely to pop in regularly.
- Work out 3x/week. Guess what? The company I work for has a free gym for employees. Well, it’s technically for all people that work in that building, but I’m pretty excited about it anyway. I may not be able to run long distances just yet (still nursing that nagging foot injury), but I can definitely do some stationary biking and the elliptical machine. Then, if I feel better, maybe a bit of short distance running.
- Earn $1,800 in freelance income. I should be able to bring in over $1,000 through existing invoices, but as for the other $800? Gotta start hustling and making up for lost income while unemployed.
- Get back on track with RRSP/TFSA contributions. Self-explanatory. I need to start regular contributions again.
I had an interesting conversation with BF the other day, when I confessed that I often stress about money. Like, on a daily basis. And it got even worse when I lost my job in February.
No matter how many times I run the numbers on retirement, or go through my budget, I always have this sinking feeling that what I’m doing isn’t enough. But you know what? It is enough. This recent unemployment stint has been my third in an 8 year career. And each time, I’ve come out of it with a better job, and a more positive attitude. Sure, my finances have taken a few setbacks over the years, but losing out on 2 months of RRSP contributions isn’t going to affect my retirement. Worrying about every dollar I make/spend, and over-analyzing how I’m going to advance my career is not productive and just leads to stress and anxiety.
It took me a while to realize that it wasn’t the money that I was specifically stressed out about, it was what that money represented. To me, having money means the opportunity to save money. And saved money means having a good future, being able to provide for my family, and living out my retirement without worrying about money. Not having money, or not having the amount of money I perceive to be acceptable causes instant alarm bells and panic. Like when I lose a job, or when I think I might be stuck career-wise.
Reading Preet Banerjee’s book, “Stop Over-Thinking Your Money!” has actually really helped. Deep down, I know all I need to do is keep it simple; spend less than I earn, carry no high interest debt, avoid lifestyle inflation, etc. So if I know what I need to do, and for the most part, I’m doing it, why am I always freaking out?
I often refer back to an article I read a while ago to calm me down. In this article, it said that happiness is a $75,000 salary. It says that while happiness doesn’t seem to have an impact on your day to day mood, it definitely impacts the feelings you have about the way your life is going. And it’s true. The article always reminds me that I should be grateful for what I have. Because overall, I am really satisfied with my quality of life. I’m able to save for retirement, travel, pay my mortgage, and have fun at the same time. I have an amazing boyfriend, and friends and family to count on.
Truthfully, if I never make more than I’m making right now (adjusted for inflation of course), I would be okay with that. Sure, I’d like to earn more (and I hope that I do), but I don’t see my quality of life improving at all. It would just stay the same, and I would be happy. :)
So I’m going to consciously try not to stress out about money on a day-to-day basis. There is no need for it, and I’ve proven that to myself over and over again. I really will achieve all of the financial goals I want for myself. It just takes time. And patience is one of the best qualities to have in life.