Give Me Back My Five Bucks

October 2015 Goals: Recap

Well October was an interesting month; it was a month full of new opportunities and change. I guess the first thing I should say is that I got a new job. I’m really, really excited for it because it is a leadership position with a much larger company, and provides me with long-term growth opportunities. After getting laid off from my previous job (where I thought I’d be able to carve out a long-term role for myself), I really wanted to find a company where I could see myself staying for many years to come. The company I just left was close to what I wanted, but wasn’t quite it. I think this new organization has long-term potential, and that makes me really happy. So that’s my first bit of news.

The second bit of news is that my housing situation has changed dramatically. I don’t want to say anything right away, but if all goes well you’ll be seeing what I think is a pretty big change in my budgets going forward. Change is good. And better for my savings rate. :)

Anyway, onward to my recap of October expenses:

10 - October 2015 Budget Recap

Over Budget:

Maintenance/Strata – this was just an error on my part by not allocating the correct amount in my budget.

Internet/Cable – same as above.

Food – wow, okay so I forgot I haven’t updated you on my vegan challenge. Let’s just say it was more expensive than I thought to turn everything in my house over to vegan products. :) I’ll post a recap soon on my 30 days as a vegan.

Entertainment – slightly over in this category due to dining out. It was my lack of organization that led to restauranting too many times.

Travel – slight over in this category too, due to the exchange rate on my Vegas trip. :|

Car & Transportation – field hockey season started, which means driving all over the Lower Mainland to get to games.

Personal Care – I bought some face cream.

October 2015 Goals:

  • Stay on budget with travel expenses. FAIL. I only went a few dollars over, so I’m okay with that. The exchange rate in Las Vegas killed me, as did going out for breakfast three mornings in a row when in Victoria. :)
  • Check my credit score. PASS. Yep I completely forgot. But the good news is doing this recap has prompted me to go ahead and order my credit report. It is on its way!
  • Rebalance my investment portfolioCHECK! Rebalancing was pretty easy this year as nothing had really changed.
  • Look into rock climbing gyms. CHECK! I have decided which gym to get my membership at, so now I just have to sign up for a belay course just to refresh my memory. Haven’t climbed in 4+ years, so figured it was a good idea. :)

I’m currently on vacation Oregon before I start my new job next week. It has been a nice transition, but life is going to get a bit hectic. I can’t wait until January when (I think) everything will be settled with my living situation, I’ll have a grasp on my role at the new company, and I can start transitioning this blog into what I think is going to be a good change.

October 2015 Goals

October is an interesting month for me because 1) I’m trying out a 30-day vegan challenge, and 2) I’m traveling for 1/3 of the month.

The chart below reflects an inflated food budget because I have to replace so many staples food items with vegan versions. As it is currently the 5th of the month (and I’m late with this budget), I can already say that moving over to vegan cooking at home is a lot less complicated than I had imagined. But, going out to eat in restaurants has been a bit of a challenge. Thankfully I have some friends who are okay eating at veg/vegan-friendly places, but in other restaurants, I’m that person who has to ask for at least two substitutions with every meal. I find that annoying, but it’s my own issue of not wanting to be a burden on others, and I’ll get over it eventually. :)

I think the budget for travel will be acceptable. I anticipate $150 for Thanksgiving, $300 for Vegas (as I already have some U.S. cash sitting at home), and $50 for Toronto (my flight and accommodation is paid for, and all meals at the Canadian Personal Finance Conference are provided).

The one unknown is a big one. I didn’t put it in the budget because I’m a little bit scared of how much it might cost. Most of you know, I’m a huge Blue Jays fan. And my team is currently in the playoffs. I have a somewhat generous amount sitting in my Travel Fund that I am willing to commit to a playoff ticket (or two) if I can find the time to go. As luck would have it, my travel schedule just so happens to put me in Toronto for the ALCS and the World Series. So if the opportunity arises, I am definitely going to take advantage. :)


October 2015 Goals:

  • Stay on budget with travel expenses. I don’t anticipate going crazy in Vegas, as I’m only there for two nights, and the gals I’m going with seem like they’d have relatively normal travel spending habits (I’ve never traveled with any of them).
  • Check my credit score. It’s my birthday month, so that means it’s time for my annual credit check.
  • Rebalance my investment portfolio. I rebalance my portfolio once a year, also on my birthday month. It’s easy this way, I will never forget to do it. :)
  • Look into rock climbing gyms. After years of (admittedly half-hearted searching), I have found a rock climbing partner. Time to check out what has changed in the Vancouver climbing gym scene since I last went on a regular basis (which was almost 5 years ago now!).

From vegetarian to vegan: a one month experiment

Most of you know I’m vegetarian. I started off as pescetarian when I came back from Germany in 2013. After a few months, I turned vegetarian – and have been for almost two years now.

It’s been an interesting two years. I still get asked by my good friends if I’m “still not eating meat,” as if it’s a fad I’ll eventually get sick of. :) I’ve been put in more than a couple uncomfortable situations, and I have traveled to places where getting a vegetarian meal can be tricky (I ate a lot of eggs). But overall, it has been such a positive change to my lifestyle that I can’t imagine ever eating meat again.

Taking the next step to vegan has always scared me. That’s why I’ve never done it, or even attempted to try. It’s new territory that I’ve always wanted to explore, I just didn’t (and still don’t) know how to go about doing it. Cooking seems daunting – especially cooking for others. Going out to restaurants and traveling will become harder than it already is. But here’s the thing: I’ve always known that eventually, I would want to make this lifestyle change. And now is the time to test it out.

Maybe this will work, and maybe it won’t. But today marked Day 1 of a 30-day vegan challenge for me. I’ve actually already failed, but that’s okay… I ate a piece of pumpkin loaf that I realized afterwards was clearly made with egg, and then I almost put milk into my coffee this morning.

Over the next month, I anticipate higher than normal grocery bills and a lot of “whoops” moments. It will be tough to change my habits, but that’s what’s fun about these 30-day challenges. :) And with any luck, one month will turn into two months, and a new lifestyle will come from it.

So, if any of you are vegan, I’d love links to your favourite vegan recipes or restaurants!

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