April should be a relatively calm month for spending compared to March. RD’s birthday is next week, and I’ve already bought his present. It will not be reflected in my budget on this blog (since he reads here!), but I think I’ll still be able to make my savings target this month regardless.
There are a few added expenses this month. I’ve included an extra $150 into my Fitness budget so that I can buy new rock climbing shoes (mine are 7 years old and are getting pretty ratty), and I have $75 in Personal Care to get some face cream. Actually, it’s a bit of a gamble because I’m trying out a new product line. For those that care, I have been using Origins for the last 5 years or so, but Sephora doesn’t carry their eye cream anymore, so I’m switching up and trying Ole Henriksen. :)
The only social obligations I have booked in this month is a concert this week (David Francey – although I’m assuming nobody who reads here has ever heard of him!), and a dinner date with two girlfriends later this month. I had a great time on vacation last week, but my capacity for socializing has reached its peak for a while. :) We got home on Friday and spent the entire weekend decompressing and spending quiet time together. I think that’ll continue for a little while longer – at least for me, anyway.
April 2016 Goals:
- Practice yoga – I was given a gift certificate to YYoga this month, so I’m going to start going on a somewhat regular basis. I’d like to practice yoga 2-3 times this month, with the goal of going once a week in May.
- Run twice – While in Tofino, I ran pain-free three times (all beach running) and loved it. It gave me hope that I can run again, but will have to limit myself to easy chip trails (no cement if I can help it, or North Shore trail running anymore). There’s a short looped chip trail not far from our house, so I’d like to get out there and try.
- Do my taxes and get organized for next year – This is a carry-over goal from last month. Life got hectic last month with so much work … and then we went on vacation … so I wasn’t able to find the time to do my taxes or get myself organized for this year.
- Read more often – I’ve gotten into the habit of surfing the internet or watching Netflix if I have some downtime. But I started reading A Superior Man by Paul Yee (no relation) on vacation, and really want to read more about this specific subject (the Chinese-Canadian experience in the 19th century in British Columbia).
March was an insane month, and I’m glad it’s over. :) And even though my poor planning resulted in spending more on food for the month, coming in almost $300 under budget overall for the month makes me really happy. I’m especially pleased with the fact that I only had to fill up my gas tank once for the entire month. And considering we spent without any regard to budgeting while we were gone, I’m really happy we came in under budget for our trip too.
- Food – I decreased my grocery budget this month because we were going to be away for a week … but I failed to realize that as a result of working a lot of overtime during the 2 weeks leading up to vacation (and trying to maintain our regular climbing schedule), we’d be buying lunches and getting take-out for dinner a lot more often than normal. :(
Income & Savings:
This month I saved 71.5% of my income, and brought in just over $5,000 in freelance income. It’s nice when those invoices get paid out on time. :)
March 2016 Goals:
- Practice yoga once a week – PASS. I didn’t practice yoga, but I made sure to bring stretching into my (almost) daily routine. And after running and/or hiking, I did a lot of stretching and yoga poses to cool down.
- Do my taxes and get organized for next year – FAIL. Nope. I was too busy this month to finish.
- Look into getting a credit limit increase on my credit card – FAIL. I didn’t look into this at all.
- Save $2,000 towards retirement – CHECK! At least I was able to accomplish one goal from this month. :)
Talking about money and salaries was much more common among my friends when we were just out of college and looking for our first jobs. Perhaps it’s because we were all on equal ground – around same age, student loan debt, and looking for our first jobs – that made it seem less intimidating.
Now that my friends are in their late 20’s and early 30’s and we’ve been in the work force for almost a decade (!), we don’t talk about exact numbers as much as we used to. They’ll say “I make in the range of X” or “I got a 10%” raise” without saying how much they now make. And so in turn, I use vague references about my salary and finances too.
However, since I have this blog, anyone can poke around and see how much money I currently make (and how much I’ve made in the past), as well as pretty much any other financial detail of my life. And I’m okay with that because I’ve always been pretty open when it comes to talking about money with my close friends. If someone asks me a question, I’ll happily answer (and as a PF nerd, I’m always hopeful for an engaging financial conversation). But as a rule, I don’t bring up anything to do with personal finance or salaries unless specifically asked.
Knowledge is power
Simply knowing what a friend or co-worker is earning will not result in a raise for you. That’s not how it works. But it could help you negotiate more confidently during your next performance review or job search if you know what other people with similar experience in similar industries are making. There have been countless instances where I’ve reached out to my friends in marketing to ask about their salary range and responsibilities, and I’ve been approached often as well to provide the same sort of information. Sometimes we don’t talk specific numbers, but just being able to pass along information seems to help.
If you’re not comfortable talking about money with your friends just yet, at least be sure to check out websites like Glassdoor, which can help you see what others are making in similar jobs within your city. I just pulled the below screenshot from Glassdoor after searching for Marketing Manager salaries in Vancouver. Now, that’s not my exact job title, but it’s close enough. And I feel good knowing that my salary falls comfortably within the range below.
But there are other benefits to knowing what your friends make besides helping each other with job searches and raise negotiations. It can also give us each other a greater understanding of how much to spend when going out to restaurants or traveling. If my friend knows what I make, perhaps she will understand my budget and how much I’m comfortable spending when we are together.
Honesty has consequences
While talking about salaries with close friends can be a good decision, it can also have negative effects as well. Depending on what your relationship is with someone, finding out how much they make might bring on feelings of jealousy. It could also inspire resentment within the friendship when you start to notice small examples of what one person has that the other person doesn’t (like a designer purse, or dining in fancier restaurants, etc.) – a “keeping up with the Joneses” mentality.
I wouldn’t be comfortable talking about my salary or details about my finances with people I’m not close to. But I do think it’s beneficial to have open discussions about salary ranges, responsibilities, negotiation strategies, promotions, etc. with people you trust who are doing similar work or are within the same industry as you.
Do you know how much money your friends are making?