Give Me Back My Five Bucks

April 2014 Goals: Recap

04 - April Recap

I think I did quite well staying on budget this month. Even though I went over budget in some categories, I saved some major cash on gas because I’ve been staying with BF during the work week. This cuts my commute from 45-60 min. down to less than 10 min. :) This doesn’t happen all the time though, so I still need to be mindful of how much I budget on gas in the future.

As for travel, I’m surprised I stayed under budget. The original plan was to go to Victoria with BF, and we would share the cost of bringing my car across on the ferry. But he got sick at the last minute, and I ended up just bringing my car across anyway.

Other than that, all other expenses this month were normal.

04 - April Recap

Over Budget:

  • Food – I went to Costco and stoked up on staples like quinoa, bread, and some vitamins. We also discovered black bean pasta (my new favourite thing).
  • Clothing – I bought a shirt from Value Village, as well as a pair of jeans because my favourite brand is discontinuing my favourites. :(
  • Personal Care – Random stuff from London Drugs, like tooth paste, Q-tips, etc.
  • Miscellaneous – This was my FitBit purchase!

Net Worth Change: + $1,448 (+ 1.48%)

I got back on track with my Retirement Portfolio contributions, and paid the regular amount to my mortgage. Nothing out of the ordinary here!

April 2014 Goals:

  • Bring my lunch to work every day. PASS. I’m giving myself a pass for the month, because even though I technically did buy my lunch once this month, it was the day after we came back from Las Vegas, and we weren’t able to go grocery shopping.
  • No coffee. FAIL. Okay, okay I had two coffees this month. But one was over the weekend when I was visiting a friend in Victoria. And the other one was when I went into work at 7am.
  • Work out 3x/week. FAIL. I did go for my first run since injuring myself, and I’ve been walking a ton thanks to my FitBit. I also played 4 field hockey games… but that doesn’t equal what I would call 3 workouts per week.
  • Earn $1,800 in freelance income. FAIL. I actually only brought in $932.70. I’ve invoiced out for an additional $650, but just haven’t gotten those cheques in yet.
  • Get back on track with RRSP/TFSA contributions. CHECK! I’m back contributing $750/month into my Retirement Portfolio.

The cost of going home more often

photo

photoLately I’ve been thinking a lot about family, and I realize that I don’t make the effort to go home often enough. This past weekend was great, but I find I’m only coming home for specific reasons – like a field hockey tournament, or a running race. I should be coming home just to visit sometimes.

When I first moved to Vancouver, I went home nearly every weekend (because I still had a PT job there, but also because all my friends were still in Victoria). Then when I quit that job, I started going back once a month. And now, nearly 7 years later? I end up going home once every 2-3 months.

There are excuses, of course. During field hockey season (Sept-March), it’s incredibly difficult to get away because games are on the weekend and I play on a competitive team where you are expected to go to most (if not all) games and practices. I have friends here on the mainland, a boyfriend, work commitments, and travel plans. Then there’s the cost of actually getting home.

When I was in high school, I paid less than $8 to ride the ferry one-way. Now? It’s $16.25 one-way. Add in the $53.25 one-way cost to bring a vehicle over, and a trip home becomes a major expense! Parking my car and walking onto the ferry is an option. I do that quite often, but sometimes a car is necessary. Plus parking is expensive as well (at the terminal it’s $16/24 hours, and at the Park-n-Go I believe it’s $14/24 hours).

Still. I want to see my family more often, and with the health problems of certain family members, I don’t want to miss out. I want to spend more time in my hometown, and if that costs more money and more weekends traveling, that’s what I’m going to do. I’m extremely lucky that the job I have right now offers flexible work hours, so I can take time off it needed to catch an early ferry on the weekends.

I don’t think going home once a month is realistic right now, but I will try to go every 6-8 weeks. This starts in a couple of weeks, when BF and I will head over on the May long weekend. I’d like to go back again in June or July, and then my family and I will be spending a few days in August to watch the Blue Jays take on the Mariners. :)

How often do you see your family? Does cost factor into that decision?

Spending Recap: April 14-20, 2014

Bellagio fountain show!

Monday 14th
No Spend Day!

Tuesday 15th
No Spend Day!

Wednesday 16th
+ $38.88 Great Canadian Rebates
$50 gas

Thursday 17th
No Spend Day!

Friday 18th – Las Vegas, NV
$18.08 transit

Saturday 19th – Las Vegas, NV
$31.64 NY NY Rollercoaster

Sunday 20th – Las Vegas, NV
$217 cash spending
$39.71 lunch
$106.45 Lucky Brand Jeans

Freelance Income: $0 (+ $38.88)
Expenses– $462.88

TOTAL: – $424.00

I’ll admit that I didn’t track my spending very well in Las Vegas. I had a lot of cash left over from last month’s trip to Portland, so I didn’t have to use my credit card that much at all. As a result, all I have is $217 in bulk miscellaneous spending. This includes all alcohol, gambling (I ended up +$7 for the weekend), and food. We ate on the cheap for the most part – Subway and Chipotle were our friends. :) There were a few splurges on “fancy” cocktails – but even those were less than $10 each, and considered cheap by Vegas standards. The rest of our drinks were “complimentary” while we were gambling.

As for the rest of the week, spending was low because from Tuesday evening to Thursday, I was at a work conference where meals and entertainment were paid for. :)

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