Give Me Back My Five Bucks

Hello, please meet Zoey!

It has been a long time since I’ve been able to set aside some time to write on this blog. I had such good intentions of posting while we were on vacation, but near the beginning of the trip I lost my MacBook Pro power cord, and then decided to suffer without a computer until we got back to Vancouver. And then when we got back, we ended up adopting the most adorable cat and I lost track of time. I know, excuses, excuses. :)

First, I want to introduce you to the newest member of our family, and tomorrow I’ll have my September Goals recap.

This beautiful girl is named Zoey, and we got her from the SPCA last week. She is approximately 3 years old, and came to the shelter as a stray – so we don’t know anything about her past. We originally went to the Maple Ridge branch of the SPCA because we were interested in a couple of other cats, but ended up falling in love with Zoey.

She was super frightened at the shelter, and wouldn’t come out of her cage. Eventually we were able to feed her a couple of treats, but we didn’t see more than her small little head poking out of the blankets. We decided to put in an application for her anyway because I had already fallen in love, and two days later she became ours. She was so scared during the car ride home, so when we got her to the condo I was really surprised that she just walked out of her carrier and started to explore our bedroom (which we used as her safe room for the first two days we had her). She was very timid and frightened of every new noise, and would constantly hide under the blankets or cower in a corner if she felt scared. She barely ate the first few days, and the look of horror on her face when she realized we were putting her back in her carrier for a vet visit – well that was pretty heartbreaking.

Five days later, she now has access to the entire condo and she has also made huge improvements. She can be ridiculously affectionate at times, but like any other cat, she has her grumpy moments. But she is never aggressive, never scratches or hisses, and really doesn’t make much sound at all. She’s also eating better too, but there’s still a lot of work to do. Based on what we’ve seen (not that we’re experts or anything), we think that she was a house cat at some point, and then ended up on the streets as a stray. The vet told us that she’s in good health, but needs to gain some weight. We’ll also have to take her into get some shots later this month.

I thought I knew how much start-up costs would be for our cat, but I underestimated for sure. Here’s how much we’ve spent so far:

  • $205.00 – adoption fee from SPCA (includes a free check-up with a vet).
  • $236.75 – initial cost of cat stuff (litter box, litter, litter locker, wet and dry food, food dishes, a couple of toys, cat bed, brush, treats, fish oil, and a scratching post).
  • $15.75 – pain medication after being spayed.

Moving forward, I anticipate her monthly costs to be around $50-60/month for her food, litter, and treats. This will come out of our shared household budget. I’m still trying to figure out which food she likes the best (the pet store near our house gave me a ton of samples to try out), and what the most cost-effective (and convenient) way would be to get her ongoing supplies. I think it’s Amazon, but I could be wrong?

Anyway, I’ll try really hard not to turn my blog and social media accounts into one big catfest, but no promises. :)

September 2017 Goals

Well our big trip of the year is in just a few days – we’ll be headed off to Portugal for 2 weeks, and then when we get home, we’re headed up into the mountains for a 3 day trip. This vacation, plus field hockey insurance fees, getting our home set up for a cat, and paying for a Christmas flight to see RD’s parents means that September is going to be very, very expensive.

I doubt I’ll actually be able to save any money this month, but that’s okay. I’m secretly hoping our Portugal trip will end up costing less than we think (our flight/hotel/car rental are already paid for) because we have about $300 in travel rewards that I can put towards our expenses. But if not, the monthly budget can accommodate that.

You might notice that I’ve added another line to my budget’s Fixed Expenses below – which is my climbing membership. This is the first time we’ve actually gone ahead and committed to a membership – and it’s also the only time I’ve bought a gym membership of any kind! :) But it’s a significant savings from the single month pricing ($110) or the punch card ($95 for 5 visits). We’re averaging 2-3 climbs per week, so it’s worth it for sure.

Also, field hockey season starts up again! I’ll be missing the first 3 games because of holidays, but I’m really excited to start the season. For the past few years I’ve been a bit down about my game. I’m getting older, and I’m not as fast as I used to be. But near the end of last season I felt little flashes of the player I used to be, and that was pretty thrilling. I’ve been saying “just one more season” for the past 2 or 3 years now, so we’ll see how it goes. :)

Anyway, here’s my budget for the month:

September 2017 Goals:

  • Post once a week to GMBMFB. I’m hoping to have the first three posts scheduled while I’m away.
  • 15,000 steps per day. On average.
  • Focus on healthy eating. I’d like to scale back on the junk food and focus on healthy eating. This will be interesting since we’ll be on vacation for much of the month, but I think that’s when it’s most important.
  • Say yes when traveling. One of my big goals for the year was to be more relaxed when we’re traveling and say yes to opportunities that come up which may change our plans. Travel should have an element of spontaneity, but sometimes I find that I’m stuck in my ways that I may miss an amazing opportunity just because I’m worried about my itinerary. RD is much better at just going with whatever comes his way, and I need to adopt a little more of that attitude in my life. :)

August 2017 Goals: Recap

August has been full and active and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it. Even if it has been just so, so so uncomfortably hot at times. I’m not sure how anyone survives in a climate where the temperatures are regularly above 25C. :)

We were able to get out hiking three times this month, including two hikes we’ve never done before (Harvey Mountain and Coliseum Mountain). Despite not being as fit as we should have been, I’m glad we challenged ourselves with harder hikes. This will help us get ready for longer hikes this fall (including this weekend where we’ll try for a 35-40km day).

We started climbing again a few weeks ago, which I’m finding really enjoyable but also super frustrating. We were just getting into a really good grove back in April when we had to quit for 6 weeks while RD was away for work … and with moving earlier this summer, we’re only now starting back up again. It’s very frustrating not being able to do the routes we used to be able to do, but I know we’ll get there eventually. :)

We also celebrated our two year anniversary this month with a 3-night camping trip to Mayne Island. It was a lot of fun exploring the island on our bicycles, and we also had perfect timing because that weekend was their annual Fall Fair!

I’ve also been monitoring the real estate listing closely in our building (and in the neighbourhood). It’s been really interesting seeing the prices continue to climb (even though I was certain prices had peaked when we bought in the spring). There was a unit that sold in our building complex with the same layout as us (just one floor higher) for almost $60,000 more than what we paid back in April – WHICH.IS.CRAZY. I know it doesn’t mean anything to us since we’re here for the long term, but still. It’s validation that our little city is growing, but at the same time it’s also kind of crazy how many condo towers are going up within just a few blocks of us.

Anyway, here’s how I did this month:

Over Budget:

  • Groceries (work lunches/coffee) – went over by just a little bit because I bought a couple too many work lunches.
  • Restaurant & Entertainment – I actually came in under budget with our regular spending in this category, except for I didn’t take into account for the fact that we went in on two tickets to the 2019 World Jr. Hockey Championships in Victoria ($400) with my sister and this month we had to pay in full.
  • Travel – Spent a little more than I thought when we were on Mayne Island, and we also booked two nights of camping ($40) for September.
  • Personal Care – my trip to Sephora was more expensive than anticipated because I bought a new (more expensive) face cleanser, as well as a travel sized version.
  • Fitness – we signed up for the climbing gym, but because we were coming in mid billing cycle, we had to pay a pro-rated charge, in addition to the following month. We also stocked up on energy bars for hiking.

Income & Savings:

I brought in $4,000 in freelance income this month in addition to my full-time job. I still have about $1,000 pending and am in negotiations for some new projects for the end of this year and into 2018.

My savings rate was 55% of my net income, and my net worth grew 3% this month. In terms of hard numbers, my net worth has grown just over $30,000 since January 1st, which I’m pleased about. I’m hoping that despite the extra $ we’re putting towards our mortgage and the monthly padding of our joint accounts, I’ll still be able to hit my personal savings goal of 50% of my net income this year.

August 2017 Goals:

  • 450,000 stepsCHECK! We tackled some long hikes which put me over this goal with well over 560,000 steps taken in August.
  • Bring lunch 4x/weekFAIL! But still a win to me. :) Last month I spent $147.42 on lunch/coffee, and this month I only spent $66.66 – so a huge improvement. And I actually did take my lunch to work way more often, there was just one week where I was pretty bad.
  • Schedule blog posts for SeptemberPASS. I’ve got one scheduled, and three drafts half written. I still have 8 days before we board that plane. :)
  • Budget for a new catCHECK! I did an inventory on how much it will cost to get us the basics, and then I’ll worry about the other stuff (like toys) when the time comes.
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