Plan for July

Circle indicating Plan, Do, Check, Act cycle

This month was my first without my debt and it got dicey. I had expenses I hadn’t planned for and a few I couldn’t have anticipated but that’s life. I had always planned with a monthly focus but now that my paycheques are my own I had wanted to go back to budgeting using my available funds. Great idea in theory but there were some hiccups.

So new test: in July I’ll leave the money that is deposited into my LOC there. I pay my bills from this account so it really makes sense for the money to stay. At the end of the month any money leftover, that isn’t part of my budget, will get moved to my chequing account where it will be able to accrue interest.

Photo courtesy of Basketman via freedigitalphoto.net

Advertisements

Deep Breath: Assessing the Damage

7 more days left in the month and I’m 24% over budget.The last time I was this much over budget was in November.

Looking back this shouldn’t be a huge shock, in fact a few months ago I should have started a mini savings line for this work week as it happens twice per year and I’ve been in my role long enough to know that it’s insane.

What’s interesting is that for the most part, the categories I budgeted for stayed within the budget. The two that skyrocketed were Eating Out and Bunny. The Eating Out was because in spite of our best intentions we didn’t cook enough and I suspect knowing that my LOC was paid off led to some recklessness. Bunny was an expensive pet this month as she needed to visit her vet. My baby bunny is no baby but a geriatric who is suffering from arthritis and may be diabetic. The cost of the visit and test were nothing to sneeze at! We’re also exploring some accessible accommodations for her which increased her cost.

The line I hadn’t planned for was fashion. This is the line I need to start saving for! Half the ooverage came from here.  Considering the number of things I was able to put in that budget line, it’s actually impressive and if I had budgeted I would be really proud of my ability to find great deals.

Now that I’ve taken a deep breath and looked at the budget I can honestly say it’s alright. I still have a bit of room so I haven’t spent my entire paycheque. I won’t be making any significant payments to ML’s debt but I also have not dug myself back into the red.

I also took a look at last June. My spending is quite similar but this time I have multiple savings lines I’m contributing to and I’m not in $12000 of debt. So really it’s been a big win!

Procrastinating: Or my fear of facing my budget

Now and Later buttons

The crazy week of working from 6 a.m. – 6 p.m. is over. I’m relieved and I’m feeling really proud of the work that I did.

What I’m not so proud of is my spending habits last week. Some of it couldn’t be avoided: ML needed to visit a chiropodist, I went for massages to help with a pulled muscle, Bunny visited her vet and needed some tests done.  Some of it however, could have been helped with better planning or saying no to myself. Things in this category are meals out, clothing, and other general treats.

Now it’s time to face the music and I don’t want to. I’m terrified of looking at my budget as I know I’ve already blown way past it. So tonight when I start working on the budget and feeling a bit poorly about my decisions I’m going to remember:

  • I will most likely get reimbursed for all medical expenses (~$600)
  • I will get reimbursed for $100 in work expenses
  • ML & I didn’t argue or get snippy with each other once in the last 2 weeks in spite of my being stressed to the gills
  • As opposed to previous years, I didn’t need significant medical attention following the week. Though not costly as it was covered by insurance I was miserable for at least 2 months following as it took that long for me to return to normal
  • I’ve received multiple compliments on how refreshed and relaxed I looked
    • Yay, mani/pedi and new shoes
  • We generally made healthy choices when eating out rather than heading to McDonalds and the like.
  • I did my first bit of proctoring so $82 will go to offsetting some of the extra costs I took on this month.

What do you do when you’re afraid to look at your budget?

Weekend spending 

I mentioned needing at least 2 pairs of pants previously. They’re to replace the 2 pairs of black dress pants that I currently own that are quite worn out. As I didn’t have a lot of time I gave myself a $40 pre tax limit to go to the mall.

Luckily a thrift store has opened in a plaza I was going to do I popped in there. The smart thing to do would have been to stick to the pants but I passed by dresses and decided to try on a few. Of the 18 items I tried, I got 2 pairs of pants and 2 dresses. Once at cash ML and I saw a Pirates of the Caribbean game that we wanted to try.

Our total, with tax, was $42.

The shoes came up to $188, though I went a bit overboard and got 7 pairs. The note on the bill says I saved $115.

The mani/pedi with eyebrows came to $60 and the  pedicure took place in an insanely comfortable massage chair.

I’m in sticker shock. That’s a lot of money to spend on unplanned items. Part of me feels silly as I should have been saving for this month as I knew it was going to be insane. Another part is grateful that I completed my payments last month as this means I’m using my paycheque for these things.

Going into the week I’m feeling good as I look good, know my feet aren’t going to be on fire, and got to spend some quality time with ML and my parents. This is particularly true of my mum, as we went shoe shopping together and she did my hair so I didn’t have to go to a salon.

ML has cleaned the house, done laundry and cooked for the start of the week. Now it’s up to me to spend $0 this week and keep a positive attitude. I’m looking forward to the marathon week as I’m feeling rested and prepared. As I’ll be working from 6:30 am to 7 pm I most likely won’t be blogging.

I hope you have a fantastic week!!

The Cost of Working

When we had thought we were having kids I had planned to take an extended leave of absence. It really did appear that we would have more available income if we were a one income home but didn’t pay for childcare or the costs associated with my job.

This thought is returning as I gear up for a marathon work week next week. I’m looking at heading to the office at 6:30 a.m. each day with the possibility of leaving as early as 7 p.m. or as late as 10.

In spite of our best food intentions, both ML and I were a bit off last weekend ( I got migraine) so we ended up eating out a few times this week. I’m hoping next week will be better. ML has promised to help pack my lunches the night before.

Now comes fashion. Silly really that I didn’t budget for it. Last weekend I sorted out my clothing for all of next week. That’s when I realized I could really benefit from at least 2 additional pants. When I’m working normal hours it’s easy to do mid week loads of laundry and iron clothing on a morning. Next week I’m not going to have the energy and I don’t want to wake ML at 5:30 a.m. when he has to work as well.

On to shoes! When I KonMari’d my home last year I got rid of loads of shoes that were quite old. It was great and my feet thanked me. However, I haven’t been great about adding to the collection since. So shoe shopping is now on the list as I need a few more pairs of comfortable, dressy shoes. Luckily I got a 25% off coupon from my go-to store this  morning!

Then there’s the temptation to get a mani/pedi, a hair treatment, and professional eye brows to treat myself and look ‘pulled together.’ As part of my job is to look like I’m having a fantastic time while putting out fires, this isn’t as frivolous as it sounds.

Everyone handles their needs differently. My clothing, make up and hairstyles are the armour I wear when I’m heading into stressful situations. I’m also hoping that pampering myself this weekend will be part of my self care. So I’ll begin the week refreshed and relaxed.

Do you have any costs like these?

 

 

Why I Financed Furniture

Ever since I was a child  I’ve wanted a hammock. We had multiple family friends with a “grown up swing”and I was constantly asking permission to use them. Unfortunately, we have never lived in a home that is conducive to getting a hammock.

A few years ago I came across a hanging chair. It’s a ball shaped chair that is suspended from it’s own stand. Basically a single person hammock that actually would work in my home. Every time I see one I want it.

chair.jpg
This swinging chair definitely looks like summer heaven

On Saturday night I did a strange thing – I looked through a flyer for a home decor store. I’ve been avoiding these flyers like the plague since they only show me my wants at fantastic prices. I’ve found I won’t think of something for ages but I’ll see its photo and I’m right back to longing.

You may have guessed that I saw the chair. ML and I have a deal: we can only buy wants if we can pay cash.We chatted about the chair in  great detail and decided to check the budget. I had the funds!

I also noticed that there was a 12 month no interest finance plan. I have always thought these were silly. I’d just put the purchase on my credit card so I wouldn’t have too many people I owed money. I also felt that asking for financing meant that I had exhausted all other credit avenues.

This time I saw it differently. I could take the money out of my interest accruing savings account and own it straight away or I could use the company’s money, pay the credit line from my monthly miscellaneous budget, and leave my savings alone.

Here’s where it got interesting. I got approved for an  $11,000 store credit card…for a $400 item. The interest is insane and they’re fully expecting me to miss a payment. I should get the card late next week at which time I’ll set up monthly automatic payments so I don’t get dinged.

It was interesting to see my about face. One year ago I would have worried that I was doing this because I had no money. Now I’m doing it because I have the money but don’t want to part with it.

Have you done this before?

That Gift Closet

When I Konmari’d my home I created a gift closet for items that could conceivably be regifted. I also included items purchased on sale as emergency gifts( last minute invitations that require a gift).

Last week I was picking up some things for work when I noticed a sale. I checked the expiry dates on the items and realized that they would be good until 2017.Jackpot!

I came home with these riches.

IMG_20160525_170436
New additions to the gift closet

My only concern was that this may be wasted money if I forget about them or don’t have people to give them to as the gift closet has gotten a bit full. So I did an audit with ML and figured who is getting what items.

This is my list starting with my most recent acquisitions and who will be getting them:

  • The 5 cake mixes are going to be used as birthday gifts for 2 friends with the other 3 being emergency gifts
  • The soups  & dip mixes are going to be part of Christmas for each of our parents.
  • ML’s dad is going to get dip mix for Father’s day
  • 2 sets of Bedroom slippers: one for each sister in law as part of a comfy, cozy Christmas gift pack
  • Toy animal carrier: Christmas gift for a friend’s child who will be ~8 months at Christmas
  • Insanely cuddly teddy bear: new baby gift in September
  • Ball cap : happy to see you gift for a cousin as he collects them
  • Gluten free cookbook: Christmas or birthday gift for cousin
  • Athletic set: birthday gift for a friend’s child
  • Kid dishes: gift for friend having a second child. They’re easy to clean, portioned platters for kids as well as a bowl set. Plan is to add kid friendly consumables.
  • Novelty cookware: either going to a specific friend for Christmas or used as a Secret Santa present

The following are items that can be given as gifts but I don’t have a particular person in mind:

  • Jeweled photo frame
  • Liquor filled chocolates (must be given prior to September)
  • Martini bath set
  • Christmas cookie cutters
  • Christmas jewelry set

It turns out that my feeling that not everything in the closet will be used was accurate. There were a few items that I ended up putting in my own stash.

  • Makeup gift set since the box had gotten a bit banged up ( it had been purchased with someone in mind but we never connected).
  • An assortment of lotions that would most likely be able to be part of various gift packages. The problem is having the memory to recall they’re available or the energy to create said gift package.
  • Various body washes. Same reason as lotions.

As we can use all these items and they’ll simply reduce our household bills while giving us a treat ( I’m going to smell like grapefruit for at least 2 months) I think it’s a win.

I did have a moment of feeling cheap as I was doing this exercise. I thought about it and realized it was because the majority were purchased on sale, while a few are being regifted. I also felt that someone may feel cheated if they knew I purchased their Christmas gift in June because it was a great deal. This line of thought caused a bit of laughter. I realized that my purchasing a gift for someone now means that they’re never far from my thoughts, that their likes and preferences are so obvious to me that I want to get them meaningful items.

After are how much was spent last Christmas I’m feeling good about my gift closet and the types of presents I’ll be giving my loved ones this year for special occasions.

 

It’s all Changed

I have my paycheque deposited to Line of Credit (LOC), this was great as it allowed me to remember that it wasn’t really mine. Until I was consumer debt free it belonged to the LOC. With this in mind, I then planned my budget monthly and it worked. It didn’t matter when I got paid as it would all come out in the wash.

Now that my LOC is in the black I want to use my paycheques as I have them and not overspend. This is where it gets interesting. My variable spending is fine but I’ve been front loading all  my bill and saving payments. If I continue with this I would pay all my bills with my first paycheque but not have any funds for general living e.g. groceries.

With this in mind, I took a look at when my bills have to be paid and allocated them in my weekly spending. I’ve adjusted a few so that I will be paying them later in the month. It’s interesting because my May 26th paycheque will cover the first week and a half of June while my June 9th cheque will take care of everything else.

This new order means that I need to begin incorporating my monthly bills and payments into my weekly budgets in order to not use money I don’t already have. It now adds an additional step as I get paid every other week but that’s not consistent in the sense that I can’t count on the second and fourth Thursdays being ‘my day’ or the 9th and 26th. Though that’s how bill payments come out. As of this month I’ve stopped my savings from being automatic since I’m saving 40% of my income. I’ll start manually moving those over when it makes the most sense so I’m not concerned about a shortfall.

I’ll test this system out in June and July and see how it goes for me. Here’s how it looks for this month:

June 1 – 3 % of paycheque % of income
Netflix 0.91% 0.46%
Donation 0.61% 0.30%
Investment** 3.66% 3.66%
B’day Dinner 1.83% 0.91%
June 4 -10
Cell phone 12.20% 6.10%
Car Insurance 7.01% 3.51%
B’day Dinner 4.27% 2.13%
Groceries 3.05% 1.52%
Gas 2.44% 1.22%
Vacation** 9.15% 4.57%
Life  ** 2.44% 1.22%
Car** 9.15% 4.57%
Home Reno** 16.77% 8.38%
Gifts** 6.10% 3.05%
House Insurance** 3.66% 3.66%
Medical** 1.22% 0.61%
Emergency Fund** 6.10% 3.05%
June 11 – 17
Life Insurance 10% 5.18%
Groceries 3.05% 1.52%
Bunny 2.44% 1.22%
Misc. 1.22% 0.61%
Eating out 0.61% 0.30%
Phone & Internet 7.32% 3.66%
June 18-24
Wine Tour 3.66% 1.83%
Groceries 3.05% 1.52%
Father’s Day 9.15% 4.57%
Mortage 24.39% 12.20%
June 25-30
Groceries 3.05% 1.52%
Family BBQ 12.20% 6.10%

The way it breaks down is that I use 91% of my first cheque and 59% of the second one right now or 81% of my entire monthly pay. Seeing it listed out this way helps me greatly as it’s far more detailed than my original weekly budgets.

** denotes the various savings lines that I have.

Do you have any tips you would recommend?

Debriefing: May 2016

TRACKING

  •  # Buy nothing days : 12
  • # times used S’mores Maker (aiming for 8 uses in 2016): 2+0=2
  • # times used champagne saucers (aiming for 7 uses in 2016): 3+1=4
  • # times ate out: 5
  • # activities with friends/family: 14
  • # months until home improvement fund: It’s begun as I’ve changed my tax repayment account to this. Next month I’ll begin adding more to it
  • % over or under budget: 1% over budget;
  • % consumer debt paid off:  100% of the debt being paid since August.

CELEBRATE:

  • Stayed under budget while on vacation and had an awesome time!
  • Paid off my consumer debt!
  • Though I had money to spare, I didn’t spend it.

DIP INTO SAVINGS/CREDIT

  • Used the Life Happens line to pay for tickets for an event in October. I’ve begun tracking when I pay for events. It seems that I can expect to pay for events 2-5 months ahead of a ticketed event. So even though I’m budgeting for an event I’m often not prepared for the tickets to go on sale when they do. The Life Happens and Fun Fund accounts are a great help here.
  • Used my medical line to pay for ML’s treatment (insurance to reimburse ~ 50%)
  • Used my gift line to purchase some items for events this month as well as some looking ahead shopping.

KEEP IN MIND

  • Based on my current June budget I will be ~ 13% over budget. Even with this I will be able to pay some of ML’s debt down.
  • I may use some of my savings to help offset these costs as the baby shower has been canceled since many of the guest couldn’t attend either of the proposed dates.
  • No is a complete sentence! I need to learn how to say it nicely to people when their suggested events do not fit into our budget.

OVERALL

This was an exciting month! I paid off my debt, stayed pretty close to budget and saw the benefits of having my savings lines.