My Credit Card Spending

My credit card company has been bought out by another institution and while I can’t say I’m happy with all the changes (goodbye easily downloaded transaction records!), I’m thrilled with the charting features.

This one allows me to see how much I spent in a specific date range and where I was spending the majority of my funds.

jan1-22

If you scroll over the bars it tells you the amount you spent*:

  • Groceries: $116
  • Shopping $57
  • Restaurants: $33
  • Transportation: $32
  • Household: $12
  • Services: $10

I try to use my credit card for all swiped purchases as I get points so the only thing not on here are my bills, cash purchases and e-transfers. This month is a bit of an anomaly as I spent nearly $400 through cash and e-transfers. It will be interesting to use this feature in coming months when I’m sticking to my credit card.

*The system doesn’t entirely align with my own tracking as it throws all the Walmart purchases into Groceries, whereas in my own spreadsheet I would put it in the category that aligns with the products purchased.

 

Advertisements

Debt Free (ish)

giphy

 

We just paid off our kitchen!!! The goal, which seemed quite aggressive, was to pay it off in 12 months. I’m in shock that we did and still had some savings left over. So much in fact that I was able to pay off a sizeable amount of the debt I accumulated in December through an emergency trip home as well as reckless spending.

Now I have 2 choices:

  1. put money in my savings account as per my budget
  2. put the money towards my debt

A large part of me wants to keep adding to my savings as they’re pretty tight and I’m very familiar with the cycle of debt when you don’t have built in buffers. The other bit is feeling very good seeing that I am now debt free if I don’t add to savings.

This would mean that I would begin February debt-free and able to put more money in savings as the debt allocation would be erased.

What do you think?

 

Image from Giphy

January 2019 : Week 3

I’ve just completed my budget and with 11 days left in the month I’ve overspent by $1.  This would be cause for concern at any other time but this month it’s a bit of a celebration. Why?

I had $300 in unanticipated expenses:

  • $200 on 1/12 of a cow
  • $100 on a rabbit, her hutch, food and accessories

My savings accounts are all very tight at the moment as I’m trying to climb my way out of ~$4,000 in debt.

My expenses for the rest of the month are:

  • Rabbit food: $25 = $5 for kibble + $20 for vegetables
  • Groceries: $20, possible spend next weekend though I’m hoping our pantry will provide or maybe I can use points
  • Rabbit vet visit: $120 for baby’s first exam that is a necessary cost

Anticipated overage: $165

You’d be forgiven for asking why in the world we’d get a rabbit if it doesn’t fit in the budget. The simple answer is we were saving for a rabbit in early March and this little girl needed a home now or she was heading to the humane society.

The emotional answer is:

She’s in our lives because of Bunny. Bunny passed away last August but a few days before she met with a family to discuss the wonders of rabbit friendship. The family was sold and within a month or so had found Bearie. After 4 months, they realized that Bunny had made it seem easy but taking care of a rabbit is a lot of work.

I had babysat Bearie over the holidays so they reached out to ask if I would take her. She is everything Bunny was not, in both good and bad ways, and feels like a parting gift from my first baby. How could I say no?

This means that my priorities have to change a bit so that we can provide Bearie with the necessities and keep on track with our own goals.

Have you made an emotional decision that ‘s impacted your finances?

January 2019: Week 2

My dual tracking system is definitely helping to keep me on track! I’ve just returned from an Introduction to Plant Based Eating Workshop. I’ll be honest: my first inclination was to purchase some of the staple that were mentioned so that I could jump start my journey.

Instead of giving in to that feeling, I have kept my regular process. I’m going to find recipes that are easy and use existing pantry items. Then use those recipes to create my grocery list. I’m hoping to do that this evening.

This week has been pretty good. I’ve spent money on a few groceries ( fruit and peanut butter), dinner with a friend, and getting some things for the new rabbit (litter and treats).

Looking Ahead

I have a few things that I definitely have to spend money on in the month. These include:

  • Team lunch next week ($20)
  • Hosting a friend for dinner ($40)
  • Purchasing a gift for a new baby ($50)
  • Rabbit greens ($20)
  • Groceries ($80)
    • This works out to be ~$20/week

The costs that I’ve noted above line up almost exactly with the amount leftover in my budget. I’m hopeful that I can stick to the above outline.

 

January 2019 Week 1

I’m starting off strong with not only tracking my spending but blogging. This month I’m trying to spend as little as possible so I’ve gone old school:

I’m still using Excel but I thought this cumbersome step may help keep me on track.

I have managed to spend 51% of my budget in week 1 as the Grocery line is just a tad high.

ML and I have wanted to purchase meat from a farm for quite sometime and when the opportunity arose out our names down for 1/12 of a cow. Our box of beef arrived today so we’re starting off with a half freezer full.

I haven’t even checked the packages yet but will do that tomorrow as we menu plan for the month.

How’s 2019 treating you so far?

2019 Budget Planning

In previous years, I have pored over budget to see my trends and identify areas for improvement. This year I seem to lack the energy to engage in this level of self-reflection. I know a great deal of this is because 2018 was a tough year. I was constantly over budget and fell into some awful habits, such as telling myself., ” It’s just $xx, I deserve the treat!” or “It’s such a good price! We could use this.”

With a kitchen renovation that dragged on followed by lots of hosting it’s no shock that my grocery, eating out, and miscellaneous lines were insane. In lieu of delving into past misdeeds, I went ahead of planned my budget as though 2018 didn’t happen, with the exception of the grocery line as the cost of living keeps creeping up.

The traditional aim is to have 50-30-20 but as my salary has increased over the years I feel its more appropriate to flip my categories. Future for me refers to any savings so my retirement planning, vacation savings, sky is falling, summer layoff etc are all wrapped up in that figure.

My Aim 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019
Essential 20% 57% 48% 33% 25% 27%
Lifestyle 30% 27% 28% 30% 29% 21%
Future 50% 16% 24% 37% 46% 52%

Did you catch summer layoff? 2019 is going to have a new challenge as I’ll be working only 2 days a week for 3 months of the year. The money that had been going towards the kitchen is now being put in an account to help us with those leaner months in the summer.

Next up to figure out my Big Hairy Audacious Goals.

Happy Planning!

Word of 2019: Kindness

Image result for kindness quote

In 2017 I began the tradition of having a Word of the Year. This month the word Kindness has been rattling around. I’ve found myself struggling with being kind to myself and this has bled over into thinking rather uncharitably of others.

I’ve been doing a lot of interview prep so I’ve been looking at SMART goals. SMART stands for specific, measurable, achievable, realistic and trackable. Kindness on the surface doesn’t really appear to be something that fits into this but I was undaunted! I decided to break it down into categories.

My Health

  • Being diligent about taking care of my skin. This is includes removing all make up and applying daytime/nightime lotions as well as not skipping the moisturizer after a shower or washing my hands.
    • I’ve re-arranged my bathroom so my skincare items are always out; put hand lotions beside the sinks and purchased a desk version and purse version
  • Return to a work out routine
    • I’m starting slowly with 1  day of scheduled class and 20 minutes of movement (yoga, dance, elliptical)
  • 8 cups of water a day
    • I struggle with this when it’s cold but I’m starting my day with a glass and then I have a beautiful carafe for the office that has helpe dme a great deal
  • More vegetables and fruit
    • We’ve been busy and lazy so my aim is to intentionally eat 5 servings a day

My mind

  • Continue to work on the budget
    • This gives me peace of mind and has been a fantastic way to see my own growth while allowing me to do fairly consistent value checks
  • Write 4 posts a month
    • I have missed blogging but I feel as if I don’t have a lot to say. It’s such a strange thing as I love just reading other people’s experiences so why do I tell myself htat my own life is less valid.
  • Explore applying for my Masters
    • This has been on my mind for a bit but I’m not quite sure which area I’d like to focus on
  • If we get rabbits, train them to do simple tricks and work on agility
    • This would be great for all of us. The rabbits will get the mental stimulation they need and I will have new skill

Self Care

  • Listen to myself
  • Speak kindly to myself – write one good think you did today
  • Continue to explore my spirituality – meditate in some form once per day

Others

  • Give people the benefit of the doubt by recognizing their own struggle
    • 3 kind thoughts for every one negative
  • Record how I may have positively impacted someone’s day
    • Today so far I have wished someone happy birthday and participated in a fundraiser

Snapshot of 2018

I don’t give myself enough credit for doing good things and it was pretty obvious when I was wallowing in self-pity because I’m starting the year in the red. Let’s start with the bad news: I owe $4,000 on my line of credit.

It’s a big number but I’m working on getting some reimbursements for a trip ($700) and a medical expense ($400). We had also over-saved for the Kitchen so the additional $1,000 will be put immediately on the card. That should bring the debt down to $1,900.

Not amazing but not as terrifying as $4,000.

Now for some good news! When looking at my BHAG2018 I definitely rocked it!

Kitchen

After years of wanting to change our kitchen and attempting to save for the enormous expense we did it! We saved a great deal but we also made use of the (no interest for 18 months) store credit card. I know that my aggressive desire to pay off this debt led me astray as I didn’t adjust my spending enough. Though we don’t have to pay off the Kitchen until October, we’ll own our kitchen by the end of January.

Anniversary Party

We had always planned on throwing ourselves a reception do-over for our  10th anniversary. It was the research into that affair that led us to renovate our kitchen. We were not willing to spend $20,000 on one night to celebrate with friends and family! We did, however, through a fantastic party for $2,300 at our home over the summer. It may still seem like a lot but I tracked all our spending (invitations, decor, furniture rentals, cutlery, bar items and food) so I am confident that it was quite reasonable.

Emergency Trip Home

My grandmother was suddenly rushed to the hospital in November and love had me making arrangements  to fly home for a few days. Luckily my mum and I split the cost of the trip and we had friends who drove us so we didn’t have to hire a car when we arrived. We were able to spend quality time with my grandmother, visit with family & friends, as well as get gifts for those who had helped us on both ends of the trip.

This was completely unplanned so there was absolutely no money budgeted for a trip. I was pleased that we were able to make it work.

Other lovely news

I had a few girlfriends make quick trips to us which was lovely. I got to spend quality time with one over a long weekend in September and another of the break. I will be starting a new job tomorrow which will be an exciting adventure.

I have been working harder at taking time for myself by setting boundaries and trying to honour my own truths. Sometimes those truths aren’t fun, they’re more along the lines of I need to go to bed by 8:30…

2018 was a year that we did a lot of big things. I know that 2019 will come with its own joys and struggles but I feel secure knowing that I will continue to improve.

 

Happy New Year!