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 ~$1,500 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?

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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

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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!

 

Frugal Month Update: June 2018

I haven’t spent rashly but somehow we’re halfway through the month and I only have $33 left in the budget. As I’ve paid all bills and contributed to savings this isn’t as awful as it sounds. Here’s what’s coming up:

  1. Beach Date with my sister
  2. Bubble tea date with former bandmate
  3. Coffee visit with girl friends
  4. My favourite kid is coming for a sleepover

I’m not sure how $33 is going to stretch that far and I don’t want to cancel any of these events.

I’m taking snacks to share for the beach date but if we end up stopping for dinner there is no way I can opt out of the that activity.  The 2 visits with friends can be kept, I believe, to a total of $15.

The kid may be my biggest challenge. He eats like crazy so having him over is going to require a grocery run. I’m going to have to fill up on fruits, vegetables, cheese, deli meat and crackers.

How’s your monthly budget coming?

 

Day at the Spa (DIY Edition)

I was on vacation this week and I desperately wanted a spa day. However, I don’t want to spend $250 on a spa package. Instead I took Thursday and did all my prep so that I could treat myself at home.

My first step was to do all my prep so that I could move easily from moment to moment without feeling like I was losing the relaxed feeling.

I used 2 bananas, 1 tbsp. of honey, 1 tbsp. of coconut oil for the hair mask and 1 tbsp. each of coconut oil, coffee grounds and brown sugar for the exfoliation kit.

The 30 minutes to let the hair mask sit was used to complete a mindfulness meditation I found on YouTube.

Once I washed the mask out and exfoliated in the shower with a scrub that I had, I moved to my face. I applied a portion of the coffee scrub to my face and hands then moved to give myself a steam. I’m lucky as I received this as a gift in my teens. I then shaped my brows and used a mask.

Once my face was done I took a spa break to enjoy lunch. When I had gone to the sp alast time, my package had included lunch which I recreated.

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The veggies were sautéed with steak seasoning and made into a veggie pita with avocado and tomato.

Next up was my manicure and pedicure.

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One of the things I love about the spa is the music that I never listen to any other time but really does the trick! YouTube once again came to the rescue with one of the long calming playlists.

I was a little concerned that my DIY version may not be as restful or I’d get distracted. I was pleased that I focused and was able to make clean up a seamless part of the process. Having soft light throughout definitely helped the experience!

What’s your favourite way to pamper yourself at home?

Frugal Month July 2018

This month is supposed to be a frugal spend month. While usually this means that I’m going to spend less than I budgeted, based on my recent spending, I’ll be aiming to stick to my budget.

I’m just one week in  and I already know this month is going to be super tough! I’ve already spent the gas money and most of the grocery money. Here’s what I’ve got left:

  • Grocery – $35
  • Bunny – $14 (needs hay and possibly kibble)
  • Eating out – $36 (monthly dinner date; have been trying to meet a friend for sushi)
  • Entertainment  – $45 (parking at concert; tickets for upcoming wine tour)
  • Misc – $30

My hope is to keep to these figures and I’ll use savings to fund our anniversary party that’s going to be hosted the first weekend in August.

Monthly Debrief: June 20118

 

TRACKING

  •  # Buy nothing days :13
  • # times ate out/purchased take out: 6
  • # activities with loved ones: 10 (I’ve gotten bad at tracking this)
  • $ saved at Costco: ?
  • % over or under budget:7% over budget (best  since February!)

CELEBRATE:

  • This  is the closest I’ve come to sticking to my budget in the year
  • I haven’t felt pressed or as though I’ve been missing out

DIP INTO SAVINGS/CREDIT

  • Our 10th anniversary  party is getting expensive! I’ve been able to use savings so far to cover the costs
  • Final kitchen purchases of a curtain rod and bumpers to protect cabinet corners

KEEP IN MIND

June is usually my crazy month of overspending. I’m pleased that the overspending isn’t crazy. The places I went overboard were groceries and entertainment. The entertainment was for Father’s Day.

OVERALL

This month was fantastic! I’m aiming to make July a frugal month, while ML & I make some healthier choices. Our goal is to drop a couple pounds each this month and tone up.