Week 3: November 2017

When I got paid last time I transferred the money into a holding account with the thought that I would move funds over when I get paid next, on the 23rd. That didn’t quite work out as planned so today I transferred over a bit to see me through the rest of the month.

I was supposed to only have one expense this week: Breakfast with my dad. That went a bit higher than anticipated as I had forgotten to factor in the taxes and tip into my figure. I also added a couple of expenses. The first was Bunny related.

At 9,  my darling girl got her first cold. So off she went to the vet, which was an unanticipated cost that only grew when I added in medication. Thankfully, I have my Life Happens account that was able to take the hit.

Last year, for the first time, we did personalized Christmas cards. It was thrilling and Bunny had served as my model. Fresh off a day of weeping as I had never let anyone keep Bunny I decided that since this may be her last Christmas we’re sending family cards again!

You can probably tell that this was an emotional decision rather than one rooted in deep through and budget consultation. Luckily for the budget, VistaPrint is running a promotion so the cost wasn’t awful.

However, it does mean that I only have $120 left for the month to complete ~$160 worth of activities. I revisited my spending plan and came up with this option.

Variable Cost Activity Cost  Total
Eating out Dinner with friends $20
Lunch with work $18
Lunch with my mum $40  $          78
Gas $40  $          40
Anticipated Spending  $        118

While I had been guessing on the previous meals, now that I know where the dinner and work lunch are going to take place I took a peek at the menus and calculated my meal including taxes and tip. Now, I just have to ensure that whatever I select definitely stays within my budget.

I adjusted the price of lunch with my mum and I’m hopeful that I can stay in budget. It’s a bit harder as I’d like to buy us both lunch when we do a group shopping trip.

The slightly tough part is that all these expenses are this week. Which means that the last week in November I’m going to have to be strong and not purchase a thing if I want to stay within budget.

 

 

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2 More Weeks

I finally got around to putting my spending into my budget! I’m feeling quite proud of my work this month though, I must confess, a recent bout of illness helped keep my spending in check.

Here’s how the budget is looking:

Variable Costs Goal Actual
Bunny  $    20.00  $    25.10
Eating out  $    60.00  $       4.20
Entertainment  $    65.00  $    52.08
Fashion  $    50.00
Gas  $    40.00
Groceries  $  215.00  $  214.13
Misc.  $    45.00  $       9.25
Total  $  495.00  $  304.76

This means that I’ve got $190 to see me through the rest of the month. This feels like untold riches, yet every time I feel that I way I seem to blow through my budget.

To keep myself on track I wanted to detail how my spending looks for the rest of the month.

Variable Cost Activity Cost Total
Eating out Breakfast with my dad $20
Dinner with friends $35
Work coffee runs $10
Lunch with my mum $50
Birthday visit with friend $25 $140
Gas $40 $40
Anticipated Spending  $  180.00

I’m hopeful that my Eating Out costs are significantly lower than I’m projecting, however, I’d rather guess generously and have more money leftover than be too conservative and find myself in the red.

How are you keeping on track with your goals this month?

 

 

Week 2: November 2017

I was really good this week.  I didn’t spend a dime, until yesterday. Then I spent. Boy did I spend. I blew through my grocery budget but I’m not mad though it will mean a that I do need to behave myself.

Here’s what I spent this week:

Groceries 143.96
Entertainment 52.08
Gifts 212.91
Misc 9.25

Shocking but when I break it down it’s less so. The grocery line includes meals for 2 weeks (fingers crossed), hors d’oeuvres for holiday entertaining, and items for our anniversary date night. Entertainment is the gift we gave ourselves for our anniversary, Chromecast which allows us to stream from our phone to TV. It’s definitely a good investment for us. The gifts are for 11 people which makes the number go from shocking to high five worthy.  The Misc. line was used for pharmacy purchases.

While each of the purchases makes sense it doesn’t negate that I need to be diligent this month. As the month can feel long, I’m just going to focus on this week. This week I will:

  • not eat out
  • Stay on top of my menu planning
  • Only purchase gifts that are on the list

I hope your week is off to a great start!

November 2017: Week 1 Budget

It’s the first weekend of November and I’m re-starting a Sunday tradition!

Every time I return, I wonder why I stopped taking that 5-10 minutes to feel good. We’re 5 days in and I think we’re doing alright.

Looking at the week ahead my goals are:

  • Don’t spend money on food with the exception of 1 planned lunch out
  • Meal plan and only purchase groceries if there’s a need
  • Cook on Wednesday
  • Make a Christmas list and go to Costco on Friday

I’ve noticed that I’ve been using food poorly the last few weeks. I’ve been eating emotionally and giving in to cravings. While not all bad I want to spend this month focused on treating myself well. For me that means:

  • Keeping on top of my budget
  • Eating well and incorporating treats in moderation
  • Working out again
  • Allowing myself to work at my own pace

How’s your month going?

 

 

Image from here

April Week 2

I was awesome this week! I only spent on two things:

  • Groceries
  • A package of markers for me

I did go slightly over board on groceries as I purchased deeply discounted steaks and a pork loin instead of picking one. I’m not regretting it as I’m once again building our pantry and we’re menu planning. This week we’re making Mexican Rice and shrimp pasta

The markers were a definite splurge but I couldn’t resist them as I have a few adult colouring books but most of my markers have dried up. I’m considering it a mental break cost and giving it to myself.

The rough part of this month is that when my internet/phone bill came in much lower than budgeted in March I didn’t clue in to the fact that this meant that costs had been pushed over to April. So that bill is $70 more than budgeted.

Where does this leave me? In a tight spot but it just means reminding myself of the difference between wants and needs.

How did your week go?

April Week 1

I tend to reconcile my budget weekly to ensure that I don’t forget why I was spending but once my finances got under control I stopped posting weekly. As I’m trying to be uber frugal I’ve decided to revisit this habit as it’s a great way to keep me on track.

The first week of April has been crazy!

I’ve spent a lot of money but I’ve also done a lot of things:

  • hosted sleepover
  • Went to a museum
  • Went to a play
  • Lunch with a friend
  • Breakfast with another
  • Celebrated 2 birthdays

I’m still on track to be on/under budget but I do need to pay special attention to:

  • eating out: I’ve got one more date and that’s going to have to be it
  • entertainment: nothing is planned but I’ve only got a a little bit left in this line
  • groceries: I’m on track but need to be cognizant of my spending so menu planning is key

How’s your week been?

Bills Again

I opened my mail last week and got a bill for property taxes. Here’s the thing: I can’t recall the last time I got a bill as I’ve got online banking set up and I pay it as a monthly bill. I felt a bit ill as this is ‘my’ bill in the division ML and I have going.

When ML got home I mentioned it to him and promised to call the City to see what’s happening. Which is when he reminded me that a few months ago I had accidentally paid our water bill rather than our taxes. We still have an enormous credit with the water company!

So in lieu of checking my accounts again or even seeing if I paid a portion of the tax bill already I paid it in full and added a $50 buffer. Can you guess what I did? I double paid in my panic. Now we’ve got a huge credit with the company though my monthly budget is smarting as I have basically paid away my buffer.

I now have $13 budgeted until the end of the  month with a buffer of $40 help loosen that. While I know $13 isn’t enough for me to go the next 2 weeks, especially since Bunny needs some items, $50 should work.

Here’s my plan:

  • Bunny: litter, kibble ($20)
  • Groceries: make sure to menu plan! ($20)
  • No eating out!!
  • Check my wallet – someone had re-paid me and I hadn’t deposited the cash ($30). This would then go right back into the budget giving me a bit more room.

Learning Curve

I have had to re-assess how I manage my funds and it has definitely been a process. After buckling down for a year and following a set schedule I’ve had a bit of a strange time adjusting.

I’ve been doing fairly well but the adjustment to using money when I actually have it has been interesting. For example, I had set a payment to be deducted the day before it was due. I realized that was just poor planning on my part so I fixed it. Sort of. Since you can’t adjust payments on my banking system I paid it early but I didn’t delete the original planned transfer.

So I’ve tightened my budget my already constrained August finances. This is sometimes the part where I hide a bit and try not to think about the budget. Instead, I took time today to download my bank information  and see where I stand. It turns out that somehow it’s currently coming out in the wash.

Here’s what my anticipated budget looked like with my actual spending beside it:

Variable Costs  Actual  Anticipated
Bunny 17.9 30
Eating out 79.54 70
Entertainment 70.84 65
Fashion 18.08 35
Gas 40.73 40
Groceries 102.87 $200
Misc. 123.16 80
Total $453 $520

Now, it would be easy for me to still overspend if I don’t adjust my anticipated costs to help guide me through the next two weeks. So I re-arranged finances so I feel like I’m not over budget in an area:

Bunny 17.9 30
Eating out 79.54 80
Entertainment 70.84 70
Fashion 18.08 20
Gas 40.73 40
Groceries 102.87 $200
Misc. 123.16 80
Total $453 $520

Now the only area that I’m significantly over is my Misc. Line. This is because the bill payment came out of here.

I thought I might feel a bit stuck looking at these numbers and while I definitely have concerns about stretching $67 over the next two weeks I’m not driving myself insane. Since I don’t budget with my actual income, I know that I’ve got a bit of breathing room if I do go over budget, which is looking likely.

Knowing that I’m only in this position because I double paid a bill, not because of reckless spending, leaves me feeling good about the rest of the month.

Now to make sure that Bunny and us are properly fed for the next 2 weeks on $67!

Do you have frugal recipes you’d like to share?

Checking In

I had done a budget session with an insurance advisor when  I was just starting to work. I don’t recall a lot about the meeting but what stood out was this line:

“Once I pay bills and look after necessities, I generally have $100 to play with.”

At that time I didn’t have bills and I had at least $200 to play with at this time. I distinctly remember wishing Neverland was real.

I’m thinking of that moment as I checked my budget today and was super impressed by my bank balance. Riches, I tell you!

Then I started transferring money to saving accounts, paying bills and tracking outstanding direct payments. My riches quickly dwindled into “don’t get ahead of yourself” territory.

To be honest, it was a good thing to see. It was a great reminder of the importance of my budget and how easily I can pretend that I have money rather than acknowledging that I’m holding on to it for a little while until I can exchange it for utilities and housing costs.

It also reminded me of how fortunate I am to have a job and paycheque that allow me to live the life I do.

 

February Weeks 1- 3

 

I came out of week 1 with a huge amount  left in my budget. So in week 2, rather than dip into my Fun Fund, I used my monthly budget for us to see Deadpool as well as attend a ballroom dancing event (where friends of ours got engaged). I also used the extra wiggle room to spend a bit more on groceries.

Even with all these extras week 3 began with a surplus of $5. Not bad at all! I was tracking to continue underspending until today. An opportunity came up to purchase tickets for Mama Mia in April at a deeply discounted rate. This was the first musical ML and I saw together on stage so we really want to attend. That’s the fee that sent me into the red. If I had not purchased those tickets I would still have increased my surplus budget while spending on things I hadn’t anticipated.

My week 4 begins today and because I had anticipated having a surplus I had invited a friend out for breakfast on this morning and another for tea on Tuesday. To keep within my monthly budget I have to decrease the amount I had planned to spend on groceries. Of course, my other option is to use my fun fund to pay for the entertainment opportunities that arose, which is exactly why I had created the fund!

At this point I’m going to continue spending frugally and see where my budget ends up at the end of the month. If there are extra funds I’ll have shown myself that I can have some pretty great experiences on a tight budget, if not I’ll use the fun fund to cover the applicable overages.

At this rate, even if I dip into my fun fund it will only be covering the cost of one of the extra activities. For me that’s a win!

How’s your budget doing in February?