It’s Been a While!

I had tracked my budget after the flu and I did surprisingly well considering I was ordering comfort food rather than cooking. I ended January with 6% of my budget unspent.

I even had a plan in place for February, which has been an exciting month! I attended a conference and the kitchen renovation has begun.

Every year, I attend this conference in February and every year I seem to under-budget. I gave myself $250 to spend but once again failed to take into account:

  • Exchange rate
  • True expense of tourist attractions
  • All the gifts

I must confess that between getting over the flu, re-organizing the entire house so that it doesn’t look like a disaster zone as the kitchen is being gutted, and preparing for the conference I didn’t budget as I should.

I ended up spending $700!

$200 of that was pure nonsense. My flight was delayed by 2.5 hours, which meant that I was in the airport for nearly 5 hours. I may have wondered into a Body Shop, it may have had products for my skin tone and items not available in my country yet…you can guess the rest.

I’m now on a make up and skin care ban for the rest of the year!

In spite of my crazy spend while away, I’m only 4% over budget. This is because ML and I have been really careful with our spending this month. I cut down on my eating out, we have been cautious with groceries as we knew we wouldn’t have a kitchen for 3 weeks, and Bunny didn’t need anything this month.

As for the Kitchen renovation, I am so proud of us! We created a mini kitchenette in our basement which includes the microwave, toaster oven, toaster, coffee maker and mini fridge. I also figured out I could plug my full size fridge in my living room. I didn’t get as much cooking as I wanted done before the reno began yesterday but we have enough frozen meals and tinned food to feel human.

We’re also really fortunate as both our families have offered to prepare meals for us. By offer I mean that they have instructed us that we’re not living off frozen dinners and have been cooking extra portions and sharing. We’re feeling very spoiled!

Of course, the renovation is going over-over budget. It’s day 2 and we’ve discovered that we need a new sub floor. I’m terrified about what they’re going to find when they go to hook up the water lines and electrical. I know that with our plans we’ll be able to afford up to a $10,000 increase from our original budget. However, I’d really like to not have to!

How has your month been?



No Spend Week

The week has gone well! I didn’t give in to the temptation to purchase snacks at work because I ‘wasn’t feeling for my apple.’ More importantly, I saw two friends without spending. The first I took chocolates to from the gift closet, the second was a bit more stressful.

I hadn’t planned on giving her dinner but I couldn’t starve her. My own plan had been to have avocado toast. Filling enough for me but I knew wouldn’t be enough for her. I was really tempted to order in and claim, “Life happens!” However, the freezer saved me as I found a frozen lasagna.

I’m sitting with Bunny and we’re struggling to not do a grocery run tomorrow. We made the mistake of peeking at one of the flyers and noticed tinned beans on for $0.88! Then we saw a couple items for the freezer and a some snacks for hosting

I spent an imaginary $30 in 2 minutes. I can easily justify these purchases to myself as stocking the pantry or wait until  Sunday as it will  be a new week.

I am really tempted to take the Sunday option but the thing that is holding me back is I still have almost all the food from my last shop. In fact my tangerines haven’t been touched! I desperately need to do something with them before they turn. I may try my hand at preserving them this weekend.

ML and I are going to menu plan this weekend with what we have. If we feel we’re running low or really want a few sale items I’m going to set a strict budget for them.

How’s your spending been?

Grocery Success and Jan Week 2 Review

If you had told me that  I could go to Costco and spend less than $100 a few years ago I wouldn’t have believed it. Partly because it was a pretty horrendous experience and because I always seemed to find some ‘great deal’ I just couldn’t pass up.

This time I went armed with not only a list but one that had the grocery store prices on it. I left with the things I wanted, though I confess I didn’t know I wanted 2kg from frozen vegetables until faced with this much easier fix to purchasing a variety of fresh veg, for less than $25. Between the other 2 stores I spent less than $20. This resulted in my spending just over $40 on groceries.

My aim is to ignore the flyers next week and meal plan with what we have. I find I have a slight problem of purchasing things because they’re a good deal. We already had pasta and sauce but because both were $1 I purchased two more packages of each. If I stay out of the stores next week I’ll be saving $50.

Tonight I’m making spaghetti with lentil pasta sauce for lunches and dinner, pancakes for breakfast and bread because I’m loving it and it will be lovely for avocado sandwiches and potato rarebit.

In spite of overspending I came out only $8 worse for the wear. It looks like Bunny isn’t going to need anything else for the month so her money was rolled up into Eating Out as was my gas and grocery savings.

With my current plan to avoid the grocery next week, I’m hoping to have a no spend week. This means I’m going to have to ensure that I pack my lunch really well and provide myself with lots of snacks.

How’s your week ahead looking?




Miscellaneous Spending

I had budgeted $10 per week for Miscellaneous spending even though I had recognized that I’m consistently over budget in that area. Well it’s going to be tight!

Last week alone I:

  • purchased bus tickets at $15
  • Bought a drink for a friend who I owe at least 5 drinks to $6

I’m now having to prepare myself to”

  •  purchase 2 library book $100
  • purchase a text book $100

My water bottle emptied in my purse. I have slight water damage on the text book that I borrowed from a colleague as well as a brand new book that the library has and an older, hard cover book.

While I know that I have the money in my ‘extra’ budget which is supposed to go to the kitchen fund it’s rather upsetting.

Instead of letting this colour my day I’m going to be grateful that I have the funds to cover these costs, that the pinch while unpleasant does not mean that I’m unable to achieve my goals or have to do without this month.

UPDATE: I met with my colleague who laughed at me and said, “Now it looks loved!” So it’s down to the library now.

January 2018: Week 1

Week one was a touch less successful in the details that I wanted but as I had over-budgeted for a couple of bills I came out $1 ahead!

I had set myself a budget of $10 for miscellaneous spending but ended up spending $20. The money went towards a strip of 5 bus tickets, of which I only used one, and a beverage for a colleague who had treated me prior to our holiday break. So I’m not feeling even a bit remorseful about it.

I’m also ecstatic that I kept my goal of staying out of the grocery this weekend. I spent some time considering my pantry this weekend and I’m going to use my lovely Costco membership to fill up on fruit and vegetables. The tough part is going to be keeping my eyes on the floor as I walk the length of the store to get to the good stuff.

I think knowing that I only want to spend $30 as the savings are going towards the kitchen will help me be much better behaved than I usually I am in the store.

How was your week?

Good News, Bad News Budgeting

I was so proud of myself when I took a look at my budget last week. Little did I know I was going to blow through it in no time!

I’m really glad I don’t budget with my whole paycheque as I still got to put a sizeable amount to the kitchen fund even though I let the season get away with me.

That’s the good news. Great news, actually, when you think about it.

The bad is that boy did I spend on entertainment!

ML hosted a party and as I hadn’t gotten him anything for his birthday I covered the pizza. That was in the budget and perfectly fine. Breakfast the next morning was not an anticipated expense and definitely didn’t fit in the budget.

The following day we hosted my family for dinner and a quick look at our bar made me realize we had depleted it slowly and not re-stocked. I’m so envious of people who live in countries with inexpensive liquor! It took $150 + gift cards to get the bar basics in.

I then used points to get a few more apps as well as the mixers for the bar.

While I definitely went over budget, once I stick to my plan I shall still end the year in the black!

I’m going to take this week to prep for an uber-frugal exercise in January to give myself a chance to build my savings and get myself off the spending cycle.

How’s your December going?

December 2017: Week 3


Thank goodness for blogging!

Last week I had done my weekly check and posted it. It was a lovely pat on the back for a job well done of not going spend crazy.

Then today, I budgeted and somehow only had $10 to last me until the end of the month. While upsetting I used all my frugal know-how to make this alright. But then I read last week’s post. How could I go from having money in reserve to this bad in a week?

That was the kick I needed to re-check my numbers. I’m not sure how I feel about my new found knowledge. I have $70 available.

As none of my break goals involve spending money, I’m going to try to work on a zero budget. With a little luck this will mean that I’ll be able to put $70 in my fun fund at the end of this month.

How’s your spending going this month?

Image from here

Halfway There

I spent some quality time with my budget at lunch and made some interesting observations:

  • With good behaviour I can make a paycheque last almost an entire month.
  • Paying attention to my pantry allows for decent grocery savings in high stress months
  • Costco and I need to take a break

I’ve gone back to taking my paycheque out of my spending account and only transferring that money in when I need it. This has kept me more accountable as I’m seeing smaller numbers available for spending.

To be honest, I haven’t even been that good. I spent 3x my budgeted amount on gas and 129% more on miscellaneous expenses. The gas, has to do with me going to a conference out of town and hitting up the Costco gas bar when I go to do shopping. As ML hasn’t been around for most of these trips I’ve been paying for all the gas.

My dad had a surgery and I hadn’t even thought of the costs associated with it. While he had planned to pay for parking, meals, and non-prescription items I decided on the spur of the moment to not let him cover those costs. As it ties into my values I spent that money without any guilt.

This month I’m bound and determined to not end up in the red. As groceries tend to be an area we overspend ML and I took the time to really look in our cupboards to see what was needed. Our grocery bill so far has been Costco purchases to do Christmas baking/entertaining. All our meals have been made with items from the pantry or freezer.

Costco is awesome! I love it, this store’s layout is great and a trip never leaves me feeling like I need therapy. Well, maybe some budget therapy. In 14 days I’ve visited 4 times. We’ve been doing pretty well with our list, however, we aren’t really seeing a huge savings. For example, I needed a new frying pan. I was willing to spend up to $30 on a good quality frying pan. Enter Costco: I found a pack of 3 TFal pans for $28.99. Great deal! I purchased it but I don’t count that as a savings as I didn’t need 3 pans. I spent exactly what I had budgeted to get the item I wanted.

I’m using the same rationale when I figure that I didn’t ‘save’ money when I hit certain sales. If I purchased a lotion for $10 that is usually $20 purely because it’s on sale rather than because I know I’ll need that lotion at some point then I don’t think of it as saving $10. I just spent $10 over my usual because I couldn’t resist the ‘deal.’

I am going to have to track my Costco savings more consistently because while I’m getting great deals, I’m not sure how much I’m truly saving.

How’s your month going?

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.



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?