September Spending


The leaves are changing, it only snowed there for a few days . . . . we are off to a good start.

  Sept predicted Sept Actual Difference
Rent 480 667  
Utilities 140 200 First utilities in this house
transportation 100 206.2  
phone 40 40  
groceries/personal care 300 455 Insurance, hair cut
restaurant 50 3.8  
clothes 80 67.73  
gifts 0 11.01  
alcohol 50 14.76  
entertainment 50 649 Vancouver trip, car,food
bank fees 0 41.54  
savings 0    
debt repayment 0    
retirement 0    
education 0 1011.5 family planning conference, flight to atlanta
Income 0    
Spent 1290 3367.54  
Line   41.54  
Difference -1290 3326  

September was certainly over budget but I’m excited about a lot of the upcoming things so I can’t be to mad.

Over Budget

Rent: I paid less last month, so more this month. 

Utilities: First utilities at this house since June, so I can’t really complain. 

Transportation: I know I’m using car2go more and more, and I wrote about it here. I know I need to be a bit more aware of if I really ‘need’ to use it all these times or not. 

Groceries/Personal care: Groceries alone wasn’t this much, this also includes a hair cut that I probably spent too much on ($81) and medical/dental insurance I paid for my partner to be added onto my student plan ($193) for the year. That means I really only spent $181 on food, which is not too bad at all. 

Entertainment: I stole away to Vancouver for Labour Day weekend which was amazing and random and so worth it. 

School: I was given the opportunity to attend a really exciting conference on family planning, so I jumped at the chance. Sadly it’s super far away and plane tickets aren’t cheap. YOLO for reproductive rights, right?

Current Net Worth: -34 800.17

I hate doing this now, but I am a bit glad to constantly be aware of what my situation is instead of having a big surprise when I graduate (re: what I did during my last two degrees).

Goal Progress:

Financial Goals

1. Stay on budget for life expenses.

Certainly didn’t do this, and I will stop making excuses.

2. Continue to track my spending.

I’m on it! I’m glad that even if I’m not on budget at least I’m aware of what’s on the go.

How was your month?


Using Planned Savings

I have written a lot about my big tuition planned savings goal. I have written (and thought) much less about how I’m actually going to use this money I had saved up.

Obviously on tuition, but I hadn’t thought about all the little things that have to be taken care of before school even starts. ($6000 will not cover even one semester of tuition anyways.)

My plan is to track my spending as I withdrawal money from my planned savings account.

This is what I have so far:

Tuition for 2014 Date Activity Balance Reason
  2014-05-13 6619.7 6000  
  2014-05-16 -507.5 6112.2 deposit
  2014-05-19 -65 6047.2 first aid
  2014-05-20 -85 5962.2 immunizations
    -498 5464.2 trip to see mom/dad
    -90.28 5373.92 flowers for references
    -40.5 5333.42 agenda/file folder
    -144 5189.42 purse
    -85 5104.42 flats, two shirts


And yes, I’ve been a bad (but honest) personal finance blogger by tracking even the not-so-essential school expenses I’ve ‘expensed’ from this tuition account so far.

My theory is by carrying over this explicit spending tracking into the planned spending account I will be more honest about

a) Where the money is going and b) How much I actually have.

I have spent a good chunk so far.

Yes, I didn’t need a number of these things, but they do directly relate to school and I did not use a credit card or any credit to buy them, so I do not feel guilty at all!

I’m unsure about whether or not to use this money for living expenses in the weeks leading up to school or not, but perhaps I’ll write about that later.

Regardless, expect regularly spending tracking reports from this planned savings account in the future! I encourage you to do the same!

You counted every dollar saving it, you should also make sure you track where it goes!

Seasons of Spending

I’m someone who absolutely needs the sun to be a functioning non-crabby adult.

In the darker winter months the only activities I can fathom are running alone (with ridiculous consequences like deciding to do a freaking hypothermic half marathon) and sitting at home watching weird Netflix and youtube videos. The good thing is that despite these hermit-tendencies, these are very frugal and cheap activities to entertain myself for the 3-9 months of Canadian winters.

But the winter does eventually end. In my city we had a 50 degree improvement in this past week. (-40 to +10 C!) With the thaw of the snow and ice comes the thawing of my icy heart and I do eventually venture out into the world of dinners, drinks and events with friends. This is awesome and I certainly do love that feeling of finally feeling like you can leave your house, but it makes me wonder if the seasons do impact our spending habits.

Certainly there are the usual suspects of Christmas/holidays in December, birthdays and anniversaries that are routine expenses. But I’m curious if you find you spend more on the non-essentials in any one particular season over the next. I think a case could be made for any of the seasons being the most expensive, but what do you think?

Winter, Spring, Summer, Fall

What season do you think is your most spendy?

Spending in a Budget

I have been writing down all of my spending in an excel since last November, which was a very eye opening exercise, but I only just began to link this to my budget.

I used to try to spend as little as possible with set goals for savings and debt repayment, but now I have a explicit budget for all categories of spending, that I post here every month. I’ve been putting in my spending into my budgets every month since September.

This is very challenging!

Writing down all your expenses is an excellent first step, and for me it was enough to see that I’m spending too much on categories that don’t mean a lot to me. But now, to put this spending next to the category that says I only have $100 to spend there for the month is a structure that I both love and worry about.

In real time, you can see if you are under or over budget for every category and for the month overall. Instantly you can see if you are meeting all of your goals, and conversely, you can more accurately gauge your ability to splurge on that sale sweater you see (more often than not that’s a no !).

It is also very interesting for me because it certainly does add some worry. I think much more about just renting a car next week and going for a trip, or just going to the grocery store and buying whatever I want because food is a need. There is much less flexibility and spontaneity with this plan, but in my experience my ‘spontaneous’ expenses have never been to pay more debt down. It keeps you very honest.

And honestly speaking, I’m making more than I ever had in my life, but I am worrying more about money.

On  my previous salary, more often than not, I spent $0 on entertainment because I just could not afford it. Now I do have a small budget for this, but with $150 I absolutely can’t go on a road trip every weekend. It was almost easier to say no to everything than have to decide what events to agree to. But I am not complaining, I’m just saying that I am striving for balance!

Do you put your spending against a budget? How do you find it?


End of Month November 2013


This month was a nearly good budget month.

Ironically, despite the fact that I wrote about how awesome benefits are, I neglected to fully read mine and didn’t realize I would have to pay 30% of the chiropractic appointments I had. Slow clap for me.

November budget run-down:

  Nov predicted Nov Actual Difference
Rent 750 850 -100
Utilities 30 63 -33
transportation 60 105.9 -45.9
health insurance 25 50 -25 
phone 40 39 1
groceries/personal care 200 193.63 6.37
restaurant 85 94.05 -9.05
clothes 50 62.29 -12.29
gifts 100 115.12 -15.12
entertainment 150 87.42 62.58
bank fees 15 21  -6
savings 600 600.44  
debt repayment 400 400  
retirement 50 50  
education 100 100  
Income 2754    
spent 2655 2831.85  
Difference 99  -51.85  

Over Budget

Rent: Again, I paid less towards food last month, so I pay more for rent.

Utilities: I paid for it in full this month, and it is back to the full price.

Transportation: I couldn’t just buy the 2 bus tickets I needed, I had to get the whole 10 ticket package at $30 and we have been using car2go a lot.

Health Insurance: I also didn’t realize that the cost is $25 per pay. So monthly, I’ll change that to $50

Clothes: I got a great pair of very warm and very fashionable boots for $63! I know its more than the 50 I budgeted, but I wore these boots this week in the -30 weather and was warm, so I  consider them an amazing investment.

Gifts: I bought some gifts for a great deal, but then had to donate to Doctors without Borders after the typhoon hit the Philippines. Please give generously !

Net worth Change:

Start of Nov Net Worth: -12010.94

Current Net Worth: -11101.23

Difference: an increase of $909.71 or 7.57%!

Goal Progress:

Financial Goals

1. Save at least $6000 for potential tuition for Sept 2014- I have 23.2% of it saved!

2. Put at least $400 a month to student loan- So far so good.

Personal Goals

1. Get out and meet people in my new city- try a new activity at least once a week-Spent way less this month, but still had a blast. Went to a free personal finance workshop, did some casual work and met some cool people and hosted a great potluck.

2. Plan an vacation with my partner outside of Canada (California? Turkey? Hawaii?)- Starting to contribute to this at ideally $100/month. Talks today about possibly visiting LA in April/May 😀