Thursday, January 31, 2013

Monthly Budget Update - January 2013

Click the image for larger version.

I've decided to just track my spending for 3 months before coming up with a budget. That way I would have a better idea of what I have been spending and not just pulling numbers from the sky as Gail would say.

The numbers at the bottom are there because I didn't budget to zero, I apparently had $1.84 extra that I can't account for, probably pocket change from the beginning of the month. The "Other" line in income is the carryforward balance from last month in my chequing account. As part of my issues with budgeting that I stated in my blog post What's the Best Way to Budget? I found it hard to balance my budget because I usually had at least something left over from my last budget that gets carried over. If I didn't account for it, it might look like I was overspending when in fact I wasn't. This is going to be especially important for February as I got paid today so even though the income was made in January, the majority of the spending will be made in February, so I have to keep track of the overage so that my February budget won't look completely out of whack.

January was a 3 pay month so my income is abnormally high, so are my savings numbers. I didn't put as much on my debt as I probably should have, but I was just trying to get to a good place to go forward on the year with. Having money in my Planned Spending and Curveball accounts were a good start and should help me with not overspending in the future.

Fast food/restaurants was ridiculously high! I definitely want to get that number down next month. It shouldn't be too hard if we meal plan a bit better. Other anomalies - bought my bunny so pet is high, went to the dentist and chiropractor, and doctor which means prescriptions also had to be filled. I also purchased a year subscription to which cost $72 or the bulk of my entertainment budget (although its more of an educational thing, I didn't feel like adding another line to the budget).

I may have purchased a few things that may not have been on my needs list (read Did I Cheat?) but I didn't purchase any clothing! When was the last month that happened?

How did you do this month?


Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Shopping Trigger - Boredom

I went to see Gail Vaz-Oxlade speak at Chapters the other night to promote her new book "Money Rules" (its awesome, by the way!)

Rule #125 - Busy People Spend Less Money

I believe this to be very true! In the past, whenever T had a ballhockey game or went home up north and left me to my own devices, those devices usually led me to shopping. I could browse a mall for hours, it was a great time killer.

Now that T and I are going to the gym more I've been finding less time to go shopping than before. It also means I plan my future purchases so that I can buy multiple items on my list at the same time because I'm only going to have limited time to shop. I did this on Monday Did I cheat? and I didn't buy any impulsive items, only those I had planned on buying.

What about you? Do you shop when you're bored, do you find you spend more while browsing (impulsive purchases)?


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Did I cheat?

Monday night I did the most dangerous thing that a person on a shopping ban can do, I went to a mall. Ok, I was dropped off at a mall while T went to ballhockey, but I was at a mall. Dufferin Mall in Toronto for anyone who's curious, its close to the gym where he plays.

So, here's a breakdown of what I bought, tell me if you think I broke my Shopping Ban:

Dollarama: plastic container for bunny food (instead of keeping it in the bags they come in which has a seal but I find it doesn't do a good job), mini sweeper set for bunny cage (last one broke), shampoo bottle for the gym, funnels to add shampoo to the bottle at home (instead of buying those mini bottles of shampoo, which I think is a huge rip-off), kleenex.

Walmart: those foam mats for the floor (they look like giant puzzle pieces, picture below) to put down in the bunny's room to give her more room to run around, deodorant (I have maybe a week left in the one I have) + $20 cashback.

And to clarify, these purchases were actually planned, I was just waiting until I went to a mall to pick up these items and the fact that I didn't know when I would get a new bunny meant that I knew I wanted to get those items but I didn't know when. Even though I browsed through the entire Dollarstore and Walmart I didn't purchase anything other than what I had gone in to purchase. Also, the shampoo bottle and funnels will actually save me money in the long run since I won't be purchasing those small bottles already filled.

So, what do you think PF community? Did I cheat?


Monday, January 28, 2013

Weekly Spending: Jan 21-27

1/21 - $19.42 (debit - dinner for me and T)
1/22 - No Spend!
1/23 - $2.02 (debit - breakfast) + $18.93 (debit - dinner for me and T) = $20.95
1/24 - No Spend!
1/25 - $30.00 (credit - my portion of dinner at Red Lobster) + $8.00 parking = $38.00
1/26 - $14.00 (debit - parking) + $55.20 (cash - new bunny at the animal shelter) + $22.00 (debit - bunny supplies) = $91.20
1/27 - No Spend!

Total: $169.57

We didn't do a very good job at meal planning last week and we were busy a few nights with going to the gym and T having early ballhockey games. Friday night was a cheat (from the diet) night, I had Red Lobster's shrimp special (mmmm shrimp) and it was a nice date night for us. We also met up with friends on Saturday night but T paid for that dinner.

And ... we have a new bunny. I have to admit that I really missed having a bunny companion around the house. I had tried all last week contacting people on Kijiji to buy 2 bunnies (preferably babies and a bonded pair) when no one was contacting me back, I decided to look at what was available at the animal shelters around me. And that's when we met Caramel. She is a Holland Lop, she's a big girl so we only got one bunny instead of 2 as planned. She was mis-treated at her original home so its amazing how sweet, gentle, and trusting she is. She's a real sweetheart.

Here she is, meet Caramel:

So, I have to add a pet line to my budget again, but its totally worth it :)

How did your week go?


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Cheapest lunch, EVER?!?

Being busy and on a diet isn't easy. Since me and the hubby been trying to lose weight and watch the food budget, we've been trying to think of ways to make healthy meals for cheap. Here's one for lunch:

Chickpea Salad:

1) 1 can of chickpeas
2) half a tomato
3) half a cucumber
4) some salad dressing (I've used both balsamic and Greek and have liked it both times)
5) feta cheese (optional)

Drain chickpeas, chop tomato and cucumber into cubes, drizzle dressing, and add cheese if you'd like, that's it! Easy, healthy, tasty. 

Chickpeas are awesome! They are chock full of protein and fibre which makes them the perfect food for lunch. My friend also chops up peppers and added other beans she had left over. I added some black beans from another meal to my salad this week. Try adding anything you'd like. Also, its good for vegetarians and vegans if you buy vegan friendly dressing (or maybe just oil and vinegar with some spices?) and no cheese.

This recipe probably costs under $5 for 2 meals (you can always double up or add more beans it could last the week for $10).

I'm hoping to add some more of our recipes over the next few weeks. Feel free to share some of yours!


Monday, January 21, 2013

Weekly Spending: Jan 14-20

1/14 - $14.99 (debit - prescription)
1/15 -  $1.00 (cash - milk)
1/16 - $6.50 (cash - lunch) + $3.00 (cash - Gatorade after gym) = $9.50
1/17 - No Spend!
1/18 - No Spend!
1/19 - $10.00 (cash - dinner)
1/20 - No Spend!

Total: $35.49

Well, I think this may be the least amount of money I've ever spent in one week. Well, since I've had a job, anyways. Shopping ban is going strong :)

How did you do this last week?


Friday, January 18, 2013

What's the best way to budget?

Part of the reason I stopped blogging last year is that I was getting frustrated in how to budget. We all know that a budget is a living document, meaning that it won't be the same everymonth. Some months you will spend more on food than others, etc

For me another part of the challenge for me is that my paycheques can also vary. I get paid hourly and I don't get paid if I take a day off (other than a sick day) or if there's a stat holiday. I find it hard to budget based on a fixed income because I don't really have a fixed income. I know Gail suggests to have an A,B,C budget (if you don't know what I mean on this, I'll see if I can find a link). But my income doesn't vary that much from month to month so I know my basics are always covered. So I just vary my payments or variable expenses accordingly. This makes sure my bases are covered but makes it a pain in the *ss to budget.

Another issue, one that I'm hoping my fellow pf bloggers can help me with. What do you do if you have a run over? When I was looking at my last 2 week time period, before I got paid on the 3rd of Jan I had about $200 left over from my last paycheque (shocking, I know). If I was using the jar system, I could just allow the money to accumulate until I might need to do a bigger shop, but what do you do if you're not on the jar system? For me the jar system wouldn't work as the hubby and I don't share finances and there's too much sharing or taking turns of spending money. For example, maybe I'll buy dinner tonight and he'll pay for lunch tomorrow, etc
For me, as long as I'm not spending more than I make, I'm making regular debt repayment (with the goal to be debt-free by the end of the year), I'm making regular savings payments (to RSP, Emergency Fund, and spending plan) shouldn't the rest be mine to do with whatever I want? Does it really matter how much I spend on groceries or entertainment as long as the bottom line balances?

So, I'm going to be posting my budgets monthly rather than bi-weekly like I used to. I will still post my weekly spending for accountability purposes.

How about you? How do you budget? What do you do with overflow?

Have a great weekend! TTFN,

Monday, January 14, 2013

Spending Report - January 7 to 13, 2013

01/07/13 - No Spend!

01/08/13 - $13.00 (debit - raw sugar and tea) = $13.00

01/09/13 - No Spend!

01/10/13 - $7.90 (debit - sushi for lunch) + $17.85 (cash - TTC tokens) + $3.20 (plus tax) (debit - personal care) = $28.95

01/11/13 - $23.91 (debit - Five Guys burgers for dinner for me and T- yum!) + $3.38 (cash - gift bag for kid's birthday party) = $27.29

01/12/13 - No Spend!

01/13/13 - $7.33 (cash - lunch) + $5.57 (cash - frozen yogurt) + $1.85 (cash - bottle of water) + $19.20 (debit - gift for cousin) = $33.95

Total: $103.19

Crap! I was hoping my spending would come in under $100 this week, close but no cigar. Ate out too much last week, some bad planning on our part and stupid broccoli going bad too fast! I also didn't go to the gym at all last week, I wasn't feeling well, it may also had something to do with the eating badly too.

Back on the spending, diet, and exercise horses this week!

How did you do last week?

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Quantity vs Quality

I've always been a quantity over quality kinda gal. I'm talking about stuff not men ;P

Whenever I went looking for clothes, shoes, etc I looked at the price vs the materials, make, and construction. And I bought the cheapest of x I could find. So, how did I get to be drowning in debt? By buying too much and not paying the credit card off every month.

I think this stems from coming from a family of limited means. In order to get by we bought the cheapest stuff and if it was on sale, even better. Sale was my most dangerous 4 letter word (and still is very dangerous, just to a lesser degree). Then the goal is to wear that out until its unrepairable. I took the first part of the lesson to heart, but not the second. If something was broken, I'd just buy a new one, again the cheapest I could find. Thus ending up with a lot of stuff. I'm not 100% sure why I didn't take the second part to heart like the first, maybe because I was embarrased to see my family (and myself) in shoes with tape, pants with mended knees, and shirts with holes/stains. And I could "afford" it, by that I mean, I had room on my credit card.
This is a vicious cycle, one I've almost broken out of. I still look for cheaper items, but usually its a higher quality item that I found at a discount store like Marshalls or Winners, or it was on sale. But, now I'm being more conscious as a consumer, shopping with a plan, distinguishing needs vs wants (do I really need this? Do I already have x number of this at home? Do I have any other clothes that will go with this item?), and looking at items more carefully (How does it look on? Does it suit/flatter me? Are the materials comfortable?) All of these things have allowed me to spend less over the years and get more enjoyment out of what I already own.

Of course, this is moot as I'm on a Shopping Ban but I've been thinking a lot lately about my shopping triggers. And the "need" to replace items because they fell apart or piled or lost a button, etc is part of my triggers. More on some of my other triggers in other posts.

How about you, what triggers you to spend? Are you a quantity or quality type of shopper?


Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Guest Post: 5 Ways to Resist Shopping Temptations

My first guest post! So exciting. Hope you guys like it. Let me know if you'd like to see more. Enjoy!

5 Ways to Resist Shopping Temptations

It is no secret that we are currently in a bit of an economic recession. This means that people are trying to save money in any way they can. An obvious first step to saving money would be to spend less money. For some of us who really enjoy shopping, however, this can be a very difficult lifestyle change. If you are making the decision to change your shopping habits and reduce them, then read further in this article. We will discuss 5 ways to resist shopping temptations.

1. Don't go shopping!

Sometimes resisting shopping temptation is as simple as not putting yourself in a position in which you can shop. Don't let yourself go to the mall, because what business do you have at the mall if it is not to shop? This will take away some of the desire to buy things that do not align with your money saving goals.

2. Make a budget.

Making a budget allows you to know how much money you have and how much of it you are allowed to spend on certain allocated items. For example, the first step to creating a budget is figuring out how much money you make monthly. Next you will need to map out all necessary expenses. These are things like food, transportation, and bills. You may also factor in, if you choose, an entertainment portion of your budget to spend on what you like. Make sure to account for putting some money into savings every month. Whatever is left over, or is in your entertainment budget is probably okay to go shopping with.

3. Only allow yourself to spend cash.

If you are going to allow yourself to do a little shopping, that is probably fine. It is important to make sure, however, that you stay within your spending limits. An easy way to do that is to only allow yourself to spend cash. Using credit cards and debit cards can make you lose track of the amount of money you're spending. Try using the envelope system. Write the category of spending on an envelope and fill it with the amount you are allowed to spend. For example, one envelope will have "Food" written on it. If you are allowed to spend $200 on food per month then you will put $200 of cash in your envelope each month. The same goes for a "Shopping" envelope. This will keep you from overspending.

4. Do away with online shopping.

Much like credit cards and debit cards, online shopping makes it easy for us to lose track of how much we are spending. Try to steer clear of doing this whenever possible. If you can not, take the amount you spend on online shopping out of your "Shopping" envelope and put it into savings.

5. Ask yourself, "Do I really need this?"

Most likely the things that we enjoy shopping for are things we have a surplus of and do not need. For example, many women enjoy shopping for shoes. It is likely that you do not need another pair of shoes and that you just want them. Try to limit yourself to making purchases that you need, even if you can afford them.

Author Pam Johnson is all about saving money anyway she can. She tried to subdue her shopping habits while also saving money on her schooling. She is a contributing writer for most affordable colleges for online masters degrees

Monday, January 7, 2013

Weekly Spending Dec 31/12 - January 6/13

12/31/12 - $6.00 (cash - lunch) (gym)
1/1/13 - $10.00 (cash - breakfast)
1/2/13 - $1.00 (cash - milk for tea at work)
1/3/13 - No Spend! (gym)
1/4/13 - No Spend!
1/5/13 - $7.73 (debit - breakfast) + $13.96 (debit - lunch)
1/6/13 - No Spend! (Wii Zumba)

Total $38.69 and all on food ... hmmm ....

Monday and Tuesday were days off and we tend not to have all meals planned on days off, same with weekends, so Saturday was also a spend day. I also met up with friends on Saturday morning so the $7.73 was very much worth it :)

I also did my 3 days of activity this week and made 2 necklaces, 1 pair of earrings, and 1 bracelet. I don't know if anyone's interested in seeing pictures of my work? I'm not sure if I'm going to post these ones to Etsy as I used plastic/acrylic beads in these pieces, but they sell well at a garage sale. I haven't posted anything else to sell yet, I felt quite lethargic on Sunday for some reason.

Anywhoo, on to this next week. How did you do on your spending last week?


Thursday, January 3, 2013

3 Paycheque Month and RAISE!

So today is pay day and its the first of 3 this month. Which is awesome because I still have a bit of a balance on my MasterCard due to Christmas and misc things before my shopping ban started. I was able to put $500 towards that leaving me $300 after my savings go out (no rent or bills on this cheque!) This should also get me started towards my savings goals this month. My RSP will be increased by $1650 this month :)

I also got a 2.9% raise so I'm still waiting to do my budget for the year. Also, this paycheque was a bit smaller because I'm still on contract and I don't get paid for stat holidays (I get 4% instead). The 4% usually works out nicely but around this time, it can take a bit of a wallop on my paycheque. Thank goodness for the shopping ban! I should be able to get away with spending $300 or less for the next 2 weeks without any problems.

I've also been tracking my money starting this week and I hope to keep it up all year. I've been eating well and have gone to the gym 4 times since boxing day (Dec26th for non-Canadians) and I'm going tonight as well. I also started a new jewelry piece last night. So I'm definitely working towards those 2013 goals and resolutions. I know, I know its been less than a week, but I'm pretty sure that I've given up on most/all of my resolutions before now in the past. Taking it one day at a time.

I hope everyone's having a great 2013 so far! :)


To Sell in January

Ok, new year, time to get off my duff and get rid of some stuff! (and hopefully make some money while I'm at it).

To list in January:

1) Laptop
2) Wedding cake stand
3) Wedding cake knife/server set
4) Wedding cake topper (1 of the 3!)
5) Home-made banners
6) Left over supplies (mostly ribbon)

I also hope to take some books that I've either already read (and don't see reading again) or were given to me and aren't really to my tastes to a used bookstore to see if I can get some money for that as well. But, it may wait until the weather is nicer.

Then I will be making more jewellery (with supplies I already have) and list those on Etsy. I will also be planning a garage sale in June so I want to have jewellery and supplies ready to sell for that as well.

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

2013 Goals

Some Goals for 2013:

1) Shopping Ban!!! No shopping for 2013 (For more, read this ... Shopping Ban 2013 )
2) Have $25,000 in RSP for downpayment of first home
3) Save $1,500 in EF to bring total to $2,500 (half way to first goal of $5,000)
4) Pay off ALL debt - have $0 in debt on January 1, 2014
5) Increase my Net Worth by at least $10,000 (seems reasonable since I increased my NW by $9,374.37 last year while saving for a wedding). NB: if I take out $25K for house downpayment, this goal will still be looked at as a pass.
6) Track my spending and re-start budgeting. And post those to this blog.

1) Lose weight - I don't want to put a number goal on this as it usually leads to frustration but I definitely want to fit into some of my smaller size pants as soon as possible.
2) Do something physical at least 4x per week. This could include going to the gym, going for a walk/bike ride, or playing Zumba/Just Dance on the Wii.
3) Eat better. No fast food and snacks.
4) Be more organized and procastinate less. This goes for home and work.
5) Read more books. I have a lot on my bookshelf and my e-reader. At least one book per month.
6) Make more things. I have a lot of jewellery supplies that I need to use up.
7) Sell/donate more. I need to get back to posting jewellery on Etsy and having a garage sale, or donating more junk to Goodwill when it no longer serves a purpose. Also, I have some books I want to try and sell.

1) Post my weekly spending and bi-weekly budgets.
2) Post at least one other post a week other than #1
3) Comment on other blogs and become more of the community
4) Use twitter more (@morgainemoney)
5) Post updates on my progress with the Shopping Ban and these goals.

Wow! That's a lot. I'm really trying to go all out this year but I think I can do it. I just have to stop being so lazy when I get home :)

What are some of your goals for 2013?