Update: November 2013 Budget & Goals

December 2, 2013

november 2013 actual budget

REMEMBER: You can download this budget template!

November felt like the month of spending, probably because of how many times I went shopping, but the total at the bottom of this budget actually looks pretty good. Let’s see where I got tripped up:

From the top, I accomplished all of my savings goals! Unfortunately, I didn’t finish my Christmas shopping – but I have some of that Christmas money tucked aside still, for the last few gifts.

My parents, whom I housesat for in Victoria, ended up paying for one of my trips on the ferry, so that budget got cut in half. But if you scroll down to my Restaurant budget, most of that went towards coffee dates and dinners with friends while I was over there… so it was still an expensive trip.

TELUS seems to have finally figured out my Internet bill, as it’s back up to it’s usual $33.60. Of course, I wasn’t complaining about the small bill I received last month, but for budgeting purposes it’s nice to know how much I’ll be paying going forward.

Transportation costs look good. I’m always amazed at how little gas I need each month. Now that I’ve said that, who wants to bet December’s budget will go through the roof, haha. But in all seriousness, it has paid to own an economical car. (Go, Bandit!)

As for the rest, well… life happens! I spent almost $240 on myself this month – $140 on “things”, which I talked about on Gail’s blog, and another $100 on getting my hair cut/highlighted. I also spoiled Baby Bro for his 18th birthday, and took $80 cash with me to Toronto that I spent on food, fun, etc.

In the end, I saved 29% of my income (23% in long-term savings, 6% in planned spending), spent 35% on housing, 9% on food, 10% on transportation, 4% on travel (including the $80 cash I spent in Toronto) and the leftover 13% on myself and others. Not a bad month, overall!

Goals for this month:

  • Finish 3-4 chapters of CSC – FAIL! I finished 1. Ouch.
  • Read 1 book – PASS! This month, I finished reading It’s Your Money by Gail Vaz-Oxlade and started reading Drink by Ann Dowsett Johnston.
  • Go to a movie – PASS! I saw Catching Fire in the theatre with my whole family.
  • Try to start/finish my Christmas shopping – PASS/FAIL! I started my Christmas shopping but still have a few small things to buy/make.
  • Bake Baby Bro a cake for his 18th birthday and celebrate! – PASS!

How did your month finish up?

Also, in case you missed them, you can still read this month’s guest posts on Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s blog:

2013, Nov 24 – I’m Done Feeling Guilty
2013, Nov 17 – Christmas in November
2013, Nov 10 – 51 Days Left in 2013
2013, Nov 03 – What If I Couldn’t Work!?

  • snarkfinance December 2, 2013 at 6:04 am

    November sucked hard for me. Multiple deaths in the family, a new (stressful) role at work, my parents moved out of my childhood home (and so I stepped in it for the last time) and I didn’t get to snowboard as much as I would have liked (probably due to the prior mentioned issues). Hoping 2014 shapes up to be a better year.

    It is good to see you stayed on target though… $60 over/under isn’t a huge deal.

    • Cait December 2, 2013 at 11:53 am

      Sounds like November was pretty tough – I’m sorry to hear that. I hope December is better!

  • Kali @ CommonSenseMillennial December 2, 2013 at 6:07 am

    Nice job on saving 29%! That’s awesome! Not a bad month at all :)

    • Cait December 2, 2013 at 11:54 am

      Thanks, Kali!

  • Marie-Helene Berube December 2, 2013 at 7:14 am

    I have been regarding your blog for a while and I am wondering what app do you use to log in your expenses.
    Thanks in advance
    Helene B

    • Cait December 2, 2013 at 1:10 pm

      I actually just track everything by hand and update my monthly budget spreadsheet weekly. You can download the spreadsheet here, if that’s what you’re looking for: http://caitflanders.com/budget-template/

      Hope that helps!

  • Alicia @ Financial Diffraction December 2, 2013 at 7:18 am

    It really worked itself all out. That’s an awesome savings rate – nearly a third of your income! And that’s heading into the holidays too. Very impressive!

    • Cait December 2, 2013 at 1:11 pm

      Thanks, Alicia!

  • Trista December 2, 2013 at 9:05 am

    November was a bit of an interesting month for me financially. As you know I paid off my credit card on the 6th. That required a little money I borrowed from myself. So the rest of the month I’ve been trying to cut back on other areas to replace said money. I’ve cut back on some of my discretionary spending. I’m hoping to do the same this month. I made a budget for gift buying but I didn’t actually have the money saved. So instead of putting it on credit I’ve been taking it out of my regular spending money a little at a time. I’ve got 4 gifts left to purchase, mainly small things. I’m hoping to get them this week or next. I’ve already got the money withdrawn and put aside for my Christmas social events. So no stress there. :)

    I went to see the new place yesterday. It is much, much bigger. There are closets in almost every room! I will even have an office, which will be great for studying when I go back to school next month. I figure I’m going to have a few empty rooms at first though. I can’t afford to go right out and fill them all at once. A desk and a wardrobe will be the most important things to get. Now you might be wondering why I need a wardrobe if there are so many closets… the only room without a closest is the bedroom. It’s a two level apartment and all the other closets are downstairs. So without a wardrobe I’d have to use the entrance closet for my clothing. Which would be fine until a guest goes to hang up their coat next to my lingerie. Ha ha. I will also be looking to get a futon for the office to use as a guest bed. If I can find a nice one.

    Rent will be $165 more per month but will include heat/lights. My current light bill ranges from $70-140. So it will range from $25-95 more expensive depending on the month. I like the fact that it will be a set price instead of having a fluctuating light bill. So I’m pretty stoked about the move. Although I will miss my bathtub.

    BTW… I love the snow on your blog. :)

    • Cait December 2, 2013 at 8:01 pm

      Sounds like you had a good month overall. Although, I’d miss having a bathtub too! But, if the price is right… :)

      And thanks! I was hoping no one would mind it.

  • A December 2, 2013 at 10:21 am

    Hi-C! November was good for us. We saved 26% of our take-home pay. I am pretty happy with that.

    December is going to be expensive though. We bought a new mattress which gets delivered on Thursday (yes!) so that’s our Christmas present to ourselves. And I budgeted $1000 for presents which we’ll cash flow for December. But that leaves us with nothing leftover for savings and we have to be pretty careful with our discretionary spending. I am really hoping to spend more like $750 or so in gifts. But I wanted to budget for a worst-case scenario. Ideally we’ll stash away a couple hundred bucks this month…

    PS – love the snowflakes on your blog :]

    • Cait December 2, 2013 at 8:02 pm

      Woo hoo! Great savings month – especially with the purchase of a new bed (something I’m so desperate to buy)!

      And thanks. I’m a dork. :)

  • Laura @ RichmondSavers.com December 2, 2013 at 12:42 pm

    That’s really sweet of you to have treated your younger brother on his birthday. I know you spent money, but that sort of spending is the right kind :) PS – Love the snowflakes on the site! Very cute and festive.

    • Cait December 2, 2013 at 8:02 pm

      Thanks, Laura!

  • Sara Hamil @ They Call it Gumption December 3, 2013 at 8:10 am

    This time of year is always so tough when it comes to budgets! I always feel like despite my best laid plans, I always end up going over budget in November and December. LE SIGH.

    Great job with your savings goals though!

    Also… Do I spy SNOW on your right now?? FUN.

    • Cait December 3, 2013 at 9:40 am

      It most certainly IS snowing on my blog, hehe.

      See if giving yourself more room for allowances in food, entertainment and gifts helps you this month. You may find you end up spending less than what you’ve budgeted for, but even if you spend that full amount, at least you’d prepared for it. :)

  • Rob December 3, 2013 at 3:09 pm

    Your budget vs actuals results look spot on, Cait. Having an overall +/- 2% monthly variance is what to aim for as much as possible. Like yourself, I track budget amounts and actual spend amounts manually via an excel spreadsheet, on a monthly and year to year basis. What I also track are % variances for each category, as well as for the grand totals. It helps me to better spot spending trends, especially for example for things like increasing car maintenance costs over the years as my car ages, helping to indicate when to consider replacing it.

    Your other monthly goal results look good as well – although don’t try too hard to catch up on that missed CSC completed chapters goal during December as me-thinks that you will be a tad too busy, what with the upcoming holidays and all.

    As for me, well I definitely went well over budget in my November spending. Black Friday Christmas gift spending, new front inside/outside installed doors being primarily the items that were not on my budget radar – but were nevertheless planned for long term (so thus were fully paid off by month end out of accumulated savings set aside for just such items). So with all that out of the way and with total year loyalty credit card credits coming due, December is shaping up to be a pretty good cash flow month (which is how I like to see each year end up to be).

    • Cait December 4, 2013 at 5:10 pm

      Yea, I’m not going to stress about CSC this month. I’d still like to attempt to complete 1-2 chapters, which I could accomplish in one weekend day… but we’ll see.

      Here’s to good Decembers for us both!