December 2013 Budget & Goals

December 4, 2013

december 2013 budget

REMEMBER: You can download this budget template!

You guys… it’s the last month of 2013! Just for fun, I looked at my January 2013 Budget & Goals and was blown away at the realization of how much my life and finances have changed since the beginning of the year. Only 11 months ago, I was living in Toronto with Roomie, thinking about getting my own place, worrying about how I was going to pay to travel back and forth to BC for so many weddings, etc. Now I’m debt-free and happily settled in Port Moody (what!?), working remotely for the same company. In January, I never would have guessed this is where I would be at the end of 2013; it’s crazy, but I love it.

One thing I did know in January is that 2013 was going to be the year I would pay off the last of my debt. The first number in my January budget was $850 for debt repayment. Well, the first two lines of my December budget add up to $930 – that I’m putting into savings. As for the rest of this budget, it looks pretty standard. I’m obviously in Toronto this week, so I have a little spending budget there. I’m also going home to Victoria for Christmas. And I want to avoid eating takeout as much as possible, since I’m sure there will be enough chocolate (and calories) in my system already this month from travelling and the holidays.

In total, I’m saving 29% of my income (in long-term savings), spending 35.5% on housing, 8% on food, 10% on transportation, 10% on travel, and the last 7.5% on my health and myself! (Oh, and disability insurance is a new one. We’ll discuss that later this month.)

Goals for this month:

  • Finish 1-2 chapters of CSC
  • Read 2 books
  • Workout 2x/week
  • Relax and enjoy a week off work between Christmas and New Years
  • Create a realistic list of goals for next year!

What do you have planned for this month?

  • Trista December 4, 2013 at 5:21 am

    I really need to start doing a chart like yours every month. I have a similar one I use for my long term planning but I never seem to fill in the actuals column. I’ve been running a deficit for the last couple of months by dipping in to savings to pay for the overages while putting huge portions of my check towards debt. This month is all about putting that money back in to my savings. The extra hours at my retail job will ensure I’m back on track by the end of the year.

    I was due a raise on November 28 so I should have seen some changes in my paycheck this week. But it didn’t come through so I have a little retro pay in my future. Also we recently signed a new collective agreement so I’m also expecting a signing bonus before the end of the year. I haven’t decided exactly what to do with it yet. I’m expecting approximately $1000. I figure it will either be a good start to my new emergency fund or a huge chunk of the income tax I’ll have to pay in next year. I haven’t decided which yet. I may split it between both.

    All my holiday/birthday outings are next weekend. I think it’s gonna be an expensive weekend. I’m going home for Christmas for four days. But that’s a really cheap trip $30 for gas and my family will feed me while I’m there. New Years I’m probably staying in and watching movies with a friend.

    • Cait December 4, 2013 at 5:16 pm

      Sounds like lots is happening this month! My plans for NYE sound similar – although, I’ll likely just hang by myself, lol.

  • Suzanne December 4, 2013 at 6:26 am

    This is fantastic! I’ve been following you since last year and have kept track of your progress. I’ve adapted your “chart” and used it for myself. WHAT is your biggest piece of advice with regard to paying down debt? Stop shopping altogether? Budget for treats? No treats at all? I’m just curious. I admire your commitment to this and have been taking huge steps myself to move toward achieving more financial freedom.:)

    • Cait December 4, 2013 at 5:18 pm

      Hmm, I’d say there’s two things: 1) Before payday, determine how much you can put towards debt. Then on payday, move that money FIRST before you can risk spending it. And 2) Know what your vice is (i.e. mine are coffee and books) and make sure there’s room for it in your budget. Whenever I felt like money was tight, I could still always count on being able to meet a friend for coffee. Good luck, Suzanne!

      • Trista December 6, 2013 at 6:07 am

        I always made my debt payment on payday before I could get my greedy little hands on the money. I knew if I waited all the money would be spent. So I think that’s great advice Cait.

  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach December 4, 2013 at 6:43 am

    What a difference a year makes! Good luck with your goals this month! I’m going to be working non stop and training for the 1/2…working almost a little too much. I’m starting to get cranky. :(

    • Cait December 4, 2013 at 5:23 pm

      Oh no! Make sure you sneak in some you time. :)

  • Alicia @ Financial Diffraction December 4, 2013 at 8:19 am

    Congrats on the huge transformation in your finances and life :) It’s so hard to see the progress until you have something to compare it to. And you’ve done amazingly well!

    Wow, your disability insurance isn’t too bad per month. I was meaning to ask you about because I saw you mention you bought it.

    Also, are you one of those anti-cell phones people? I never noticed before, but I don’t see it listed in your budget. Or does your work pay for it?

    • Cait December 4, 2013 at 5:24 pm

      Thanks, Alicia!

      I have a post drafted about the insurance that I’ll publish mid-month. I also purchased health/dental coverage that’ll kick in January 1st.

      And no, I would die w/out my phone! Work pays for it.

  • Girl Meets Debt December 4, 2013 at 8:50 am

    LOVE the snow falling on your budget Cait! ;) Snow falling like money falling into your savings account!

    • Cait December 4, 2013 at 5:25 pm

      Cute thought. :)

  • Michelle @fitisthenewpoor December 4, 2013 at 8:55 am

    It’s so funny how quickly life can change from one year to the next! I’m glad to see yours has certainly changed for the better. Here’s to a happy 2014!

    • Cait December 4, 2013 at 5:26 pm

      Thanks, Michelle! Same to you :)

  • Bridget December 4, 2013 at 11:18 am

    gahh I really need to get more organized like this – your budget & goals always look so nice. As a general rule I only look at my spending at the END of the month but maybe it’s time to start planning at the beginning?

    • Cait December 4, 2013 at 5:27 pm

      Doesn’t hurt to try. ;)

  • Steve December 4, 2013 at 12:12 pm

    Reading all your monthly goals and updates definitely has given me a nudge of motivation to do a big financial goal brainstorm for 2014 and maybe even monthly ones.

    And it is pretty amazing what a year has in store ahead. I couldn’t even imagined having planned doing all the things I’ve done in the past 5 years. Life just throws pleasant little surprises along the way!

    • Cait December 4, 2013 at 5:28 pm

      Ain’t that the truth!

  • Heather December 4, 2013 at 12:45 pm

    Great progress!

    I’ve been following you for a while – and your progress has been awesome.

    I adapted your budget chart and find it much more useful than the old way I had mine organized.

    @ Suzanne – while I’m no expert, I have been seriously paying off my debt for the past year. I cut it more than in half, and will be debt free by May. While you have to cut down as much as possible, I don’t suggest denying yourself everything. You will likely lose your will to pay down debt! While it’s not a lot of money, I do budget for restaurants, clothing, and I save consistent amounts of money for the fun stuff I like to do (e.g. skiing in the winter). I also have a “Miscellaneous” pot, which I can use for everything from health co-pays and haircuts to more fun stuff like movies, books, gifts etc. But there is only so much money there, so I have to think long and hard before I buy something! And, of course, whatever money doesn’t get spent at the end of the month, goes right on my debt.

    • Cait December 4, 2013 at 5:30 pm

      Thanks, Heather! And great advice for Suzanne. :)

  • Brittany December 4, 2013 at 1:55 pm

    I have hardly any wiggle room this month just due to Christmas!!! So this will be a tight month for me but everything will straighten out next month. Makes it easier that most of my Christmas presents are wrapped already and everything!

    • Cait December 4, 2013 at 5:30 pm

      That definitely helps! Happy December :)

  • kelly @stayingonbudget December 4, 2013 at 3:59 pm

    Way to go! It’s great to look back and see how much has changed over the course of the year! It’s a great way to look ahead to next year and realize how much you can accomplish!

    • Cait December 4, 2013 at 5:32 pm

      Thanks! I don’t usually look back at old budgets, but I know 2013 has been a crazy year, so it was really interesting to see where I was at the beginning compared to where I am now.

  • Rob December 4, 2013 at 7:29 pm

    “Create a realistic list of goals for next year”

    Yep Cait, it’s been quite a year for you, I see – a number of highs but (unfortunately) a few lows as well. Oh well, but that’s how life is for us all, eh? All we can do is to keep forging ahead, living wisely, learning new things, and the breaks will surely come our way hopefully in the new year fast approaching.

    Every year end, I too try to set up a realistic list of goals for the new year. On the financial front, I sum up all my monthly budgets for the year just passed and compare them to the sum up of all my past year monthly actuals. This tends to smooth out the month to month, up and down, variances between the two. From this I then decide where to make any changes to my budget items, if required, as well as any required changes to our lifestyle spending activities.
    This then usually affects somewhat what I choose as my other non-financial goals to strive for in the new year. Anyway, that’s my approach and over the years it seems to have worked pretty well for me.

    • Cait Flanders December 6, 2013 at 8:53 am

      There were definitely a few lows this year, but I know I’m in a good place right now and that’s what counts. :)

      I don’t know that I’ll publish it here, but I’m also going to take my 12 budgets and add up what I spent on everything this year. Next year, I need to budget for new car tires, a new bed and hopefully a vacation… so we’ll see what I can move around, to make that all happen!

  • dojo December 5, 2013 at 4:06 am

    We’re planning on saving as much as we can, to better start 2014, since that year will come with some added expenses.

    Great job on the year goals, being debt free is clearly an amazing achievement ;)

    • Cait Flanders December 6, 2013 at 9:00 am

      Thanks, lady! 2014 will be an expensive year for me too, unfortunately… but the better we plan now, the more prepared we’ll be!

  • Sara Hamil @ They Call it Gumption December 5, 2013 at 10:51 am

    One of the many reasons I love blogging is because it makes it so easy to look back and see where you were a year ago and measure how far you’ve come. You especially have had QUITE the year! Cheers to an awesome December!

    • Cait Flanders December 6, 2013 at 9:10 am

      Thanks hun, you too!

  • kelly December 9, 2013 at 8:32 am

    well first of all..GOOD FOR YOU on your savings goals!!
    I been following your posts for awhile..don’t comment often but i FINALLY pulled off your budget template last month and started to budget…spending has been slowing going out of control and i KNOW i needed to start reining in the family and our costs…its tough because of the holidays..but I HAVE to do this…we were a family in HUGE financial/medical debt in 2009 and I don’t want to go back to that. So, with a little help from you…THANK YOU…and writing it down on paper maybe I get everyone else on board and we will be better than OK.

  • Lisa E. @ Lisa Vs. The Loans December 10, 2013 at 3:51 pm

    It’s funny how a year can go by so fast, yet there are plenty of things that can happen within that time frame. Which reminds me, I need to start looking at my 2014 budget/goals!

  • Ryan @ Impersonal Finance December 11, 2013 at 11:33 am

    Awesome job. I love reading about other’s budgets, and yours is very nicely laid out. Way to go on paying off that debt, and seriously way to go on saving 29% of your income. I really think a lot of people just want the money to appear in their account one day, without thinking that they have to spend less and save more. My wife and I save about 60% of our income between long term (31%) and short term 28(%) goals. It’s nice to see we aren’t the only ones! But again, way to be!