Update: March 2014 Budget & Goals

April 2, 2014

march 2014 budget

REMEMBER: You can download this budget template!

I’m so excited to share March’s final budget! The number at the bottom looks scary at first, but here’s why it’s not: I brought in an extra $1,125 this month, which means I actually came in under budget. Here’s how:

Remember when I was complaining about working those 17-hour days back in February? Well, that contract work put an extra $1,100 in my pocket. I billed for it in February, thinking I wouldn’t see the money until April or May, so you can imagine how excited I was to get the cheque just a few weeks later. I put 100% of it in my Emergency Fund, along with a $25 ING referral bonus.

You may have noticed that I budgeted for $3,600 this month, instead of the usual $3,200 – that’s because I knew I was going to get my 2013 income tax refund. A couple weeks ago, I took $420 of my $421 refund and put it in my RRSP mutual fund account. In the midst of three very expensive months, you can imagine how good it felt to finally save some money! (Especially after saving $0 last month…)

Onto my expenses.

I went way over budget in the Dominican. However, I wrote this budget without considering the fact that half of my trip to Toronto would occur in April – so, I’m technically under budget here (this month, anyway).

My housing expenses were all normal, other than my Internet bill. Apparently, I still had some sort of discount applied to my account last month. It looks like my bill going forward will be $61.60/month.

My food budgets were bang on. Transportation, too. And health care. Hooray!

But holy jeez, did I spend a lot of “my money”. Before my trip, I picked up a few new clothing items, accessories, sunscreen, etc. I also purchased a few e-books. And apparently spent some cash!?

In the end, I saved 33% of my income in long-term savings, spent 25% on housing, 15% on travel, 7% on transportation, 5% on food, 5% on health care, and 10% on myself and charitable donations.

Goals for this month:

  • Hangout / attend a public speaking workshop with my mentee – PASS!
  • Tackle edits to the writing project I was working on in January – FAIL! I did get some writing done for it, but I didn’t get to the edits.
  • Bring my bridesmaid dress in for alterations – PASS! I’m picking it up next week!
  • Rent a paddle board / soak up some sun in the Dominican – PASS! I didn’t get a SUP, but we surfed and spent countless hours napping in the sun.
  • Squeeze in as many visits / meetings as I can in Toronto – PASS! I can’t believe I’m flying back to Victoria tomorrow…

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:

2014, Mar 30 – What Kind of Vacation Spender Are You?
2014, Mar 23 – Recipe: Canadian Quiche
2014, Mar 16 – Celebrate the Milestones
2014, Mar 09 – Where Electronics Fit in My Budget
2014, Mar 02 – Do What’s Right For You

  • Trista April 2, 2014 at 8:02 am

    Looks like you had a great month. The first half of March I was right on budget. The second half I’ve been greatly over budget, mainly because of three things:

    1. I bought a lot of groceries (I’ll be eating some of it for weeks to come)
    2. I had an expensive dinner to attend for my friend’s birthday
    3. I bought a really pretty dress (I may return it)

    I’m hoping I can get things back on track again. Sometimes I think I need to re-evaluate my spending allotments as it is rare for me to actually be on budget (and of course I need to buy less dresses).

    I’m actually thinking about giving up my side hustle. As much as I love the work and the discount my relationship with the manager has deteriorated to the point that I don’t want to work with her any longer. She’s gone the end of next month but I don’t think I can put up with her for that long.

    • Marg S April 2, 2014 at 11:24 am

      Trista – Unless you really can’t afford the dress I say keep it. A girl never knows when she’s going to need a really pretty dress. If it makes you feel good then you should wear it. :o) – Says me who’s waiting until the snow is gone (I’m in Winnipeg – the answer is NEVER) before buying any new clothes or shoes.

    • Cait Flanders April 2, 2014 at 1:01 pm

      Trust your gut, Trista! If you don’t feel good about staying, then quit. But if you think it could get better, consider waiting it out. Always do what’s best for you. :)

  • Rob April 2, 2014 at 9:48 am

    Congratulations Cait on your March achievements!

    When first I quickly glanced at your March totals I thought that you somehow blew it until, in further checking your details, I saw where things really stood. Unlike yourself, in my final monthly totals I tend to separate my savings numbers (budget vs actual) from my expense numbers (budget vs expenses). They really apply to two different types of money categories. But that’s just how my mind works.

    So, in effect, you were able to save $1005 over what you had planned and you spent $117.21 over what you had budgeted to spend. So, given all your March activities, and looking at just your spending results, you did exceptionally well.

    As for my March results I slightly overspent as well because my planned annual eyesight checkup resulted in needing new lenses which were slightly more expensive than I had budgeted for. All in all, a good month for us both.

    • Cait Flanders April 3, 2014 at 10:20 am

      Thanks, Rob! I love when people look at my numbers from a slightly different perspective, so thanks for commenting on that.

      As for the glasses, have you ever tried to order a pair from Clearly Contacts? Your first pair is free (you just pay for shipping) and they accept returns. Could be worth a try!

    • Rob April 3, 2014 at 12:53 pm

      Thanks for the tip, Cait. I’ll be sure to check them out when next I need to order some new glasses. They certainly offer attractive prices.

      • Cait Flanders April 3, 2014 at 1:03 pm

        You’re welcome! It takes time to go through the site and find frames that match your measurements… but in my experience (you know, the ONE time I’ve shopped for glasses, haha) it’s worth it. :)

        • Rob April 3, 2014 at 1:07 pm

          “the ONE time” – sure, sure – rub it in. Wait ’till you’re a retired senior citizen, like moi, and then we’ll see who’se giggling silly! :-)

  • Girl Meets Debt April 2, 2014 at 10:12 am

    Congrats on the boost in your Emergency Fund! Let’s go for a walk/hike or coffee or something when you come back. I want to hear all about your trip Cait! :)

    • Cait Flanders April 3, 2014 at 10:21 am

      Thanks, hun! And sounds good. I’ll text you next week.

  • Retired by 40 April 2, 2014 at 10:15 am

    Nice! I love it when money comes in the mail early! Also, way to go staying within budget (in total) for trips. That can be super hard when you’re traveling, so kudos!

    • Cait Flanders April 3, 2014 at 10:21 am

      Thanks! :)

  • Marg S April 2, 2014 at 11:29 am

    I think considering all the travelling you had to do you had a great month budget wise.

    Not to sound like Debbie Downer but I had a rotten March. I stayed ok budget wise it was everything else that hit the proverbial fan. I’m thinking (praying actually) I’m through the worst of it and hoping April is much much better.

    Now I’m trying to convince myself I don’t need to get a new iPad. Some women can’t walk by a shoes/clothes store. Me? Don’t let me within 1000 yards of The Apple Store.

    • Cait Flanders April 3, 2014 at 10:22 am

      I hope April is better for you too, Marg! And you don’t need a new iPad! :P

      (Just trying to cheer you on in the right direction… hehe)

  • Mario DebtBLAG April 2, 2014 at 1:56 pm

    Oh wow. Glad to hear that the big number at the bottom was for a good reason, not a bad one :)

    Is there some accounting trick that can make it so that doesn’t look this way? Maybe call additions to emergency funds a transfer rather than an expense? I don’t know :/

    • Cait Flanders April 3, 2014 at 10:22 am

      I could’ve just added my side income to the top, but am ok w/ how it looks here. Keeps me on my toes!

  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach April 3, 2014 at 8:09 am

    I’m jealous of your trip somewhere warm and tropical…the next one I take will be like that. :) Looks like a great month overall! We missed you in the MM meeting!

    • Cait Flanders April 3, 2014 at 10:23 am

      Definitely go somewhere warm next, Tonya! Although… won’t the warm weather be arriving soon for you, anyway? ;)

      I’ll see you at the next one!

  • Alicia @ Financial Diffraction April 3, 2014 at 9:46 am

    What a nice surprise to have your side-income paid so early, and to have your tax refund back!

    My March was pretty good, except for All. The. Snow. I am so sick of snow. But realistically, I know as soon as it gets nice out I’ll be saying I’m sick of All. The. Humidity. I can’t win :)

    • Cait Flanders April 3, 2014 at 10:24 am

      Haha, just move to the West Coast. Those aren’t problems we ever have to complain about… ;)

      • Alicia @ Financial Diffraction April 3, 2014 at 10:30 am

        Tempting. I interviewed for a job in Greater Vancouver a year and a half ago actually. Didn’t get the job, but I wasn’t ready to move clear across the country anyway.

  • Max Dent April 3, 2014 at 11:19 am

    Wow, I really like how you classified all your different types of expenses. I may adopt your way of planning and divide it by weekly expenses.
    I just discovered your blog, so I’m looking forward to new posts from you! :)

    • Cait Flanders April 4, 2014 at 10:35 am

      Like create a spreadsheet w/ weekly budgets instead of a monthly budget? Love it!

  • Sara Hamil @ They Call it Gumption April 3, 2014 at 11:48 am

    Have I mentioned how much I love that you’re writing on Gail’s blog before? Because I really do. My two favourite personal finance ladies in one place! :)

    • Cait Flanders April 4, 2014 at 10:35 am

      Thanks, Sara. :)

  • Eva @ Girl Counting Pennies April 5, 2014 at 1:21 am

    Yay for the extra income! $1,100 is an amazing amount to make on the side. I don’t make a penny on the side (apart from selling an occasion item on eBay) but I do get paid commission on top of my basic salary which varies from month to month depending on my performance and on how busy we are as a business. January and February were pretty bad months for commission but business has really picked up in March so my commission for March is looking much better (I will receive it in my next paycheck). Also, I want to nap in the sun too, it sounds so dreamy ;)