Update: October 2014 Budget & Goals

October 31, 2014


I don’t really know how to start this post other than by saying that October 2014 was an amazing month. I travelled to Denver and Victoria. I finally met Clare and Drew, and watched them say “I do”. I saw my family and friends. Sarah and I made big strides on our project. I was invited to speak on a panel. I felt like my writing was more inspired (some of it you haven’t read yet). And I finally met and got to spend some time with David.

In keeping with the theme in Monday’s post, I’m just realizing how good life is these days. I started Blonde on a Budget (v1) in October 2010. I didn’t write my first budget until November 2011, though, which means I’ve been doing this budgeting thing for three full years now. Some months are good, some months are full of red… but I’ve stuck to it and am so grateful I have. Without my budgets, I don’t think I could accomplish half the things I do each year – especially this year, with all the travelling I’ve done. And without you guys, I wouldn’t have anyone to stay accountable to. Thanks for always cheering me on and for coming here to talk money with me. Now, let’s see how October finished up…

Life Expenses – Budget: 64% / Actual: 58% / Difference: -6% (Yay!)

This month’s numbers are a little deceiving. If you looked at the numbers I’d budgeted for under this category and compared them to how much I actually spent, you would see a whole lot of red. In fact, I went over budget for all of my variable expenses. Most of the amounts were minimal: I spent an extra $6.62 on groceries, $13.28 at restaurants, $7.09 on personal care and a whopping $0.76 on gas. A few were in the $20 range (charitable donations and gifts). Then I spent an extra $50 on parking – yikes! But I don’t regret a single penny spent. I got to spend so much quality time with people and explore a couple new areas of Vancouver, and I just soaked it all up.

So, if I went over budget in so many categories, how did I come in under budget up top? I earned a little bit of freelance income. Remember that when I write my budget, I base it solely on the income I earn at my full-time job. Freelance is a bonus that I don’t ever count on. I put 100% of my freelance income in savings, this month, but it increased my total income earned which makes these costs go down overall. (For curiosity’s sake, I did the math: without that freelance income, I would’ve lived off 65% of my income, spent 21% on travel and only been able to save 14%. Thank you, side hustle!)

Travel – Budget: 18% / Actual: 19% / Difference: +1% (Meh!)

I went on two quick back-to-back trips to Denver and Victoria, which you guys already know about. Both ended up up being slightly more expensive than I’d budgeted for, though, but not by much.

Savings – Budget: 18% / Actual: 23% / Difference: +5% (Yay!)

The big win of this month is that, thanks to that little bit of freelance income, I’m now just $450 away from reaching my Emergency Fund goal! I can’t believe I’ll be able to cross that goal off the list next month. Also, even though I’d originally decided to stop saving for retirement until I finished topping up my Emergency Fund, I decided to invest a little when the market was down. Better to buy low, right? I’m learning!

Goals for this month:

  • Read 2 books – PASS! I read Wealthing Like Rabbits and re-read The Alchemist.
  • Workout 20x – FAIL! As of today, I’ll have 17 workouts in the books, so I’d still say that’s a huge win!
  • Remove 11+ items from home – HUGE PASS! I removed 63 items.
  • Hike Red Rocks in Colorado – PASS! And with some great company.
  • Have at least 2 brainstorming/working sessions with Sarah – HALF PASS!? We had one dinner where we didn’t do much work, one amazing 6-hour session and then we each did some work separately.

How did your month finish up!?

  • Strandedrocks October 31, 2014 at 4:26 am

    For some reason saving makes me more excited than paying down debt, so great job in almost reaching your EF goal! How was “Wealthing Like Rabbits”? I have started binging on PF books (audiobooks to be more precise) and would like more to add to my list.

    • Cait Flanders October 31, 2014 at 1:50 pm

      It’s a great read! Rob is hilarious. I laughed out loud more than a few times, but also learned some stuff too.

  • Mrs. Frugalwoods October 31, 2014 at 4:38 am

    Looks like an awesome month for you! And, 17 out of 20 workouts sounds fabulous to me! I think October was just dandy for us as well, though I have yet to run all the numbers… hopefully nothing too surprising pops up.

    • Cait Flanders October 31, 2014 at 1:50 pm

      Glad to hear it, lady!

  • Aleksandra Sagan October 31, 2014 at 7:37 am

    Only $450 away from your emergency fund goal? Holy cow, congrats! You’re so close. I bet it will feel awesome to check that off!

    Sounds like you had a pretty good month! Are you doing any travelling in November?

    • Cait Flanders October 31, 2014 at 1:51 pm

      I’ll be in Toronto for about 48 hours mid-month, but that’s it!

  • Trista October 31, 2014 at 8:27 am

    You did awesome this month!

    I went a little overboard this month but I can happily say I don’t owe anything on my credit card aside from the winter tires I bought last weekend (They were planned to come out of my Nov 5th pay so I’ll pay them off next week). I did however, have to clear out my TV savings to catch up on my overspending.

    I’m still working on that shift from spender to saver. Alicia gave me some good advice this week. She suggested I move my emergency fund to another bank so that it’s a little harder for me to dip in to it. So I will probably look in to that in November.

    • Cait Flanders October 31, 2014 at 1:53 pm

      That’s great advice! For me, I also needed to see the account get past a certain amount before I finally saw it as something that I wanted to grow and not touch. If it’s sitting around $1,000, I felt fine grabbing $50 whenever I needed it. But now that it’s got a few thousand in there, I don’t want to touch it! It’s like a prized possession lol.

  • Ciel Belle October 31, 2014 at 10:46 am

    yay congrats on your EF soooo close! I have been re reading your posts for motivation

    • Cait Flanders October 31, 2014 at 1:54 pm

      Awesome. Have a great weekend!

  • Nadia October 31, 2014 at 1:17 pm

    Well it was a good month because I paid off my first student loan…the letter came the other day so now it’s completely official!

    I’m going to be throwing most of the money I was spending on that loan towards my other loan. I’m going to take a small amount though and send it towards my RRSP. I haven’t had the funds to contribute to it in a while so now is the time to start again. Every little bit helps.

    • Cait Flanders October 31, 2014 at 1:55 pm

      Woo hooooo re: your first student loan! #happydance

  • Kassandra October 31, 2014 at 4:19 pm

    Glad to hear you were able to save even more than expected this month! We rocked increases in the income and overall net worth department this month and I also threw some more money into the market when it was tanking. Have a nice week-end!

    • Cait Flanders October 31, 2014 at 7:14 pm

      Nicely done. You too, Kassandra!

  • Rob November 1, 2014 at 8:33 am

    Congratulations on another good month, Cait! Looks like you’ve got this budgeting science down pat these days. The control is in the details adding up to the big picture.

    My past month finished up fairly well, with the exception of our investments portfolio (which, like everyone else in the current economic market, slipped a tad in value).

    So, to report in the same format as yourself:
    Monthly expenses: 7% actuals under budget (good)
    Monthly savings: 15% actuals over budget (good as well)
    Investments: total portfolio value slipped 0.5% over the past month
    (but no biggie – as it will rebound, all in good time. Time now to buy more while on sale)

    Monthly projects:
    Interior house painting project: 100% completed (yay!).
    Church painting project (with others helping): 35% completed
    My birthday: successfully completed (but like who’s counting, eh – lol)
    Outdoor projects: still have lots of leaves to rake (but we got a light snow dusting here in TO last night and today – so boo!) :-)

    Have a great weekend!

    • Cait Flanders November 1, 2014 at 11:27 am

      Looks like it was a great month for you guys! And happy birthday yesterday! Are you kidding about the snow? I hope you’re kidding. I’ll be there in 10 days. Please ask it to hold off until later, ok? Haha.

      • Rob November 1, 2014 at 12:26 pm

        Yep, I’m a Halloween Scorpio stud muffin dude but I never have a b/day party on that date – too many little ghosties and goblins screaming “trick or treat” at my door all evening! :-)

        And no biggie about the weather. The first snow that we see never stays on the ground for more than a few hours (if at all). It was chilly but I was out raking leaves this afternoon and it wasn’t too bad. So BC gal, don’t be a wimp now! You’ll survive when you hit town here. :-)

  • Brittany @ Fun on a Budget Blog November 1, 2014 at 12:45 pm

    Kudos to you for making so much progress toward your savings goal during this crazy time of year :)

  • Cecilia@thesingledollar November 5, 2014 at 6:40 pm

    Hurray for freelancing! I was doing a fair amount of that this summer but my real job got so busy that I haven’t made even an extra $10 in a month or so. I should get back on the horse there, because you’re right, it can really help smooth out a weird spending month.