November 2014 Budget & Goals

November 3, 2014


Happy Financial Literacy Month, Canadian friends! Not that everyone can’t celebrate it, but I know it’s recognized in different months around the world. I’ve been anxiously waiting for this month to arrive, so we can finally talk about a few of the financial decisions on my plate. Since the year is almost up, I really want to get these items crossed off my to-do list as soon as possible, so I can start 2015 off right.

Besides that, I’m excited to be hosting four giveaways this month! Come back every Friday to see what’s up for grabs. But first, let’s see how my budget looks…

Life Expenses – Goal: 60%

I’m happy to say I’ll be home for all but three days this month! Surprisingly, my numbers still look fairly average ($250 for groceries, $75 for restaurant, etc.). I did, however, give myself an extra budget for “insurance”. By the end of the month, I’d like to finish comparison shopping and finally buy life/critical illness insurance. I also want to upgrade my disability insurance, and I need to renew my tenant insurance. I have no idea how much this will all add up to, so I put my max budget in my budget template and will aim for it to be lower than that.

Overall, I really want to get this section down to 50-55%, but it can’t happen this month for one big reason: Christmas. Every year, my goal is to get my shopping done by December 1st. I don’t know if I’ll be able to make that happen this month, as I don’t know what I’m going to buy anyone yet… but we’ll see!

Car Maintenance – Goal: 18%

The other thing I want to do while I’m home this month is get new tires put on my car. My car is almost 6 years old and has 60,000 km on it, and the tread on its stock tires is getting low. I researched prices last month and finally submitted a quote, so this could happen as early as tomorrow. Eek!

Travel – Goal: 4%

A few weeks ago, I was asked to speak on a panel at Credit Education Week in Toronto. I’m flying out on the 11th, the panel is on the 12th, I’ll work at on the 13th and then fly back that night. Since it’s such a short trip and most of it’s paid for, I’m just budgeting for transportation and food.

Savings – Goal: 18%

Finally, next payday, I’m going to finish topping up my Emergency Fund! After that, I’ll just put more money into my RRSPs. And then I guess I’ll need a new savings goal!? Hmm! I do have something fun in mind for 2015… but we’ll have to see what the next couple of months look like, first.

In honour of FLM, my goals this month are to:

  • Speak on a panel at Credit Education Week in Toronto next week
  • Top up my Emergency Fund
  • Research/update/buy all insurance policies
  • Pay to get new tires put on my car
  • Get annual copy of my credit report/credit score

And then I’ll try to workout 15x and read 2 books, as per usual!

What do you have planned for this month?

  • Mrs. Frugalwoods November 3, 2014 at 4:20 am

    Very exciting that you’re speaking on a panel at Credit Education Week! Regarding the car tires, we’ve actually had good luck with finding used tires at junk yards in the past. As long as they’re in decent shape and the treads are good, it can be a great way to save. Though if you’re replacing all four tires, probably best to get all new so that they’re balanced evenly.

    • Cait Flanders November 3, 2014 at 3:17 pm

      Wow, I wouldn’t have thought to look there! But I still think I’ll get all new ones, so they’re balanced like you said. Thanks for the suggestion, though. :)

  • Will - November 3, 2014 at 4:59 am

    Congrats about speaking on the panel!!! How did they hear about you??

    • Cait Flanders November 3, 2014 at 3:18 pm

      Small population. Word gets around, I guess, haha.

  • Strandedrocks November 3, 2014 at 5:02 am

    Ummm, so you average 10,ooo km/year? Lucky car. At the rate you’re going you can own that car for 20 years :), that’s my goal to stretch out the life of my car so it ages gracefully with me. About your credit score/check, I know that that the credit check is free once a year, how about the credit score, or do you pay for that? I have pulled my credit check earlier this year and everything checked out, I’m wondering if it’s worth paying for it.

    • Cait Flanders November 3, 2014 at 9:30 pm

      Yep, sounds about right! Maybe 12,000 km/year (I’m technically at 5.5 years right now). But the plan has always been to own it for 15-20, so hopefully that works out!

      And I’m going to talk about credit scores next week. The short answer is you have to pay for it (but you can get it free, if you do what Alicia suggests:

      • Strandedrocks November 4, 2014 at 4:30 am

        Cool thanks, I just read her post and I will be doing that early next year.

  • Rob November 3, 2014 at 5:19 am

    All excellent goals, Cait!

    A few suggestions:

    In addition to looking to buy critical illness insurance, when you look at life insurance, consider term life over whole life. You will get more coverage at less cost that way.

    After topping up your EF, you may wish to consider putting money into your TFSA (if you have one and if you still have any 2014 contribution room) over your RRSP. To consider which is preferable, based on your particular situation, consider these points:

    Having lived in Quebec, before moving to Ontario, we’ve always known the importance of good tires – especially winter tires (which we use over the all seasonal ones). And be sure to get them balanced. This is one area where money spent on quality is very important as these are your prime contacts to the road (in all its conditions) and safety counts. So we always purchase new tires, not retreads or used ones.

    Plans for this month:
    Finish all my painting projects and start planning for holiday spending, as well as putting money aside for TFSA 2015 top-up contributions in January. As we are both retired, we can no longer contribute to RRSPs (no new income to base it on and our plan contribution limits were fully topped up last year).

    • Cait Flanders November 4, 2014 at 9:09 am

      I’m definitely considering just getting term, or a small amount of whole + a term rider. Getting more quotes on Friday, so will decide after that!

      I have lots of room in my TFSAs, and will continue to contribute there. At this point, I’m only putting a couple thousand dollars into my RRSPs each year for the tax break – and mostly because I freelance. So TFSA will continue to be my #1 investment tool for some time!

      I’m getting brand new all weather tires put on my car this morning. I was originally just going to get all seasons, but got the guy to offer me all weathers with same km warranty for same price (balancing included).

      And sounds like a busy month! Can’t imagine you’d have it any other way, haha.

  • Charlotte November 3, 2014 at 5:26 am

    Excellent goals this month, Cait, and good luck speaking on the panel!

    • Cait Flanders November 4, 2014 at 9:10 am


  • Kassandra November 3, 2014 at 6:21 am

    Well done about the panel Cait :) This month it looks like it’s all about the cars. We need to get one of our cars looked at due to a tiny odd noise that bugs me whenever I hear it. We just renewed our 6 moth car insurance. Next week brings me to Ottawa for a few days and next month I will be back in Montreal and will swap on my Toyo winter tires. I really like the performance of that brand for my car and I had gotten an $80 rebate when I had purchased them last season.

    • Cait Flanders November 4, 2014 at 9:10 am

      ‘Tis the season of bad weather, I suppose! Makes us think about these things. :)

  • Sarah November 3, 2014 at 6:49 am

    I need to do this. I set goals for myself, but nothing nearly as detailed as this. I need to get a better hold on my finances.

    • Cait Flanders November 4, 2014 at 9:11 am

      Make realistic goals that only require a few steps to complete, Sarah! That’s what helps me write/stick to mine.

  • Kayla @ Shoeaholicnomore November 3, 2014 at 7:20 am

    Even without much travel, it sounds like a busy month. Good luck! Can’t wait to hear more about your goals for 2015!

    • Cait Flanders November 4, 2014 at 9:12 am

      Thanks, Kayla!

  • Amanda @ My Life, I Guess November 3, 2014 at 8:00 am

    I just have one goal this month: GET A JOB. Any job… even if it’s just babysitting or picking up another freelance gig. My EI is about to run out, so it’s time to get creative and look for options beyond just applying to jobs each day!

    • Cait Flanders November 4, 2014 at 9:12 am

      Would you work in retail? There might be seasonal jobs still open? And I’m sure every Starbucks is hiring! Good luck, hun.

  • catherine November 3, 2014 at 10:25 am

    Good luck on the panel Cait! Simply sticking to my budget will be my challange enough this month with my birthday and family coming from out of town (that I forgot about and this didn’t budget for…) Lets hope for not too much damange :) I also want to restock a little bit of the ER fund that was depeleted a few months ago and haven’t done much about yet….

    • Cait Flanders November 4, 2014 at 9:14 am

      Oh man, I feel you. I’m already nervous about how expensive November is going to be, and fear I’ll go over budget in more than a few categories… but we’ll see! Crossing my fingers your month goes well! When is your birthday? :)

  • Carrie Smith November 3, 2014 at 10:57 am

    I like how you put the working out and reading books at the very end, because those are the most difficult goals for me to reach each month! lol

    Kuddos for getting your emergency fund topped off — I’m still working on that.

    • Cait Flanders November 4, 2014 at 9:15 am

      Hehe. It took a long time, but those two have finally just built themselves into my routine. And it’s still nice to add goals you KNOW you can achieve. I’m sure you have some of those. :)

  • Kristen November 3, 2014 at 11:29 am

    My big plan this month is a trip to Europe. It is almost all paid for, except a few things, like some meals and airport parking and a few entrance fees. We have been paying for what we could in advance since February and have the money saved for the rest of the trip. It is going to be great!

    Critical life insurance is important, several years ago we got that. I also have disability and life as I am self-employed. Hubby doesn’t have extra disability as he has amazing coverage from work.

    • Cait Flanders November 4, 2014 at 9:16 am

      Ahhh, how exciting, Kristen! When do you leave/where are you going/for how long? :)

  • Alicia November 3, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Looks good :) I just got my credit report and score for the first time ever. It scares me, but then it wasn’t so bad. The not-knowing was much worse. Now I’m thankful I have a benchmark. I also need to look into disability insurance outside of my work policy – I’ve been discussing that for ages, but never got very far with it. I love all the financial-based goals you have for November, and the different events you are part of.

    It’s my birthday month, so I anticipate a slightly off-balance schedule. I’m planning a trip back home for my Dad’s birthday as well, so we shall see how it goes. :)

    • Cait Flanders November 4, 2014 at 9:18 am

      We can talk about it more next week, but here’s an interesting fact for you: my number isn’t much higher than yours – and I have no missed payments and $0 debt. Credit scores are kind of a joke. Urgh.

      When is your birthday? :)

      • Alicia November 4, 2014 at 10:23 am

        Interesting. I thought I’d bump it up by getting to $0. And my birthday is this Sunday :)

  • Gretchen November 3, 2014 at 1:39 pm

    Great goals – and you think of everything in your budget! I monitor my credit every single month, and have a spreadsheet to track it, but for most people, that’s just sick :-) I am trying to do P90x this month 3 times, even if I can only do 20 minutes of the workout. Progress is progress!

    • Cait Flanders November 4, 2014 at 9:19 am

      Haha, I don’t think that’s sick… I just think you’re the first person I’ve heard of who actually does that! What’s your motivation to do so? :)

  • Nadia November 3, 2014 at 3:22 pm

    My goals for the month. Start planning birthday and Christmas gifts because I get hit with the birthdays in November, December and January. There’s a reason I save all year for this! As for other goals I haven’t planned too much yet. I should get on it!

    • Cait Flanders November 4, 2014 at 9:20 am

      Hey, that’s a big goal in itself!

  • Jessica Moorhouse November 3, 2014 at 5:29 pm

    Getting me and the HB’s credit scores and looking into life insurance and disability insurance for him are on my list too. That’s so awesome you’re speaking at that conference (did you tell me that and I forgot? Sorry if I did!). Looking forward to another visit in Toronto :)

    • Cait Flanders November 4, 2014 at 9:21 am

      Yesss, can’t wait to see you next week!

  • Cassie November 3, 2014 at 5:34 pm

    I’m stoked that your emergency fund is going to be completely topped up soon! That’s an awesome achievement Cait, way to go!

    Right now my plan is to continue socking money away in my wedding savings fund. It will either increase moderately or decrease significantly this month depending on whether or not we book our honeymoon. We’ll see. Either way, I’m thinking The Boy and I should sit down and have a money date this month so that we can figure out how we’re going to operate our finances once we’re married. I think that is going to be a big To Do for this month.

    • Cait Flanders November 4, 2014 at 9:22 am

      Thanks, dear! It feels kind of surreal. And that sounds like a great goal for the month! I imagine it’s a somewhat ongoing conversation with couples, but best to figure out where you’d like to start sooner than later. :)

  • Sara November 4, 2014 at 5:48 am

    We’re pretty much done with Christmas shopping, now I just need to get going on the Christmas making because we’re giving lots of handmades this year.

    • Cait Flanders November 4, 2014 at 9:23 am

      That’s amazing, Sara! What kind of stuff are you making? :)

  • Jill November 4, 2014 at 2:41 pm

    This is such a crazy time of year for our family. (I’m sure a lot of people feel this way with all of the holidays). My daughter’s birthday is this week and we always have a party with family and a few friends. On top of that our washing machine died this week so we bought a new set. I just feel like we have a lot of money going out this month! I think it will all be OK though because I have put money aside for Christmas (thank goodness) so we should be back on budget as the next couple of months unfold. I was just thankful we had the money in savings for the new washer and dryer. Now I just want to get that money put back in there. I liked having that cushion! I think it is so easy to derail from a budget this time of year. We had planned a weekend getaway in December, but now I am rethinking that idea. I would love to make those memories with our daughter, but if we don’t go that money could be used to pay down on our car and give us some extra momentum heading into the new year. It’s just hard when you have to make decisions like that.

  • Sofia November 4, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Looks like I have double the number of miles than your car on mine. I am coming up on 70k miles. That’s awesome about the panel. You will do such a good job.
    Play some ping pong for me at Spin while you are in Toronto!

  • J November 6, 2014 at 8:08 am

    I’m hoping to have all my Christmas shopping done by December 1st too! And it’s actually looking good. I have 3 people bought for and plans for a few others already :)