February 2015 Budget & Goals

February 4, 2015


Oh hello, February! We’re only four days into the month, but I can already tell it’s going to be great. Maybe that’s just my excitement for next week’s trip to New York City talking… but it probably also has something to do with this month’s budget. I’m still so inspired by last month’s numbers. I won’t be able to match them this month, but it feels good to see that my goal of living on less and saving more is finally, really, truly happening. (Thank you, shopping ban!)

Aside from spending 6 days in NYC, I’ll be hanging out at home a lot this month… and there are a few finance-related tasks I want to tackle, while I’m here. First, since it’s almost tax time, I want to get everything I need prepped and ready, so I can file as soon as I get my T4 slip from work. I also want to consolidate a couple accounts, as well as invest some of my Emergency Fund. And budget-wise, I plan to live off 52% of my income and save the other 48%. Here’s the breakdown.

Life Expenses – Goal: 52%

As I said at the beginning of last month, 52% seems to be the average amount of my regular income I need to live off of these days. My numbers are the same as usual, except that I decreased my grocery budget slightly because I’m going away for a week, and added a Gifts category for Baby Sis’ 21st birthday. *On a side note, I don’t think I can call Baby Sis and Baby Bro “babies” anymore. They are 19 and 21, after all. I’ll just say my brother and sister, from now on. :)

Travel – Goal: 0%

It feels weird to put 0% here, however, I won’t be using any of February’s income to pay for my trip to NYC next week. I booked/paid for my flight a couple months ago, and set aside a good chunk of my freelance income from last month to cover food/fun/transportation. The only sad part is that I’ll likely wipe out my Travel account… but in NYC! I think this is going to be my best trip there yet. If it were in my budget, I’d stay for a whole year.

Planned Spending – Goal: 11%

Unless I pick up some freelance work this month (which I’m not expecting to), I’m only going to put 11% of my income into my Shopping Ban + Wedding accounts. I’ll start putting money in my Travel account again, next month.

Long-Term Savings  Goal: 37%

After last month’s results, I am feeling extremely motivated to save for the “big” goals (namely retirement, but also a potential down payment or whatever I decide to use that money for) and increase my net worth. My target at the beginning of the year was to put 26% of my income into these two accounts (13% in each) every month, but I’d like to boost that to at least 32%. Some months will be easier than others; this’ll be one of the easy ones.

Goals for this month:

  • Consolidate my two RRSPs into one
  • Invest more of my Emergency Fund (I’ll write a post about both of these goals)
  • Get all my tax stuff ready, so I can file as soon as I get my T4
  • Read 2 books
  • Workout 15x

What do you have planned for this month?

  • Strandedrocks February 4, 2015 at 4:36 am

    “Live in New York City once, but leave before it makes you hard.” -Mary Schmich

    • Cait Flanders February 4, 2015 at 5:58 am

      I can do that! ;)

  • Trista February 4, 2015 at 5:10 am

    I hope you have a fabulous time in NYC. It’s definitely on my list. This year I’m hoping just to stick within my budget allocations and work some more hours at the store. All of the money from the store will be going in to savings. :) I’m also in the process of trying to decide what my next trip will be so I can get a plan in place.

    • Cait Flanders February 4, 2015 at 6:20 am

      Yes, I find that a tangible goal always helps me save more! Definitely pick your next destination… soon! :)

  • L February 4, 2015 at 5:18 am

    I feel like travel accounts are meant to be wiped out :) Have a blast in NYC!!

    • Cait Flanders February 4, 2015 at 6:21 am

      Hehe, you’re probably right about that. Thanks, L!

  • Rob February 4, 2015 at 6:00 am

    Yep Cait, hope you enjoy your trip to NYC although I did see where they lately got a tad bit more snow than we did here in TO – even declared it an emergency. So be sure to pack your west coast snow shoes! :-)

    As for moi, well this month we are getting ready to celebrate my MIL’s b/day (the big 9-5) – expecting lots of the inlaws (and outlaws) to drop by then.

    • Cait Flanders February 4, 2015 at 6:23 am

      Yea, I’ve been watching the weather for a bit, and it looks like it’ll warm up to 0 to -2C next week. Snow or no snow, that’s ok with me. :)

      Wow, 95! That definitely deserves a party. Enjoy the celebrations… outlaws and all!

  • Kristen February 4, 2015 at 7:12 am

    We bought the last of the RSPs last month. We have sent my business books to the accountant. My husband likely won’t get his tax info until the end of the month. I think tax wise it is really a wait and see. We are making sure to save extra for taxes (I will likely have to pay) and our upcoming trip. I had some extra income last month that should help and will have more income than expected this month, so hopefully we can use this for our savings.

    Happy saving!

    • Cait Flanders February 4, 2015 at 8:21 am

      I expect to owe money this year, based on my freelance income (gotta pay tax on it). My RRSP contributions will lower the amount I owe, but not wipe it out completely… good thing I set aside a bit of my freelance income for “tax time”! Bleh, haha.

  • Stephanie February 4, 2015 at 7:39 am

    I’m also consolidating my 2 RRSP’s into one! :) I have to do a bit more digging- but I’m told there’s a few by some, and others that the fee would be paid by which ever account I put it towards…

    Any input?

    • Cait Flanders February 4, 2015 at 8:25 am

      Yep, I’ve read that you should ask the bank you’re moving them to to pay for the fee (typically $100). I think Tangerine is offering a $100 bonus, if you switch $10K or more over to them, so that’s probably their way of paying the fee for you. I’m just consolidating two RRSPs I have with them into one portfolio, so easy peasy on my end. Good luck!

      • Stephanie February 4, 2015 at 8:28 am

        thanks!! :)

  • Mrs. Frugalwoods February 4, 2015 at 8:40 am

    Sounds like you have a great month lined up! Have fun in NYC and stay warm :). Nothing big on the horizon for us in February, which I’m OK with–gives me lots of time to snuggle Frugal Hound and read books (bonus: that stuff is free :)).

    • Cait Flanders February 4, 2015 at 9:29 am

      That’s how I feel about March! I’m excited for this trip, but will enjoy having a quiet month at home after. Enjoy, friends!

  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach February 4, 2015 at 11:14 am

    Have fun in NY! I have a crowdfunding project and learning my new camera as some big goals this month, but taxes…oh taxes. That’s going to take up a big chunk of my Feb and early March. I’m going to try to organize it all in one lump sum of time instead of doing it in small amounts like I did last year. :)

    • Cait Flanders February 4, 2015 at 12:17 pm

      That’d feel nice, I’m sure! Just pay it then get it off your mind / remove it from your mental clutter. I think I’m going to have to pay this year, for the first time… I did save a bit, but we’ll see if it was enough!

  • Jacquie February 4, 2015 at 1:22 pm

    Have a great time in NYC Cait! You should go eat a confetti cookie from Momofuku Milk Bar :) I’ve never tasted one fresh from there but I was gifted their tin of the mix when my friend went. They are the perfect mix of sweet and salty. Beware, highly addicting and highly caloric :P

    This month for me is focused on working out at Barre (my goal is an average of 4 times/week) and getting used to SAVING instead of paying back debt! Exciting! Since becoming debt free on January 15 I’ve already succumbed to lifestyle inflation so I want to keep that under control.

    I’ve got two trips this year to save for. A quickie Disney trip in Cali with my bestie sometime in May, and a much longer trip to Japan and Korea with Kane in October!

    • Cait Flanders February 4, 2015 at 1:52 pm

      So random you would suggest that, Jacquie, because I *am* going to Momofuku Milk Bar next Friday. I was thinking of getting a piece of crack pie, but sweet and salty cookies sound good, too. Maybe I need to have both? ;)

      Yes, watch that lifestyle inflation creep in! It’s tough to kick, once you let it settle into your new budget. Good luck, and happy saving!

  • Aleksandra Sagan February 4, 2015 at 7:45 pm

    Oh, I’m super jealous of your New York City trip. I’ve only been twice – once after graduating from my undergrad for a few days and once after graduating from my masters for two days, but as part of a fellowship so there was no time for tourist stuff.

    I really want to go back. G and I have been debating potentially popping down this spring or summer for a weekend. I really hope we make it happen.

    Have a blast!

    • Cait Flanders February 6, 2015 at 1:10 pm

      Thanks! It’s going to be reallyyy cold when I’m there… but still… NYC! I’m looking forward to it. :)

  • Mrs. Marriage & Money February 5, 2015 at 2:58 pm

    A trip to NYC sounds awesome! I’ve only been as a child so I really don’t know what it’s like, but would love to go some day. We just started our debt repayment so that’s our goal this month, along with getting our spending under control. Love your blog Cait, I look forward to reading through your archives!

    • Cait Flanders February 6, 2015 at 1:14 pm

      Good luck this month, then! And congrats on taking control of your finances. That’s a huge step in the right direction. :)