May 2015: Final Budget + Giveaway

June 3, 2015


Happy June 3rd, friends! You’ll find out why today is so special, as you scroll down… :)

But truth be told, I’m feeling extremely grateful for this new month. As you know, May was a month full of travel for me. I was originally only supposed to be home for something like 3 days, but I ended up cancelling my trip to Tofino over the long weekend because I needed a little more time to myself. Also, even though mine and Sarah’s trip back east was amazing, the time leading up to it was rough. I basically had to do 10 days worth of work before we left, in order to take 10 days off. All of that is to say it’s good to be home and back into a somewhat normal routine… both in life and my finances!

Life Expenses – Goal: 40% / Actual: 33% / Difference: –7%

Travelling for an entire month messed with my numbers – there’s no doubt about that. For example, I only spent $56 on groceries. And $8 on gas. I kid you not. These are real numbers. I actually spent double the amount on parking than I did on gas all month, lol. Obviously, this will never become the norm… so I’ll never see a number as low as 33% again. But it’s always interesting to track your spending, to see how the “irregular” months shape up.

If you’re a subscriber, you also know that the newest category in my budget is gratitude. Each month, I am going to pull out one expense that I’m extremely grateful for, so I don’t always feel guilty about spending money. This month, that was the $20 I spent on going to hot yoga with my best friend. It was the first time she’d ever been, and my first time since the accident… and it was just nice to go and practice together. I think we’ll try to budget for more classes this summer. (Or find ways to go for free, right Mrs. FW?)

Travel – Goal: 38% / Actual: 43% / Difference: +5%

If you read the recap of our time in DC, you know I came in under budget for that trip; that’s not where this red is coming from. The overage came from a mix of spending a bit more in Toronto than I thought I would and then paying my portion of a bachelorette party that I’m going to in July. I can’t say anything more, because the bride reads all my posts. In fact, I’ve already said too much! But I should’ve remembered that cost was coming.

Planned Spending – Goal: 5% / Actual: 5% / Difference: 0%

I topped up the Shopping Ban account and am over the $2,200 mark now! There are only 34 days left in that yearlong challenge… and I still don’t know what I’m going to spend the money on, but I’m going to save more more more in June. I’d love to cross the finish line with at least $2,500 in there.

Long-Term Savings – Goal: 17% / Actual: 19% / Difference: +2%

Finally, even though travel took up such a huge portion of my budget this month, I still managed to put 19% of my income in long-term savings. Remember that my only long-term savings goal is retirement. I’m not saving for a down payment or anything like that right now… I’m just trying to max out my TFSA, and put enough in my RRSP to offset some of the damage (i.e. taxes that will be owed) that comes with being a freelancer.

Considering how abnormal this month was for me, I’m fairly happy with how the numbers came out. June is going to be a pretty standard month for me. I should be able to live on less than 50% of my income and save the rest (no travel). But then things are going to get downright crazy in July, as I’m facing a huge (and exciting!) life change that is going to alter my entire budgeting strategy. I need a few more things to happen, before I can make it official… but I promise to fill you in this month!


Mo Money Podcast

Now, onto the good stuff! If you read a lot of blogs, you should be no stranger to podcasts. A few months ago, after getting hooked on Serial, I finally realized that I prefer to listen to people talk than watch TV. Today, I might binge on a show occasionally, but I spend the majority of my “free” time listening to podcasts… like Jess‘ new one!

Thanks to the wonderful world of blogging, Jess and I met a few years ago and became great friends. I love hanging out with her because she’s smart and opinionated… but she also always makes these witty little remarks that send me into fits of laughter. When she says she has a dash of sass, she means it! And now you can hear it for yourself in the new Mo’ Money Podcast!

Depending on how you prefer to listen, here is a list of places you can find it. (If you look carefully, you’ll even find an episode with me!)


Jess has been working hard on this for months (I think we did our interview in March!?) and finally launched it today! (See? Happy June 3rd, Jess!) To go along with the launch, she’s hosting a huge giveaway that I’m excited to share with all of you…

Here’s what’s up for grabs:

For a chance to win one of these prizes, cross as many things off the list in this Rafflecopter form as you like. And then be sure to listen to the first few episodes of the Mo’ Money Podcast, tell Jess what you think of it and leave her a review. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And if you’re still reading, let me know how your budget looked at the end of May. What do you want to work on in June? :)

  • L June 3, 2015 at 4:45 am

    Looks like you did great on your budget for May! My June will be a bit more spendy as my parents, sister and niece are visiting for the east coast but I am so looking forward to some family time. Not sure if you’ve looked into it but here in Ottawa, lululemon has free yoga on Sundays at their store as well as they have group glass every Wednesday on Parliament Hill and a boot camp at a local park on Fridays. Maybe they have something similar near you!

    • Cait Flanders June 3, 2015 at 7:05 am

      Whoa, that’s awesome, L! Something tells me that we don’t have anything similar in Vancouver… and I only say that because Lulu was started here and people are fanatical. But I should definitely look into that! Thanks for letting me know :)

  • Kate@GoodnightDebt June 3, 2015 at 5:14 am

    How does one spend only $8 on gas? Do you drive a moped? Did you only fill a gas can?

    My goal for June is to be more aware of the things I’m doing. I’ve realized lately that when I’m stressed or busy, I’ll sit on the couch and feel stressed and busy. In June, I hope to take action and clear some of these stressor off my plate. Stressing on the couch is getting me no where!

    • Cait Flanders June 3, 2015 at 7:04 am

      My tank was full and I was barely home! And then I’m weird and sometimes just like to top-up when gas prices are low (they are crazy high in Canada).

      Love your goal, Kate! I fall into that trap too, sometimes – especially when I feel overwhelmed. How about I do this with you? :)

  • Daniel @ June 3, 2015 at 6:05 am

    Congrats on your numbers! You are a source of inspiration, Cait!
    May was kind of a mess. Daughter and Wife’s birthdays on the same month, and I splurged on gifts. Nothing to worry about, but something to take care next year.
    June should be a normal and vanilla month.

    • Cait Flanders June 3, 2015 at 7:07 am

      Definitely something to remember for next year! And I want a normal and vanilla month too, haha. Here’s to a boring June. ;)

  • Ali @ Anything You Want June 3, 2015 at 6:29 am

    I listed to your episode of the Mo Money Podcast this morning and I loved it! I’m looking forward to reading more about your shopping ban.

    Also, it just sounded like you and Jessica were having so much FUN!

    • Cait Flanders June 3, 2015 at 7:08 am

      Aww, yay! Yea, I think that’s the best part about doing interviews with friends… we just laugh a lot. :)

  • Alyssa @ Generation YRA June 3, 2015 at 6:45 am

    Wonderful break down of your budget! Even with all the traveling, that is exceptional. My May was fairly high…I am also going to a friends Bachelorette this month! I have been saving accordingly for costs in advanced, but it just so happened that purchasing flights for the Bachelorette and her wedding fell in the same month and was a bit shocking for me. I love your gratitude category, and so glad to hear hot yoga went well! My fiance got me a gift card to take a Barre3 class (it’s a mix of Yoga, Pilates and ballet barre set to upbeat music – very fun!). The past few years I have been exercising for free by running outside, or streaming free workout videos at home. The class was invigorating and it was great to be in a supportive studio environment. I may have to consider a gratitude category as well to take one of the following Barre3 classes a month – so much to learn from you! :)

    • Cait Flanders June 3, 2015 at 7:15 am

      That sounds awesome, Alyssa! My friend Clare goes to Barre3 classes and absolutely loves it. I don’t know that it’s my jam, but I bet it’s an amazing workout. If you loved it, I would definitely try to budget in a class, when possible. :)

  • Carol Lane June 3, 2015 at 6:56 am

    Nice, can’t wait to hear more!

    • Cait Flanders June 3, 2015 at 7:19 am


  • Kristen June 3, 2015 at 7:15 am

    What I love about you sharing your budget is you show that no matter how hard to plan, you don’t always get it right. However, you show how it balances in the end. That is just what happens in life isn’t it?

    I too love a podcast. I have a long commute several days a week and they keep me company and informed. I was totally a Serial addict!

    Can’t wait to hear about your exciting changes!

    • Cait Flanders June 3, 2015 at 7:22 am

      I’m glad you feel that way, Kristen! I also hope it shows that even if you have a weird month, that’s no reason to stop tracking your spending/budgeting! I’m certainly not perfect. Life happens. But I know what I *want* my financial picture to look like, so I’m just always trying to paint it. :)

  • Katrina June 3, 2015 at 8:30 am

    It helps so much to see other’s break down of their budget. It helps put things in perspective. I’d like to see a future post on being frugal when you can’t find a job after college. It’s been 4 years since I graduated and I can’t even get a job in retail in my large city where all there is to do is shop! I have to live on savings and it’s dwindling down incredibly and I will be homeless soon. (I have a lot of expenses since my father passed away while I was in college)

    • Cait Flanders June 3, 2015 at 12:03 pm

      I don’t have experience with that myself, Katrina. Is applying for jobs in surrounding cities an option? Or moving? Can you get a roommate to split some expenses with or cut back on current expenses? If you want to chat via email, write anytime.

  • Emily K June 3, 2015 at 9:48 am

    May was a high spending month, with a graduation, a wedding and a funeral. I’m hoping that June will shape up to be better in terms of savings.

    • Cait Flanders June 3, 2015 at 10:23 pm

      Sounds like you’ve had a lot going on, Emily. I hope things settle down for you in June, too. :)

  • Jessica Moorhouse June 3, 2015 at 10:12 am

    I loved recording our episode Cait, thanks so much for being a guest and an awesome supporter!

    • Cait Flanders June 3, 2015 at 10:23 pm

      Anytime, girl! Happy for you!

  • Jen Ferris June 3, 2015 at 10:14 am

    Hi Cait:

    I’ve spent the past few days catching up on the past few years of your blog, since my friend and your former colleague turned me onto your site. I’ve sent you a couple of emails, but I know you are incredibly busy right now, for a one-on-one chat.
    First, let me say, I love your blog posts. I love that you are so genuine, down-to-earth and realistic. I’m so very proud of you and your success and accomplishments! You are fantastic!! And I sincerely mean that.

    Oh my gosh!!! I love podcasts! I can’t listen to them in the morning, though as I find they are too much of a distractor and I just want to sit and listen all day. But I love listening while I cook, clean the house, groom my guidedog, wash dishes, etcetera.
    As for my June goals: I want to write my “about” page, write my “Who is Jen Ferris” page and finalize the choice of photos to use on my site. I also want to reach out to some people in my industry to schedule interviews and establish some partnerships for building credibility on my site. My big, big, big biggest goal for June would be to have some one-on-one scheduled time to speak with you about business startup and freelancing. If I accomplish nothing else beyond speaking with you, I would be over the moon and consider my June a success.

    To a successful June!

    • Cait Flanders June 3, 2015 at 10:25 pm

      That makes sense re: listening to them in the morning. The morning is when I write for work, and I can’t listen to people talk when I write! I typically listen to them at the gym, in the car or while cooking/cleaning at night. Thanks for all the kind words, Jen. We will definitely talk soon :)

  • allroundbetterme June 3, 2015 at 11:16 am

    You have mentioned podcasts before in your blog posts, but I’ve never been motivated enough to actually look any up and give them a listen… but today I did just that with mo’ money mo’ houses. Do you have a list of all the podcasts that you regularly listen to?

    As for my budget, May was better than April for spending, but the next few months are going to be very spendy… home renos, birthdays, travel and, of course, my wedding… We have saved up quite a bit for all these things, so I’m not worried about the spending, but the decrease of the balance of our accounts will be sad to see. I’m not going to concern myself too much about paying attention to all these things because it’ll just be too crazy, but once all of that is over in August, it’ll be time for me to buckle down again.

    • Cait Flanders June 3, 2015 at 10:30 pm

      I have a few listed on my blogroll page:

      And you’re right, try not to worry about the decrease in those balances. You’ve saved for things you want to spent money on – that’s a huge accomplishment! And means you’re not going into debt. Enjoy your summer – especially your big day. You’ll get back to saving in the fall, I’m sure of it. :)

  • Sylvia @Professional Girl June 3, 2015 at 11:54 am

    I spent $8 on gas this month too, but I have a bike (135cc). For June, I would like to work on lowering my grocery bill and put 30% of my Gross pay towards my debt. I tried to lower my bill in May and it was an epic fail.

    • Cait Flanders June 3, 2015 at 10:31 pm

      Amazing goals, Sylvia! Putting 30% of your income towards debt repayment would feel amazing, I’m sure. Think about how good it could feel and try to use that as fuel to motivate you; that’s what I held onto throughout my entire journey. :)

  • Our Next Life June 3, 2015 at 1:50 pm

    Your spending in May reminds us of something that we are concerned about once we pull the trigger and quit our jobs… we are worried that our current spending is artificially low because we’re on the road so much for work, and have all of our travel expenses paid. Your tiny food and gas spending shows that you for sure just experienced this! We’re doing our best to extrapolate, but really can’t test it out in the meantime. We’ll just have to adapt on the fly!

    • Cait Flanders June 3, 2015 at 10:33 pm

      Ahhh yes… well, maybe just divide how much you pay for groceries now by how many days you’re home and multiply that by 31 days? To get a better estimate of what you might spend in the future? I’m sure you’ve done that – just wanted to suggest it. :)

  • steve weber June 3, 2015 at 2:07 pm

    I just came across this blog- lots of great blogging topics and useful tips and tricks to save the most money.

    Thank you for the chance to win.

    • Cait Flanders June 3, 2015 at 10:33 pm

      You’re welcome, Steve! Thanks for taking the time to comment :)

  • Terri Carroll June 3, 2015 at 2:21 pm

    May was rough. Rent went up gas went down. My son went tree planting and needed supplies at the end of April. That took me over more than I planned. In the upside my food costs were down and was able to find almost new winter tires for the fall. Trying to save now for a two week vacation in July. On a bit of a buying ban. On the plus side I planted a garden all by seed and its thriving. Soon that grocery bill will be uber low.

    • Cait Flanders June 3, 2015 at 10:35 pm

      I’m so jealous of your garden, Terri! I wish I had a yard, so I could plant one. Where are you going on vacation in July? :)

  • Petrish @ Debt Free Martini June 3, 2015 at 3:03 pm

    I listened to the podcast yesterday and really enjoyed. It was really great to hear your story.

    • Cait Flanders June 3, 2015 at 10:35 pm

      Nice! I’m glad you enjoyed it, Petrish. I’m really looking forward to hearing new episodes. :)

  • Natalie June 3, 2015 at 4:58 pm

    I loved the podcast! I would love it if you would do a podcast on how to save money toward retirement and how much to save.

    • Cait Flanders June 3, 2015 at 10:36 pm

      I don’t have a podcast myself, but will pass that along to Jess! :)

  • Leslie June 4, 2015 at 5:28 am

    Hi Cait! You were great on the podcast! I loved hearing your thoughts and ideas. Loved “personal finance” and how being responsible about money looks different for everyone. You can still be on a budget and be responsible if you love Starbucks. Just work it into the numbers and make your money help you live the life YOU want to live. Also, the idea of owing your parents and then paying them back first, even though it was a no-interest loan, was golden. Perfect example of “personal finance”; for you, it worked best to pay them first even if it cost you a little more. Paying that bit of interest on other loans was totally worth it to you. I was wondering what made you institute the no shopping ban? Is there somethign you are saving for or is it simply a personal challenge?

    • Cait Flanders June 4, 2015 at 2:52 pm

      Hey Leslie! I’m so glad you enjoyed the interview – it was really fun to chat with Jess. The shopping ban… oh man. I started it on my 29th birthday, and it was coupled with my decision to get rid of a bunch of my stuff and finally embrace minimalism. My ultimate goal was just to become a more conscious consumer – and I have definitely accomplished that. Here’s the original post. The challenge ends on July 6th!

  • Erica M. June 9, 2015 at 11:11 am

    I discovered your blog a few months ago when looking for some decluttering inspiration. I have since read all your posts. I enjoy your writing style and your practical tips and advice. You have inspired me to increase my efforts to pay off my (fairly small) credit card debt, and to be much more mindful with my non-essential purchases. Thanks for having such a great blog! :)

    • Cait Flanders June 9, 2015 at 11:26 am

      This comment made my whole morning, Erica – thank you so much for taking the time to write it! Is there anything you want to read about in the future? Just let me know :)

  • Rachael June 18, 2015 at 12:04 am

    Hey Cait!
    I’m a new reader (popping over from Not Entirely Perfect!) and was wondering– how do you come up with a monthly budget? Do you have any tips or suggestions to share? Thank you! <3

  • Amanda Sakovitz June 23, 2015 at 10:40 am

    I’m new to your blog but I think all the money saving options you offer is wonderful.

  • Bridgett Wilbur June 23, 2015 at 2:54 pm

    I just love your blog and all the great advice and tips you give on various topics. ty.