June 2015: Final Budget & Net Worth

July 1, 2015


Happy Canada Day, Canadian readers! How are you celebrating!? This will, undoubtedly, be one of the most unusual holidays for me in years, as I actually plan to work all day, haha. No paid days off for me, right now. But I hope you all get out and have some fun!

I’m trying to get as much done as I can between now and July 9th, so I can take a few days off to go on a road trip with Sarah. Months ago, we decided to go to World Domination Summit – which is July 10-12th in Portland – and I really want to get offline and enjoy that weekend. It’ll be the first trip I’ve ever taken where I haven’t had to request time off from a job, which feels like an incredible luxury. And we’re going to drive down and stay with Kathleen, which will make it extra fun. But before I get ahead of myself and jump into a new month, I need to add up my numbers from June. Here’s how I did:

Life Expenses: 56%

Ahhh, things are finally back to normal budget-wise. After travelling for the entire month of May, it was so nice to spend all of June in BC. Honestly, I’m feeling pretty travelled out, these days. I’m excited for mine and Sarah’s road trip, but after that I’m glad I can stick close to home all summer, until I go to FinCon in September. The weather has been amazing, the waters have been calm and it just feels good to be here. I have a feeling I’ll be travelling a lot less over the next 12 months… and am sure my budget will thank me! Being able to live off 50-60% of my income is fairly average for me, and there was nothing abnormal in this budget. So, business as usual, as they say.

UPDATE: Reading the Frugalwoods’ latest monthly expense report reminded me that I forgot to share what I was most grateful to have spent money on this month. I spent $10.64 to mail two books to Sarah and David, which I picked up at the Harvard Book Store, just hours before going for dinner at the Frugalwoods’! Funny how that came full circle. :)

Travel: 2%

The only money I spent on travel this month was to take the ferry to Victoria mid-month.

Planned Spending: 10%

I threw my usual $250 into the Shopping Ban account, then sold $350 worth of stuff and immediately added that to the pot. I can’t wait to tell you what I plan to do with it!

Long-Term Savings: 32%

And finally, I was able to save an additional 32% of my income… but I didn’t exactly put it in long-term savings. For the past few months, I’ve actually been stockpiling cash, so I could build up a good buffer in my chequing account, before making the career jump into full-time freelance. If you remember, I had once built up a $10,000 Emergency Fund, but then decided to invest half of it and keep $5,000 in a savings account at all times. Well, not only have I kept that cash in savings, I’ve also built up an $8,500 buffer in my chequing account. I wanted to have more in there, before I quit – my goal was $10,000 – but then I was offered a contract with guaranteed work/pay, which gave me the confidence to quit early.

Q2 Net Worth Update

It could be my involvement with Rockstar Finance, but after 4+ years of writing a personal finance blog, I’ve decided to finally start tracking my net worth. I don’t really like the idea of tracking it monthly, though – probably because I think my budgets and finances are going to be totally out of whack for the next few months, as I dive into freelance. Instead, I’m going to do quarterly updates – and yesterday was the end of Q2! Here’s where I’m at:


Normally, I would tell you not to include what’s in your chequing account, because that’s money you spend and it fluctuates regularly, but I want to keep a $10,000 buffer in mine at all times – and that’s “cash savings” worth keeping track of. In order to make that happen, I should technically keep $12,000-12,500 in there at all times, so I have a month of living expenses plus $10,000 as back-up. As you might’ve guessed, that’s going to be my first financial goal in my new “career”.

The $5,000 in my savings account is money I saved last year, when I was building up my first Emergency Fund. I don’t really know what its purpose is, at the moment… that’s something I’ll need to think about after I’ve built up the buffer I want in my chequing account. All I know is that I currently feel the need to hold onto a lot of cash, because freelance is so new to me and the pay is so “unstable”. I’ll continue to hoard it for a while longer.

I’m a bit torn about whether or not to include the money in my Shopping Ban account, but since you’ll soon find out I have no plans to spend it (at least not anytime soon), I’m going to. I can’t have thousands of dollars lying around and not track it…

And then I haven’t done a ton of investing in the past few months, so my two index funds haven’t budged much (and are down this week, anyway). I have a couple different ideas for how my budgeting method might look, when I start getting paid as a full-time freelancer, so I hope to start investing again in July. But I’ll need to see how much I actually earn, before I can tell you how much I’ll be able to allocate to that.

Budget Posts Going Forward

As you can imagine, I have no idea how much I’m going to earn in July. Ok, that’s not entirely true. I have a spreadsheet with projected earnings and am confident I’ll at least earn close to that amount. But until that money is in my chequing account, I can’t tell you what percentage I’ll be living off, saving, investing, etc. In an ideal world, I’ll put:

  • 30% aside for taxes
  • 20% into TFSA index fund
  • 10% into RRSP index fund
  • and then live off 40%

But that won’t happen until I have first built up my buffer to the minimum balance I want; that’s my top priority, right now.

June 2015 was the last month I’ll receive steady paycheques, for who knows how long… maybe a year, maybe 10, maybe forever. I don’t know what these posts will look like in the future, but at least I got to end these “steady” budgets on a high note, right?

How did June finish up for you?

  • Kate @ Cashville Skyline July 1, 2015 at 5:13 am

    Nice, Cait! Having extra cash before making a major career change was a smart move! World Domination Summit has always intrigued me. I’ll look forward to reading about your experience with it. I’m hoping to relax, write, and focus on weight loss this month!

    • Cait Flanders July 1, 2015 at 9:25 pm

      Thanks, Kate! I will definitely do some sort of recap, after we get back. No matter what, I love Portland and so many people in the city, so it’s going to be a fantastic weekend. Here’s to a great July!

  • Alyssa @ Generation YRA July 1, 2015 at 6:59 am

    Yay, Cait!! I can’t wait for you to visit Portland. It’s such a fantastic city! Also, very excited to hear what your plans are for the shopping ban – can you believe it’s been a year & how fast it went?! My June was a little crazy due to traveling, but my July & August are about to be a little out of balance too. The landlord of the house we are renting just sold the house we are living in (a post to follow tomorrow about this, yikes). So now all of the sudden we have unforeseen moving expenses to figure out – good thing we always have a buffer of savings/emergency fund! Excited for your journey as a freelancer, and that is wonderful that you have a plan for your projected income! :)

    • Cait Flanders July 1, 2015 at 9:41 pm

      Oh no, I’m so sorry to hear about your move! I hate moving so much, so I totally feel your pain. Don’t be scared to ask friends and family for help, if you can. People are happy to do it, to make the process easier for you. And you can pay them in pizza and beer. :) Good luck, girl! I’ll keep my fingers crossed you find a great place soon.

  • Maria July 1, 2015 at 7:55 am

    Would love to hear more about your investment accounts! I am currently trying to figure out the best place to put my investments so they grow.

  • Mackenzie July 1, 2015 at 8:11 am

    Awesome job with your savings Cait :) Good luck with your first full month of freelancing!

    • Cait Flanders July 1, 2015 at 9:42 pm

      Thanks, Mackenzie! PS, great to see you blogging again. :)

  • Amanda @ My Life, I Guess July 1, 2015 at 8:39 am

    You are killing it with the savings! Hopefully your career change will be as successful as you project and you’ll never need to touch that buffer money. :)

    • Cait Flanders July 1, 2015 at 9:43 pm

      Wouldn’t that be nice? ;) Thanks, Amanda!

  • Our Next Life July 1, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    So looking forward to your shopping ban wrap-up post! Excited to hear how you plan to (not) spend the money you’ve saved. Our June was looking good, but there was that big WOP WOP end to the month. Funny — even though we’re in the chorus talking about how the markets are overvalued, we still feel crushed when they decline. Ha!

    • Cait Flanders July 1, 2015 at 9:44 pm

      Oh man, it is going to be a DOOZY! And I feel you on the loss. I don’t have near the amount I’m guessing you guys have saved, but lost a good $1,200 or so for sure. It’ll bounce back though… and so it goes. :)

  • Kayla @ Shoeaholicnomore July 1, 2015 at 2:32 pm

    Love this post Cait! I’m so happy to hear about your upcoming plans for freelancing and that you have included some time off to enjoy too. :)

    • Cait Flanders July 1, 2015 at 9:45 pm

      Thanks, Kayla! So excited to join the ranks of other full-time freelancers. After this trip, I don’t think I’ll be taking anymore time off until FinCon, haha… but I love a good road trip and can’t wait to travel with Sarah again!

  • Kristen July 1, 2015 at 3:07 pm

    What an amazing net worth! I calculate ours about once a year, and am happy that even with the mortgage we are just in the black for our net worth!

    June was a strange month. Planned travel took up a lot of money, however, it was slightly less than expected, which is good because traveling in Iceland is expensive. My husband paid of his car. We got a killer rate on our mortgage. We finally got the rest of our tax return. We bought 1/3 of a dock. We had an unexpected vet bill. We didn’t get to save extra but in the end I believe we came even, so given all the craziness we are happy!

    Today starts my shopping ban, so wish me luck!

    • Cait Flanders July 1, 2015 at 9:48 pm

      Thanks, Kristen! I have definitely been scrimping over the last few months, to get that buffer in my chequing account… but it made the “leap” feel a lot less scary, so I’m really glad I have it! Now, back the truck up, hehe. You bought 1/3 of a dock? What does that mean? Like a dock on a lake where you’d launch a boat? I’m wishing you SO MUCH LUCK on your shopping ban! Please share your progress/ups/downs anytime! The first 30 days will likely be the toughest, so just push through that and it’ll get easier – I promise.

      • Kristen July 3, 2015 at 5:54 pm

        1/3 of a dock – we live on a private road with access to a private beach – the houses have access. While we have no intentions of getting a boat (I am working hard to save $ not spend it), one of the neighbours put in a dock. He said he was happy to make this the community dock and he would do all the care of it etc. So in part to be good neighbours (that is important in the country) and in part so we can jump off it, let the dogs jump off it, sit on it etc. we purchased our 1/3 of it.

        Shopping ban – day 3. Went to the pet store for dog food. Buying things my dogs don’t really need is very challenging for me, made worse by the fact my cat died this week (he was 20) and I know the dogs are very sad and miss him. But I am thrilled to report I only walked out with the bag of food I needed. All other spending – $250 on car maintenance and $100 to keep a professional certification annual renewal I spent close to $100 000 were needed expenses today. While it is more $ then I would have liked, I can put it all in the must have/do category.

  • catherine July 1, 2015 at 4:54 pm

    Nicely Done! I’m approaching 31 with a negative networth so…there’s that lol. I’m also excited to hear about shopping ban wrap-up and savings plans :)

    • Cait Flanders July 1, 2015 at 9:50 pm

      Hey, but I don’t have a home! We’re all in different places, right? But on similar missions! Monday’s post should definitely be interesting… if I can ever finish it, haha.

  • Rob July 1, 2015 at 6:16 pm

    Happy Canada Day, Cait!

    I see that you have your budget well under control – building up that savings “war chest”, getting ready to jump into the full time freelance world, eh? :-)

    We’re quietly celebrating Canada Day here in TO and getting ready for the start soon of the Pan-AM games, which should cause some interesting traffic situations, what with all the expected influx of out of town tourists.

    Budget-wise for June, we over-spent a bit but no biggie as I expect to compensate over the next month or so. I don’t tend to obsess much on my monthly budget results, preferring instead to track things more on a quarterly basis. Since you’re going free-lance, you may also find that you too will find it easier to monitor your financial situation in that way, given the possible up/down variances that you may experience month to month.

    Investment-wise, June results dipped a tad, which I attribute to general global conditions such as what is happening in Greece, the EU and China these days. But that’s how investing works. You diversify as best that you can to best cope with the ups and downs of the market, regardless of what you happen to invest in.

    • Cait Flanders July 1, 2015 at 9:58 pm

      Yes, I absolutely think I’ll be tracking things quarterly… but I do have a minimum amount I’d like to earn each month. So I think I’ll keep tracking my spending monthly, but then find quarterly averages, in order to setup systems and plans going forward.

      How long will the Pan Am Games run for?

      • Rob July 4, 2015 at 7:03 pm

        Toronto 2015 Pan Am (July 10-26) and Parapan American (Aug 7-15) Games.

  • Adam @ AdamChudy.com July 1, 2015 at 8:07 pm

    Solid numbers Cait. Looking forward to what your new journey brings.

    • Cait Flanders July 1, 2015 at 9:58 pm

      Thanks, Adam!

  • allroundbetterme July 2, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    My June was super spendy, as my budget post tomorrow will show…
    Good plan on having a buffer before starting the full time freelancing. And well done on the impressive net worth!

    • Cait Flanders July 2, 2015 at 8:38 pm

      Some months are worse than others. How do you think July will be for you?

      • ARBM July 4, 2015 at 8:42 am

        Ugh… July will probably be just as spendy as we start paying for all the stuff for our wedding in August…

        • Cait Flanders July 5, 2015 at 7:36 am

          Ahhh yes… weddings. I’m in a wedding at the end of August, and a few expenses will pop-up for it between now and then, too. At least September will be better!? #brightside

  • L July 3, 2015 at 3:36 am

    Great post and good luck with everything! Have you thought about distinguishing between a true emergency fund and a “kitty”fund? A friend of mine was a contractor and would put a portion of each cheque away in the “kitty” fund to “pay” herself for her vacations or when she could not get a contract. I guess this could be included in an emergency fund however; for you this wouldn’t be an emergency it might sometimes be the norm. Your emergency fund could be for “true” emergencies, ie. pipes burst (I know you don’t own your home but you get the idea).

    Either way it sounds like you have the right mind set to save save save until you have a nice cushion.

    • Cait Flanders July 5, 2015 at 7:34 am

      That’s a good idea, L! I could turn my regular savings account into a travel fund – with no specific trip planned, per se, but then money would be ready if I did decide to go on one. I like that. And then the shopping ban will remain my “planned spending” account, in case there *are* things I want to buy in the future. Love it!

      • Julie July 24, 2015 at 6:26 pm

        Hello Cait, I don’t understand the concept of your shopping ban account, although I have read a few of your older posts. Can you refer me to a post where you would have explained what money you put in this account? Thanks!

  • Tre July 5, 2015 at 4:32 am

    Thanks for sharing your net worth! Can’t wait to hear how your first month of freelancing goes.

    • Cait Flanders July 5, 2015 at 7:34 am

      Thanks, Tre!

  • Debby July 8, 2015 at 3:24 am

    Your shopping ban is inspiring me to buy less, especially clothes, but it is so easy to justify buying something. I am discovering that I have some work to do. I am very impressed with your commitment to your shopping ban.

  • Jamie February 13, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    Since I discovered your blog a week ago, I have spent hours reading it. I read some of the very early posts, then started somewhere in the middle and read nearly every post until this one. I was actually a little stunned when I could no longer hit “newer.”

    I love the ideas you shared on here about how to get control of your finances, but even more so your embrace of minimalism and simplicity. This is something I’ve wanted to work on for a long time, but reading your blog has inspired me to think seriously about it and start figuring out my own goals and how I’m going to get there. Thank you for sharing your journey!

    • Jamie February 13, 2016 at 1:04 pm

      Also, I don’t know how my comment ended up here rather than on the latest entry – oh well!