Update: March 2013 Budget & Goals

Update: March 2013 Budget & Goals

Ohhhh, goodness – this budget looks absolutely terrifying. But let’s talk about why it’s not actually that bad.

Starting from the top, the extra $1,650 that I put on my debt this month was my entire 2012 tax return. Knowing that, I only went over budget by $778.48. I saved everything that I wanted to save, but then my expenses are where things got messy.

I spent less on groceries than I expected to; this doesn’t really surprise me, considering I’ve been all over the place for the last week (a.k.a. not at home cooking). Going down a couple spots, you’ll also see that I ate more takeout than I expected to, and for the exact same reason.

As for personal care items, well, I did a little bit of clothes shopping this month. In total, I bought 11 new tops and a new pair of Nike capris for running. I can’t say I had planned for that, but it didn’t break the bank and it feels good to be wearing smaller clothes that actually fit.

Finally, coming home has been expensive! But I knew it would be. On Wednesday, I paid for six months of car insurance ($621) and then I took the ferry over to Vancouver ($64.10) to start apartment hunting. Fortunately, every penny of that came out of my Future Apartment account.

In total, because so much came out of my Future Apartment account, I was only over budget by $93.38 this month. Phew! I feel so much better now, knowing that.

Goals for this month:

  • Explore Toronto – PASS! Well, I definitely got out more in March than I did in most other months I was there. The best new place I checked out? Brick Works, for sure.
  • Read 3 books – FAIL! I started two books and finished none.
  • Track my weekly spending – PASS! Although it was a little painful to do.
  • Change my phone # (eek!) – PASS! I’m a 778 now. Never thought I’d see the day.
  • Trust that everything will come together – FAIL! I can’t lie – I have tried to stay positive but I’ve had a couple moments/days where I have stressed about my move. This past weekend, I spent a good chunk of one day feeling like I wouldn’t be able to find a place. But I’m sure that’s just part of feeling uprooted, not having a place to call your own, and lacking any kind of a routine.

As for April – well, I have no idea what my budget will look like. I don’t have an apartment yet, so I don’t know if/when/how much I’ll be paying in rent. But things are going to come together soon, right? So we’ll revisit April’s budget a little later.

How did your month finish up?

  • My March ended up being awesome, mostly due to my giant tax return. I’m now officially in the black! In non financial terms, I didn’t do so well, I’m still off running because of my injury and wedding planning hasn’t been executing itself like I hoped it would, but April is a new month with new possibilities. Good luck finding a place!

  • Well, all things considered Cait, I think that you did ok this past month. As I previously commented, you’ll probably be spending more than you’d care to for awhile (as you gradually get settled out west) but, no worries, I still see you being debt free by this summer – and that’s no April Fool’s joke !!! :-)

    As for me, well it’s been a mixed bag this past month. Looking at my 3 main goals:
    Healthy – could have been better but I won’t bore you with the details except to say that I figure that I should now be on the road to recovery so long as I don’t overdo things.
    Wealthy – our investments, like the stock market, increased nicely in value.
    Wise – still, and always will be, a work in progress!!! :-)

    Hope you had a great Easter with your family.

    • Yea, I imagine April’s budget will be interesting… but I’m not going to stress about it. I know how to pinch pennies and make things work!

      Hope you are truly on the road to recovery, Rob!

      No Easter dinner for me, as I’m still in Vancouver and the fam is over in Victoria. But we did all get around a table last Wednesday for some pizza. :)

  • Over budget by ~$90 during a month you moved in? You’re a rockstar girl! I’d be way further over budget if it was me moving. Nicely done in thinking ahead and putting money aside well in advance.

    • Haha, well I wouldn’t say I’m a rockstar… throughout the month, I thought this budget was going to be much worse! But I guess it wasn’t so bad, eh?

  • Good work C! March was pretty hard for us. We had fairly high expenses (car maintenance, our wine club shipments). We also booked our NYC trip so I just paid cash for that rather than transfer money to the NYC fund and then re-transfer it back to pay for the flights. That would be silly. So, nothing saved in March, but I count our flights as “savings” since we had that in our plan.

    April will be a bit expensive due to my birthday. We’re taking 6 friends out to dinner/drinks and covering the whole thing, so we’ve budgeted $700 for my birthday. It’s my 30th and we NEVER do birthday things, but felt like this was warranted. I’m looking forward to it! We also owe our 6 months’ car insurance in April. I’m shocked at how expensive yours is. I think ours will be more like $350. Wonder if that’s just a Canada vs. America thing?

    • Yay for finally booking your trip! You’ve been talking about it for so long.

      Expensive car insurance… how can I explain this in the simplest terms. In BC, everyone has to get basic coverage from ICBC – it’s a crown corporation and, because we have to get basic coverage through them, there is no competition (a.k.a. no opportunity to get lower rates). Kinda sucks.


  • So far so good March is off to a good start, I’ve put $2K toward my debt thanks to my tax return and my new budgeting techniques. I’ve cut daily expenses like coffee, cabs, and buying lunch. I’m amazed at the amount of money I have right now. I’m hoping to get to my next pay period with $100 left at the end! Congrats on the move!

  • Cait, given your explanation I think being over by $90 is nothing to stress about. Now paying down debt with your entire tax return takes determination so kudos to you!

  • Apartments can be quite pricy in the city center, but rent gets a lot cheaper in the suburbs. Your budget for the next couple of months may be all over the place but it should normalize after you get settled in. I’ve heard they’re talking about a new area code because 778 is running out of free numbers lol. Welcome back to BC :D Hope you’re happy about how restaurant meals are now taxed at only 5% once again compared to 13% in ON ;)

    • I’m actually looking out in New West, so prices definitely aren’t as bad as they are in the city! But they’re running out of 778’s, eh? Toronto is running out of both of their area codes, as well. And yes, it’ll be nice to have cheaper taxes on restaurants… but I do think getting rid of HST was a mistake (that’s a whole ‘nother blog post).

  • Glad to hear things are heading in the direction that you want them to Cait. A move is certainly not a cheap endeavour but sometimes it’s for the best. When I moved from the UK to Canada you don’t want to know the costs involved, sometimes I try to forget them but it was the BEST decision I ever made. The money means nothing when there’s goals and a new life… you just go with it!! Best of luck to you Cait.

    • I can only imagine how much it would cost to move from another country! Happy to hear it was the best decision ever… Mr. CANADIAN Budget Binder ;)

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