Update: April 2014 Budget & Goals

Update: April 2014 Budget & Goals

Oh, April. The month in which I had to fork out $500 for a wedding and still decided to spend money on myself. There’s a lot of red in this budget, but the one positive I can share is that I did pay for everything with cash. Still, let’s see how the month finished up.

First, you can see there are some fixed expenses that will never change: both housing and health care were on budget. Food is also almost perfectly on budget, as I only went over the two categories by $2.23.

I was in Toronto for a few days at the beginning of the month, and in Victoria for a week or so, and tried to stay within my budgets. BC Ferries increased their fares yet again, which is why I was slightly off there.

When I added up the numbers last night, I was genuinely surprised at how much I spent on gas this month. Didn’t I only fill up a few times? Then I remembered that gas prices are hovering around $1.50/L right now. I need to be conscious of that, as I write my summer budgets, because I’ll be doing a fair bit of driving.

Finally, I donated what I usually do, and saved the tiny amount I said I would, and then I went shopping. Well, I picked up two things – but neither of them were cheap. First, I bought a Fitbit Flex. I wasn’t going to write a review of it, because I agree with most of what Krystal said in hers, but I think I still will next month.

I also bought a juicer and, man oh man, did people have opinions about that. I wrote a post on Gail’s site that was meant to be fun / inform people that juicing is expensive and you shouldn’t buy one without a game plan to actually use it, and some of the comments almost made me wish I hadn’t posted it. Oh well. I love it.

In the end, I spent 35% on housing, 10% on food, 10% on transportation, 2.5% on health care, 11.5% on myself, 2% on charity, 9% on travel, 14% on my girlfriends’ wedding and put just 6% in long-term savings. It was a fun month, but I’m looking forward to a quiet May.

Goals for this month:

  • Hang out with my mentee – FAIL! But we have plans this Sunday.
  • Submit my first piece to The Globe and Mail – PASS!
  • Throw a fun bachelorette party / be a great bridesmaid on my friends’ wedding day – PASS!
  • Try to workout 3x/week – PASS! I worked out 12 times this month. Mind you, I can’t handle much more than a 30-minute walk or 20 laps in the pool… but I’m getting back into a routine.
  • After 23 days of travelling/dining out, do some serious clean eating at home! – PASS!

How did your month finish up?

  • All in all that sounds like a terrific month.

    I haven’t yet sat down to look at my month as a whole but I do know I’m $500+ over budget. I’m hoping for a quieter May as well. This month I purchased two new pairs of glasses, three new pairs of shoes (I had worn all my shoes out… SERIOUSLY), and a dress (I had a coupon for my old work and I really wanted to use it). So aside from these purchases I was actually on budget in everything else. I really need to get a planned spending account established for things like this.

    • Yea, I don’t really have a planned spending account, per se. But I budget for less than what I make, so I always have extra in my chequing account or basic savings account. That doesn’t work for everyone, but it’s been ok for me so far!

      • I budget right to the penny usually. If I see dollars in my checking account I want to spend them. Also I often don’t get to the end of the pay period without dipping in to the allotment for the next pay period.

        • I also budget to the penny. The money in my chequing acct is only ever what I’m going to spend before my next pay for regular variable expenses. Anything over and above my normal variable expenses budget I pay out of my savings (aka planned spending) acct. For example, tires for my car, my gym membership, my Will, etc.

  • Hey Cait!

    Sounds like April was a good albeit busy month for you!
    And I’ll reiterate that it was great meeting you at the beginning of the month!

    Today is my sister’s 29th b-day.
    My April was also extremely busy but goals and budget-wise I stayed on track.

    I’ve started tracking my food with MFP (on my snazzy new iphone) and it’s been eye opening. So a May goal will be working on doing better with what I eat.

    In April I saved 14% more than my monthly goal which I set at the beginning of the year (due to overtime).

    In April I worked out a total of 25 days, had 5 rest days, and a total of 29 workouts (because I worked out twice on 4 of the days).

    I am on track for my goal to read 18 books this year as I’m finished 6 and halfway thru the 7th.

    Later today I will check in on my net-worth. By the way… I recently found out the “market value” of my house is approx $25K more than I had been using in my net worth calculations. Would you add in that increase (essentially showing a massive net worth increase) or would you just leave it conservatively as is? I realize none of that profit is true or realized unless I sell the house, which I am not (yet).

    Have a great Wednesday!


    • You could adjust for it, essentially saying, for example, my net worth increased by $27,000 this month, but only $2,000 was earned because $25,000 was from my home’s value increase. Does this make sense to you? I work at a bank and we do this all the time for our customers when they increase the value of land listed on their balance sheet. Yes, it’s worth more, but you didn’t do anything to “earn” this value increase.

      • Thanks… that’s what I was thinking… I’m not reporting it to anyone but myself, but just for accuracy I guess I could/should include it. And it could obviously change drastically depending on what the house sells for when the time comes.


    • Dayle, can you stop being so freaking amazing!? Please! You’re making the rest of us look bad ;)

      In all seriousness, sounds like you had a great month! I’m on Book #5 right now… a little behind, eek!

  • Gah! Disability insurance is still something I need to look into. I don’t want to end up kicking myself one day! You did well with your budget. Groceries are still my nemesis. I spend over 400 in that category! Crazy! But luckily I have really no weddings and showers to go to anymore so that frees up some cash. I saw your pic on FB and you looked gorgeous! Hope May is a great month for you!

  • Sounds like you had a crazy busy month, but also a lot of fun! I’m impressed with your food/grocery budget, it looks like you do some smart shopping. Looking forward to the Fitbit Flex review!

    • People always say that re: my grocery budget, but it’s always been the way. I eat about $50/week worth of groceries, and takeout usually fills in a couple other meals. No secrets to it… but I only buy the exact amount of food I need, so I never throw anything out.

  • Wow I’m definitely going to check out that juicing post. This month was quite expensive for me as well, although I’m not really sure why, it seemed like a pretty straight forward month, nothing big happened.

    May is sure to be expensive as well because I’ve got a few events planned (Bluenose in Halifax and Beerfest) plus I’ve enrolled in two obedience classes for the dog…oh well at least I have the cash to pay for it all.

    • Ooo sounds like you have a fun month coming up! We’ll have to talk more about that next week :)

  • hey there – I might have missed in one of your posts why you do this – but why are you not putting anything into your retirement savings?

    • It’s not for lack of wanting to, but I had to budget $500 for a wedding I was in this month. Next month will look different!

  • April was a tough month for me too. I knew it was going to be and yet I still did and bought things I shouldn’t have. Oh well! All I can do now is move on and try and do better in May.

  • Hi there,

    I bought a juicer (the same one as you) because of your post. I knew from reading your blog for over a year that you put time and thought into any purchase. A juicer can be a fad for many people but I knew for me it has been something that I have been thinking about it for over a year. Everyone chooses where to spend their money. What is important is that you have the cash to pay for it, and have put thought into the purchase. There is no doubt that you would have gone through a thorough process to make your decision. My family loves loves our juicer. My husband and I watched Fat, Sick, and Nearly dead. It is a great movie about making changes in lifestyle to live a healthier life. Juicing is a big part of this change. Thanks for your post on juicing.

    • How exciting, Leanne! I’m happy to hear your whole family is enjoying the fresh juice :)

  • I got a FitBit flex too but ended up returning it! I just felt like it was telling me information that I wasn’t acting on. Probably because I walk everywhere anyways, I don’t feel like there was much room for improvement unless I was going to walk tons and tons extra. As for the sleep tracker, same thing. “You slept 6 hours”….great…what now? But I’m glad that you and Krystal both like yours and that you feel motivated from it!

    I am definitely going to read all the juicing comments! I’ve been into juice lately but I actually use my vitamix to do it! I didn’t want an extra appliance hanging around, and I learned that if you blend the veggies and fruit in the vitamix and strain it through a nut milk bag, then tada!! Plus no annyoing juicer parts to clean. Bought the nutmilk bag at Whole Foods for $12 but then BF went onto ebay and ordered a whole bunch of them for a few dollars. Awesome! They are reusable too so I imagine I’ll have at least a year’s supply now.

    One quick thing, I noticed that your comparison with Bridget’s juice is that hers is $5 for a 24 oz of juice. I have NO IDEA where to get fresh juice that cheap. In downtown Van you’re looking at about $8 for that…and sometimes that’s for only 16oz or less. I think Jugo Juice has better value than Body Energy Club which is where I used to go.

    • I don’t know where Bridget gets it! But I do know she’s in Calgary, not Vancouver. Maybe that’s to her advantage ;)

  • We did a no spend month for April, mind you we still used our regular budget, but tried really hard to stick with it.

    I am finding that even this month we are having trouble sticking to it. I am wondering… how do you deal with going over your budget? Do you have a slush fund to fill in the gaps!


    • Yep, you got it! Basically, I budget for less than what I actually bring home, so I always have a small float in my chequing account. On payday, I usually move whatever is leftover from the previous paycheque into a basic savings account… so there’s always a little something in my back pocket, when I need it. :)

  • “I also bought a juicer and, man oh man, did people have opinions about that.”

    You bought a A juicer! ewww! yuck! pituee!
    (just teasing you Cait! – just couldn’t resist it!) :-)

    Given your past busy month, I see that your budget vs actuals came out not bad, all things considered, so keep up the good work.

    Like others, however, my April numbers took a bit of a hit – going over budget – due in part to: higher than planned income tax owing, my wife’s vision expenses, a few family b/day celebrations, yadda yadda yadda. Overall, I hope to make up the budget shortfall and be back in good shape, cumulatively speaking, over the next few monthly budgets. And so it goes, no worries …

    • Haha, that made me laugh.

      Yea, it was a great month, with the exception of those purchases… so I guess there’s something to be said about that!

      Onto May :)

  • It’s not like every month goes the way April did in terms of spending and it was an eventful one. April was a pretty good one for me in terms of spending and actually came under budget for a few categories. Now you have me curious about the juicer post so I’ll be heading over to check that one out :)

    • Haha, hope you enjoy it. And good job on coming in under budget in some categories! I love that feeling.

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