July 2014 Budget & Goals

July 2014 Budget & Goals

Back-to-back budget posts this week – only July’s looks a little different than last month’s. Can you spot the difference? Hint: It’s the total at the bottom.

I’ve been thinking about my spending habits a lot lately and have decided it’s time to get serious about cutting back. I’m working on a more detailed post about this for Monday, but here’s a little breakdown of this budget.

My savings goals remain the same. I can’t change my fixed expenses (all housing, most of transportation and health care). And I’m sticking with $150 for gas this month, since summer gas prices are higher than ever, and I’ll be driving to Whistler and back at least once.

Speaking of, I’m heading up to Whistler this weekend with a couple of my girlfriends, to celebrate my birthday. We don’t have anything special planned – a hike on Saturday, dinner on a patio and maybe stop at a lake before we drive back on Sunday – but I’m really looking forward to the getaway. I only need to budget for food/fun here, so I think it’ll be a fairly inexpensive weekend (as far as weekends in Whistler go).

At the end of the month, more of my girlfriends are coming over from Victoria for two days of hiking, and the first trail they plan to tackle also happens to be in Whistler. I’m not 100% sure I can get the day off work yet, but if I can I’ll be heading up with them (for just a day trip). After that, I’m heading back home to Victoria for the August long weekend (my last trip over until late October, sniff sniff).

As for non-travel food costs, I’ve limited my restaurant budget even further this month. I probably sound like a broken record here, so please forgive me, but I finally had my aha! moment and now feel sick about how much I’ve been spending on dining out lately. Again, I’ll talk about this more on Monday.

Finally, I received some money for my birthday which I plan to purchase a new pair of running shoes with but, depending on how much they cost, I may have to pay the difference myself. I also desperately need a new sports bra, so the two together make up what I plan to spend my personal care budget on.

In total, I plan to put 22% of my income in long-term savings, spend 41.5%* on housing (ouch), 10.5% on food, 11.5% on transportation, 6% on travel, 3% on health care, 4% on myself and donate 1.5% to charity.

*The new, smaller total at the bottom makes my housing costs look that much more expensive. Yikes.

Goals for this month:

  • Read 1 book
  • Workout 4x/week
  • Buy new running shoes + a new sports bra
  • Then start a new yearlong challenge (have I convinced you to come back on Monday yet?)

What do you have planned this month?

  • Yeah, I have been thinking about my spending a lot lately as well… mostly because I have a serious case of the “I wants”. That being said, I think I got it out of my system this weekend. And it was with money my fiancé gave me, so… even better? Haha.

    So the lower amount at the bottom (from $3,200 to 2,900) isn’t reflected in your budget. Where does that money go, unless you’re not earning less? Is it going up top in your emergency fund/RRSP?

    • I’ve always budgeted for less than I actually take home, then keep a small buffer in my chequing account plus put a little bit in a basic savings account. I’ll probably put the extra $300 aside for two trips I have coming up in Sept/Oct. But this month is a test, so I want to see how I do, first!

  • Ummm 25 a month for entertainment? Is that a movie? A trip to a flea market? Buying a tshirt in Whistler? That’s CRAZY low!!! Help me understand, please

    • Entertainment for me = Netflix ($7.99), books, magazines… and that’s about it. I might go to two movies/year, and a t-shirt would go into “personal care”. My entertainment is usually dining out or going hiking with friends. Does that help?

      • Would going out for dinner with friends go under restaurant? And hiking is free (yay!). Maybe I’m surprised cause my ent budget (200 a month) includes meals out.

        • Yep, it goes under restaurant! Last month, I spent $167 on dining out and takeout coffee. Bleh. I’m really unhappy with that amount. This month (with a new challenge), I want to seriously rein in my spending. So, it’s time for me to find a lot more free and fun ways to entertain myself!

          • I don’t have cable! I’d probably tie it in with Internet, up under Housing, since it’d be all on one bill. But yes, it’s definitely a form of entertainment.

  • Yeah I need to do get control of my expense, seem like you cut a bit which is good. Since I got upcoming travel, the airplane ticket is what’s killing me. Happy early birthday to you, hope you have a good time in on your weekend trip.

  • Yikes,
    after adding up my Visa bill I really need to focus on what I really want and how much I truly want to eat out.

    I don’t regret any of the purchases made this month and I have money to cover everything but its still a very high credit card bill. I haven’t even bought my plane tickets yet for upcoming trips.

    Granted some of the expenses on my credit card I will be reimbursed for. I am going to follow your and Alicia’s lead and reign in my spending. I don’t track my discretionary spending, but I think I might start.

  • I’ll be headed back to Montreal for a few days in July so I need to be careful of creeping social expenses because that is usually the result of my home trips. I’m looking forward to the detailed budget post you’ve got cooked up!

  • Cutting back on food – I wish you luck with that. It is the one “sticking” issue with our budget. I think we spend way too much on food. I would like to start by taking $100 out of the monthly food budget (either eating out or groceries or a combo), but there is some resistance to this. I faithfully pack a lunch every day and all the snacks I need. I have purchased a kettle for my desk at work and keep a mug and tea there (I work part time for a charity . . . hence my desire to provide a kettle). Hubby maybe takes his lunch 2 times a month. He can spend $25 on food in a day (although the average is 10 for one meal – and yes all the food I pack in a day is likely more – I can’t eat gluten so that adds $$$$$ to groceries). We do meal plan all our dinners (we live in the middle of no where so it is a pain to need to run out and get something). I am hopefully that I can slowly trim this area. . . . It is only month 2 of budget so I do expect some bumps (especially when we are working to balance 2 peoples lives and priorities).

    Also, put a good sports bra under health. There are a lot health problems associated with wearing the wrong bra:)

    Best of luck and happy birthday!

  • Thank you for the link to your budget template. At the end of this month, I am going to achieve my goal of becoming debt-free and your budget layout looks perfect for helping me in my next personal finance adventure – beefing up my emergency fund!

    I hope this doesn’t come off as too fan-girl but I just wanted to say thank you for having this site and documenting your own PF journey. I became a regular reader after the G&M published their article about you and reading about your accomplishments on this site really helped me out of a period of debt fatigue and reignite my desire to tackle the last of my debt. So, thank you. :)

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