REMEMBER: You can download this budget template!
Well, it was quite a month – not exactly the one I’d planned, but in some ways it was even better. I celebrated my 29th birthday, went to Whistler with friends, had friends from Victoria and Toronto come stay with me, started a new yearlong shopping ban, gave up takeout coffee, hosted my first meet-up and, in a massive declutter/purge, removed 377 items (42% of my belongings) from my apartment. Whew! Now, let’s look at how my numbers finished up, then talk about how my budget posts will be written going forward.
If you look at the “Leftover” column, I only went over in three categories this month, but the amounts were somewhat substantial.
First, groceries: what the heck!? Seriously, this is the question I asked myself every weekend this month, after I added up my spending. In the first two weeks of July, I spent $200 on groceries! At that point, I obviously knew I was going to go over budget and tried to reign it in more, but it was impossible to get it any lower than this. My fridge is empty and I waste nothing – and I lost 5.2 lbs. this month – so how could I have spent all that money on food!? I have three reasons: 1) I had friends over for dinner a handful of times, 2) I dined out less but bought a few more convenience foods and 3) the cost of groceries has skyrocketed. As of last weekend, I’ve stopped shopping at Thrifty Foods – but that topic requires a post of its own.
Parking isn’t really anything to sneeze at. I usually budget for $65, but had this wonderful idea that I’d drive to work a little less. Instead, I drove downtown a lot more – and you know parking ain’t cheap there.
Finally, I hadn’t budgeted for it, but I decided to renew my passport this month. It’s been expired since May and I need it for some upcoming trips to the U.S. this fall, so I decided not to wait until August and dealt with it last week. Since the new 10-year passports are only $40 more than the 5-year ($160 vs. $120), I decided to go for a 10-year. The renewal fee + a set of new pictures set me back $180.83, but it had to be done.
All the categories I came in under budget don’t really surprise me, however, it’s cool to see how the first 3.5 weeks of my shopping ban have affected my finances so far. I’m dining out less, not shopping at all (I bought new running shoes + a new sports bra right before the ban started) and am avoiding bookstores like the plague. My only entertainment cost this month was Netflix, which was $7.99 well spent.
In the end, I put 21% of my income in long-term savings, spent 38.5% on housing, 12% on food, 10% on transportation, 11% on travel (including my passport), 3% on health care, 3% on myself and I donated 1.5% to charity. And that scary red number at the bottom? Not to worry. I got back a bunch of reimbursements from work this week + earned a little bit of freelance income earlier in the month, so we’re all good there.
Budgets going forward
Now, it makes me a little sad to say this, but I think this is the last time you’re going to see my numbers on the site – at least, the actual dollar amounts. I’ve really struggled with this decision, as I’ve always been an open book here, but I know it’s what’s best for me. And, in a way, I think the new format for my budget posts is going to be pretty cool for you guys too. (So I hope you’ll come back next week to check it out!)
Why did I finally make this decision? Surprisingly, even after receiving random / harassing comments from a few people in the past, it actually has nothing to do with that. I don’t care if you guys know how much I spend on groceries, gas or whatever else (obviously) – but I do care about keeping some numbers private, for security’s sake. There’s a crazy thing out there called identify fraud/theft, and I want to protect myself from it.
So, it’s been fun sharing my numbers with you all for the last three years, and it has helped me grow and continually get better with my finances, but next week we are switching to percentages. I can’t wait to see what you think of August’s budget. Thanks for understanding! xo
Goals for this month:
- Read 1 book – PASS! I actually read 2 books: Minimalism and The Accidental Creative.
- Workout 4x/week – PASS! And I lost 5.2 lbs, which was a nice bonus!
- Buy new running shoes + a new sports bra – PASS!
- Then start a yearlong shopping ban – PASS!
- Host a meet-up in Vancouver on July 24th – PASS! Now it’s time to plan one in Toronto!
How did your month finish up?
Guest posts published in July:
2014, Jul 27 – When Spending Money Stops Tasting Good – Gail Vaz-Oxlade
2014, Jul 24 – Two Ways You Can Budget Your Money – Tangerine
2014, Jul 20 – What Makes You Feel Rich? – Gail Vaz-Oxlade
2014, Jul 13 – Comfort Levels with Credit Cards – Gail Vaz-Oxlade
2014, Jul 06 – Recipe: Raspberry Lemon Oatmeal Muffins – Gail Vaz-Oxlade