If you’re reading this on my actual website (not in your inbox or an RSS feed), your eyes might still be adjusting to the new design. I’ve been thinking about redesigning the site for a while now, and finally found myself with a few hours to spare + some inspiration on Saturday afternoon. I have to thank Mom, Sarah and my friend Koh for giving me some feedback over the weekend, because I am so happy with how it turned out. It’s a fresh start for the (almost) new year. I hope you like it, too!
Now, before I start to plan for the busiest (and usually most expensive) month of the year, I still need to add up my numbers from last month. November was an unusually good month for me, because I picked up more freelance work than I did in any other month this year. That being said, I expect to earn exactly $0 in freelance in December, so I was conscious to put most of it in savings. Anyway, because of that extra money, my final numbers look pretty good. Take a look…
Life Expenses – Goal: 60% / Actual: 49% / Difference: -11%
First and foremost, it feels great to see that I lived on just 49% of my income, but I technically still went over budget – and by a significant amount. For example, when I renewed my tenant insurance policy, I paid for the entire year ($288) versus setting up a monthly plan (which you finance and end up paying more for); that’s something I hadn’t planned to do. But then my food and gas surprisingly came in under budget, considering I was home for almost the entire month… and I’m under budget for Christmas, too! The Flanders have decided to switch things up this year, to have a more minimalist Christmas, so all our budgets went down there. But overall, November was definitely an expensive month. Thank goodness for freelance work.
Car Maintenance – Goal: 18% / Actual: 12% / Difference: -6%
I also had to pay for one major expense this month: new tires for my car. Fortunately, I had researched prices and knew what I’d be looking at, so there were no surprises. I budgeted for a certain amount and ended up spending exactly that + $0.63. I came in “under” budget, however, because of all the freelance work I ended up doing. Either way, it felt like a win – and I love the way my new all weather tires drive.
Travel – Goal: 4% / Actual: 9% / Difference: +5%
Mid-month, I travelled to Toronto to speak on a panel at Credit Education Week. The flight was paid for, so I only needed to budget for parking at the airport in Vancouver, and then transportation and food in Toronto. Did I blow my budget on just that? No. I ended up also booking a flight to my favourite city in the states, to visit one of my closest friends… but we’ll talk about that more on Wednesday!
Savings – Goal: 18% / Actual: 30% / Difference: +12%
Finally, the big win: I was able to save 30% of my income this month. Not only that, I also topped up my Emergency Fund! One of my goals for 2014 was to top it up to $10,000, but I downgraded that goal in May. At the time, though, I had no idea I’d pick up a new freelance client that would provide me with some fairly steady work all year. I still can’t believe I achieved my original goal. Now I need to map out what’s next!
In honour of Financial Literacy Month, my goals this month were to:
- Speak on a panel at Credit Education Week in Toronto – PASS!
- Top up my Emergency Fund – PASS!
- Research/update/buy all insurance policies – PASS!
- Pay to get new tires put on my car – PASS!
- Get annual copy of my credit report/credit score – PASS!
And then I wanted to workout 15x and read 2 books, as per usual! – PASS! I worked out 18x and read 2 books (The Shallows by Nicholas Carr and The Happiness of Pursuit by Chris Guillebeau).
How did your month finish up?
*Note: I also want to congratulate the winner of last week’s giveaway: Dayle. Hope you enjoy your new Kobo Aura! And thank you again to everyone who entered in all of last month’s giveaways.