Monthly Summary

How the lockdown is going.

You may recall that back in June, I challenged myself to have a No-Spend July. I felt that I had been spending a little more than was necessary, so instead of hiding my debit cards I thought I would do a little test of will power. Now that it’s August (ohmygod, where has the summer gone?!), it seems like a good time to evaluate how I’ve done. Here were the rules I gave myself and how I did:

  • No jeans, shoes, scarves, tops, sweaters, jackets, skirts, dresses from hence forth. The only clothing item I’m allowed to buy until the end of July are socks. PASS – I did buy some new underwear, but I didn’t buy anything else (even socks), so I’m going to give myself a pass on this.
  • No home decor items shall be bought. Only necessary home items allowed: lightbulbs, batteries, etc. FAIL – while I did buy some lightbulbs and batteries, I also bought a deckbox (I couldn’t handle earwigs in my deckchair cushions) and a solid oak tv armoire. I really wasn’t expecting to buy an armoire, but some elderly neighbours are moving and offered me their beautiful solid oak armoire for $250. It was hand made by a local mennonite and is in amazing shape, so I just couldn’t say no. Now, I just have to decide whether I’m going to use it in my office as a bookshelf or put in living room and use it as a storage pantry. (Now that I’ve gone on and on about this armoire, I feel as though I should post a picture. I will as soon as I get where I want it!)
  • I will allow myself to print 15 photos for two frames that I have recently purchased. PASS – I didn’t actually get this done. Heh.
  • No makeup. I have more than enough make up. – PASS. No new makeup. I didn’t even step foot into a pharmacy!
  • Exception: sunscreen and bug spray. I allow myself to buy in bulk if necessary. PASS.   Had to restock on my sunscreen. I should have enough to get me through the rest of the summer.
  • Gifts are exempt. This shouldn’t be too bad though, no upcoming July birthdays, just a couple bridal showers. PASS – I actually didn’t buy any gifts. The bridal showers I was planning on attending were cancelled.
  • No DVDs/games. I really really want Season 2 of Justified, but I will restrain myself. PASS – but I do have a bunch of DVDs for my Christmas wish list.

There you have it. I did manage to keep my non-necessity spending to a minimum, but I did have a two big slips with the deck box and armoire. The deck box was a result of a ear-wig driven freak out – but at least I found a deck box on sale. I know that next time, if I have a freakout, I will have to basically hide my car keys and wallet, otherwise I will end up going out to buy a solution immediately, when I really I could have waited for an even better deal at the end of the season (or at least waited another week for all the earwigs to die off).

As for the armoire, it was a deal that came up last week and I couldn’t say no. I have a weakness for solid wood furniture and when I think I’m getting a really good deal. If there’s one thing I learned this past month, it’s that I have a hard time saying no to what I perceive as deals. I think in the future, I should make a better attempt to think about deals and maybe ‘sleep on them’ instead of making snap decisions.

Despite a couple of slip ups, I think I did ok. I’d like to continue my shopping lock down into August. I think I can stick with pretty well the same rules, but I am giving myself an exception to get a print made of my great-grandfather’s farm auction poster for my office. It’s a great piece of family history that was recently discovered, so I’m going to get a print made so I can include it in my family-history themed office (ah, I’m such a genealogy nerd).

I’m curious, what have you learn about yourself through attempting careful and controlled spending?  

Categories: Goals, Monthly Summary, Personal, Shopping, Spending | Tags: | 7 Comments

May meet June.

May was expensive. Very expensive. I’m actually a little ashamed of myself and I’m more than a little embarrassed to put these numbers up. I suppose though, as a pf blogger constantly spouting off about being frugal and responsible, I must own up to my own slips. At least this month I had a bit of overtime, so that helps soften the blow a bit. Here’s the scary numbers:

The big numbers on my budget come from buying a new computer (a Mac – which I’m quickly getting used to and falling in love with) and gifts (soo many wedding/baby showers). Unfortunately, I under estimated how much my new shiny computer would cost – specifically the software – so I was over budget there. I was able to get a bit of discount through the Apple Education program, so that saved me a bit of cash.

In terms of overspending…heh, can you tell I like to eat? I know exactly what happened with my grocery budget – I went shopping when I was hungry. D’oh. It’s just really convenient to hit the grocery store before I head home for supper, which of course when I’m at my hungriest. In June, I’m going to try and shop in my pantry and freezer as much as possible. I’m looking forward to cheaper, fresher veggies and fruits too.

I also overspent in the personal care category. Darn my weird, angry skin. I ran out of everything and ended up restocking on my face cream, buying a bb cream, getting sunscreen and bug spray. I should be set for a little while in terms of lotions and creams.

In terms of moving forward into June, I’m looking to minimize the extra spending. Starting the month off with a big ole property tax payment will hopefully help to keep me on the straight and narrow. Other upcoming expenses for June include my best-friend-in-the-whole-damn-world’s birthday, a new pair of running shoes (I figure if I’m going to start running, I’d best start with a decent pair of shoes), and eating out. I’m planning on taking my friend out for supper as well as my cousin’s longtime girlfriend – she’s preggers and I think it would be nice to treat her to a nice lunch.

That’s how June is shaping up. How did May turn out for you? Anything exciting coming up in June?

Have a good ‘un

Country Girl

Categories: Budget, Monthly Summary | Tags: , , | 9 Comments

March Recap

So long March! What a crazy month – between the up and down weather and way work suddenly went from being slow to holy-smokes-everyone-wants-something-now busy, March really seemed to fly by. I think I did alright with my budget this month, I hit the red in some areas of my budget, but overall, I’m happy that I managed to save approximately half of my income for the month. You gotta love those 3 paycheque months. I’m hoping as the weather gets warmer, my hydro bill will slip down even further, which should help me save even more. Here’s my March budget summary:

image

I did have some expenses this month that I wasn’t counting on, mainly an hour-long massage (it’s labelled chiropractic on the budget) and a visit to the vet. Totally unrelated I assure you. I ended up getting a massage because I was getting more headaches than normal and my neck and shoulders were really stiff. The massage was great and really helped me loosen up, which helped the headaches. Money well spent as far as I’m concerned. As well, I took my cat to another vet for a second opinion on her wonky eye. The other vet was very nice and they gave me a good deal on the visit. This vet suspects my cat may have Horner’s Syndrome – so she’s going to order in the drops that test/treat it. Fingers crossed it works and my cat’s wonky eye will finally be cured.

I totally failed on my no shopping goal for March. I caved and bought a pair of boots from the Gap, a creme egg McFlurry for my officemate and myself, a diffuser (my house smells like liliacs now – yay!), and clothes pins. I had some wooden clothes pins but after the third time I picked my sheets up off the lawn, I decided it was time to invest in some sturdier plastics pins.

As for April, I’m not going to say I’m not going to shop (say that ten times fast) because that is precisely what I’m going to do tomorrow. My Mom asked me if I wanted to make a trip to the city with her, which inevitably means a trip to Costco, Home Sense, a mall, pretty much the works. I would like to get a few more things for the house, like some new sheets, a lamp for the office, and new pillows. All in all, I’m going to give myself a shopping budget of $200. My other big spend item this month will be the lawyer’s fees for drawing up a will. I’ve put this off long enough, time to bite the bullet and get it done. I’m figuring about $400 should cover it. The other thing I want to do in April is find some old fashion square nails for my trunk and leather straps for the handles. I’m thinking a trip out to the Mennonites is in order.

How was your March? What’cha got planned for April?

Categories: Budget, Monthly Summary, Review | Tags: , , | 8 Comments

January Recap

Goodbye January. I am absolutely ready to welcome in February and see what prediction the local groundhog makes for the rest of winter. I am hoping to hear ‘an early spring’ prediction, even with the mild winter we’ve had so far. Spring means I can get started on my outside projects.

Here’s my spending for last month.

JanResults.jpg

Ugh. I hate those red boxes. My biggest budget upsets were:

    • My cat. She had to get her rabies booster and check up. Unfortunately only the large animal vet was in and his billing rate is more than the small animal vet. Then of course, two days after that vet visit, the cat hurled up a roundworm. Thankfully, I have a vet tech for a sister, so she was able to score some dewormer at cost for me. It still all added up to more than I initially thought it would this month.
    • Hydro. I used more electricity in December (on account of being home during the day more) and then there’s that delivery charge….consarnit all…
    • Shopping and Home Decor: I did a bit of shopping, picking up house stuff. It’s a bunch of little items that seemed to add up, like a new light cover for the fan and door knobs. I also bought paint and art supplies for some DIY projects I have in the works. I should have all that type of spending out of my system for February.

Here’s what my February budget looks like:

image

It’s going to be an expensive month – 3 mortgage payments and property taxes. Technically the taxes aren’t due until March 1, but I’ve stuck them in this budget because I’m going to pay them this month (today, actually). Also, I’ve got to take my car in for servicing. I think they are some rocks jammed in under the motor mounts from when they resurfaced the road I live on. It makes the car vibrate when you’ve got the brake pressed in the reverse gear. It’s kinda weird, and really annoying, so I’m hoping to get that sorted out this month. I’ve also upped my budget amount for hydro (grr), so I’m hoping I’ll do a better job of guestimating my bill.

February Goals

  • Get all the measurements for the basement/kitchen/stairs reno and start a couple design options.
  • Get all the canvas off the inside/outside of my trunk
  • Complete the February photo challenge
  • Make a spring cleaning list for the inside and the outside of my place
  • Don’t buy: clothes, home decor stuff, or any extras (one exclusion: foundation, because I’m going to run out)
  • Calculate my net worth.

Wish me luck! How was January for you? What are your plans for February?

countrygirl

Categories: Budget, Goals, Monthly Summary | Tags: , , , | 5 Comments

May recap and June budget–bring on summer!

Sweet Almond Blossoms

Pretty Sweet Almond Blossoms

I think I can safely say that summer is finally here. The last week of May and this first week of June have been hot and sunny. We got the soybeans planted, thanks to a couple days of dry, warm weather, which is a big relief. It’s been a busy work, between work and the farm. Yesterday was a nice break though, there was a tornado a couple municipalities north of us which knocked out our power for most of the day, so most of the day was spent outside on the deck. Let me tell you this though, Canadian Tire is one dark, dark place when the lights go out.

May wasn’t a bad month for me. I didn’t do a lot of extra spending and stayed within my budget for the most part. Unfortunately, I spent much more on gas than I thought I would: $264.66 compared to my budgeted amount of $175. Even though I went over budget by just under $125, I feel really good about my financial situation because I put $2000 dollars towards my car loan and paid it off. I’m now absolutely, totally debt free. Yehaw! It’s a great feeling. I really enjoyed making my budget for June and being able to put a big fat zero in the car payment column.

Budget Item Monthly Budgeted Amount Amount Spent
Bank Fee  $                                                          $                             
Business Services  $                                                          $                             
Auto Insurance  $                                            127.00  $               (126.16)
Auto Payment  $                                            304.00  $               (276.76)
Gas & Fuel  $                                            175.00  $               (264.66)
Service & Parts  $                                                          $                             
Entertainment  $                                               30.00  $                  (41.75)
Coffee Shops  $                                                          $                             
Fast Food  $                                                          $                             
Snacks  $                                                 5.00  $                             
Groceries  $                                               20.00  $                    (7.90)
Restaurants  $                                               30.00  $                  (28.81)
Gift  $                                            175.00  $               (167.62)
Dentist  $                                                          $                             
Fitness Class  $                                               90.00  $                  (90.00)
Gym  $                                               50.00  $                  (49.32)
Chiropractic  $                                                          $                             
Books  $                                                 8.00  $                  (30.65)
Hobbies  $                                                          $                  (50.00)
Travel Cost  $                                                          $                             
Mobile Phone  $                                               39.55  $                  (39.55)
Hair  $                                                          $                             
Personal Care  $                                                          $                             
Pharmacy  $                                                          $                  (15.81)
Pet Food & Supplies  $                                                          $                             
Veterinary  $                                                          $                             
Clothing  $                                               20.00  $                  (20.00)
Electronics & Software  $                                                          $                             
Shopping  $                                                          $                             
Uncategorized  $                                               30.00  $                  (17.29)
Spending Subtotal  $                                         1,103.55  $            (1,226.28)

Budget Breakdown

Entertainment: Saw 3 movies, but bought 4 movie tickets and snacks. My buddy forgot his wallet, so I paid for his way in. Maybe I can convince him to let me drive his mustang now.

Gift: bought a birthday gift for my sister, a mother’s day gift and a father’s day gift, and stayed in budget.

Snacks: Didn’t buy a single one. It will be harder in the upcoming months as prime ice cream season arrives.

Restaurants: Ate out twice this month. I only intended to have one ‘dine-out’ event, but I forgot my lunch one day.

Books: Bought the last Brian Jacques book that will ever be published. His books were instrumental in turning me into a reader when I was kid, so I decided to grab his last book in hardcover. I could have bought it for the kindle, but I wanted to complete my collection. Anywho, I read the book in about a day and I’ll admit it, I got a little teary-eyed at the end.

Clothing: Bought a pair of coral coloured flats (from Walmart) and socks. How exciting ‘eh?

Uncategorized: spending includes 3 stag and doe tickets, and photo printing for a bridal shower.

Here’s what I’ve planned out for June:

Budget Item Monthly Budgeted Amount
Bank Fee  $                                                        
Business Services  $                                                        
Auto Insurance  $                                            127.00
Auto Payment  $                                                        
Gas & Fuel  $                                            200.00
Service & Parts  $                                                        
Entertainment  $                                               40.00
Coffee Shops  $                                                        
Fast Food  $                                                        
Snacks  $                                                 5.00
Groceries  $                                               20.00
Restaurants  $                                               30.00
Gift  $                                            100.00
Dentist  $                                                        
Fitness Class  $                                                        
Gym  $                                               50.00
Chiropractic  $                                                        
Books  $                                                 8.00
Hobbies  $                                                        
Travel Cost  $                                                        
Mobile Phone  $                                               39.55
Hair  $                                                        
Personal Care  $                                            400.00
Pharmacy  $                                               20.00
Pet Food & Supplies  $                                                        
Veterinary  $                                                        
Clothing  $                                               20.00
Electronics & Software  $                                                        
Shopping  $                                            200.00
Uncategorized  $                                               30.00
Spending Subtotal  $                                         1,264.55

No car payment! I bumped up my spending on gas and entertainment. Hopefully I can keep the gas spending in check this month. I put more money towards entertainment too because I expect a couple trips to the movies this month.

I have a fair chunk of change set aside for Personal Care – $400, this is for a spa day with my best friend for her birthday. I’ve had a pedicure, but never had a facial or massage, so I’m kind of excited, but it is a big expense. Something that’s to be done once in a blue moon, I think.

I’ve also bumped up my shopping budget because I need to get some summer clothes and refresh my wardrobe. I also have to buy a dress for my cousin’s wedding (which I’ll be MCing – squee!).

How did you guys do last month? I’d also love to hear what people tip for spa services, or any tips for tipping.

Have a good ‘un,

Country Girl

Categories: Budget, Monthly Summary, Spending | 3 Comments

April Recap

Sorry for the lack of posts this past week. The adapter for my laptop burnt out, so I’ve been laptop-less for the last week and a bit. I’ve been anxiously waiting for the new adapter to come and it finally showed up today. I’m now on the third adapter for this laptop and out nearly $80, but it’s still far less than a new laptop. I guess I can’t complain.

April was an ok month moneywise. I spent more than in March, but I had a service appointment for my car, a haircut and I went to Shoppers and stocked up on face cleanser and cream. I did meet my goals of not spending any money on clothes or fast food. Here’s how my spending turned out:

Budget Item Monthly Budgeted Amount Amount Spent
Bank Fee  $                                                          $                             
Business Services  $                                                          $                             
Auto Insurance  $                                            150.00  $               (126.24)
Auto Payment  $                                            304.00  $               (415.14)
Gas & Fuel  $                                            175.00  $               (148.80)
Service & Parts  $                                            225.00  $               (261.69)
Entertainment  $                                               20.00  $                  (33.89)
Coffee Shops  $                                                          $                             
Fast Food  $                                                          $                             
Snacks  $                                                 5.00  $                    (4.00)
Groceries  $                                               20.00  $                  (14.00)
Restaurants  $                                               30.00  $                    (4.00)
Gift  $                                                          $                             
Dentist  $                                                          $                             
Fitness Class  $                                                          $                             
Gym  $                                               50.00  $                  (49.32)
Chiropractic  $                                                          $                             
Books  $                                                 8.00  $                             
Hobbies  $                                                          $                             
Travel Cost  $                                                          $                             
Mobile Phone  $                                               39.55  $                  (39.55)
Hair  $                                               50.00  $                  (54.33)
Personal Care  $                                               20.00  $                             
Pharmacy  $                                               20.00  $                  (78.56)
Pet Food & Supplies  $                                                          $                             
Veterinary  $                                                          $                             
Clothing  $                                                          $                             
Electronics & Software  $                                                          $                             
Shopping  $                             
Uncategorized  $                                               30.00  $                  (21.95)
Spending Subtotal  $                                         1,146.55  $            (1,251.47)

You’ll see that my insurance is lower than last month and you may remember that I posted about my search for quotes. I ended up going with my current provider, as they gave me the best deal, including windshield replacement. I travel on roads with lots of salt and gravel trucks, so windshield coverage is essential. I also spent less on fuel than I thought I would, which is a relief, especially given gas prices of late. I’m going to leave the amount I budget for fuel the same, as I will likely start driving more as the weather gets nicer. The service for my car was more than I estimated and I have to go back again this weekend. This time it’s a recall, so the service will be free at least.

You’ll see I also overspent (or underestimated) my spending for my hair cut, pharmacy costs and entertainment. Whoops. I’ll just have to resolve to be extra vigilant next month, or get better at guesstimating.  I know in May I have some extra costs coming up – Mothers’ Day, my sister’s birthday, a wedding shower, and buying a team sweater and ball shirt. Also, now that slo-pitch has started, I’ll be spending a bit more on beer since we usually have a beer or two after each game. I love playing in a beer league on a very non-competitive team. It’s so much fun just out hanging with the girls, even if I am the only one under 40.

My other big news is that my cousin asked me to MC his wedding. I’m pretty honoured that they asked me and I hope I can help make their special day go smoothly. If anyone has suggestions or tips for an MC, I’d love to hear them.

How did you guys do this month? Anyone else looking forward to spring actually arriving soon?

Have a good ‘un

Country Girl

Categories: Monthly Summary | 1 Comment

Marching forward

Was it just me, or did March absolutely fly by? I was so busy and it seemed like I was out and about every weekend, which I think helped the time fly by. I’m looking forward to April – sorta. I’m really looking forward to getting outside more as the weather (hopefully) gets better, but I’m dreading spending money on getting my car serviced and a few extra things. My goal for April is not to spend a cent on clothes or fast food. I’m really trying to cut my variable spending and save up for a spa day with my best friend in June to celebrate her birthday. I’ve never done a spa day, and the spa package she picked out includes: an hour massage (never had one of those), whirlpool treatment, a facial (never had one of those), manicure (never had one of those – I’m going to have to quit biting my nails), a pedicure (have had a couple of those) and a lunch. The total, before tip and tax, is $325. I wouldn’t normally spend that kind of money on girly stuff like a spa trip, but it’s for my oldest and dearest friend, so I will go and be pampered 😉

Remember I said my goal for March was to having my spending come in under $1000 dollars? I was so close. My total spending for March = $1029.06. I was off by $20.06. Damn – so close. Maybe I’ll be able to do it for April. Here’s the breakdown on my spending:

I hope REAL flowers will start blooming soon!

Car Costs $637.06

  • Insurance – $143.58
  • Payment – $276.76
  • Fuel – $216.72 – I filled my car up on the 31st, I suppose I could have waited and filled up on the first of April and rolled that into the April budget, but I didn’t want to chance gas prices going up – which they did. My gas bill has increased by about $35 due to gas prices. Maybe it’s time I put those geology classes to use and start looking for an oil deposit – hillbilly style.

Cell Phone $35.29

Food $38.82

Gift $121.87 (my Mum’s birthday and flowers for my cousin’s grandma)

Gym $49.32

Hair $7.51

Pharmacy $5.07 (Lip balm)

Clothes $112.99 (my moose moccasins – I love love love my mocs. I think I’ve found my shoe soul mate)

Uncategorized $21. 13 (raffle tickets and binder dividers)

Overall, I’m okay with my March spending. I came really close to my goal of a month under $1000 in expenses. Now for my April budget:

Budget Item Monthly Budgeted Amount
Auto Insurance $                                         150.00
Auto Payment $                                         304.00
Gas & Fuel $                                         175.00
Service & Parts $                                         225.00
Entertainment $                                           20.00
Fast Food $                                                  –
Snacks $                                             5.00
Groceries $                                           20.00
Restaurants $                                           30.00
Gym $                                           50.00
Books $                                             8.00
Mobile Phone $                                           38.00
Hair $                                           50.00
Personal Care $                                           20.00
Pharmacy $                                           20.00
Uncategorized $                                           30.00
Total $                                     1,145.00

I thought about adjusting my gas spending – but I’m really going to watch my driving and see if I can keep it around $175, despite the gas prices.  I was also thinking about getting my hair dyed, but that would turn a $50 haircut into a $100 one, so I think I’ll just make do with my natural dirty-blonde colour. This month I’m also going to crunch the numbers and try and come up with a realistic budget that includes a mortgage and other housing costs. I’m getting itchy to get a place of my own, so don’t be surprised if there’s a housing-theme in my posts this months.

How did you do last month? Any big changes for April? Any exciting plans?

Categories: Monthly Summary | 1 Comment

In like a lamb

Wow. I can’t believe it’s March already. It seems like it was just Christmas. I’m counting down to spring – the seed catalog came in the mail today, which means I can start planning out my garden! I’m hoping that March will be a low spending month for me, February seemed kind of expensive. Let’s see how I did:

$587 – Car payment, gas (damn those high gas prices), and insurance.
$420 – Vet bills. My cat got the Bob Barker treatment. There are cheaper clinics around, but a) they are further away so I would likely lose the savings in gas; and b) my cat was in heat during the surgery, so it was well worth it to have a really good vet performing the operation. Turns out her uterus was the side of a small dog’s! So big, they took pictures to send to other vets.
$188 – Split between yoga classes and my YMCA membership.
$48 – Haircut + tip
$50.85 – Cell phone bill. This will be going down next month though – I was able to negotiate a cheaper deal.
$41 – Groceries. I didn’t eat out all this month. Go me!
$13 – Flowers for my cousin’s grandmother. She invited me over for supper.
$8.27 – Cat food.
$60 – Cash withdrawl

My expensive kitty

"I'm an expensive, big-uterused barn cat"

$87 – Passport renewal fee.

Grand total = $1503.12. Not my best month, but I’m not really disappointed in myself. I knew with the vet bills and the yoga classes it was going to be a little more expensive than usual. It is worth mentioning though, I contributed $8000 towards my RRSP! That should help with those darn taxes. My goals for March are spending less than $1000 and spend some time really getting to know my new(ish) camera. What are your goals for March? Did everyone make an RRSP contribution?

Have a good ‘un

Country Girl

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