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Update: May 2014 Budget & Goals

may-2014-final-budget

REMEMBER: You can download this budget template!

So, I never actually shared my budget at the beginning of the month, because that’s when I decided to take a two-week break from writing. (Thank you again for understanding!) May was a pretty quiet month, other than a one-week trip home to Victoria and Tofino, but I still went over in a few categories. Let’s take a look.

May was the first month I budgeted for my new savings goals – and met them! I also stayed on budget during my trip home – although I lost track of where $20 or so went in Tofino, so I just rounded up. And my fixed expenses (housing and health care) all remained unchanged.

Now, can we not talk about how much I spent on food this month? Honestly, that disgusts me. How did more than $400 go into my belly!? I do know the answer: I spent wayyy too much on takeout when I was in Victoria. After adding up the numbers at the end of my trip, I put my spending on lockdown.

The little amount I spent on gas surprised me at first, until I looked at my tank on Saturday (May 31st) and realized I would have to fill up on Sunday (June 1st). Ha!

Finally, I bought myself a thin summer hoodie from the surf shop Baby Sis works at, and did a Walmart run for toiletries, which put me over budget for “Personal Care”. I also pitched in for Mother’s Day, and watched $40 cash disappear from my wallet. (Seriously, I’m the worst at keeping receipts. I could never live off cash.)

In the end, I put 19.5% of my income in long-term savings, spent 37% on housing, 13% on food (won’t be repeating that next month), 9% on transportation, 10.5% on travel, 3% on health care, 4% on myself, 2.5% on gifts for others and donated 1.5% to charity.

Goals for this month:

To be honest, I didn’t set any. However, I can tell you I worked out at least 4 days each week (even if they are short and not as intense as I’d like, they are workouts nonetheless!), got a lot of freelance writing done and started to map out my summer budgets.

How did your month finish up?

Also, in case you missed them, you can still read this month’s guest posts on Gail Vaz-Oxlade’s blog:

2014, May 25 – Tofino on a Budget
2014, May 18 – What I’ve Read So Far in 2014
2014, May 11 – The Kind of Mom I Want To Be
2014, May 04 – Questioning My Charity of Choice

25 Comments Post a comment
  1. Nice job on the new savings goals. That’s a hefty amount of money put aside every month! I’m glad you’re trying to find that balance line.

    I’m regularly disgusted by how much money goes into my tummy. It’s so easy to landslide in the food category, especially when takeout comes into the picture.

    June 2, 2014
    • Cait Flanders #

      That’s the most I’ve spent on food in a long time, and it’s been extremely eye-opening. Time to stop saying “yes” quiiite as often as I have been…

      June 2, 2014
  2. Dayle #

    Good morning Cait!

    May flew by for me! Busy doing lots of different things… got a Costco card on bf’s acct and so that pretty much blew my grocery budget out of the water. We don’t eat out often but we did on Friday night and between a couple drinks each, tax, and top our bill was $60! for dinner! It’s no wonder I am not a fan of going out! lol

    Haven’t checked in with my net worth yet, but will do that later today. I did well on my fitness goals.

    June is going to be busy, going to a bunch of Jays games. I will also have a couple weekends to myself as bf is working nights one of the, and he’s going to be out of town for another one. At the end of the month we both have some vacation so that should be sweet!

    Have a great day!
    Dayle

    June 2, 2014
    • Cait Flanders #

      Going out is NOT cheap!

      Any plans for your time off later this month?

      June 2, 2014
      • Dayle #

        Nothing major planned! Bf is going to reno his garage… he only has to work one shift between June 16 and July 9! I will help him when I can, but I really only have about a week off. We are going to a couple Jays games, June 24 & July 1.

        June 3, 2014
  3. I love budget recaps! I’m such a financials voyeur!! I find our grocery spend is also high ($800 for 3 people) but it seems so difficult to figure out how to lower it. We don’t eat out much at all, once every 3 months if that. Anyways, it’s on my list to tackle, but I’m trying to focus on my investments a bit more first.

    June 2, 2014
    • Cait Flanders #

      Are there any easy fixes you can identify and make changes to, when it comes to your grocery bills? For example, how much food do you throw out, are there cheaper options, etc.

      June 2, 2014
  4. Great job on the savings achievements! I hear you on the food…I just started a new uber healthy diet and spent $100 on groceries and $100 on bulk foods (seeds, nuts, granola). Healthy eating is not cheap. I’m hoping that I’ve stocked up enough that I won’t spend much for the rest of the month. We’ll see!

    June 2, 2014
    • Cait Flanders #

      $100 on bulk food – holy smokes! I hope you’ve stocked up enough too ;)

      June 2, 2014
  5. Rob #

    Hi Cait! Looks like you had a pretty good month. Congratulations!

    My month finished up pretty good as well.

    I finished doing our budget vs actuals for May and did ok (keeping within our means). I had budgeted for monthly income to exceed expenses (excluding savings) by $380 and the May actuals turned out to be income exceeding expenses by $330 – so all in all, things were on plan. In addition, our total conservative investment portfolio grew by 0.4% for the month, resulting in a rolling 10% investment growth over the last 12 months, so that too well is on target.

    My June plans: finally start on my house painting projects. Lots of fun! (not) :-)

    June 2, 2014
    • Cait Flanders #

      Fantastic news about the investment growth, Rob! Now, stop procrastinating on that paint work, haha.

      June 2, 2014
      • Rob #

        Nag, nag, nag! :-)

        As it turns out, in a few minutes I’ll be heading out with my wife to a large paint store to have her pick out paint chip samples for the various rooms in our house. I had already done this late last year on my own but I figure that I better get her final “papal blessing” on the colour selections before I commit myself to all this paint work!

        June 3, 2014
  6. Even though you went over in a few categories, I still think you did very well overall. Finding balance takes time and it looks like you are getting there. Congrats on hitting your savings goals :)

    June 2, 2014
    • Cait Flanders #

      Thanks!

      June 2, 2014
  7. I’m annoyed at how my month finished up. My student loans were supposed to come out of my bank account on May 31 and the haven’t yet. I’m hoping that it’s because May 31 was on Saturday which is not a business day. If not it’s an issue with them setting it up on my new account and I’ll have to call the student loan people which is never fun.

    Here’s hoping it comes out later today.

    June 2, 2014
    • Cait Flanders #

      Ahh yea, I’m sure that’s the reason! But don’t hesitate to call and ask. It’ll bug you more, if you continue to wonder. :)

      June 2, 2014
      • Yay! The money came out! Finally! I really didn’t want to have to deal with the student loan people! *does the happy dance*

        June 3, 2014
  8. Trista #

    I asked this question to Krystal so I thought I’d ask it to you as well. I’m sorry if you’ve covered it in a previous post. I still haven’t read through your archive.

    Do you ever find it difficult to make/follow a monthly budget? I budget biweekly because I found it easier. But when I think about it, that might be because a lot of the time I’m still living pay check to pay check.

    June 2, 2014
    • Cait Flanders #

      Nope, I’ve always found writing/following a monthly budget easy. First, I tracked my spending for 3 months, then found the average I was spending on all categories and put that amount in my budget. If you spend an average of $250/month on groceries, whether or not you get paid bi-weekly doesn’t really matter. Does that make sense?

      My monthly budget is more of a guide than anything. On the side, I also keep a list of what I need to do with each of my paycheques – so this bill has to be paid with the 1st cheque, insurance comes out with the 2nd cheque, etc. You don’t need to look at your monthly budget every day – you just want your total amounts to add up, at the end!

      Hope that helps a bit! I’d definitely suggest tracking your spending for a while then trying to write your first budget. You can’t write one with random numbers that you come up with; it has to be based on your actual spending.

      June 2, 2014
      • Trista #

        I guess I am doing what you do. I just didn’t think of it that way. I have a monthly guide but then I have things broken up to a biweekly list which is what I’m calling my biweekly budget. I guess I was making things overly complicated in my mind.

        I do track my spending and I’ve been working from a biweekly budget for many years now. But I think it might be time to change things up a little. I still go over too much for my liking. Which I think may be partly because I’m not always paying enough attention to small impulses and maybe partly because I haven’t allowed myself enough in some places.

        June 3, 2014
        • Dayle #

          I do my budget 100% biweekly as well… I don’t exactly live pay cheque to pay cheque, but I transfer money to savings each pay and only leave the money I intend to spend during that two weeks in my chequing account. I just write all my monthly bills into the two week period during which their due dates fall, and pay them from that cheque. It’s really whatever works best for you.

          June 3, 2014
  9. Surprisingly I did really well with my food budget! I’m always going over but May was a success for me. I paid £630 of debt which is a lot for me. I’m hoping I’ll be able to pay more this month.

    You only went over by $70 that really isn’t so bad, I think you’ve done great. I’m sure if you wasn’t budgeting it would probably be more than $70.

    June 2, 2014
    • Cait Flanders #

      Congrats on the debt repayment!

      June 2, 2014
  10. I put over $600 in my belly…and I didn’t even order takeout! I hear ya on that one!

    June 2, 2014
    • Cait Flanders #

      Dang! What’s the most expensive thing on your grocery list? ;)

      June 2, 2014

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