January 2014 Monthly Recap & February Goals

I managed to do quite well for January, in all my infinite wisdom, I stuck fairly close to the budget I had set out. The sad moment came when I realized my income was going to be really low for January.  It’s disappointing to realize that I put clothes and a fancy alarm clock ahead of debt repayment and savings. I’m certainly much better than I was a year ago, but I still need to reinforce the habit of planned spending – all major purchases need to be saved for before I buy.

jan 2014 budget

Under budget $467.55 – Wait that cannot be right. Wait a minute, something has to be wrong, it says under budget. WOW. Way to go me! Is that a pig flying? The only downside is I overspent my income; I hadn’t planned on my income being so low in January. Luckily, I didn’t exceed it by too much, only by about $600.

Areas Over Budget:

Auto & Transport $56.74 – No drama. It’s somewhat important to see where you’re going when you’re driving, so I thought it was about time I bought new windshield wipers. They were on the car for two years since new. I did however receive quite a shock at the $84.75 that all three-wiper blades cost. Sadly, I have to buy from the dealer; local auto shops don’t carry them.

Food & Dining $143.21 – Groceries has the greatest impact this month and put me $110  over my budget. We can blame this on poor meal planning and a hectic work month. I end up stopping off at the grocery store to get some quick food to cook, instead of the planning ahead and taking frozen food out to thaw the night before.

Home $179.49 – This was a case of unplanned spending. I made the decision to buy the Philips Wake up Light alarm clock that I’ve been coveting for quite some time. I have the money to pay for it; I just didn’t put it into my budget. Let me say, the purchase was well worth it! I’ve been waking up on time, feeling energetic and generally have a positive attitude. That is miraculous considering the dreary excessive Canadian winter we’re having.  To make a long story short, the clock simulates a natural sunrise.

Personal Care $23.86 – I underestimated the cost of my contact lenses and forgot I needed a few other personal care items.

Shopping $199.62 – All clothes my friends, all clothes. I knew this fashion cleanse wasn’t going to be easy and so far, it has not been easy at all. I’ve tried not to go online and check out what’s new at my fave fashion retailers but it’s been damn near impossible.

Areas Under Budget:

I’m happy to say that everywhere else in my budget came under. Some items had to be postponed as my pay in January was utterly awful, December was a lousy sales month and I only received a $300 commission. When you’re used to $1600-$2000 that’s a huge cutback in income.

Because of my lower commission, I did not make an additional $100 RRSP contribution, I was only able to pay $1000 of the $2100 goal for debt repayment and I did not put my usual $200 aside for car maintenance.

January 2014 Goals Recap

Exercise – I’ve joined the Tone It Up Love your Body 6 Week Challenge, so I’ll be working out every day. PASS

Diet – Remove refined sugars, white flours and remove red meats. Switch to fish and chicken only. Coffee is reserved for weekends only and only $20 for wine.  PASS and FAIL. I’ve been eaten primarily fish and chicken to receive a pass but coffee has been a morning routine that I can’t break.

Online shopping ban – No shopping online, at all! FAIL, FAIL, FAIL I have wish lists at two of my fave fashion retailers. Uh oh!

Make my first $2100 debt repayment FAIL My income was too low for January and I was only able to make a $1000 payment, better than nothing though J

Do the Writer’s Devotional activities every day. PASS

February 2014 Goals

Relax, Relax, Relax

Try not to exceed my vacation budget – I already have quite the list of things people want me to bring back for them.

Take some time to think about the future and my plans for 2014.

Set up a savings plan for a new Blu Ray player, TV and mattress. The mattress should have been replaced a year ago and the TV and Blu Ray player are on their way out. I’m starting to have issues with them both, I suppose that’s inevitable for aging electronics equipment. Blu Ray is over six years old and the TV, well the TV has me stumped. It was a prize I won from work and is only four years old, I have a feeling it may have been a demo unit from the manufacturer. Regardless, I will use both until they crap out and/or I have money saved to replace them.

How was your January? What are your plans for February?

Comments

  1. Well if you didn’t buy anything online it isn’t considered shopping. It’s browsing… :)

    I’m going to take a look at that Philips Wake up Light alarm clock. I need an alarm clock and have been looking for one.

    • LOL! I’ll have to remember that, I’m just browsing :)

      Yes, take a look at the Philips alarm clock, I bought the more expensive one…it cost $189! I have never paid that much for an alarm clock before, it’s worth it though. It has 2 alarms, you can wake to light, light and natural sounds or light and the radio. It has the most options. They have cheaper ones but they don’t do the same things.

  2. I had trouble with grocery spending too because of being busy and not really planning very well. This month I really have to focus more on my needs rather than my wants. I felt a little too spendy overall in Jan.

  3. Congrats on being under budget for January and good luck with meeting your goals for February. I tanked all of my goals for January (family death took me out of the country for a good chunk of it), but I’m going to work hard in February to get back on track.

    • Thanks! :) Sorry to hear there was a death in your family, I’m sure things will get back on track for you soon.

  4. Great job on being under budget!

    We’ve been thinking about getting a puppy and I’m shocked so see that you’re budgeting $193 per month for pets. Are you able to break that down into what all goes into that? How many pets do you have?

    I was thinking that the major cost would be buying the dog and food each month.

    Thanks for your insight!

    ~Brent

    • Thanks Brent!
      Ah yes, my poor Maggie. I have the one cat and normally the budget would only be around $70 a month but unfortunately her health has not been so good. I have had to budget for unexpected vet visits for the past five months. Sometimes it’s spent, other times not. I’m hoping that by March I’ll be back to $70 a month which is still high. Usually I go through $40 for food and $8 if I get her a bag of treats, when she’s healthy.
      Good luck if you decide on a puppy! Pets are so much fun and become a member of the family.

  5. Overall – seems like this budget was a success since you were almost $500 under budget.

    No more online shopping :P

    What is your plan for you debt repayment plan since you still have $1100 to go with that?

    • Thanks! Yes no more online shopping! ;)

      It’s a game of catchup now for debt repayment, my goal is August and I’m going to do it! I just have to push for extra commission and find some savvy ways to earn some extra moolah!

  6. Hi Michelle,
    I’m only saying this because I’ve been there myself before, but the car expense looks high because of the car loan. Lately I’ve come to see this as the worst form of poison. I know it might sound extremely radical, but you could blow that car loan away faster by selling it and buying a much cheaper used car, and even if there was remaining debt, it would be a lot easier to dispense with, and ultimately you’re cash flow would greatly increase. Of course nobody wants to do this, but it is one way to speed things up. Even with repairs, used cars end up costing a lot less.

    But you are doing a good job of watching the money, and my intent is not to criticize, but rather, just put out some out of the box thinking.

    • Thanks Garry! :)

      The car is a big expense yes but it was a necessary one. I needed a quality, reliable car as I am in sales and am on the road constantly. I wasn’t finding the quality with the Mazdas and Hondas of the world. My first two cars in life were used and were amazing, I wish I didn’t have to sell my 96 Civic it was fantastic but it was getting old. I tried a Honda again (bought new) and I got a lemon! It was a horrible car and because of the experience I went with a German car and it’s been a great car. I have it almost paid off and don’t see the point in selling and getting a used one. I’m just going to hang onto it for ten years if I can while I save for my next car, that I can hopefully buy in cash – possibly used.

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