January 2014 Budget & Goals

REMEMBER: You can download this budget template!

A new year, new month, new budget, new goals… and new colours, to boot. A fresh start deserves something bright and optimistic, don’t you think? Well, my first budget of the year feels like just that.

Three weeks ago, I told you about my plans to get serious about saving money in 2014, and this budget includes the exact amounts I mentioned. Do I think I’ll be able to hit these targets each and every month? Not likely. But I hope to keep this up for January and February, then put my entire tax return into savings and readjustment my monthly savings budgets accordingly.

Housing looks the same, but now includes my new category for tenant insurance. Food also looks the same, except that I’d like to dine out a little less (and my new milk frother + hazelnut syrup should help me avoid Starbucks!). Transportation is also par for the course.

As for health care, I spoke too soon about a category I thought I’d be adding to my budget this year. When I told you I applied for health/prescription/dental coverage through Pacific Blue Cross (PBC), I mentioned the premium would be $41/month – and I was barely comfortable paying that amount. Last week, PBC sent me a letter saying that my car accident has left me with pre-existing conditions that would require a much higher monthly premium. With that news, I cancelled my application and cursed my stupid car accident once again.

However, that doesn’t mean I’ll be holding off on my plans to take control of my health this year. I scheduled an appointment to get my eyes checked this weekend, which I’ve budgeted for, so we’ll soon find out if I need glasses or not! I also upgraded my disability insurance policy to include sickness coverage, which I am sad to say was sparked by the news that a close friend who is my age was recently diagnosed with cancer. For that, my premium went up from $17.00 to $24.10.

Finally, the new “My Money” section of this budget includes my discretionary spending, as well as my new monthly charitable donations. I stocked up on toiletries in December and received new makeup for Christmas, so I should be able to stick to the tight budgets you see here.

In total, this month I’ll be saving 33% of my income (in long-term savings), spending 36.5% on housing, 8.5% on food, 11% on transportation, 6.5% on health care, 2.2% on myself and 2.3% on charity.

Aside from adding new categories to my budget, I’m also changing the way I write my monthly goals this year. You’ll understand more about why, when you read Wednesday’s post, but this year I don’t want to put any unrealistic expectations on myself. For example, it’s not realistic to say I’ll workout 3x/week; some weeks I will, others I’ll go 5x and others I won’t go at all. That is life, and I don’t want to recap my goals and feel guilty about the constant fluctuations. Instead, my monthly goals will be task-related; things I want to get done. Have a look at what I want to do in January…

Goals for this month:

  • Map out a strategy to finish CSC by September 30th
  • Get a library card from the Port Moody Public Library
  • Track how many times I go to the gym
  • Meet with my mentee at least once
  • Give blood for the first time (I’m scheduled to do this on Thursday!)

What do you have planned for this month?