Update: September 2014 Budget & Goals

At the beginning of the month, I knew September was going to be expensive… I mean, really expensive. With so many trips planned in the same 3-week period, plus two weddings to buy gifts and a dress for (which was on the approved shopping list!), I had to budget 60% of my income for living expenses and a whopping 35% for travel. That left me with just 5% for savings – eek! – and I was not happy about it.

As soon as I saw those numbers, I told myself I had to try and cut back wherever possible, in order to put a little more in the bank. Was I successful? Let’s take a look.

Life Expenses – Budget: 60% / Actual: 56% / Difference: -4%

Considering how much I spent on wedding gifts this month, I am happily surprised I was able to spend less on life expenses, overall. (Oh, and I changed the name of this category from “living expenses” to “life expenses”, because this really just encompasses all of my spending, minus what I save and all my travel-related costs.) I still had two overages, though. For starters, considering how few days I was home, I spent a lot of money on groceries. But I probably should’ve budgeted for a little more than I had. Second, my Internet bill went up by $5/month. Apparently, TELUS had me on some $5 off promotion that no one told me they’d given me, until I called and asked where the extra $5 came from. Not much I can do about that, I guess. On the plus side, I had to renew my car insurance and it went down by $1.71/month. Ok, that’s basically nothing. And I guess I’ll just give that money to TELUS now, lol. The two other areas I surprisingly came in under budget: gas and restaurants. The no-takeout-coffee-at-home rule lives on!

Travel – Budget: 35% / Actual: 32% / Difference: -3%

This feels like a huge win for me! That’s probably sad – my measly little 3% difference – but I travelled for 17 of 30 days this month, and I’m happy I was able to do (almost) everything I wanted to in each city and still come in under budget overall. Of course, I went over budget during my time in Toronto (by $74.83). However, I then overestimated the costs of my trips to Portland and New Orleans, and came in under budget for both! Oh, and I can’t forget the two other travel-related expenses I incurred. First, I purchased a year’s worth of travel insurance. I’m someone who normally purchases insurance even for day trips over the border, because… well, I’d just rather be safe than sorry, when I’m in the US. I know my credit card has travel emergency medical insurance, but you don’t use a credit card to drive yourself over the border. So, for $58.63, I opted in and am now covered for all 10-day trips anywhere in the world for the next 12 months. I also finally took the plunge and applied for a NEXUS card. Considering how much I do travel, paying $50 every 5 years to save a million hours at customs and security sounds worthwhile to me!

Savings – Budget: 5% / Actual: 12% / Difference: +7%

Of course, the bonus of coming in under budget in the two categories above means that I was able to put all that extra money in savings – and thank goodness! I’m still not happy I could only put 12% into savings in an entire month, but I have to give myself a pass because of all the trips. Things will look a little different in October, and extremely different come November.

Goals for this month:

  • Read 2 books – PASS! This month, I read Torch and When She Makes More.
  • Workout 10x – PASS! If we include today’s workout, I’ll be at 11.
  • Remove 15+ items from home – PASS! I removed 25 more items.
  • Soak up my time in Portland and New Orleans – PASS! I didn’t get to see everything I would’ve liked to in New Orleans, though… that just means I’ll have to go back, one day!
  • Do some extra freelance and put the cash directly into savings – FAIL! I made $0 in side income this month, but it was nice to have the break from extra deadlines.

How did September finish up for you, friends?