Friday, 10 April 2015

Living on a Budget: March Edition

Many people avoid budgets because they don't want to feel restricted or because they haven't been able to stick to their budget in the past.

Our budget is our roadmap to meet our financial goals. If we follow our budget, I can stay home with our Little Miss, we will have money set aside for emergencies, and we'll be completely debt free in our mid thirties. For us that means mortgage free too.  (Yes, we've decided to pay off our mortgage early.)

The budget has evolved over time to reflect our goals and priorities and it will keep evolving as we do.

That might sound a little too theoretical for you. So we decided to over-share and post our monthly expenses compared to our budget.

Everyone has their own priorities and this budget is tailored to us. So, you can't compare your own numbers to ours. But realistically that's why we look at budgets online, isn't it? Some will think we're cheap. Some will think we're spendthrifts. That's just how it goes. The important thing is to focus on your own numbers and decide what would work best for you.

We're hoping the real life example will help those who have struggled with budgeting in the past.


March Expenses


ExpenseBudgetActualDescription

Housing:
     
Upkeep3000Got some quotes, did some work in the powder room, but didn't spend money.
Property Taxes250250We pay twice a year, but budget monthly.
Mortgage Interest175156Only the interest expense is here. The principal portion is below.  Our total payment is about $1,500. We're on track to be mortgage free by 35. 
Home Insurance6568I mixed up our house and auto insurance last month, so I corrected it this month.
Natural Gas650Bill came out on April 1, so it'll show next month.  
Electricity6069We've made some huge improvements with our usage.  We're still billed $140 per month, so we've got a big credit. 
Water / Sewer500Bill came out on April 1, so will show next month.
  965543No repairs and maintenance and some timing for utility bills.

Transportation:
     
Gas12590Gas prices still lower than expected.
Repairs and Maintenance100182Oil change and regular maintenance. Dream of doing this myself one day. 
Auto Insurance7555-
Bus Passes50101Actual cost is $101, but there's a tax credit and he get reimbursed a portion through work. 
Licensing150-
Bikes100-
  375428Extra maintenance done.

Living Expenses:
     
Groceries / Diapers / Toiletries / Beauty/ Cleaning Supplies303294On budget, cupboards cleaned!
Gifts10030Birthdays, babies, the usual.
Entertainment876Coffee date alone together before meeting with friends. 
Entertainment with Friends/Family8787Wings with friends before Simple Cheap Dad's hockey game at our NHL rink.  The in-laws babysat for a night, so we got to go out for a friend's karaoke competition birthday party. (we won the opposites attract award)
Travel830-
Spending on Stuff830-
Hockey7557Monthly portion of winter hockey.
Clothing670Nothing in March.
Internet5560Bill increase.
Cell Phones50902 bills ended up getting paid this month.  (I'm rocking my pay as you go challenge!)
Cat Supplies4061Switched food throughout the month.
Little Miss Activities250-
Medical Expenses25247Had to take Bilbo (the engagement cat) to the vet. Also includes creams, brushes, and new toys. Poor boy.  He's all better now.
  1,080932
A trip to the vet really pushed these expenses up.  Not in the budget, but definitely worth it.

Total

2,420

1,903

Ah March, the last of our low spend winter months.  Year to date, we're $1,940 under budget with a 68% savings rate.  Pretty awesome.


Where's the Rest?


  • 10%+ of salary goes to defined benefit pension contributions and is matched.

  • Simple Cheap Dad gets full benefits.

  • We save $2,500 per year in a Registered Education Savings Plan and get a $500 match from the government.

  • We set aside $100 for our next car (this one was a family gift).

  • Any extra money and side hustle income goes to mortgage principal payments.  We plan to be mortgage free by 35


Conclusion

Well, budget wise in March we had some unexpected costs come up, but overall we did fine.  Our medical expenses were pretty much used up for the whole year.  We could have tried to wiggle expenses into different categories, but we decided to leave them in medical.  We'll consider upping the budget for next year.

Now that we're into spring, we've started to up our spending.  So, any buffers that have built up so far this year will probably get wiped out soon.  But that's why we use an budget based on a full year.  Things work out.



What About You?

Does anyone else feel their wallets opening when the weather gets better?

Any big budget surprises in March?


Any budget newbs?


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