What I Gave Up for Lent (And Why)

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While The Banker and I are not very religious, he grew up Catholic, and I Presbyterian. As a Catholic, he has given something up during the Lent period for most of his life. As a Presbyterian, we didn’t partake in this tradition growing up, but in high school I started to give something up for Lent, and have done it most years (partially just for the challenge I suppose, as it’s not a tradition that’s followed by a lot of people in my church).

This year The Banker gave up coffee (insane!). I chose to give up Tim Horton’s. It’s proven to be a little difficult, but I’m glad for my choice. The reason I chose to give up Tim Horton’s is that I’ve been spending WAY too much money there, and consuming altogether too many calories from Tim’s. It had become a habit to stop there before work on the weekends, grab something to drink before babysitting, go through the drive-through before an evening shift. I chose it for my waistline and for my wallet!

I would guess I had been spending about $15 a week at Tim Horton’s, so over the 6 weeks of Lent, I will save approximately $90. Not a whole lot, but if it breaks the habit as well, I will see the benefits for the whole year!
So far, I’ve only really wanted it once, but I won’t cave! Have you given anything up? How’s it going so far?

March Budget

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It’s already March! Let’s hope that spring comes soon!! I am so ready for warmer weather and spring clothes 🙂

February was a pretty good month, here’s hoping March is too! I have to pay for my membership to the Ontario College of Teachers for the year, but we’ve got it in the budget, so at least it’s expected. We have a larger than normal “Miscellaneous” budget, and we’ve done that because I’ll be in Toronto for 3 days of training for a new program and will have a large number of expenses during that time. We do have a rather large amount set aside for our anniversary. It’s our 5-year anniversary, and The Banker found some tickets to a Leafs game fairly inexpensively (for The Leafs anyway), and surprised me with them! So with those, and whatever else we spend that night and on the night of our actual anniversary, I thought we should set aside a larger piece of our budget than we typically would. Normally I think it’s outrageous to spend that on an anniversary, but it’s an event that I’m really looking forward to. I’m a lifelong Leafs fan (judge me all you want!) and have never been to a game! Plus, it’s a big anniversary, and the last one before we’re married, so I’m more than happy to spend a lot.

Otherwise, everything else is pretty average. Have a look:

Budgeted
HOUSING
Rent $856.00
Hydro $40.00
Phone/Cable/Internet $275.00
Insurance (home) $27.75
TOTAL $1,198.75
   
LIVING  
Groceries/Household Items $350.00
Dry Cleaning $15.00
Personal Care $100.00
TOTAL $465.00
   
TRANSPORTATION  
Insurance (car) $186.60
Gas/Maintenance $350.00
TOTAL $536.60
   
PERSONAL  
Personal Spending $200.00
Date Nights $80.00
Professional Memberships $175.00
Club Memberships $20.86
Gifts $50.00
Anniversary $300.00
Donations $25.00
Miscellaneous $393.79
TOTAL $1,244.65
   
FINANCIAL COMMITMENTS  
Student Loans $505.00
My Parents $250.00
Line of Credit $200.00
TFSAs $500.00
Emergency Savings $100.00
TOTAL $1,505.00
   
GRAND TOTAL $4,950.00

March looks okay, and it should be an okay income month. However, there is March Break, so a full 5 days of potential work that I can’t get. Oh well, that’s what the other jobs are for!
How is March looking for you? Are you as ready for spring as I am?

February Budget Recap

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Well, another month is gone. How do they fly so fast?

This month wasn’t so bad, we came in under budget! We only had to pay 25cents for hydro because of a credit we had (woohoo!), and we’re trying to use as little data on our phones which we saw result in a minus for that area (not much, but it means something). Our biggest savings was in gas – I love that it’s been (relatively) cheap lately! So nice!

HOUSING Budgeted Actual +/-
Rent $856.00 $856.00
Heat/Hydro $40.00 $0.25 -$39.75
Phone/Cable/Internet $275.00 $264.15 -$10.85
Insurance $27.75 $27.75
TOTAL $1,198.75 $1,148.15 -$50.60
   
LIVING  
Groceries/Household Supplies $300.00 $440.04 +$140.04
Dry Cleaning $15.00 $0.00 -$15.00
Personal Care $100.00 $45.71 -$54.29
TOTAL $415.00 $485.75 +$70.75
       
TRANSPORTATION  
Insurance $186.60 $186.60
Gas/Repairs/Maintenance $350.00 $144.43 -$205.57
TOTAL $536.60 $331.03 -$205.57
   
PERSONAL  
Personal Spending $200.00 $279.05 +$79.05
Date Nights $80.00 $95.28 +$15.28
Hobbies $25.00 $0 -$25.00
Club Memberships $20.86 $20.86
Gifts $50.00 $24.76 -$25.24
Donations $25.00 $27.00 +$2.00
Wedding $50.00 $33.89 -$16.11
Miscellaneous $143.79 $46.36 -$97.43
TOTAL $594.65 $527.10 -$67.45
   
FINANCIAL COMMITMENTS  
Student Loans $505.00 $505.00
My Parents $200.00 $200.00
Line of Credit $200.00 $200
TFSAs $500.00 $500
Emergency Savings $100.00 $100.00
TOTAL $1,505.00 $1,505.00
   
GRAND TOTAL $4,250.00 $3,994.03 -$255.97

Not too bad, I’d say. How was your February?

Cable – How Much Do We Really Need?

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For the longest time The Banker and I had a decent cable package. We got sports channels, TLC (for all those guilty pleasure shows), and a whole lot of stuff we didn’t watch. We paid the bill every month, and didn’t really think too much about it. Until one day when The Banker asked if I would be okay with decreasing our channels. I watch a ton of stuff on Netflix and a lot of things can be streamed, so I said sure. Then, after a few months we missed the channels we no longer had and upped it again. Then, we switched providers but continued to have a large number of channels to watch (and also a free PVR and second box – hello TV in the bedroom!). We kept the package we had for a while, but when The Banker asked again about decreasing our service, I didn’t hesitate and readily agreed.

At the highest, we paid $88 a month. It truly is unnecessary. Why did we feel the need to have so many channels? Yes, it’s nice to always know you can find something to watch, but you can always log in to Netflix. It’s nice to be able to see all the sports programming you want, but we still see all the major games, have TSN to recap, and could always go to a sports bar or friend’s place if we really didn’t want to miss something.

Right now we have basic cable, with the PVR (which is awesome to record stuff during the day or late at night to watch at those times we can’t find anything) and the TV in the bedroom (thanks honey, I know you hate it); we still pay more than I would want to, around $42 a month. And you know what, we’re happy and have more than enough to watch. (Really, we should probably be watching less.) There are a few shows I miss, but I catch up online. I love talk shows, and they are all available to me on basic cable. And for those times there isn’t anything, we pay our small $8/month fee to have Netflix to turn to. There is really no reason to waste so much money on entertainment that we don’t really love. I’m quite happy with what we’ve got now, and our wallets are thanking us too!

What are your thoughts on cable? Have it all? Have none at all?

February Budget

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I know February is more than half over, but I haven’t posted our budget yet. I’m not sure how well we’ll do. It’s been a weird month, lots of little things that seem to be adding up; prescriptions, household items, gifts. We hope that we can cut costs in some other areas, but this might not be the best month for us. But, for now, here’s the budget for February:

Housing
Rent $856.00
Heat/Hydro $40.00
Phone/Cable/Internet $275.00
Insurance $27.75
TOTAL $1,198.75
   
Living  
Groceries/Household Supplies $300.00
Dry Cleaning $15.00
Personal Care $100.00
TOTAL $415.00
   
TRANSPORTATION  
Insurance $186.60
Gas/Repairs/Maintenance $350.00
TOTAL $536.60
   
PERSONAL  
Personal Spending $200.00
Date Nights $80.00
Hobbies $25.00
Club Memberships $20.86
Gifts $50.00
Donations $25.00
Wedding $50.00
Miscellaneous $143.79
TOTAL $594.65
   
FINANCIAL COMMITMENTS  
Student Loans $505.00
My Parents $200.00
Line of Credit $200.00
TFSAs $500.00
Emergency Savings $100.00
TOTAL $1,505.00
   
GRAND TOTAL $4,250.00

We’re hoping that our TFSA could have a larger contribution, and maybe our Emergency Savings Fund as well, but I’m making no promises!

How is February looking for you?

January Budget Recap

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Wow! Where I have been for the past 3 weeks. Busy with work, getting our apartment more organized, cleaning out my closet. Nothing that important, but I’m back!

Here’s how we did for January (not too bad, but not the best either)

 

Housing

BUDGETED ACTUAL +/-
Rent $856.00 $856.00
Heat/Hydro $40.00 $0.00 -$40
Phone/Cable/Internet $275.00 $272.96 -$2.04
Insurance $27.75 $27.75
TOTAL $1,198.75 $1,156.71 -$42.04
       
Living      
Groceries/Household Supplies $300.00 $399.64 +$99.64
Dry Cleaning $15.00 $16.10 +$1.10
Personal Care $110.00 $160.56 +$50.56
TOTAL $425.00 $576.30 +$151.30
       
TRANSPORTATION      
Insurance $186.60 $186.60
Gas/Repairs/Maintenance $350.00 $314.69 -$35.31
TOTAL $536.60 $501.29 -$35.31
       
PERSONAL      
Personal Spending $200.00 $228.66 +$28.66
Date Nights $80.00 $91.96 +$11.96
Hobbies $25.00 $23.05 -$1.95
Club Memberships $20.86 $20.86
Gifts $100.00 $43.89 -$56.11
Donations $25.00 $60.00 +$35.00
Miscellaneous $203.79 $94.06 -$109.73
Wedding $0.00 $42.73 +$42.73
TOTAL $654.65 $605.21 -$49.44
       
FINANCIAL COMMITMENTS  
Student Loans $505.00 $505.00
My Parents $350.00 $350.00
Line of Credit $200.00 $200.00
TFSAs $500.00 $500.00
Emergency Savings $100.00 $100.00
TOTAL $1,655.00 $1,655.00
GRAND TOTAL $4,470.00 $4,494.51 +$24.51

We were able to save in a few areas, and did buy some wedding stuff that we didn’t budget for. I think we stayed within a decent amount of our budget.

However, there are a number of areas we really need to work on! Our grocery bills were out of hand again this month (we’re trying to shop the flyers more, and we have a good stock in our cupboards now which is nice, but I’d like to spend a little less). We also spent too much going out together. There were a few times we went out with friends and spent more than necessary. Oh well, we’ll just try harder this month! 🙂

How was your January? Any special plans for Valentine’s Day? We’re going to have a nice night in and spend some quality time together!

October Budget Breakdown (finally!)

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Sorry that this is posted late, it’s been a busy week and weekend! (Stay tuned to hear some big news on Wedding Wednesday!)
I have finally finished my October budget breakdown, and in general, it’s okay. I didn’t put nearly as much as I wanted into savings (and by that I mean, I put nothing in savings!), and I didn’t pay back as much of my loans as I had planned. It wasn’t a great month in terms of substitute teaching income, nor did I bring in a lot from my other jobs. I did alright, but hopefully I’ll have a better month in November.

Budgeted Actual +/-
Rent $430 $430
Student Loan $350 $350
Parents (Personal Loan) $250 $100 -$150
The Banker (Personal Loan) $250 $100 -$150
TFSA $500 $0 -$500
Emergency Savings Fund $250 $0 -$250
Insurance $75 $75
Groceries $150 $197.72 +$47.72
Cable $50 $50
Gas $150 $85 -$65
Cell Phone Bill $80 $85 +$5
Personal Care $150 $35.49 -$114.51
Wedding Expenses $200 $0 -$200
Food and Entertainment $100 $45.64 -$54.36
Date Night Fund $40 $40
Clothing Fund $40 $40
Home $25 $56.48 +$31.48
Gifts $100 $87.97 -$12.03
Charity $25 $25
Miscellaneous $36 $254.57 +$218.57
TOTAL $3,250 $2,014.87 -$1,235.13

While this looks amazing and like I really scrimped this month, in reality when you take away the loan repayments and savings contributions that I didn’t make this month, I’m only $185.13 under budget. Still great, but it’s upsetting that I couldn’t make those contributions this month.

I had one large unexpected cost this month – renewing my passport. I got a 10-year renewal that cost $160. It was a lot to pay when I didn’t have it anywhere in my budget, but well worth it! Hopefully this travel bug I’ve caught will stay with me!

Wish me a good November, and I hope your October was better than mine 🙂