Every once in a while, I do a personal finance post. This is not a frugality blog. It’s more like a “Mortgage-Free Couple Spends Every Penny of Their Dual Incomes” blog. I know I have readers who live on 15% of what we do, so you may want to skip this post!
Like everyone else who is comfortably-off, I scrimp on some areas and splurge on others.
The annual budget this year includes the replacement of our heating system, from savings (just completed) and three trips – two family visits and our first-ever trip to NYC, planned for October.
The new heat pump system will change our utility bills a lot since we will use oil only as a back-up when the outdoor temperature is below -15C, and when the units are defrosting. We have switched to electric-powered hot water so we won’t need to buy oil to heat water in the summer. The units also provide whole-house air conditioning! However, we used to have a dehumidifier on continuously for most of the summer, so I am interested to see the difference. The heat pumps are ridiculously energy-efficient compared to our oil boiler, so I am predicting a good year for utilities.
In my budget, there are several listings for household expenses: improvements (big projects), savings for repairs, spending on minor repairs, and “misc” which includes things like a couple of towels, or a new lock for the shed.
We budget $490/month for groceries which includes all food, a small amount of cleaning and paper products, and personal care items. If we have a meal out or go to a cafe, it’s put in the entertainment line.
The amount for gifts will pop out at you. I allocate $ to purchase major items for our adult child, Link, such as a laptop or a sewing machine, in lieu of birthday and holiday gifts. Otherwise we are just spendy when it comes to gifts. We don’t need much so I would rather buy for other people.
My car is costing even less than anticipated this year! I walk to work now. Of the $830 I spent, $200 was reimbursed by my employer, so I’ve only spent $630 out of pocket for gas and minor car maintenance. House and car insurance are expensive, though. I don’t track Rom’s car and bus costs as part of the budget.
I have spent a shocking amount of money on clothes so far this year, more than double what I intended. But I am buying items that are built to last, like a new rain suit for walking to work, and I am cutting back on other areas, so I don’t plan to stop spending on clothes for the rest of the year.
After a full tally, I spent $394 on unbudgeted items in the first half of the year, but I am only $49 overspent on my total budget due to savings elsewhere.
I am all too aware of how fortunate I am to have this much money to play with. I’ve marked the areas that are completely discretionary, and of course I could economize much more if I had to, so I am not worried about a financial disaster.
I thought I would publish this as a post-child rearing, pre-retirement snapshot!
In Canadian dollars:
(Discretionary in green text)
|YTD Budget 30/06/14||YTD Actuals 30/06/14||Underspent or Overspent||% of Actuals||Note|
|House Improvements||8950||8950||0||25.4%||Heat pump system and hot water tank|
|Long Term Savings||6000||6000||0||17%||Retirement savings|
|Grocery||2940||2873||-67||8.2%||Meals, snacks, cleaning, personal care|
|Gifts||2450||2047||-403||5.8%||Includes savings for gifts later in year|
|Vacation Savings||2360||2360||0||6.7%||Still have savings from 2013 as well|
|Power, Heat, Water||1890||2072||182||5.9%|
|Home Repair Savings||1410||965||-445||2.7%||Spent some from this account|
|Insurance Savings||1350||1350||0||3.8%||Savings 2/3 complete for annual payment|
|Property Tax||1200||1126||-74||3.2%||Half of annual cost|
|Car||1170||830||-340||2.4%||Gas, routine maintenance|
|Internet/Cable/Phone||990||995||5||2.8%||aka “other entertainment budget”|
|Entertainment||960||1001||41||2.8%||Dining, cafes, concerts, plays, movies|
|Charity||900||840||-60||2.4%||Paid to date|
|Clothes||450||1101||651||3.1%||Will post about this separately|
|House Repair/Maint||450||769||319||2.2%||Boiler repair, power washer|
|House Misc||390||283||-107||0.8%||Budget 65/month|
|Charity Savings||240||240||0||0.7%||Towards annual gifts to pay at year end|
|Registration fees||235||235||0||0.7%||Passport, Costco membership|
|Pets||180||199||19||0.6%||Cat food and litter|
|Computer||120||151||31||0.4%||Blog domain, printer ink, etc|
|Hair||120||60||-60||0.2%||Letting hair grow a bit!|
|Unaccounted for||0||40||40||0.1%||Should be zero!|
|Fitness||0||145||145||0.4%||Skating helmet, skating|
|Book, CD, DVD, iTunes||0||82||82||0.2%||Used to spend about 1200/yr on this!|
|Postage & stationery||0||42||42||0.1%|
This isn’t the halfway point of the financial year for everyone, but how is your financial year shaping up?