Journal Update #3: January 2013

Aaah, the first month of the new year. A time where depression hits many as they fail to achieve their ambitious new year goals. But alas, the year is not over yet and you have 91% of it left to achieve your goals. So, without further ado, here is my financial snapshot as of January 31st, 2013:

Current Savings: $18,101.02

Current Savings Rate: 57.11%

Journal January 2013

Category This Month Average
Transportation 280.12 274.15
Food 459.82 222.38
Housing 535.55 201.39
Recreational 440.00 405.20
Entertainment 32.40 66.94
Rodney 70.36 27.26
Cell Phone 11.30 26.37
Gifts 0.00 87.89
Other 126.17 201.30
Expenses 1,955.72 1,510.65
Evertz 1,500.41 2,784.53
Freelancing 309.90 242.38
Other 119.11 217.29
Income 2,009.42 3,521.87
Savings 53.70 2,009.00
% Spent 97.33% 49.90%
% Saved 2.67% 50.10%

Total Income $31,696.86
Total Savings $18,101.02
Total % Spent 42.89%
Total % Saved 57.11%

The month didn’t really have surprises, but my savings were dismal, less than 3%. This is a combination of horrible spending (I’ll go over it and slap myself on the wrist soon) and due to receiving one payment from my internship instead of the normal two.

This month saw high expenses for Rodney, and this is due to a living upgrade for her. My girlfriend and I made an awesome fake rock structure that gives her heat lamps at two different heights, as well as a shaded overhang, and an enclosed hiding place. We made this from Styrofoam covered in grout and mod podge. It was a blast, and turned out great. She seems to love it, and is already burrowing in the sand, using her hideout to sleep, and basking in the heat.

2013-01-25 07.39.46

My stomach drops when I see what I spent on food. I completely failed to reduce my food spending, but I’m no longer sure what a good goal is. I have a big interest in eating an almost all raw and organic vegan diet and I haven’t quite tuned in how much I should be spending to eat like this. I don’t want to eat processed stuff any more, and I’m not willing to compromise my health for money. Truth be told, I think I would be okay spending this much on a diet like that as my health is worth more than that to me. Must stay healthy. For the time being, I’m going to focus on optimizing what I buy (buying more in bulk, and cooking more batch meals instead of individual meals, buying more in season, and shopping at my farmers market instead of the grocery store) rather than reducing it to an arbitrary number. Over time, I expect to settle into a diet, and then make more optimizations. I’ll keep you informed. Hopefully I’ll still see this number under $350-$400 next month.

I ordered the book “A Guide to the Good Life: The Ancient Art of Stoic Joy” for $14.17 shipped. I got the cheapest used one at the time, but there seem to be cheaper ones available now. I’m looking forward to reading this. This was placed in the “Other” category.

I made progress towards some of my new year goals, but failed others. I failed to achieve a 70% savings rate this month, but I did write a new blog post. I have been doing more yoga and increasing my flexibility. I have read “The Raw Secrets” and learned more about eating a natural diet that we are biologically designed for. It seems I will be travelling out of Canada in February to go to a wedding in Chicago (February 28th & March 1st), so that will be my first trip ever out of Canada [another new years goal complete]! Not the most exciting way – but the future holds more for me soon. I had to apply for a passport and this was an $87 fee I placed in the “Other” category.

Along with my new years goals, I’m going to add these ‘mini-goals’ for the month of February:
Yoga at least 15 times
Exercise at least 10 times
Meditate at least 5 times
Read at least 1 book

Every time I do one of these tasks I will mark in on the calendar as a Y, E, or M, respectively. That will help me keep track of how many times I’ve done it all 🙂

I’ve also done a category revamp this month. My goal was to reduce the number of categories, whilst at the same time increasing the clarity of information I got from them. This was pretty easy since I was starting from a pretty bad design. Some categories have simply become useless as my life has changed [such as gardening, which I no longer do since I moved and took down the hydroponic vegetable system I had].

Here are some change notes:

Merged Contingencies into Other.
Merged Clothes into Other
Merged Munchies into Food (especially since it is now bought with normal groceries, and become very low)
Merged Gardening into Other (especially since I no longer have a garden! though I will be growing and juicing wheatgrass again soon)

I hope you all had a good January! See you next month for another update 🙂