Saturday, 2 January 2016

2015 Budget Overview

What an amazing year for us! Income wise; G hustled big time and worked extremely hard to help us fund our goals a lot more quickly and I started a new job which included a huge increase in my salary. We became consumer debt free, including paying off our car. Cash flowed a really nice vacation, vet bills, new furniture; also topped up our Emergency Fund and started saving for a transfer all the while putting 14% of our income into long-term savings. This year I started tracking our net worth every month (something I haven’t shared on here yet), actually writing down and budgeting, thus putting any extra money to help fund any of the goals we were working on at the time. Although I didn’t really update the blog I did complete another year of tracking everything that went thru our bank account thus creating the beautiful pie graph you see below!

Home (9%) 
Yay no major home updates/things going wrong. The majority of this category ($8902.92 of it) was mortgage payments, insurance, property taxes and an inspection we had done on the house this Fall when we started to catch wind that we may be transferred soon. We were definitely lucky that nothing really needed to be done with the house, after putting on the new roof in 2014 I think we were set for a while. Hopefully the next home we purchase won’t bump this category up too much in 2016.

Utilities (6%)
This includes energy, power, water, sewer, cellphones, internet and bank fees; pretty much anything we pay for services. The biggest budget eater: our cell phone plan just a little over $2000 this year. When our contract renews I’m going to look to see where I can cut back on my plan. G’s is pretty good and he uses all his features including his data, mine has a lot of data that I don’t use which we are paying a good amount for. Hopefully they have some sort of reasonable plan with the unlimited long distance I have with my current plan.

Transportation (4%)
This is a really nice category but sort of confusing aswell. We paid off our car loan this year - about $17,000 worth of car payment but I didn’t include it in this category. Instead I put it in the debt repayment category as that’s how we viewed it. Our car is a 2011 and has been extremely good to us with no car repairs other than changing the oil/regular maintenance - all which G does himself. Fuel costs for us are low because I walk to work every singe day and G often gets to take the police truck home so there’s not much driving while we are working. In 2016 we need new summer tires, G has already looked into prices - we are looking at about $350-400 a piece so $1600ish. I’m not sure the labour cost to replace and balance but at least I know a ball park on what to save for once the snow starts melting.

Debt Repayment (20%)
Biggest category & I hope to never see it again in the new year. 2015 was a huge year for us, we really hit our stride in the debt repayment category and now are completely debt free except our mortgage. The biggest decision we made was transferring my TSFA that was in a daily interest savings account to the loan to pay it off completely. I don’t think I said this in a blog post but that money was sort of like a personal emergency fund incase anything ever happened with G and I needed to go back home to Ontario. It was money that he couldn’t touch. Using it to achieve a goal we both shared was huge for me, a big security blanket removed. I’m glad I did it and I feel stupid for ever having such thoughts. The weight is off and all our finances, including personal investment accounts, are written down every month in a notebook I keep to track our Networth. You can truly get anything done when you are working as a team.

Long Term Savings (14%)
Second largest category! Yay. This includes me removing the money from my TFSA so next year this slice should be a little juicier. I’m happy with the amount we were able to save this year regardless. All our retirement is now in mutual funds and on autopilot contributions. I also include G’s pension contributions since if he were to leave the RCMP the cash he has paid into it is what can be transferred - thus still be kept in retirement no matter what the future may hold. He has a pretty solid government pension after 25 years of services which would allow him to be able to retire just after turning 45 with a full pension. I’m cautious of this though and don’t want to rely only on that promise for our retirement plans. I can’t control what happens 21 years in the future but I can plan for the worst starting now which is what we are doing. Anything extra is just icing on the cake. 

Food (7%)
This is the biggest win for me. I came under my goal of spending $500 a month on food I had set for myself at the beginning of 2015. I really hit my stride later in the year though when I really started challenging myself. I know this trend will continue into 2016 thanks in large part to meal planning and only buying what I know we are going to use. The area we need to improve on is restaurants, we spent on average $140 a month. Yikes, as most of these outings are not planned for. I’m hoping without many city trips in the coming new year this category will be way down.

Shopping (9%)
Can you spot the drawers ;P 
The biggest expense this year for us was home furnishings. G & I designed 8 pieces for our home and G built & finished every single one by himself in our garage. These are forever pieces so we did not skimp on the details nor quality of the wood. My favourite pieces: our desks with hidden pull out drawers. I love the modern finish of the top juxtaposed with the rustic wood and exposed hardware on the bottom. It turned out way better than I thought they would. Also the lamp is pretty sweet, even the shade being made by G. He is seriously a talented guy.

There was also a bit of clothing purchases and paying off the mattress I talked about in my last post.

So beautiful!
Travel (9%)
All but $1300 (that’s what we have in our vacation fund) of this was our trip to Vegas. The sinking loonie wasn’t helpfully in keeping our expenses down but we were more focused on having a good time - which we totally did. We did a lot of unique but expensive actives: helicopter ride to the Grand Canyon, G had a private airplane lesson, we stayed at a really beautiful hotel, had nice dinners out, went to a lot of shows. We had so much fun though AND it was all paid for in cash. We hustled to pay off our debt and then we hustled to pay for the vacation. It was a really nice treat for ourselves.

Personal (12%)
This category has Medical, Entertainment, My Spending, G’s Spending, Personal Care. The biggest areas of spending is our personal spending amounts. Every paycheque we each get money automatically transferred into our personal spending accounts. We call it our no judgement money, lol. I can’t scoff at him when he buys another video game or tool and he can’t judge me when I buy clothes or makeup. Also any birthday or Christmas money get’s rolled into these accounts. This system works for us and we don’t fight about using the House money (aka all the other money not in these accounts) for personal expenses. No plans to change this category, it works for us.

Pets (8%)
I hope this category will be a lot smaller in 2016; for our sake and Mocha’s. I know I talk about my dog a lot but I’m clearly obsessed. She has been thru so many surgeries this year. 

First was the diabetes diagnosis - which is now under control and she has gained a lot of her weight back. Her insulin and needles will still be a cost we have to deal with for the rest of her life but it is manageable for us. Then she went blind due to cataracts (from the diabetes). This was terrifying for me because it literally happened overnight. I went to take her downstairs in the morning and noticed she was really hesitant going down the stairs and her eyes were so wide. She wasn’t catching her morning treats anymore and was walking into walls. It still breaks my heart thinking about this… We took her to the vet that afternoon and got the diagnosis. We were referred to a specialist in Saskatoon where she was looked over and had bloodwork done. Goodnews: the cataracts could be surgically removed. Badnews: the surgery, aftercare, medicine and followup appointments would cost us about $10,000. This was not an easy pill to swallow. They did say they were not comfortable doing the surgery until her diabetes was under control so I knew we at least had a few months to make a decision while we were figuring out her insulin dosage. 

A few days after this appointment we got a call from Saskatoon. With the check up they unfortunately found cancer in Mocha’s leg. These were really dark days for us and not easy to look back on. So away for surgery she went. G drove her to Saskatoon in the morning, after coming off a night shift, dropped her off then came straight back home since they were most likely going to keep her overnight. I came home from work that day, the vet called and said Mocha’s surgery went so well if we wanted to pick her up tonight we could. We thought that was best considering she is in pain, blind and in an unfamiliar place. So away we went, me driving so G could get some more rest. We were debriefed and explained exactly what happened to Mocha and given very detailed instructions for post care. They answered all of our questions and I never felt rushed to wrap it up. We didn’t get home until about midnight; that day between G & I: 12 hours worth of driving. When we came home we were so exhausted: mentally, physically, emotionally. We were glad to have her home though. For about a month while she was healing G and I slept on a blow up mattress we had set up in the living room so she wouldn’t try to climb the stairs to our bedroom. 

In that time of healing we had gotten her insulin levels under control but the vets wanted to make sure her cancer was 100% gone before going ahead with the cataract surgery. In September we got her clean bill of health and she has successfully beaten cancer. <3 I was so proud and relieved but then bad things started happening. Long story short, there was no saving Mocha’s eyes. She was in pain despite the three eye drops we were putting in, and her retina was completely detached in one eye and partially detached in the other. We had no option but to have a double enucleation. She had that surgery in November. I won’t pretend this decision was easy and after the surgery I would often start crying and ask G if we did the right thing — looking at her now I know we did. She is so happy now, everything healed perfectly. She still play fights, dances with us, jumps up on the bed, gets into the garbage can, goes up and down the stairs by herself, goes into her toy bin and beats us at games of tug-of-war. She even ‘looks up’ at the treat cabinet when she wants one, lmao. Her energy levels are so much better now. I’m so happy and proud of her. 

I swear she has more energy than this, lol

Charity & Gifts (2%)
How embarrassing. Truthfully, most of this was spent on gifts and a tiny bit on actual charity. I want this area to improve next year and I’ve been researching different organizations to give money too. Again - I’m really embarrassed by this.


So that's 2015 for us! Lots I feel really proud about and other areas I defiantly want to work on. I will be going over my 2015 goals in my next post and also our 2016 but I think I've done enough typing today.

Thank you to everyone who has read my blog, commented and supported us for the year. Also anyone else who writes a personal finance blog thank you, your posts are incredibly inspirational for me to read and keep me on the right path. :) 

- M


  1. You should be proud. You and your husband did some great work, and you did it as a team. Can't tell you how much that impresses me. I am so glad that the pieces you did were forever pieces. You can take them with you when you move this year.

    I am so proud of your accomplishments....tracking, budgeting, and paying cash for so much.

    Great job!! thank you for sharing your year.

    1. Thank you so much Jolie!! :D I'm extremely lucky to have such an awesome partner in all of this, G makes it so much easier for me.

      & yes they will be moving with us, we kept that in mind while designing the desk so it's extremely easy to move and modular incase the different homes we move into during our adventure don't have enough space to fit the desk as we have it arranged now :)