Budget Catch-Up

January 12th, 2009 by Potato

I’m not much of a big spender most of the time, so I usually manage to stay on-budget (or nearly so) without being obsessive about putting things in spreadsheets every day. Nonetheless, it’s still important to review things every month or two to make sure I’m staying on target and what-not, so I collect all my receipts in a box and add them all up (plus a generous estimate of my receiptless spending at Timmies) to see where I am. Well, with the wedding in October and what-not it turns out I haven’t sat down to do that in over 4 months. Ugh. My little box is overflowing and I think I’ve topped 100 receipts here to add up. The spending is outrageously overbudget, but to be fair includes Halloween spending, two car repairs (plus maintenance for that period), a new computer for myself (which had 3 different mail-in rebates totalling $100, none of which has arrived yet… grr), xmess presents, and an xbox (bought with xmas money). Aside from that stuff we didn’t do too bad.

Overall for the year we’re 11% over-budget, not counting wedding-related expenses (which, one way or another, will be one-time things) or my new computer. Oddly enough, the usual suspects of eating out and entertainment weren’t what sunk us. Instead, it was car repairs (30% over what I estimated/hoped/budgeted), gas (both natural gas for the house and gasoline for the car were 25% more expensive this year), groceries (almost 10% over every month, fairly consistently, with a small extra spike at the end thanks to glutardation), and hydro (~30% extra usage compared to last year, especially through the summer — I didn’t think I had the A/C on that much more, but I can’t think of anything else to explain it). That’s not a killer, because we had some pretty aggressive savings goals in that budget for a new car soon as well as a house at some point (Wayfare wants to get one in < ~2 years, but even with Toronto housing prices coming down 10%/year, it's going to take >3 years before it makes sense to buy vs rent; I’m also selling the rental plan, baby, selling it, because unless a miracle occurs I’m probably not going to have a firm long-term career established the instant I graduate).

On top of spending more than we’d hoped, our savings were hurt by the market downturn. I became fully invested in June, and since my car & other assets are next to worthless that means my overall net worth tracked the markets down, down down…

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