Ever since I started to track my expenses, I really see value in budgeting based on an annal basis. I also enjoy looking back and seeing a snapshot of where my money goes. By looking at my expenses on an annual basis, I can also more clearly see the impacts of non-monthly expenses – such as car insurance.
I find that by working backwards from an annual budget to a monthly budgets works pretty well for me. The exception would be for one-off items, such as car insurance, car repairs, hair cuts, or stocking up on moisturizers/make-up (during annual sales).
I also find that looking at my spending in the previous year (2011), really helps me gauge how much I need to budget for the following year (2012), or figure out what expenses I can trim down.
2011 Actual Expenses vs 2012 Annual Budget
I’m likely going to stay at the same place for another year so I’ve budgeted the same rent ($345) and also included a $800 budget for some “renovations”. I’ve lived here for 3 years so far, and I really like it. It’s close to work, and relatively close to public transportation.
I’m not uber close to a subway line (about a 20 minute walk away), and not super close to downtown. I also live in a basement apartment and share it with a room mate.
Of course, my apartment is not perfect – far from it. I’ve got spotty walls where the previous tenant ripped tape off the wall, 2′ of counter space in my kitchen :(, and my vinyl tiled floors are scraped and cracked. But I’ve got a really big closet – which almost balances out ;).
I use the term “renovations” in a very loose way (i.e., moving around furniture counts, right?). Since I do not own this place, I want to make changes that will make my apartment more functional and beautify it at the same time without spending a lot of money. Ideally, I’d also like to take the changes with me.
I’ve given myself a “reno” budget of $800 to make this happen, and I have already spent some of it in 2011.
I like to eat lots of fresh veggies and one of my new year goals is to eat more fruits. My favourite place to shop is the Asian grocery store. Everything is well priced – although quality is inconsistent.
I’ve been keeping my pantry well stocked, and also batch cooking items that can be frozen for last-minute meals. I have cut out almost all heavily processed foods from my diet (except Campbell’s mushroom cream soup and Restaurante frozen mushroom pizza). I am also cooking dried beans, and make most of my meals from scratch. Not only does this save me money, I’ve also trimmed my waistline with little exercise in 2011.
My car insurance has been paid up to May 2012. I’m not sure what will happen after that. Likely, I will give back the family car to my parents and it will be passed down to my little sister when she starts her full-time job.
I would like to go car-free after that. I don’t want to buy a car at the moment. It costs waaaay too much to drive in Ontario, and I live close enough to the city that I shouldn’t have to.
My 1-year contract with Rogers expires in July 2012. If I can get a better plan, I will likely stay with them and re-new for another year.
I just got a new phone since my >3 year old Nokia died, so this one should last me at least another 3 years.
I will likely play 2 – 3 seasons of volleyball.
I really enjoy playing beach volleyball in the summers and getting together with friends on a weekend to play. It’s not exactly the best workout for me, but when I get a few hours in, I feel really good. And it’s super fun!! :)
I’m also using my Entertainment Book for cheap(er) movie tickets and attractions.
Since my benefits cover 80% of my costs, and includes all prescription medicines and some massage therapy – I don’t have to pay much out-of-pocket. My daily prescription medicines are topical
potions lotions for my acne, and I try to use up my massage therapy benefits.
I will also not be doing another facial for a long time. They are too expensive and are truly an indulgence.
I am going to try really, really hard to stick to this budget.
Growing up, my family rarely went out for dinner. I feel so guilty when I see how much I spend on eating out.
It is nice to go out and eat with friends once in a while, but it is an indulgence and should be treated as such. This should be easier as BF is no longer living downtown. It was way too easy to meet up with friends for brunch/lunch/dinner/drinks/etc., and I am so easily tempted.
I don’t want to pay any bank fee’s for checking or credit cards.
However, this would have to exclude the commission fee’s to process buying stocks for my TFSA.
I have budgeted for 4 haircuts, an annual stock-up of toiletries (shampoo, facial cleansers, moisturizers, sunscreens, etc), and I gave myself $25 a month for make-up.
I am going to make a Shopping List of items that I want and hunt for them.
I will NOT settle for something that I kinda, sorta like. New rule: if I don’t love it, I don’t buy it.
I have been lusting after the Canon S95 for a while now, but haven’t bitten the bullet since I have a perfectly functioning Canon ELPH SD1100 IS. They are coming out with the Canon S100, soon, and I am hoping to score the S95 for a good deal. Or the Olympus XZ-1 is also a great candidate.
I love taking nice photographs, but right now, I don’t have the time or patience (mostly the latter) to learn how to use a DSLR.
I’m not a huge gift giver, I prefer to take someone out for a great meal and chat. I’m lazy that way:).
I think my friends and I are old enough to buy what we really want. I’m also a really hard person to buy gifts for, and I hate to put my friends and family through that.
I would love to take a 2-3 week trip somewhere (far), go camping and visit a friend in Montreal.
Stuff always comes up.
I have finally topped up my E-fund at a nice and pretty number -$10,000. I love round numbers.
That should last me 6 – 10 months of living expenses.
I keep putting money in here and it keeps disappearing! ;)
I had about $1,000 left over from 2011, so I think this should be enough. Sometimes, I add a bit more to the fund, the closer I get to a trip.
I’d like to keep this topped up at $15,000.
I don’t plan on going back to school right away, or buying a house. But this money is there if I want to do something, or if a great opportunity came up.
I’d like to keep this maxed out in 2012.
I know my dad tells me to save some contribution room for the future when I make a higher salary, but I like to take advantage of the savings now and have my money grow.
Last year, I didn’t contribute, so I need to make up for it this year.
I really wanted to invest in some dividend paying stocks and then never got around to doing my research. So,this year, the least I need to do is to put half of it into the TD E-series fund and start making some money!
Other (Long Term) Savings
Since my E-fund and General Savings are mostly topped up, I will likely have some left over money to invest.
If I take out my travel costs, I am left with an average monthly budget of $1,285.33.
This brings my annual budget to $18,923.96. I really want to hit this one on the nail and meet an ambitious 2012 net worth goal! :)
Coming up… 2012 Goals – including my networth goal.
Readers, do you like to budget on an annual basis and work back to monthly? Or vice versa?