2012 Annual Budget

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.

Eating Out
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.

Bank Fee’s
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.


Emergency Fund
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.

Travel Fund
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.

General Savings
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.

Monthly Budget

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?



Filed under Budget

14 responses to “2012 Annual Budget

  1. Some great goals and I think it’s totally doable. I especially like your commitment to eating healthier and cooking from scratch. I definitely need to follow your example and do more of that. Good job in living with a roommate for cheaper rent. A lot of people would be tempted to get their own place as they make more money.

    • I’m lucky that my room mate is not really home much and we get along great. If I had a messy and uncompatible roommate, I probably wouldn’t be able to stick it out this long sharing a place.

      I would LOVE to have my own place, but this is okay for now. 🙂

  2. Cristy

    Wow, I really love your breakdown of your budget. It is logical and easy to make sense of. Question: for your different funds (emergency, savings, budget, etc.) Do you keep separate banks accounts or is it all in one and you just keep track of the dollars on your own?

    • I have all my savings accounts (Emergency Fund, Travel Fund, General Savings Fund), and my main checking account with ING. ING lets you create separate accounts and that’s what I do to keep each fund separate.

      I do keep a checking account with TD, as well, since I find the convenience of their green machines worth it.

  3. I sat down once, worked out an annual budget for insurances, bills, car maintenance, etc, and then calculated how much I should put aside every week into a “bills” account to cover these regular and not so regular expenses.

    Everything else is weekly or monthly. Misc things like clothing or eye tests (which we don’t spend much on) just gets fitted in.

  4. I think I’d like to do a $20k budget too, for the year. Let’s see if I can meet that.

  5. I like your “reno” budget! I’m a renter too, in a quirky little character bachelor(ette) pad. I spent $300 when I first moved in to have the walls painted – money well spent, considering they are sixteen foot ceilings (not a project I wanted to tackle!). It also made everything look fresh and new.

    It’s so worth it to put a bit aside to make even a rented space feel more like “home”.

    • I would LOVE to paint my walls all white. I just need to find the time to do it! 🙂

      My rented space is becoming more of a home now. Still need to do some “reno” before we get to a happy place.

  6. Love the way you have everything figured out. My budgets are up in the air and I am not particularly great with numbers. I am trying to decide whether I want to lump all my savings together into one big lump of “general savings” and another for my emergency fund.

    • It took me almost 3 years to “figure out” my budget, so don’t fret. I find that it is still a work in progress.

      I prefer to separate my Emergency Fund from my General Savings since I want to keep options open if an opportunity were to come up, and I will still have my E-fund for truly emergencies. It’s all about what works for you!

  7. I agree with tinysarah that it’s important to make rented place to look like “home”. I remember when I was renting my first appartment: it had such a kitchen that even when I wanted to cook it was such a depressing place that I usually gave up and went out with friends to eat somthing. Investing in renting place is really pointless sometimes but it is worth to do that if it makes you feel so good you want to stay at home and cook something for you and your friends because you have a good place to do that and comfortable space to eat. Maybe it’ll be easier to stick to the budget then 😉
    And I love the idea of Shopping List of items you want and hunt for them. I’ll try to make my own this year!

    • That’s a great point! I found that when BF’s place was clean, we’d be more likely to cook, but if we came home to a messy kitchen, we’d just be so overwhelmed with the thought of cleaning that we just went out for food.

      Would love to see your Shopping List!

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