November Spending Plan: When Expected Expenses are More Expensive than Expected

In an effort to hold myself even more accountable with my personal finances I want to start logging them on here, both spending plans or a monthly budget at the beginning of the month and a check-in at the end of the month. Last month was one of the first net positive months I have had in a very long time and it felt good. And I want to keep that going, however I just got a quote for my winter tires and undercarriage spraying is a lot more expensive than I was expecting, I’m not sure if it’s just inflation, labour shortages, supply chain issues, being in the north, or a combination of those problems, but I was not expecting it, and given that I was not planning on getting a new car this year; you could say I was double not expecting it.

So let’s check in. My post-deductions income is $1718 biweekly and November is a typical two pay-cheque month. So my planned income for the month is $3436. I do have at least one pet sitting job lined up and I will be traveling for work a bit so I will have some extra income this month, I just don’t know quite how much yet.

So my monthly expenses include:

Rent: $950

Car Loan Payment: $308.79

Car Insurance: $127.80

Student Loan Payment: $290.53 (somehow my minimum payment has gone down? So maybe that means I’m making some progress?)

Internet: $107.35

Cell Phone: $90.41

Electric: normally about $80, but I did turn the heat on and I have electric heat

Water: $95.96 (this was less than normal)

So my total monthly expenses (with the estimated electric bill) are $2050.84.

And then my quote, including tax for my snow tires and labour with tax totaled to $825 (rounded). I called my dad while writing this post and asked if it would be possible to push the undercarriage spraying to when I am home for Christmas. He said it was fine, not ideal of course, but fine. This allows me to spread the cost and get the job done in my town rather than driving to Dryden as no one in town is offering the undercarriage spraying this year, apparently due to labour shortages. This also saves me driving to Dryden, figuring out somewhere to stay so that I can drop the car off the night before so that it is dry for the oil spray to stick to the undercarriage. Labour and services are so much cheaper down south than they are up here, so doing this will save me a lot of stress and money.

So my planned expenses for November 2021 come to: $2875. So with my planned income we have $3436 – $2875 = $561. Which is not a lot of money for groceries, gas, and then I am going to run out of shampoo and have run out several makeup products that I have been putting off replacing and may have to continue putting off. But with the holidays approaching I was really hoping to be able to get stocked up. However, I do have to figure it out.

Food is quite expensive up here, but I am going to try and spend $50 a week on groceries. This will leave about $347 for gas and incidentals. The shampoo bars I am looking at run between 13 and 14 dollars depending on which one I pick. And then I typically spend between $50 and $70 on gas, but I may have to drive to Thunder Bay and back for work, which should be reimbursed, I think, but I’m not certain yet and I obviously have to spend it before it will be reimbursed, so I do think I will need $100 for gas this month. This gives me a bit of wiggle room in case I do end up spending a week in Thunder Bay this month, which according to today’s work emails, may happen. Oh, and I just remembered I need to buy cat litter this month.

The other thing is, as much as I am loving having a couch, I do kind of wish I hadn’t bought it now. Before I bought the couch I had $465 in my savings account, now I have $65. So I should be trying to build this back up, but it just doesn’t seem like it’s going to be possible this month. Especially, if I want to start any Christmas shopping at all.

Anyways, I feel like it is important to share the realities of life. I have been feeling like there is so much “main character energy”, “romancing your life”, bragging or showing idealized versions of life, when so many people are just surviving. And I say that from my warm and comfortable apartment with a full belly, fully recognizing the privilege of those things. I do think that it is very important for people to show their success and feel proud of their success, but on the internet I feel like we either see the worst of it or the peak of success. I feel like I, and many my age, are becoming increasingly nihilistic and slightly hopeless with the state of the world and our personal finances and I don’t know what the solutions are for all of this, but that’s why I’m not a politician or an economist!

Well that got slightly depressing, sorry about that. But I guess that is how I am feeling about money at the moment, especially with my google search history being “winter tires” or “how do people get ahead”. Sad.


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