November was not nearly as bad as I was expecting it to be, I really thought I had totally blown my budget. There was just so much unexpected work travel, and while I get reimbursed for it, it still ends up costing money in food and then you’re tired the next day so you buy convenience foods that are more expensive.
Overall, it actually wasn’t that bad. I spent about $700 on groceries, about $75 on coffee, and about $55 on subscriptions, all of which I am happy with. Also, somehow, I have no clue how, my electric bill was only $66 – and I turned my heat on (which is electric) in October!
The areas I was underprepared for, as in not totally unprepared, but didn’t have money saved up for, were my trip to Toronto for the conference, and getting my winter tires put on, and running out of cat litter. The conference in Toronto I did mostly get reimbursed for, some of my social expenses obviously weren’t, work doesn’t cover you meeting up with friends understandably. And I knew I was running low on cat litter and had to get winter tires put on because I live in northern Ontario but I hadn’t set aside money for those things and then all of a sudden it was time to do them.
I also bought a flight home for the holidays and travel insurance, so that was about $300.
Moving forward into my new role and the new year I really want to get serious about having a sinking fund so that these kind of known annual expenses but unknown which month it will be don’t derail my monthly budget. A sinking fund is a separate savings account that you deposit into monthly. You add up how much you have in these random expenses, things like car maintenance, annual fees, new glasses, replacing something that broke, vet bills, etc. and divide that by 12 and that is the amount that you deposit into the account each month, and then when one of these expenses happen you can withdraw the amount needed from your sinking fund rather than dipping into your credit card or other savings account.
December is also going to be a more expensive month, I didn’t do any Christmas shopping in advance so it will all be concentrated into this month, and I bought my return flight to Thunder Bay, and I’m going to be going down to Toronto at the end of the month for New Years and into January. And I will just in general be in a more urban area with coffee shops, restaurants, and it’s a very social month.
Have a great December!