Financial Fitness Check-in: January 2023

January was an interesting month spending wise, I spent the first week of the month in Toronto on vacation seeing friends and then came back up north and had to pay for airport parking for the 17 days I was gone and pet sitting for those days (insert Chrissy Teigen cringe face meme). It’s funny, when I lived in an urban area the travel expenses stop when you land back at the airport, now some of the biggest travel expenses happen after you land back home.

I still have not figured out how to have my bills and expenses in one chart, but I have included both charts this month so that we can take a look at them.

I included my subscriptions (Netflix, Prime, Canva, New York Times, etc.) in my bills chart, thinking that when our parents paid their television bill it was just thought of as a bill, so why should I treat how I watch TV any differently. These are pretty consistent, electric is higher than normal because it’s winter and I have electric heat – it will be even worse in February. However, so far we are mostly having a mild winter (except for last week which was brutal) so I’m hoping that it will stay pretty level. However, we have three to four months of winter left so it could get terrible again.

As per usual, groceries was my greatest expenditure in January. I budgeted lower thinking I was spending a week out of town, however I underestimated how much of a restock I would need to do when I got back because I thoroughly emptied my cupboards and fridge before leaving time. I went about $150 over budget, I got Hello Fresh three times which does really drive up how much I spend on food, which depending on how I’m feeling each week oscillates between feeling worth it and not worth it. Sometimes, saving the time and brain space is amazing, sometimes the cost just isn’t it. I think this month it was worth it the first week because I didn’t immediately have to go grocery shopping and meal plan the day after I got back from vacation, however I think the third week it would have been better to skip it because the convenience wasn’t worth the expense.

I also think that my grocery expense is particularly hurtful because I spent a week eating out in the city. I went $60 overbudget on eating out while on vacation, however, I did stay nearly $50 underbudget on coffee, so to me that kind of balances out.

Next was spending money. When I was making my budget for the month I hadn’t yet received a pay at my new salary, and I was owed back pay for my new salary. So, I set my spending money super conservatively and then got my back pay and save a huge chunk of it and allowed myself to spend more money in the city. While in the city I bought a super cute tree topper for next Christmas, a slip dress, a new purse, new air buds (with a cord), some nice pens for journaling (that I’ve been using every day), and some books. And I don’t regret a single purchase.

Then came car, my downfall was that when I was making the budget I forgot about airport parking. I remembered that I would have to pay for gas to drive back to my small town, but I did not remember the airport parking. So, the car section looks particularly bad.

For the positives, I budgeted $100 each for household supplies and entertainment, and didn’t spend a cent out of either of those categories. It didn’t totally balance out, but it did help.

For February, I am doing a flexible low-buy. I am going to Minneapolis for a long weekend for a concert and I have a budget for then, but it does allow for some spending just due to the fact that there is Target and Trader Joes and needlepoint stores that we just don’t have in Canada and so I have a list for those places. But for the rest of the month, I am not buying anything extra. I have to get an oil change, there will be some extra gas due to the drive to Minneapolis, but other than that nada.


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