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I knew we were trending towards a negative variance for food when I did the mid-month update. I said we will try to eat out less and cook more for the rest of the month but as predicted, we did not 😂.

Budget vs. Actual for September 2020

green = under the budget, red = over the budget

Categories We Did Well On

As expected, there were no unplanned expenses in our fixed expense categories. Since I didn’t end up buying any new clothes for my new job (will only be in the office for 2 weeks), I didn’t use the Clothing & Accessories budget at all. This was good news as we definitely overspent elsewhere to make up for it.

For Home & Furniture, we totally failed at spending money despite my effort. I spent one Saturday to finalize how I want my office to look like on Modsy and was surprisingly productive. I created a tracker on Google Sheets (always) and ordered a few of the bigger pieces. Sadly, one of them was on backorder and another was cancelled after a couple of weeks due to supply issue. At the end, I was only charged for the table lamp that had to be shipped to the local store for pick up.

Modsy x CB2
Modsy x CB2

Categories We Overspent On

For this month, this paragraph can go on and on. Eric told me I needed a new phone one night (my old phone was just over one year old with some cosmetic defects). He tells me that every once in a while because he is obsessed with buying electronics. I wasn’t even sure which phone I had (the S10) because I lost track of the many models. Anyway, I ended up starting my new job with a new phone at the end.

Samsung S20
Samsung S20

For Transportation, we drove a lot more and I pre-loaded my Compass card (public transit pass) so we ended the month slightly over budget. For food, as I have already mentioned in the beginning, we failed completely at eating out less and cooking more. I started my new job the last week of September and met Eric in Richmond for dinner every day after work. In total, we spent $1,068 on food in September. It was the most expensive month for food since we started working from home. However, as I have said over and over, food is the category I am most flexible on as it is essential and bring a lot of happiness!

Under Health, Eric picked up a new pair of glasses after getting his eye exam done. He has been complaining about headaches and thought they had something to do with his old pair of glasses. It seemed the new pair did help. He also had to buy an online textbook that I didn’t budget for hence the overage under Learning & Development.

Conclusion on Budget vs. Actual

The unplanned phone purchase and slightly excessive take-outs were offset by the failed office furniture spree. We still ended the month with a negative $408 variance (over-budget). However, if I think about the overlapped paycheque I got this month (my unused vacation was paid out), I don’t feel too bad about over-spending.

We are going away for 3 days in October so I expect it to be a slightly more expensive month than usual.

Money Diary

Day One

7:00 am – I was woken up by the alarm but stayed in bed watching Schitt’s Creek until about 8:30. Had leftover Roast Duck in Noodle Soup from dinner last night. It was so good.
9:30 am – Finished the last little bit of the Module Workshop for CPA before moving on to finish the Microsoft GP class (the accounting software I will be using at my new job) I found on LinkedIn Learning. Love the library as my library card offers access to Linkedin Learning as well!
1:00 pm – I ended up spending an hour talking to an old coworker of mine. We somehow always lose track of time!
2:00 pm – Was going to have instant noodle for lunch because lazy but ended up trying a new recipe I saw on Youtube
5:00 pm – Ending up talking to some friends on the phone for a bit before dinner. Eric had instant noodle and I had my favourite sesame bagel.

Daily Total: $0

Day Two

7:00 am – I had the intention of being productive before I headed out for the day but I stayed in bed instead. I started Schitt’s Creek last week and have been so obsessed with it since!
10:00 am – Before Eric dropped me off to meet my friend, we went to pick up his new glasses at our optometrist. I have been wanting a new pair of glasses too and I almost forgot I need a pair with nose piece this time again. Since we were in a rush, we left before I found a pair I really liked. I used my points to get my coffee this time. My friend and I took the train to meet my 2 other friends. $5.75
12:00 pm – I had lunch with 3 friends and wished it lasted longer! Since I was going to an open house later, I decided to stop at one drink this time. $25.04
3:00 pm – One of my friends I had lunch with went to the Southlands development for an open house appointment to see two of their show homes. All open houses require an appointment now due to COVID. I miss the days when we can just drop by. Both the town house and the house were spacious at over 2,000 sq ft. However, I don’t see myself buying any at this point as they have more space than we need (also $$$$) and there will be more coming (a 10-year project). My friend and I picked up a pastry at the cafe next door before heading over to this cute little shop. $3.68
4:30 pm – After my friend dropped me off home, I curled up on the sofa watching more Schitt’s Creek. I had leftover wrap from lunch as dinner and ended the night by starting Gems from Warren Buffett.

Daily Total: $34.47

Day Three

7:00 am – Last Saturday before I start work again. We woke up at about 7 AM and stayed in bed watching Netflix until 9 AM. I finished the other half of Oat Fudge bar I got yesterday before going out to grab Starbucks with Eric and to return his keyboard at Staples. $2.26 (Coffee) -$45.33 (Electronics)
11:00 am – I resisted the urge to make Shin Ramen and made a onion & tomato soup from scratch instead. I bought some fresh noodles the other day so they went perfectly with the light soup.
1:30 pm – I decided to try my hardest on Assignment Set #4 PC today so I did. I learned the trick of reading the case one line at a time from the Module Workshop and it really worked! Now that the cases are longer (80 mins vs 60 mins), it is so easy to get overwhelmed.
6:00 pm – Skipped a proper dinner but had sweet rice balls (aka Tang Yuan) instead. Eric and I played this game of ‘who got more black sesame rice balls’ and I won!
7:00 pm – Ended the night by renting AVA on Google Play Store. We both love Jessica Chastain and especially when she plays a badass character (she is a assassin to hire in AVA). The rental would have been $5.99 but I got some credit to use. The movie was entertaining.

Daily Total: -$43.07

Day Four

8:00 am – I didn’t go to bed until midnight last night watching Schitt’s Creek so I woke up a little later than usual. Stayed in bed for more Schitt’s Creek until I really needed to eat.
9:30 am – You know how I resisted the urge to eat Shin Ramen yesterday? I lost today. Eric had lemon crackers for breakfast instead.
1:00 pm – We saw a movie wtih Zoey Deutch in it on Netflix so decided to watch it before actually starting our Sunday. Buffaloed was okay and it was not something I will re-watch.
2:00 pm – I finished Assignment Set #4 IP. I started this assignment twice already and just couldn’t move beyond Task #1. I got the answer wrong anyway but attempted the assignment in full.
5:00 pm – Someone in Schitt’s Creek was eating a scone and it gave me serious craving. There is a bakery near our house so I asked Eric to bring me. I was craving the blueberry scone from Starbucks but got a white chocolate scone and a chocolate scone instead. $5.36
8:00 pm – I ended the night by starting The Smart Cookies’ Guide to Couples and Money and watching more Schitt’s Creek.

Daily Total: $5.36

Day Five

6:50 am – First day of work at my new job. I got more and more excited as I got ready as I got to meet someone new (my boss) for the first time since COVID. I had the chocolate scone from yesterday for breakfast and picked up Starbucks on the way to the train station. $2.26

8:00 am – Since I was starting an hour later than usual today, I got on the train when the morning rush would have been over already. The train was quite empty but I am not sure if this will be the case during rush hours. $3.4

12:00 pm – Had welcome lunch with my boss at the restaurant downstairs. Why did I order seafood fettuccine instead of something safe?
4:00 pm – I met up with Eric in Richmond and headed to Church’s Chicken. We thought about going to an independant fried chicken restaurant we have never tried before but was too hungry to take the risk. $26.2
10:00 pm
– I worked on jenthinks for a bit before calling it a night by watching…. you guessed it: Schitt’s Creek!

Daily Total: $31.91

Day Six

5:50 am – I went to bed thinking I won’t get my morning coffee for my commute as masks are required on the transit now. I changed my mind when I woke up so, coffee it is! $2.26 (coffee) $3.45 (transit)
8:00 am – The view from the office is as amazing as yesterday. It’s going to be hard to work from home after this.
1:00 pm – Had a meeting during lunch so I ate a little than usual. I had leftover from yesterday and boy, did the food smell (microwaved seafood). This morning, my boss walked me over a lot about the company this morning and it’s always nice to know exactly how the company makes money!
4:00 pm – Quarter-end hasn’t started yet so I was able to spend the afternoon cleaning up some working papers (for non-finance readers, basically excel files). I love making improvements and am so happy I got to do it on the second day!
6:00 pm – Picked up ice cream at McDonald’s on the way home (yes, dessert first kind of day). Then had leftover Church’s Chicken for dinner. $4.81

Daily Total: $10.52

Day Seven

5:50 am – Was I ever used to waking up at 5:50? I certainly don’t remember those days anymore. I miss sleeping in. However, I am quite happy to be in the office even though I only interact with my boss. It has been too long since I worked in an office environment.
7:00 am – Picked up coffee and got on a slightly more crowded train this morning. $2.26 (coffee) $3.45 (transit)
12:00 pm – I tried the Japanese restaurant my boss recommended today and it was quite good for the price and location. It’s right downstairs from my office. $14.65
4:00 pm – My boss warned me about potential overtime today but it turned out to be another nice day! It was an accomplishing day today as I was able to clean up some working papers. I love this!
5:00 pm – Eric met me in Richmond for dinner but I ended up getting tofu dessert only instead. $18

Daily Total: $38.36

Weekly Summary

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