Sunday, September 1, 2013

August Budget Results

August Grocery Budget 
$425 - Actual Spent was $425.77.  Within .77 cents so as far as I am concerned, the budget was made!

That includes all over the counter medications, personal grooming items, soaps, cleaners and household items for two adults who eat at home 99% of the time.

Previous 2013 year to date overage $232.58 plus this month's overage of .77 cents = $233.35 year to date overage.  Coupons used  - $1.00.  I certainly could do better in the coupon area but most coupons these days are on prepared foods which we try and avoid as cook mostly from scratch.  This month I stocked up on tea and salmon.

I drink Twinings Earl Grey tea every single day, and have done so for the last 20 years.  Some people do coffee, and I do have an occasional cup, but I am really a tea drinker.  This tea is definitely worth paying more for.  Usually I can buy bags of 100 for $9.99 regular price, my personal maximum price.  Last time I bought it was in February when it was on sale for $6.99 per 100 bags (7 cents a bag).  I have been looking for a sale for the past few weeks and suddenly realized that all the stores I normally buy it at were no longer stocking the 100 count bags.  Instead, they wanted $8.99 for 50 bags (18 cents a bag!). Costco stocks it but I gave up my Costco membership in January.  I even went on to see if I could order it and they were out of stock on the 100 count bags!  Getting down to the last few tea bags I decided to buy a different brand of tea that is much cheaper, Red Rose Orange Pekoe tea at $6.99 for 144 bags (5 cents a bag).  Five days after I bought it, a local store had a case lot sale on Twinings Tea for $9.99 per 100 bags, my maximum price.  I bought 3 bags = 300 tea bags.  Now I have a one year supply, and I will occasionally drink the Red Rose tea so that it doesn't go to waste (that or give it to my Mom who is not as picky about her tea).  Is my Twinings tea twice as good?  You bet it is and even for a cheap woman like me, I feel it is worth paying for.  Now I know that when Twinings goes on sale for anything less than 10 cents a bag I may have to buy another years supply.  I try and apply this same philosophy to everything in our budget.  That way you only pay more for items that are really worth it, and even then, you pay the lowest price possible.

I also came across a great deal on four fresh whole wild salmon for $20.  Hubby loves salmon and these will make a nice addition to our diet.  I picked 12 cups of wild blackberries which were frozen for winter, may still pick a few more but have limited freezer space so that might be it for the year.  We have turkey, ham, bacon, smokies, chicken wings, boneless chicken breasts, cod, salmon and porkchops in the freezer.   I need to keep my eye out for a sale on beef, but beef is our highest costing meat and I won't buy it unless on sale.

We are eating tomatoes from  potted tomato plants on the patio, but I had a much better crop last year. Hubby suddenly got the urge to build (*the urge to build must be a man thing)  me a small raised growing box down one side of the house last weekend so $10 of this months grocery budget was spent on seeds.  I planted short season veggies only as the weather here normally is nice until late October with no frosts until November. The radishes, Pak Choy(similar to Bak Choy the chinese spinach used in stirfry), and turnips are some of our favorites and have sprouted already.  There are some carrots and garlic chives that hopefully will sprout this week.  This is an experiment to see if I  can grow something the bugs around here don't like to eat after they ate all of my basil, dahlias, and dill.  I have bought new basil but am growing it on the windowsill in the kitchen as use it every other week for pizza.  I used wooden shishkebob spikes (left over from before I bought metal ones) to mark the names of the veggies.  Hubby was anxious for me to plant so the paint unfortunately didn't dry before the rain hit - we may have to do another coat around the top as it is spotty.  The stain is the same stain we used on our fence.

Hair Budget
Annual budget $250 -  Left in Budget $155.73
Zero spent this month.  I need a haircut but am trying to wait a week or two so that I look presentable later this month for the wedding we are attending in Oregon.

Clothing Budget
Annual Budget $200 - $149.93 left

Spent this month? $22.37.  I bought two pairs of pants and four shirts all at thrift stores.  These will be primarily used for my part-time job.  We really have no dress code as don't have the public coming to our offices but I prefer not to wear jeans so am trying for a dressy casual look.  Anything goes wardrobe for work makes it really easy on the budget.  I will take some pictures and show you recent thrift store finds later this week.   I still need to stock up on some new undergarments this month, likely in the States, but due to back to school shoppers I avoided regular retail stores.  The thrift stores seemed to hold back some great stock until this month so I was able to find some really nice items.  Remainder of clothing budget for rest of year is $127.56.

Christmas 2013
I have a sealed pot (part of SFT's Life After Mortgage savings plan) that each week extra money I can find goes into the pot to help towards Christmas 2013.   This month I managed to tuck away some bigger payments into the fund.  We need a larger than average Christmas fund as will have to pay for taxes on two air tickets, car rental, and a few meals out in addition to gifts for the family when we fly back to Alberta.  Fortunately we can stay with my Mother-in-law who lives an hour away from the kids.  We don't buy family gifts throughout the year but save it for Birthdays and Christmas and spend about $100 per kid at Christmas x 4.  My stepkids are not spoiled although they could have been based on income over the past 10 years.  When their friends were getting ipads for Christmas we explained our philosophy, that we would much rather help them out with their first cars and houses than spend lavishly every Christmas.  They never complained and now three own their own vehicles and although they have saved for the bulk of the car, we have assisted in paying for things like mechanical inspections, tires, and helping with some insurance.  This month we will get our air tickets booked once I can firm up days off with work, hopefully using points and will also start looking for gifts to buy.

Losing Weight Challenge
Starting weight June 1, 2013 = 150 lbs.  Weight July 1 was  145.6 lbs.  August 1 was 144.4 lbs.  Weight today is 143.0 lbs.  The whole goal on this weight loss challenge was a slow, hopefully permanent weight loss.  The initial few pounds came off quickly, now they are much slower but I am still losing.  I have actually not been eating as healthy as we did in June and July lately as indulged several times this month (cheesecake on my birthday, a bucket of my favorite ice cream too).  We definitely have been eating more veggies and I truly believe that giving up bread has been the bulk of the weight loss.  I make pizza from scratch and we still eat pasta so the carb craving is fulfilled and I don't feel like I am missing anything.  My new job is going really well but with working 9-1 Monday through Friday and this month working an extra 20 hours over top that plus working for hubby I frankly did not work out.  We did take a couple of very long walks (1.5 miles) on the beach at low tide so I am counting that as a wee bit of exercise but this month I need to step it up.  My goal weight is 135 lbs which was approximately the weight I was at when I met hubby 10 years ago.  There is no need to buy new clothing yet, although one pair of jeans may have to be retired or only worn with a belt as I found myself having to pull them up alot yesterday - rather a nice situation!

We are travelling to Oregon for a family wedding on September 26 and we will be staying for four nights between there and the State of Washington.  We drive 3 hours to Victoria, then take  Black Ball Ferry from Victoria inner harbor directly to Port Angeles Washington and then making the three hour drive to an area near a Vineyard outside of Portland where the wedding is.  We hope to do some grocery, office supply, clothing, gift and liquor shopping in that short time as well as visiting with family.  I may be blowing the grocery budget for the rest of the year based on this trip but the long term savings on over the counter medication and groceries are worth it versus staying exactly on the month to month grocery budget. Most of the money will spent in Oregon which has no State tax making our groceries even cheaper.  Liquor is easily half the price in the USA than it is here (ours is taxed to death but frankly, we do get a lot for the taxes we pay), and yes, we drink from time to time so will be maximizing our limit on liquor that we are allowed to bring back.

I just want to say thank you for all the kind thoughts on my Mother's situation from my last post.  We are working on the price with the Bipap machine supplier and she has been using a test model which she has to use for three more weeks until she has to buy a unit.  After five days of using it her blood oxygen level has increased considerably.  It takes a lot to get used to sleeping with an air mask attached to your face so she doesn't currently feel that much better, but that will come with time. Hopefully her overall health will improve, her blood pressure will likely level out to where she no longer has to take medication(a savings of $350 in medication every 3 months) and her food controlled diabetes will likely go away, all symptoms of this sleep apnea disorder - at least that is what her Doctor is telling her.

Cheers, have a great week everyone!


  1. You did a great job with your grocery budget. Mine is a work in progress!

    1. Mine is totally a work in progress too - you have been doing great especially with how busy your life is Lisa. Cheers!

  2. Good for you!! We usually stay pretty near the budget since we are on a fixed income. We have set ourselves up when we moved and retired to live below our means so we don't stress. Health care is where our budget can get strained.

    1. You did the right thing, we have done the same thing much earlier than most. Cheers!

  3. Do you have to pay for your own health care in BC?

    1. In Alberta we didn't as the Province paid for everyone's healthcare for the last several years (I remember when we paid though, similar prices). With no low income grants the average person pays $60 per month for BC Basic Healthcare which is mandatory. My Mom who is low income pays quite a bit less than that as she receives a partial grant. We do get a lot for that money and our taxes though, I guess I shouldn't complain too much.

  4. You do very well with a budget!

    I did my own hair for 3 years and found I just didn't master that skill! LOL I looked like a faded raccon.

    I pick up tricks from your blog and it makes me relax on the grocery shopping!

    1. I was very fortunate this summer, my hair lightened naturally due to being in the sunshine so I have not had to pay for coloring since winter. Thanks!

  5. What is it with bugs and basil? I had the hardest time getting mine to grow because some bug kept chewing on it. It finally took off. Next year I think I will buy more than one plant because I ran out this year. I bought 2 kinds of parsley but will only buy the flat parsley next year. Same with the oregano. I really enjoyed my herbs this year.

    1. I have just bought another pot of basil, but am keeping it in the house on the window sill. Fortunately they stayed away from my Rosemary which I use so much I had to buy a second pot to let the first one regrow a bit.