Ah! January! The month of renewed optimism until the cold really sets into your bones and the sun disappears behind those dreary, snowy clouds (in Canada, anyway).
This is the first month-specific financial update post since November since I took the first Monday of January to post about my 2017 year as a whole. Since that time, I’ve made it through the first two months of my new job, got offered to be a national speaker for an after-school program (yay side hustles!), and learned the cost of commuting.
In all, my savings rate for January was 61.42% over a spend of $2,199.05.
2013. Life was good. I was two years out of my Bachelor’s degree in theatre, employed in a university job and saving money. The savings were pouring in because I was living at home. I had passed the GMAT and had gotten accepted to my school of choice for my MBA. Things were trending up.
The biggest gap in my life? My inability to move around freely. Furthermore, now it was MBA time, so I was going to need to move every 4 months to accommodate my co-op terms. The pieces were falling into place for my first big purchase: it really felt like car time.
Not so long ago, I was living in the proverbial millennial malcontent. Underpaid, underemployed, and feeling defeated. Whatever jobs I secured were usually on a part time or contract basis and missing things like benefits, vacation time, or sick days.
Even though I was young and healthy (I like to imagine I still am J), the reality was that I was always scared. Scared of the flu. Scared of slipping on ice and hurting myself. Scared of needing emergency dental surgery. I was acutely aware that any illness or injury could keep me unemployed and even more cash strapped.
It was pay day and I had received my meagre $800 paycheck for two weeks of full time work. I had no benefits, no vacation time, no overtime pay – nothing but a small suitcase of stuff and my fellow broke colleagues. I’m pretty sure we ate Kraft Dinner.
This was my reality that I lived in for a year working in the arts. But that $20,000 salary experience was invaluable. It taught me frugality and gave me the ambition and drive to generate a higher income.
*Note: This post focuses on strictly my career after graduation. But if you’d like to know – I worked in retail for about 4 years throughout my Bachelor’s degree renting out DVDs (Gasp!). Yes. I am a dinosaur. I also had a job one summer where I temporarily paused my retail job to dress up as a character at a tourism place and made an insane $29 an hour. That’s another story, though.
November. The worst month of the year. Dreary. Long. And full of consumerist temptation in the form of Black Friday and Christmas shopping.
Spending went up, thanks to some of that shopping but all in all I had an amazing month. I got a job offer for a new gig with a 24% increase in salary which I start in December, scored a semi-kind of bonus at work, and got offered a side hustle speaking gig for 2018. All in all, that gave me a savings rate of 69.22% despite spending $2554.23.
So dreary? Yes. But life goals are chugging along just fine.
October is one of my favourite months because of something magical called fall and all the lovely Thanksgiving Day food that comes with it (leftovers, anyone?).
Excluding my one week trip to Rhode Island / Cape Cod / Boston (more on that in a future travel post, but a preview here), my expenses totalled $2179.20, giving me a savings rate of 57.4%. This is a drop from last October’s 60% savings rate.