Half-Year Personal Finance Recap

Since I accidentally stopped doing my monthly recaps back in February, I thought doing a half-year check-in was a good way to make up for the missed months.  I had considered just going back and back-dating them (because I like continuity), but then I saw a few other bloggers doing this and thought I would blatantly steal their idea instead!

So, how have I been doing financially so far in 2013?

The short answer is: okay.

The long answer is: keep reading…

Income Vs. Expenses


Income includes any and all money coming in – my salary, income from my part time job, tips from said job, government credits, gifts, and money I find on the ground.

Expenses include any and all money going out, but does NOT include money moved into my savings account.

As you can see, I was doing a pretty good job of making more money than I was spending each month (except for February).  The gaps aren’t much, but it’s nice to see that I’m not working my ass off for nothing.

In May, my part time job ended for the season, hence the slight decline in income (but yay to the corresponding decline in my spending!).  And then in June, I was put on sick leave for the summer, which obviously affects my money situation.  I received one-weeks worth of pay in June, and some birthday money, but that’s it income-wise, as I’m still waiting for the Employment Insurance Sickness Benefits to be sorted out. (But I anticipated this.)

Breakdown of Averaged Expenses


Rent & Utilities (37%):
My biggest expense each month grew by $20/month in April when my rent was slightly raised. Fortunately I live in an all-inclusive apartment.  The 5% utilities I have listed are for my Internet and Cell phone. (I don’t have cable.)

Car (23%):
This figure includes my car loan payment (60%), car insurance (29%), gas (8%), and miscellaneous car stuff (3%).  My car insurance went down about $10/month in April, which helped, but I had to renew my licence plate sticker in June, and I bought new windshield wipers.  Just over a year a half left on that loan.

Food (16%):
Guys… I’m embarrassed by this, but I wanted to show you something:


Gross, right?? Every month except for June, I spent more on fast food and dining out then I did on groceries.  But um, take another look at April and May – a.k.a. the months where I spent more than half of my food expenses on eating out. Ugh.  I knew April and May were rough months, but I didn’t realize how bad it was.  At least June looks like I’m finally headed in the right direction!

Student Loan (8%):
I was doing an okay job paying this down, but without my part time job (which ended in April), I knew I couldn’t afford to keep up with the payments I was making.  Thankfully there’s this lovely Repayment Assistance Program for us student loan borrowers in Ontario, and I got my payment reduced in May.  Still waiting for them to reduce it again for the summer though, which has turned out to be a big nightmare thus far.

Medical (7%):
To break this down further, 51% of this was the portion I had to pay out of pocket for my wisdom teeth removal, 43% is for the chiropractor*, and the other 6% is for prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs and stuffs. I do have health benefits at work, which gives me some coverage (such as $1500 of my wisdom teeth, and 3 months of chiropractic treatment between January and March), but I still have to pay the rest on my own.  So much for living in the land of free health-care, huh?

* So, I fibbed a little bit here.  I actually paid a lump sum of $420 to my chiropractor in June because each session is cheaper if you do that. This figure only includes the sessions that I’ve used so far, because I would get the money back if I decided not to continue my treatment.

Entertainment (3%):
I’ve very lucky to have a boyfriend that pays when we go out for dinner or for drinks, otherwise this would not be only 3% of my spending!  This expense includes my blog fees (domain name registration and 3 years of hosting, blog theme, and url forwarding), trips to the beer and/or liquor store, and a few books. Thankfully the Internet provides most of the entertainment I need.

Miscellaneous & Fees (2%):
Miscellaneous is mostly home decor stuff, and cleaning supplies. The fee portion is mostly the one bank account that charges me $4/month, but also includes fees for e-transfers or the very rare time I have to use another ATM.

Personal Care (2%):
This is my make-up, bathroom supplies, soaps, shampoos and whatnot.

Clothing (1%):
The one benefit of being unhappy with my weight is that it stops me from going out and buying clothes. Also I’ve become a fan of the thrift store.

Pets (1%):
I’ve been trying to separate all pet expenses from the grocery category for better accuracy.  This is what it costs me to feed and clean up after my 2 Siamese cats, and I also bought a beta fish too because I was lonely.

Travel (<1% ):
This was actually an expense left over from Christmas paid in January.

Gifts (<1% ):
Apparently I’m not a very generous person.  This too was an expense left over from Christmas.

So What?

Basically, I’m trying to cut back anywhere and everywhere I can while on limited income for the summer, which is proving to be difficult. I can cut back on fast food, drive less, and hope that they reduce my student loan payment, but I’m not sure what else I can do.

I’m still trying to find a new job, and I don’t really want to go back to my current job when my sick leave ends. Truth is, I’m not sure the job will even be there for me to go back to! They cut back most of my co-workers hours to part time, and there are rumours that they are cutting my programming entirely. So, if I do return it may be to drastically reduced hours, or I might be laid off anyways.

In the meantime, I’m trying to focus on getting better.  Part of that includes re-examining my career path, and thanks to all you PF bloggers, explore opportunities for other income (such as babysitting, tutoring, or increasing the awesomeness of this blog to successfully monetize it).

Overall, I’m pretty happy with how I’m managing my money. I don’t have a lot of money, and I don’t think I’m being at all frivolous with it. The only thing I considered lying about was the amount I spend on fast-food, but I’ve known all along that’s a problem for me. Here’s hoping the next 6 months are even better.

Amanda Kay

Amanda Kay, an Employment Specialist and founder of My Life, I Guess, strives to keep the "person" in personal finance by writing about money, mistakes, and making a living. She focuses on what it’s like being in debt, living paycheck to paycheck, and surviving unemployment while also offering advice and support for others in similar situations - including a FREE library of career & job search resources.

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14 thoughts on “Half-Year Personal Finance Recap”

  1. It will be tough with the reduced income going forward for the next couple of months but I think taking the sick leave was the right choice for you. Too bad about the rent increase. Eating out is an elastic good so naturally the money you spend on it will go down next time. It’s already going in the right direction. My guess is 5% of your total spending for July 🙂

    • I’m crossing my fingers every day that I don’t have to go back there at all, but the job hunt isn’t going so well. I still have time, though 🙂

  2. Oh, I love your grocery vs eating out chart! I’ll do something similar at the end of the year now, since I’d really like to see how my eating habits change. (Since I’m making it a goal to eat out less and cook/grocery shop more!)

  3. You really dont like that job I would probably look as hard as I could finding a new one. From this I would say cut back on the fast food. You are spending more on that then groceries. The car payment is another one and thats the reason we don’t like having cars with payments as it adds up when you included insurance, gas etc. You could be using 20-30 of your income just on a car.

    • Thanks for your thoughts, Thomas! I’ve been looking for a new job for over 7 months, and have only had 2 interviews. A major down side of living in a small city. And while I love (and need) my car, I wish I would have waited and saved up a bit more and/or bought a used one instead. NOw I know better!

  4. I just had to say well done on tracking your expenses like this – you’re really organised! I don’t know what percentages I am spending in different areas like you do but I really should thinking about it. I might have a go at working it out. Currently, we have a monthly budget so I know roughly what to expect – I work on how much money comes in, how much goes out and how much I have left at the end of the month to pay off debts! You seem to have a helpful system as you evaluate your expenditure really well . And love that you were honest about spending more on fast food 🙂 Good luck for next month’s finances and hope you are feeling ok.

    • Thanks! But the credit should go to my smart phone app. It’s so helpful for me as a visual person to make charts like this, otherwise it’s just numbers on a screen to me.

  5. Thanks you for Post. it was very useful for me.keep sharing such ideas in the future as well. Thanks for giving me the useful information. I think I need it!


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