October 2013 Money Recap

I did a pretty bad job of tracking my spending this month because my bank is stupid.

See, my direct deposit and all my automatic monthly payments (car loan, insurance, etc.) are all through this one account – but they also charge ridiculous fees (like $1 per transaction). So I have a second, no-fee account which I have been using for all my day-to-day purchases. This was easy to manage with my last job because they still used paper cheques (I would simply deposit my money into whichever account I needed to). But now that all my income is going into the one account, it’s become a huge hassle – and transferring money from one account to another takes WEEKS. So, I’ve been using a lot more cash. And doing a crappy job of tracking it. I’m still trying to find a better solution to this…

Income vs. Expenses


Look at that all that green! It’s been month since I’ve been able to put any money into my savings account, so I took full advantage this month. (I know it looks like I overspent, but some of that has been carried over from last month.) I of course took to Twitter to brag – and than put even more money into my TFSA!


I’m also so happy to see that gap between income and expenses working in my favour – even though have not made or even attempted to follow any sort of budget since starting the new job almost 2 months ago.

Breakdown of Expenses

I think I’ve pieced this together as best as I can…


Rent & Utilities (38%)
My rent includes basic utilities; the extra is for my Internet and cell phone.

Car Loan, Insurance & Gas (25%)
My gas consumption has more than doubled since I now commute to work and have a social life again.

Entertainment (13%)
Dating is expensive πŸ™‚
I also bought some books that I’ve been wanting for a while.

Fast Food (11%)
The whole lunch situation with my new job isn’t ideal. It’s too far to go home for lunch, but there isn’t a staff fridge available either. I find myself eating in the over-priced and unhealthy cafeteria almost every day. I have switched to only drinking water, but I could still get this better under control.

Groceries (7%)
I have no idea how this is 7% of my spending when I never cook at home and have nothing in my fridge.

Medical (5%)
My health benefits kicked in mid-month, so I’m now only paying a $6 co-pay for each visit to the chiropractor (instead of the full $35). But I did catch a cold and spent a good amount on over the counter drugs.

Clothing (1%)
I bought a new cardigan from Target.

Fees (<1%)
These are those bank fees I mentioned. Not much, but still something I hate paying for.

Misc. (<1%)
A few bucks that I spent that didn’t fit the other categories.

So What?

In the 13 months that I’ve been tracking my spending, this month was in the bottom three (meaning I spent the third least amount of money) but was second highest for income. So really, I’m doing a lot better than I was a year ago. But I am spending my money on the wrong things. I don’t understand how someone who doesn’t even really like food (a.k.a. me) can spend so much money on it!

Honestly though, most days I just don’t care anymore. I’m tired of worrying about money. I’m tired of missing out on things because of money. I’m tired of feeling guilty for spending money. I know it’s flawed and dangerous thinking, but I feel like I “deserve” a break. (I think this is what other PF bloggers refer to as “debt fatigue”? Or maybe it’s just stupidity.)

In order to keep myself at least someone accountable while I’m dealing with this “lack of interest” I’m going to try to follow one – and only one goal: my total amount of spending for November can not be higher than it was for October*.

*But… there are a few exceptions because November is going to be a weird month financially speaking. I desperately need a new laptop and have every intention on buying one soon, I will have to book and pay for my flight home for Xmas a.s.a.p. as well, and if I want the discounted rate with my chiropractor, I’ll have to pay for 12 sessions upfront and then be reimbursed one at a time over the next 6 months. These are the only things I’m allowed to “cheat” with this month, because they are highly irregular expenses. (At least that’s what I’m telling myself to make it okay.)

Here’s hoping I can stay on track this month!

Any advice on how to pull through when you’re heart just isn’t in it?

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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18 thoughts on “October 2013 Money Recap”

  1. Ooh that’s a good question. I don’t know really. I think you just need to rediscover the “why” when it comes to what you’re saving for (house, retirement, vacation) and the why when it comes to paying off debt (freedom, less stress, more money to put to other things). I think it’s common what you’re feeling.

    • I agree. For the longest time with my dead-end last job, the goal was to find a better (and better paying) job. So once I achieved that, I didn’t really set another goal beyond the general pay down debt. I’m waiting for some documents about my student loan right now, so once I get that I plan to spend some time figuring out a new budget. Hopefully that’ll help.

  2. I think it can be hard to give ourselves breaks when we know we should try better. I agree with Tonya– I think a refocus on goals can help you stay motivated. That has worked for me recently even when I think of my student loan debt.

    Also, can you bring a small insulated lunch pail with an ice pack to work? If you don’t mind a cold lunch a few days a week, that can help cut down on your food costs.

    Lastly, what is with these banking fees? Are fee free online banks harder to come by in Canada? I’ve never heard of a bank charging fees for transactions before… in the US banks might charge a fee if your account is below $100 at any time or if you withdraw from a different bank ATM but not for every single transaction.

    • I’ve looked into getting a small cooler-bag or something as a solution, but have yet to act on it. I think that needs to happen soon though, cuz I’m getting pretty tired of campus cafeteria food!

      There are a few banks in Canada that are free, but my car loan is tied to one that is not. I can pay a higher monthly fee to upgrade my account to include more “free” transactions, but doing the math, I wouldn’t be any better off. Once my car loan is paid off, I plan to leave this bank and go to a free one.

  3. You did great with your savings Amanda! That’s a lot of cash to tuck away. Like Tara above, I was thinking of some sort of ‘cool bag/ lunchbox’ system whereby you could take sandwiches or salads to work with you instead?

    This is probably just a blip you’re going through with your heart not being in it. I always find thinking about the bigger picture helps. I even write down what I want to achieve ultimately on post it notes and stick them on the fridge where they are in view most of the time. πŸ™‚ Perhaps planning out your diary in advance can help you with budgeting for things like entertainment (the dating all sounds very exciting!).

    • I like that post it notes idea!

      I have no idea if my sister actually did this or not, but at one point she was talking about wrapping a picture of a dog around her debit/credit card. The purpose was she would have to physically remove the picture to use the card, giving her a few seconds to rethink the purchase. For her, she can’t get a dog without a yard, and she can’t get a yard without getting a house.

      Maybe these little reminders like this will help?

  4. I love your pie charts, they make me drool πŸ™‚ I’ve been there with the struggle and it’s a struggle every month. I consistently overspend on going out because it’s my only “luxury” that I can justify because I need to eat. I beat myself up over it every month, too. I Contrary to what most people would say, I say have fun for a month or two, at max, then really find the why and re-focus. I’m realizing that I can’t keep up the fun and pay down debt at $1500 a month. Not possible. It sucks, because I want to HAVE IT ALL, NOW!

    • I justify the fast food and dining out because I live alone, and often times buying groceries isn’t that much cheaper. Plus I’m lazy and I don’t have to plan this way. But then I kick myself when I spend over $350 a month on just food, for just me. Catch 22, right?

  5. Ohhhhh I know all about debt fatigue! I find what helps me is if I take a few days off from my debt and not even think about it to clear my head. It seems to help. Just remember that it’s a long battle but you are not alone. πŸ™‚

  6. New reader here, but it looks like you are doing so well!

    And I totally remember how expensive dating can be. Ugh. But at least once you get to the serious side, you have all the excuses to just stay home with a movie and some popcorn!

    • Welcome, Michelle! I’m excited to get to know you and your blog πŸ™‚
      Dating is SO expensive, even when we are both um, cheap. We’ve never gone out to eat – he always cooks for me. I can’t imagine how quickly money would disappear if we did go to restaurants once a week (or more)!

  7. Weeks to transfer from bank to bank? That’s terrible. I have several transfers that go from account to account and bank to other bank every month and it makes my life a lot easier. I feel you. Worrying about money just gets down right annoying sometimes and you are just so totally over it. Maybe just come up with a reasonable allowable number to spend instead of thinking of it in deprivation mode. Allow yourself to spend that much without any guilt.

    • There is a rumor of a staff lounge somewhere on campus, but no one seems to know where it is. Although, it is almost winter. I’m sure I could just leave food in my car and it’ll stay chilled. πŸ™‚

  8. I need to do this pie chart thing to keep up with my spending…it’s pretty and organized.

    I can’t believe your office doesn’t have a fridge! I’ve never heard of such a thing. So everyone eats in the cafeteria every day?

    I have these moments all the time. I just try to remind myself about my overall goals. Sometimes I take a little break. It’s rough, friend :(.

    • Pie charts are the way to go!
      I know some people I work with go home for lunch, but most appear to eat in the cafeteria. I *could* drive home and back for lunch too, but I don’t know that I’d save any money with the price of gas.
      So far my goal to cap my overall spending for the month seems to be working. Much easier to focus on one number than a bunch of little ones πŸ™‚


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