Another month, another Resolution post. A third of the year has past us by now. We’re going on the half-way point for our goals! I hope your Resolution resolve lives on and that you’re learning and improving every month, week, day and moment that passes. I also hope that the rest of the year holds a lot of exciting new adventures and opportunities to learn new things.
Again, my New Years Resolution is to spend no more than $1250 CAD per month during 2018, or $15,000 for the year. In the first quarter of the year, I had grown a bit of a budget deficit, and going into April was almost $1300 behind on my goal already.
However, this month was (a bit) of a different story.
Like I said, it was only a bit of a different story. Having spent $1,339 and change, I still missed my $1,250 target by $89.15. However, given that I was off work for an entire 3 weeks in April, and that I saw a lot of sights and had a wonderful week with my parents visiting me in Mexico for the first time, that’s not all that bad. In May my Resolution post will be coming to you from northern Peru, where I will be in search of the waves of my life (cross your fingers for me please?). Also, just yesterday I came across a bunch of very affordable ($430 CAD round trip from Cabo San Lucas) flights to Costa Rica this summer (while searching for tickets to Nicaragua, which currently aren’t so cheap from my point of origin).
Yet another improvement over last month.
I was once again much closer to my budget this month, having reduced my spending from March. Although I have still not ran an actual surplus during any given month in 2018, I have been improving every month this year (and beyond). I will continue to find a small victory in that as it looks like I am poised to make up some ground in the next few months. In any case, so far in 2018 my cost of living and spending is by far the lowest it’s ever been, and that is more than just a small victory.
Still falling behind my goal.
That said, I have once again still added to the deficit. My daily average cost of living in April was $43.20, and my grand average for the year is currently $52.70. Currently I am $1337 behind on my overall spending goals for the year, which puts me on a pace to spend about $19,000 for the year rather than meeting my $15,000 goal. However, just like in previous months, my current projections between now and the end of the year look for me to make up some lost ground and currently I am poised to finish about $250 over my spending goal of $15,000 in 2018. With half the year spent free of work, a trip to Peru and a trip to either Costa Rica or to visit family and friends back in Canada for the summer, I’ still calling that a success.
However, I still have work to do to get there.
When you get rid of things, you forget about them.
A friend messaged me the other day wondering what my plans were for the ‘drum machine’ I had left at the house he shared with a few other friends. It was this sort of fun but also sort of useless electronic bongo type thing that I had actually ‘borrowed’ from my Brother years before, given that he wasn’t using it. When I had sold my home in Canada and was purging a lot of my goods and minimizing what I would keep in a storage unit for the time being, I decided to leave a few things at the house of my friends that they seemed to want to try using, including this ‘electro-bongo’ contraption.
The truth is, I had to wrack my brain for a little while to figure out what he was talking about when he mentioned the thing. Turns out he was moving elsewhere and wanted to know if I wanted it. I didn’t, which is why I left it there, but it was nice of him to double check. None of the other housemates that originally were excited I was going to leave it there wanted it anymore either.
Another friend that lives in the same house recently sent me a photo of a beach game we used to play that I had left with them during ‘the purge’ as well. He was going to take it to his new house he has recently bought near our hometown, and hopefully we would have a chance to play it together there in the future. In any case, I was just glad that it was going to go to use again sometime soon.
I also sold some individual stocks I was holding in early April. I knew all along what my long-term equities investing plan was (i.e. almost strictly ETFs), but couldn’t bring myself to sell some of my original purchases from my ‘learning’ phase of using Questrade. because I didn’t want to miss out if one of them performed abnormally well after I had sold them. Also, as some had been performing poorly during the first quarter of the year, I didn’t want to sell either. This way of thinking, of course, flew in the face of everything I aim to believe and practice when it comes to wealth growth and management (i.e. long-term, risk-mitigated, growth over short-term, high risk booms), and I observed how owning one stock vs. a large group of stocks really heightened my emotional response to movement in the markets instead of fostering my more useful rational response mechanisms.
Ultimately, I did sell them and purchased some of the ETFs that I plan to hold in the long-run. It turns out, that only a few weeks later, I had more or less forgotten that I had even owned them until I was reviewing a statement online last week.
Like all things in life, letting go is the hard part. After that it’s all gravy.
Looking forward, I am poised to make up some ground in the coming months, and still on track to finish the year with a very small budget surplus of about $37. Considering that I am going to Peru in May with the potential to score some of the best waves of my life, and that I may join some friends from Mexico on a trip to Nicaragua in July, I am furthering my belief that I truly can live a good and fulfilling life (and then some!) on a minimalist budget