Walk a While in My Wallet 2: Feb 2020 Budget Update

Another Triple W(Walk a While in my Wallet) budget report from Triple B. Take a gander as I remove spending like wood with a sander. Class is in session, so sit down -and learn how to deal with a recession.

The first step is to lower your expense, that would make the most sense. The easiest way to lessen your stress, is to make sure your finances are not a mess.

The Best Solutions Solve Multiple Problems

I always try to make any cut I do to spending do double duty, I want twice as much back as I lose. So if I cut my transportation costs i also want to see improved health. An E-bike solves this most elegantly.

If I cut my cell bill I want more free time as well. Less data ensures I am not staring at my phone constantly. If I cut my power bill I want an easier life with more fun times. And so on.

The second step, to preparing for an recession, is to ensure you have your expenses covered for the year, before it begins. I did this via the Al Bundy Maneuver, ensuring I got more than $25,000 coming back this year.

Then it’s a simple matter to match expenses with income, meaning I need to get my spending down to around $2083 (25,000/12 months). Anything I earn on top off that will be a bonus, and used to retire early. Or if interest rates ever go up, pay off my house. So let’s get into it and see if we’ve made any improvements since December.

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ExpenseDecemberFebruaryMonthly ChangeNon Boss'r Average¹Notes
Auto Insurance107107-Still didn't lower this! Hopefully this month
Auto Payment30(3)All vehicles are paid off!
Fuel159144(15)This got better even though we did a 8 hr rounder trip. The E-bike and better weather helped keep this down.
Auto Parts00-Because we bike and walk more often, we rarely have to do any vehicle maintenance anymore. BuyBoss'n FTW!
Transportation Total:269251(18)112378% more effective. Still more than I want to spend just to move my body around. Perhaps an electric car?
Mortgage17861586(200)Cut this down only putting on $30 extra a month now. Saving up for the Al Bundy Maneuver
Home Improvement00-Taking it easy
Utilities (Elec)274141(133)Savings from Neurio are realized this bill. Cold showers should help drop this for next time!
Housing Total:20601727(333)227924% more effective. Will have to look at killing that mortgage one day.
Internet5856(2)Was able to haggle a good deal from Shaw on the internet 300 service.
Cell Phone Plan1120Well this sure saved me a lot!
Communications Total:17056(114)21274% more effective. 1 percent from my goal!
Entertainment700(70)We went on a weekend trip and hung out with old friends, had a blast playing board games, and didn't spend any money. Also got free tickets to the hockey game from a friend!
Personal Care7021(49)1 massage, Likely the last for a while due to Covid-19.
Clothing02828Wife and kids got some clothing and a toy from Value Village on the weekend getaway.
Living Expenses Total:14049(91)77094% more effective.
Alcohol1230(123)Made Homebrew Australian Pale Ale back in November and brought this on the trip. This is a huge win for me!
Coffee Shops00-Very nice!
Groceries3151070755$720 of this was for Costco. Subtracting that it's $350 for a family of four. I still don't really know how we keep this so low. Will research for a future article.
Restaurants8518398Restaurants and ice cream on trip. Also A&W before watching a hockey game.
Food Total:5231253(730)885$10 more than December without Costco bill. This is 40% better than average.
Blog Expenses2730(273)Yay! I am doing all I can to keep this blog ad-free, so you all know I'm legit. I do get support from some referrals, and affiliate links and really appreciate all that have helped in that way.
Bank Fees1510(5)Finally got bank to lower fees. Still to much though. Will look into lowering this to hopefully zero.
Donations00188Support payments are included in the national average for whatever reason. Still I can beat this!
Grand Totals:34503346(4569)582943% more effective.
Excluding One-Time Items:34472626(485)Excluding one-time payments for costco at $720, we go every year or two. could add $60 per month to the food bill to accommodate for this.
2338(539)Excluding frivolous things like restaurants, massage, and fuel for the trip. This is 40% of the national average.

¹ Stats from Statscan 2017. Inflation of 2%/year added to bring to 2020 levels

We took a mini-vacation, a weekend getaway, in February. This bumped up some of the numbers. We split most expenses with the friends we met there which definitely helped the budget. We also took advantage of the trip to hit up a Costco and stock up for a year or so.

As well, I used the time to practice my hypermiling saving a substantial amount of fuel in the process. But most of all we spent the time laughing.

Notable Notes

There are quite a few interesting tidbits from this month’s budget. First of all it’s awesome not having a car payment. It’s also awesome to see I’m very close to hitting my goal of living 75% more effectively than the masses.

My baseline spending level, that is, my spending if I had to live like it was a recession with no extra expenses, is actually 40% of the national average. So I’m getting close. I’ll likely have to deal with my mortgage to hit this number. I have a few ideas for that. But I’m still pretty happy to be hitting these numbers already.

I’m doing this while living in a 3400 sq ft fairly nice place on 4 acres, a family of four, and driving a 5 year old vehicle with 70,000 kms on it. That mileage has slowed considerably since I got an E-bike, a RadRover.

So I wouldn’t say I’m lacking in any way, rather I’ve been extraordinarily blessed. And these assets also give me plenty of ways to cut, if worse comes to worst.

Cutting my cell bill was a huge win. I never thought I’d see a time when my alcohol spending was zero. So that is awesome as well. Awesome, awesome, awesome.

By cutting my baseline expenses down to $2338 that means I need $2338×12 months x 25 =$700,000 to retire. If I can cut $1000 off my mortgage cost I only need $400,000.

It’s interesting that $1000 less a month means $300,000 in savings… and it could take $600,000 in earnings to save that much (or more!), as we tend to spend at least half of what we make.

That’s not too difficult, following the Al Bundy Maneuver. Any extra saved can be used for various pursuits. We’re well on our way!

Prepared in the Past, Fortune in the Future

All these cuts made when the going was good are going to make the next year or two much easier handle, as the effects from the Covid-19 outbreak resonate throughout the world. The economic effects have had a big impact on the markets as well.

By preparing ahead of time I’m well placed to capitalize on any sales, whether in stocks, real estate, or perhaps a good deal on an electric car?? I’m also hoping we get some incentives for Solar PV production in the upcoming federal budget. How are you preparing for the recession? Are you ahead of the game or playing catch up? There’s never been a better time to be a Buy Boss’r. How did your budget look this month?

” An Object in possession seldom retains the charm it had in pursuit”

Pliny the Younger

6 Replies to “Walk a While in My Wallet 2: Feb 2020 Budget Update”

  1. Love that transparency in this post. I have no idea how you get your groceries so low. I like to think I’m a smart shopper but ours are nowhere near your level ha ha.

    Looks like you have a good plan and are prepared for the now imminent recession. Here’s hoping it doesn’t last too long.

    1. Thanks! Normally its 4 yrs up one year down. So I’m hoping for a couple quarters of bad news, while planning for a couple years of harder times. The last 11 years were very good times, I hope everyone can adapt.

    2. Yeah I hope so too. My big worry is what inflation is going to look like after all the stimulus money has worked its way through the market.

  2. This is a great way for people to break down their spending and in doing so, isolate the ways that they can improve. I know for us, we didn’t realize that we were spending as much as we were in some areas until we started to write it all down – it was definitely eye-opening!

    1. Yeah! I was actually pretty shocked the first time I did this. It definitely helped to bring down my expenses this time. It’s amazing how many ways they think of to take money from our wallets 🙂

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