In Budget Roundups, Money

December 2019: Income and Expenses Budget Roundup

THE INCOME = $22,154.91

Day Job: $17,936.10

It’s what I do. I work 40 hours a week. Extra hours = more money.

I actually did not work half the month because my project went on a shutdown, so this is less than what I’d normally pull in.

I am a STEM consultant (Science, Tech, Engineering, Math), and I work for myself so I charge the rate I want. Normally this is double what an employee gets paid, but I have 2 specialties, so I ask for a little bit more (about $50K more).

Total Side Income: $4218.81

  • (A) Dividends: $1464.10
  • (B) Blog: $1737.98
  • (C) Bank Interest: $298.71
  • (D) Bank Signup: $50
  • (E) Cashback: $216.43
  • (F) Resale: $375.58
  • (G) Private Lending: $76.01

A) Dividends: $1464.10

This is my mini dividend project details and my dividend short list of stocks I was looking at to buy for Canada and the U.S.

My goal this year is to hit $12K in dividend income. I think I am trucking along quite nicely in this regard.

I have to redo my dividend shortlist, but my focus for the first part of this year is actually to shore up my index funds to have at least $200K invested, so I won’t be buying dividend stocks until later in the year.

I have a 2-part strategy of index funds & dividend stocks which dilutes the dividend yield power of my portfolio, but I like being diverse in my investments.

B) Blog: $1737.98

Advertising: $1107.28

Affiliate: $483.29

Products: $147.41

What do I use to manage my blogging / social media?

I am only active on 3 main platforms because I cannot handle more than that alone considering I do not have a team, a nanny, and no family help, plus am a full-time working parent.

The ONLY thing I pay for in terms of social media management, aside from webhosting fees etc, is $15 a month for Tailwind Plus – a social media manager. This service has saved my life for social media management.

Without it, I couldn’t do my day job, my personal life, my blogging life AND social media life / postings. If you use my referral link, you can try out one month of Tailwind Plus for free. You can read my review of Tailwind it here and how I use it.

Save. Spend. Splurge. Products sold, include:

(C) Bank Interest: $298.71

I dropped $50K into the market…then this month another $64K, which means I depleted my emergency fund by over $100K.

I have ABOUT $100K left in emergency savings between my personal & business, and I can’t go below that because I have taxes coming up and will likely use the bulk of it towards personal and business taxes.

High income earners get taxed $$$, plus charitable contributions still have to be doled out.

As a result, my bank interest dropped from over $600 a month to $300, and will likely go down for January as well when taxes & charitable contributions hit.

I like to do contributions at the start of the year after the previous year ends so I have an accurate view of how much gross income I made to donate 10%.

(D) Bank Signup: $50

Tangerine: Use my Orange key { 32726976S1 } for free money (You get $50 once you deposit $250; and I get $50 too)

My friend used my Tangerine referral. I am helping her with her budget next month, because she is young and going to crush her money goals.

(E) Cashback: $216.43

I have never had an issue with discipline and credit cards, so I have used them my entire life.

Lately, I have been using this one:

  • Rogers World Elite Mastercard – No annual fee, 1.75% cash back, but you can only redeem it yearly and you have to call each year to ask them to redeem the credit against your next year’s statement. I use it for all my purchases as I buy a lot in USD$, and those purchases are 4% cash back (almost like a no forex fee in essence)

I like it because it covers everything in general, and I get a lot of money back only if I spend a lot (which I didn’t this month, which is a good thing because I “saved” 98.25% on my spending by not spending the money in the first place.

The other thing I use to get cashback is this:

It is so easy. When we want anything, I check that site, I click on their link to connect to the retailer, and then shop normally.

Then, they pay out my cashback earnings from the site, PLUS I earn cashback from the credit card I use to shop with. WIN WIN!

Again, as I didn’t spend much lately, I haven’t gotten a ton back in this regard, but money is money. I wouldn’t say no to a ‘free’ $216.43.

(F) Resale: $375.58

I have been reselling through consignment, private selling and also via Poshmark:

It is ridiculously easy to list things, but harder to get people to make offers and buy them.

I had to turn down a few lowball offers ($20 on a $300 item?), but it has worked out to be a little bit of money on the side.

I have also been thrifting, so when I see something I think might sell, I list it and see how it goes. I have sold a few items like this already.

(G) Private Lending: $76.01

I am also a private lender via:

I only started late 2018, and have only been putting $100 here, $100 there, etc.

Only until now, do I finally have $10K committed, and my yield is 13.1% right now (gross before fees).

I have also started increasing my loan amounts. For A grade loans, I am putting in $200 now instead of $50.

So far, it has been working out well for me and I am happy with helping businesses but also making money.


I am 2/3 to a million. I am very close, and I am working on getting it done before March.

Let’s hope it happens!

My income goal for 2020 was to spend $40K or less. This will be tight for me, as I am used to spending a lot more, but I like giving myself challenges, and I think I am in a good headspace/groove to achieve this.

I am planning on working the spring next year, and maybe will be on this contract for the next 2 years. We will see.


If you are interested, my money is parked here:

  • LBC Digital: Excellent 3.3% high interest savings account; subject to change
  • EQ Bank: Good, general 2.3% high interest savings account; subject to change
  • Tangerine: Use my Orange key { 32726976S1 } for free money (You get $50 once you deposit $250; and I get $50 too)

…credit card extra rewards cashback savings here:

  • PayTM Canada is also how I pay my municipal taxes, utility bills and so on with my debit account which I would do anyway, but through PayTM it lets me earn PayTM points for Amazon, Starbucks gift cards etc… Use my referral code [ PTM210713 ] for a free bonus 5000 points ($5 gift card)

…and invested here:

…and I list my things for sale here:

THE EXPENSES = $1581.61

Saved 93% of my income because of expenses being so low

I did VERY well on expenses this month, coming in well under $2000.

My savings rate was 93% this month. My goal in November was to hit 90% and I did that and a little bit more.

I would like to keep it at 90% as a challenge, but I am not fixated on it because you know.. I WANT TO LIVE.

It’s just a fun thing to see and a source of pride to save over 90% of your income.

It means that for January, I should be able to come in at $2000 if I have a friend visiting and Little Bun is back in daycare (we don’t pay for vacation days).

I am also planning on making sure I watch the other budgets I can control like Fun or Children (I really like buying books for Little Bun), but the Style one should be all right as well – I’ll be redirecting my focus to SELLING things.

Detail on each category  & breakdown:

Yes, we live in Montreal Canada, and pay $66/month in utilities. People pay upwards to $200 during winter, but we are very careful to unplug any vampire sucking energy and we also keep the apartment fairly cool and wear sweaters – which I prefer, to be honest.

My expenses broke down like this with groceries and household being the most. Wardrobe looks like a big chunk but really, it was returns, so that is a NEGATIVE amount.

Other than that, I did quite well. I even debated not replacing the batteries in my watches under Repairs, but I did it!


If you’re interested, I use the following credit cards:

  • Rakuten – I use this site ALL THE TIME when I shop online, and thus far have racked up $750 in cashback in 3 months. Use referral link here [ ] for a free $10 to get started.
  • PayTM Canada is also how I pay my municipal taxes, utility bills and so on with my debit account which I would do anyway, but through PayTM it lets me earn PayTM points for Amazon, Starbucks gift cards etc… Use my referral code [ PTM210713 ] for a free bonus 5000 points ($5 gift card)
  • Rogers World Elite Mastercard – No annual fee, 1.75% cash back, but you can only redeem it yearly and you have to call each year to ask them to redeem the credit against your next year’s statement. I use it for all my purchases as I buy a lot in USD$, and those purchases are 4% cash back (almost like a no forex fee in essence)
  • Tangerine Mastercard – No annual fee, 2% back on certain categories (up to 3). For their savings accounts, use my Orange key { 32726976S1 } for free money ($50 once you deposit $100; and I get $50 too). I give this card to my partner (he has a joint card) and he uses it constantly
  • I used to have the MBNA World Elite Mastercard but they increased the annual fee. That was disappointing, they used to give 2% back on everything.

My Top 5 Categories of Spending

I believe where you spend the most money is where you’ve prioritized life. It is clear that this month I was hellbent on spending as little as possible (I would not have thought twice about those watch battery replacements otherwise), but in the end, allowed myself to buy Little Bun books and “fun” things rather than TRULY living on a bare bones budget because I saw that I would come in under $2000 anyway.

It means my Lean FIRE budget is doable, just that I have to be a tiny bit more careful than usual.

$3000 which is my ideal retirement budget per month, will be SO GENEROUS compared to this.

Where my Fun Money Went

I give myself $225 a month, and I spent under that as my fun budget for December, with $4.91 to spare!

Isn’t that amazing? I actually consciously avoided buying a piece of $4.35 cake because I wanted to have some money leftover.


Fun Budget Breakdown: 

  • Eating Out: $208.34
  • Shopping: $11.75

Obviously all my fun budget goes into eating. I eat vegan burgers, pieces of apple cake and sushi lunches once in a while.

I am considering a massage next month if I can hold off from all this eating, but in addition, my gift card for my pedicures is running low, I only have a pedicure and a half left on the card, so my plan is to do a pedicure every TWO (can I stretch it to 3?) months to save money, making it $35 a month instead of $70 (it costs $70 each time I go).

So technically, my fun budget has decreased by $35/month to account for these pedicures.

There is something about freshly exfoliated feet and pretty toenails that make me happy.

Monthly Expenses

Favourite: $7

My goodness! I found one of my favourite sweaters in a thrift store to wear for only $7. It has a great asymmetrical sweater, draping, with batwing sleeves:

It is perfection and exactly what I had been looking for!

Unexpected: $55.19

I replaced 3 batteries in 3 watches.

Hated: $0

Surprisingly, none. Didn’t get upset at any expenses this month.

Joyful: $52.22

I bought a few books for Little Bun:

Expensive: $350.97

These were my condo fees this month, and the most I spent this month.

Cheapest: $14.57

Cold pills – I need to sleep at night. These pills help knock me out, stop my nose from running, and remove headaches from sinuses.

These things are godsend. Honestly, without the medical marvels we have today, I don’t know how I’d function while being sleep-deprived on top of it, and working full-time.

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Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

Am my own Sugar Daddy. Am a millionaire at 36 after getting out of $60K of student debt in 18 months, a little over a decade earlier, using I have worked 50% of my career (taking 1-2 year breaks), and quadrupled my income within 2 years of graduating, going from $65K to $260K with an average lifetime savings rate of 50%. I have 11 side incomes that are on track in 2020 to make me $50K - $75K. I could retire today if I wanted, but love my work-life balance as a freelancing consultant in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Math). I am all about balance - between time and money, and also enjoying my money. I also post daily on Instagram @saverspender.

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Posted on April 16, 2018

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  1. Kemi

    I do love these monthly and yearly roundups that you do. They’re so informative and serve as a guide for me on how to track and review all aspects of my finances. In fact your tracking spreadsheet inspired me to create mine. .

    Thank you for doing them

    PS: the tailwinds post is also very good.

    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Thank you! I have in recent months, been trying to step it up in terms of colours, etc, because it serves a purpose of also being useful on my social media. It is definitely more time now, but I like seeing the analytics in different ways.


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In a nutshell…

Save. Spend. Splurge.
[ wealth. style. minimalism. ]


MOST DEBT: cleared $60K in 18 months

MONEY: Hit $1M personal net worth At 36

NEW GOAL: $1M in invested assets


HATES: being late & lazy people

SOCIAL: Instagram @saverspender

DRINKS: homemade matcha lattes

SLEEPS: on a 100% cotton U.S.-made futon

WRITES: Books (also available on Amazon).

BEAUTY: swears by Paula’s Choice


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