In Budget Roundups

January 2013 Budget Roundup = Increase of +$9959.43 or +4.98%


Not much happening on my end.

Just chillin’ out, trying not to spend money, looking at pictures of cute Japanese flying squirrels.





INCOME = $500.19 — NOT A $0!


My original grand plan this year was to try and make $500 (on average) a month and I was about $75 short because there seems to be a lack in writing opportunities. 😐

It wasn’t from lack of trying, I can tell you that.

I was pestering people who were surely sick of me by January, because they never replied.

I know, you’re thinking:

“Do I need to call you a WAH-mbulance!?”

“WAH WAH!!”*



That’s really no excuse because I could have picked up some fast food job and pulled in $1600 this month working full-time, but I didn’t because I didn’t want to.

(You wanted the truth, right?)

In my defense, I didn’t book about $140 in income this month to (falsely) boost my earnings above $500 to make this rather dubious, already-quite-fake goal, because I won’t be actually getting that money until February 2013.

The good news, is that my expenses were pretty low this month.

The lowest I think I’ve ever seen them!

Also, I heard back from my real career and I am looking at something that might be coming up in the next month or so.

Trying not to get my hopes up.

*Taken from Modern Family‘s Claire and Lily act during the baptism of Fulgencio Joseph Tucker episode. I love that show!

EXPENSES = $551.01 — LOWEST, EVER!!!!

I almost wept for joy when I saw these numbers.

Of course, it’s partly deflated because of the massive returns I made ($250-ish dollars), so I’m spending around $800 a month.

My original budget is a generous $2500. I’m really under by about $1700, in terms of the average for this year.

ReadBudgeting like a freelancer, look at it from a yearly perspective



I was about $87.15 off from actually covering my entire living expenses with extra income (cold hard cash only) on the side this month.

This is doable.

Maybe selling all my stuff all the time on consignment is not as sustainable (nor returning things I already bought), but it’s really uplifting to know that I can reach these levels if I try.

I think my general living expenses can be around $800 a month, or so.

$300 for rent, $300 for food, $200 for the rest (v. generous).

Wardrobe looks like a massive chunk in here, but it’s 23%. Don’t miss that very significant, important ”





Even though my Don’t Break the Chain app that I’ve been using to help stay away from stores and buy anything is a full red-X checked month… LOOKY LOOKY!

I didn’t buy a SINGLE Wardrobe-related thing this month.


It absolutely felt difficult and slightly painful for me to stay in this month.

Don’t let anyone lie to you and tell you it’s SOOOO easy to stay in and be entertained.

It isn’t and they’re liars. Or hermits.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m really more of a homebody and I’d rather stay in than go out and party until 3 a.m. in the morning, but I literally didn’t leave the house more than 7 times this month.

7. Times.


  • snow and below-0 freezing cold temperatures suck
  • rain sucks
  • saves me money on spending any TTC tokens (they’re $2.65 per single trip now!)
  • ..and as Revanche points out, I am self-punishing for various reasons

Can’t help it. Sorry.

I know I shouldn’t think like that, but I am.

All of this gave me a bit of cabin-fever, which made me go into overdrive for writing and scheduling posts, and researching more into possible investments.


  • I did my U.S. taxes — Took about a week of reading to acclimatize to the U.S. tax jargon
  • Set up my Money To Do List such as move TD E-Series index funds to Vanguard ETFs**
  • Stayed well, WELL under my given, average monthly budget of $2500 a month
  • Realized I didn’t die from staying inside for 24 out of the 31 days
  • Am resolved to repeat this self-punishing cabin fever behaviour for February 2013

**I promise I will cover and explain what I just said in my Investing Series over the next month.

NET WORTH = $210,105.06 or an increase of + $9959.43 or + 4.98%




This might actually be the first time I’ve spent on necessities for all 5 of my categories of spending.











  1. Switching to buying used or consigned (thrift) clothing completely: Could I do it?
  2. Save like a developing country
  3. Investing Series: What fees and things look for when you’re investing
  4. How to name your files, folders and photographs
  5. BBC Documentary: Why are thin people not fat?



Another month of staying in and learning how to deal with cabin fever, especially now that I’ve discovered Hola Media Unblocker and I can surf major country-restricted sites like Hulu to watch videos.

Can I beat my record for not leaving the house for more than 7 times this month?

Only time will tell.

(Probably won’t happen. I’ll go out at least 7 times, I think. Plus I have some lunches/dinners I’m planning for next month.)

Oh, and waiting for a contract. Yep. Still doing that.

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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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  1. Vanessa

    I just remembered that you wrote about Hola Media Unblocker and I love you. THANK YOU!!!

  2. Sarah Li Cain

    I vowed to stay inside a lot this past month too. I’ve been reading a wackload of blogs! I still have to sort out my US taxes as I just moved here, but hubby thank goodness is US citizen and has filed for ages. I’m just going to sit back thankyouverymuch lol

    1. Mochi & Macarons

      I’d only caution you to pay attention to your taxes 🙂 It’s always a good exercise to know what you’re paying, why, and where.

      Even if you don’t do your taxes yourself, you shouldn’t just let someone do them for you without looking at them and understanding how it works, even if it’s filing jointly.

      You have to be aware of your side of the equation too, and that goes for everything.

      1. RevancheGS

        ESPECIALLY if you’re filing jointly, actually. You are responsible for that return just as much as your spouse in that case and if anything goes wrong, you’re both on the hook. It doesn’t matter if only one spouse did the filing.

        This is why I insist PiC look over our returns before I file, before and after we got married.

        1. Mochi & Macarons

          Great point.

          I was thinking more that she was feeling “hey, filing jointly, cool no need to worry”, but a thousand times yes! to your point of it being legally binding.

          Also, that should go for money in investments, savings accounts, etc.. anything that any ONE spouse handles for the both of them, the other should know about them (and sign off).

          1. Sarah Li Cain

            Oh no, I’m too obsessed with my financial paperwork to just let him do it all. Husband is also too paranoid to do it all himself too. I have been asking a million questions to the point where I think someone is going to duct tape my mouth;) I just learned what a simple IRA was compared to all the other options lol.

          2. Mochi & Macarons

            Thank goodness!

          3. Mochi & Macarons

            Oh good! 🙂 Just checkin.

  3. Janine

    I just watched that Modern Family episode last night – hilarious!

    Good job this month! I want to check out that don’t break the chain app you have it looks great!

    Way to go on the net worth increase!

    1. Mochi & Macarons

      Thanks! I think the chain app works perfectly on someone like me, who needs a visual reminder.

  4. Cassie

    Seriously, I looked at the squirrels and went “OMG, anime in real life!!”


    Congratulations on the massive net worth increase and for keeping your expenses so low!

    1. Mochi & Macarons

      Anime in real life. HA! 🙂 And people wonder why the Japanese and Asians in general have a thing for ‘cuteness’.

  5. The Asian Pear

    OMG! Cute chubby flying squirrels!! Too cute!!

    Also from one hermit to another… *high five*
    I’m coming out of the hut for a few days before I go back in. 😀

    1. Mochi & Macarons

      I knew you’d love them!

      Well I have at least 3 things I have to go to in February so it won’t be so hermit-y next month. Bit more spendy.

  6. Leigh

    I love reading tax manuals, lol. That reminds me that it’s past January 31st and I can e-file my taxes now! Maybe I’ll actually get my refund back in February this year and not in like April or something ridiculous.

    The stock market had a similar effect on my net worth but OMG if I had only spent $500, my net worth would have gone up over $20k! I think you have a bit more of your net worth in stocks since a lot of mine is in my condo.

    1. Mochi & Macarons

      Yeah if you e-file they say it’s something like 21 days for a refund.

      Yes, my entire net worth is liquid, although my retirement stuff is locked-in until 65 unless I want to pay a penalty.

      I have about $140K in investments, $10K in stocks.. or something like that.

  7. Liquid_Independence

    WTG with your frugal budget 🙂 Haha, poor koala bear feels misunderstood.

    1. Mochi & Macarons

      Koala!? You mean DROP Bear. Cuz he’ll drop right down and eat your brains.

  8. Arianaauburn

    How do you do it? I still get amazed by how you increase your net work without working at a fast food joint or a regular 40 hours a week job.

    1. Mochi & Macarons

      My investments went up this month. The stock market indexes, had a surge in January of about 4%, and as most of my investments are in index funds, they went up.

  9. Sense

    wow!! awesome job on the expenses this month. I also hibernate in the winter. It’s summer here so I’ve been spending a lot more than usual…and a LOT more than you.

    p.s. I think ‘glut’ means the opposite of how you use it here. I was a little confused reading at first. Maybe ‘dearth’? (sorry, I know I am annoying to mention it!!)

    1. Mochi & Macarons

      I don’t really hibernate in winter normally, but I am now very attuned to how much a roundtrip with tokens costs (around $5 each time!).

      You’re right! I meant to write “lack”, actually but for some reason my brain twisted into “glut”… maybe it was thinking of the word and imagining a big hole or a pit of emptiness.

  10. Suki

    I stayed home a lot this month too. I so detest the cold… We had a few days in the 60s which were lovely but made it hard to dive back into the cold weather. I don’t know that I could survive only seven days out though…. Kudos to you!

    1. Mochi & Macarons

      I basically woke up and said: Self, do I need to go out today? No? Okay. Stay in. Do something productive. Go read a tax manual to do your U.S. taxes… and that’s how it happened.


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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


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