In Budget Roundups, Money

Year 2020: Income & Expenses in Review



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Year 2020

Income & Expenses

THE INCOME = $170,382.37

All of the images below have been created with The Wealth Tracking & Budgeting Tool available for sale on Etsy, or at where all proceeds go to charity

All income by streams


Obviously my day job out strips my earning potential in side incomes, but it’s still nice to be able to cover your bills without relying on your contracting work. I really enjoy my day job, so this is great. I should mention that December was a HALF month, I did not start until much later (and then holidays), so my income is just about halved.

My major points of income are from the blog (advertising and affiliate), and also from Resale because I really resold as much as I could to declutter and keep income coming in (I will not be doing this in 2021).

The other big chunk of money is Dividends – though in December it is inaccurate as I had to put October/November dividends in here as I forgot to do so (oops), to account for them correctly.

Details on all of this below.

Total income by month

The worst month for me for September because I hit a mental/physical low at that point. It was when Little Bun was supposed to have a magical first Grade One day for school, and it never happened. Then all the cases started to mount exponentially, quashing any hope of this virus going away any time soon. I really had a mental low point and couldn’t bring myself to do any kind of “work”.

Total income by category

Day Job: $90,278.37 (53%)

I worked ~4 months, for an average of $22,569.59 for each of those months (December was a half month but I’ll round up…) I work as a consultant in STEM (Science, Tech, Engineering, Math) (and that’s all I’ll say), as my day job. I work mostly remotely because I work with a lot of Americans, so even before the whole virus thing I haven’t been to the office full-time since 2016.

It’s strictly 40 hours a week and I charge for overtime, so I log off a work laptop and refuse to check work emails on weekends or nights.

If you want to know more about freelancing, I have all the posts here.

Side Incomes: $80,104.01 (47%)

This was a surprising twist for me this year. I really did not expect this. I am making more in my side incomes than I did AT MY FIRST JOB over 15 years ago. This is mind boggling.

Total by month

As predicted – blogging, dividends and resale were big chunks of income this year. Not all of it will stay like this for next year.

In total across the categories

If I were to rank my income streams in order, they would be:

But you know, even something like “Bank Promotions” which I sign up for and then close once I get the bonus, still brought in almost an extra $1000 in income this year WITHOUT MY DOING MUCH. I just had to sign up, keep track of the promotion, and close it out once I got the bonus. It isn’t passive income, but it sure paid for a good chunk of my upcycling supplies this year.

Blog: $37,270.44

  • Advertising: $19,760.90
  • Affiliate: $14,128.57
  • Books: $3380.96

I am only active on 3 main platforms because I cannot handle more than that alone:

I used to pay for a service and it was awesome but Facebook has now screwed up my pages, and I cannot connect through anything, so I was paying for nothing (not the service’s fault at all but Facebook’s and I can’t fix it because they’re going through changing platforms). So I am back to manual slogging of posting it to Pinterest and so on. It’s a pain in the bum actually but I can’t seem to get a hold of anyone at Facebook to fix it, and I have submitted countless tickets.

Advertising: $19,760.90

I am with advertising networks like Google, but I also offer sidebar ads (not many takers), and don’t like to do it for cheap. I say no a lot more than I say yes to advertising opportunities and posts.

Affiliate: $14,128.57

This is stuff like ShopStyle or Amazon links, and now they’ve really tightened up the restrictions on payouts, meaning unless someone buys something, I get $0 from the click.

I don’t tend to promote things I don’t already have/own/buy on my own, so this is not an issue, but it is becoming less of a revenue stream for me because I cannot be bothered and quite honestly, I find it to be a hassle.

Books: $3380.96

This isn’t a big moneymaker for me relative to all the other truly passive forms of income (e.g. Advertising is easy), but I do sell some things: I’ve written 6 books under my Like A Boss umbrella, and I need to start on that 7th book on how to build side income businesses but I haven’t yet because… time. I sell them on Amazon as well.

Save. Spend. Splurge. Products sold, include:

(All net proceeds from The Wealth Building Tool go to charity)

*Note: All the net proceeds going to charity are done over the course of the year. As someone buys it, I pay the Paypal fees, and then record the amount aside in a ledger until I have enough money to make a meaningful contribution (e.g. $100 minimum).

Bank: $3934.16

When I say “bank” I mean everything in referral to a bank:

  • Bank high-interest savings: $2994.16
  • Bank promotion like signing up for new accounts: $940

Bank high-interest savings: $2994.16

Just money shifting around to different bank accounts to take advantage of promotions like at Tangerine, they were paying 2.74% until the end of February 2021. EQ Bank is my general savings bank, they always have the highest general rate unless other banks are running promotions.

Bank promotion like signing up for new accounts: $940

You can make a significant amount of money with banks if you put in the work and keep on the lookout as you are going about your day, to see what is out there. I am currently working the CIBC 1-year promotion that gives you $300 at the end and waives all banking fees ($4.95) every month until the year is over.

It just takes organization (tracking the money), maybe a bit of capital ($3000 for the minimum bank balance so that the bank fees are waived at $0), and being organized.

If you are interested, my money is parked here:

Cashback: $1065.45

  • Credit Cash: $671.68
  • Rakuten: $393.77

Credit Cash: $671.68

I use credit cards that give me cash back. I like the Rogers card because the foreign cashback for $USD purchases is 3% which covers the foreign exchange fee pretty well.

Rakuten: $393.77

LOVE LOVE LOVE THIS SITE. Cashback is so easy. You just sign up, use the portal before you shop on Etsy or eBay (my two main sites), and you’re done. It gives 1% up to 6% in cashback.

If you’re interested these are my main cards and cashback sites:

  • Rakuten – I use this site ALL THE TIME when I shop online. Use referral link here [ ] for a free $10 to get started.
  • Rogers World Elite Mastercard – No annual fee, 1.5% cash back, but you can only redeem it yearly and you have to call each year to ask them to redeem the credit against your next year’s statement. I use it for all my purchases as I buy a lot in USD$, and those purchases are 3% 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

Dividends: $13,812.94

My goal was $12K this year for 2020, and I actually hit $15K but then sold some of the stocks for capital gains. I will be changing my goal for 2021.

Resale: $12,774.55

This one is easy. Only once Poshmark landed in Canada have I actually started selling items. It is easy to list, take photos and just get rid of stuff I cannot fit into any more.

I have a few things in consignment as well (designer labels), and my designer bags (the ones I no longer use), sold through consignment pretty quickly (in December I made $1350 off my YSL extra large Sac de Jour).

Private Lending: $5816.72

This ramped up from the $900-ish I made last year. I am also considering actual private lending through a mortgage broker but I need more information.

I do my private lending via a platform called Lending Loop:

Coaching: $4401.22

I started this income stream this year when I was laid off near to the start of the year; helping people with money and career coaching, but I am putting it on hold as I am going back to work.

It’s a lot of commitment, and pre-work (for every 15 minutes, I work about 30 in prepping beforehand). I also did an investing course for Canadians but it is ultimately a huge time commitment that I am not really seeing a return on versus my day job. Or I need to charge double or avoid taking on certain cases I know is a lot of work.

Swagbucks: $434.47

I started doing more surveys online at Swagbucks to make money here and there.

I mean nothing to sneeze at right? $400-ish dollars is STILL MONEY.

Other: $595.06

  • Other: $408.16
  • Gift Cards: $185.90

Money that doesn’t fit anywhere else – I got some money back as a refund because of the pandemic (credit cards did a relief program), and won a few gift cards as well.


My day job should bring in about $250K a year, and side income maybe $30K? I know I made a lot this year but I do not know if I can replicate it again.

I think it can all be summed up in one quote:


THE EXPENSES = $33,863.30

My original ideal budget was $40K. Then after I lost my contract, I sort of revised it down to $26K and obviously smashed all of the budget categories to oblivion except Groceries. I definitely went over in Wardrobe/Entertainment because I love to shop and my Entertainment now includes upcycling jewellery.

Total I spent each month:



Some months like July and November, I actually returned/got a credit back for things, so that’s why it goes into the negative for those colours.

In January I also spent over $2000 on new winter tires (top of the line Pirelli’s), because the winter weather here in Montreal is scary and brutal; this is not a category to skimp on.

Obviously the Wardrobe spending started to ramp up around July, and didn’t stop until it went out with a BANG in December (look at that pink block!)

You can see that I did spend a lot in later months – June, July, October.. okay, basically the second half of 2020, especially DECEMBER where I went full out and shopped Black Friday sales. I call it stress / deal hunting shopping.

Here’s what it looks like in terms of priorities:

It’s clear that I love my home, my closet, and eating. I mean is anyone surprised?


I am a geek so I like to see how I have done year over year.

I like seeing how I’ve done and in what categories. To highlight a few of the chunks:


This is home expenses and then groceries on top.


This is shopping/Wardrobe. It’s obviously a big chunk every year. You will notice a lighter salmon pink on top for Entertainment this year, which is to account for my upcycling project supplies.


The light blue sections are Transportation because at the start of my career I used to travel a lot for work, renting cars and the like, so this is where it went.


Travel has been completely eliminated from this year. I did travel a lot at the start from 2008-2012, but then it has dropped off since I had Little Bun, and only recently have I been letting myself go to NYC with my friends alone for a break, and to go back to Ontario to see family.

My spending over the years with actual numbers:

My spending went down from 2019 which is fantastic, I dropped my spending by $7199.55 or 17.49%.

I am hoping that for 2021, I can keep it to $30K or under. My SUPER STRETCH goal is $20K (but let’s be honest.. have we met? This is not something I think is feasible mostly because I love to spend on shopping and finding great deals). I haven’t spent this little in a long time, it feels good.


I try not to stress over spending numbers, as long as I stay under $50K or so. Some years I have gone over that (obviously), but generally speaking, I know I have the money, and if in the moment I want to spend $1000 on a weekend with a friend, eating out at expensive restaurants, I do.

Life is about living, not stressing out about missing out on picking the right stock, or not saving MORE MONEY (when you don’t even really need to). I kind of try to keep it reasonable, but to think: if I died tomorrow, would I have done everything I wanted to do with my money and life?

The answer should always be ‘Yes’ (save for pandemic SNAFUs).

On my future spending bucket list:

For the big things:


  • Trip to Japan for a month (YOLO!)
  • Trip to France for a month touring the country (YOLO #2!)
  • Annual trip back to Ontario for family/friends
  • Annual NYC trip


We plan on buying an acre and building a new home on it with sustainable leanings (a huge garden, etc). This is pending … the pandemic, so not sure when this will happen.

For the little things, I want as things come up, it’s things like this really cool jewellery holder thing that I feel like I can easily DIY with a little ingenuity (for the record, it’s about $550 USD so …. there’s that motivation):

My average 2020 savings rate:


$11,208.70 per month saved

The highest amount saved: $30,874.68 in March

The lowest amount saved: $1752.75 in September

And that’s about it.

How did you do?

Stay tuned for the Net Worth Summary & Final Thoughts for 2020.

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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. Shannon

    Do you have to collect GST or Quebec sale taxes for your day job or for the income you make on the blog?

    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      Yes. There are rules regarding sales taxes, generally speaking over $30K of income, it has to be done and remitted.

  2. Dublincalling

    Great post. Do you ever do a full inventory of what you sold like you do for what was bought in clothing? What about Poshmark in 2021 do you think you will be active on it in 2021 or will only sell via consignment.

    1. Sherry of Save. Spend. Splurge.

      I used to keep track but I don’t any more.. I mean I keep track of the big things I sold like the bag but not much past it. For 2021 I’ll only do consignment. I cannot handle Poshmark as it’s a time commitment and during the pandemic it is even worse.


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