Life Update - October 2020
Another month has flown by and until I sat down and thought about it, I had forgotten what even happened in October. But alas, my memory returned to me and there were actually quite a few events throughout the second month of fall.
I mentioned last month that the kids began their ice skating lessons. They are both loving it! Well, except for the sore feet after being on the ice for an hour, but that's to be expected when you've never skated before. We had the pleasure of watching from the stands for one of their sessions and it was their Halloween party on the ice so Callum was dressed as a shark and Addison had her cat costume on.
Watching them scoot along ever so slowly on the ice was great to watch. Beforehand they had talked up their ability to the point where I thought I'd see a few fast sprints and slide stops. That was not the case. Addi looked like she was shuffling forward a half inch at a time, while Callum is a little bit more advanced and can skate backwards, albeit quite slowly. I'll give credit where credit is due though, they've only had 5 lessons and before that point they hadn't touched skate to ice before, so I think they're doing pretty darn well in such a short time.
Here's a little snippet of the cherubs after their most recent skating lesson. I think Addison was halfway through a blink in this photo, hence the tired looking eyes.
The month of October also sees us celebrating Thanksgiving here in Canada. We celebrate it on October 12 while America celebrates the holiday on November 26. Canadas Thanksgiving is based on a bountiful harvest and not on the Pilgrims and the New World like the Unites States holiday. The reason it occurs earlier than the US Thanksgiving is that Canada is north of the United States and because of this the harvest season occurs earlier during the year. There you go, fun fact!
Anyway, Thanksgiving facts aside, we celebrated the day with a turkey dinner and few drinks with two friends. Truth be told, I didn't have dinner and was asleep by 9. The punch was just too delicious! I know, I know, terrible form from me, but we all had fun!
With Halloween on the 31st, we usually have an annual pumpkin carving event at a friends house in a neighboring town about 30 minutes away, but with the pandemic still lurking it was decided that we wouldn't have the event this year. Instead, we grabbed a few pumpkins and made a night of it at home a week before Halloween. We all carved 1 each and sat them outside as decorations for people to see as they drove by. We also made a scarecrow to keep the pumpkins company. The kids named him "Sam", and I don't think he was really "scary", but we had fun making it.
Halloween fell on a Saturday this year and the weather was meant to be pretty good for that time of year. Instead, it was arguably the worst weather day we've had so far this year! The wind was howling, estimated at close to 80km/h at some points, it was overcast and misty rain. All day!
That didn't stop us from dressing up and heading out to trick or treat with the kids. This year, there were a few restrictions and precautions everyone followed in order to keep everyone safe. Houses who participated in the Halloween festivities had their front porch lights on and a candy basket close to the front door. This allowed the kids to come up and grab some candy without too much human interaction.
There were some participants who came out and handed the kids candy and let them say "trick or treat" in their cute little voices, and in those cases everyone wore face masks as required.
It's safe to say the kids cleaned up and had enough candy to last them weeks!
October was a good month for savings. We managed to save 42% of our take home pay, which was bang on target for the month. We've included the expense of Christmas shopping into our budget for October and November and won't be dipping into savings to pay for that expense.
Christmas tends to be pretty expensive for us and adds up really quick! This year, Allanah has built a spreadsheet (I know, right! Who'd have thought?!) to plan and track what we spend on Christmas and for whom. In doing this, we were able to estimate an end number of what we think the total cost will be. From there, we just divided the total by 4 (as we have 4 pay checks across two months) and factored that amount into our budget.
Although 42% is a good savings rate, I have a sneaking suspicion that our savings will be slightly higher in the month of November. Hopefully close to 50% or more.
We're still on track for our annual goal, edging 4% closer in October. If our savings rate stays around the 40% mark, we should hit our goal in mid-December.
Going from saving $0 each year (or less) to saving half our income in one year is an amazing accomplishment for us. We've proven to ourselves that it can be done if you spend the time and effort to set goals, build a plan to achieve them, stick to the plan, track your progress along the way, and make adjustments as you go.
Continuous self-education goes a long way too. I subscribe to quite a few personal finance related podcasts and I've now read a number of books throughout 2020. Prior to this year, the last time I can remember reading a full book was back in High School! It certainly is easier to read about a topic you're passionate about though.
Even if you don't have a passion for personal finance or investing, I still believe everyone should learn the basics of money management. This includes topics like; how to budget, tracking your expenses, building a good credit score, understanding and tracking your net worth, and how compound interest works. This isn't an exhaustive list, however I believe these are fundamentals that everyone would benefit from knowing.
I love learning and talking about all things personal finance related so feel free to hit me up if you have a question or a topic you'd like me to cover or discuss. I'd love to hear from you!
Blake - FIRE with a family