Personal Budgeting + Finance Help

I’ve read Ramit Sethi’s “I will teach you to be rich” but I probably need to re-read it or use it as a reference guide to do a bunch of stuff. I only did some of the steps in the book, like setting my credit card to automatically get paid off, but I didn’t set up auto investing or auto savings so I’m not specifically getting ahead on that stuff automatically each month.

TL;DR (Too Long;Didn’t Read): I have approx $2645 disposable income after basic living expenses and need to figure out how to spend it, split between my own investments/savings/learning and startup related savings/expenses/investments. Any tips/advice/perspective from CF readers is much appreciated. My goals are at the bottom of the post

My current monthly income and expenses + assets (All numbers in Canadian Dollars):

Net Income every 14 days: $1,717.18 (This is after taxes, union fees, and whatever goes towards the pension automatically)

Multiplied by 26 for yearly net income: $44,646.68

Divided by 30 for monthly net income: $3,720.56

Fixed Monthly Personal Expenses:

Rent: $150

Paying for part of Mom’s living expenses: $300

Mobile Phone Bill: $56

G Suite Email: $8.74 (Have been trying to figure out how to migrate these emails and just host on something like zoho for free instead. This is for my personal blog email.)

Webdomain Registration: $2.84 (2 domains at $17 yearly)

Might add some more here to contribute more to my Dad’s living expenses.

After fixed personal expenses, that leaves $3202.98 for variable expenses

Fixed Monthly Business Expenses:

GameDiscoverCo Plus Substack Subscription: $19.32 ($15 USD - Just tried this this month, might cancel in the future but has been decent value so far for marketing stuff specific to indie games)

Domain Registration + Wix Monthly Website Hosting: $1.42 + $23.07

Annual Report Filing Fee: $3.74

After all fixed expenses, that leaves $3155.43 for variable expenses

Variable Personal Expenses/Budgets:

Groceries: $150-300 (Grocery delivery from Save On Foods, usually 1-2 times per month. I haven’t optimized this to specific lists of stuff so I probably overspend just by shopping online and adding whatever looks good. If I standardize this, I can add it to fixed expenses instead.)

Eating Out: 0-$60 (0-2 meals)

Saving: $0 (Need to increase and automate this)

Investing: $0 (Need to increase and automate this)

Philosophy Learning: $0 (Need to increase this)

Video Games: $0-150 (Varies based on some seasonal stuff and new game releases e.g. Magic Arena releases a new set every 3-4 months and I tend to preorder that for $50 USD. Maybe need to set a hard budget on this for personal discipline reasons and to force me to make more meaningful choices and not just buy every game I want and potentially having buyer’s remorse later)

After all the above 3 categories of expenses, that leaves $3005.43 to $2645.43 for variable Business expenses. I’ll go with $2645.43 for now to be a bit more conservative, especially since I have no Saving/Investing added yet.

Variable Business Expenses/Budgets:

Marketing Resources/Learning: $0 (Need to increase this)

Business Savings - for various budgets we’ll need later like hiring collaborators/freelancers, paying for PR/marketing/ads etc.: $0 (Need to increase this)

Current Assets (Personal):

Stock Investments: $11,781.56

Savings: $0.01

Physical Assets: PC that cost ~$2,500 but might only sell at $1k right now, Misc. Stuff maybe worth $1,000 all together, so total $2,000 of disposable physical assets.

Current Liabilities (Personal):

I owe my mom $3k from a while ago. Can repay whenever.

Edit: No Credit Card debt (but using it to pay expenses and paying it off every month)

Applied for a personal Line of Credit but didn’t get approved. Looking for other ways to get access to more personal/business capital at better interest rates than the 22% of credit card.

Total Assets Value if Liquidated + All Debts Paid off: $10,346.98

Current Assets (Business):

Basically nothing yet.

So I need to figure out how to allocate the remaining
$2645.43 monthly
to maximize my goals. What are my goals/what should they be?

Current Goals that affect Financial Planning (Roughly ordered by how big I think the numbers will be):

  • Save towards business budget for marketing/PR/Collaborators etc. The more capital we can allocate to that, the less future income we will lose to revenue share with collaborators/loss of potential sales due to less than ideal marketing.

  • Save some money every month towards a personal emergency fund.

  • Save some money every month towards a business emergency/contingency fund.

  • Invest some money every month into stocks (personal).

  • Learn Marketing for our indie game launch around Spring 2023. Need to learn a decent amount within the next 6 months to start making our strategy and begin implementation.

  • Try out some new grocery foods each month from Save On Foods, probly based on Justin’s recommendations from his threads.

  • Buy/Play video games for fun.

  • Buy/Read books for fun.

  • Learn philosophy (secondary to learning marketing for now – No idea how much I should spend on this. Even $50/mo would feel like a lot even though it wouldn’t be relative to everything else and relative to my income. For some reason I fight really hard against most monthly expenses, even $5-10 stuff. Been feeling bad about my business email costing $8/mo for a long time now. Have to change that mindset.)

What other goals should I have? Is there anything in my budget I should reduce/cut back on for better financial health? Is it OK re: privacy to share this stuff? Are there any particular parts I should remove because they’re bad to share publicly? Also related thread: Improving Life with Money

Realized the post is really long and a lot of work for someone to read and help me, so I added this TL;DR to it if that hopefully helps. Most of the details/numbers can be ignored and this net income can be used to make suggestions.

TL;DR (Too Long;Didn’t Read): I have approx $2645 disposable income after basic living expenses and need to figure out how to spend it, split between my own investments/savings/learning and startup related savings/expenses/investments. Any tips/advice/perspective from CF readers is much appreciated. My goals are at the bottom of the post

In general, you should pay the debt first before helping someone with extra money. It’s unfair to gift them money while still owing them.

Put another way, she needs 300/mo and she has a 3k asset of a debt you owe her. She has the money for 10 months right there. Pay her 300/mo towards the debt until it’s gone. After that, if she still needs help, you could consider helping and her owing you money (if you can have debt to her, why can’t she have debt to you? seems fair).

You are way too young, and early in your career, to be supporting your parents (unless there are some really special circumstances).

I dunno if it’s a good idea to share such detailed financial info under a name that you use for a lot of stuff. Maybe would be better to either share less detailed info, or if you want to share more detailed info to use the anonymous feature.

Your post is actually kinda weird cuz on the one hand it has more detailed info than seems necessary, but on the other hand it leaves lots of stuff out, which makes it hard to give advice. (like, what do you mean be “Stock Investments”?). It also raises questions about your living situation & its long term viability. Like, you don’t seem to have a goal about saving to buy a house or move out, but your rent is low enough that I think maybe you live with your parents? (But I’m also not sure about that, cuz you talk about having to help them financially with their expenses.) Like, you give a bunch of detail on the numbers that seem more than is necessary to get advice. But then you leave out a bunch of detail, so I can’t really tell what is going on or why you have those expenses.


You should prioritize having $0 CC debt (b/c high interest rate) and also an emergency fund ahead of owning stocks.

Good point, I just started the $300 payment to my mom recently. I will count it towards the debt I owe her.

My mom’s retired and on a monthly disability stipend which covers her rent + some living expenses, but not enough for full living. It’s why making her owe me money might not be sustainable and it’s likely that she might die owing me money (some decades from now, which I’m fine with, in that I don’t expect her to pay me back if she is unable to)

Both my parents are around age 60. My dad is working 20 hours a week and earning about $30/hr gross income for that, so similar to my income but halved because he’s working half the time. He has been relying partly on the CRB benefits to pay his bills as his job does not cover all of his bills, partly because alcohol and cigarettes are so expensive. I’m currently living with my dad and my mom lives on her own. I may move out but likely not until the startup is self-sustainable, if it gets there, and if it doesn’t work out then I might move out after that while keeping my current job.

My dad will likely have to retire soon so I want to support him however I can. Maybe that means that I focus on improving my income over the next 5 years and then support him when he retires. I think he does not plan to retire at 65 and plans to work longer, but I know he doesn’t like working and he just has to work because he didn’t save up for retirement. I don’t really want him to have to work if he doesn’t want to past a certain point, e.g. 65, but maybe that’s unreasonable of me. I know the FI community has mentioned in the past how traditional retirement ages are kinda unreasonable, especially for intellectual work (he works from home in the food and beverage industry, so it’s not like a retail job that’s physically demanding, which is what he used to have)

Oh, I didn’t consider the anonymous feature. I don’t mind reposting this under an anonymous name if that makes sense. I think your arguments make sense since the info is specific and detailed.

I didn’t know what info would best help, but I figured sharing specific numbers would help people go like, “Why spend so much on groceries/eating out?” for example, and I could change those things. I can detail specific stocks I’m invested in if that helps. If there are questions, please ask and I’m happy to answer. I agree that the level of detail is not balanced, that’s just on me not knowing what would be relevant and it was easiest to share specific numbers over more qualitative info. First thing I’ll add is a stock breakdown since you’re right, that’s relevant to investing strategy and general thing e.g. am I all in on index funds, or have I been investing in individual stocks?

re: housing Answered some of this above, the basic thing is I’m living with my dad and might move out in the future, but right now I’m living here to save on expenses to fund the startup.

Are there any other expenses I should give more detail on other than the stocks? I’m happy to elaborate. I would like to err on the side of more detail than necessary than less detail than necessary.

Mindset stuff likely. I didn’t actually realize my disposable income was this high until I wrote this post, but even then I’m super averse to spending anything above like $20 on educational content. Even $50 feels like a stretch, but it’s a mindset thing that I have to shift out of (I think i wrote somewhere that I want to learn to be more aggressive with investing in myself). and I tend to spend more on games than educational content, so I likely need to change a lot of my expectations/values.

Agreed. I’m not paying any interest on CC right now as it gets auto-paid at the end of the month. It’s more like I use the CC to buy groceries and stuff, and then it gets automatically paid off without any interest.

What’s a good amount for an emergency fund? I’ve heard around 6 months-1 year of living expenses. I can aim to save that up before I invest in more stocks/other investments. Maybe I should make the emergency fund as if I was paying market rent, e.g. $1,200/mo for rent, in case I have to move out or something in an emergency situation. So maybe something like 15k is a good amount of savings for an emergency fund.

Thank you to both of you for responding and helping me on this personal problem. Let me know if I missed something/didn’t address any comments.

Also owning a house in general is not a priority for me. I’m OK with renting long-term. I may want to rent my own place but my dad is ok with me living with him for the next ~2 years. I may have to/want to contribute more than the $150 towards rent in the future, but I’m mostly OK with that.

Your parents should be helping you, not vice versa. You’re a young adult. It’s not your job to figure out how to support them ASAP. Your dad figuring out work that’s acceptable to him is his problem to deal with, not yours. If he needs more money he can quit cigarettes and alcohol before asking his kid.

It’s more normal to help your parents when you’re like 50 and they’re 80 but they really should have their own money. Helping elderly parents, even at that age, is more of a thing in other cultures and is kinda considered bad, especially if the help is money (helping them by taking care of them when they’re sick is considered more normal and OK, because they should have earned their own money but taking care of themselves when they get sick doesn’t work well and it’s hard to hire good help – old folks homes and other care available for hire on the market is often problematic in a lot of ways like not treating the old people like real human beings).

Why is a startup a good idea? Those are hard and you don’t know what you’re doing. You have other problems to deal with like a new job, parental stuff, and learning philosophy so that you can make better decisions (that should be prioritized ahead of as many major decisions as possible, like about what startup to do if any, and with what co-founders). Don’t you need to work on project plans and critical thinking and stuff – in general, starting from whatever you can succeed at currently – and work your way up, to the extent you can, instead of jumping into a hard project?

You misquoted. You replied to one person/post and then put unattributed quotes (just using “>” not the select text and click quote feature, so it doesn’t say or link a quote source) that are from a different person. Please edit to fix and stop doing that. Just reply to different people in separate posts.

If you are paying off your credit card each month and have no interest, then you don’t have credit card debt. Using your credit card for your expenses and then paying it off in full every month is not credit debt.

But you also said:

Which makes it sound like you did have credit card debt before.

You spend time on educational stuff like Jonathan Stark. Eli Goldratt is better. You’d get more value out of your time spent if you started with the best material.

Sorry about that, I think this is fixed in the new post I made as anonymous. I might have accidentally linked that thread to this one though, so I might need to fix that and then clean up this thread so discussion happens there instead of here. Took me some time to figure out anonymous mode and use the proper quoting feature so that anonymous17 and anonymous 18 are properly attributed

You’re right, I value my time too little and should learn to spend more money to save me time, e.g. by paying for better educational content. I think step 1 is to just pay the $129 for the Eli Goldratt stuff Elliot recommended and start recording/learning that content to save my time. Taking that action will help me get used to spending bigger amounts on educational resources. thanks anon

Big picture: lots of issues, hard to help in an effective way. A few scattered comments are no big deal but I don’t think they’ll help you much. If you actually want serious help you should be offering some value in return like money (I don’t think that’ll work well for you) or some kind of commitment to CF learning and regularly putting work into being a good student who is worth helping. You have no track record of actually using help effectively, whether it’s free public resources (e.g. books, articles and videos) or individualized replies. In general, you should start developing that track record with impersonal stuff so you aren’t asking people to bet their time and energy on you at the outset.

Are the issues more fundamental then? And OK, I think i understand the point that I need to offer value back if I want serious help, maybe because the issues I need to fix are deeper than just taking specific actions and more like changing how I think. Since paying people money might get super expensive quickly, I can offer value by putting work into being a better student so that people who help me know that their help will go somewhere useful and won’t be wasted. Is it OK to start building this track record with non-CF stuff, e.g. learning and documenting my learning on indie game marketing stuff, Jonathan Stark stuff, Eli Goldratt stuff etc.? I like writing about those things as I learn about them

Edit: I guess Eli Goldratt might count as CF stuff, but the others might not

Ah, I see. I think I made a mistake by putting the ~$400 number under Credit Card debt, since I’m paying it off every month it isn’t really debt.

It’s true that I did have credit card debt before, but don’t anymore. I should edit the Liabilities to remove that.

This is a tough one and I don’t really know how I can make a strong case for it. On the one hand, my co-founders are handling a lot of the hardest technical stuff in terms of game development, and I’m working on hard stuff but I have a lot of time to learn it, so I can afford to use the startup’s problems as motivation to learn stuff like project planning, critical thinking, and marketing. Learning to make better decisions is important but has always been hard for me to prioritize, depending on what learning that will look like (whether it will be engaging/interesting to me or not). For the most part the startup is low risk in terms of changing my life in negative ways if it fails, and I don’t think I need to fund it that much (at most the amount I put in may end up being $10k, and that’s a relatively high estimate.) It’s also something I believe in and I’m enjoying working on it.

It’s hard for me to consider the alternative of e.g. leaving the startup, working on personal development, and then coming back or starting a different business in the future based on my new decisionmaking skills. I think part of that is that I feel like I want to help my friends with this game and do my best to help them succeed. They’ve given me a ton of freedom, so I want to find ways to prioritize philosophy where it will help me personally + help the startup, and since we have ~18 months until the game launches, I have a lot of time to learn stuff before implementing it, and can do lots of testing of different things and mini-projects.