November passed in a flurry of events! Between all my activities, events about town, friends visiting, our first big snow of the year and Thanksgiving I hardly had a chance to sit down and catch my breath. I spent about 16 total hours driving across 3 states for Thanksgiving, but the quality time with my family and all the delicious food made it totally worth it. I think I'm still full from all the food I ate!
I started my stained glass art class at the beginning of the month and it's so interesting to me! I'm not sure who exactly said it was ok for me to play with shards of glass, razor blades and soldering irons, but I'm having a blast! (and I've only lost a few ounces of blood to cuts). Almost everything I'm making will be gifts for various people, so I'm very excited to see their reactions come Christmas time.
Winter has finally descended upon my neck of the woods. I was enjoying my super low utility bills due to no AC or heat, but that time has come to an end. Our first snow of the year saw us get roughly 7″! My kitten Bartholomew is only 8 months old, so he's never seen snow before this. His reaction (as documented in the picture to the right) was priceless. He was going crazy! He was thoroughly entertained for hours and I'd be lying if I said I didn't get a huge kick out of watching him.
Right before Thanksgiving, my company gave out details on our annual bonus. Since we met almost all of our goals, I'm getting a VERY nice bonus this year! I'm very grateful to be working for such a generous company. We are in a slight trough, so they could have just as easily cut all awards this year. My bonus will be put towards my downpayment fund for the house I'll buy in the future if I could ever get the government to give me the required paperwork!!
Why do I do a monthly spending report?
I find it best to do a monthly spending report for a few reasons. One, it helps me evaluate how I did the previous month. Did I hit a target reduction in spending or did I go way over budget for a particular category? Two, it helps keep me accountable. How can I make an extra purchase knowing I’ll have to explain myself to all of you? Talk about awkward when the blogger can’t walk the walk and talk the talk. Three, I want to prove this crazy thing called financial independence works! Fourth, it provides an example of real world budgeting and expenses. Some of the people I talk to haven’t ever seen a proper budget or seen one put into action, and part of the purpose of this blog is to lead by example!
I use Mint to help me track my spending and keep an eye on my accounts. Some people use Personal Capital and others use You Need a Budget (YNAB). Whatever tool works best for you and your needs is the best one for you, since everyone and their budgets are different.
So, without further ado, I present my spending (for better or for worse) for November 2015.
|Gas & Fuel||I saw gas prices as low as $1.78 this month. I am LOVING the low gas prices! It helped offset the driving I did to visit family for Thanksgiving.|
|Utilities||I have a feeling this will be one of the last months with a low bill like this. Winter has started to settle in for it's annual stay. Booooo.|
|Food & Dining||Not as badly over budget as I have been in the past. Making progress!|
|Rent||Back to normal. There weren't any special events this month that I could earn Fun Money.|
|Pets||I'm definitely giving this category too much money.|
|Auto||I had to get a car wash after almost getting my car stuck in the mud. Pontiac Vibes are not good at off roading, in case anyone was wondering.|
|Entertainment||I bought a new video game and the accessories that go with it. Totally worth it since I've been drooling over it's release for a year or more.|
|Gifts||It's that time of year where I buy things for my family and friends for Christmas!|
|Shopping||The biggest part of this was the new phone I bought and the accessories to go with it. I also got some good deals on ski equipment.|
|Transfer||I got some cash out to get some things off Craigslist. Why buy a new easel when there's a perfectly good one someone else doesn't need?|
November was indeed a calmer month than October, despite the craziness that always surrounds the holidays. My total spending for the month was $2706, which I consider to be excellent. Had I not had to buy my new phone, it would've been a sub-$2k month which always makes me happy! I'll be writing a separate post on the whole phone switching process, so be on the look out for that coming up in the future.
I did have a slight breakdown when it came to buying video games. I've been looking forward to the WiiU game of Yoshi's Woolly World for over a year. Mario + yarn = made for Gwen. Of course, I couldn't just buy the game. I also had to buy the amiibos to go with it, and then I found some more amiibos when I was in the store…….. this is why I rarely go shopping at physical stores for stuff anymore. I did go to the mall to help someone buy Christmas gifts and I felt like a duck out of water. All these people buying crap they don't need! I almost felt a bit sick. I'm sure this is no surprise to anyone, but I didn't go out at all for Black Friday steals and deals. One, I was in the middle of nowhere Indiana and wasn't close to any good stores, and two, I couldn't think of anything I needed. I didn't even see any ads this year. Just think, I saved 100% by not going shopping at all!
Looking forward to the future, my newly lowered car insurance bill is due in December. It's under $400 for the next 6 months, so I'm not even that fussed about it. I'm going to start contributing a monthly amount to my sister who is a missionary, so that will be an extra line item in my budget. Other than a few small gifts, I should be set for Christmas presents so that won't have a huge impact.
I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday with their families this December, no matter what you're celebrating! I leave you with a picture of my goofy fuzzball relaxing under the warm air vent. Stay warm!
What did your month look like? Did you stick to your budget?