Jan
05
2013

December Financial Update

by Kimberlee Stokes Affiliate Link Disclosure B

In conjunction with the Living on Less Than $28,000 A Year series, I started sharing periodic Financial Updates about our family’s finances. I don’t always give specific numbers, but I thought it might be helpful for those of you in a similar situation to take a peek at how things go at our house.

Spending

We had another great month in the grocery department with our total spending at $321.28. Our utilities were lower than expected ($300) because the weather was warmer than normal this time of year, but that savings was offset by the fact that we spent more in gas for the car ($447–$380 budgeted) because we attended lots of social events and drove the kids to visit friends several times. We were also over-budget in the household/toiletry category with a total of $78 ($50 budgeted).

The really good news is that we were able to stick to our Christmas budget of $300 (although I did mess up a little which you can read about here). We were also able to eat out on Christmas Eve thanks to saving on the groceries all month!

 

Saving

After looking at our finances for the previous few months, we decided to follow the baby steps of Financial Peace (a Dave Ramsey program) more closely and really make it a priority to have a $1000 emergency fund. We moved some money from the categories in our Freedom Account (read more here) and thanks to some extra money from commissions, part-time work, selling things and blog money, we were able to make it to the $1000 mark!

 

Goals Update

Our original goal for December was to add at least $200 toward the needed car repairs, but as I mentioned above, we decided to move all available money to the emergency fund. We can use the emergency fund money for the car repairs if we have to, but as long as the car is still driveable for short distances, we will wait until we can save some more cash for the repairs. Having to rely on one car again is inconvenient, but we don’t consider it a true emergency.

 

How was December for you? Were you able to stick to your Christmas budget?

Leave a comment so we can encourage each other. :)

(email readers will need to click through to the blog)

 

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Living on Less than $28,000 Series

  • Candace W

    I was let go from my job in September 2012 and it has been difficult figuring out our financial situation. Especially since we have student loans and a huge rent to pay. We are newly married and have had some trouble trying to stay on budget with two people using the account. I have to say though we did excellent in December! I was so happy that we stayed on budget (except one of our bills was doubled due to the company taking the money out twice). We have what I call budget allotments. We allot money each month into a special account for Pets emergency fund, a future baby, unexpected problems with the car, Vehicle Registration, Vacation, Holidays, Christmas and etc. We put money into these accounts each monthly, although not all the accounts get money each and every month. We set a goal that we want to have reached by a certain time in the year and fill the account with our extra money (after putting money in savings) until we have it filled. EX: Christmas- we purchase for 8 people- and have to ship 3 gifts across the country- so we set a budget of $800. Next year we will be lowering this amount but we came in $220 under budget. I think I am getting the hang of budgeting and saving. My biggest issue is the bills though. I hate having bills and owing people so I want to pay off our student loans asap. I just need to find a job (which is proving to be really hard) or earn extra money somehow. Your blog really helps. Thank you!

    • http://thepeacefulmom.com Kimberlee

      Good for you for spending less than you budgeted for Christmas Candace–woohoo! It does take time to get the hang of budgeting. As far as the job hunt goes, do you have any skills that you could use to start a business at home like tutoring or baking? That could give you some money until you find a job. Good luck!

  • http://www.halfdozendaily.typepad.com Carla

    You did wonderfully in December!! Our November & December were brutal expensive… a sick household of 6, new eyewear, etc… so i”m spending very low this month in hopes of beefing up our main EF to as close to $3K as I can and i’d like to have a smaller $1K EF for incidentals like new eyewear, dental appointments, unexpected bills, etc… I won’t hit both this month, but i’m going to do my best to get as close as I can!! :) I love your blog and have been reading faithfully for the last month… you’re very inspiring! God Bless!!!!

    • http://thepeacefulmom.com Kimberlee

      Oh sorry you were all sick Carla, but good for you for getting back on track right away. Thanks for your encouragement!

  • Jerilyn

    December started bad as the bank in charge of closing on our house kept pushing our closing back so we had to pay our mortgage on top of rent for the 2 month in a row. But the good news is that we finally closed and we were able to save all of it! :) we did overspend in groceries as we had both sea of parents come visit, but we didn’t go over in gas by driving to visit them. So I guess it worked out and we got some Christmas money and saved most of it. The 2% tax increase (or expiration of the tax break depending on your view) is already hurting us. It’s not much but we’re just breaking even- how is this affecting you and what, if any, budget changes will you make? We are cutting down groceries (that is so hard with growing children!) and may have to say bye to the Internet… We’ll see.

    • http://thepeacefulmom.com Kimberlee

      I’m sorry you had a difficult time with your house closing. We have been in that position before and it’s no fun to pay two payments. We will see the effect on my husband’s paycheck this week,as it will be the first of the year (last Friday’s was the pay for December).

  • Christa

    I went a little over, but the best thing is that I was able to puchase a $100.00 cell phone for my step daughter for $5.00. On black Friday the phone was on sale for $30.00 and I had a $25.00 gift card so I was able to get it for $5.00! I was so excited! Since we are going through rough financial times except for little things that was all she got because I also have two boys to buy for too.

    • http://thepeacefulmom.com Kimberlee

      That is an awesome deal Christa!

  • Melissa

    As always, Kimberlee, you are such an inspiration. We did fairly well in December, though we overspent on Christmas by $300…nieces, nephews, and other children that we hadn’t planned on. Even so, we were able to pay off the last of our debt. We’re DEBT FREE! Free, baby, free!

    So I actually sat down and figured out a yearly budget using the template here: http://www.vertex42.com/Calculators/budget-calculator.html Talk about hard…I had to think through our spending for the entire next year, but at least we have a savings plan for our 6 month emergency fund now.

    Good luck to y’all and Happy New Year!

    • http://thepeacefulmom.com Kimberlee

      CONGRATULATIONS Melissa!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! That is huge! Way to go!!!!!

  • ShannonH

    Lightbulb! We have had that same kind of trickle and even at times a big trickle and I have thought through financial goals. The lightbulb is the connection. Not sure how I missed that before so, serious thanks. I know just what to do next. =)

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