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.
We did a great job in the grocery department again last month coming in well under budget at $380.89. I was able to find some great sales and I purposely made cheaper meals toward the end of the month so that we could use the extra grocery money to fund a family outing that included dinner at one of our favorite restaurants–something we rarely do.
Spending less on groceries also enabled us to spend money for our three oldest children to attend a Christmas Ball.
We were able to get two beautiful dresses for the girls at the thrift store that fit perfectly and just needed to be steamed to remove the wrinkles. The blue one was $19.99 and the red one was $12.99. We were able to completely outfit my son with designer dress pants, leather dress shoes, dress shirt, tie and leather belt for $100–gotta love discount stores like Ross and TJ Maxx! With the clothing and tickets, the dance cost us $170 total.
We made the decision to spend money for the dance even though we need the money for car repairs. Since the car is still driveable, we felt we could wait a little while longer on the repairs. Our teens have not had the opportunity to participate in a formal dance previously, and they have made some big sacrifices in the last couple of years with our move, so we wanted to make this happen for them.
Thankfully our spending in other areas this past month was on target or lower than expected (utilities $422, gas for our vehicles $341, toiletries $23).
While we would have liked to save more, all of the categories in our Freedom Account (read more here) are funded in the amounts that they should be except for the car maintenance and medical categories. Even with the aforementioned spending, we were able to add $50 to the car maintenance fund.
Our Emergency Fund is still very underfunded and unfortunately, we did not add anything to it this month.
Our goals for November were:
- save money for our needed car repairs (√ -we saved $50)
- add $100 to the Emergency Fund (X)
- purchase some gifts for Christmas for our children (√-mostly done, but don’t tell my kids!)
For December, I would like to save at least $200 toward the needed car repairs.
How was November for you? Were you able to meet any financial goals?
Leave a comment so we can encourage each other.
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Your daughters look beautiful and I hope everyone had a great time at the dance. I had a slightly lower than break even November. I bought most of the Christmas presents last month. This month I accidentally paid my electric bill twice and had a $150 tire to replace. I did get a bonus from work so I should end up ahead. My goal is to get halfway to my fully funded emergency fund by the end of December. (I want to meet my goal by the end of the school year in June). One of the things I decided to do was use up all the food in my freezer for the month of December. I had so much left from Thanksgiving that so far this month I have cut my grocery bill in half. Thanks so much for keeping up with this blog. Everyone I know leads a “normal” life full of debt and keeping up with the Jones. It’s so nice to know there are people living debt-free and loving it.
Your girls are gorgeous and look absolutely ravishing in their dresses! I have 3 kids, 24, 27 and 14. The two olders grew up with an extremely well off father I was married to – nannies, jaguar, bmw, etc. Then I surprisingly had my 14 year old when I was single (and have been ever since and an only parent and committed to that and waiting for grandchildren) and am 56 and moved to the country. I am a very poor turtle living on an income less than yours, with my 14 year old, on some beautiful gorgeous land (ahhhh nature) rather than in Toronto in a huge house with a postage stamp of land. My house is like a gingerbread house (teensy) cost 100,000 and, oh, did I say tiny? lol I don’t know if you get the show “Till Debt Do Us Part” and “Princess” in the U.S. but Gail Vaz-Oxlade, who wrote “debt-free forever” lives in my tiny, eensy town of about 1,200 in Ontario, Canada. I have tried her formula and nearly choked! Jars for this and jars for that! She claims debt free in some ridiculous time! However she works with people who earn 10,000 a month and have debt in the 100,000’s. Not my situation! I can’t afford to have debt other than my house and car, which incidently totally died last week. Because I live in the country, I was forced to buy another one and researched for 2 weeks – repair, vs. used vs. new. New seemed to be the most reliable way. I have not had a new car in 36 years (nor the debt of one.) I explained to my 14 year old what we’d have to do for this. He said: Mom, I will take as little money as you can give me. I want a million dollars but I always take only what you are able to give me and am fine with that. He has never once complained! He is happier having a stay at home mom, who says goodbye at the door in the morning, is there at the door to greet him in the afternoon, will bring the forgotten project to the school, will be with him on “health-rejuvination” days if he needs me, will take care of him when he is sick and is able to care for our 2 labs and 2 cats so he can stay an honor student. Anyone who thinks it is selfish to stay home, with far less income and far less ability to “buy” the material things for our children has, in my one person’s opinion, not visited the countries, as I have in my “richie rich” days and experienced people who live without fridges, keeping their food on top of the drums they cooked them in, 7 people sleeping on one matress, AND THE JOY that comes when they make their own dolls, make their own soccer balls, or nets to throw it over or have running races or diving races in the water. I saw more smiles while in the countries where you stand up to go to the washroom, dry your self off with a facecloth, use the equivalent of sandpaper for toilet paper and eat the same thing 5 days in a row. And Peaceful Mommy, I, for one, and 100% happier living the life I do now, at 56 and having lived it for 20 years than the private schooled life I lived as a child, with my own snomobile and fur coat at age 13 and marrying into the same. I know who I am, am far more creative, have deeper relationships with my family because we ARE not 10 rooms away from each other, we have to negotiate time usage of the one washroom, money spending and gas mileage. It is a far more “rich” life than I ever lived in my life before. Could I marry “rich” again….sure I could. Would I dare to compromise what I have now…NEVER EVER IN A BAZILLION YEARS!!! It is NOT ours to judge how people live, what is important to them, what they need to be happy. The world is made up of many different types of people who find happiness in many different ways. I just found my way to duplicating those SMILES I experienced while travelling – not because of material things…but because of deep connection that comes without that type of insulation. Peace in Every Day, Samara
November #’s are in and they were, an interesting experiment. I decided to shop sales only at our local store. I would check the sales every day and only shop for what i needed to make or complete meals. Well, I’ve decided, without the 35 -45 minute drive to a larger city nearby we would never afford to shop solely at our local store (which I could walk to!) I budgeted a generous amount to start with and still went over that budget. i didn’t buy anything fancy or not on sale. Even taking advantage of coupons as well as personalized deals. Still, the prices are not comparable and we had to dip into our emergency fund just to cover food. So, the experiment is over and we went down to shop elsewhere and, so far, December looks much more doable. Thanks Kimberlee for all the good advice and teaching by example. I have a menu plan for December, food ready to be prepared and served AND a dinner out for Christmas with my DH.. all because I started planning meals and thinking about shopping, not just mindlessly going to the store and hoping for inspiration.. something I used to do all the time! :o)
It sounds like you discovered some very valuable information. As I am sure you have heard me say over and over, find what works best for you family.
I am so happy that you were able to get everything organized for December, and make room for dinner out with your husband. Thanks for letting me know that you were encouraged!
I did pretty OK in November. I did go over in one category “Home Supplies”. My folks came to visit for Thanksgiving so I had to buy some things for that, like extra towels! And since I hosted Thanksgiving, I ended up having to buy some extra folding chairs, napkins and a serving dish since I didn’t have enough. I am thankful to at least have an Ikea nearby where I could buy things like that for pretty cheap. I also took advantage of some sales to purchase an artificial Christmas tree and a decoration for the center of my Thanksgiving table. Because of these overages I wasn’t able to put as much in savings as I had budgeted, nor could I pay my student loan (I’ve paid ahead so the payments aren’t actually due til July of next year, but I still try to pay something every month on it to help w/ the interest). A few things that helped in other budget areas though are my mom bought the groceries the week of Thanksgiving, so that helped keep my grocery budget right in line. While I bought stuff for Thanksgiving throughout the month as it went on sale, I still would have been about $100 over if she hadn’t bought that week’s worth of stuff. Also my gas budget ended up under because I didn’t have to drive the 70 mile daily round trip to work on Thanksgiving and the day after, and I was able to take advantage of a large gas reward from one of the grocery stores I shop at. They offered an extra 20 cents off a gallon if you spend $50, which was easy to do with buying the turkey and all.
We’ll see how December goes with all the gift buying going on!
It’s difficult to save this time of year with all of the extra expectations of the holiday season, but it sounds like you did a great job meeting your family’s needs and not going into debt. Woohoo!
Your two daughters look beautiful. Your family is an inspiration to others.
Thanks so much Patricia!
Nov was good. I had to really rein in grocery expenses to cover medical expenses, a trip and extra gifts purchased in Oct. We made it through stayed on budget. I feel great going into the holidays ready and paid for! Baby comes in 2 weeks so I think it was also nesting kicking in. 🙂
Good for you for having Christmas paid for already!!!!!
Money comes and goes, but the memory of the dance will last a life time for your kids. Your daughters look so happy in your great finds.
Missy in Chicago says
I read your blog weekly. Thank you for your honesty on being such a watcherbon how you spend money. I a society that tells us to spend more to buy more to be happier, it is nice to know there are more savers out there like me.
Kimberlee, you are such an inspiration! It’s quite an accomplishment to achieve the status of a Proverbs 31 mom, but I think you have three teenagers who will agree that you are. 🙂 PLEASE continue the Financial Updates. They provide much needed encouragement. We will be debt free by Christmas and so I have knuckled down and started working on a yearly budget (don’t know why I didn’t start that earlier in life). If you get a chance, read the book The Millionaire Next Door. It was quite an eye opener for me, and quite frankly has changed my life/way of thinking. Blessings and Merry Christmas.
I actually read The Millionaire Next Door a few months ago and loved it! Thanks for your encouragement.
I think it’s awesome that you shifted some money to send your kids to the dance. I hope they had a great time!
Love the dresses. Thanks for sharing.
Your daughters look gorgeous!!!! Great deals too. Thrift stores are awesome. Thanks for sharing.
Thanks Mandy! 🙂