Do you ever wonder how other family’s finances work? I am not a financial role model by any means, but maybe you can be encouraged by reading about our struggles and successes in the money area.
Our goal for November was to spend as little as possible so we could save for Christmas… and then I went over-budget in almost every category.
I spent $528.91 on groceries ($28.91 over budget), $75.94 on household and toiletry items ($25.94 over budget), $85.05 on miscellaneous spending including $50 for one of my children to take the SAT test, and a whopping $90.17 on eating out, half of which resulted from taking friends out to lunch and the rest from fast food runs ($40.17 over budget).
I did keep the clothing expenditures to $10.99 ($25 budget) and we spent $0 on entertainment for the month.
In spite of over spending in most of our budget categories, we did make more money than we expected to this month. This allowed us to put a few hundred dollars into our emergency fund which we had depleted with our move to the new house in August. It is still not back to the $1000 we would like to have, but at least there is something in the account.
Our goals for December are to spend as little as possible on Christmas and keep the money in our emergency fund. Thankfully the kids are old enough to understand and we have set limits on Christmas gifts throughout their lives, so it won’t be a big surprise this year. We have several inexpensive activities in our area in which to participate, so we will still have fun together.
What are you doing to limit your holiday spending? Leave a comment so we can encourage each other! 🙂
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“Our goal for November was to spend as little as possible so we could save for Christmas… and then I went over-budget in almost every category. ”
I pasted this,because I just love it! I follow your stories,and enjoy them very much,thanks for sharing! I love the sentence above b/c I feel like this most months! But keep on trying,and learning too….
I’m glad my imperfections can encourage you – haha! Yes, I will just keep moving along. 🙂
I started a new home based business to help bring in extra income for the short & long term. I’ve seriously cut back on who we buy for. We have a small list & most people get a homemade gift. I’m thankfully very creative & crafty, so it works to my advantage. We have a list we follow for us and our kiddo. A need, a want, a complete head to toe outfit (including socks, undies & shoes), books & an experience for the family. Then we do coupon books for things like extra stories, a trip to the yogurt shop, couples home massages, a coffee date, a movie day in, special little things like that which don’t seem like a lot but make it so much more special! Both my husband and kiddo love their coupon books. Especially my kiddo cause its coupons like mommy uses 🙂
Also we don’t own credit cards & we refuse to use our emergency acct. The money is either there or its not. We work with what we have, nothing else!
I really like the coupon book idea!
This year I decided to do what I did last year: 1) Not be “pulled” into the shopping madness of so-called sales. 2)Use a chart with names that list gift giving ideas/want and an amount that I will not overspend. 3) As with other replies, the credit card is put away for the month as I have put away some money for Christmas starting back in August.
The gift list really is the best way to help yourself not overspend, along with putting that credit card away. 🙂
We did okay in November. We stuck to our budget (except for food) and we were able to put a good amount in savings. We were able to become debt-free in October and my husband got a raise! So it was our second month back in black 🙂 We have a plan and are charging towards our next goal- we have 3 months in our emergency fund but would like to get that closer to 6 months. We would also like to get a second car in 2014, if we can find what we are looking for in our budget.
Great job Jerilyn! Doesn’t it feel amazing to be debt-free?
we put aside a little money every month for Christmas and birthday presents and buy when things go on sale throughout the year. We also keep gifts to a minimum and buy useful, beautiful things (but less of them). Instead of a bunch of crappy toys as “fluff” so that kid have a lot to open. This year our 3yo is getting a 30 piece wooden train track set (got for $1 at a thrift store), a set of wooden trains to go on it, a story book about trains, an engineer’s cap, and a train whistle. My 1.5 year old is getting a miniature wooden bongo, a wooden xylophone, a monkey drum, and a book about instruments and music. I also got a toy food set as a joint present for both kids.
That sounds awesome Jessica! Good job!
We’ll be spending Christmas with my boyfriend’s family this year. Except for petrol (which thankfully is very cheap in Austria) we won’t have many expenses.
I’m giving away home made lime salt in pretty containers (saved jars with painted lids) and maybe home made peeling/ lip balm or something like that to save money.
Kimberlee, I do have a question, quite unrelated to Christmas: I was stupid enough to buy a computer for my business (web design) and because I didn’t have the money at that time, I set up a monthly payment – no interest but still, it costs me about $100 per month.
So now that I have an emergency fund I cover the remaining cost of the computer in one single payment. What would you suggest: Should I get rid of that debt and then start restocking my e-fund (could be done with my tax refund) or hold on to that fund and go on with monthly payment? I’m really not sure what to do. Thanks for your help!!
Depending on your monthly needs, I would keep $500 to $1000 in your emergency fund and pay off the debt as you can. Especially since there is no interest charge to you. I promise you that as soon as you clear out that emergency fund, you will need it (I speak from experience. 🙂 ) You can pay off whatever is left on your computer with your tax refund.
Thanks, Kimberlee 🙂 I will do that, it sounds like a good plan. I just hate knowing that I’m in debt 😉 Sometimes the fear grabs me when I’m trying to fall asleep but then I have to remind myself that I’m ok, I have savings, I’m just waiting for the OK GO to pay back my student loan (need some kind of code for the transaction). Phew. And then I relax. I will keep all the money in my emergency fund and then pay the remaining $1000 back next year 🙂
Katie Zurawski says
I decided to not send Christmas cards this year. Once I added all my Christmas expenses (using your budget form :)) I realized that things added up quickly. I could make cards for free but the postage would be nearly $45. I still plan on sending cards to some distant relatives that live far away. For the first time, I am also buying used for a couple things for my son. I found a Jenga game at St. Vincent DePaul for $2 and bought (9) Scooby Doo dvd’s off a FB buy, sell, trade site for $2 a piece. He will love, love, love them and that is what counts. When mommy guilt starts to creep in, I try to remember that kids are usually none the wiser when it comes to those things.
You are so right about the kids not noticing. We purchased used toys for every Christmas until the kids were about 10 and started asking for electronics. I found a couple of items used, but it was more difficult. Good for you for making tough decisions to save money (and I am glad that the budget form helped. 🙂 ).
I save money for Christmas and gift giving all year. My issue is that I get things early and on Black Friday/Cyber Monday and then need to find the will power to not buy more as I see other things before Christmas gets here.
My one plan is to shop at grocery stores only and to not visit amazon 🙂
If I am not seeing it, I can not want it or buy it.
My second plan is to put away the credit card that I had out for gift purchases and carry an empty gift giving account envelope with me as a reminder.
I like the idea of putting the credit card somewhere safe. 🙂