Despite booking up most of the month and celebrating Thanksgiving, November draaaaaaaaagged on. And for one reason only: I could not wait to pay my bills! By the end of the first week of the month, all of our bills were paid and I was just sitting around, waiting to get paid so that I could dump money toward debt. I relate this feeling of dedication to when I was training for my first marathon: I had one goal, all in, focused on the finish line. AKA I’m obsessed and there’s nothing you can do to stop me.
This month was an outstanding month for us! We paid a total of $4,656.18 toward debt, $755.80 going toward interest! We paid off the last of my personal debt: a credit card that I maxed out a couple of years ago and have been slowly making minimum payments on. Golly, it feels SO DAMN GOOD to no longer have that looming over my head! Especially because it was the debt with the highest interest rate attached to it. We started on this journey back in September with 8 debt balances totaling $89,075.45 and we now have 6 balances totaling $76,440.62! That’s a total of $12,634.83 paid off in three months, down 14.18%. Yes, we are moving at gazelle speed.
We’re now working on debt #3 which is the beau’s Prius. He bought this car in February (of 2017) with a low interest rate of 2.24%. When starting this journey in September, its balance was $10,106.53. November’s ending balance is $7,842.11. My personal goal for this debt is to have it paid in full in February 2018, the one year anniversary of driving it off the lot. I KNOW we can do it!
We also cash flowed a number of items this month (cash flowed = paid cash):
- 8 snow tires
- gutters for the back of our house and a cleaning for the ones in the front
- a baby shower gift
- a haircut for me
- three Christmas gifts
- a birthday gift
- the Turkey Trot 10k registration
- a reimbursement to a friend
- a shirt and dress for myself from the Boden sample sale
- a winter hiking puffer jacket for myself – thank you Black Friday sales! (the only item I bought Friday)
- my ADK 46er dues
- and a domain renewal for the beau
Almost half of those items were gifts, which means in 2018 we need to make sure to start saving for those expenses. To do this, it’s as easy as adding a line to our budget and establishing an envelope to stash cash in each month, similar to our auto insurance savings envelope.
This month we again followed the repeat meals each week:
Monday: Spanish rice
Tuesday: taco pasta
Wednesday: tempeh jalapeno wraps with broccoli
Thursday: veggie pot roast over noodles
Friday: “fish” tacos
Despite all of my planning, the meals on Tuesdays and Thursdays didn’t work for the beau and his evening class because he didn’t want to bring a meal into the classroom; he’d prefer a sandwich. I’m personally not down with eating a sandwich twice a week for the next three months for dinner, but I let it slide for the first month while he settled into this new schedule. He made a loaf of seitan, our budget friendly alternative to the fake deli slices that are out there. I still made the taco pasta for myself each Tuesday and enjoyed the leftovers for breakfast the following day 🙂 I ditched the veggie pot roast after the first week because although it was super delicious, it was just too much for me to eat day after day. I either made myself a salad on Thursday nights or winged it with other leftovers. We spent every penny of our $400 grocery budget in November.
We budgeted $195 for any eating out and alcohol purchases for the month and surprise surprise we used it all up. November 4th was our 6-year anniversary of our first date. We returned to Bacchus and enjoyed a drink and an appetizer and looked back on that fun first date. Instead of ordering their wood-fired pizza, we went home and made our own while enjoying some crowlers from Rare Form. The beau has mad pizza skills! We also ordered a box of wine via the Wine Insiders for $65.99. We’re suckers for a good deal and an opportunity to fill up the wine rack in the basement, even if it’s temporarily. Ha! Other than that night out at the beginning of the month, we didn’t eat out again, take out included. This is becoming easier for me because I have a plan and everything needed to cook such planned meals, but I admittedly did want to order takeout at least once.
For my monthly wellness box via Young Living I stocked up on items that would continue to support our immune systems this yucky time of the year. I spent $301.44 (including shipping) of our $300 budget on 2 bottles of SuperB, 8 bottles of Ningxia Red, 1 bottle of Lime Vitality and a 3-pack of Thieves dental floss. I earned $41.31 back for my next order and received a free bottle of Christmas Spirit essential oil blend… ’tis the season! I also received two free bottles of Red Shot – which I’ve never tried and am looking forward to! The Ningxia Red was 15% off on Cyber Monday, and I snagged 6 of those bottles up then; that just means I won’t have to order Ningxia for the next three months = saving money in this category!
December is going to be another big-spend month for us. I have to wrap up my holiday shopping and the beau still needs to do all of his. This year my gifting will be less, not that I was ever really into gifting, but because I’d rather focus on time spent with family rather than finding something I hope they’ll get use out of. Important to note: we are NOT taking money out of our emergency fund to cover holiday gifts. Nor did we take any out in November to cover the expenses mentioned above. Holidays, birthdays, anniversaries, dues etc. are NOT emergencies. They didn’t show up out of nowhere. A friend via FB shared a simple spreadsheet she uses for gifts to track what she buys, how much it costs, who it’s being gifted to etc.. I think that’s a wonderful idea! Do you budget for how much you’re going to spend on gifts? How do you keep track if using a debit card?