Good things about this month:
- I had two speaking gigs and finalized one last booking for 2015
- college basketball has started
- we celebrated Thanksgiving twice with local friends
- we saw a friend from Durham while he was in town for a conference
- there have been some sunny days
We did a pretty good job with our spending, too, even with Thanksgiving! We booked our Christmas travel and are really looking forward to that trip.
Sources of Income
Our budget is based on two sources of income: Kyle’s salary and my contractor income. Kyle’s salary is regular and my contractor income is irregular.
From our gross pay, we set aside/transfer:
- a generous amount for taxes between Kyle’s withholding at work and our self-withholding
- 18% toward retirement (Roth IRAs so far this year and soon my solo 401(k))
- 10% tithe
November is our second month with a regular budget for over a year! It went very differently than last month.
Rent $1,375 ($1375 budgeted)
Water/Sewer/Garbage $120 ($120 budgeted)
Phones $61.47 ($65 budgeted): Republic Wireless for me and Cricket Wireless for Kyle!
Internet $44.99 ($45 budgeted)
Netflix $21.90 ($22)
Student Loan $98.32 ($99 budgeted)
Transit $27.59 ($50 budgeted): One gas fill-up and two instances of paying for parking (minimally!). We started a new activity this month that necessitates a 30-mile round-trip drive once per week so we expect our gas expenses to increase.
Power $91.03 ($50 budgeted): We found out last month that we are billed every other month for our power. Still not sure how we should account for this bimonthly bill in our budget…
Groceries $460.39 ($600 budgeted): SUCCESS!!!!!! Finally, we came in under our new (very generous) $600/month grocery spending target! Since we moved to Seattle, we’ve spent on groceries/household supplies per month $977.46 (August), $644.09 (September), and $658.54 (October). The lower spending this month was enabled by having stocked up on meat from Costco at the end of October. December should be pretty low spending as well because we will be out of town for 11 days. I don’t really think we’ve changed our shopping habits much, so I fear that this cost might bounce back above $600 in January unless stocking our fridge/freezer was the reason for the high spending originally.
Restaurants $127.50 ($150 budgeted): We went out together for two inexpensive meals, Kyle had one lunch out, and took a visiting friend out for a meal.
In total, we are allocating $950 per month (on average) to spend across five categories.
This month, we spent:
Cars $496.18: A new car battery and six months of insurance on one car.
Travel $1,542.40: We spent $1,667.40 on our Christmas flights. $1,667.40! I don’t think we’ve ever spent so much money on flights for one trip. It is a three-legged flight from Seattle to Los Angeles to Washington, DC to Seattle but it was still a shock. We’re accustomed to paying about $400 for a round-trip cross-country ticket, but clearly these flights were far more expensive during this holiday period. We reduced the cost by redeeming $125 in credit card rewards. We are super excited to get to see both of our sets of parents during the same trip, though.
Appearance $229.33: I bought a 3-in-1 jacket (inner liner, outer shell) for the new-to-us PNW weather. I really like it and I hope I’ll use it for a very long time. This is the first coat I have ever bought myself, if you can believe it. I’ve been using the same two coats (a light rain jacket and a pea coat) that my parents bought me in high school for the past 15-ish years. The rain jacket bit the dust right before our move last summer. Kyle has described the purple and teal color scheme as “very ‘90s” but I like it. 🙂
Man, that was a swing from last month. We spent almost nothing on irregular expenses last month and 250% of our ‘allocation’ this month! That’s how irregular expenses go, though.
The amount of money available for miscellaneous expenses changes every month. It’s the unbudgeted money from Kyle’s paycheck plus the discretionary portion of my contractor paycheck. This month, the amount available was $401.30. However, we had no miscellaneous expenses!
Monthly: Spent $2,428.19 of $2,576 budgeted – under!
Irregular: Spent $2,267.91 of $950 budgeted – over!
Miscellaneous: Spent $0 of $176.54 budgeted – under!
This month, we spent $4,696.10 of $3,702.54 available. We now keep a buffer in our checking account to cover these kinds of overages.
I’m happy to have come in under budget for our monthly and miscellaneous categories. Our irregular expenses were crazy high this month, but that will smooth out over time.
Did Thanksgiving change your spending at all? What are your plans for the winter holidays?