We took an extra long Christmas break this year because we skipped out on traveling for Thanksgiving. Kyle used up all but one of his vacation days! We spent several days up through Christmas Eve with Kyle’s family in California, took a Christmas morning red-eye, then spent Christmas and several days following with my family in Virginia, and returned to Seattle for New Years Eve. The month was fairly normal spending-wise except for the 11 days we were traveling.
My energy and attention levels with respect to blogging and the PF blogosphere were very low in November and December but I’m turning that around in January! Expect lots more posts and comments from me through the spring.
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
We did fairly well with our budget this month. The categories we went over budget in were due to our Christmas travel, but the travel also caused us to come in far under budget in another category.
Rent $1375 ($1375 budgeted)
Water/Sewer/Garbage $120 ($120 budgeted)
Phones $61.43 ($65 budgeted): Republic Wireless for me and Cricket Wireless for Kyle! I’m happy both Durham and Seattle have good Sprint and AT&T coverage.
Internet $44.99 ($45 budgeted)
Netflix $21.90 ($22 budgeted)
Student Loan $98.32 ($99 budgeted)
Transit $56.56 ($50 budgeted): Varied expenses this month due to our Christmas travel. One gas fill-up for our car, three instances of paying for parking, adding money to our public transit cards, and an Uber trip.
Power $0 ($50 budgeted): This is an “off” month for our power bill, but I expect it to be high next month. It’s pretty cold here and we have the heat on when we are home, which is much of the day.
Groceries $432.26 ($600 budgeted): I’m happy we’re under budget again, but it’s due in part to being out of town for a week and a half. We’ll see how January goes in this ongoing struggle.
Restaurants $216.82 ($150 budgeted): We went out for one meal in Seattle before our Christmas trip; we tried a new place with the largest pizza we’ve ever had. We paid for four meals out during our Christmas travels with family and friends and one convenience meal in an airport, and our family and friends took us out several more times as well.
In total, we are allocating $950 per month (on average) to spend across five categories.
This month, we spent:
Gifts $671.81: All this was on Christmas gifts. This was our highest-spending year yet. We increased our per-recipient gift cap from $10 to $20 for the kids in Kyle’s extended family members at the last minute, which pushed us over our $600 estimated budget. Like in previous years, after adding it all up, I still don’t feel good about the amount of money we spent and wish that we could find another way of expressing our affection for our family members. (We additionally bought $111.08 of gifts for a charitable cause sponsored by our church, but I’m not including this in any of our totals as it came from our Charitable Giving savings account.)
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 $224.08 and we had two miscellaneous expenses totaling $32.61.
- $19 for a chiropractic visit (my first!)
- $13.61 to renew one of our personal domains
- $40 for laundry quarters
Monthly: Spent $2,427.28 of $2,576 budgeted – under!
Irregular: Spent $671.81 of $950 budgeted – under!
Miscellaneous: Spent $72.61 of $224.08 budgeted – under!
This month, we spent $3,171.70 of $3,750.08 available. This excess just adds to the buffer in our checking account.
I’m happy that we came in so solidly under budget this month, but it’s going to take a while to make up for our massive overspending last month.
How did the holidays affect your spending this year?