What a month! It wasn’t stellar in terms of savings, but it wasn’t bad considering we paid for most of our trip to Nicaragua and paid the entire car insurance bill up front. There was also a surgery, and the bills for that probably won’t roll in until next year.
The bulk of our earnings come from my ever reliable monthly paycheck at the day job in finance. Not much change there.
Violin: Amanda had some residual earnings from when she billed her students in September.
CPA/other: I do most of my side work during the first few months of the year, but I do a small amount throughout the year. I did some writing which was offset my some miscellaneous business expenses.
401k: We are cruising along on auto pilot, contributing 15% of my gross income to retirement. That’s not quite enough to max out my 401k or to retire early, but you have to work with what you have.
529s: The education contributions are now being deducted from my monthly paycheck, which is really nice because we don’t even have to think about it anymore.
Mortgage $950 (spot on): If we paid property taxes and home insurance along with our mortgage payment, the total payment would be closer to $1,250 per month.
Giving $938 ($42 worse): We give 10 percent of our income. It’s more than 10 percent this month because our kids (we) gave a little extra for Thanksgiving. Tithing alone can seem like a lot, but we have many reasons why we give.
Auto $925 (spot on): I usually pay my car insurance bill in full now. It is a great way to help meet spending requirements for credit card sign-up bonuses. It doesn’t help with your monthly savings, but as long as you save what you would have been spending for your monthly payment in subsequent months, it’s all the same.
Travel $657 ($157 worse): I used points to reserve the car on our trip, but I failed to take into account the mandatory insurance, which was about $130.
Groceries $644 ($56 better): We usually go over on groceries, so this month is an exception. It’s probably again driven by the fact we were out of town for a week.
Restaurants $335 ($35 worse): Almost all of this is related to our trip, and it was amazing. My mom is a complusive food photographer, and on our trip, I think I started having some of those same tendencies surface. Check it out. I had to include this first one of Burger King. Ironically it was the one of the nicest, cleanest buildings that we visited.
Toys $26 ($174 better): We were going to have all of our Christmas shopping done by the end of November, but that didn’t happen. I am kicking myself for not buying the $99 MeccaNoid robot for our son on Cyber Monday because now it’s back up to $150. We’ve never spent that much in past Christmases on a single present, but this year my wife wants something that will teach him about “robotics and electricity, and allow for countless hours of open-ended exploration.” So, any suggestions?
Phone $24 (spot on): After 10 years of living in the cellular dark ages, I finally decided to get a smart phone. We have so far been happy with Republic Wireless, and you can read my Republic Wireless review here.
My Featured Bare Budget Series
I am excited to have begun featuring the budgets of people and other bloggers who are in all different stages of life! I know there are people out there as curious (or nosy) as I am who enjoy getting a deeper glimpse into the financial lives of normal people.
If you are one of them, consider pitching in by posting yours!
Check out my 30-second overview video that cost me $26 to see what it’s all about.
How was your November? Did you get all your holiday shopping done?