November 2015 is at an end, and it’s time for our monthly roundup of updates to the blog and to our blog posts.
Yesterday was my birthday, and at 48 I’m feeling distinctly middle aged. I’m going to have to make a greater commitment to exercise before it’s too late.
The birthday did get me out shopping on Saturday (but not Friday!) as Jon generally would prefer me to pick out my own presents. We went to one store and I got a replacement for my wallet that’s falling apart and a fleece jacket. Other than that, all my presents were event tickets and consumables.
As someone who aspires to having less stuff, it’s major progress to only add one new item to the “things I own” category. We’ll be taking Little Bit to see The Best Christmas Pageant Ever next month, and Lion King in February, and I’m looking forward to both far more than I would have enjoyed having more material things.
I’ve barely started my Christmas shopping, other than Little Bit’s boots and some toys. I’ve managed to use points from my Amazon Reward card to pick up several toys that were on special, but have yet to find anything I think Jon would like.
This week we’ll start shopping in earnest.
I finally made it to Trader Joe’s, and tried really hard not to go overboard with the spending. My intention was to only use cash, but that proved impractical when my father-in-law decided to instigate a spur of the moment jaunt. Jon and I restocked our wine supply, picked up some baking materials for the holidays (great price on pecans), and picked up various other items. We got out of there for $125, and made that our grocery trip for the week.
That’s good, because despite our best intentions we have not managed to keep our grocery costs down this month. I had hoped that we would be able to come off our No Spend month and stick to our grocery budget, but that’s been an utter fail. If you include a trip to the liquor store, we’ve spent almost $800 on groceries this month. One month after the no-spend challenge, and we’re right back where we started with our food budget.
Ouch! I’d like to blame the overspending on Jon’s eggnog addiction but the true blame probably lies on me.
I’ve fallen victim to holiday marketing. Maybe I’m not dealing with the holiday budget busters I covered last week, but “buy it because you can’t get it later” and “buy it because it makes you feel part of the holidays” are really busting my food budget. (There’s my next post, I guess).
I’ve bought candy (to fill the advent calendar, but still), seasonal microbrews, baking ingredients, and other holiday themed items because Thanksgiving/Christmas. No real needs here, just letting the holidays provide an excuse to buy food we could just as easily do without.
I’m not saying we aren’t enjoying our holiday treats. I’m saying we don’t need them, and they’ve led to some major overspending.
If our grocery expense hasn’t stayed in check, at least our entertainment and going out to eat budget spending has. We spent less than $100 on both categories combined, even while trying to do some special activities for Little Bit’s school vacation, like trampoline jumping and going to the movies.
At least we know where our money is going, thanks to careful money tracking. We’re maintaining our budget spreadsheets, both overall and just for Christmas. After letting them slip for quite a while, I appreciate the power tracking your spending can give you. Now I just need to take advantage of said power.
Somehow I think that may be harder.
I don’t know how much adjustment we’ll do to our food budget in December. There’s still more holiday treats and special meals to prepare, and some of our favorite holiday treats have some pricy ingredients. Some of the grocery bill will go toward gifts, too, as I know my family loves pecan crusted cheese balls.
I do want to get serious again about our food budget in January, though. We are spending way too much on food for three people.
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