Friday, January 7, 2011

November & December Wrap-Up

I have been putting off this post because of the negative things I have to reveal, but there were many positives as well and reasons to rejoice in the Lord. I might as well just get it over with, first bad, then good.

The goals for November included:

  • Pull garden out
  • Clean & vaccum both cars - inspired by something I read that suggested taking care of your cars will help you feel better about their age and ugliness.
  • Groceries $200 - this will be a challenge because of Thanksgiving and because I already committed $60 for bulk food purchases with a friend.
  • Make the budget work to include lots of things that have come up for November without using DH's raise which we've committed to the timeshare debt.
  • Get Christmas cards and baby announcements completely finished before Thanksgiving so I can enjoy the rest of my holiday season.

The disappointing news is that I didn't accomplish a single one of these goals in November or December.

  • The garden is still in, the pumpkins were never picked and now sit as frozen lumps in the backyard. I have to remember to toss them in theyard waste bin before they turn to disgusting mush.
  • The cars have not been cleaned or vaccumed. They still feel old and ugly - but they're paid for!
  • I completely blew the grocery budget in both November and December. I spent a combined $788 dollars those months. I bought 5 - 20+ pound turkeys, 2 hams & 60 pounds of boneless, skinless, chicken breast. I also bought a dozen boxes of stuffing, 25 pounds of kidney beans, 25 pounds of black beans and about 20 cans of creamy cooking soups. And a bunch of other stuff. It was major stockup season with all the awesome sales and I justified the spending.
  • Clearly, I didn't stick to the budget. I also didn't make it work with the unexpected expenses. These included: Over $200 for camping next summer, a studen't loan payment almost doubled, our water bill that comes every 8 weeks happened to fall two months in a row, and Nutcracker tickets that were more expensive than I had planned for. Including the extra grocery money we had to dip into our savings - which is always a disappointment.
  • I also didn't send Christmas cards. In fact I still have 'New Year Letter' on the agenda. I hope to get those rolling over the weekend.

Now for the good news! And praise God for good news!

  • We paid off the timeshare! DH had some stock hanging around and did a little research last summer resulting in the decision to sell in the fall. We actually dipped a little futher into savings to pull this off, but with the unexpected increase in the student loan payment we thought it made sense to eliminate the timeshare payment so that cash is free to cover the increase plus pay extra. Now the plan is to replenish the savings and then start paying off the student loan. We are committed to using DH's fall raise and the old timeshare payment to speed this process.
  • My microwave stopped working properly in November and a good friend gave me an almost new one she had in her garage. Not only does it make my kitchen life easier, but it's a significant upgrade in looks than the old model.
  • We were anonymously given some grocery gift cards totalling $200. They arrived last week and we were so blessed to find them in our mailbox!
  • Our family and friends were generous in their Christmas giving as well. The girls had many, many packages to open. One of our favorites was from a great-aunt whose husband passed away a couple years ago. Apparently he had started collecting the state quarters thinking of his grand-nieces and his wife finished for him and sent the collections to our daughters. I thought it was a wonderful way to honor his memory and give the girls something connected to him.
  • There is always more and I never remember it all, but we are so blessed all the time and so thakful for our wonderful, supportive community.

Going into January I am trying to be more realistic about the budget. I am going to make my spreadsheets much more detailed so I can more efficiently track a whole year's worth of expenses so that in 2012 I can budget better so (for example) I don't get surprised by a $200 camping reservation, the car tabs, or the fees for website hosting and domain names (DH has many).

Goals for this month:

  • Get a more detailed budget set up
  • Close DH's business books for 2010
  • Groceries $140 (to try and make up for crazy Nov/Dec)
  • Blog 3 times a week
  • Consistent Bible study - 5 times each week

Wish me luck! And FYI - It'll be time for a pantry/freezer challenge in February so start thinking about if you want to join me in that project!


1 comment:

  1. My pantry is overflowing with can/boxes so I'd love to join you in a challenge.


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