We were $45 over budget for the month of November. As my Dad would say, “I’m flabbergasted.” I’m not tracking spending every day. I usually update the budget every week or so to see where we’re at, but I think I only updated it once in November. It’s awesome that we still managed to keep things that close. We did spend over $1,000 on groceries, which is high. I think it is due to two things. First, I’m only going by where the money was spent, so I’m putting all Walmart and Sam’s Club spending into groceries. That probably isn’t accurate. We’re going to save those receipts from now on so we can break it down better. Second, Lianne masterfully worked in the kitchen more than usual in November, crafting her exceptional creations for parties, Thanksgiving, church functions, etc. Plus, we’ve turned toward healthier, less carb heavy meals at home. Those factors are probably contributing to higher grocery spending as well. We may need to adjust our budget to take this into consideration. This is an important point. Things change. It is tough to account for every expense ahead of time. We continue to examine the entire budget, and make adjustments as needed. For example, we are dropping Sirius radio, and we’ll probably drop our YMCA membership at the beginning of the year. We are going to shift that money toward lessons and other recreational activities for the kids. Flexibility without compromise is the key to a successful and workable budget.
On the mortgage front, we were able to put a significant amount of money toward the principal in November. I had a small brokerage account that I cashed out as well. It’s a one-off account that I’ve been playing with in the stock market, not too successfully. The election caused it to spike, so I figured it was as good a time as any to pull it out. I’ve been planning to put it toward the mortgage anyway. It is invigorating to see that mortgage balance go down. We’re nearing the halfway point, and we’re still on track.
Lastly, I should mention Christmas. Lianne was concerned that we wouldn’t be able to spend as much as we usually do on gifts. Fortunately, as it turns out, I get paid every two weeks and December is a 3 paycheck month. The budget is built based on 2 paychecks per month, so we’ve simply allocated a portion of that 3rd paycheck to go toward Christmas gifts. Typically, you should set aside Christmas money throughout the year to prevent overspending, particularly credit card spending. We didn’t have to do that in this case because of the 3rd paycheck. It’s a handy trick, and we’ll do it again next year.