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October Summary

November 6, 2013

Hi Friends! I know it has been forever since I posted, but in my defense, things have been insane. I’ve had a ton of things going on for work and non-work and potential future work activities, but now I’m back in DC with lots to share. So, without further ado, here is a financial recap of October:

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Good Decisions

Overall, September was an awesome month. As you can see from above, we ended up saving $700 more than we had planned! Go us! We had some great wins including staying well within our budget for our trip to Dallas, less than normal commuting expenses, and coming in way under on our eating out budget. We also cashed in on a credit we had at our son’s daycare, saving us nearly $300. Another exciting point, we didn’t go over in any of the categories I was concerned about from last month’s summary.

Not So Good Decisions

While we did make some great strides, we certainly had some overages and not so good decisions:

  1. Misc. Line Item: We were over in this category by nearly 65%! Most of this  (~$100) can be explained by 2 expenses – renewing the hubby’s drivers license, and our copy for my wisdom teeth removal.
  2. Haircut/Grooming: We were over in this category by 165%.  I get my haircut like once every six months. My stylist is expensive, but I love him and he does an amazing job. I’ve tried tons of lower cost options, but those have not met my standards, so this is just getting chalked up to taking care of myself. I did get a 15% discount on my visit, so I don’t feel bad about it (plus I look amazing and that counts for something too!)
  3. Groceries: We were over by about 14%, but again, not an area of concern. We had another massive Costco trip which means we will not be making a Costco trip in November. Given this, we should be below or right at our target line item budget in November.
  4. Kiddo: We were about 20% over in this category. I’m thinking we may just need to update this line item to $100/month. We’ll revisit at the end of the year, but for now we’re keeping the $75 target

October Debt Repayment Recap

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As you can see, dept repayment was way accelerated this month! We ended up putting our extra surplus straight to Honda. We also were able to grow our savings by $625 since we split the FSA reimbursement between extra debt payments and savings. Yay!

November Spending Projections

In terms of spending, our November budget is essentially the same as the October one. There’s a slight increase because our Highlander payments will go back to roughly $498/month since we took advantage of our overpayment credit last month. 

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Couple things to note regarding projected expenses:

  1. Travel/Savings line item will likely be artificially high in November (though it shouldn’t be over the expected spend). I had to take a last minute trip at the beginning of the month, and though the majority of the expenses are reimbursable, I won’t actually get reimbursed until December.
  2. Misc. line item may be higher than normal as well. One of the things we were planning to do with some of the money we transferred to savings was purchase additional insulation for our attic and get a heavy duty entry mat for our foyer. We also may start getting some holiday gifts for friends/family which may also push this line item into the red.

November Debt Repayment Projections

Now this is the area I’m most excited about! According to my spreadsheets, and our bank accounts, the Honda should be paid off this month! Because we were able to put so much towards the car loan last month, we’ll only need to put about $120 above and beyond our normal car payment to close the loan. Super super excited for this milestone, especially since it should be coming about 1-2 months earlier than projected!

Summary and Outlook

All in all, another great month to report! It feels like things are really falling into place and now that our first loan payoff is in sight, both Hubby and I have been super motivated. Looking back over the past couple months, the main difference I’ve noticed we have made to our lifestyle is the drastic reduction in eating out, especially for me. In the past I have had such a hard time with bringing my lunches/dinners when I have class because it is really inconvenient to think about at 10:30 or 11:00 PM when I get home. However, having pre-portioned containers and a steady supply of my favorite noshes (like carrots and yogurt dip, hummus and pita, and various fruits) has made it much easier to throw stuff together quickly. 

The other awesome thing about this month is that i really feels like we were not deprived or making sacrifices to our lifestyle! I got my awesome haircut, I had a mani/pedi, I went out to happy hours with friends, we took our kiddo to a fall festival –  we did all the things I love to do and still stayed within budget with just a little bit of thought and planning. The experiences and quality time were not at all lacking, and I dare say were even better because we could afford to do everything that we did – that is a great feeling!!

Next month, I’m really looking forward to going into the holiday season with a new attitude and whole lot less stress. I’ll write a post about this later, but after talking to our families, I already know that this holiday season will be a lot less costly than ones in the past. We also have a ton of fun, and low-cost plans set up for the month, including a Friendsgiving pot luck dinner, brunch play date, and a Thanksgiving trip to PA. I’ll also probably have a couple celebratory lunches/happy hours with friends, and am looking forward to inching my way closer to the end of my MBA program!! 

 

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