A Glorious Feast And Other November 2017 Expenses Revealed

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All in all, we had a wonderful November. The holiday season is upon us and we were thrilled to host Thanksgiving dinner. But before we get into all that, let’s recap the first half of the month.

November And All That Jazz

 

Christmas Lights - expenses

Early Christmas decorations in the small town where I work.

Most of November was quiet. Mini Monster had yet another school picture day. This time, it was her class photo.

When I was in school, the photographer took the single pictures and the class pictures all on the same day. Well, times they have changed. Now, it’s two separate days. So not only did we have to pay for her single pictures in October, but we also had to pay separately for her class picture in November.

Thankfully, I think all school pictures are behind us for the 2017-2018 school year. I’ll drink to that!

The blog (read: me) had a busy month in November. I finally got around to interviewing my brother for an Uber post that I published a few weeks ago. If you’re looking for a side hustle, check it out here.

I also found time to start a private Facebook group for bloggers. If you happen to be a blogger, join our group here.

Oh, and probably the most exciting news of all, I was on the ChooseFI podcast! It was tons of fun and I hope you enjoyed it. If you didn’t catch it, here’s the link.

The Feast

 

I took vacation the entire week of Thanksgiving and the following Monday. Mini Monster has a lot of holiday and in-service days, so I try to coordinate some of my vacation days to align with hers. Not only does it allow Mr. MMM to be able to continue to work (since he works from home), but it also gives Mini some quality time with Mommy. It’s a win-win.

It was nice being home the week of Thanksgiving. It gave me time to get the house into tip-top shape before the festivities. We had about 10 people in our home starting at around 10 am until late that night. And the best part, aside from buying food for the feast which came out of our grocery budget, it was all free. All of it.

We had coffee and various other beverages while we cooked. We flipped through old photo albums and reminisced, and we changed an HDMI cable behind the wall in our living room! Look for this covered in a future post coming to a computer near you soon. Did I mention we also sat down to a glorious feast to give thanks to all the good in our lives? Well, we did. And it was wonderful.

The Arrival Of Santa

 

Mad Money Cat - Expenses

Mad Money Cat supervising the Christmas tree fiasco.

We have an annual tradition around here that takes place the day after Thanksgiving. Black Friday isn’t just one of the busiest shopping days of the year, it also marks Santa’s arrival in our little town square.

This year was no exception. We headed down to the square, enjoyed free hot chocolate, live Christmas music, and watched on as Santa made his grand entrance in a firetruck. Yes, a firetruck. We also enjoyed the annual lighting of the Christmas tree.

The finale was a visit with Santa in his workshop. You can either pay to have them take pictures or you can take your own. As you probably guessed, we take our own. Not only is this night an annual family tradition, it’s also free. 🙂

And that rounds out our November adventures. So, how much did we spend? Here you go!

Tracking Our Finances

 

We have an eclectic approach when it comes to tracking our finances and monthly expenses. We use our old-school Excel spreadsheet to plan for upcoming expenses and month-to-month variations, and we use Personal Capital to track our overall financial health and net worth.

Did I mention that tracking our net worth is probably the #1 best thing we ever did for financial motivation? If you’re not already using it, I highly recommend trying Personal Capital to track your net worth. It’s free!

Overall, we had a pretty fun-packed month without spending too much money. Check out our numbers below!

November’s Expenses

 

Aside from our mortgage expenditures, we only spent $1,124.00 in November. So without further ado, let’s check out November’s numbers in a little more depth.

November
Bill Amount Notes
Mortgage 1817.00 It might seem high but we have a 15-yr mortgage at 2.7%. We also escrow our taxes and insurance. Our mortgage went up over $100 from last month because our taxes went up. Womp. Womp.
Water 32.00 We’re on public water.
Trash 52.00 This is a quarterly bill. I so wish we were in an area where we could burn it.
Car Insurance 0.00 Paid in full for 2017
Internet 50.00
Electricity 145.00 It’s been chilly around here. We even started using our gas fireplace.
Natural Gas 27.00 We started using our gas fireplace quite a bit so I expect this bill to go up in the very near future.
Mobile Phone 70.00 Still on Verizon with the cheapest data plan. We’re considering switching carriers but haven’t committed to the plunge.
Gas 40.00 Since Mr. MMM works mostly from home and I work close to home, we’re able to get away with about $60/month – most of the time. This month, I had a week off work and we hosted Thanksgiving, so we didn’t need to travel. That meant we saved money on gas.
Groceries 350.00 Despite hosting Thanksgiving, our grocery budget stayed the same. We just tweaked the food we typically buy and also had everyone bring a dish. It was a wonderfully frugal holiday.
Medications 50.00 More than usual because I was dealing with a nasty cold that wouldn’t quit. Better now 🙂
Work lunches 30.00 Don’t freak out, I take my lunch to work with the exception of once/week. I have a lunch date with a friend and allot myself NMT $10 per outing. And usually, it’s less than that. And since I value my relationships, this is money well spent.
Funny money 50.00 This category is for anything fun we want to do that isn’t forecast. It might include a movie or fancy shmancy coffee.
Pet food 120.00 We feed our pets grain-free food. It costs a little extra but it’s better for them and we’re convinced it saves us money on healthcare.
Class Picture 12.00 We paid $32 for Mini Monster’s school pictures in October and another $12 for her class picture last month. I’m not sure why they can’t take these on the same day and package everything together. *SMH*
Nissan Registration 36.00 We had to pay the annual fee for our Nissan’s registration last month.
Vet visit 60.00 Mad Money Cat had an allergy issue that was causing her to scratch day and night. We had to take her in to get some medication. She’s doing well.
Total 2941.00 Total Expenses
Total w/out mortgage 1124.00

Just in case you’re wondering why trash, sewer, and various other routine expenses might not be listed, it’s because some of our bills are quarterly, so you’ll have to tune in next month to see how much we spend on those services.

How did your November play out? Were you able to save money? Or did you go over budget?

6 comments… add one
  • Susanne @ The 76K Project Dec 4, 2017, 2:40 pm

    We went over budget in November by about $20. Considering extra money spent on holiday food and a couple of unexpected doctor’s visit co-pays, I don’t feel too bad about that.

    I really love the idea of a 15-year mortgage and hope that we can swing that when we purchase a house.

    • Mad Money Monster Dec 4, 2017, 6:50 pm

      I declare going over budget by only $20 a successful month. Congrats!

      You should definitely try for the 15-yr mortgage. You’ll be amazed at how fast the balance drops every month. 🙂

  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach Dec 4, 2017, 9:20 am

    That’s a pretty good budget for hosting Thanksgiving! Your cat’s expression is pretty funny. I don’t have kids so Christmas is not as exciting for me, but our small town in LA does kind of the same thing that other small towns do with festivities. It does give me a little bit more of a fuzzy feeling. Hope you have a great December!

    • Mad Money Monster Dec 4, 2017, 6:46 pm

      Thanks, Tonya! I was really impressed with our budget last month. It always helps when everyone brings food. We barely had to buy anything extra.

      As far as Christmas, I don’t think it’s more exciting with kids – just different 🙂 I have always loved our little town’s holiday festivities. Hope you you get to enjoy some awesomeness this December, too!

      And yeah, Mad Money Cat is very expressive. Hope your kitty is hanging in there! 🙂

  • Accidental Fire Dec 4, 2017, 9:14 am

    Great update, that’s a pretty low number for monthly expenses, especially at the start of the holidays. I really enjoyed your episode of the ChooseFI podcast, you have a great story!

    • Mad Money Monster Dec 4, 2017, 6:47 pm

      Thanks so much! Yeah, it was REALLY low last month – but we haven’t purchased a single Christmas gift yet – so I’m sure it’ll spike this month. *gasp*

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