It’s time to be accountable and look at what we earned, spent and paid in debt during November. Our spending numbers look high compared to any other SixFiguresUnder monthly budgets, but looking back at it we don’t have any big regrets. We spent the month being extra grateful for all of our many blessings. It turns out we’re even thankful for our debt!
This month we paid $1,781 toward our student loans. That includes a deposit from SmarterBucks.
Our total net income for November was $4,609. Since we live on last month’s income, this is income that we will spend in December (right now it’s just sitting in the bank).
Etsy Income– $159 Halfway through the month, I put my shop “on vacation.” The holidays are my slow months since I sell birthday and baby shower things. My slow Etsy months coincide nicely with busy holiday time, I decided to eliminate the stress of filling orders until the new year, so I can focus on other things.
Blog Income– $1,476 I only include income that I have actually received this month (it often takes a month or two to get paid). I also take out blog expenses, which this month were on the low side. I also include some referral credit as income when it is credit that pays our bills (as opposed to allowing us to purchase something that we weren’t planning to buy anyway). This is the case with referral credits we earned when readers signed up for Republic Wireless after reading our experiment and review.
Side note: After posting my blog income each month, I always get lots of questions about how I’m able to earn this with a blog that’s just over a year old. My two suggestions for those of you who are looking to grow your blog and your blog income are 1) Read How To Blog For Profit: Without Selling Your Soul and 2) Enroll in Elite Blog Academy. I won’t hijack my monthly report to gush about them (most of my readers aren’t bloggers), but if you want the details, I wrote about them here. If you’re interested in signing up for Elite Blog Academy, registration closes on Friday, so don’t delay! If you wait until the next enrollment in the spring, the price will go up by $100. I also finally put together a list of my favorite blogging resources for those who are interested.
Each month we budget down to zero using last month’s income. Our spending in November comes from the income we earned in October. In addition to the debt payments above, here’s how we spent money in November:
Tithing– $436 At the beginning of November, we paid a 10% tithe on the money we earned in October. You can read all about why we pay tithing even though we’re in debt.
Other Giving– $20 Other charitable donations we made
Mortgage/Rent– $0 We live in my in-laws unfinished basement. It’s not pretty, but the price is right. It may be trendy, but living in the parents’ basement with three kids isn’t in our long term plans. It does provide a constant reminder to keep on track to get this debt paid off asap! 🙂
Utilities– $0 We don’t pay any utilities either. We do pay for extra internet bandwidth, but it comes out as a blogging expense.
Republic Wireless Cell Phones– $22 We both have smartphones through Republic Wireless (you can read my review here). With tax, each phone comes out to $10.89 per month. We didn’t actually make any payment this month because our phone bill is covered through referral credits that we earned when they had a referral program (we counted the referral credits as blog income during the month they were earned). If you are paying crazy prices for your cell phone bill, I highly recommend checking out Republic Wireless.
Health Insurance– $114 We have an ACA plan. You can read the details here.
Car Insurance– $97 I think it’s pretty cool that the car insurance for our two ’97 vehicles is $97. I get excited about weird things like that.
Renters Insurance– $14 We have our renters insurance through USAA (along with our car insurance and several other accounts). We were really grateful we had it when my husband’s car was broken into and everything was stolen.
Food– $354 I’m pretty sure this is the worst we have gone over our $300 grocery budget since we started meticulously keeping track over a year ago. I shopped for Thanksgiving dinner at the end of the month, so I ended up buying lots of non-Thanksgiving things while I was out instead of planning a grocery trip at the beginning of December (we usually do one big shopping trip to Winco each month).
Gas– $446 Even with our little trip, we were way under our $500 gas budget. Hooray for gas prices going down! We are lowering our gas budget to $450 from now on.
Fun– $54 This is much higher than usual, but we’re fine with that. The day after Thanksgiving we took the kids camping in the mountains. When we were getting ready to leave that morning we could not find our tent anywhere, which was really strange. My husband and I are both pretty experienced and adventurous when it comes to the outdoors, so we decided we’d just build our own shelter out of tarps and rope. We loaned out our giant tarp a while back so we just figured we’d pick up another one on our trip. After a couple hours in the car (and a stop to get a Christmas tree cutting permit), we stopped by Big 5 to get a tarp. My husband ran in and came out with a tent and a huge smile. “This is the best Black Friday ever!” Those were not words I ever expected to hear from his mouth. After seeing the tarps were $25, he took a look at the tents. He found an 8-man 12′ x 12′ tent (similar to this tent, only bigger) with a sale tag of $39 on it. He couldn’t figure out why this large tent was less expensive than some of the smaller ones, but decided it was a deal he couldn’t pass up. When he got to the register, it rang up with a sale price of $150. He showed them the tag and they gave it to him for $39 without question! Apparently he was the first one in this mountain town to buy one, so no one noticed they were priced wrong. He thanked them and suggested they fix their tags so they don’t lose any more money. We had a great (and very windy) campout and even woke up to snow (including our van being stuck in it)! The next day we cut our own Christmas tree for the first time and made lots of fun memories.
Household– $70 At the beginning of the month, we spent about $35 on general toiletries and thought we were done for the month. Thanks to the fresh snow on our mountain camping trip, we had to buy some chains for our tires to get home. We picked them up at Kmart and they rang up at half price (maybe another Black Friday deal)! By the time we got back on the road, the snow had stopped and the restriction was lifted so we didn’t need to use the chains after all. We haven’t decided if we’ll return them or keep them.
Clothing– $139 This is the highest clothing number you’ll see all year. I took advantage of an online Black Friday sale to stock up on white dress shirts for my husband. He wears them six days a week, so they get worn and become dingy pretty quickly. I also bought two pair of kids shoes when we were in Kmart on our trip (they were buy one, get one for $1). I got myself an awesome maxi skirt on clearance at Target. I told my husband to wrap it up for me for Christmas.
Law Practice– $44 My husband’s law practice management software has a monthly subscription fee that comes out of our pocket since it’s different than what the firm uses.
Car Maintenance– $906 Last month we came out ahead in this category because of the insurance payout after my husband hit a bear. We used $906 of that this month to fix an oil leak and brake problem and get new tires. We still have just under $300 remaining in the car maintenance category that is left from the insurance payout. We usually zero out all of our budget categories at the end of the month to maximize our end-of-the-month debt repayment, but we decided to leave this money earmarked for car repairs, as they are inevitable, especially with older cars.
Gifts– $38 I bought the Little House on the Prairie box set and the Chronicles or Narnia box set at the thrift store along with a great assortment of other kids books. My first grader is a voracious reader, so she will be thrilled that we’re adding lots of chapter books to our family library this Christmas. I also found some nearly new kids shoes at the thrift store on half-off day for my kids and my nieces.
Life Insurance– $667 This is our annual life insurance premium. In a non-debt-payback scenario, we might opt to take a chunk (1/12th) out each month and set it aside for life insurance premiums. With our debt repayment strategy, we choose to take these large hits on the budget as they come instead and just pay less in debt repayment in the month they occur.
There you have it folks!
How did your finances go in November?
Note: Some links in this post are affiliate links. For more info check out my disclosure page.
Linked to Thrifty Thursday