I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and a great November. Last month was a rush as usual, but I enjoyed my holiday break and I’m looking forward to a slower December. I’m currently taking Christina’s Savor the Holidays mini e-mail course right now and I’m loving it.
This is the first month so far where I don’t have actual numbers but I still wanted to recap my month from a financial standpoint and revisit why I post my budget and follow a budget so strictly in the first place and why you might benefit from doing the same.
- Last month I delivered the last huge payment on my car loan and brought it down to only $517 from $9,700 at the end of 2014. I’m overly excited to be able to pay it off later this month and be done with it once and for all so I can pay more attention to my student loans.
- Christmas shopping has gone well so far. I’m 3/4 of the way there with finishing up my Christmas gift list and I’ve only been using the money I saved up for the holidays. But I’ve been making all my purchases on a credit card to get points, then paying it off immediately.
- Gas prices went down in my area which actually cut my fuel spending last month by half + no car repairs.
- While I enjoyed my Thanksgiving, the fun weekend was cut short when I started experiencing some tooth pain that spread into my jaw by Sunday night. It was horrible. I called around for a dentist all morning yesterday and finally found someone who could take me and extract my wisdom tooth. Needless to say, I’m in a different type of pain now and out of $200. I have a membership with a dental discount program, Careington, so it saved me quite a bit on the extraction. Since I spent most of my time dealing with the dentist and picking up prescriptions yesterday, I didn’t have time to add up all my spending and fill out my budget spreadsheet yet, but I took the day off work today to ‘rest’ and help the swelling go down a bit. I really wish my job would allow me to work from home, but I have plenty of freelance work to catch up on to fill up the entire work day so I’ll be busy at least.
- My car insurance situation is still a mess. For some reason, they want me to pay $117 per month now for full coverage which is the most I’ve ever spent on auto insurance. Mind you, I don’t have any accident or bad remarks/tickets on my driving record. I’m playing along for now since I don’t want a lapse in my coverage but at the end of this month I’m shopping around for a better rate with another company for 2016.
Why Post Budget Reports?
I’ve been sharing my spending and budget changes on the blog for a year now, and it’s natural that some of you may wonder why? Confession time! Before I started this blog and got serious about my finances, I didn’t even have a detailed budget or know where some of my money was going. When you’re trying to get out of debt, and making all these sacrifices and lifestyle changes, it’s disheartening to realize that at the end of the month, you have $200 gone from your bank account that you can’t even account for.
If you’re trying to get out of debt and improve your financial situation overall, you need some type of budget to help keep you on track. I don’t care what anyone says. It doesn’t have to be a fancy spreadsheet. It can be something as simple as jotting down categories and numbers on a sheet of notebook paper.
I consider myself a person with a lot of willpower who’s fully dedicated to the goals I set. But if I don’t know where my money is going each month or if I didn’t give it a distinct purpose, there’s no way I would have made so much progress so far in just a year.
Learning More about My Spending Habits
Posting my budget reports has been a great way for me to not only reflect on my spending but the reasons behind it and how I behaved in certain unexpected situations. The months go by quick for most people and when you budget, you may only look at your numbers once a month and not take the time to reflect on what happened during that month.
Posting my highs and lows allows me to revisit why I actually made the decisions I made, why I saved up for certain expenses when I did, and how I reacted to unexpected situations so I could learn more about myself and my money habits overall. Most important, being accountable allows me to stick with it month after month.
For example, one of the main things I learned this past year is how much I spent on my car and how I can start saving in those areas, that I need to stay away from stores like Walmart and Target that prompt me to make impulse purchases, which months of the year tend to be higher food spending months and a lot more.
Budgeting can sound and be somewhat tedious in the beginning, but it’s so worth it in the long run.
Do you have an actual budget? Why or why not?<?strong>
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