Club Thrifty November Budget Breakdown

November Budget Breakdown - picture of cash, calculator and hand writing on notepad

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Good morning!  Another month has come and gone….and  I cannot believe it.  We’re finally living in our temporary home and enjoying every minute of it so far.  This weekend, we had a bonfire and roasted some marshmallows.  Big mistake!  We ended up with sticky marshmallow stuff everywhere- in the kid’s hair, all over their clothes, and even on the dog.  Everyone ended up with a second bath and we decided to just give the kids regular, unroasted marshmallows from now on.  What a mess!

Now that our move is over, I’m really excited to get our financial situation back to a somewhat normal state.  As I shared last week in my Scary Money Confessions, we’ve been eating a lot of fast food lately because we haven’t stocked up on groceries.  Now that we’re in our new home, we’re back to the normal routine of eating what we already have.  So far, it’s been great!

Our New Town

Our new town of Noblesville is similar to our old town, except for the fact that it’s slightly nicer and has a much more affluent population.  The difference is very apparent almost everywhere you go.  For instance, my old Kroger barely had a produce section and never had fresh fish.  It was also pretty dirty sometimes and I avoided their restroom at all costs.  Contrastingly, our new Kroger is sparkling clean with a huge produce section, tons of organic stuff, and even a fresh sushi bar where they make sushi all day.  With all of the upgraded food available in our new store, I’m going to have to be very careful with my grocery spending!

Retirement Planning

A month ago, I mentioned that I hadn’t put any money into retirement since quitting my job in May.  Fortunately, I had saved money for retirement…I just hadn’t managed to put it into correct accounts.  I’m happy to report that I opened a SEP IRA and contributed $10,000 yesterday.  We also put $5,000 in each of our Roth IRAs.  So, we’re pretty much set on retirement for the rest of their year.  Next year, I’m going to start with a clean slate and contribute on a monthly basis instead of cramming it all into the end of the year, I swear!  Oh, and in case anyone is interested, I put the majority of my retirement savings into Vanguard Target Date FundsVery boring, I know.

Now that I’m done with all of my updates, it’s time for the exciting stuff.  I know, I know.  You’re on the edge of your seat and want me to shut up already.  Ohhhhhhkkkayyyyyy.

November Budget Breakdown

  • Rent: 700
  • Old Bills: 100
  • Electric: 200
  • Groceries: 500
  • Daycare: 600
  • Internet: 85
  • College L: 25
  • College V: 25
  • Gas/Misc: 200
  • Cell Phone: 55
  • Health Insurance: 377
  • Christmas: 500
  • Life Insurance (G): $86.25

Total: $3453.25

A Few Things…

  1. You’re probably wondering what the heck I mean by “old bills!”  I know that we’ll have a few partial utility bills to pay but I’m not sure how much.  I just had to guess!
  2. Our new daycare costs $25 more per week than our old one….so our costs have gone up approximately $100 per month.  I’m not thrilled about it but I’m happy to report that the kids love their new daycare so far.
  3. I’m saving a lot on rent right now when you compare it to our old mortgage ($1426).  But, this month I’m spending that overage on Christmas.  Go figure!

How does your November budget look?  Have you started budgeting for Christmas yet?

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  1. Last year we split our “gifts” budget category into “gifts – Christmas” and “gifts – Other”, and it actually worked! We’ve got our Christmas spending covered already. Budgets rock.

    And how are y’all liking the smaller space so far Holly? I’m curious to know if it will influence your buying decision on the next house. We really enjoy our smaller space, but everyone’s different.

    1. I like it so far.

      The kitchen isn’t very functional…no pantry. And, there is really not much room for a table in the kitchen either. I do like the fact that we’re all on one level, though. It makes keeping track of the kiddos pretty easy!

  2. Our Christmas budget gets set by how much in rewards we’ve earned on our credit cards this year… sadly, with my accounts on lock-down due to ID theft that was less as we had no sign-on bonuses or anything. But it’s still plenty for a nice holiday.

    1. Our Christmas budget is basically this:
      10 nieces and nephews all get $20: $200
      my parents: $50
      Greg’s parents: $50
      Other random people $100
      Kids: $150 each

      I am going to budget an additional $200 next month for all of my nieces and nephews $20 bills! =)

  3. Way to go with the retirement savings! At least if you only do it once a year, you are still contributing! The fancy grocery store is my downfall for the grocery budget too.

    1. Yeah, I’m definitely contributing….A TON! I would like to spread it out evenly on a monthly basis next year though. This is just my first year of self-employment…so I did it weird!

  4. My wife and I just sat down and went through the list of people we have to buy Christmas gifts for, as well as the max we would spend on each. My family is small but exchanges gifts with everyone so that can hurt the bank account, but it’s nice to have a budget listed out. My wife has already bought quite a few gifts which is great as I haven’t had to do anything! I used to be big on gift cards when I used to have to shop for Christmas gifts : ) I don’t know why people don’t like getting them, I personally love them! Also your rent sounds amazing…how I would love to only spend $700/month.

    1. I love getting gift cards too! That is mainly what I give all my nieces or nephews. That or cash. It makes it easier to spend the same amount on each of them. Then they can buy what they want.

  5. I am almost done my shopping because I shop all year round and I just don’t buy a lot. I still have to stocking stuffers but that will be less than $50.

    Food is my biggest expense because when my 2 sons are home for Christmas break the eating never stops. I have almost $70 split between 2 grocery rewards cards and I will use that to finance the eating. I am also watching now for sales on food I can buy now to prepare.

    I hope to keep the extra spending to $300 for December.

  6. Sounds like it’s all good, Holly! Your new town sounds really nice. Funny about the marshmallow mess; we’re lucky in that the kids are old enough now where the mess is kept mostly to their hands – makes bonfires lots more fun. 🙂

    1. My two-year-old got marshmallow everywhere but her mouth! Then she grabbed a pile of leaves and they stuck to her….it freaked her out!
      Lots of tears that day. It definitely sounded like a better idea than it really was!

  7. I started Christmas shopping a few weeks ago. My girls absolutely love to dress up so I found a couple of princess looking trunks as TJ Max and then went and bought the clearance Halloween costumes to fill them up. I also found a bunch of Halloween costumes at Good Will for a few bucks so washed them and put them in the trunks too! I love Xmas shopping.

    1. Sounds like you got a great deal, Alexa! My girls love to dress up too!

  8. I wouldn’t sell your investment strategy as boring. I mean, I guess it is kind of boring, but that makes it sound like it’s bad. And we definitely know that isn’t the case. On another note, I shudder at the thought of giving my son a toasted marshmallow. I just imagine finding little pieces of crusted marshmallow all over everything for months at a time. Too bad, because they’re delicious.

    1. It is a boring investment strategy but I’m not all that interested in researching specific stocks or timing the market, etc. It works for me.

      We ate the marshmallows outside by the fire. There was no way that was coming in my house!

  9. Ben @ The Wealth Gospel says:

    Mmmm sushi bar! Some of those grocery sushi bars are delish! Our budget is still sucky right now because of Christmas and a cross-country trip for Thanksgiving week, but hopefully we can recover next month! We’re still paying down our debt, so that’s really all that matters to me right now.

    1. We bought some the first day. I was so excited! Spicy shrimp rolls. They were really good and even came with a little chunk of wasabi!

      1. Ben @ The Wealth Gospel says:

        Yum! I need to go find me a good sushi place now. Arkansas isn’t really good for anything besides BBQ…

  10. I have to ask – how is the rent for a HOUSE $700? I’m moving to a pretty affordable cost-of-living city after graduation and the one-bedroom apartments in the city start at ~$700, and the 3-bedroom house I live in now in another low COLA goes for $1,700-$1,800/month.

    Before this, I lived somewhere where $700 will get you a bedroom with a shared bathroom. Maybe.

    1. It’s kind’ve a long story.

      We just sold our house to move for my husband’s new job. We are shopping for a new house but didn’t find one in time since our house sold in 13 days!
      In the meantime, my husband’s friend offered to let us stay in his vacant rental home for $700 per month. It’s a friend so he’s giving us a huge discount and letting us stay here without a lease and month-to-month. The house is three bedrooms, two baths and on two partially wooded acres! It’s really nice! I don’t know for sure but my guess is that he could probably rent it for at least $1,200 per month. That’s still not a ton but we do live in a rural part of Indiana.

      We’ll probably only be here for a few months. We’re still house shopping.

  11. I plan on using our cash rewards from our rewards cards for our Christmas this year. Our plan to use them, pay them off each month, and collect the rewards will make a real difference for our usual December budget shock!

  12. Our daughter doesn’t like to eat toasted marshmallows, only to roast them until they catch on fire, then I end up eating them, so yes, out of the bag marshmallows are better for everyone. I think boring retirement funds are by far the smartest way to go.

    As for Christmas, I am sort of a scrooge and only give pictures to our parents, although we sometimes give my inlaws a gift card to Kohls or the grocery store. We only buy for our two nieces and nephews, and will spend up to $30 on each. Jim and I are super unfun. I needed new running shoes, and he needed new skis, so we picked out what we wanted and bought it ourselves. How romantic, right? Kiddo is getting a new bike, and it will probably be more than we spent last year, but she’s ready to trail ride, so we need to get one with gears and such. We’ll get our awesome neighbors something, and that’s about it.

  13. That’s awesome you guys are finally settled in your new rented home and you like the town! I need to start thinking of Christmas shopping too but unlike you I LOVE Christmas shopping. Go figure 😉

  14. It sounds like the fancy Kroger is a good problem to have. I’m sure you’ll be able to make it work…the better produce selection alone makes is a pretty nice option.

    I’m glad the new digs are working out, and congrats on knocking out your retirement goals. 🙂

  15. I know that you guys are paying rent instead of mortgage now, but the amount being below 4 figures was a huge mental relief for us. We could have bought more house, but had a real goal of keeping the mortgage under $1k. Thankfully, we got it down to $930. It’s crazy how different we feel not having a fourth digit on there.

    Congrats on “upgrading” communities and at a cheaper cost (at least for rent…not sushi)

    The Warrior

    1. Ha!

      Unfortunately, houses are slightly more expensive here…not a lot but enough to notice. I still think we’ll find something that is reasonable though.

  16. Love your posts and how open you are? How is your call phone bill only $55? My husband and I have a shared plan with limited texts, minutes, and no data but still costs more than that!

    1. My husband has a cheap plan through Page Plus cellular. It uses the Verizon network but only costs $55 for some reason. My cell phone is still free because I have so many sign-up credits with Republic Wireless.

  17. Great work on the retirement funds Holly! We’re in the same boat in that we have the cash set aside and just need to fund our Roth’s and open SEPs for us. We’re going about it much differently next year though and planning on putting it away each month. 🙂 I just had to laugh at your marshmallow story – we had the same thing happen with Reese’s peanut butter cups the other night from their Halloween stash. I just want to know how something so small can end up becoming SUCH a mess?!

    1. My kids like to rub messy stuff in their hair or some reason!

  18. Ugh to the marshmallow mess!- anytime I do something messy with little kids (like painting with my friend’s 18mo old son) I make ‘poncho’ style smocks by cutting arm and head holes in trashbags (im careful putting it on them 😀 ) so they can have a blast & make a mess, and I can just throw away the bags after without having to say No or dont be messy. Also- have you tried lettig your two year old ‘paint’ with yogurt? Its messy, fun (easy to wash off!) and if some gets eaten its okay 🙂

    1. Never tried it!

      Yogurt paint doesn’t sound like an awful idea though! We would definitely do that outside!

  19. We just had a bonfire the other night and made smores. For some reason, my wife bought the double size marshmallows. They oozed everywhere. Lots of fun though…even in the stickiness, those are times I wouldn’t miss. Can’t believe Christmas is almost here. We start budgeting for that in January, setting aside a bit each month. Makes Christmas shopping much more enjoyable when you have the cash upfront to cover all the gifts.

    1. I agree with that, Brian! I didn’t budget monthly for Christmas this year just because we had so much going on…but I think it’s an excellent idea!

  20. You are doing very well in retirement and keeping your expenses low. My wife has a three paycheck month in November and so we will spare just a little to buy each other gifts.

  21. mmmm roasted marshmallows! Glad you are starting to feel settled. Sounds like your old town was a bit of a food desert. Congrats on contributing to your retirement for the rest of the year!

  22. Hey! You can actually put $5,500 into Roth IRAs this year. So that’s an extra $1,000 between the two of you! 🙂

    I’ve been budgeting for Christmas all year! I still need to start spending it though…

    Is your electric budget lower than it was for your old house? With a smaller house, your electric bill should go down!

    1. I hope the electric bill is going down! I just aimed high this month just in case. If it’s a lot lower, I’ll adjust next month. I would think it would go way down since this house is basically half the size!

  23. Roasted marshmallows are yummy but are a mess! 🙂 It can be a mixed blessing having nice grocery stores nearby. We have the range from Whole Foods to Trader Joes to Costco. I don’t mind paying extra for organic but my local Whole Foods have a huge prepared food section that I have to avoid! I have a Christmas budget, now I just need to get shopping.

    1. Hahaha, I might have to avoid the Sushi section at Kroger! Even my two-year old loves sushi! It’s not cheap!

  24. Glad you are enjoying the new home. So, do you think the 4 of you could live in a home that small permanently? Curious as my wife and I are considering downsizing – our current home is 2600 sq ft and I think we would be happy with 1600-1700

    1. Well, this house is 1,168 sq.ft. and I think it’s probably too small for the long-term. I could see us in a house that was anywhere from 1,600 to 2,000 sq.ft. though!

  25. Wow Holly…sounds like your new life is coming together nicely 🙂

    Glad the house is working out along with the new town. It must feel slightly weird still but as you get back to your normal routines, things will slowly wind down and life will continue like before.

    Congrats again and take care. My best to all.


    1. Thanks Lyle!
      Yep, so far so good! I really like this house…it’s quiet and private!

  26. I completely forgot about paying the last portion of the utility bill after we moved out of our old apartment. The only reason I finally saw it was an e-mail from the leasing office saying they would send it to collections if it wasn’t paid on time. I felt horrible about it and paid it immediately. Afterwards I e-mailed the leasing office and informed them the bill had been paid and thanked them for bringing it to my attention. I hope to never have that close of a call again.

  27. Congrats on the big savings!

    We’re definitely not thinking about Christmas yet… Taking things one day at a time until my husband can find a new job. I’m thinking we might have to dress up a bunch of our homemade jellies and give those to people as gifts, lol.

  28. I have a nice Kroger and a ghetto Kroger pretty close to my house. When I need something quick I go to the ghetto one, otherwise it is all about the nice Kroger.

    As far as Christmas, I am the lame uncle who gives the kids silver dollars (American Silver Eagles). They can hate them all they want, but at least they are slightly cooler than savings bonds.

  29. Your cell phone bill seems low… no smart phones?

  30. I’m really happy to hear that you’re loving your new home. I didn’t think about budgeting for Christmas and I am wondering if I should’ve done it or not… well, we’ll see if the unexpected costs go up this time. Ha. In your case though, it’s still good that those Christmas money come from the rent difference and don’t have to be extra money.

  31. Glad to hear that the move has gone well for you. I haven’t saved up over time for Christmas this year….whoops. So I will be sneaking it into my Nov/Dec budget as well.

  32. I’ve just realized I shouldn’t be bringing my kids while shopping for groceries. I usually spend a lot more than my budget because of them.

  33. It’s great that you recognized you might be tempted to spend more while grocery shopping now. The opposite happened to me – a new store had opened by my parents house so I got used to that, and then we downgraded. When my parents moved, they got a lot of unexpected reimbursements from utility companies, which they were thrilled about. They moved around the 7th of the month.

  34. Your rent is so low! I love it. We get stuff on our dogs all the time. That’s what they get for always being underfoot in the kitchen!

  35. Tara @ Streets Ahead Living says:

    Christmas is such a pain for our budget too. Part of the reason I don’t like going to my husband’s family for Christmas is that there are so many people we have to buy gifts for if we go… I really wish they’d do secret santa or something but that suggestion never gets heard.

    this year we’re buying things for people ahead of time when I see them and so far we’ve already gotten gifts for his parents and sibling and my dad and step mom so we’re trying to get it done over time so it’s less painful.

  36. I can’t believe Christmas is NEXT MONTH! I need to start Christmas shopping because otherwise I will be stuck in a mall in December (torture). Are you still looking for a home to buy? Sounds like you are enjoying your new house – cool that you can have bonfires!

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