December Budget Breakdown and Savings Updates

December Budget Breakdown and Savings Updates - picture of checkbook, bills, and cash

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Good morning, thriftaholics.  I honestly cannot believe that it is December already.  Where did this year go?  It seems like I was just plotting out our goals for 2014!  Craziness.

Anyway, I am pretty happy with how our year went both financially and personally.  We did really awesome when it came to creating a zero-sum budget each month, and we were able to stick to our plan the vast majority of the time (aside from at least one epic budget fail). 

We also put a ton of money into retirement and managed to save a bunch in our Health Savings Account (HSA) and our children’s 529 plans as well.  I will definitely be writing a post on where all of our money went this year, so make sure to watch out for that.

December Budget Breakdown

Our budget for December is huuuuuuuuuuuge, but it’s mostly for good reason.  Here are the details….wait for it…..and…..3…..2…..1….

December Budget Details

  • Mortgage: $1,500
  • Groceries: $600
  • Daycare: $600
  • College L: $1,500
  • College V: $1,500
  • Gas/Misc: $200
  • Cell Phones: $70
  • Electric: $150
  • Water: $50
  • Sewer: $40
  • Gas: $20
  • AT&T: $51
  • Gymnastics: $69
  • Life Ins. (H): $73.31
  • Roth IRA: $3,000
  • SEP IRA: $1,000
  • Minnesota: $150
  • Christmas: $150
  • Health Savings Account: $2,000

Total: $12,723.31


Our budget this month does look scary, but at least $9,000 of it is being transferred into various investments.  This isn’t money we made this month, however.  This is money we have been saving up for the entire year.  I am happy to finally be putting it into investments where it can actually help us, instead of sitting idle in a savings account.

Budget and Savings Updates

Some of our budget details are pretty different this month, so let me explain.  Here are a few notable changes and details:

Our mortgage is not $1,500

Since our mortgage is our only debt aside from small loans we have on our rental properties, I want to get rid of it…ASAP.  To accomplish this goal, I simply put a few hundred extra dollars towards the principle of our loan each month to speed up the process.  Many people have also asked me why I never budget for homeowner’s insurance or property taxes.  For the time being, those items are both paid from an escrow account I pay into with each mortgage payment.

Daycare is higher this month

I currently pay $100 per week for daycare for my youngest, and my oldest is in all-day kindergarten.  However, daycare is higher this month because I have to pay for my oldest to attend daycare during her winter break.  Also, my daycare provider is taking a one week vacation in mid-December, which means I had to find another someone else to watch my youngest and pay two separate daycare fees that week.  (Yes, I pay my daycare lady while she is on vacation…she deserves it!)

College savings is up

We are putting a total of $3,000 into our children’s 529 plans this week, and I’m pretty excited about it.  First of all, our state offers a 20 percent tax credit on the first $5,000 we contribute each year, which means that we earn 20% back on our money immediately.  And second, I really want to help my kids pay for college.  They are only 5 and 3 now, but it won’t be long until they are ready.  I have been saving since they were babies!  We will probably top these accounts off later this month, but I wanted to go ahead and plop 3K in there right away.

My kids started gymnastics

My kids did a free gymnastics trial before, but this time I am actually paying!  I get a discount for the months of December and January, but it surges up to full price in February ($125 per month).  We’ll probably do it for a few months then maybe switch to an outside sport once it gets warm outside.

Other savings

I put $4,000 into my Roth IRA and SEP IRA already this month.  I will definitely top my SEP IRA off for 2014 once we do our taxes.  The problem is, it’s hard to estimate how much I can contribute until we start adding all of our numbers up.  Last year, I contributed slightly more than I should have and we almost paid a penalty for it.  Greg made me contribute more conservatively this year so that wouldn’t happen again.  We also put $2,000 into our HSA this month.  We don’t really need this money now, but I want to let it grow as much as I can.  In case anyone is wondering, we have our HSA with Health Savings Administrators.  They have the lowest fees out there and you can invest your HSA dollars directly into your favorite Vanguard funds.

Speaking of health savings, we did not have to pay for health insurance this month. We begin our new health sharing ministry on January 1st, and I have our first premium set up on auto-pay that day.  I didn’t necessarily *try* to skip out on a month’s premiums, but it doesn’t break my heart either.  And since I paid December’s premiums in November, it just happened.

Frugal Trip to Minnesota

We’re heading to Minnesota next weekend to celebrate the holidays with Greg’s family.  I paid with our flights with Southwest Rapid Rewards points and we are spending one night in a hotel with a free Marriott night we earned.  The $150 I budgeted is for our rental car and any incidentals that come up.

Wrapping Things Up for the New Year

I am happy to report that I have all of my Christmas shopping done aside from putting a $20 bill into an envelope for each of my nieces and nephews.  Whew.  Glad that’s over with.  Now I’m mostly on auto-pilot until the holidays….and I cannot wait.  I don’t like the consumerism of Christmas, but I do love seeing my kid’s eyes light up when they realize that Santa was here.  They’re only young once, and I plan to enjoy these moments as long as I can……even if it means buying them a few toys they don’t really need.

Hey, I’m a cheap-ass santa, but I’m not so cheap that I would deprive my kids of Christmas altogether.  This year, I simply tried to buy them things I knew they would love or would use frequently.  Sue me.

How does your budget look for December?  Did you meet your financial goals this year?

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  1. My budget since Janury till now had a lot of adjustments (also because I changed and handled jobs with differents salary)but finally seems that is working I am glad I am achieving at least one of my personal financial goal, for the other needs a little bit more time but this is a constantly work in progress!!!

  2. I love months when the biggest part of our budget is investments! So jealous of your HSA. We don’t qualify for one because the deductible on hubby’s employer-sponsored health plan isn’t high enough. His employer doesn’t offer any insurance plans that are HSA-eligible. I hope they change that soon, but I’m not holding my breath.

    1. We don’t qualify for one starting January 1st because we are joining the healthcare sharing ministry- that’s part of the reason we contributed the max this year. It’s our last chance.

  3. That’s awesome you got a free gymnastics trial for the kids–nice to be able to see if they actually enjoy it before shelling out cash. I’m impressed/jealous that you’re done with your Christmas shopping… we’re done with the gifts for Mr. FW’s family, but we don’t celebrate with my family until January, so I have a bit of breathing room.

    1. They love gymnastics. I’m not thrilled about paying $125 for it in a few months, but that’s just the price of having kids and putting them in activities. I did price shop. A few of the gymnastics places around here were a lot more expensive.

  4. You guys have done so many trips. I know you’ve covered them all, but I think it would be cool to see a wrap up of all the places traveled and total money spent. It’s inspiring stuff.

  5. You are killing it with the investments. Do these budget details encompass the entirety of your zero-sum budget, or do I need to do that calculation on my own? 🙂

    1. That is pretty much it. Since I’m self-employed. I “pay myself” whatever we need to cover our monthly expenses- minus whatever my husband is going to make that month. His income fluctuates (he’s hourly), but I’m pretty good at estimating his pay within $20 or so.

  6. Kicking the end of year saving into the butt! Nicely done. Any idea where I can get one of the sweaters in the photo? 🙂 Yeah we hit our goal of becoming debt free this year!

    1. My friend posted it- she saw it in a store in Canada!

  7. Nice work as usual Holly! December, and the rest of the year seems to be wrapping up nice for us. We just topped off the HSA last month and will be waiting til year end so we can know what’s needed to top off our respective SEPs. I’ve failed miserably this year with regards to opening 529’s, though we have put money away so I better get moving so I can get the tax benefit before year end. 🙂

    1. You better get on it! Our state’s tax credit had me motivated to do it when they were babies. Obviously your state probably has something entirely different.

  8. You guys are doing really well on your IRA/SEPs and college savings. Your girls will thank you in about 20 years that you were so successful with their college fund, and that they won’t have to support you in your old age. 😉

    1. Thank you, Kathy!

      I hope you’re right. Sometimes I wish I spent all of our money on tropical vacations but I try to do the right thing most of the time! =)

  9. That is so awesome that you are putting so much away for your children’s education. Some day I plan on owning rental properties myself. When I purchase another home I plan on paying off the mortgage as early as possible too. I hoping to start making some money with my blog to put towards that. Great read.

  10. I’m expecting my December spending to be the lowest this year, around $2,000 for the month. I’m pretty curious to see how it ends up going! I didn’t quite meet my financial goals this year – I have been keeping a lot more than normal in cash, so the mortgage balance is much higher than I wanted it to be at this point. I’m okay with that though.

    1. I think you are doing great! I hope you pay your mortgage off next year, like you plan to =)

  11. Awesome at how much you save! That’s nice you pay the daycare lady extra too! I did not meet my financial goals this year. Kind of a tough year. Enjoy your December now that you are done shopping! And have fun on your trip!

    1. She deserves paid vacation- hell, someone should. Lord knows I don’t get paid vacation. She gets 10 paid days off per year. It works out fine for me because one of my friends from school lives in our neighborhood and watches kids part-time. She is going to watch my youngest that week and make a little extra $ for Christmas.

  12. Have fun on your trip! Our surplus is going towards travel next year!

    1. Nice. Where are you going?
      So far, we’ve got these planned:
      St. Maarten
      Las Vegas/San Diego

      I want to do something international in the late summer or fall.

      1. We are going to Rome for Christmas , Morocco in Feb, Dubai or S.Africa ( hopefully both:-) and London so far..

  13. Ha! I am a cheap ass Santa too, but there is something really magical (and worth the investment) of seeing your child on Christmas morning when they realize Santa has been there. Although this year my son is in the know about Santa and he keeps saying “quote quote Santa” when he refers to Santa now.

    1. I agree- I love seeing the holidays through my children’s eyes!

  14. Seriously??? Sending your daughter to day care on the one week she gets off of school? You take enough vacations….take some time to spend with your kids!

    1. Yes, I know. I’m a terrible parent for working 60 hours a week. So selfish of me working to put $3,000 into my kid’s college savings this month. BTW, maybe you missed the part that we’re taking a trip with the kids this month?

  15. I first I thought I read your budget total wrong because I know that you and Greg are big spenders but I didn’t realize that you lived that large. LOL! It’s a very different number when you realize that so much went to investments, which has to feel great! And I love seeing Lauren and Taylor’s eyes light up on Christmas morning too. 🙂

    1. Oh yeah, we’re living large over here!

      Nope, just some year end money moving. That’s all. =)

  16. I’m with bkzk, take a week off over Christmas!? Good grief. And paying daycare twice…super nice of you to do so, but not exactly thrifty. And your last post about going over $600 because you needed new tires (definitely what an emergency savings account is for!) was ridiculous. Sorry, didn’t feel the least bit sorry for you about that. I usually love your blog posts, but you are becoming extremely unrelateable to those of us who actually have to budget a normal middle-class income…I’m super happy you’re so well off, but seriously, all you write about now are #richpeopleprobs.

    1. Hi Tina,

      When I take a week off work, I don’t get paid. I can do it several times a year, but I cannot do it every time I wish. At this point, I’m taking off Christmas Eve, Christmas, and New Year’s Day. Sorry if that’s not enough for you.

      And, do you have kids in daycare? Most daycares are closed a certain number of days per year and expect payment during that time. My daycare provider requires ten paid vacation days in her contract. I am happy to pay her for vacation. Is it thrifty? No, but it’s fair.

      And I’m not sure what you’re talking about with the tires. Don’t feel sorry for me if you don’t want to- who cares? I was simply sharing my budget woes with the world. I can’t win every heart and mind in the world, and I am certainly not going to be someone other than my true self to win yours.

      And here’s a thing you might want to consider. When I started working with my husband years ago, I made a total of $9 an hour. It was only after six years of working in that job that I finally started earning a real living and it was only after working 70-80 hours per week on my blog and side hustles that I was anywhere close to what anyone would call “rich.” I have scraped and clawed for everything I have.

      1. Yes, I have two kids in daycare. It’s a center. They’re closed for an entire week and a half between Christmas and New Years. And no, I do not pay for those days they’re closed and my kids are not there, nor am I paying for another daycare provider during that time. Glory Hallelujah! Cheaper daycare bill this month!! And I guess there is one bit of silver lining to working for the man…PTO, which I’ll be taking to cover the lack of daycare. If your daycare provider’s contract REQUIRES you to pay her, that’s one thing, but saying you’re doing it cause you’re so rich and generous and can…well, while that’s so incredibly nice, and there is nothing wrong with that, I still stand by opinion that it is in no way “thrifty.”

        And I really mean it when I say it’s great you’re doing so well!! Seriously, good for you! You definitely earned it, no one’s debating that! But as a blog titled “Club Thifty,” you are becoming completely unrelateable to those of us who actually have to BE thrifty. I can’t even imagine having the luxury of putting $9,000 into investments in one month!? I can’t even imagine having the luxury of putting half that into investments in one month!?

        So consider those bits of insight or leave it…and I’ll do the same with your blog.

        1. My daycare provider does require ten paid days- plus I think 6 or 7 holidays. Her rates are extremely fair so I do not mind paying her for those extra days so that she has a stable income she can count on. I never said “I’m so rich and generous that I can.” I just said that I did pay her, and that I think she deserves it.

          And yes, no PTO here. None. That is one of the worst parts about being self-employed.

          And yeah, feel free to leave it. But here’s the thing- when we started “Club Thrifty,” we were in debt and struggling to get ahead. But all of the things we talk about- debt payoff, saving, frugality, cutting cable, driving older cars- really do work. So in the course of a few years, we have gone from being tens of thousands of dollars in debt and working 9-5 jobs to being debt-free, earning more, and being able to save more.

          If you re-read my post, you will see that the 9K we put into investments this month are because of money we saved all year too. It’s end of the year stuff- we’re merely topping off accounts with money we worked hard to save.

          But hey, feel free to dismiss me as someone who has no idea. But you might want to consider the fact that all of the things we did to get ahead really work, and that they can work for you too. It’s true that I can no longer write posts about how to save $1.00 on shampoo, but that doesn’t mean I’m clueless either.

          1. We’re debt-free, drive older cars, travel for free with points, coupon, save, etc…all that same frugal stuff you do. But our income definitely differs from yours, and probably always will. But we still make more than the average Joe, and I’m perfectly fine with where we’re at…I’d rather be doing what I love and loving the life I live, than killing myself or my husband by making either of us work two jobs (or the equivalent). And that means we choose to be thrifty. Like I said, I really do love and have found value in most of your blogs, but this week you’ve moved well beyond me. You’ve made it, done it, arrived! Enjoy it!? Admit it!?

            And PS…you just put $9,000 in investments, and can’t afford a week off over Christmas because you work for yourself and won’t make any money that ONE week? (insert eyeroll) Whatever works for you and your family, girl, but that is exactly what I’m talking about…#richpeopleprobs.

          2. Just more judgment coming from a person who is supposedly “happy for me.” Why am I not surprised?

            Yes, I can afford to take a week off over Christmas. But I’m not going to. Why? Because I don’t want to. Get over it.

          3. Finally an honest answer! Claiming that you “HAVE” to work because you need the money (which you implied in your blog), and just admitting that you WANT to work because you want to, are two very different things. I can absolutely respect you “wanting” to work. But with what you make, I absolutely didn’t respect or believe your claim that you “have” to work (thus the eyeroll). Just be honest with us!? I guess that’s the point I’m trying to get at.

          4. Tina, roll your eyes all you want.

            I don’t think you understand how self-employment works. I have a ton of deadlines, and many of them are not dictated by me. Many of my clients want work done by X date and it is not negotiable. If I take a week off, that means I spend the following week working like a madwoman to keep up. So yes, I *could* take Christmas week off. But no, I’m not going to. I’m taking Thurs and Fri off and you’re just going to have to live with that. I’m sorry if you cannot accept that answer. When you have a regular job, you just schedule time off and stay home. When you’re self-employed, it just not nearly as easy.

          5. Good grief, i just said i can respect you wanting to work!? Go for it! Are you always such a bitch to faithful readers who offer a little constructive criticism!?

          6. Tina, I think you should re-read your comments and mine. You didn’t just say you respect my willingness to work, you implied that all of my answers are dishonest and are being extremely critical in general.
            Your basic criticism of me (from what I can tell) is that I am earning more now and you can’t relate to my budget. I totally get that- I do. We are miles away from where we started. If you can’t relate to it, I guess…don’t read it? I get plenty of criticism- here and elsewhere on the web. You can’t please everyone. I’m not saying that to be bitchy at all- it’s just true. Writing online requires a really thick skin, but it does not require me to let people yell at me and imply that I am a liar and that I don’t want to spend time with my children.

          7. I’ve read and re-read this thread a few times. I have conceded to you multiple times and given you multiple compliments and credits (you earned where you’re at, I respect you working over your break, I like your blog, if it’s in your daycare contract to pay vacation then of course you pay it, etc), and you have been nothing but defensive and rude to me in return. But the two things that were really annoying me were certainly clarified for me in the process:

            Blog Claim: You’re paying your daycare worker vacation days because she deserves it. (aka, I’m generous. And I’m not the only reader who interpreted it that way…you have loads of commenters impressed by your generosity.)
            Honest answer: You’re paying your daycare provider vacation days because it’s in her contract and you have no choice. Why didn’t you include that vital bit of info in your blog post?

            Blog Claim: You’re working over Christmas because you can’t afford not to (money wise).
            Honest answer: You’re working over Christmas because you want to and don’t want to get behind in your work. I repeat, that is totally respectable! But you’re not working over Christmas because your poor and can’t pay your bills, like your blog writing always implies.

            Can you even see the difference between these scenarios and how one like myself might be slightly annoyed by the differences?

            I never said or implied you didn’t want to spend time with you kids. I’m sure your a great mom with perfectly happy kids. Do not turn this into a mommy wars thing. Leave your kids out of it. I have! 🙂

            My questions and criticisms were only trying to clarify your motives for doing what you do…were they really tied to money and making ends meet (working over Christmas), or goodwill (paying you daycare provider), as the blog implies?? Or not? I had an annoying hunch they weren’t. Turns out, I was right.

            And who’s yelling? I’ve been quite conservative with my exclamation points, even throwing in a few smiley’s now and then. 🙂

            Maybe in the future you could just reply with this to those who aren’t full-on kissing your ass:
            “Thank you so much for your feedback. I’ll take your feedback into consideration in order to make my blog bigger and better, which in turn will make me filthy rich!!” 🙂

          8. Tina,

            No criticism, but I think you’re just overthinking it. When I said I paid my daycare lady, I didn’t spend five minutes analyzing how to word it. And I never said I couldn’t afford not to work- that is a pure fabrication. I may not be able to “afford” to take the time off deadline-wise, but there is not a money issue here. I am obviously not pretending that we have a money issue. You are simply nit-picking and twisting my words into something they were not meant to be. I don’t mind people asking questions, but every one of your comments has been snarky at best, rude at worst. Sorry, but the smiley faces don’t make up for the *eye rolls.* You’re being intentionally rude and accusatory and you know it.

            Then again, I’m not offended by anything you have written. Trust me, I get lots of rude comments and plenty of personal hate mail. It’s not the end of the world. If it makes you feel better to pick everything I do and say apart in order to assert some type of superiority, feel free. I’m just a mom who puts herself out there and occasionally gets beat up for it. I’ll just keep on keepin’ on.

          9. You’re right, when I get down to the annoying nuances in your blog, they are, indeed, very nit-picky. Sorry about that. And I can definitely be snarky. Sorry about that too. But for someone who spends two minutes every few days perusing your writing and ideas, and from someone who used to really enjoy reading your blog, I just cannot relate to you anymore. That’s all. It may be me, BUT it may be you, too. Just thought I’d put that out there in case you cared what your readers think. But you clearly don’t. And you clearly don’t appreciate anything but glowing feedback. Now i know. 🙂 Keep on, keepin’ on! The other financial bloggers have your back and can keep your commenting section afloat from here on out! 😉

          10. I also cannot find where she wrote that she had to work Christmas week because she needed the money. Read the entire post and the comments and can’t find anything.

          11. I had commented on this earlier, but the airport wifi ate my comment…

            From a $$ standpoint, it makes sense to take your vacations when it isn’t a holiday season. It’s great that Holly has that ability. We’re driving instead of flying to visit our family because it’s so expensive to fly over the holidays and we don’t have that kind of flexibility.

            At my center daycares I have always had to pay a full month of daycare in December even though there’s a week off. I can’t imagine not doing that.

            There are plenty of blogs about people who are still in debt to read if one isn’t interested in upper middle class concerns.

    2. Wow, jealous much. I can’t believe these comments.

      1. Angie, to your question in the thread above, in her first reply to me in our correspondence she said she doesn’t get paid if she doesn’t work, and she can’t just take a week of any time she wishes. Her reply of “not getting paid” being her first response and motivation for working over Christmas clearly equates to “her needing the money.” She later admitted that’s not the case, which was my entire point. But that’s where the discussion stemmed from.

        And Holly, I do NOT care if you work over Christmas break. Never did, still don’t. But I do feel quite a bit villianized by you. Be nice to readers and commenters and they’ll be nice to you.

        1. Then why did you start the entire thread with:

          “I’m with bkzk, take a week off over Christmas!? Good grief.” And that person (who sends me hate mail all the time BTW) had just brought my children into it by claiming that I wasn’t spending enough time with them. If you hadn’t started your comment that way, the conversation would have been entirely different.

          But that’s beside the point. I definitely do not try to villanize people- very sorry if you feel that way. I felt as if I needed to defend myself. It’s a lot easier for me to ignore a negative comment when it doesn’t have anything to do with my kids. And I don’t get the negativity about my income at all. I’ve gotten a lot of that lately. I started posting my income because I was trying to post some inspiration for people who want to earn a living online, but I’m starting to think that it is no longer a good idea. Not because of you at all- just a general thing. It seems to rub people the wrong way when you start earning more- just a general observation I am making.

          Anyway, try not to take it personally. I probably misread some of your comments or took them the wrong way because I just get really pissed off when people who don’t know me imply that I’m not a present or good parent. You would be surprised how many emails I get about taking kid-free vacations, etc. Sometimes it can be hard to differentiate between the “real people” who are trying to have a conversation and people who are just trolling. My apologies. I really am a nice person. I write in a very straight-forward manner that can be interpreted as conversational, but I don’t really mean to be.

          1. Thanks for your reply. I had no idea you had beef with bzk. Sorry to hear that. But I am a real person and not just a troll. 🙂 And I’m a little relieved I’m not the only one who’s not been loving your budget updates. You’ve been generous in sharing that with the world, but I’ve often wondered why you still do. I don’t know what it is either (very likely jealousy…who wouldn’t want your budget!? :)) but seeing what someone makes, and knowing it excludes her husband’s income (right? didn’t I read that somewhere?), and then reading about how she refuses to pay electricity on a strand of outside Christmas lights, or has such a small travel budget, etc, just feels a little insincere. Not that you shouldn’t still be a cheap ass…you should! That’s how the rich stay rich! But it definitely feels strange and unsettling. And I have no idea how you should navigate this on your blog, but it is something you might want to take into consideration when writing. But do what feels right to you, I’ll likely still read it. I’m a friend, not foe! 🙂 All the best to you!

  17. I’m redoing my budget in January since I need to make some adjustments due to changing life circumstances. I’m hoping to make a fatter budget due to lots of savings category.

    Have fun on your trip!

  18. I don’t feel bad about buying Santa presents because we don’t really buy toys except for Christmas and birthdays. The best present for me is maxing out all the accounts we can so I am excited to see others do the same.

    1. I don’t feel that bad either. We buy almost nothing throughout the year. I do need to get rid of some old toys- though. Just stuff my kids have outgrown. It’s on the list!

  19. Yay for gymnastics 🙂 I’m sure they are loving it!
    Our December is pretty low key because we are also 90% done with Christmas shopping. Although we do have a lot of entertaining coming up this month so our food bills will be slightly higher.

    1. They do love gymnastics. I don’t know if it will go anywhere, but they both love the class and think it is fun. Totally worth the money, IMO, to get them involved in something physical that they enjoy.

  20. Our budget looks a little tighter this year. We had some surprise weddings and babies this year so our gift budget is a little tighter.

  21. Great post! I’m glad to read your article about your December Budget Breakdown and Savings Updates. It really helps me a lot to get some tips and ideas here. Thanks for sharing it with us.

  22. Holly: While I cannot directly relate to everything in your blog entries, I do appreciate the frequency of your posts…and find something worth pondering or maybe actionable once in while. (The earlier comment exchange makes me hesitate in starting my own blog.)

    1. Thank you.
      Don’t let other people stop you from starting a blog, though. If you really want to do it, go for it! You’ll get both valid criticisms that make you think and crazy criticisms that make no sense. It’s all just part of it.

      I personally like all comments, good or bad. Even the bad ones make me reevaluate things. The former comment in question seems like just a criticism of how much money I am making and how I choose to use my vacation, which is something I am obviously not going to change. =)

      Also keep in mind that some people do not get the same kind of comments I do from time to time. You’re probably more likeable than me- that really helps! I get a lot of negative and a lot of positive- almost nothing in between. Equal parts fan mail and hate mail.

      I appreciate your comments. If you start a blog, let me know so I can check it out. The best thing (I think) about starting a blog is that it is so cheap to do. You can get started for less than $100. If you don’t like it, no harm done.

  23. Taking a week off work just because you “made enough money this month” is not what gets you ahead. Some people clearly do not understand the work ethic it takes to be self-employed and/or earn six figures.

  24. Nice job on moving money around and getting to those investments! It’s awesome you got to trial it out before committing. There’s definitely nothing wrong with buying loved ones things you’ll think they’ll love or use often. I’m buying my parents practical things they need and I always love seeing their reactions. Our December budget is okay – we’re finally putting a larger amount toward our student loans to knock one out, which will be nice!

  25. Love seeing the 529 Plan contributions! It’s been a few months since we have added anything new to our kids plans. I’m going to make that a goal of ours for 2015.

  26. Holly, I completely agree that days just nowadays pass so that we can finally celebrate Christmas. I am impressed that overall you’ve achieved your goals. I believe you have completely put up more savings to your HSA and 529 plans. I should congratulate you for a saving well done!

  27. Wow, I’m so tired from reading that exchange. I feel like I just ran around the block 7 times. I think I need a nap! 😛

    Love these updates, Holly! Hope you keep ’em coming! 🙂

    1. Glad you stuck with it- now that’s dedication!

  28. My budget for December looks…okay. I have to pay for a root canal ( boo) but I got to have my annual girls trip which I only ended up paying less than $150 for, food and gas included. I also get to go see my boyfriend for two weeks and I am hoping to spend no more than what is necessary since I am moving into my new apartment in February. We plan on going into NYC for two (he lives in NJ) but then no more fun unless it includes Netflix and homemade meals. I am cheap, so sue me!

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