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This year we have been putting aside $75 a month for Christmas expenditures.  We knew we would be traveling over the holiday season, so we were prepared for spending money on things such as gas, food, and hotel expenses.  We figured this amount would be plenty to cover everything that was needed.  I also have an extra $250 coming in December just for additional travel expenses.

I still think it will be, but it is going to be close.  It is amazing how the list of names grows each year.  I try to limit gift amounts to about $20 a person, but I honestly think that is going to be too much for this year.  I may have to lower it to around $10 or $15 a person.  We aren’t even buying for our siblings or extended family members.

Here is the breakdown of how our money is budgeted at this point:

My parents: $75
Hubs parents: $50
Nieces/nephews (8): $160
Friends (6 that I counted so far): $120
Total: $405

If I lower the nieces/nephews to $15 and the friends to $15, that lowers the total down to $335.  I still think that is outrageous for gifts!  The sad thing is that you can’t find much worthwhile for $15 anymore.

I am also aware that random people end up giving gifts, so there always seem to be more gifts to buy than you expected.

After getting everyone else out of the way, that leaves about $100 for our own daughter.  I know this is more than enough, especially since she will be receiving many gifts from family members.  This is the last big Christmas with Hubs’ family, so I am not sure what holidays will look like from here on out.  Aside from the hotel expense (~$215), I think the amount will stay about the same.

 All I know is that I am happy we have been setting aside money every month.  I can’t imagine getting to this time of year and not knowing where money for the holidays is going to come from.

How do you handle expenses during the holiday season?

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Clothing Confessions

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So, I mentioned that I may have spent quite a bit of money on clothes in the past week or so.  I wasn’t kidding.  I think for the number of items I got, I didn’t actually spend that much.  I will see what you think.

The first place I went was a resale store called Ditto.  I had a full stamp card, which entitled me to $20 off. And I sold back two tops for $6.00.  They were also having a sale where you buy one tank top, get one 50% off.  (I think it went for all tops, because 2 of my non-tank top shirts ended up being 50% off as well). I ended up spending $10.31 at this store, and this is what I got:

1 tank top ($4)
1 tank top (Originally $2, but 50% off, so $1)
1 sweater ($12)
3/4 sleeve shirt ($10)
3/4 sleeve shirt (Originally $8, but 50% off, so $4)
1 long-sleeved shirt (Originally $8, but 50% off, so $4)

The total before my $20 for my stamp card and $6 for selling back clothes came to $35.00.  After tax I paid just a little over $10!  Not too bad!

The next store I went to was Plato’s Closet.  This is also a resale store, so prices are pretty low.  My stamp card wasn’t completely full, and there weren’t any really great sales, so I paid “full price” for their items, which ends up being much lower than if I would have bought them new at the mall.  I ended up paying $60.87.  Here is what I got:

1 short dress ($5.00)
1 belt ($6.00)
1 pair of black leggings ($4.00)
1 pair of charcoal grey leggings ($5.00)
1 short dress ($7.00)
1 black maxi skirt ($9.00)
1 striped tank top ($4.00)
1 striped cardigan ($8.00)
1 long sleeved top ($8.00)

Now, if you notice, I have not bought any new pants, which is really what I needed at this point.  The two stores I went into just didn’t have any selection of work trousers.  Because of that I ended up going to a 3rd store: Ross.  This store isn’t a resale store, but they have newer fashions that are marked down from department store prices.  I ended up spending quite a bit of money here, but a chunk of it went to a new pair of tennis shoes for Hubs.  If I take that out of the equation, I ended up spending $67.86 on clothing for myself.  Here is what I got there:

1 top/sweater set ($13.99)
1 dressy sleeveless shirt (Originally $14.99, on sale for $9.99)
1 black and white striped top ($7.99)
1 pair of black trousers (Originally $12.99, on sale for $8.99)
1 pair of black trousers ($12.99)
1 long sleeved blue and grey striped top (Originally $6.99, on sale for $4.99)
1 long sleeved pink top (Originally $4.99, on sale for $3.39)

One thing to note is that almost all of the tops that I bought during my trips can be paired with a number of different pants: trousers, skirts, jeans, etc.  This makes them much more versatile.  I am able to create more than just 1 look from each top.

For a grand total of $139.04 I bought 22 items!  That comes to an average of $6.32 an item.  I think I am ready for fall!  I am already well stocked for winter, so I don’t foresee me buying any new clothes for about a year.  I am hoping to add a line item in our budget for clothing.  I know Hubs is in need of some new items, and come next fall, I would rather have a large sum saved up instead of having to dip into savings.

I do feel guilty about buying myself clothes, but in all honesty most of my fall clothes are ones that I got when I first started teaching (I am starting my 8th year this year).  I have a stack of clothes that I will be donating to Goodwill in order to clean out my closet and really get rid of those items I just don’t wear.  (This is one good thing about Hubs wearing a uniform to work.  We don’t have to worry about buying him new work clothes, too.)

The next big shopping trip I have planned is in September.  I will be going to the consignment sale to get winter items for Miss C.  I don’t think I will spend as much as I have in the past, as I have quite a few 2T items already stocked up in the basement.  I have a lovely friend who has handed down many clothes to us, which makes life much easier (and less expensive).

When was the last time you bought yourself some new clothes?  Do you have to buy clothes for work or do you have a uniform that you wear?

Spendy Saturday

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Today was definitely not a no-spend day, but I expected it.  Saturday is typically my errand day.  I like to get up early and head out before all the weekend crowds.  I highly dislike shopping on the weekends if I can’t get out early.  I also highly dislike shopping after work, as I am usually tired and hungry which does not make for a good combination for shopping.

Here is a break down of all the moolah that was spent today:

$114.05 for groceries.  I was over by $14.05, but had the cash available to cover for it.  I had to buy a few items which are not weekly expenses: vitamins, deodorant, salad dressing, mayonnaise, etc.  Those types of purchases seem to all happen at once and drive up the total quickly.

$27.54 to fill up my car.  I budget $35 for my fill ups, so I was under budget!

$51.33 for dog food and supplements.  Both of our dogs have skin issues, so we buy an Omega 3 supplement to sprinkle on their food.  This is about $20 a bag, but will last over a month or so.  Used cash out of the dogs’ envelope.

An undisclosed amount at Target for a surprise goody box for someone special (someone who reads this blog occasionally, so I don’t want to say how much I spent).  I have had this money held to the side, so I used cash, and it did not affect our budget at all.  I did buy 1 thing for our daughter while we were at Target.  I found a package of 3 baby forks that we use, so I went ahead and got those since we only have 1 fork for her.

So that is all the spending I did today!  I do want to say that I managed to say no to quite a few temptations throughout the day.  I honestly didn’t have any real temptations at the grocery store, so that wasn’t bad.  I did *almost* buy a dog toy for Rose at Petco.  All of their Christmas toys were 75% off, and I found one that I thought she would really like (it had about 9 squeakers in it).  I held it for a little while, but ended up putting it back.

At Target there were so many temptations! They had so much on clearance!  I saw a couple sweaters that were 30% off that I really liked.  I picked one up and almost put it in the cart, but I knew we didn’t have any money for clothing at this point.  There was also a crib sheet that was adorable and on clearance for 30% off.  I decided that little missy already has 3 crib sheets, and she doesn’t need anymore.  Those are the two main ones that I remember, but I know I browsed the shoes, toddler clothes, and some house decor items.  It was so hard, but I stuck to what I needed there!  Yay for me!

I really feel like I am doing well with my resolutions and sticking to the budget.  Besides not cleaning up last night, I think I have been kicking butt!  We still have not eaten out at all (for dinner) since the beginning of the year.  (Hubs had a breakfast out with friends, but that was a social, special occasion.)  The fact that we have not eaten out for dinner for this long is a miracle.  I am not kidding you.  I think the longest we had ever gone before was about 4 days.  We are expanding our food repertoire, and I am learning that I don’t completely loathe cooking as much as I thought.  Tomorrow I am even going to try a homemade pizza dough!  It involves using yeast, which I am scared of, so hopefully it will turn out ok!  If not, we may be having mac and cheese for dinner. 🙂  Wish me luck!

Some good financial news!  I was able to send $300 to our savings account today!  Between the raise from Hubs’ paycheck earlier this month and staying on budget, we now have put a total of $342 this month into savings!  I did not think this was going to be possible at all!  On Wednesday of this week is my payday and on Friday is Hubs’ payday!  I actually make our budget based on less than we typically bring home.  That way I know our paychecks will always be more than we need, and we can always put the extra into savings.  Since we both got raises, we should be able to put another chunk into savings.  Just a little over $100 to go to reach our January goal of $450 into savings!  I think we may actually be able to pull it off!

How are your financial resolutions going?