Tag Archives: Budget Recap

How Much We Spent In December With Christmas and Traveling | December Budget Check-In

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It’s time for another budget recap.

Oh my goodness! December is over and I have no idea where the last week of the month went. I had so many plans to get so much done before the New Year and I am still working on that list.  It took me a little longer than usual to get caught up on last month’s final budget recap. Christmas and then New Year really did a number on my routines and totally threw me into a whirl. 

I always do really good when I get to work a few minutes early each day to update our budget and go through our online bank statement to make sure everything has cleared.  When I’m out of the office for a few days then my habit of getting there by 7:30 usually goes right out the window, which means the time I have to update our budget is usually gone.  Now that we’re into the second week of 2018, I’m finally working my habits back into what works best for us.

Alright, enough with the excuses. Let’s get down to business.  Here is this month’s budget recap and check in to our envelope tracking system.  As you probably remember we use the budget spreadsheet I created years ago.  It’s easy to follow and really helps us keep up with how much we’ve spent and how much we have left each month. 

If you’re new to budgeting, then I recommend finding a system that works for you.  It’s okay to have a few trial and errors along the way, and to test our multiple systems to make sure it’s easy for you.  Finding something that’s simple and easy to update will encourage you to stick with it.  At the end of the day we’re striving for progress not perfection when it comes to budgeting.  You have to be willing to forgive yourself (and your partner) of any mistakes that are made and keeping finding new ways to improve your spending habits.  

Recently I shared why we like to review our budget at the beginning of a new year to make sure we’re on track to hit our financial goals.  You can read about how we do that on last month’s Budget Q&A post.

Watch this month’s recap online or down below:

As you can see we had a few bumps in December. We budgeted for Christmas and that worked out great, but with travel and sickness it hurt us a little bit.  That’s okay though, we realized we needed to be a little more prepared for doctor visits and medicines in the upcoming year so we made an adjustment to our 2018 budget.  All we did was average how much we spent on doctor visits, medicines and other medical related bills in 2017 and averaged them out.  We assumed that 2018 would be similar to last year so we’re using that number as a monthly budget goal – we took our average of 2017 and divided by 12 to get a monthly amount.  Now we’re simply setting aside that amount each month to make sure we have a cushion for when the flu bug hits our house again.

We also traveled more than we realized and usually that means eating out.  So our eating out budget shows a little more than average in December.  Again, that’s okay.  We know why and we can then be better prepared when it happens again.  

It’s all about progress not perfection.

Need More Help?

If you’re looking for a great tool to help keep your family on budget, then check out out my budget spreadsheet.  Each month is laid out right in front of you where you can keep track of what you budget and what you actually spend. Now you’ll know in real time how you’re doing each month.

Our November Budget Recap

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On the blog, we’re going to start something new. Each month, I’m going to record a quick video sharing with you a budget recap.

I think it’s important to be real and show you that some months are better than others.  It’s okay no to be perfect all the time, but what we have found what is most important is just making progress towards our goals.

I use this very simple budgeting template to help us keep up with how we’re doing, which is great. I highly recommend to anyone trying to get their budget in check to make sure you actually know two things: how much you want to spend and how much you actually spend.  By creating a starting point with your money then you’ll be able to gauge how you’re doing and what areas you are succeeding in. For instance if you budget $100 in eating out for the month and then you only spent $75 that’s a big win!  On the other hand, if you budget $100 and spent $125 then you know that you need to either work on lower what you spend or up your budget.  

After I create my starting budget at the beginning of each month, I then track my spending using envelopes to help me stay on track.  This technique allows me to only spend a few minutes each week updating our budget template, because I go off our envelopes.  

So I’m going to show you my envelopes for last month and our completed budget spreadsheet, so you can see just how good (or bad) we did. I won’t be afraid to hide our mistakes or mishaps from you. Budgeting isn’t about being perfect, it’s about making progress and working towards your goals.

You can watch November’s budget recap online or below:

How did you do for November? It never hurts to review your budget or your envelopes to make sure you’re on track. We started our budget with knowing what our big financial goals were – paying off student loans, saving up to buy some land and putting more back towards our retirement. By being on the same page when we created our budget, we understand the pressures we put on ourselves to watch our spending.