December is usually a spendy month due to holiday celebrations, travel, gift giving, and being more social, which usually includes eating out. This year we added extra rent, utilities and moving to our expenses due to Rick and me living in separate cities for the month.
Things turned out pretty well. We had wonderful Christmas celebrations, I wrapped things up at my job, and we’re all moved in to our new place. We were able to pay off a student loan with the highest interest rate this month and threw over $5000 at our debt total. I am constantly amazed at how well we do when we think creatively and stick to a budget.
Here are our Top 10 Thrifty Wins for this month:
1. Saved money on Christmas gifts. A lot of our family was on board with either foregoing the gift exchange altogether or simply getting gifts for the little kids. I made a few presents and shopped deals with Cyber Monday, Ebates and other sales.
2. Skipped birthday gifts. Rick and I both have birthdays in December, and we decided to skip giving gifts to each other this year. Things were pretty hectic, and we decided to plan a January birthday dinner date night instead. (And we’ll use gift cards!)
3. Used coupons for car work. I had to spend a little more on maintenance this month than anticipated, but I found $20 in coupons, and I got a $20 mail-in rebate.
4. I got a new job! I worked at my previous job through the end of the month before joining Rick at our new place, and I was able to nail down a new health coaching job to start mid-January. That was a big weight lifted off my shoulders, and I still get two weeks off to get settled in to our new place. With the PTO payout, I’ll really only have a couple days unpaid in January before I start my new job.
5. Extra income. Moving is a great time to declutter, and we were able to make $20 by taking some of our unwanted stuff to a thrift store. I also received $165 for my time donating plasma.
6. Fairly inexpensive move. Rick visited each weekend in December and took a load of stuff back to the new place with him. We borrowed a truck and took the rest of our furniture down before Christmas, so we only made one extra trip between apartments.
7. Used gift cards for apartment purchases and eating out. Our apartment is very dark, so we purchased a bright new lamp with a birthday gift card. Also, we had just moved in and didn’t have much in the fridge so we thought it was the perfect time to dine out with a restaurant gift card we received.
8. Spent just over half of our eating out/entertainment budget. We budgeted much less than usual for this area in December, and we still only used half of it. I think we had tried to cut back on our spending where ever we could because we figured this would be a pricey month.
9. No spend girls day. My friends and I got together the day after Christmas to chat and do a holiday craft. It was so nice spending time with them, talking about our family Christmases and doing a simple wine bottle craft.
10. Made a $5760.86 loan payment. We were able to make a hefty loan payment which paid off our loan with the highest interest rate. We’ve paid close to $50,000 from when we started in April.
Happy New Year, all! Best wishes for a financially fit 2019!
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