Actual Spent was $441.78. Success! $7 in coupons usedand did a $60 grocery redemption at Shoppers Drug Mart. This category includes all over the counter medications, personal grooming items, soaps, cleaners and household items for two adults who eat at home 99% of the time.
This was the first month on the new higher grocery budget of $450 - after months of fighting with my lower $425 goal I gave in to the fact that prices have increased so I needed to be realistic to maintain our way of doing things. Fortunately, we have decent income from our Company and my part-time job so we can easily afford this. If anything adverse happened to our income the budget could be dropped to roll with the punches. Although we eat well - things like salmon, shrimp, and steak, they are always bought on sale. This month I managed to stock up on beef as the expensive grocery store nearby kept having steaks reduced by 40%.
Previous 2013 year to date overage $447.58 less this month underage of $8.82 for a total year overage of $438.76.
I need to pull up my frugal britches and try and live within our grocery budget for 2014. The last three months of 2013 were busy, with work, travel, downsizing and packing with my Mom and preparing for Christmas. There were times when I actually went to a more expensive store to avoid crowds(*I get claustrophobic). We don't meal plan as we eat whatever is on sale or left-over but I need to explore bulk buying more and get back on the coupon bandwagon for non-food items. We saved a lot of money stocking up on over the counter medications in Oregon in September and we plan to go to the USA at least once this year to do the same.
Hair Budget $250 per year
One haircut for $19 including tip the first week of December was all that was spent but I did not color my hair this month as am trying to get to a more natural color. $131.32 was all that was spent in all of 2013! This is my biggest budgeting success in 2013. In 2012 I spent $295.99 so I managed to decrease the actual spending by over half from one year to the next! To be perfectly honest I do not know how places get away with charging so much for a haircut or color when you can get a really decent haircut for less than $20 and home coloring kits are easy and inexpensive now. My 2014 annual hair budget is now going to decrease to $175.
Clothing Budget $200 per year
Spent this month? zero. $223.94 spent year to date. I was too busy to even think about it shopping for clothes this month but did receive a fabulously decadent bathrobe as a Christmas present as my old one was way past its toss date. I will need to buy some good travel clothes this year so am increasing the clothing budget to $275 in 2014. The money saved on the hair budget will be going to buy a better wardrobe. As always, I continue to shop used, rarely buying new items. The only new items bought this year were some undergarments and a purse as accessories go into the clothing category as well. If you haven't tried a thrift store for clothing lately, you should. January is a great time to find goodies there as people are cleaning out their closets. I intend to do a closet overhaul this month and will be both dropping off and picking up some new-to-me items at the thrift stores.
Buy No More Christmas Crap Campaign
Several years ago I started a campaign where the goal was never to buy any more Christmas decorations or wrapping paper/decorations new and to save all that money for actual gifts and food. See the guidelines here. In the past we had spent anywhere from $50 to $150 each December on new doodads and wrap. For the first several years of the campaign I had a good stock of existing wrapping paper and each year I recycled and gathered bows, ribbons and boxes from packaging all year long. This year we used most of the larger pieces of paper up. No, the rules were not broken as I purchased all of the items below for a grand total of $1.30:
-some Christmas glass ornaments from Poland to add to my vintage collection - .75 found at a flea market
-unopened Christmas muffin papers found at thrift store - .25 for 50. I usually spend $1 for 100 at the dollar store for plain ones so this was a no-brainer. I make tons of muffins and use these all the time.
-two rolls wrapping paper purchased after Christmas for .30 for both at the thrift store. One is unopened and is 36 square feet. I had no intention of buying wrapping paper this year but this was too good a deal to pass up, as as they were purchased at the thrift store fall within the guidelines of the No More Christmas Crap Campaign rules.
Losing Weight Challenge
I am not really sure what I weighed at the beginning of 2013 as started keeping track to lose some weight at the beginning of summer.
Starting weight June 1, 2013 - 150 lbs. Weight July 1 - 145.6 lbs. August 1 - 144.4 lbs. Sept 1 - 143.0 lbs. Oct 1 - 144 lbs. Nov 1 - 140.8 pounds. Dec 1 - 142.7. Jan 1, 2014 - 140.7 lbs!
I managed to lose 9.3 lbs since June and keep it off! During stressful or holiday times a pound or two crept back on but I managed to get back on track. My number one secret for losing weight was giving up bread. I am not allergic, or gluten intolerant but those calories just go straight to my butt. I still eat bread occasionally when travelling or on holidays but try not to bring it into the house and was actively working out before I started my part-time job in July, but since then have found it hard to find the time as I still work half-time for our company as well. In 2014 I hope to get more physically active to get heart healthy. The goal for 2014 is to try and lose an additional five pounds - goal weight of 135lbs.
Sometimes just keeping track of things like budgets and weight are all that is necessary to keep you on track. How did you do in 2013?