Slowly Sipping Coffee

November 2016: Our Money Went Where?

November, the month of high spending, at least around this household. I realized mid-month that last year we also had a big overage in November due to an errant $1200 grocery bill that month $350 of it was a wine/liquor restock that got moved to “shopping/misc” lol). This month looks like a similar high spending month, though not due to groceries. My thoughts for this recurring phenomenon are two-fold. First, I think we do a pretty good job of staying on track most of the year, so we’re bound to have some “off” months. Secondly, I think November is the month that we let down our guard because we’ve been doing so well relatively speaking from the rest of the year.

Like me and Calculus – as long as I diligently did the 2-3 hrs of home work every week, I could get A’s on the tests. As soon as I stopped doing homework because I thought, “I’ve got this, I don’t need to do the homework”, I get D’s on the tests. I only got A’s because I was mindful and worked hard at it, and staying on track with our spending requires a similar effort. I think this is why so many people find tracking spending or trying to stick to budgets so discouraging. You can’t be perfect all the time. Except, I’m okay with that, just not every month, lol.  Without further ado, here’s how our November spending broke down.

Positives: Where we did well

Let’s concentrate on the positives and good sides of the spending first.  Hmmm, positives, where are the positives?? Utilities are lower because we haven’t had to run the heat yet, and have only turned on the AC a couple of times to “de-humidify” the house. Yeah! Maids haven’t gone up, and the house needed relatively little upkeep. The auto’s are back to normal/lower spending, and while the internet looks higher, it really isn’t. We found out that our new provider didn’t enact my online enrollment for auto bill pay. Whoops, so we paid twice in October to catch it up and actually enrolled in auto bill pay. Except that when they set it up, they put the “pay now date” a week and a half after our bill was due. Hahahaha, Laughable really, but it wasn’t funny when I got another late notice. We weren’t charged late fees and I got it scheduled to come out a week BEFORE the bill is due now, but such is life.

Not too bad, not too good...

Not too bad, not too good…

Negatives: Where we sucked

Maybe suck is a bad phrasing, but the one category that sucked thru our own doing was groceries. We were a bit over due to hosting guests, and Thanksgiving and just being a bit lax. I think maybe $100 of that could be due to just ice cream, but ‘tis the season.

I know, I hear you saying, “But your shopping is also high, and gifts, what gives there”?

Well, we replaced our 9 yr old mattress and frame because we upsized our bed to a King. We moved our bed and frame to the guest room and we put our new bed in our room. Then, we moved our guest bed to our youngest’s room – yeah for her sleeping in a “big girl” bed now. Currently, I’m loving it, as this is the first time in years I can sleep in whatever position and not wake up with my left shoulder killing me. I’ve separated the AC joint severely twice, broken that collarbone twice, and ripped the ligaments and what not that hold that collarbone to my shoulder once, so it’s a bit crunchy and sensitive. Yeah new bed!

Also, we decided we weren’t spending the $4k it would cost if we replaced our current Tempurpedic with another Tempurpedic. So, I found a cool website called mattress underground that is the mattress equivalent of the boglehead forum. Seriously, these guys nerd out on some mattresses. BUT, it led us to the company we went with, Dream Foam Bedding (no affiliate links, just informational). Mainly because they got good reviews for foam quality and customer service at Mattress Underground, 4.5 stars with over 1700 reviews on Amazon and are the only company we found that offered a full refund, 90 day sleep trial, and return of a foam mattress from an online retailer. With their 10% off sale, free shipping, and no tax, we got it under $700 and figured it would be worth the gamble. We’ll keep you updated if it isn’t.

Other areas that were high were medical. I partially tore my Achilles Tendon, nothing crazy, just carrying my daughter up the stairs – yeah for being almost 40 yrs old. Besides it costing me missing out on a half marathon, it also cost $126 in dr. visits and physical therapy copays. Fortunately, we already had a walking boot, so no cost there. I’m sure we’ll have some more bills for it next month, but such is life. It wasn’t a full tear though, so yeah for little wins!

So stylish!

So stylish!

Now, for shopping, gifts and fun. Most of this was the bed from before and the rest is due to Christmas. We did 3 different Angel Trees between church and daycare, and we also have some Toys for Tots donations for my work. Plus, we added in $100/ month tithe to our church and not sure where to ultimately stick that, but for now, it’s in one of those categories.

Pets. Our 16 yr old dog, Quinn is having some issues that led to us awakening to a Shit-pocalypse in our house one morning. Thank the Lord for all tile downstairs, whew…. That led to a vet visit when her tummy didn’t return to normal after a few days. Which led to loads of blood work, a shot, and a couple of prescriptions that ran about $400. A follow-up a week later due to other issues led to another shot, more blood work, and another $150. Good news is, the medicine is helping her liver issues, bad news is, she’s still 16, since they haven’t found a doggy youth serum yet.

Such a sweetie!

Such a sweetie!

Finally, Travel. We started putting down deposits for our 2 week Flathead Valley, and Couer D’Alene trip next summer and places have now been reserved. When that trip comes up, it’ll mostly be paid for already.

It's fun comapring last November to this November

It’s fun comparing last November to this November – what big changes!

Wrap-up and FFLC projections

Nothing groundbreaking to update here. Loving the post-election bounce, which puts us at 76% of the way to our “No worries” FI goal. That’s the “we wouldn’t have to work again” number – of course presuming other things work out like healthcare… Since we’ll most likely be doing something for income, there is most likely some wiggle room there. Assuming 4% growth over the next 2 years, we could hit that number around November 2018. That’s gotten pushed back a few months due to the slowdown in our savings with Mrs. SSC taking her teaching job, but what’s a few months in the scheme of things? I think if I had to work until November 2018, I’d stick around for April 2019 bonus, and at that point, count down the days until July’s summer vesting of RSU’s and other incentives. Extra padding is always a good thing, unless it’s around your middle, lol.

That’s it for our ridiculously long November wrap-up. Hope your November spending stayed on course, or at least closer to your course than ours did.

40 thoughts on “November 2016: Our Money Went Where?

  1. Ellie @ The Chedda

    Enjoy your king bed! That’s one upgrade we’ve been mulling over for a while and I won’t feel guilty if/when we eventually get one. And it’s good to hear you didn’t hurt your Achilles too badly! Get well soon!

    Our spending was pretty usual this November. When I was working on my post about it, I realized that our grocery spending was suuuuuper low. We made a giant soup batch from pantry supplies and took home some Thanksgiving leftovers (mmmmm) :)

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Congrats on the low grocery spending this month!

      Our main reason for going King was that I had been sleeping upstairs in the guest room. Our master is downstairs. This was easier for me to get to the kids at night when they would wake up, since I was steps away, not the length of the house and a whole floor away. Plus, Mrs. SSC loves invading my side of the bed, so I’d be left with a foot or so to sleep on, lol. The king has worked great to remedy the space issue, and the kids are rarely waking up anymore so a few trips up the stairs a week is more doable than before. No regrets at all. :)

  2. Mrs. Picky Pincher

    I love the way you’ve described the inadvertent spendy-ness of this month, because that’s exactly what happened to us as well–to the tune of $500 in our “Other” category! Ugh. We’re starting our student loan payoff next month, so I think we panicked and wanted to treat ourselves a little more, knowing what’s coming. That’s still not a good financial strategy, but oh well, I guess these things happen. All you can do is be more alert and be better going forward. :)

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Exactly, noone’s perfect, and at least you caught it at only a month right? :) Now just be more mindful and prioritize the good spending over the “treat yo’ self” type of spending, lol. Seriously, the balance in debt payoff and comfort is key, otherwise you’ll just fail at both. We learned that the hard way while paying off my student loans and credit cards. When we’d get too strict paying them off, it discouraged us from keeping at it as diligently, but when we found the right balance for us, it didn’t feel bad at all.

      Good luck finding that balance!

  3. Mrs. COD

    Poor little fur baby! It’s so hard watching them age…hope you’ll have more good years with the pup! I like your point about balance; we all are more vigilant about the budget some months than others. The positive is when you’re aware of spending each month, you can more easily adjust and scale back to recover from spendier months!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Yeah same here. Her sister went fairly suddenly after getting bladder cancer 1.5 yrs ago, it’s tough.

      I think balance is key with spending because otherwise, you just reject it or see it as a negative when it’s really the best positive you could strive for.

      Like you said, when you’re aware of your spending you can adjust it way easier when you do slip up. :)

  4. Maggie @ Northern Expenditure

    Sorry about the partial tear! Lame! And that poor sweet doggie face! (Also, congrats on EVER getting an A in Calculus! I was tutoring Algebra and Geometry while I was flunking out of Calculus. I worked my little self to the bone to earn a C and the teacher felt bad ruining my GPA, so he rounded it to a B-.)

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Thanks, no one was shocked more than me when I got an A on my first test, and subsequent tests. I’m not good at math, as I usually switch numbers up somewhere during the problem. Fortunately, my teacher gave credit for using the correct process and only took off a little for not getting the exact answer, lol. Whew! Not so the second semester of Calculus. Ugh, that was a really hard semester.

      That’s cool your teacher rounded up for you. :)

  5. Mrs. BITA

    First things first. ” I’ve separated the AC joint severely twice, broken that collarbone twice, and ripped the ligaments and what not that hold that collarbone to my shoulder once” What? There have to be some stories there. Spill the beans Mr. SSC.

    Sorry about your foot, hope it heals soon.

    Yay for the new King Size bed. Mr. BITA would be so jealous, he has been jonesing for one for a while now. I definitely want to follow the fortunes of your new mattress. That is a very good deal.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Well… The first AC separation was due to my shoulder meeting the sharp bottom of a metal step on a pool ladder. It was during diving practice and 2 weeks before regionals. Needless to say, I just watched from the sides that year. Boo…
      The first collarbone break was in 6th grade going over the handlebars of my bike and face planting into a ditch. It was a green tree break that I unfortunately set myself as I was leaning back into the front seat of my moms car when I was sitting down. I passed out right after it went POP! hahahaha….
      The second collarbone break was going over the handlebars of my mountain bike in Colorado. Who doesn’t mtn bike anymore – this guy! lol It was a clean break but took 2.5 weeks before the bones came together and ultimately grew back a little wonky. I wish now I’d just ahd a plate put in, but alas…
      The second AC separation was a snowboard accident.
      The same with the ligament tear – another snowboard faceplant. Flat light, tired legs, caught an edge, and wham! :) I still snowboard though. On the rare chance I get out of Houston…

      I’ll let you know about the mattress because it was a great deal.

        1. Mr SSC Post author

          Hey, I’m glad people actually read replies to the comments! :) It has been an interesting life, and for some reason, that left side of me seems to take the brunt of it. Go figure.

  6. ChrisCD

    So sorry for the “pup”. Hope recover goes well. Our grocery bill has been shot mainly because the family shrunk and we are all over the place so often eating out. Working on that..

    6 or 7 years ago I tore my calf doing pull-ups, yes I know. Crazy story. But have since done a ton of running and numerous Spartan races, so I did recover.

    Here’s to getting back on track and health to all, the furred and no-furred. :O)

    1. Mr. SSC

      Isn’t crazy not having any “good story” to tell how an injury happened? Like, “what were you doing to injure your tendon?” Me: “walking…” hahahaha

      It’s recovering and I’m back to light biking and swimming, just no running yet. I’m still signing up for an Olympic triathlon in early March, because I’m optimistic about it. I figure I can get the swimming and biking down, and worry about getting back to 6 miles in January.

      Hopefully Quinn recovers well too. :)

  7. Tawcan

    Man a king sized bed would be nice given that our 8 months old baby practically sleeps in the bed with us every night.

    Ouch on you partially tearing Achilles tendon… that got to hurt! Hope you can recover quick to start running again.

    Our Nov spending was slightly lower as we really put the focus to make sure our annual overall spending is balanced (we’re a bit over right now).

  8. Mrs. Groovy

    Sorry to hear about your Achilles and Quinn’s ailments. I hope you both get better.

    Thanks for that huge tip on the Mattress Underground. The name is appropriate because it seems like the whole mattress industry is part of some secret society.

    You must have mentioned your Flathead Valley Couer D’Alene trip elsewhere, but do tell! I’d love to hear the details. That’s a trip we’d like to take. Will you see Glacier Lake?

    1. Mr. SSC

      No problem with the tip. They go over who tells youd etails about what they put into mattresses, what gauge springs to look for, what density of foam, etc… It’s not a review site, but rather an actual mattress forum (sounds so funny just typing it) and it was pretty enlightening.

      We’ve mentioned wanting to relocate to Couer D’Alene or Whitefish/Flathead Valley area in numerous posts, and have been trying to plan a trip up there for over a year now, so yep, you’ve probably heard it at least 3 times, lol.

      We won’t make it to Glacier Lake this trip, but we are going to try and get over to Glacier nat’l park while we’re there. We’ll definitely update everyone when we get back.

  9. Mustard Seed Money

    Sorry to hear about the partial tear of your ACL. I tore my ACL in high school so I definitely feel your pain. Congrats on the new bed. My wife and I upgraded to a King size last year and I have to say that I love it. All that space is wonderful. We also bought two different blankets so that we don’t have to share :) No more fighting over the blanket for us.

    1. Mr. SSC

      So far, it’s been amazing! You wouldn’t think from a measurement standpoint that there is that much more space, but wow it feels so much bigger.

      The first night we ended up evolving to the 2 blanket system as well. Rather she pulled one blanket, I was cold, grabbed the other blanket and voila, we started using the 2 blanket system, lol.

      No fighting over blankets now, no waking up with no blanket. So many wins all around. :)

  10. Brian @ Debt Discipline

    Ouch, Achilles Tendon can be painful from what I hear, but with all that ice cream I’m sure you are feeling better.

    Wow, Quinn’s 16? Never fun to have pets sick and having to clean up after them. How Quinn is on the mend.

    We have a king bed, one of the best purchases we’ve made. It’s going on 17 years old and might be time to upgrade/ I’ve heard good things about Casper Mattresses too.

    1. Mr. SSC

      Yep, she is getting up there. Just a mutt shelter dog, lol. Her sister got to 14 before she gave up the ghost, although she looked more like an Australian Shepherd with the mottled coat and spikier coarser hair.

      So far, I think it’s turning into one of the best purchases for us too. I’ll let you know how the mattress turns out as well. I heard of the Casper while on the mattress underground site, along with many other direct to consumer companies out there. We just ended up with the dream foam bedding one, for no particular reason over the other sites. Well, I guess after reviewing them and researching them on the site, and them being compared to the tempurpedic cloud breeze, that was our trigger. When I contacted them, they were really friendly and answered my questions about the 13″ vs 12″ and ultimately said we would probably be better suited for a 12″. I’m guessing if I’d called any of the other companies first, I might have gone with them if I’d had a similar customer service experience, so luck of the draw I called them first I supppose. :) Well that, and their 10% off, no sales tax and free shipping helped sway me towards them too.

      Also, they were one of the companies that had a good refund policy. Since the memory foam mattresses come compressed – ours was 19″x19″x50″ some places wouldn’t do a full refund, only credit to get another mattress from them, and others wouldn’t do a return after you “decompress” the mattress because of the bulk in shipping. Since they set up with a local company to come get the mattress if you want to return it (free of charge) and offer a full refund, we figured it’s worth a $700 gamble for 90 days to try it out. :)

      Good luck if you guys look for a new bed. We bought from them directly, because most of the Amazon return policies were void once you decompressed the mattress. So, keep that in mind if you find a company you like and are debating getting it on Amazon or thru the company. Plus, the company direct most likely won’t be in your state, so no sales tax, whereas you may have to pay it if you go thru Amazon. Just something else to think about that helps save some money.

  11. TheMoneyMine

    Ah, a king size bed, probably the best investment we’ve ever made. It feels like we sleep in a hotel every night and this is just amazing every single night. What a treat, I’m sure you’ll enjoy!
    This should also balance with your achilles tendon, that must be painful and inconvenient, hope you’ll be better soon! (how about right before Christmas? :)

    1. Mr. SSC

      It’s been really nice so far!

      It’s getting better everyday, just slow and steady. I’ve been doing good to not rush it with too much activity as well. I’m not going to try and run until probably January, although I do want to do the Lifetime Fitness indoor Triathlon. It’s 10 min. of swimming, then 20 min. of biking and then 10 or 20 min. of running. I figure I can go hard on the first two and just jog on the run portion, depending on how I feel by then.

      I am signing up for the Kemah Olympic Triathlon in early March though, but not worried about being able to run 6 miles by then. :) Are you still training for the marathon this year (2017)?

  12. Steven Goodwin

    Doesn’t sound like you’ve done anything wrong here! Keep up the good work. You will always have those “life” things come up, just have to try to spread them out and work to mitigate the cost by shopping around like you did with the bed! Great job!

    1. Mr. SSC

      Thanks! Keeping an open mind about the “life” expenses helps keep a good perspective. Shopping around for the bed definitely saved us a lot of coin. Only time will tell if it is going to be worth it.

    2. Mr SSC Post author

      Thanks! It’s good to keep those “life” expenses in perspective, and by shopping around we were still able to save a LOT on the bed. Only time will tell if it is worth it.

    1. Mr. SSC

      I’m hoping for a better December as well. You’re right, seeing all the people in PT that experienced full ruptures and the recovery time it took, along with surgery – yikes! I’m very grateful it wasn’t a full rupture.

    2. Mr SSC Post author

      I’m hoping for a better December as well. I’m really grateful it wasn’t a full rupture. Between surgery, and the massive recovery time, it sounds pretty rough.

  13. Ms. Montana

    It’s hard to beat a decent bed. I have sold mattresses a few times, and have been lucky to score good deals from the dealers. I even had custom memory foam and latex bunk bed mattresses designed for my kids. The dealer thought I was nuts, but gave me a heck of deal because I sold so much of his product. =)

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      That’s awesome! So far, I am loving this bed. I jsut fall into it at night and pass out, and don’t seem to wake up or toss and turn nearly as much as usual. :)

  14. Go Finance Yourself!

    Glad to hear your dog is ok. Vet bills can be expensive, especially when running that many tests. We had a dog with cancer a few years ago. The blood work alone to figure out what was wrong was crazy expensive. Then there was surgery which cost us several thousand. In the end, it was worth it as it gave us another year + with her and gave her a better quality of life. It’s tough when pets get old!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Thanks! Vet bills get really expensive really quickly. Like with your dog, the majority of the cost was the blood work just to see what was wrong with her. When Harley got bladder cancer surgery wasn’t an option, but she still stuck around for another 5-6 months after her initial diagnosis. That was nice, having that time to get to say goodbye and spend with her. Old pets are rough in so many ways.

  15. Fruclassity (Ruth)

    I think of you two as personal finance badasses, so I’m so grateful for this: ” I only got A’s because I was mindful and worked hard at it, and staying on track with our spending requires a similar effort.” I have this notion that at some point, it will all be automatic – I’ll be frugal as a default. But that might just be wrong. Certainly, every time I relax that mindfulness, I spend too much. We have a 10-year-old dog, and vet bills are happening for us too. No “Shit-pocalypse” though : )

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Thanks for the compliment! Seriously, if it wasn’t for Mrs. SSC I’d most likely be in SO much debt. I shudder at the thought. Even my allowance just got back to positive this month, so I don’t think of myself as a PF badass, lol. I find that being automatically frugal isn’t as easy or as automatic as I thought. I’m more mindful of what I spend, but at the same time, I find myself rebelling against “not spending” at times. It’s hard to describe, but I think it comes when the balance between being too frugal and too spendy gets too far out of whack to either side.

      Balance is key, and it still takes work to stay balanced.

  16. Going Gonzo

    Sorry to hear about your dog. I have two older dogs as well and it is very hard watching them age.The German Shorthaird Pointer is 9 and the lab is 11. The lab is currently on medication for an infection and had a couple hundred dollar vet bill as well. I hope everything improves and good luck with your Financial Independence.