Slowly Sipping Coffee

October 2016: Our Money Went Where?

October, us such a great month. You have Halloween, the leaves change, and you start to get cooler temperatures outside as well. Now that the month is over, a lookback on our spending. Overall, it was up about $1200 compared to September due to some big ticket one off purchases, and our 6 month car insurance renewal coming due. What else happened in the SSC household this month? Let’s take a look!

Overall, our yearly spending is still projecting us to be just under $50k/year which is right in line with our assumptions. Woohoo! Also, October was the first month Mrs. SSC got a paycheck since leaving her job back in June or July or whenever she actually left. That’s how impactful it was to the budget, I don’t even remember which month it was, lol. Yeah for small things! Like everyone else with money in the markets, our overall investments are down ~1.5%, booo… Still on track to be FI by 2018 though, so that is excellent! Instead of comparing our October versus the year, this month we chose to show how October and September compared to each other since it was such a big jump in month to month spending.

September rocked! October.... Not so much

September rocked! October…. Not so much

Big Ticket Items

The biggest expense this month was renewing our auto insurance which is $715 every 6 months.

Haircuts ate up $56. Usually, they aren’t lined up like this, but since we were getting family photos done, and I was due for a haircut anyway it just happened we ALL got haircuts at the same time.

Family photos were $290. We finally found someone here that does a great job at photography – which is not as easy as you may think. We had somebody in LA that was awesome, but after moving it’s been a swing and a miss until this last go around. We like getting family pics done because it’s nice having us all in the pictures and we like having that record of the kids progressions that doesn’t just come from our phones.

We have a short weekend in Hill Country this weekend which was another $273. We figured it would be fun to get out of the routine with the kids and found a nice quiet cabin to go spend a couple nights at.

Daycare is up because of a 5 Monday month. Oh daycare, you cruel mistress you…

We renewed our Zoo membership for $124. It totally pays out for us as we usually go 1-2 times a month and the kids like seeing the animals. Since we go so often, we don’t feel obligated to see everything every time we go there, so it’s a great morning activity with our household.

Finally, $200 was to replenish Mrs. SSC’s “cash stash”, which is her mini ATM at the house. I rarely use cash for anything, but when I get below $20, I just ask about some cash, and voila, money appears. Hahahaha

 

Wins For the Month

Mrs. SSC made the kids costumes for the 3rd year in a row now, and she’s getting really good. We spent about $8 on felt and foam to put these together.

Bats! Vampire bats!

Bats! Vampire bats!

Our Christmas shopping gets a huge break this year, as we are doing White Elephant style gift exchange with the in-laws. We all felt like it would be more exciting and since we’re all adults, and typically just get what we want, when we want it, none of us felt that we really “needed” anything for Christmas. Win – Win all around.

Utilities are dropping off slightly due to the weather starting to cool down. We’re still in the 80’s with occasional forays into the 70’s, but the AC isn’t working nearly as hard these days.

We finally got a refund for the overcharging by ATT. We got billed for 2 months after we cancelled service and it took 2 rounds of calls each month to finally correct it. I should invoice them, sheesh that was annoying.

Summary

That’s about it for our spending update. Hopefully your October spending wasn’t quite as filled with one off’s as ours.

In regards to Christmas, do you do full present exchanges, no presents, or somewhere in between? We’ve also debated whether we should still get each other gifts or not? What do you guys think?

I still think we could let the kids pick out a gift for Mommy and Daddy at the least. Let us know your thoughts on that in the comments, I’d love to get some other opinions on the subject.

33 thoughts on “October 2016: Our Money Went Where?

  1. Mrs. PIE

    I love those costumes! well done Mrs. SSC!
    We had a Harry Potter and a Kylo Ren this year, and Target provided the costumes. Oldest PIE and I had fun being ‘frugal’ and making a light up Harry Potter wand instead of buying one. I say ‘frugal’ because after 2 trips to Lowes and 4 rebuilds (yes, it was wand 4.0 by the time we had done) it’s possible that buying one may have been cheaper.
    But the fun and frustration of building a simple circuit onto a stick will always be with us! next time I’m getting a soldering iron!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Sometimes the store bought costumes are just easier. We snagged a couple last year after Halloween to play dress up with. I mean $3 for a peacock/princess outfit, and a Snow White getup? Sure!

      Soldering is a lot easier than you may think. 🙂 That sounds like any typical DIY project though, at least 2 trips to Lowe’s. Fortunately, there is a Home Depot going in less than 10 minutes from the house so maybe that won’t be a big time sink now. I’d rather it was Lowe’s but beggars can’t be choosers. 🙂

  2. Maggie @ Northern Expenditure

    Sorry about so many one-off expenses. Our October was the exact same way. And now I’m all frustrated with the end of the year fast approaching. Those vampire bat costumes are AMAZING. Well done. As for Christmas, this year we used some money from a small inheritance to buy a digital piano. The girls want to learn to play, so they know this is our family gift for the year. They usually make us stories or whatever because we love those memories better than dumb gifts they might buy us. 🙂 At some point, I plan to transition to the experience-based Christmas I grew up doing: http://northernexpenditure.com/the-experience-based-christmas/

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Thanks and mini Hagrid looked pretty amazing too! I’m trying to come up with something the kids and I can do for a b-day and/or Christmas present for Mrs. SSC. She has an early Dec. birthday, so we try to make it special since it’s so close to Christmas and decorations are already up. 🙂

      The experience based Christmas sounds like a great idea. We’ve been trying to come up with a way to decrease presents and spending and that may just fit the bill. 🙂

  3. Tawcan

    Cute costumes. Mrs. T made PacMan (for me) and ghost (for Baby T1.0) and used an old-home-made bumblebee for Baby T2.0. Funny that not many kids recognize PacMan and ghost.

    We are a bit over our necessities budget so we’re trying to cut back and see if we can get to a balanced budget by end of the year.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      That’s kind of sad that not many people recognized Pac man or the ghost. Guess we’re getting old…

      Good luck with balancing the budget by year end!

  4. Our Next Life

    The bats are the best thing ever. 🙂 Love seeing your cutie pie kids!

    We’ve done no gift Christmas (last year for the first time), gift exchange Christmas, list-only purchasing, and random freeform Christmas. I’m a big fan of the no-spend, but Mr. ONL thinks I’m a big scrooge for that and wants to bring back the gift exchange where everyone just buys for one person this year. We’ll see where we land…

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      They were pretty cute! I like some kind of gift exchange, but I go way overboard. Even when we were only supposed to spend like $50 for each other, I end up spending closer to $200… I just like buying things for people!

      No gift Christmas just seems like it would be sad. I like Maggie’s experience based Christmas idea though. 🙂

  5. Brian @ Debt Discipline

    Love the bats! Very cute.

    We still exchange gifts with immediate family but stick budgeted amount to spend. It’s tough not to give the three teenagers anything. For my wife and I we exchange but basically become a replenishing of things we need. I still enjoy opening gifts at Christmas even if its socks and t-shirts I need for work.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Thanks! I can imagine it would be tough to not get anything for teenagers, or anyone to be honest. I think a strict budget but me actually sticking to it may be the way to go.

      How do you think I ended up with so many socks, boxers, and undershirts? They’re my go to gifts for b-day and Christmas, especially if i haven’t had any ideas or other needs around those times.

  6. Fervent Finance

    Every year I think we try to do a little less. Wean off the typical American Christmas of buying way too many gifts. This year me and the GF are just doing stockings for each other. Cheap and requires thought. We’ll see how it goes!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      We realized we needed to cut back on gifts when we had to take a break from gift opening because it had been going on so long… Seriously, it was getting way out of hand. 🙂

      Stockings are great. We do stockings for each other – we each get a name chosen by a random friend and then buy stocking stuff for them. it’s fun, but yep, it requires a lot of thought. Good luck!

  7. Mrs Chedda

    Those vampire bats are adorable! I have really fond memories of sewing/crafting Halloween costumes with my mom when I was growing up.

    My husband and I don’t exchange presents with each other, but we do try to put in a little more effort in paying attention to each other and spending time with each other on holidays and birthdays. Sometimes one of us will cook the others’ favorite meal, or something like that. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with getting a present for your partner though! I know that for some people it’s one of the main ways they show or feel love.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Thanks! I didn’t get to trick or treat, so no memories of making costumes. 🙁

      I just need to stick to the budget if we set one for each other. I’m bad about going over, because well, that’s just how I roll. did I mention I’m bad with money? hahahaha

  8. The Jolly Ledger

    Still pretty decent for a car note month! We still by presents for the children in the family (including nieces and nephews). Adults get a Christmas letter and a family photo, although Mr. TJL and I still exchange gifts. I try to keep to a Christmas budget though, it can get out of control pretty quickly.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      We get the kids presents, but when it’s the kids, Mrs. SSC’s parents, and her brother and his fiance it adds up pretty quickly. We’ll try the gift exchange this year and see how it works out. We do anonymous stockings for each other though. We have a friend assign who gets which persons stocking and then capp it at ~$20. it’s fun and has been a good tradition.

      I just suck at keeping my spending within any budget that gets set. I enjoy it though. 🙂

  9. The Green Swan

    Great costumes, Mrs SSC! This year we got lucky with a hand me down spider man costume from a neighbor and it fit great.

    We too just got our pics done. We like doing it this time of year so we can use the pic for holiday cards and it’s been a tradition for us since Jr came around.

    My wife’s family is small with just one brother so we still get everyone gifts but I have three siblings and we went to a random selection process to get one person a gift years ago which has worked out great.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Thanks, we haven’t gotten hand me down costumes yet, just clothes, but I’ll take clothes!

      It’s nice getting family pics done, beyond just having good pics, they’re great for the Christmas cards too. It’s turned into tradition around here as well.

      I like the random selection process. We do that with stockings, so that’s been fun, but it was getting way out of hand with the gifts. Hopefully, this goes off well and we can continue something like it in the future.

  10. Mrs. BITA

    Those are some super cute costumes, well done. I made two of our three costumes this year (for the first time ever), and I strutted around proud as a peacock after.

    Mr. SSC – you already know what I think about gifts this holiday season, you’ve dropped by my latest blog post. As for the kids – why not have them make you something? I remember really, really enjoying that as a kid (we had very little money and buying our parents gifts was simply not an option). I am sure that the stuff we made was essentially useless to my parents, but they ooh’ed and ah’ed over it and we felt inordinately proud and creative.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Thanks! I saw your costumes, they looked really good too! Mrs. SSC definitely felt the same way when she made a snake costume for our oldest last year and all the parents were like, “whoa, that’s so cute, what a creative costume!”

      I think I’m going to get the kids to make something, we just need to have a brainstorming session on what they want to make. I remember the same feelings when I would make something for my parents and they loved it. 🙂

  11. Go Finance Yourself!

    I wish we would just do a white elephant gift exchange with my family, but they insist on giving gifts. My wife gets mad at me for buying stuff late in the year because then I don’t have anything to tell my parents I want for Xmas. Like I’m 5 or something. It’s kind of ridiculous. At least my wife and I don’t do big gifts. We just do fun stocking stuffers each year. For the big gifts it really is stressful finding something that someone else will actually like. Makes more sense to me to just buy what you want on your own. I guess I’m too much of a logical thinker.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Haha, I get the same thing when Mrs. SSC is like, “Wait, why did you just buy that, Christmas is in 2 months?!”

      We do the random stockings for family members, so we each get a secret person to buy a stocking for – ~$20 or so. That’s fun. We have done big gifts in the past for each other, but I go way over, and yeah it turns into, would they like this or am I just buying it to have another present to give?

  12. Fruclassity (Ruth)

    I’m guessing your “White Elephant” gift exchange is the same thing we do (though without the same name). Each adult buys one gift, and there’s a game/battle to see who ends up with what. It’s so fun! The kids in our family who are under 18 get presents from everyone, but they actually look forward to the day when they’ll only get one git – and be old enough to play the gift exchange game. Win-win!

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Exactly! I’m hoping this year goes off well and we can keep it around. We still do stockings but that stays around $20 and is fun because it’s a different type of gift.

      That’s great the kids are looking forward to that too. Win-win indeed!

  13. Mustard Seed Money

    We still buy gifts for everyone although my wife and I stopped exchanging a couple of years ago. My wife doesn’t like surprise gifts and I kept getting gifts that were too expensive for her liking or she didn’t like it enough. So we decided to stop exchanging shortly after that.

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Yeah, I’d always go over what we allotted to spend and as Mrs. SSC would open stuff up, she’d be like, “Umm, I stuck to the spending limit, so I’m just saying…: Hahahaha. Yeah, this should be easier to keep things reigned in and not make anything awkward because I buy over the limit. 🙂

  14. Harmony@CreatingMyKaleidoscope

    The costumes look awesome! Great job!

    We have never done family pictures before, because of the cost. But I’ve been thinking of doing them sometime next year . . . once our family is complete 🙂

    On Christmas, we get the kids presents, some of which have already been purchased from a consignment sale. We do not give each other presents, but I like your idea of allowing the kids to pick out something. I try to keep things inexpensive with family members by crocheting things, giving them homemade jam, DIY ornaments with pictures of the kids, and then usually something small from the store. Last year I was able to score hockey tickets for free through work. My stepdad is obsessed with the team and was so, so happy.

    1. Mr. SSC

      Thanks, Mrs. SSC did a great job on them!

      Yeah, family pics can be spendy. Probably something that will go away when our income drops and we might just do them on bigger years, like highschool or that sort of thing.

      I’m doing some DIY gifts with the kids this year for Mrs. SSC and the grandparents, maybe even our oldest’s kindergarten teacher. 🙂 I found a cool site with lots of great ideas on homemade stuff. http://happyhooligans.ca/40-useful-gifts-kids-can-make/
      Some not as useful as others, but still way better options than my brain could come up with. 🙂

      Anytime I can get free stuff through work, I love it. I scored some baseball tickets by dunking one of our VP’s in a dunk tank this summer. That was a great time for everyone and we didn’t have to spend $80+ on tickets alone. 🙂

    1. Mr SSC Post author

      Mrs. SSC’s b-day is less than 2 weeks before Christmas, so Dec. is a big hot for the allowance typically. I’ve been shopping some, and she keeps saying, it’s fine, you’ve got a month… I feel better getting it done and out of the way though.The smaller gift exchange is much appreciated from my wallet’s standpoint. 🙂

  15. ZJ Thorne

    I’m in-between on Christmas presents. My niece and nephew receive something every year and my girlfriend gets something special. The rest of my family is usually a no-present situation, which is fine by everyone. Many of us feel broke and also don’t want junk crowding our homes.

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