Good-bye October and HELLO November!
I experienced some belt-tightening in October due to the new car purchase which left me with a much smaller amount of Misc money for weekly spending. Knowing I couldn't play "fast and loose" with my funds I was way more careful with misc spending than I normally am! So...even on a reduced budget I managed to squirrel away more money than usual in my snowflake box! Yippee!!!
A number of factors helped me stash away extra snowflakes:
- I had set a gasoline budget of $80 for October. I didn't use any of that! When I bought the car the tank was full and I didn't buy any gas during the rest of September or October. When gas went down in price Nov. 1st I filled the tank for a cost of only $40! Looks like I won't be overspending on gas though I anticipate using more now that it is getting colder. If I can make it til the end of November without buying more gas I'll have another $40 to add to the snowflake box :)
- Both electricity and natural gas bills came in under the budgeted amount. It's been a mild fall so far and I haven't had to use the furnace much yet or the electric heater downstairs in the TV room.
- I was very frugal with my grocery shopping this month. I'm still eating from the package of 5 chicken breasts that I bought: first I made fajitas (lasted 2 nights), then I used some in a pasta dish (1 dinner and Kazi took the rest the next day for her lunch); and then I made chicken vegetable soup with the remainder which I am still eating. (yes, chicken was frozen after being cooked!) I had $50 left in the grocery budget which went into the snowflake tin.
- November will brings its own savings opportunities. I have switched to a cheaper internet package (more gigs at a lower cost!) I have been paying $93/month for 200g. I was browsing my internet company's website (Rogers.com) and saw a different, cheaper package so I switched. I don't know how much exactly my new bill will be what with taxes and so on but should be in the area of $60 for 250g.
- My share of car insurance is going down by $11/month - that's not a lot but it's money in my pocket instead of the insurance company's!
- I've also paid off $2,000 on my credit card: this was the maximum the car dealership would accept from using a credit card to pay for a car. As interest could accrue it was the first part of the car's cost that I paid off.
- I have made another purchase (a Yamaha keyboard-Merry Christmas to me!!) and paid most of it off (a different credit card). When I receive a GIC interest payment later this month it will go to pay off the rest owing on the credit card. By the end of November I will be 100% debt-free once again.
- Now that one c/c is paid in full I have also repaid my savings in the amount of $500. Having no debt means that starting in December over $1,000 per month will re-build my savings to my pre-car purchase balance. If I didn't travel my savings accounts would be totally repaid in 10 months but as I have plans for a couple trips next year it will taken longer to rebuild my savings but that's ok. Can't be frugal all of the time!
- Come January my pension will receive an extra bump up due to increased cost of living raise. When I first started receiving my pension not ALL of my pension received cost of living increases. That was due to the pension plan not doing as well back in the financial crisis of 2007-8. But now that the stock market has recovered my entire pension will receive the cost of living increase. I'm very happy about that! I know how much the gross amount will be but not what my net increase will be.
- By the end of November my snowflake box should hold about $500. Along with my PC points from using my President's Choice Mastercard for all purchases (currently around $100) I will have $600 saved for Christmas. I will also have an extra $300 from not having to pay property taxes in December or January (I pay my taxes on a 10 month plan)! That should cover any additional expenses during the very expensive month of December:)
And there you have it - my spending adventure (car and keyboard) is over for now. Snowflakes are growing and by the time the real snow is on the ground I'll have Christmas expenses covered. Having a plan and sticking to it really helps. I must remember that as I plan my travelling for next year: Prince Edward Island, British Columbia and SCOTLAND!