Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A Christmas recap

We had a fabulous holiday with the family. Our boys were very excited to see Santa visit on Christmas Eve.

My sister & I were also very excited about the pomegranate martinis. . . :-)

All in all, it was a wonderful & relaxing (well, as relaxing as any holiday ever is with four boys under ten). :-) The boys all got plenty of gifts, but not TOO much. It was nice to see them open their smaller number of gifts, & not notice a bit that we've trimmed back.

Both my parents & grandmother got the boys smaller gifts (new bike helmets & an airplane assembly kit, respectively) & then gave us money for their college fund, which is an awesome balance of something fun, & something they will appreciate later.

Here's how our 2012 holiday budget played out:

My budget goal for 2012 was $970, with the caveat that I would donate any additional money I was able to save. My actual spend was $778.18, which means. . . *drumroll please*, I came in almost $200 under budget!!!

I went over in some categories (I ended up buying M a board room membership for the airline he uses most frequently, as he's traveling 40-60% of the time now.) It's a gift that he will enjoy for the entire year. I also spent more than planned on food for the parties we attended, and have already come up with a revised menu for 2013 to trim this back.

I made a total donation of $250 to charity (split between Giving Tree, a food bank, and a personal donation to a family in need). It was a huge incentive to know that every dollar I saved at the holidays would go towards a donation. I'm definitely going to keep this in the budget for next year.

I am so, so proud of sticking to my budget!! Woohoo!!

And, I'm behind (again!) on posting my budget categories, so here's a double whammy again today.

In accordance with my plan in December to really dissect our 2013 budget & areas for cutback, I'm posting about one category per day. So far, I've covered mortgage interest (and a potential refi), our grocery budget., dining out, kids activities, gas, utilities at our vacation house, & utilities at our primary residence, clothing, travel, & child care & personal spending.

Today's topics for discussion are . . .  our spending categories for health & house.

  • Health - this covers all of our health care spending that isn't covered by insurance + race registration fees. I consider running an integral part of my overall healthy lifestyle, which is why it's included here. We spent $112/month in 2012 on this category, and plan to spend $100/month in 2013. I know we are incredibly blessed to have excellent health care, and it looks like we'll be rolling over money in our health care accounts, which should defray most health care spending. If I closely monitor & plan for races (and not cancel, which means no refunds!) this should be doable. One of my personal goals in 2013 is to run 10 races, and I know that one of the races will be super expensive (Hood to Coast), which means that I need to select less expensive races the rest of the year.

  • House - this is everything from non-grocery items like toilet paper, to a new sofa. Kind of broad, eh? ;-) We spent an average of $222/month in 2012. A few big spends skewed this number - a new sofa, and a bike for M. Our goal for 2013 is $100/month.

How much do you spend on your health & house categories? Did you come in under budget with your Christmas spending?


  1. We spend thousand a year on health care and we have a terrible, terrible plan. No one wants to take us but the good news is it covers a lot. We have a $50 office copay and a $500 ER copay but beyond that it takes care of everything. But we were very blessed this year and only used it 2 or 3 times. Anna is covered by our insurance but uses everything at her college. They aren't great though. They gave her a sucker when she had strep throat and nothing else. One of her friends gave her antibiotics. I should probably stop here because I could complain for hours. LOL

    1. I remember college health care! I was once so sick that on the third visit to the campus health center, my room mates literally carried me there. I got an injection in my butt to stop the nausea & it was the most miserable week of my life. They do everything they can not to prescribe antibiotics. I'm guessing because of abuse?

  2. I'm 'borrowing' your idea to donate any gift money not spent next year. I'm allocating £1,200 for Christmas and Birthdays in you say it's a great incentive to come in under budget.


    1. It was a great incentive,& it worked! I stuck to my list & it motivated me to look extra hard for bargains. :-)

  3. I too love your idea of donating any left over money to a charity.

    Dh pays $50+ a week that is deducted at source for our health care plan through his work. Other than the dentis which we visit twice a year and probably costs us $150 a year total, our health care is covered. Any over the counter medications I use our grocery budget each week to cover that.

    I put $20 away each week for our CHristmas budget.

    1. I should figure out how much we're spending on dentist visits. I see someone out of network (well, they used to be but then got cut from our plan), & should find someone that's covered. It would save quite a bit.