Well, December was quite a month. Here's how it played out.
Gifts/Charity/Hosting - $984
Housing - $769
Taxes - $505
Utilities - $212
Groceries - $99
Home Repair/Maintenance - $85
Medical/Health - $56
Household Supplies - $33
Phone - $32
Gas - $27
Personal - $22
Laundry - $18
Vet/Pet Supplies - $17
Entertainment - $14
Furnishings/Equipment/Decor - $13
Eating Out/Takeout - $7
Fares/Parking - $1
Grand Total - $2894
Variables - 65%
My analysis - well, obviously, Christmas was the big hit. I don't think I can do anything about the gift-giving without being a grinch, but I think I might opt out of the Christmas brunch next year. If I do it again, I think I'll rely on takeout, so it will probably be more expensive -- but it took too much out of me this year. I have to make some concessions to age and energy levels.
I did speak to each of my children about giving the college fund money with birthdays rather than Christmas, and they were fine with that. That will even out the flow a little bit.
Property tax was a surprise. The invoice came so late I forgot about it altogther. Luckily, as a senior, I did not get the big jolt that others have. I have a senior freeze exemption. A great benefit in my county.
The home repair was $85 for a technician to look at my dishwasher and tell me to flip the switch under the sink. That is totally my fault and a definite senior moment, as I knew it was there, yet also forgot it was there.
The $17 pet supply expense was cat food for the grand-cat I'm babysitting. I may get that back, if my son offers. Generally, he brings more than enough food, but this year he was so stressed about getting the family out before the blizzard/polar vortex hit that he didn't get to the store and just brought what was on hand.
Everything else is in line. Groceries and gas, both under budget. Variables were low because most of my spending was concentrated on Christmas stuff, which came out of Big Ticket (savings for expensive items/services).
January will be low-spend, I think. I do have a $968 payment for auto insurance. I have never had much luck with changing insurance companies, but I'll look into it before the next payment in July. I am over 70 and I live in a dense urban neighborhood with a climbing crime rate, especially theft. So I think any company is going to charge me a lot. Eventually I will give up my car, but I'm not ready yet.
I got a notice from my electrical supplier that the next bill is $90. That's about twice what last month's bill was, and I thought that was high. I'll call them on Monday to get some clarification.