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Archive for December, 2023

December Recap

December 31st, 2023 at 05:48 pm

December is always a difficult month, financially. But this year it was not too bad. I exceeded my variables by 9%, but I had a few surprises, like needing a new phone and then needing a new Amazon firestick and remote. And the average of my variables spending was only 93%, so overall I did well.

I stayed within my Christmas budget of $1000, spending $989. That is not just gifts, but hosting a Christmas dinner, postage, gift wrap, cards etc. My total spending in the gift category was $1028, because there were a few non-Christmas gifts.

Anyway, here it is:

Gifts/Charity 1028
Housing 784
Vacation/Travel 373
Furn/Equip/Décor 287
Utilities 203
Groceries 94
Vet/Pet Supplies 62
Car 45
Fees & Services 40
Phone 39
Gas 38
Entertainment 37
Medical/Health 34
Laundry 22
Eating Out/Takeout 16
Clothing 8
Household Supplies 6
Personal 3

Grand Total                 3119

The groceries were items not included in the holiday dinner. The vacation was mostly pre-payment for a hotel room on my upcoming road trip. The car expense -- wipers. The fee -- replenishment of my tollway pass.

Some of the pet supplies expense was for my fish, but some was food for my son's cat, who I am babysitting until tomorrow morning. I may get some of that back.

Of course, the phone and the firestick are reflected under "Furnishings/Equipment/Decor." The firestick was really cheap because I had Amazon credits to use.

My trip starts tomorrow. I probably won't be checking in until I get home, roughly around January 15.

A Sad Season

December 27th, 2023 at 08:05 pm

I had a wonderful Christmas with my family, so I'm not bah-humbugging -- but it has also been a sad and challenging Christmas. My nephew died a week before Christmas -- complications from Type 1 diabetes. It was a shock. I knew about his disease, but had no idea he was in trouble. I went to the funeral, which was out of state, and I was glad I did, since I saw family members I hadn't seen in a while. But still, a very sad affair.

Then I learned that my sister was scammed out of all of her money by someone posing as a PayPal employee. She is naive and not very savvy about technology -- and she is 80 years old and her cognitive function is diminishing -- so it is not too surprising that this happened. Her two bank accounts were emptied. There wasn't a whole lot there, but it was the money she had on hand to pay bills. The banks are working with her, and she will eventually get some or all of it back. But right now she has $2. Social Security payment will arrive in two days, thank goodness.

The worst part of it is that this has sent her into a deep depression. I'm worried, and I feel helpless. I will see her soon, when I travel next week, so I will be able to help her a little bit. Unfortunately, I'm not so rich myself.

And I just talked on the phone to my friend who is in a nursing home. It was a very difficult conversation -- he has good days and bad. This was definitely a bad one. But as we were talking, some of his family members arrived so I hope they will perk him up.

Altogether just a hard time.

I start my trip on the 1st. My sister was going to come along, but now she doesn't want to, and who can blame her. She just wants to get back to normal. So it will be my friend and I, a road trip to NC and FL, with a wedding to attend in Orlando. Hope it will put me in a happier state of mind.

Financial update to come later....

Christmas Spending

December 13th, 2023 at 11:11 pm

I have been deep into Christmas spending.  I have spent $857, out of a budget of $1000. I am mostly done. I still have to buy the supplies for Christmas dinner (which will actually be on the 17th because of scheduling conflicts). I also need to buy something for GS1's girlfriend, who will be at our Christmas Eve gift opening. I'm thinking maybe an Ulta gift card? I've only met her once. She definitely seems to be a girly girl.

Other expenses have been pretty regular. I did have to replenish my IPASS again, because I seem to be on the toll roads a lot.

I've already received notice that my assessment fees will go up by 3% in the new year, and car insurance will go up by $20 per month -- I pay semi-annually, though. So the raise I will get in Social Security -- again, about 3%-- will not be felt much.

So, not counting the Christmas spending, my variables are at a respectable 34%.

November Recap

December 1st, 2023 at 06:30 pm
Housing 769
Gifts/Charity 660
Taxes 356
Utilities 199
Vacation/Travel 115
Groceries 74
Personal 71
Medical/Health 56
Fees & Services 56
Furn/Equip/Décor 54
Entertainment 51
Phone 39
Eating Out/Takeout 31
Gas 26
Clothing 21
Laundry 18
Car 6
Vet/Pet Supplies 6
Grand Total 2608

I made it through the month spending 99% of my variables. My average for the year is 91%, so I'm doing all right.

The big total in gifts/charity came about from my donations to two of my grandchildren's college funds. This happened in September, too.

The tax was my second installment of property tax.

Vacation -- a little trip to visit BFF in Indiana, and my Thanksgiving trip.

Nothing else really stands out. My grocery bill was low because of the traveling I did. The personal category was a little high because of a haircut and stocking up on some toiletries.

December is starting out with a bang -- as it does. I have spent $103 on Christmas gifts and some supplies for Christmas dinner. This morning I spent $29 on groceries.

I reserved a room for two nights in Orlando for the wedding I'm attending there. I had to charge $308 for the deposit, which basically covers one night. It will be an expensive trip, but worth it, I think. Most of the spending will occur in January.