My December Budget

snow-covered pine trees

Photo by Elisei Abiculesei via Unsplash.com

As I get older, I realize each year how much I genuinely love December. I just get so excited for my goals in the next year, and I love the snow and holidays while you can still romanticize them, before SAD kicks in and it’s just… cold and dark? Definitely not looking forward to all that nonsense.

Before I get started with my budget, I wanted to show you a birds-eye view of the entire spreadsheet I’ve created. I’ve shown snippets before, but I love looking at the sheet in it’s entirety, because I designed it to not only be utilitarian, but also elegant. I’m always making little changes here and there, but I’m very pleased with how clear and beautiful I’ve been able to make it in the process.

As you can see, it includes my expected and actual costs and gives me a place to track my running totals for variable expenses. I rounded it out with a notes section, where I can write anything I want to remember month-to-month or in a given month. For example, I had a list of gifts I need to buy for Christmas in the December tab, and I always keep notes on where my stipend money will go.

Here’s a view of my budget for December in it’s entirety:

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If you think a system like this will work for you, you can download my free template when you subscribe to my email list by clicking the button here:

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Now, let’s take a look at each specific element.

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My monthly income is the same as always, and my savings have only shifted slightly for this month. I decided to take $100 from my car fund and $50 from my retirement fund and put it towards gifts. As you guys know, I have a huge family, and I realized (after I started shopping) that I wanted to spend more on gifts this year. I think in 2020, I’m going to keep my gift fund at a steady $50/month, so I don’t need to put extra money towards it when the end of the year approaches. I have a big– and growing– family, so this isn’t a savings goal I want to cut short. Every other savings goal– my travel and emergency fund– is staying the same.

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My fixed costs are the same, though I realized half way through November that I forgot to include my Patreon donation of $3/month in my budget. Patreon is a cool way to support creators, and I personally donate to the Minimalists Podcast, of which I am a devoted listener. I added this expense to my other monthly donation of $5, which goes to the Human Rights Campaign.

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I upped my grocery budget by $10, and I’m hoping $180 will be the perfect balance of freedom to buy what Brian and I decide, without spending totally whimsically or unintentionally. This has slowly crept up from my original estimation of $150, though, so we’ll see if that keeps happening. To be honest, I am more open to this than I ever have been. If $10-20/month is the difference between feeling deprived (not to mention, feeling like I’m depriving my partner) and feeling free, that’s a small price to pay for a huge win.

My going out fund, I am happy to report, has not been creeping up lately. Tracking my no-spend days and focusing on buying food and drinks out only when it’s a social activity or date night has led to much more balance in this category. I did get unwarranted delivery twice in November– but I’m more than happy with this amount. It feels like a healthy compromise to me. 

As you can see, November has left me feeling more balanced and less stuck. I’m still keeping a bit of a margin in order to build a checking account buffer, but as it builds up, I’m not worrying as much.

Thanks for joining me for this budget post, everyone! See you next week 🙂

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