Welcome to another edition of personal finance confessions — a totally irregular recap of things that you might not know about how I’m managing my money lately.
This is the second time I’ve done a post like this (you can find the first one here). Last time, I had four personal finance confessions to share; this time, we’re up to eight.
And, like the first time, I still think calling them personal finance confessions is a bit dramatic, but…I’m going with it.
Life lately: Some personal finance confessions
With less than a month left of 2019 (when did THAT happen?!), here are eight personal finance confessions from the last few months.
My credit card is a hot mess right now
If you’ve been reading this blog for a while now, you know that we use credit cards almost exclusively for our spending.
I wrote all about why we went from all-cash to all-cards here but the gist is we find it easier to manage our cash flow this way. We don’t carry balances, we don’t pay interest, and over the last year, I’ve made a couple hundred dollars in cash-back using my Tangerine Mastercard, which has helped fund work to this blog!
Sounds great, right? I would say we do that 99.99 per cent of the time.
Right now, we are in one of those .01 per cent times.
I’m not concerned about it — it will be back to zero at the end of the month — but it’s a little startling to look at our accounts right now!
This leads to the next point…
We are spending money even though we don’t have it yet
Another thing (insert personal finance guru) would hate — we have been spending money that isn’t in our bank account yet.
We use a sinking fund to save for Christmas — and we base our budget on the total for the end of December.
That means, typically, in December, we are spending money before it arrives — something that is doable because of how we use credit cards.
The key here? All this money is budgeted. We know that it is coming and it is accounted for accordingly in our spreadsheet. And if, for some reason, it didn’t come, we have enough in our emergency fund to cover off everything we have budgeted.
Likely a big no-no for some but I…don’t care. Personal finance is personal.
I bought a $50 t-shirt at a concert
In November, I took a quick little trip to Ontario to visit my best friend and go see the Jonas Brothers for the second time this year.
Last time we saw them in August, I bought a hoodie (which cost a whopping $75); this time, I bought a tour t-shirt. It’s black, with the tour dates down the back and a photo on the front.
I love it and I have no regrets.
I also bought a lot of Starbucks in November
Remember all the times I talked about keeping it real here? Well, here’s something real for you: in November, I spent $127.76 at Starbucks.
Yes. You’re reading that correctly.
In fairness, not all this money was on drinks — and not all of it was on me. I did buy a few drinks/treats for Jeff last month, along with my own order.
But…a lot of it was me.
As much as I love Starbucks (I really, really do) I do NOT usually spend this much. In fact, most weeks, I make coffee at home and enjoy a fancy drink on the weekend.
But November was different — primarily because of NaNoWriMo.
If you’re not familiar, the goal of NaNoWriMo is to write 50K words in 30 days. This was my second year doing it — and one of my favourite places to write is Starbucks.
Still. Whoa. Needless to say, my goal is to spend a LOT less at Starbucks in December.
Our gas budget is still wacky
I shared on Instagram a while ago that we have been over our gas budget lately.
This trend continues. Jeff has been preparing for a show in the coming weeks and our fuel economy changes when we switch to winter tires.
We’re not over by a lot — maybe $20 or $30 — but it’s enough to be noticed. Hopefully this will improve in the weeks ahead!
I had a great period with Rakuten!
My last Rakuten cheque was almost $70!
I know I talk about Rakuten a fair amount but it’s because I love it. In two years, I have made $230 by…buying things I was going to buy anyway. What’s not to love about that?
If you do ANY online shopping at all, you really, really should be using Rakuten. Want to sign up? Check it out here.
Heads up: that link is a referral link. If you sign up using my link, I’ll be eligible to receive a bonus, at no cost to you. I use my money earned through Rakuten to help fund this blog. Thanks for your support!
I spent a lot of money in November (and, so far, in December)
Let’s talk about Black Friday.
I went into Black Friday with a goal: to limit my spending. I love a good deal as much as the next person but I didn’t want to lose sight of the reality that it’s only a good deal if you actually need it.
And while I think I did OK with this, the reality is…I spent a lot of money over a few days.
I picked up some Christmas gifts (including Jeff’s, which I got for a price I am still tickled about!), but I’ll be honest…the Old Navy sale got me in the end. As did the spent $75 at Shoppers Beauty Boutique and get 20x the points. And I ended up snagging a new bulletjournal for next year at Chapters for 40 per cent off.
I wish I could say the spending is over but I’m not sure it is.
That said, what I am proud of is that even though it seems like I can’t leave the house without spending money these days, it’s budgeted. I don’t think I would have been able to say the same thing a couple years ago.
So…I consider this a win.
December will be a low debt repayment month
Finally, most months, when I do my budget report, the first item on it is the huge student loan payment we make. With a few exceptions, most months we sent about $1,450 toward the student loan.
This month, it will likely be just the minimum payment.
Why? We have a couple things we need to take care of. Vague, I know, but that’s all I’m going to share. Our final debt — the student loan — is under $30K now, so I feel pretty good about it!
We’ll be back to a more normal schedule in January.
There you have it — my November/December 2019 personal finance confessions. I’m all about keeping it real here — and it’s not going to get much more real than this.
Why share these? It’s my hope that if you’re struggling, sharing some of my personal finance confessions — the good, bad and ugly — will be encouraging. There’s a good chance that the person you think has it all together when it comes to money really does not. I know I don’t.
What’s something you’ve been struggling with lately when it comes to money?
This is always a rough time for the budget especially with the Christmas holidays. I definitely have more cravings for sweet drinks at this time of year too. 2020 will be a fresh year for you!
Despite all of the above, I still feel pretty good about how things are going this December compared to years past, which is a positive thing! But yes, I am looking forward to a fresh new year for sure haha.
Today’s sweet drink of choice: the pumpkin cream cold brew, which I legit just learned they still have at my Starbucks. So. Freaking. Good!
Katie Camel says
That was definitely a lot of $$ at Starbucks, but I hope NaNoWriMo went well! I keep meaning to do that, so maybe this year. All any of us can do is continue trying and doing. 🙂
I was SHOCKED when I added it up. SHOCKED. The good news: December has been less than $50 so far (and I have enough stars to get some free drinks later this month). Thankfully, NaNo did go well — almost done my zero draft so I like to think it was worth it!