January proved to be a perfect start to the brand new year. I was extra careful with my spending and kept our expenses to a minimum. To begin the year off on the right foot I first paid all of our monthly expenses - utilities, car payment, savings commitments, etc. - ahead of their actual due dates. I always feel empowered when I am able to do that.
Mid month I paid next month's mortgage payment over two weeks early. I've been doing that for over three years now and it seriously impacts the principal balance each month. I knew it would be a good thing to do, but I didn't realize it would be that dramatic. I also contributed a sizeable chunk to my savings goal as well as my retirement goal.
|The big haul for the month|
I stuck to my grocery and non food budget and kept that expense in check. We ate what we had on hand in our pantry, refrigerator and chest freezer. I made meal plans, we ate leftovers and were mindful of food waste. It worked out just fine.
Personal expenses were kept to a minimum as well. I spent less than $12 on some journaling supplies and four large gift boxes that were on clearance for 64¢. I have plans to use those gift boxes next Christmas. I also spent $13 on crafting supplies at the dollar store and have managed to get a good jumpstart on holiday and birthday preparations already.
|Craft supplies from the dollar store|
Around the second week of the month I treated us all to a new pair of fuzzy socks we picked up on a post Christmas clearance rack. Toward the end of the month I used a $50 gift card I had acquired from my credit card rewards points to add a new pair of slacks plus a top I found on clearance at Dillards. I spent $16 out of pocket for my new work outfit. I also spent $32 + tip at the salon for a new haircut, which will hold me for quite some time.
We used our Netflix and Amazon memberships quite a bit to keep us entertained with movies and television programs. I started a new shopping list on Amazon, but did not buy anything. We went to the movies on discount day and used a $10 gift card to lower the cost even more spending only $6.50 for tickets for all three of us. We also attended my daughter's band concert one evening, which was free.
|We loved the movie and have enjoyed listening to the soundtrack on Youtube|
I purchased one tank of gas at the beginning of the month and was mindful of our fuel use by combining errands as much as possible in order to make it last. I only drove when I really needed to and we stayed home quite a bit which, for us, has been a real treat. Surprisingly, I ended the month with just under a quarter tank of gasoline still left in the car.
I am very happy with how it all went with our finances this past month. At no time did we feel deprived of anything, in fact it was quite the opposite. Plenty of fun activities and a few treats like a movie and fuzzy socks. And I have a new hairstyle and a brand new outfit to wear to work. It was a very good January!