dividends however it wasn't so much a good month for saving. This time of the year is the most expensive for me. A big family with even a bigger extended family makes for a BIG month in the Guilt Free Spending Money category. I did save up for a portion of the gifts but went about $200 dollars over budget. My wife says I should spend equally among all of our kids. My reply is the older kids "toys" are more expensive. If they get equal number of gifts the older kids would therefore cost more. If I spent several hundred dollars on the little ones toys they would get heaping mounds of plastic toys they would not play with. Still working on the right balance even after 14 years of raising them. In retrospect I probably could have spent less on the older kids and they would have been just as happy. For example my daughter has yet to touch several of her presents and her favorite cost under $20 (see picture above). Any advice all you frugal spenders?
I am presenting the breakdown two different ways this month. One is with the usual pie graph and the other is a mind map. Let me know what one you like better. This is a short post as my time is limited (kids have 2 hour school delay from snow so squeezing it in now). This month was my bi-yearly car insurance payment. That always takes a good chunk out of my savings. Utilities/Cell Phones continue to eat up over 10% of my income. Kinda crazy considering my mortgage only consumes 20%. Maybe I should move back out to the country where my water was free. The other biggy is food. That is about the same as utilities. We did host Christmas which added about $150 on to my normal food bill. I wonder if I should go back to shopping at Aldi's. I tried it once last year and got out with a week of groceries (including organic) for $100. The family had some complaints about the taste of some of the products. So I didn't go back.
The usual pie graph:
Below is the mind map:
It was a merry Christmas until I totaled up the bill. Ha just kidding. It was a good holiday. I spend 2 weeks playing with the kids and hanging around the house. I will try better next year to focus even more on spending time with the family vs. buying them gifts they will get little joy from.
Savings rate for the Month = 0% :-(