November 2015 Monthly Budget Review

As busy as the holiday season is, I usually find myself retreating to a place of reflection. How did the past 11 months go? And what do I want the coming year to look like?

While reflection can be productive, I'm hesitant to send myself too much criticism. After all, it's been a year of transition. And I've totally changed careers.

My side jobs have been steadily growing, especially the social media consulting portion of my business. Looking for some help? Let's talk.

Speaking of social media, my company sent me to SocialPro in Las Vegas last month. And it was awesome to learn some new tactics! Plus, it's always fun to network with my fellow social media marketers.

In other news, my company is transitioning to 100% remote at the end of December. I'm really looking forward to saving 40+ minutes a day on commuting, having more control over my diet, and being able to exercise more easily (I hope!)

Got some killer work from home tips? Send 'em my way!

The November Monthly Budget

Other than my food budget, I'm pretty satisfied with this month's expenses. Because, honestly, if I'm staying below $2,500 a month, I don't want to waste too much energy trying to become the next Extreme Cheapskate.

I don't expect my food budget to improve in December. But it should dramatically decrease once I'm working from home in January, right?

Excel spreadsheet of expenses

Note: mortgage, alarm system, internet, electric, water, gas, household, and coffee numbers reflect one-half of the total bill. I live with my boyfriend, so we split these expenses.

Last month, I started using Personal Capital to check my expenses and track my net worth. And I love seeing all my accounts in one place!

Note: If you sign up for a free account through my affiliate link above, I may receive a small bonus. I'd never recommend a product I don't save time with and enjoy!

Recap:

Personal Care: $6.48 (hair gel),  $1.99 (Tylenol), $6.54 (cough medicine)

Household: $4.07 (toothpaste), $11.79 (mouthwash & laundry detergent), $3.14 (freezer bags)

Gifts: $5.46 (card for Dad), $100 (gift for Dad)

Other One-Time Expenses: $44.47 (lawn treatment), $240.96 (Christmas flight), $4.00 (parking), $25 (Hayes Carll ticket), $49.72 (Facebook ads)

Other Goals

Cashville Skyline 

November posts: 1 (-2)

Twitter followers: 3,964 (+155)

Facebook likes: 415 (+101)

Google+ followers: 159 (+4)

Pinterest followers: 364 (+23)

Feedly subscribers: 100 (+1)

Email subscribers: 107 (+12)

Cumulative Adsense earnings: $165.68 (+$7.30)

Side Income

When I got back from FinCon, I wrote about the importance of setting intentions. Because if you want to make progress, you have to be specific.

Two months ago, I set a goal of earning $10,000 side income before next year's FinCon. This income will come from a variety of sources including:

– Blogging
– Freelance writing
– Social media consulting
– Dividends from my taxable portfolio
– Selling stuff
– And more!

So how's my progress looking?

September – $350.72
October – $858.61
November – $738.71
Total – $1,948.04

I've got $8,051.96 more to go. So I need to earn $894.66 per month for the next 9 months to reach my goal.

Wellness

Back-to-back weeks in Las Vegas and San Antonio really caught up with me. And I fell seriously behind on the slow-carb diet. But I was little relieved for the break, even if it meant gaining 2.5 pounds.

I'm seeing a nutritionist this week, though. And I'm really looking forward to some professional coaching to help meet my weight loss goals.

October Wellness Numbers

Weight: 162.2 (+2.4)

November Miles Run: 0 (no change)

November Steps: 118,080 (-27,853)

Line Chart of Weight from August through November

November Goals:

1. Write at least one Cashville Skyline post per week. FAIL

2. Earn $879.06 side income. FAIL

3. Lose at least 2 pounds. Even with Thanksgiving and a work trip to Vegas. FAIL

December Goal:

1. Prepare for working from home by de-cluttering, establishing a dedicated workspace, and creating a new daily routine!

Readers: How was your November? What do you want to accomplish before the end of 2015? 

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Discussions — 18 Responses

  • Tonya@Budget and the Beach December 7, 2015 on 9:33 am

    That’s awesome you will be able to work from home and save time on your commute. That commute time can be a killer on so many levels! I always find that if I work out first thing, then I don’t have to worry about it the rest of the day. Having it towards the end of the day….so many things could go wrong. Your savings rate is awesome and spending is low! Congrats!

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Tonya@Budget and the Beach December 15, 2015 on 7:41 am

      You’re totally right, Tonya! I should definitely make an effort to workout before my day starts. I hope your new gig is going well so far! 🙂

      Reply
  • Eric December 7, 2015 on 12:57 pm

    I love watching your monthly side income progress! Looks like you’ve already covered the cost of going to FinCon. Before you know it, you’ll be covering the rent (and a lot more)!

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Eric December 15, 2015 on 7:43 am

      Thanks for the encouragement, Eric! I’ve read a lot of your side income reports. And it’s been really inspiring! I’m looking forward to stepping it up even more in 2016.

      Reply
  • Maggie @ Northern Expenditure December 7, 2015 on 1:06 pm

    Working from home is both excellent and hard. You can take a nap! But… you can also take a nap… so sometimes it’s good and sometimes it’s bad. Find a routine that works for you and know when your most productive time of day is. That’s useful information. That’s an awesome change though! Congrats!

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Maggie @ Northern Expenditure December 15, 2015 on 7:44 am

      I’m really looking forward to the occasional mid-day nap, Maggie! And I’m hoping to start my work day a bit earlier than usual. Once I wake up around 6-6:30 I’m ready to start working 🙂

      Reply
  • Hannah December 7, 2015 on 1:07 pm

    Tips on working from home:

    1. Choose a quitting time for your day job. I use the same computer for freelance and my day job, and I can’t tell you how many times I’ve checked work email at 5AM or 8PM (when I was meaning to dink around on Facebook for a few minutes).

    2. “Pack” your snacks for the day. Eat breakfast/lunch whenever you want, those aren’t a big deal (as long as you keep healthy ingredients around), but snacks can get you. It’s best to limit your snack intake to what you would eat at work.

    3. Don’t keep diet sodas in the house. They are a bad habit, and if you don’t keep them around you’ll choose something healthier.

    4. Take breaks. I workout at a lunch hour, but I often forget to move around during the morning time, which means I am mostly still from 5AM to about 1PM. I’m a little better in the afternoon once my concentration is broken.

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Hannah December 15, 2015 on 7:46 am

      Great tips, Hannah. I definitely want to incorporate exercise into my day. My energy level always plummets around 3 PM, so maybe that’s a good time to move my body? Thanks for the advice!

      Reply
  • Cat@BudgetBlonde December 8, 2015 on 10:29 am

    Working from home is great…most of the time! It should lower your eating out costs. If you are like me you don’t want to get dressed and drive just to get food for lunch, but your grocery costs will probably increase because you’ll be eating at home more. The total should still go down as groceries are usually cheaper than eating out.

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Cat@BudgetBlonde December 15, 2015 on 7:47 am

      I hope so, Cat! I spend a lot of money going out to lunch with my co-workers. And I’m definitely going to miss that. But my food budget has been out of control lately!

      Reply
  • Shannon @ Financially Blonde December 8, 2015 on 4:08 pm

    My November went way too quickly and I can’t believe we are almost at the end of the year! I remember when I was younger looking forward to this time and now I just feel like I can’t get caught up with anything enough to really enjoy and reflect on the last few weeks of the year. I’m psyched to see your side income growing! All you need are a few big pops and you are there and if you keep steadily doing what you are doing, you will easily get there.

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Shannon @ Financially Blonde December 15, 2015 on 7:48 am

      Thanks so much for the continued encouragement, Shannon! And I know what you mean about the holidays. Is it seriously almost Christmas?!

      Reply
  • Steve Miller December 11, 2015 on 8:29 am

    Hi Kate – Great job on the side hustle this month as well as your expenses. I noticed you gained about 155 Twitter followers last month. I normally gain between 1,500 and 2,000 per month using a tool called Crowdfire combined with using ViralContentBuzz to tweet often and to get my blog posts retweeted. If you want to know more about how I do it, I have a page that goes into more detail:

    http://www.weretiredearly.com/Blog/success/

    All the best.

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Steve Miller December 15, 2015 on 7:49 am

      Interesting, Steve! I’ll check it out 🙂

      Reply
  • Jim Wang December 11, 2015 on 2:45 pm

    Rather than just look backwards, which is valuable, might you consider adding something to the “fails” on how you might work to improve them? What steps you’ll take to earn more, write more, etc?

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Jim Wang December 15, 2015 on 7:50 am

      That’s a good piece of advice, Jim. The months pass so quickly. And it’s easy to move on from failures more quickly than I should. There are always opportunities to continue learning!

      Reply
  • Brendan @ FutureMinimalist.com January 1, 2016 on 3:28 am

    Hey Kate! Awesome budget review! I have just done my first budget review (for December 2015) but not in nearly as much detail as you! Re: Working from home – I worked from home for two years and the biggest tip I can give you is to make sure you still get out of the house at least once a day! (Some weeks I went 2 – 3 days without going out at all!!). Really important for your mental and physical well being 🙂 All the best, Brendan 🙂

    Reply
    • Kate Dore Brendan @ FutureMinimalist.com January 10, 2016 on 10:13 am

      Thanks so much for reading and commenting, Brendan! It’s been a week so far. And I’ve successfully managed to leave the house *most* of these days. Congratulations on your first budget review! It gets easier with each passing month. Keep up the good work!

      Reply