Home » The Road to Debt Free

November 2013 Recap

Submitted by on December 2, 2013 – 12:30 pm 68 Comments

DSCN2377Hey, friends!  It’s the beginning of December, which means it’s time for the November recap!!  I can hardly believe that we’ve made it through 11 months of serious budgeting and cutting back on expenses.  What’s more: we’re even eager to continue our journey for 2014!  We’ve cut expenses SO much this year compared to last year, and although I’d like to see debt numbers moving downward faster, they are dropping at a quicker pace than they were in the beginning of the year, so we’re going to be happy with that. 

Now, on to the numbers:

566.47 on groceries for our family of six this month. This is our third highest month for the year, but still much lower than last year’s average of $900 a month.  Thanksgiving and a general lack of budgeting after we lost our beloved kitty on the 17th contributed to our higher-than-normal numbers.  We’ll see how December goes.

$190.08 on gas for my car.   This is our third highest for the year too, again, mostly due to a lack of budgeting, but still lower than last year’s average of $205.  December will net lots of family gatherings, so it’ll be interesting to see how the numbers look next month.

$151.25 on entertainment. Our second highest for the year, again largely due to losing Jeffy.  We really did cast all budget cares aside last month in order to focus on dealing with our grief, and we’re okay with that.  And this number is still lower than last year’s entertainment average of $175 a month.

$149.42 on pet costs and toiletries. This is much lower than our goal of $200, and an unexpected surprise this month.

We spent $68.10 on gifts this month too for a couple of birthdays.

Our electric bill this month was $111.20, a fairly good number for this time of year.

We had $159.63 in medical costs this month $100 of which is for our daughter’s emergency surgery earlier this year.  We opted to make the interest-free payments as opposed to taking the cash out of our emergency fund.

We had $121.42 in clothing costs this month – all necessity stuff – no “just for fun” clothing. Being it’s the end of the year and we haven’t spent much on clothing, the kids really are starting to grow out of everything.

We had $844.64 in home repair expenses, due to the fact that we had to replace our refrigerator and also replace a heater in one of our outbuildings. OUCH.

Paydown on loan balances

Mortgage: $534.17

CC #1: $70.12

CC #2:  $180.40

CC #3:  $47

Extra toward credit cards this month:  $30

Total paydown on debt for the month:   $831.69

Our total paid towards credit cards this month was $297.52.  As I look back, I see that this number is on the lower side, even though we’re still putting extra towards our CC’s each month now, due to the fact that our minimum payments are dropping.  Will visit this issue in December and figure out a plan of action.  Maybe a minimum monthly total toward CC’s or something.

Total interest paid

Mortgage: $937.57

CC#1   $72.88

CC#2  $84.60

CC #3  $0

Total interest paid for May$1095.05  This is our all-time low for the year.  At least we’ve got that going for us.  We started out in January paying $1175 in interest payments.  Looking to get this number down substantially next year.

Some more good news for November?  My highest side hustle month ever.  Woohoo!

So there you have it.

What do you think: How do the numbers look?

How did your November budgeting/spending go?



  • Matt Becker says:

    I like the last part the best: increasing that side income. That’s really impressive and will make a huge difference down the line.

  • Looks great!
    You are making progress on your debt so congrats on that! Our November went well but we did go over on our grocery budget. It happens from time to time!

    • Laurie says:

      Yeah, we did too, Holly, but like you said, it happens! We are trying to focus on the fact that the debt numbers are indeed going down. 🙂

  • I hope the extra credit card payment does not go to the zero percent credit card. Could you transfer other balances to zero percent or low interest cards? I have been getting a lot of offers in the mail lately.

    My debt doubled this month instead of going down at all. The good news is I now have a reliable vehicle to drive this winter.

    • Laurie says:

      Well, we’ve got a bit of a mess in that one of our cards is half balance on zero interest and half not on zero interest, and they’re putting all of the payments toward the zero percent, so that the interest portion keeps going up! We are working on a solution for this, though. SO sorry to hear your debt doubled this month – that’s never fun!

  • Great news on the side hustle. Sorry again to hear about your pet. It makes sense that your entertainment budget is going to be higher for it.

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks so much, Girl. We still miss him SO much. We did more eating out, etc., simply b/c we couldn’t handle menu planning or cooking, and that’s okay in our book.

  • Great job on the side income!!Hope this month is a good one numbers wise so you can finish out the year strong!

  • Seeing the differences in your spending from last year to this year is REALLY impressive! You guys are budgeting champs. And congrats on the side income, that’s exciting!

  • Nice work Laurie! It’s always encouraging to compare past numbers to see how you’re improving and way to go on the side income. 🙂

  • Decreasing expenses and increasing side income…I think you guys are on the right track!

  • Increasing the side income is certainly a big win for you.. nice work there!

    One thing I have noticed,
    It can be hard to do anything to help “gas costs” in a budget.
    You can’t just “not go to work” if your numbers are up one month.

    • Laurie says:

      I know, but this is my gas money for driving the family around, getting groceries, etc. And since I work from home, no excuses there, I’m ashamed to say. We just need to stay put more. 🙂

  • Deacon says:

    Wow. Way to go on cutting down your grocery bill from the previous year! Also, $150 for entertainment for a family of 6 is incredible. We spend more than that and there is only two of us. Well done Laurie!

    • Laurie says:

      Deacon, thank you so much: that means a lot coming from a seasoned budgeting veteran such as yourself. Glad you think our $150 is incredible – I’d love it to be closer to $60! 🙂

  • You are doing it right Laurie. You are paying down debt and increasing your side income. Soon it will snowball and you will be paying down debt left and right!

  • Great job on the side income! Hopefully it continues to grow this month!

  • Great job for the year. Do you use your extra income for credit card payments? It might be fun to use some of that as an end of the year treat for you guys.

    • Laurie says:

      Well, right now we are using most of it to survive on because we are so tight. I think an end of year treat is a great idea though – we’ll have to think about that. Thanks, Kim. 🙂

  • Brit says:

    You are doing good Laurie. We did good November too. Thanks for sharing.

  • Congrats on your biggest side hustle money! That’s exciting news and I have no doubt that it will only continue to grow. You’ve come so far, Laurie. I am so proud of you. While I know you haven’t been able to hit all of your numbers every month, you have still consistently spent less every month than you did the previous year. And that is a huge accomplishment. Next year will be an even bigger for you and I can’t wait to see those debt numbers go down even faster!

    • Laurie says:

      Shannon, thank you SO much for your encouragement – it’s a huge help to us. Looking forward to an awesome 2014 as well. 🙂

  • Hi Laurie,

    I think there inevitably are months that have some higher than expected expenses, and November was one of those for us, too. Sorry that the refrigerator and a heater went out at the same time. I really don’t love those sort of things. We now have some car expenses that cropped up but hopefully nothing else breaks in the coming weeks (knocking on wood).

    You’re making steps forward still, despite the added costs, and I say progress is progress. That’s all that really matters.

    • Laurie says:

      Yeah, we’re finding that out. We’re trying to look at progress as progress too, regardless of the fact that we’d love bigger progress. Every step in the right direction is a success, right? Thanks, DB40. Have a great day. 🙂

  • Mackenzie says:

    Awesome job on increasing your side income, Laurie 🙂

  • Amazing progress on the debt! You guys are doing wonderfully! And great job on having a good month for your side hustle. That has to feel really good.

  • Great news on the side income Laurie! Sometimes we need to pay out for necessities such as clothes especially with children as they do grow out of theirs so fast. Sorry to read about the home repairs though, hopefully that will be the last of them for this year!

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks, Hayley! Yes, hoping NO more repairs, etc. for this year, on the house or the cars! And, I’m not feeling too badly about the clothing expenses. For a family of six we’re doing pretty good. 🙂

  • Congrats on November being your highest income for side hustles Laurie! Things have slowed down for me a bit in that area but I just gotta keep trucking along. 🙂

  • Great job on your side hustles, Laurie! I am so sorry to hear about your kitty. We are major doggie lovers and I know how hard it is to lose a beloved pet. Hope your kids are doing ok with it.

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks so much, Dee. We still miss him SO much. The kids are still struggling, sadly, but we are working on gratitude each and every day. 🙂

  • Our November was incredibly spendy due to a lot of things that we knew about happening all at once. Sometimes that’s just how it goes, right?

    Congrats on the side income! That’s awesome =)

  • Ouch, home repairs can be brutal. You may not be amazed by your grocery spending, but I am. $566 for 6 people for the month? That’s incredible.

  • I’m always amazed at your grocery bill for 6 people. I’m glad your side hustle income is growing as I know you are working hard at it.

  • I can’t believe you feed six people on under $600, even with kids. We spend $300 on two adults. Great job Laurie.

  • Wow Laurie…even though you spent a bit more than you intended this month, you are all doing great!! It’s a slow process at times but you’ll get there 🙂 And as already mentioned, your side hustle income is a burst of good news!! I have no doubt you’ll al rock December!

    Take care and all the best.


  • Dear Debt says:

    Congrats on the great progress and your highest side hustle month yet! That’s amazing.

  • Charlie says:

    Great job Laurie! Sorry about your cat dying this month! It’s gotta be difficult for you and your kids especially. However, great job on your budget and continuing to try and get out of debt.

  • Jim says:

    Great job Laurie, I hope the side hustle continues its upward momentum. Would be interested if you started posting side hustle income, cause the site looks great and seems to be growing exponentially. I hope 2014 brings you some great side hustle income and you can pay things down even quicker, and who knows maybe take the family on a well deserved vacation!

    • Laurie says:

      Yeah, we might post the numbers. I know others have had some trouble when posting the numbers, so I’m a bit leery to reveal too much, you know? A vacation for 2014 sounds SO wonderful. It’s definitely in the back of our minds. 🙂 Thanks much, Jim, for your encouragement – we appreciate it!

  • I’m always amazed by how low you keep your gifts budget. We’re not extravagant gifters by any means, but with 3 nephews and a niece and all those b-days and holidays my gift budget does add up quickly. Congrats on the lowest interest month so far, I know that number will just go down and down!

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks, KK! Yes, hoping that number goes down sooner rather than later. It just makes me cringe, throwing away all of that money!

  • You’re kicking ass, Laurie and it’s great to watch the progress! Props on the additional side hustle income. 🙂

  • You are doing wonderfully on paying off you debt! That is so awesome. And nice job on keeping the rest of your budget low even with some unexpected and sad events – I know it’s really hard to worry about something like money when you are mourning a loss.

  • Looks like you are doing a great job paying down the debt and lowering expenses. I have to say that $560 for groceries for a family of six is very impressive! Looks like I have some catching up to do on prior posts to read more about your cost cutting journey.

    • Laurie says:

      Thanks, Kay! We have a long way to go, but things are getting better. Yes, we’ve become pros at cutting costs, that’s for sure. 🙂

  • Great job on side hustle income! I hope next year you double it!!

    PS – I’m a bit behind commenting on the blogs I read, but I think I’ve read this post 3 times already 🙂

    • Laurie says:

      LOL, that makes me very happy! Glad you like it. I’d love to double, triple or quadruple the side hustle income next year. That would be huge in helping us pay off debt! Thanks, Eva – always good to hear from you. 🙂