January in review

I know I have mentioned I have been doing a lot of invite work (wedding invites, parties, etc). And of course we built a fort- which has been tons of fun, but in the back of my mind I was curious...what'd we spend. And since I want to be completely honest and straightforward on costs I'm going to share amounts (all except the actual debt amount which I don't feel comfortable sharing). So let's see:

We spent (minus the plumbing bill which was out of my control) a grand total of: $346 (I rounded up for ease) in the month of January! This included food, gas and any "other" items. How that broke down-
$158 on food (not bad considering we made guacamole for a party which was nearly $10 for avocados alone and made cupcakes from scratch for another- which remarkably were pricey).
$101 on other (gifts, household items like detergent, mailing supplies, etc) and then
$117 on gas...also not bad since my husband drives for work.

We were pretty proud of ourselves though- we made every meal at home this month and didn't eat out at all (except family dinners at other people's houses). We didn't go to any entertainment that cost anything.

All resulting in having a bit more to go towards our debt. I would love to say that it was thousands that could go towards our debt, but we've always been fairly frugal so maybe one to two hundred extra. Which, frankly isn't enough to cover the interest on a credit card, but it meant more of that payment went to the principal which is how things get paid down.

In addition, I have been doing the LearnVest debt boot camp which gives you tips to improve your financial standing. So that's been helpful as well. If you have any debt you've been pushing under the radar because you're nervous about facing it- it's a good tool to look at (also, free so definitely worth it).

Something else that has assisted us is this extra mild winter. This week I have played outside every day with my daughter because the weather has been in the 60s, but I've also had my windows open and the heat off for a portion of the day. That should make a big difference on the gas bill for the year (we do budget billing so we won't see a change right away). Also, part of that $101 above for other...I spent $40 (plus a $30 amazon gift card I had) on new CFL floodlight light bulbs that can be used in can lights for the basement to replace all the incandescent light bulbs. They claim you save approximately $40 per light bulb by switching so we should be saving $440 on those alone eventually. I'll do a review of them once I have them installed and see how they compare to our current light bulbs.

Also, for energy saving purposes, we put the fort back up downstairs to hold in all the warm air from the fireplace/heater we have down there since the room is so big. It's amazing what a difference in temp there is just going outside the fort and we can turn off the heater sooner.

So over all January was great for cost savings, but kind of was hard on my crafting...we'll see what I can do about that.

to leave you with something fun: here's a picture of my daughter enjoying our mild weather. Happy Groundhog's day!

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