Friday, December 6, 2013

Saving the Moola: November in review

Each year, I forget that we spend extra money in November. It probably doesn't help that we don't spend extra money each November on the same things.

We spent money this month on replacement lights for our Christmas tree. Quite a few were out, and we used up all the replacement bulbs that came with the tree. We ordered extras and had them shipped.

We don't always shop deals around Thanksgiving, but this year, we did. We shopped at CVS the week of Thanksgiving twice, and we shopped at Kohl's and Babies R Us. There were a few good deals that I just couldn't pass up, including a $10 off any $10 purchase coupon at Kohl's. We make Christmas gifts for others, but we buy a few things for our stockings. I wanted to get something at Kohl's for a stocking, so this worked out well. I also had a $10 Babies R Us gift card, so I used that at Babies R Us toward everything I picked up.

We've been watching our gas costs closely, but we traveled quite a bit in November. We visited Nana (Jason's mom) and Bob (his stepdad). We visited a family who lost a loved one, and we stopped in to see Jason's grandpa and uncles. We visited a couple of families from church, and we visited my parents. It was really busy, but really fun!

With all of the extra spending, it was really great to be able to make a bit of side money. Jason's continuing with tutoring a student in physics. Over time, we're hoping to expand his student base, so if you're in Michigan and know of any student who needs help in these areas, please consider Jason! We've been told his rates are very reasonable. He also worked a lot of overtime.

Jason picked up quite a few mystery shopping gigs, and this helped our grocery budget a ton. Plus, we've been eating very, very well! Speaking of our grocery budget, we get a produce pail delivered to our home once a week. It's a really great service and has helped us lower our grocery and gas budget. If we need produce, I prefer to shop at Meijer instead of our local Walmart and Spartan store. Walmart doesn't have quality produce, and the Spartan store is very expensive. But Meijer is about 10 miles away, so it takes more gas to get there. With the produce pail, we can skip going to the grocery store for produce! We didn't shop at all one week in November, and another week, we just shopped for butter and chicken - both were on sale at rock bottom prices.

I've been making it a point to get as many Swagbucks per day as possible. I complete the regular Swagbucks tasks in the morning while Jason spends time with Bug (he works third shift). I get one search win, complete the NOSO task and answer the daily poll. In the evening, after Bug is asleep for the night, I check in with surveys. I've been able to redeem points for $25 in amazon.com gift cards in October and November, for a total of $50 in gift cards. I'll have enough for December too, at the current rate I'm going. I'm going to use all my gift cards in December to buy a few Christmas gifts and get a big bag of cat food for Preston. His food is rather expensive ($31) so Swagbucks is really useful in helping our budget!

December looks to be a much more quiet month, so I'm looking forward to spending more time at home. I plan to spend a lot of time cooking, baking, and crafting.

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