how much should i budget every month

Our Monthly Budget Report for November 2016

Does budgeting ever get easier? I’m not sure. I mean, I hope so. That’s why we’re working so hard to get our debt paid off – that will free up money to spend on fun things!

This month was another rough one. I suppose that’s to be expected with the first holiday of the season here: Thanksgiving. Plus, we had a few unexpected repairs and expenses that put our spending over budget for the month.

We’re having to make up for it now, in December.

And that isn’t fun.

But it’s a necessity if we want to stop living on credit cards! So, that’s what we do. All in all, we spent $540 MORE than our income in November. Which means we have to spend $540 LESS than we’ll make in December to make up for it.

At Christmas time, it is going to be especially rough to trim our expenses. But we’re determined to get out from under this debt. Sigh.

Here’s how we spent more than we earned in November:

ItemAmountMarvelous Mrs. Musings
Mortgage359This amount includes our house insurance and property taxes. Yes, we live in a humble home - nothing extravagant here - but it fits our family's needs just fine.
Repairs + Maintenance197.77We had a few home repairs this month: electrical, leaf blower repair, and a part for our snow blower. Plus, we had to buy a humidifer for Nora's room.
Electricity139.5This is higher than usual - but we keep a heat lamp on our water pump in the colder months so our water doesn't freeze. It froze two years ago when the bulb went out and we didn't know and it was a costly repair!
Gas34Even though we live in a rural area, we are fortunate to have access to natural gas. Saves us a ton over others who rely on propane for heating and cooking.
Cell Phone0We are still using our credit from switching from Sprint to Verizon, so no monthly bill out of our income this month. Yeah!
Cable8.99After much deliberation, we cut cable in the spring of 2015. For now, our "cable" is a Netflix subscription.
Internet47.07Our rural area means high prices for low speeds when it comes to internet. This covers a measly 5 mbps bandwidth.
Grocery704.33I'm at a loss about how this happened. This is way too high for our grocery bill! We did have extra food expenses because of the Thanksgiving holiday... but this is riduculous. I'll be keeping a much closer eye on it in December.
Restaurant171.35Also much higher than usual. We had friends in from out of town and an unexpected death in the family that kept us away from home at dinner time.
School Lunch40Nora prefers to have hot lunch at school most days, so this covers that expense.
Car Payments489.69Having two car loans at one time is rough on the budget.
Gas & Oil295.17Living in a rural area means we drive A LOT. Amy drives 30 miles every day and Andrew drives more double that - 70 miles daily. And that's just getting to work and back!
Repairs + Tires770.18Ouch. But Andrew and Amy both needed new tires before the snow comes!
Car Insurance239.88Not bad for full coverage on both of our cars.
Other88Registration for Amy's car is due in December and we renewed it this month.
Clothing174.38Nora needed a new winter coat this year, plus we bought her a Christmas dress for the upcoming holidays.
Life Insurance94.48We're in the process of setting up life, accident, and disability insurance (among other things) with our Northwestern Mutual representative. If you're looking for a clear picture of your financial future, I'm happy to refer you to our money guy!
Child Care50Luckily Nora is old enough to be in school all day so our childcare expenses are minimal.
Toiletries + Cosmetics93.28Amy needed a few makeup and personal care items this month.
Hair Care25Andrew's haircuts are way cheaper than Amy's are!
Chore Payments24Nora is on a commission system and this is the money she earns for doing chores around the house.
Kid's Activities58One thing Nora adores is gymnastics. I love that it keeps her active, though it is on the expensive side.
School Supplies4.88Nora got Star Student! And she needed some supplies to decorate her cabinet with.
Gifts99.92This includes some Christmas gifts. Yes, they're budgeted. We have a Christmas Club account that we contribute to every payday.
Entertainment170.45Again, this is way more than we usually spend. But we had family in from out of town and, well, we had fun LOL
Bank Loan155This is a loan I took out to consolidate my credit cards four years ago. It's "this close" to being paid off!
Best Buy54No big payment on this card this month. We bought tires for both of our cars instead. Look for a HUGE payment again in December!
Capital One68At 24.99% APR, this one hurts.
Citibank116.67Sigh. More debt!
Discover Card100Ugh. Did I mention I hate credit cards?
Student Loans390.63Between the two of us, we're paying on three separate student loans.

We even used the envelope system this month to help us stay on track. Turns out using cash doesn’t do much good if you just whip out the plastic (debit card… we cut up all of our credit cards so we’re not tempted to use them) to buy stuff when the cash runs out.

What tips and tricks do you have to curb spending around the holiday season?

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Amy Beardsley

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Amy Beardsley, the driving force behind Marvelous Mrs, loves personal finance and productivity hacks, Netflix, and everything chocolate. You can check out her favorite money-tracking tool Personal Capital and visit her freelance writing business, too. Thanks for reading the blog!


  1. Sara
    December 15, 2016

    Great break down, thanks for sharing! It’s fun to compare numbers-I’m very envious of your low mortgage payment (ours is $1,000 a month with escrow/10 years left-though we’re in the process of moving and this will get reset to a 15 year with a slightly higher payment).

    As for groceries-do you have an Aldi nearby? We’re a family of 5 and have a weekly cash (Dave Ramsey lol) grocery budget of $100, Aldi is a lifesaver!

    And I hear ya on student loans-I went to college and hubby didn’t-he’s now the one with a great, higher paying career, and I’m a stay at mom who will be paying back the U.S. government for many more years sigh….(well husband is paying them lol). Been paying on those buggers for 14 years and still owe around $13,000. Didn’t use my degree at all either ugh! I’ve already informed my kids they’re going to -free- trade school like their dad did 🙂

    Sara (aka crzycatlady1 from MFP 🙂 )

    1. Amy Beardsley
      January 15, 2017

      Yes! We were going to Aldi but it’s a half-hour drive so we stopped because it was “inconvenient.” But we went back this week and WOW I’m hooked all over again. It’s amazing the savings!!! I’m curious how to you feed a family of five on $100!!!

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