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November finally started to feel like fall just a few months late. And now it’s December! I’m sure if I thought November was busy and crazy, December will prove to be even crazier. November had a number of small successes right along side deep sadness and sorrow.
Paying an additional $835 towards our student loan debt. Save for maternity leave, a vehicle with more room, and for fixing the bathroom. In November we made some major changes to our spending and earning. To start, we were challenged by our pastor to be more thankful for what we have. So we prayed through our credit card statement which made us realize that we reload our Starbucks gift cards waaay too often (meaning we don’t budget for it and just reload it hoping for the best), visit Target and have no recollection of what we purchased, but we were also thankful for buying food and necessities. Since we saw more clearly how we were spending (or overspending) we decided we needed to revisit using only cash to be more intentional with our spending. We continue to use the method of being one month ahead of our expenses (learn more about that here) so we’re dealing with real numbers. Then we took a real look at our budget and pulled out the cash we needed for the month, stuffed it in envelopes and began our month of frugality. Along with doing the cash system, I used my money-making apps like Ibotta (use my referral code eacwalx when you sign up) to earn money at Walmart, Swagbucks to earn a $25 Walmart gift card (check out this post to learn how), Inboxdollars to print coupons (and get 10 cents back per coupon), Receipt Hog, and mPlus places (took me 2 months, but I earned a $25 Walmart gift card with this app as well). Henry took on the task of watching kids at church to earn extra money for next month. We really worked hard to stick to our spending plan and have a little extra to put towards maternity leave (It’s $18…but hey, that’s $18 we otherwise wouldn’t have). We did purchase our third carseat (a Diono Radian XRT on super sale!) and hopefully we’ll be able to fit them all in our Chevy Prizm until we really do have enough for a larger used car. This year we also took advantage of Black Friday deals to purchases some gifts and necessary clothing all within budget!
Do you want to know the really great thing about this cash system and being on the same page with the budget? It felt better this month. We spent money we actually had and if we were going to use our credit card for something (like the carseat purchase) we knew how much we were going to spend and didn’t make a justification for spending more.
- How Your Smart Phone Apps Can Make You Cash
- How You Can Earn a free $25 Starbucks Gift Card Every Month
- Five Ways to Save Money with Babies
Reading daily for 20 minutes. I rarely seem to have time for this goal. I think I intended this goal to be about reading more books this year but this month I slowly read my Better Homes and Gardens magazine, lots of blog posts and re-read Ruth Soukup’s book How to Blog for Profit (without selling your soul). Unfortunately I still have stacks of AACN journals that have been flipped through but not read in depth.
Exercise 3 times per week for 30 minutes. Same as last month…I am still embarrassed that I am not exercising this pregnancy. It is so hard to want to walk or do yoga at the end of my shifts and with such a sporadic schedule I can’t get into a routine.
an EKG a nursing related blog post each month. My post for last month was about gifts for nurses, which you should check out if you are wondering what to get the nurses in your life!
Travel nursing. Well…travel nursing is on the back burner for good. HOWEVER, I did make a career change. Just at the end of the month I transferred to a new job in the Cardiac ICU! I mean, I love hearts and needed to go full-time (benefits…oh benefits) so Monday night was my first full time night shift (since May) and let me tell you…I was really really tired. Six and half months of pregnancy combined with nerves and inadequate sleep (I totally didn’t get to my nap on time) and decreased caffeine intake= a really rough time staying awake from 4am – 6am. But I had a really great time learning about the various interventions and equipment used in the heart unit. I’m so excited to keep learning!
Small Group. Small group was all over the place this month…cancelled and rescheduled but I did manage to make it to one night for some good fellowship.
Serve the City. I made it to one service event for our church which was prepping for Advent! Woo!
Sermon.We were 50% for Bible study this month. But I did manage to make it to church a few more times because I took a few days off from work.
Traveling in the area. No traveling..just too busy this month
Simplify our house. We are planning on a yard sale on Saturday, December 3 to help get rid of the pile of stuff sitting on our dresser…it’s been there for months. Sorry, KonMari method…I know I’m supposed to throw it away, but I feel like that’s wasteful and I could make some money for my debt. But I keep having trouble not signing up for shifts at work and don’t have time to plan a yard sale.
How are your resolutions/goals going? For tips on how to CRUSH your goals next year, check out this fantastic blogger, Ruth!
Thanks for reading!