In my little college town of Ann Arbor, rental rates have been a huge topic as a new luxury apartment building prepares to open. What’s a new 2-bedroom apartment in this swanky building with a Google walkability rating of 95 out of 100 going to cost you? Try up to $2,875. Per. Month. What’s crazier is they are sold out. I’m no economics expert. I have no idea what this means, but it’s a little worrisome living in a city with a huge demand for housing. It’s a leaser’s market and little old me with my teacher’s salary is certainly not someone that can look at these apartments without laughing.
November and December seem to be the months where spending is the toughest. Family travel and holidays bring extra spending. For my fellow teachers out there, a couple weeks “off” can lead to an increase in spending as well. This past month, I came in about where I needed to: $500 over budget. “WHAHHHTTTT?!?!?!” You say? Two big one-offs finally hit the books: A bachelor party in Chicago and a car repair.
Bachelor Party & Wedding Costs
One of my good friends was married this past weekend. For the bachelor party, wedding gift and associated ancillary costs I spent about $300. That’s not really bad considering the bachelor party took place in downtown Chicago. Here’s something I realized: Strip clubs are not that fun when on a budget 🙂 Well, strip clubs aren’t really that fun in general – I’d rather be at an establishment with people of both genders having fun than a bunch of creepy dudes throwing away money. But, bachelor party and whatnot. It was still a fun weekend overall.
I was thrilled to be told my car needed only $250 in repairs. I was expecting the worst and not only did I not hit the worst, I somewhat kept my budget alive, because…
I received my last coaching stipend: $500. This keeps my budget pretty set and means, despite the $550 in extra spending, I didn’t dip into my emergency fund. Win! Of course, it would have been nice to put that $500 towards my student loans like I had hoped, but as long as the next month goes well I should be in position to make an additional December payment.
The rest of my spending was kept in check thanks to a gift card from the families of our soccer team. I was able to pick up some much needed items on black Friday as well as keep my grocery and food budgets in line in November thanks to their gift.
Looking forward, December will be an important month. While I will again go over in my “miscellaneous” category (Christmas shopping), I should be able to keep some other costs down, including my take-out budget. I’m currently sitting on about $1000 of non-emergency fund money in my checking account. This is money from additional income throughout the summer and fall that I’ve yet to put to use. Once I defeat December, it will be time to consider how much of it I can throw at my loans in an additional payment. That will be a great day! Until then, it’s all about keeping that spending down so I can participate in all the holiday consumer craziness while not dipping into any e-fund or loan pay-down monies.
I hope everyone else is off to a great holiday spending start!