November, as far as the budget was concerned, wasn't a good month in some ways. I managed to overspend on the food and household budgets, although in the case of the latter, I didn't spend as much as the previous month's overspend. Which was a slight improvement.
The food budget overspend was £29.01, which wasn't too bad. I think I overspent using up some Waitrose vouchers and so we still have quite a bit of food in the cupboards and freezer, which I have worked into December's menu plan. I'm hoping to virtually empty the freezer by the time we go away for Christmas, as there's no point leaving lots of food in it, just in case of a power cut, which does happen occasionally. So long as there's pasta and a jar of sauce in the cupboard to come home to, we can eat until I get a shop done.
As a consequence of the above, I'm leaving the monthly food budget as it is for the time being, as I think it is a realistic amount at £400, and I'm going to make a point of NOT using every voucher I'm sent this month. I have today used one £16 off a £75 spend voucher at Waitrose, to start the month off, but the final voucher will be thrown away, particularly after another farcical encounter when I tried to pick up my online order from the store today. I shouldn't need to buy much food at all next week and I'm determined not to overspend this month.
The household budget, was a bigger overspend at £55.71. Most of this was overstocking on toiletries again, as I'm still trying to find suitable 'natural' products and some things it is easier to buy a couple of as I order them online (i.e. toothbrushes/shampoo/mouthwash). I think I'm going to make a concerted effort to not buy any more multiples of certain products, until the ones I've already got have been tried and used up, but sometimes it is just too tempting. Despite the fact that I seem to constantly overspend in this household category, I am NOT going to up the monthly budget and it will remain at £50.
I'm going to try to come within budget in December for a change and avoid unnecessary temptations. I am currently in the process of changing up the dog's diet and have been buying various more natural foods for her to try, which seem to be well received. These do work out a bit more expensive, but I'm happy to pay a little extra to give her better quality food.
Overall, budgetwise, I have gone into overdraft this month by quite a bit (I have a free overdraft facility on my account), mainly because of some ongoing dental treatment I'm currently having, which is proving expensive. I'm hoping to recoup some of these costs from profits I make via my small business in the next couple of weeks, providing business stays as good as it has been lately.
The truth is that I haven't been to the dentist for a considerable time. Don't get me wrong, I meticulously clean my teeth twice daily and use mouthwash, but after an encounter with a rather unpleasant dentist, I stopped going for a while and this month I've tried to get back on track with this aspect of my health and it is costing me dearly.
It is, however, worth every penny. The new dentist seems very professional and has a helpful manner and as my oral health didn't turn out to be as bad as I'd feared, I am frankly relieved to be taking control of it and I don't intend to make the same mistake again.
In fact, I've now even confronted my long time nemesis (i.e. dental floss) and finally become a born again flosser. As a consequence, I have been trying to source more natural dental floss and gentler mouth washes than I was using, to improve my oral health further.
So, it's been an expensive month, especially with spending some money on Christmas presents too and needing to post presents off to Australia. I am, however, just about finished with my Christmas shopping, with just a few presents still to get, some of which I need OH to try on in store to get the sizing right, once his collar bone is in better shape.
As there are just 3 weeks before we head off for Christmas, I'm hoping that I can keep spending to a minimum before we go. I'm continuing to put away bits and pieces of food for Christmas and am going to make up a kind of hamper to take away with us.
In other news, the sealed box challenge was a complete fail this year, as I hardly put any money into it. Some of the change in it has been used to pay for a school trip for LB and the rest I am going to use for charity donations, as I often like to give to homeless people I meet when I'm out and about. I know not everyone approves of this kind of charitable giving, but it must be tough in winter to live on the streets and if I can help in any small way, I am happy to do so.
I do have to admit that my good intentions of giving to the local food bank fell by the wayside earlier this year, so I am also hoping to make a large donation of food this Christmas, to try to make up for it and then resume giving regularly in the New Year. I'm hoping the budget will allow for this, but it may have to be done over a couple of months instead of in one month alone. I would also like to pay for at least one person to attend Crisis at Christmas here in London, but I may have to rope OH in to do this as he did last year.
That's quite enough to be thinking about for one month, so I'll let you know how I get on at the end of the year. (Gosh that sounds so weird doesn't it - another year almost over, and a new one soon to begin - like the song!) I have already started thinking about my aims for 2016 and will probably do some kind of post at some point.
I hope you all have a good month.