December 2017: I kicked ass

Previously September was my most impressive spending report, at least savings-wise. (I’ve had some other pretty impressive months, but those were impressive if you used the “holy shit, that was a ton of spending” definition of “impressive.”)

Well, turns out December just blew that out of the water!

Overall it was a pretty quiet month; and that combined with the fact that I worked four of five weekends at my second job helped contribute to just how much money I had left over.

In other news, I’ve officially been tracking my net worth and spending for a year, and what a difference that year has made! If you don’t already track your spending, I recommend that you do!


I drove home for Christmas (for all of about 60 hours because I went to work the week between Christmas and New Year’s. Am I hoarding my vacation days like a vengeful dragon for use during 2018? Yep!). Gotta love cheap holiday travel! I also went to Ohio early in December to see family, but I bought that plane ticket in October, so this trip cost me the price of a roundtrip Lyft ride to the airport and a coffee while waiting to board my plane.

Christmas lights
Some of my favorite Christmas lights ever, courtesy of my hometown


My parents mentioned a few months ago that they’ve been holding onto some savings bonds that some relatives purchased for me when I was born. You’ll hear more on those later—I’ll be asking the personal finance community for some advice on what to do with those.

What I didn’t know is that there was also apparently a random stack of cash they’ve been holding for me in their safe deposit box as well. Don’t ask me why. I’m not asking why. I got the surprise of $281 in cash when they gave me the envelope with the savings bonds.

Between that cash, the money from my side hustle, and the fact that December was an extra paycheck month, the income side of the equation looked pretty damn awesome for the month.

Numbers time!



My half of rent
Internet and utilities


My half of utilities
Plastic window coverings


Here’s hoping this ends up saving us a bit on heating, even though the lack of insulation in the walls is probably a bigger culprit of cold air leaking in than our surprisingly decent windows


Student loans


Automatic loan payment


Greatly helped along the way by the fact that my parents had enough grocery points for $1.00 off/gallon and they paid to fill my tank when I was home over Christmas
Barre membership




Lyft to/from the airport


Paid off the rest of what I owed from the sweaters/jeans I bought in November
Holiday spending


Christmas tree and the last of the spending on gifts, largely offset by what my siblings owed me from joint gifts I bought in November


This is a bit higher than I wanted it to be, but ’twas the season for catching up with friends while at home plus a meetup with the ONLs while they were in town!
Personal care


Charitable giving


Donation to Stacey Abrams’ political campaign


Miscellaneous shopping, including *gasp* a book that was not from the library!
Misc dues/subscriptions


Spotify and Patreon


Reimbursement for my November dentist appointment
Total spending:


Paychecks and other income


Five paycheck month, interest, and I redeemed some credit card cashback via check (because my double cash card doesn’t get me cashback on statement credits, but I do get cashback on payments I make!)
Side hustle income


Got my second paycheck! This is minus what I’m putting aside for taxes, and with some Lyft costs subtracted out for the two occasions I didn’t drive to work (the holiday party being one of them)
Surprise cash


Little did I know this was sitting in my parents’ safe deposit box at the bank!
Total income:




Fifty-one percent. That’s a fifty-one percent savings rate for December. That is the first time in my life I’ve saved that much.

Brb buying all the avocado toast in celebration! Just kidding, I’ve got avocados at home and can make my own avocado toast. But you are all welcome to congratulate me on how awesome I am! 😉

Celebratory spending spree

What did I do with all of that extra money, besides (not) buying all the avocado toast a girl can eat?

The cash got split between my Roth IRA and my brokerage accounts. The extra paycheck is being used somewhat as a slush fund (remember how I said Qapital is a super-aggressive savings app? December happens to be the expensive part of the 52 week challenge!) and as a bit of padding for my emergency fund. And, as usual, every cent from my second job is going towards my consumer debt. Just a few months until I’ve got that paid off!

I think the last time my savings rate looked this good was back in March when I got my tax return (which was a 45% savings rate month). January’s income won’t be this much, but seeing as how I’m doing the Uber Frugal Month challenge, in theory my savings rate should be similarly high.

Can I do a repeat performance? Find out in a few weeks!

28 Replies to “December 2017: I kicked ass”

  1. OVER HALF! That’s awesome girl! I don’t know that I’ve ever hit a rate that high, well done. December looks to have been good for you. Fingers crossed for you in January. Getting the last of the debt paid off will feel so good too 🙂

    1. Thank you, thank you! Here’s hoping this is not the first and also last time this happens haha.

      Another credit card payment posted this morning and I got excited looking at the balance. I’m so close!

    1. Thank you, E! It was extremely tempting to leave just a bit for myself, but I sent over those payments the same day I deposited the cash. The next time I get surprise money maybe I’ll let myself keep some of it once I’m debt-free 😉

  2. Wow sub-$2K expenses! That’s crazy low spending for the month! I don’t think I’ve ever had a month that low in the city haha.

    Hopefully with the Uber Frugal month in January you may be able to replicate! 🙂

    1. I find I hover around $2k-$2.2k most months lately, so this was certainly an anomaly. But yes, here’s hoping January looks similar!

  3. This is freaking impressive! The only reason we’ve hit that number (once) is there are two of us. Even with the cost of part time preschool, it’s just easier when you have another person to split rent/groceries/etc (as long as that person is on board of course). Hats off to you for achieving it on your own especially in such a HCOL area.

    1. Thank you! I’ve been thinking about (and being jealous of all you couples!) how much easier it seems sometimes to save money when you’ve got two incomes coming in and can split costs. Damn you, singledom haha!

        1. Fair, although I’m assuming I’ll be selecting out the potential spendy spouses 😉

          Can’t argue with the kid not being cheap though!

  4. That’s amazing! I haven’t reconciled my December expenses and income yet (oops?) but I feel like holiday shopping may have done a number on my savings. I saw so many good friends and enjoyed every minute of extra purchases though so I’m chalking that up as a win since I really want to focus on values-based spending this year (experiences and people over things!). Loved this post as usual.

    1. Values-based spending and spending money on people and things you want to do is absolutely a win! Love that that’s your focus this year!

    1. Hah yeah, that isn’t usual for December/holiday spending!

      As for groceries, it helps that I’m only one person. I eat a LOT of leftovers, plus I’ve got a stocked pantry and freezer, which means I don’t routinely have to buy a lot of the staples. I also shop in bulk when it makes sense for me to do so. Those things are enough to keep my costs low, since I don’t usually worry about whether things are on sale or not when I buy them.

      Thanks for reading!

  5. Awesome job!!!

    I should really track my spending for awhile. I used to do it constantly, but since stabilizing my spending I rarely have bothered to do so. When I check my budget, I’m only confirming that I spent at or less than the planned amount. I’m counting down vs up, if that makes sense. It’d be interesting to see what it looks like if I total it all together.

    1. Well you don’t track your spending and I don’t have a budget so together we make one perfect FIRE blogger 😉

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