December 2018: holiday spending/travel edition

Y’all, before we get into it, it has come to my attention that I’ve been doing this “savings” thing wrong. I need to “for-reals” save towards FI with the money that I save. The money that I save that’s leftover every month from my income once you subtract out my spending and oh wait now my poor, weak girl brain is confused because isn’t that the definition of savings?!?

You mansplain to me on my own damn blog and you’re going to get snark, just sayin’ (unless you’re enough of a dick that I straight-up delete your comment. I was feeling petty when I got the notification for that one, though).


What was I up to while I wasn’t posting?

I have a measly two posts for December but not a whole lot happened that was terribly exciting offline. I was just tired and taking a break. And reading a lot. However, there are a few things of note.

Museum season

Surprise, surprise, it was fairly unpleasant weather some of our December weekends. When she’s not working side hustle shifts, what’s a girl to do when it’s cold out?

Stay indoors. I do love hiking, but I also love museums, and winter is the perfect time to visit them (although as long as the government is shut down, so are our amazing free Smithsonian museums). Half of the exhibition had already been taken down, but I got to see the remaining half of the Burning Man exhibition at the Renwick Gallery one such cold weekend.

Soooooo pretty and mesmerizing!


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Anonymous blogger enjoys some art and stays anonymous ?

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Holiday travel

In previous years I’ve largely stayed in town around the holidays, aside from a few days at Christmas. We don’t get many paid vacation days around the holidays and I’m always loath to take a bunch of days off. Especially if I’m driving to NC—that’s usually a weekend trip, so why hang out there for a week or so when I could drive back up to DC to work and save my PTO for other times? I’ve mentioned before that I hoard my vacation days like a vengeful dragon. So I can do things like take a week off at a time for the beach every year.

Family holiday #1

This year I did actually burn a few vacation days for holiday travel. Since they didn’t come up to us for Thanksgiving, which is what usually happens, my family went down to Atlanta the weekend before Christmas to see my aunt and uncle. So I flew down there for a few days.

I did get some exercise in there with many walks around the neighborhood (it’s always so depressing to go all the way around the neighborhood and realize when you get back that you’re nowhere near your daily 10k steps ?. Just goes to show how much walking I’ve got built into my daily life!) and one particularly difficult climb straight up Stone Mountain. Hiking is hard when you’ve had too many cookies!


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Lovely clear day for a view of the ATL skyline #barelymadeitup #toomuchdessertlately #stonemountain

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Family holiday #2

My dad had to be home to work the week of Christmas, so I drove back up to NC with my parents and stayed there for a night. Normally I would’ve gone back to work on December 26-28 so I didn’t have to take those days off, buuuuuuut this year was different. Because the holidays—and the fact that I didn’t have my own family obligations directly over Christmas Eve/Day—were a good excuse to meet my partner’s family.

So I spent most of a week there. I survived! Despite very heated board/card games (how many times did I tell my boyfriend he’s cuter when he doesn’t talk? Too many to count, although that’s a fairly regular occurrence anyway ?) and constant teasing about granola and tree bark/hugging trees (although I have admitted here to sniffing trees!) since I am…way more left than his family is ??


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Winter walk #latergram

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The last numbers of the year

So how did things shake out in December? I did a bunch of pre-spending for vacation in later months (I’m going to Amsterdam in March, hooray!!!) that drove up my expenses quite a bit, but still not bad at all.

Rent $1050.00 My half of rent
Internet and utilities $41.37 We’re nearing the time where the credit on our gas bill will run out and we’ll have to start paying for that again, but not yet!
Groceries $57.24 I wasn’t home for half the month and largely made do with what I’d bought in November
Gas $0.00 I honestly don’t think I’ve had a single month since I got my car where I didn’t get gas. I made up for this by having to buy plane tickets for my Christmas travel instead ?
Transportation $23.50 Metro top-ups and a one-way ticket on MARTA from the airport in Atlanta
Barre membership $104.69
Restaurants/bars $59.67 A DC meetup, some airport food, and some bar spending over Christmas
Misc household goods $40.69 Including hair dye since I was warned we’d be taking family photos at Christmas and my hair was decidedly still greenish from the teal hair dye at FinCon. Gone in “6-8 washes” my ass! I’m back to actually being brunette now
Pink tax $2.86
Charitable giving $115.00
Misc dues/subscriptions $31.00 Patreon dues, etc.
Gifts $125.84
Shopping $38.75 Some of the gifts I bought were super awesome so I might’ve gotten some for myself…
Christmas tree $30.00 Yes, I get a real one every year, don’t @ me
Vacation $433.93 Exciting things! I bought a ticket to Amsterdam to see my brother in March and paid for a hotel room for my friend’s rescheduled wedding in May
Total spending: $2154.54
Paychecks and other income $2183.70 Including $97 in cash back that I redeemed from another credit card
Side hustle income $228.37 A nice way to end the year!
Retirement contributions $1390.12 My (still elevated to 30%) contribution plus my employer’s 9% match
Total income: $3802.19
Total: $1647.65
Savings rate: 43%

Y’all are smart people who can either do math and/or figure out their way around a calculator (no shade, that’s me!), so you don’t need me to (gasp!) spell out what my “for-reals” savings would be if you for some harebrained reason wanted to exclude my retirement contributions 😉

6 Replies to “December 2018: holiday spending/travel edition”

  1. You need to get SERIOUS about REAL SAVING, Erin. Seriously. ?

    (This reminds me of a friend of mine who keeps a spotless house with basically nothing in it. Seriously, even though she’s married with two kids and has been living there for years, the house looks like they haven’t moved into it yet. One day recently, her mother came to visit and said “You should check out this book about tidying up.” And my friend said “Oh, the Marie Kondo book? I read that before it was popular!” and her mother gestured around the [nearly completely empty] room and said “I see no evidence of that here.”)

    1. You didn’t tag me in the tweet but I saw it nonetheless 😉

      That’s what happens when you unexpectedly get your period while you’re away from home for a week and a half. I had sorta prepared just in case but it was not enough. And of course to add insult to injury, I had to pay to buy things I had plenty of at home already ?

  2. Nothing terribly exciting!? Your s/o must be pretty boring haha (just kidding!)

    I love playing games around the holidays though! Some can be uber frustrating when you don’t get the right cards though ?

    All in all sounds like a great month and so jealous of the trip abroad next year!

    1. Hahaha he is extremely boring! Either that or it’s winter, which is the season for hibernating and doing nothing.

      Finally started trip planning last night and I’m excited!

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