December 2019: holidays here, there, and everywhere

How I ended November’s spending post: “December won’t be anywhere near as exciting, which is fine with me. I’m ready to slow down for a bit here at the end of the year.”

Yeah that… did not happen.

Last sunset of the year

Adventures around town

Early on in the month I had a chorus concert, which is never at all a relaxing weekend. The weekend after my partner and I spent a day doing some DC bucket list items: going up to the top of the Washington Monument and going to the Newseum before it closed.

The mall in all its glory

It was an awesome view, even without fall foliage or cherry blossoms to spice up the scenery.

I love how botanical gardens are always gorgeously decorated for the holidays. Poinsettias EVERYWHERE

I also worked a fair number of weeknights at my second job because ’twas the season for holiday parties and those pay well. That did not contribute to making the month feel relaxed at all.

Holiday travel

December also saw two family trips for me, since I flew down to Atlanta the weekend before Christmas to spend time with my family, and then flew up to New York to spend a week with my partner and his family over the holiday itself.

During that time we took a quick daytrip up to Niagara Falls. Two beefs with a “quick” daytrip: we spent two hours crossing borders, which ate up a significant chunk of our time and we didn’t even get our passports stamped for all the effort! I need to renew my passport and was hoping Canada would be my last stamp, but nope, guess it’s the ones I got from my trip to Amsterdam in the spring.

Scary mushroom cloud of mist!
Rainbow from the American side falls!

I hadn’t been to Niagara Falls since I was pretty young (back before you needed a passport to cross the border and all my grandparents needed was a notarized letter from my parents saying yes they knew I was traveling with my grandparents over the border for a day trip and had given their permission for the trip!), so it was nice to go back. Even if it was freezing! Next time we’ll go for an overnight trip so we’re not rushing.

Yet again that was not the most relaxing time I’ve ever spent, but it’s always nice to spend time with family regardless. Even if I don’t get much reading done!

Holidays at home

We left New York a day earlier than we normally would’ve in order to be back home so my brother could come up to DC to spend a night with us on his way up to NYC. It was the first time he and my partner have officially met since my brother currently lives abroad (hence the Amsterdam trip). The weather was horrible, or we would’ve done some sightseeing around DC before my brother had to catch his bus. Instead we spent a quiet day at home.

I worked the week of New Year’s (no time off for me other than New Year’s Day! Plus I’d rather work that week that’s quiet anyway and save my vacation time for other trips), plus was petsitting a few nights over New Year’s Eve. Since I had a dog to walk and feed, for New Year’s Eve my partner and I briefly went exploring a new part of DC after I got home from work. We headed to the Wharf, which was gorgeously lit up for the holidays, walked around some, and popped into a bar for a few oysters and a drink, before heading back to the home I was petsitting at to spend a quiet evening in playing with the dog, watching TV, and drinking champagne.

Lights are ?

Job #3

Wait what was that about petsitting? Yeah.

I’ve had a profile on Rover for years, but nothing has really ever come of it. Most of my petsitting in the past has been for people I know (or acquaintances of coworkers), which has been fine with me because then I a) get paid cash and b) can avoid Rover’s 20% fee. Every now and then I’ve had a one-off dog walking request, but it definitely hasn’t been frequent enough to do whatever the algorithms need to display my profile more prominently.

Until out of the blue in early December. I got a request to walk dogs (always one, sometimes two depending on if the older dog goes into work or not with one of the owners) over my lunch break all week, which also turned into the week after. I’m still walking these dogs fairly regularly, even though I’m the backup walker (which is fine with me. Sometimes a girl wants to work through her lunch break to make up time and save herself some vacation hours if she’s going out of town later that week!).

This request pleased the algorithm gods because I also got a request to petsit for four nights over New Year’s Eve, and I’ve also had a few other requests since then that I’ve had to turn down. I don’t know how long this is going to last, but I’m rolling with it while it does!

My side hustle pay looks pretty good for the month since December was also the month of making bank at my second job from working some holiday parties.

Last numbers of the year

Rent $700.00
Rent fee $29.00 My partner and I are going for the Southwest companion pass, and he put rent on one of his cards to help get to the minimum spend. Since the CP is a benefit for both of us, it was only fair to split the fee we incurred from paying rent with a credit card
Internet and utilities $52.43
Groceries $76.31 Not being around for half the month works wonders for your grocery budget!
Barre membership $104.94
Entertainment $29.08 A museum ticket and my partner’s ticket for my chorus concert
Restaurants/bars $75.25
Vacation $83.74 Various public transit/airport/restaurant spending over the holidays
Personal care $14.06
Charitable giving $46.68
Misc dues/subscriptions $44.04 Patreon dues
Clothes $130.33 New underwear (good riddance to the very old pairs with massive holes in them) and a second pair of running shoes since I needed a new pair for all the walking I do on a daily basis anyway
Other shopping $262.75 I told you Cyber Monday shopping was gonna appear in December’s spending! This was for a weighted blanket and two sleeping pads that I’m going to test out camping (thank goodness for REI’s return policy since there’s no way to know if the pad works for you until you spend a night feeling like you’re sleeping on the ground ?)
Gifts $0.75 Between what I spent on gifts and the cash I got for gifts, they just about evened out!
Christmas tree and stand $22.50
Total spending: $1671.86
Paychecks and other income $1774.33
Retirement contributions $1905.40
Side hustle income $702.15 $454.15 (hooray for holiday parties!) from my second job and $248 from Rover(!)
$40.00 Sold my old mattress pad
Cash back $20.33
Total income: $4442.21
Total: $2770.35
Savings rate: 62%

Saved by a bonkers amount of second (and third) job income and, of course, as always, those retirement contributions. That might’ve been what I needed to hit my savings rate goal for the year!

One Reply to “December 2019: holidays here, there, and everywhere”

  1. Given how much you travelled I’m super impressed at how low your vacation costs were !!
    Also, very impressive 2nd and 3rd job income . Nice!

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