December 2016 One Income Family Budget Update

The last month of the year! How has your budget been this year? Did you finish where you wanted?

I would say that my hubby and I are happy with where we ended the year. We don’t have exactly the amount of savings we were hoping for, but if you check out November’s One Income Family Budget Update you will know that we made a decision (on purpose) that we knew would leave our budget where it currently sits.

We are totally okay with that!

And let’s not forget about how our family finished paying off over $20,000 of debt this year! We put in a lot of hard work to become debt free! Lot’s of overtime worked by hubby, strategic budgeting and meal planning, and careful cash spending.

A simple one income family budget helped to save over $5,000 in only two months! Learn how this family has been able to save money for a house, in an expensive city, on just one income. It’s not complicated at all! Here are the exact numbers from our family bank account!

Becoming 100% debt free has been our biggest financial achievement of the last decade! Make sure you are subscribed to my newsletter so you don’t miss out on all the debt free tips I will be sharing this next year!

Are you ready to see the actual numbers from our family bank account and budget? First let me clear a couple things up…

Why do we share our family budget?

I personally find it very motivating to learn about other family budgets and what they do to manage them. Learning about their tricks on how to make their pennies stretch and what they do when obstacles come up.

One problem I have seen though, is that a lot of articles out there are families that live where the cost of living is a lot less then where we live. Making their budget a lot less realistic for us to follow.

I want to show you guys that living on a one income family budget is completely doable, even if you live in an area where the cost of living is high.

Our family lives in San Diego, which is one of the most expensive places to live in the United States. But we are finding ways to make it work on one income and I want to help you do the same thing!

Check out our previous month’s budget updates here to find out what we have been learning along the way.

Ready to see the real numbers?

Let’s get to it! Make sure to watch the video to see exactly what all our finances looked like last month.

Also, if there is anything I am leaving out of our one income family budget update that we are sharing, or something different you would like to cover in our budget, please let me know! We are happy to share!

Coming up short for our goal savings

Similar to our November One Income Family Budget Update, hubby and I made the decision to scale back on him working so much overtime during the holidays.

We had to decide what we valued more. Was it reaching our savings goal for the year or having him around for all the celebrations?

Don’t get me wrong. I have a lot of respect for people may have had to make the hard decision to work the holidays. We have done it many times. But fortunately, we are in a position where we could choose to have him stay home this year.

As a result, we are about $275 short in our goal savings for 2016. Not a huge deal and we will surpass it after our first paycheck of the year.

Get your FREE Beginners Budgeting Toolkit

If you would like to download your own copy of the same exact budget spreadsheet our family uses, you can do that right here. Also, available in this kit is a printable version, if hardcopy is your preference.

Going over budget

You guys know that we share the good, the bad, and the ugly with you. December we actually went over our Christmas budget by about $100.

I mistakenly thought that we had an “extra $100” for Christmas but in reality I had forgot that we charged the purchase of a gift to our Kohl’s card so we could get the extra 20% savings.

Those credit card deals can be so tricky! My mistake is exactly what the credit card company hopes everyone will do!

The good news is that we had wiggle room in our budget because we normally put $425 into savings each paycheck.

Well, between the credit card mistake and hubby not working overtime, we were only able to put $225 into savings from our second paycheck of the month.

Again, we feel totally okay with this and are moving forward with our plans to start looking to buy our first house in the New Year!

Extra paycheck in December 2017!!!

Because hubby gets paid every other week, depending on how the Fridays land in the month, about twice a year we get an “extra” paycheck.

We base our budget off of two paychecks a month, rather than off an average monthly income. This allows us to manage our money more safely so we don’t over spend.

Then when that blessed third paycheck comes along, we have a lot of wiggle room! Typically what we do is go on as normal. We pay the next scheduled bills and pull the cash for our cash envelope system.

But because not all bills are available to pay so far in advance, we are left with some money in limbo. We either put that money into an emergency fund, or use it towards some unplanned expenses.

With this last month, we are using $150 to go towards our Disneyland trip, which is coming up in a couple weeks. Then any remaining “limbo money” will be put towards savings for home closing costs.

What do you think?

What are you biggest concerns about your family’s budget? Are you on a one income budget? Do you hope to move to a one income family budget? Let chat in the comments below!

Talk to you Pearls soon! Xoxo




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  • Sharon
    January 9, 2017 at 5:16 pm

    Do you have a separate savings account for
    Emergency, house, vacation etc?

    • Brittany Cooper
      January 10, 2017 at 7:43 pm

      Well we have one savings account and our bank lets us subdivide into smaller, labels accounts. Does that answer your question? Let me know if it doesn’t! 💜

  • smoretraiolit
    May 8, 2020 at 3:11 pm

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