Results From a Challenging November

This month has gone by in a whirlwind. With a string of misfortunes and bad news making it hard to stick to the sober part of this month. Thankfully I'm not the type that tends to drink away her sorrows. I didn't touch a drop of alcohol from October 23rd until the eve of December 1st.

On a positive note (except for my budget) We are going home to see my family for Christmas! This blew up the frugal November but we did manage to keep our other expenditures low. 

First lets look at MY spending: 

Rent: $550
Phone: $40
Grocery spending: $55 (Edited from $62, apparently I can't math).
Transit: $20
Random: $2

Travel: $1950

Total expenditures excluding travel: $677 

Total expenditures with travel:  $2627

I'm so happy with how low the regular expenditures are. Yes, the groceries went slightly over the meager $50 per person we set out to meet. What I learned though, is that I'm fully capable of  sticking to the $50 budget. The reason we went over was my partners coffee needs. This landed us another $10 bill late in the month that couldn't be avoided, and we're already out of coffee again!!! Sigh. Don't let me fool you though. I fully support the need for coffee. Where I'm from we drink coffee 4-5 times per day so having 2 cups in the morning is quite sensible. 

The random $2 comes from our gift card party this month. My partner has airmiles gift cards (and some birthday gift cards) that we decided to use on black Friday deals. We ended up going to The Bay, Staples and MEC. I put in an additional $2 at The Bay to pay for the tiny difference for our brand new 2 pairs of gloves. Wohoo $2 gloves! They'll be much needed come Sweden. 

Travel expenditures is what happens when you end up flying to Europe for the holidays. We probably spent 6h hunting down the best deal, ending up purchasing a ticket and getting it refunded immediately and finally settled on staying a bit longer than originally planned to save money. 

I learnt so much this month and I'm happy to say I feel that I've grown as a person. November was extremely challenging, and I only got half of what I set out to do done. Having a structure and goals for the month helped me stay on track rather than wallowing in pity. 

Here are some of the big things that I've come to realise:

1. I don't eat nearly enough – This might be the answer to my low energy. My diet is extremely meager and not always the healthiest. I've started slowly trying to increase my calories and how much/often I eat. 
2. I'm allergic to dairy – I finally found the big issues plaguing my stomach. I should avoid cheese and other dairy products as much as I can. Not even taking enzymes before a meal helps my body process the food I eat. I had some very bad days after eating grilled cheeses and melts for most of my meals. 
3. When it rains it pours – We ended up facing a string of bad news all at once which shook the foundations of our future goals. Now, in the beginning of December, we're hoping for some sunshine and a stronger plan for the future.
4. $50 is totally enough for groceries with a pantry stocked as full as ours. - We ended up going over this month because of coffee and dairy for my partner (and we're already out of coffee again!) However our pantry is still fully stocked and I feel confident in sticking to a frugal grocery budget.
5. Don't take on too much – The challenges I set for myself ended up being more than I could handle. I didn't end up putting anything up for sale and  I didn't touch the sewing machine. Instead each week was packed with events and chores. This added to my stress and I'll make less plans for future months. 
6. Take care of those you love – With everything that happened this month I've come to appreciate my loved ones even more. They are there to keep you afloat and support you when times are tough. Our time on earth is short and if there's a meaning to life, it's to love.
7. Take care of yourself – You are the most important person in your life. Love yourself and others will love you too. I've forgotten about caring for myself in the past year and it's caused a horde of concerns. Stop. Breathe. Love. 
What did you learn this past November?