My Monthly Expenses May 2017
Every month I publish my total spending without fluffing it up for the readers – dollar for dollar, everything I spend gets posted. Hookers and blow…on the budget, under entertainment. Bail money… on the budget, under housing. STD care… healthcare.
The month of May was an interesting month… it’s what happens when you’re a lazy mofo retiree who doesn’t track spending. If you’re not hip to this information, I retired a few months ago and since then have gotten quite lax on my spending as you will see below.
In this post I will break down my spending, discuss what went well and what didn’t. I will lay out my future spending plans, etc.
If you are interested to know what I earn every month you can go to the My Income section where I post my income from all the different things I dabble in.
Total May Expenses
I spent a total of nearly $4,600 for the month of May. That’s a lot of money for a single late 30’s male, living in a paid off studio condo in Portland, Oregon, without a car.
The advantage of achieving a financially independent situation is that I don’t have any need for extra income and therefore can worry less about how careful I am with spending it.
Donations – $1,000
I am trying to donate more to worthwhile causes. I am quite pleased with this process. Not only does it feel good but I am able to focus my financial energy onto more positive things rather than just worrying about saving/investing.
There are a few really fun projects which I have planned out involving the arts. I’ll write a good post on it once it’s underway.
Healthcare – $898
I started paying for my own health insurance sometime in February of this year, after I resigned from Kaiser Permanente. My health and dental monthly dues are around $270/month.
The previous month I paid $210 for a broken filling. It was causing pain and I was worried that it would break the surrounding enamel if I didn’t take care of it. In April I had the filling removed and a temporary filling placed.
This month, Dr. Yoo prepped the tooth for a crown for a cost of $600. The next visit is to have the final crown placed which is included in this price.
I have so much respect for a good dentist because I know how hard that work is. Dr. Yoo is fantastic so I am more than happy to pay $810 for his work.
Vacation – $872
I am still trying to figure out my love life so I am back and forth to NorCal every once in a while. When I go to visit we usually go out for dinner, drinks, a movie.
I’ll be honest, I still feel a little pressure to not be “cheap” because that’s naturally the impression most people have of me. I don’t agree – I think I’m frugal but not cheap… and handsome.
I spent nearly $600 for the airline and another $200 for entertainment. It’s more than I want to spend but it is what it is.
I’ve discussed the whole “vacationing” thing before. I don’t enjoy traveling in a traditional sense, getting on a plane to go somewhere for a few days and fly back. I enjoy long-term and slow travel without needing to waste a ton of gasoline or generate a ton of trash to see a monument which I can view on Google Maps.
Entertainment – $784
Uhm, I have an excuse for my high entertainment expense too… let me find it. So, this is a lot higher than I like to spend on my entertainment category. Again, this is what happens when you don’t budget. Though I am budgeting some, it’s more of a rough backward looking budgeting method which is quite ineffective.
Some of this spending comes from getting drinks with my billiard buddy or eating out with my lady. I’ll discuss my future spending plans at the end of this post.
Groceries – $565
I am trying out the Fuhrman diet which has shifted my spending a bit. It’s just a matter of time before I can learn how to optimize it. Once I figure it out then I should be able to get my grocery spending below $350/month, again.
I love the YNAB reports feature which shows me a snapshot of how much I spent on average month to month in each particular category. Below is a snapshot of my groceries category.
You can see that on average I only spend around $288/month on groceries. Not bad for an organic vegan diet.
Coffee – $404
I didn’t spend $400 on coffee, I swear. It’s just that I renamed this category moving forward from ‘Coffee/Dining Out’ to ‘Coffee’ and moved ‘Dining Out’ to it’s own category. If you want to learn about my YNAB workflow then click on the link.
I don’t know how much I spend on coffee every month which is why I moved that expense into its own category. That way, next month I can tell you exactly how much I spent on ‘coffee’ versus ‘dining out’.
Housing – $172
The housing budget shows how much I spent but doesn’t show how much I budgeted. $172 is my monthly HOA dues. I don’t include tax or money needed for things that might break down.
Again, YNAB is great for this. It will allow you to set a particular goal and tell you how you’re doing at meeting it. It will tell you how much you will need to save every month to reach that goal.
By end of the year I need to pay somewhere around $2,000 for my property taxes and I like to have around $500 for anything that might break down, $2,500 total goal. I plan for this upcoming expense – again, something fantastic about YNAB is that it allows you to budget for expenses far in advance.
I spent a good chunk on “business” expenses which I consider anything that I spend on myself to help improve my skills. Whether it’s learning more about writing, acquiring a new skill, spending on this website and books.
There are other categories which I won’t get into. They are either recurring expenses such as gym membership or monthly dues I pay to my financial adviser for his ongoing service and support.
Budgeting For A Goal
I am currently using YNAB less as a budgeting software but as a ‘look-back’ tool. Sadly, almost all softwares and budgeting systems are backwards looking and not forward-looking – except for YNAB.
Most of us remember Mint or similar services which essentially let you download your transactions, categorize them and then view a report of where you spent and how much you spent on one pretty screen.
For the novice or intermediate budgeter such a backward looking system is fairly ineffective. I consider myself intermediate – not quite expert, therefore us folk need a forward-looking system because we are planning. We are planning to achieve something very specific with our budgets, namely spend on items which help us achieve financial freedom.
After I reached my financial independence goal of saving enough in my investments to replace my monthly income, I no longer had any need or desire to budget. Who the fuck wants to meticulously account for every dollar? It’s embarrassing haggling over BJ’s. And cheap smack makes me itch!
I have a new reason to budget
No, I’m not pregnant and don’t have new mouths to feed. However, inevitably I will generate income in my retirement and it would be a shame to let that money slip out of my hands without making a good plan for it.
I have decided that I want to grow my taxable investment account for several reasons. I won’t get into it in this post so come back to read on that more later.
Over the next few months I am going to return to a more frugal lifestyle. Never the kind that impairs my joy but the kind that stretches my dollar in line with my values and what’s important to me.