Monthly Spending – August 2017

I’m catching up on this blog and publishing another spending post for August. August was spent mainly in the hospital. During those times, I tried my best to work on nursing baby MMD and learned from the nurses as much as I could. I was spending 6 hours a day in the hospital this month. Baby MMD made it home after spending 74 days in the NICU. We are overjoyed. I welcomed the sleepless nights better than hospital stays.

Lack of Baby Shower

The Mr. and I also took majority of August off in preparation for baby MMD’s arrival. Majority of my spending was in preparation for baby MMD’s arrival. Since I gave birth prematurely, I didn’t have the chance to have a baby shower. I did not missed it at all. In fact, the absence of the shower caused me to focus on essential items. We also received majority of the big ticket items for free. The major items we bought are the swing that baby MMD used in the NICU and a stroller with a bassinet that he uses daily. Those 2 are definitely a luxury. The rest are for feeding. I also found a lot of baby’s clothes, which my sister happily picked up and paid for. It costs $50 for almost 24 months of wardrobe.

So here’s the month of August, clocking in under $5k

 

Want to know more – just ask. If you have any recommendation where I can manage to decrease this, feel free to comment. I thank you in advance.

Tracking: I track my expenses using mint. I really like the app and made categorizing my expenses very easy. I enjoy looking at charts and the comparison feature is fantastic.

 

Monthly Spending – July 2017

Hello, medical bills

This is a very late post regarding my spending for July. Time is limited once you have a baby. I went back to work in July after giving birth in June. Baby MMD stayed in the hospital for that month. Juggling work, pumping and hospital visit were challenging. My mood to write was also affected by baby MMD’s progress in the hospital. It is hard to take my mind off the NICU. Because of that, this blog was essentially abandoned for the month of July and August.

Financial Independence have a new meaning now. I am thankful for the frugal lifestyle I had. Because of this, the unexpected expenses caused by the medical bills did not affected our family. Fast forward to this month, most of the bills were already paid. I am not expecting more copay for baby MMD. I am also very thankful for insurance. I can not imagine being in a situation without it. Overall, despite of all the roller coaster emotions that happened / happening, I am thankful that I don’t have to think of finances. I can focus on this tiny human, our family and our health.

I don’t have additional spending aside from the medical bills. Note that the grocery there is small because Mr. MMD purchased the grocery while I pay for the utilities and internet. My grocery was a snack here and there that I purchased on my own.

Want to know more – just ask. If you have any recommendation where I can manage to decrease this, feel free to comment. I thank you in advance.

Tracking: I track my expenses using mint. I really like the app and made categorizing my expenses very easy. I enjoy looking at charts and the comparison feature is fantastic.

Monthly Spending – June 2017

Oh Baby, Baby, Baby

June was full of events. I had a preterm delivery and welcomed baby MMD. He was 28 weeks at that time. It was very surreal. I don’t have enough words to describe the feelings I have. It’s full of emotions. We’re trying to take this day by day. It’s been more than a month and I’m trying to get some sense of normalcy back in my life. It’s hard navigating parenting in the NICU. My life is now centered on pumping and NICU visit. At some point, I would like to be able to write about his birth, but not this time. This time, I’ll give you an update of my spending for June.

Cost I didn’t pay for

You’ll not see a spike on my spending for this month. The medical bills will not kick in until the next couple of months – and maybe even more, depending on the date of the claim. Mr. MMD also purchased most of the items we need. For June, we bought a freezer, meal preparation items and a lot of groceries. Mr. MMD has been cooking every weekend for us. These are not necessarily unexpected expense. We plan to buy a freezer so we can prepare meals in advance, just not on the month of June. Just like we didn’t plan for baby MMD’s arrival until August. The expense came early, but it is ok. I also purchased a breast pump which was not included below since I filed a claim from my insurance to get it reimbursed. Breast pump is consider preventative and I’m lucky enough that insurance covers the cost of it.

What I paid for

We bought a vacuum cleaner this June. I think its time for us to actually have a decent one instead of using our Roomba. This came from my account so you’ll see it as an expense.

So here’s my expenses. A tad late from posting, but then again, I just had a baby.

 

Want to know more – just ask. If you have any recommendation where I can manage to decrease this, feel free to comment. I thank you in advance.

Tracking: I track my expenses using mint. I really like the app and made categorizing my expenses very easy. I enjoy looking at charts and the comparison feature is fantastic.

 

 

 

Monthly Spending – May 2017

We welcome May with a lot of warm weather. I mean A LOT. For a pregnant women living in the northwest, this can be very uncomfortable. I needed 2 fans on me for a couple of nights to sleep. We also talk about buying an AC for the room. Usually, I won’t consider this, but I’m giving myself a break here. C’mon, I am going on my third trimester during the hottest months of the year.

Name Change, Furry baby and the Mr’s birthday

I changed my name this month. There were interesting trips to Social Security and DMV, but I managed to do it in 1 afternoon. I’ll call that a win. It took almost the full month to change it for everything else (I’m sure I’m not done yet).

The furry baby also needs to get her heartworm medication. We are walking distance to a pet store that host the Good Neighbor Vet 2 Saturdays of the month. I bought a full year’s worth of medicine which included a free heartworm test all for $46. I really like this clinic. They only perform preventative care at extremely affordable price, including preventative medications. The Furry baby still has a different doctor when she get sick.

And of course, this month, we also celebrated the Mr’s birthday. We had a simple celebration at home and invited our close friends. I definitely enjoyed hosting people at home instead of going out. It is easier to plan than calling a restaurant for reservation, it’s more relax and of course cost way less.

Here’s my expenses for May.

Want to know more – just ask. If you have any recommendation where I can manage to decrease this, feel free to comment. I thank you in advance.

Tracking: I track my expenses using mint. I really like the app and made categorizing my expenses very easy. I enjoy looking at charts and the comparison feature is fantastic.

Monthly Spending – April 2017

I finally start feeling the change of weather this April. This is very much welcomed in my part of the world where it can feel that the gloomy weather is year round. This is also the time where I usually get anxious and go on a trip just to see the sun. At any given time, I would have taken my backpack and travel. It’s different this time. I’m unsure of what I feel. I feel normal for the most part but with the weight gain and fatigue, I’m hesitant to travel the same way as I did last year. Last year, I went to Portugal by myself, traversing the narrow streets, walking almost everywhere or taking the tram.

A little bit of sunshine

I gave in on my anxiety and agreed to go on a long weekend with the Mr to sunny Los Angeles. LA is a great choice because 1) there is sun 2) we have friends that live there 3) I’ve been there many times and I will not be on the “I need to see everything” phase. This was a pretty luxurious trip for our end. Instead of a hostel which I stayed at when I was in Lisbon, I booked a hotel overlooking the marina and yes it was pricey. I think that’s the reason that my friends and coworkers are calling it a “babymoon”. Let’s just say that I was not frugal for that weekend. Since the hotel trip was not charged till May, I didn’t see this spending for April.

Hobbies, etc

I also signed up for beginner sewing classes last month. After using my sewing machine and looking at you tubes, I decided to cancel my classes and received a refund from it. I felt that it is really easy to teach myself as long as I practice. My first project was a simple disposable baby wipes. My fur baby chewed on my 10 year old bed sheet and I used the cotton fabric to make a simple disposable baby wipes. We’re going to try to use a cloth diaper for the baby and we might as well use a disposable baby wipes. I was able to make about 30 pieces from the sheet and practice a simple sewing technique. At the same time, I received some scrap fabric from my local buy nothing group and I was able to make a table cloth out of it. I don’t intend to make complicated clothing out of the sewing machine, so at this point, I think I already know the “beginner”. I might sign up for an intermediate if I decide to continue on this hobby.

We also celebrated my mother’s birthday and it’s been somewhat of a tradition to go to Olive Garden’s. Of course, my sister and I split the bill. I think for next year, I need to plan for this more and check if I can get some discounts. I also finally got a double shower curtain rod from Amazon. This has been on my list for a while and it was installed yesterday.

And here’s my expenses for April. I closed with a little bit more than 3K.

Want to know more – just ask. If you have any recommendation where I can manage to decrease this, feel free to comment. I thank you in advance.

Tracking: I track my expenses using mint. I really like the app and made categorizing my expenses very easy. I enjoy looking at charts and the comparison feature is fantastic.

 

Monthly Spending – March 2017

Continuing on my goal to keep myself accountable on tracking my expenses, I give you my spending for March. There were few big expenses this month that I pay once once a year. I pay auto insurance every 6 months. This year, before my renewal, my husband and I decided to combine our insurance. I took the same opportunity to get a different quote for our home insurance since it is also up for renewal this year. I don’t think I will ever understand the algorithm behind insurance rates. We haven’t been in an accident or had a ticket for the past 5+ years and we drive an older car, but the insurance rate just keep increasing. We saved $260.49 by combining this expenses.

Oh hello baby!!

I also have some medical bills related to my pregnancy. Yup, I am pregnant and expecting our first child. We’re definitely very excited about this. The medical bill is my deductible. I am on a high deductible plan but our plan period ends in March and I had the opportunity to change my insurance and move from HSA to FSA. Both are tax deductible but with FSA, you can use the entire contribution for the entire year. My deductible is also lower. I haven’t touch my HSA since it’s invested. I have enough to cover the expenses and I plan to use my HSA as form of retirement fund. I am really lucky and very grateful for the insurance provided by my company. I know that for some other people, medical expenses can break a bank.

Oh Winter

I also paid to refill our oil this year. Last year, we have to refill it around February so it’s about that time. We’re thinking of ways to decrease the use of central heating. We have 4 rooms, the living room and the kitchen. In total, we’re really only in our living room, kitchen and our bedroom. I’m experimenting and bought a this heater for our living room. I need to watch out for electric bill to see the effect for the month. We’re also using less heat now, since we’ve been getting some sun – hello spring!

Want to know more – just ask. If you have any recommendation where I can manage to decrease this, feel free to comment. I thank you in advance.

Tracking: I track my expenses using mint. I really like the app and made categorizing my expenses very easy. I enjoy looking at charts and the comparison feature is fantastic.

Spending Report – Jan and Feb 2017

I am very late on publishing this spending report. I even thought about discontinuing it, but listening to Liz from Frugalwoods yesterday on choosefi podcast inspired me to keep tracking my expenses. Before listening to the podcast and completing my last year’s spending, I told myself that I don’t need to track my expenses every month. I know what I’m spending on. At the same time, listening to Liz gave me this boost of energy and self realization that I need some accountability in order to achieve my goal of financial independence. Publishing this keeps me accountable. Perhaps, I will discontinue this at some point, but this year is not the year to do so.

My goal is to publish this once a month in 2017. I will decide after that if I want to continue.

January was the uber frugal challenge month

January was very light. This is the month that I joined the uber frugal challenge. I definitely noticed a dip on my spending. For example, I didn’t spend anything on restaurants. I also took my lunches to work for all of January. Drove less and entertained our friends at home. My goal is to spend about $3K per month but now I know that I can spend even less. 

February and lifestyle creep

February was a bit more.  The shopping line is very unusual. I bought a sewing machine. This machine has been on my wish list for more than a year now. I’ve been tracking the price on Amazon and I bought it after it hit less than $300. I’m excited to get to know this sewing machine. I also renewed my CPA license. The license is valid for 3 years until another renewal. My grandmother celebrated her birthday at her favorite restaurant and my sister and I split the bill. I bought lunches three times this month. I also filed taxes for my parents, 2 sisters and our taxes. I purchased an HRblock software this time that is downloadable and can e-file 5 returns for free. I used to do it by hand since I’m the only one who is not qualify for free e-filing, but this time, my sister didn’t qualify either. My brother who is self employed is also chipping in, so it is cheaper for the 3 of us to purchase the bundle and it only took me half a day to file 4 tax returns (1) parents (2) sisters (3) us, and I’m still waiting for my brother’s information. You’re welcome, family!

I started the year right, but I realized that it is pretty easy to throw away the habit that you formed throughout the years. For example, I’ve been taking my lunches to work ever since I started working. If I don’t, it’s because I innocently forgot my lunch at home. This time around, I was aware that I didn’t prepare it and justify the lunch purchase as a one time cost. That one time cost became 3 times in one month. That’s 300 percent more than I used to do.

I’m glad that it didn’t creep in and I’m out of the rut. Perhaps, I will experience the same feeling again, but for now, I’m celebrating this new found energy.

Want to know more – just ask. If you have any recommendation where I can manage to decrease this, feel free to comment. I thank you in advance.

Tracking: I track my expenses using mint. I really like the app and made categorizing my expenses very easy. I enjoy looking at charts and the comparison feature is fantastic.

2016 Spending Recap

I started tracking my monthly expenses on this blog, but stopped after September. As I mentioned here, there were days where I lose sight of the goal. This is why it is surprising to me that I actually spent less than the previous year. This included my wedding expenses that I paid for.

In 2016, I spent a total of $44,162.13. Housing is 48% of my spending followed by wedding expenses. Without these, my spending is about $15K.

My spending decrease by $3k from $47K to $44k. I didn’t start tracking my monthly spending since the beginning of 2016 and stopped in October of 2016. Even with this mishaps, I still managed to decrease my spending. This is a great example that forming a habit of frugality works.

I doubt that this spending will decrease this year. There are big changes coming up in 2017 that warrant another post. I am very happy and quite surprise when I saw this. I feel that I reached the optimum. This year, I would like to focus on more on increasing my income. A few things to keep in mind about my spending:

  • The spending doesn’t include taxes and health insurance that are taken from my paycheck.
  • The housing is 50% of our monthly mortgage. My husband and I split this evenly. This financial agreement warrants another post for more explanation.
  • Housing expense includes home insurance and property taxes that are paid through escrow. Property tax increased from 2015 – 2016 and again in 2017. I manage to appeal my 2015 given that we just bought the property. I find the 2017 appraisal reasonable and didn’t appeal it. If you own a home and believe that the appraisal was higher than it should be, you should always try to appeal it. I will write a post more on this.
  • The wedding expenses are what I paid for. We spent about $18K in total on this. I will elaborate more on this on another post.
  • The gifts are for my family and friends. This do not include any donation I made through another fund.

 

Want to know more – just ask. If you have any recommendation where I can manage to decrease this, feel free to comment. I thank you in advance.

Tracking: I track my expenses using mint. I really like the app and made categorizing my expenses very easy. I enjoy looking at charts and the comparison feature is fantastic.

 

Monthly Spending – September 2016

September is a pretty average month. I don’t have any big spending and it’s been consistent month over month. On average I’m spending a little more than $3K per month since I started tracking my spending every month. This month, I even purchase a “new to us” furniture for the house which led me to projects I wrote in here and here. Even with that, I didn’t really spend much. It was my sisters birthday month, so they also received some present. I used some gift cards to purchase that.

I did notice that I bought snacks 3 times this month – all the same large hershey milk chocolate bar. It’s not expensive, but I didn’t realize that I’m eating that much candy every month. The bar is only $1.79 per bar (the largest one) but I’m eating that whole thing almost every week. That’s a lot of sugar intake. This is one of the benefit at looking closely on your spending, regardless how little it is. I’m not against eating candy, but if I think about the times that I bought one, it acted more of stress reliever than me craving for a candy. As I said, I took on a new role and I’m still trying to navigate what it means and ways to handle stress. It’s good to see this pattern, so I can stop it.

My spending is just a little below August. I used mint and download it on excel. From there, I look at every line item and check if there’s something unusual. This month, I even spend $3 for an ATM fee – oops.

Monthly Spending – August 2016

This post is late. One month late. August has been a whirlwind. New opportunity came in at work and that took some time. A lot of time which warrants a longer post. So, let’s just say that August was all about work.

At that same month, my sister went to college and we went on a good old road trip and drop her off. It was a fun trip and brought back all the memories back when I moved in to my dorm room. Our gift to her is a new laptop, which was split between my sister and I. She paid some part of it, since she decided to get a higher end.

img_0063Our fur baby also had her annual exam. We were lucky enough to find a vet that is walking distance. Reviews were pretty good and I was happy with the new doctor. Fur baby got all her immunization and the doctors recommended that she lose a couple of pounds. Fur baby was definitely spoiled by her grandparents when we’re gone, but she’s back to normal now.

I didn’t hit my spending goal this month. I think I lapse a bit for the last two months and didn’t really track my spending. Despite of this, I was surprised that aside from the gift, I was actually on track with my spending. This just let me know that I should also budget for gift.

So here you go – my spending for August (September to come next)….