Another month in Test #3 has come and gone, and I’m now into my third month back in the US. I’m hardly working, so it’s been the best two months in a long time! I’ve been keeping track of my cash spending in a spreadsheet, so what you see in the screenshots is only credit/debit card spending. I’ve updated the spend rate per category in the respective paragraphs.
Let’s have a look at income first.
Overall my income was high again mostly due to my state tax refund of just over $17,000. Investment income was interest earned from VBTLX. Interest was from my Capital One 360 checking and savings accounts. Nice.
On the other hand expenses were a little rough.
Spending was pretty high again this month. A combination of social outings, buying a scooter, and my sister getting married increased my spending.
Okay, so it’s not really named Sasha. I wanted to call it that because of John Dorian’s scooter in the TV show “Scrubs”, but it just so happens that I’ve been seeing someone named Sasha. So it remains nick-nameless.
The R50 is a 2008 and had 107 miles on it when I bought it. The owner rode it for a little while, and then it sat until this year. The asking price was $900 and included a wheel lock, weather cover, and battery tender/charger. I negotiated and got the price down to $850 since it was in need of a new battery. These scooters retail for $2,000, so I got a barely used older model for 58% off the new purchase price.
It was cash only since it was on consignment. I had a stack of foreign currency left over from my travels, so I used that to mostly fund the purchase. The conversion was about $830 of it, so it was nice not to really pull much out of my wallet.
A new battery and safety inspection was $71, registration was $140, a motorcycle permit was $27, two quarts of oil was $21, and two spark plugs and a can of starter fluid was $8.
To top off this category my car needed a new air intake housing, and that set me back $207. Total automotive spending was $1,326.
Rent for my 800 square foot condo in Salt Lake City is just $900.
The next category is one that I wish to not see this high again for a long time. Clothing & Shoes. Bleh!
My sister is getting married and the men in the wedding party are wearing grey suits. Although I play no role in the wedding I am still the brother of the bride, and therefore want to look the part. The suit and shirt cost $259, and then tailoring was an additional $75. My dad has been strapped for cash lately, and was planning to wear a suit he’s had for probably twenty years. It’s his only daughter’s wedding so I bought him the same suit for $216. It’s just what a good son would do. $552 for Clothing and Shoes.
Groceries are still a high expense, and I don’t see that dropping anytime soon. I eat a ton of produce, and buy organic when it’s not cost prohibitive. For example, organic bananas are only 10 cents more per pound, but organic cucumbers are 200% the cost of a regular one.
One of my work buddies has a Costco membership, so I gave him $100 to get me a gift card. Now I can shop there without my own membership. Groceries were $571.
I completely blew the budget this month for alcohol. Fancy shots of gin on a date ($17), a couple beers after Meetup.com events (around $16 each time), multiple bar runs, and my state liquor store purchase ($74), meant my total spending on booze was $313! Epic fail. The state liquor store beer purchase was at the end of the month, so that will cover some of May’s drinks.
My annual United States Hang Gliding and Paragliding membership was $175, and a power cable from Radio Shack was around $10, putting Hobbies at $185.
The restaurant tab wasn’t too bad. I treated my mom and sister to lunch ($49), and paid for dinner on a date ($32). Restaurant spending was $89.
Utilities were light – just the way I like ’em – because I only had three. Internet is a flat $50, gas was $19, and electric was $17 making my monthly utility bill $85.
Annual insurance for the scooter is only $75, thanks to Progressive’s great prices. Geico wanted something crazy like $38 per month. No thanks!
I spent $69 in fuel for my Chevy Sonic, and $4 for the scooter. Gasoline/Fuel was $74.
General merchandise was $71, and included mostly household items like ice cube trays, cheese cloth to make a nut milk bag on the cheap, mason jars, and some personal items. I also got an inexpensive pair of sunglasses that promptly broke after two days. Damn.
My entertainment spending was higher than normal due to women. Fun fact, it costs money to date! Two cups of tea at Barnes and Noble was $4 and two movie tickets after cost $14. For myself, I bought one ticket to the Minimalists movie screening for $11. Entertainment costs were $30.
When I visited my sister I used Uber to get to the airport in Salt Lake City ($11), and then to her house in Louisiana ($12). I wised up and used the public light rail system to get home for only $2.50. Later in the month, Lyft pinged my phone and gave me $5 off the next 15 rides, so I used one while on a date and it cost just over $1. Travel this month was $28.
Last but not least is postage and shipping at $18. I shed about 20 pounds over the last year so I gave my dad some of my nicer pants that no longer fit me. They fit him great, so he got four pair of pants for free.
Overall I spent $4,331.25 this month which is $1,831 more than my early retirement budget. I’m still working, so I’m not overly concerned with my higher-than-target spending. There are just a couple categories that could use trimming (I’m looking at you, alcohol).
What I do need to think about is how I’m going to make larger purchases once I leave my job. I won’t need a car for the next long while, but I will eventually need a new paraglider, cell phone, possibly a snowboard, etc and those things aren’t particularly cheap.
Could I get a part time job and make an extra $1000 per month? Hell yeah I could. Would I want to? Hell no! For now I’ll just keep trying to increase efficiency while maximizing enjoyment of all this free time.