March 2014 Expenses


I’ve decided that it’s critical to track all of my expenses for a full year prior to leaving my job and industry forever.  So I’m working through a complete and total 12-month financial probe:  an extended colonoscopy for my wallet.  This data will solidify estimated expenses in my next life.

I haven’t done this since 2006.  That was back when I was still getting my act together financially.   I did what everyone else does when they want to get a handle on spending. and understand where their money is going:  a) write down each and every purchase and b) brace myself for the tedium that comes with reviewing the list at the end of every month.   (To be fair, the very first couple of months are sort of exciting because it’s all so new and you find out unexpected things like oh my god I spent how much freaking money on Britney Spears concert memorabilia?  No way!)

The good news is that once you get accustomed to living fairly frugally — or at least, within a budget that feels okay to you — you can usually stop being so painfully meticulous about it all and trust in your brain’s incredible capacity to run on the autopilot of habit.

The bad news is that taking a seven year break from doing this stuff hasn’t made it any more enjoyable.   It’s probably as boring to read this post as it was to write, but one of my blog goals is complete transparency, so here it is:









Home Insurance


Yearly premium





10 total meals:7 meals out w/Friends and Family.3 days I didn’t bring lunch to work and spent $8 per.  Fail.



Electricity, plus annual fee to dispose of trash in dump. My town does not have trash pickup.

No oil delivery this month.



Phone, ISP, Cable



I heart Ting





17 Fitness Center

Gifts and Donations

20 My boss is now a dad.  1st kid.  Had to give him something.



Creeping up.  Why? Need to keep an eye on this.



Concert (60) and first video game purchases of the year (13)



Other Auto


Vitamin A(lcohol)


Not a drop.

Misc, see notes


Gallon of Paint





Notes for March:

  • Annual Home Insurance premium came due at $465, pushing things up a bit.
  • It was a good month for groceries, but not great for eating out.  I neglected to bring lunch to work a few days which was costly.  And I was uncharacteristically busy by my standards, seeing quite a few friends, which means meals out.    Not drinking really helps keep costs under control here — seven nights out only ran me $94.  Yes, I tip 15-20%.  (I’m frugal, not an asshole.)
  • I saw the washed-up progressive metal band Queensryche play at an old theater downtown for $60.  Yeah, a bit pricey.  But I really like them and wanted to see them once before they stop touring.  They played some of their best old stuff and it was a terrific night overall — an experience I won’t forget.  Worth it.


Overall, it was a month of balanced spending.  Yeah, I blew a bit of money on entertainment and eating out but I got a lot of bang for my buck.  The $2,300 total only looks a little bloated due to the annual home insurance premium.

I come to the same conclusion every month:  mortgage and taxes cost a lot.  This is the major pain point in my budget and I’m working to fix this situation over the next year.


Net Worth Update

Taxable 303K
Retirement 401(k) 277K
Retirement Roth 92K
Home Equity 125K
Total  797K

I bumped home equity up 5K after seeing a few open houses in our neighborhood recently.  Places in significantly worse condition than mine are selling within a week of hitting the market, for higher than asking.  There’s a supply issue in my town, and the market is apparently hot.  The listed estimate remains extremely conservative.

Numbers crunched on 3.28.2014

Sticky notes on expense tracking

  • You’ll notice that there is no mention of car insurance here.  I pay auto insurance once a year in may when my premium is set.  There’s a 10% discount for paying 12 months in advance, which is a pretty good return on investment.  It’s been coming out to about $60/mo lately pro-rated.
  • I’d love to cut cable but my wife really doesn’t want to.   We have a $150/mo cable/phone/isp package, so my share is $75.  It’s something I’ve agreed to live with because she gets a lot of value out of it and she’s very frugal overall.
  • There are menus at the top of the blog (Finances->2014->Month) if you are interested in additional reports.
  • I’ve also logged an account of my financial history
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8 Responses to March 2014 Expenses

  1. Jared says:

    Are these expenses just for you (e.g. half of the utilities) or are they for both you and your wife? Just curious🙂

    • livingafi says:

      Your suspicion is correct — everything is split. In the report, I’m listing my half of everything.

      This is true throughout the blog, including my net worth pages, etc. It makes it simpler for me to track, and probably also more straightforward for readers. That’s my hope anyways.

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