August Budget Review
Monthly Review: August 2018
This month is a great example of how you project to have a really low expense month but it just doesn't turn out that way. This miscalculation was mostly due to some unexpected food expenses because of backtracking from my renter's insurance. We all have these hiccups but don’t let it destroy your momentum and motivation to reaching financial independence. Learn from where you went wrong and just move on to the next one.
Enough of that. The biggest reason I do these monthly reports is to inspire people to save. To realize that you can still save and not give up on living your best life. I know that not everyone is in a position to save as much as they'd like but I also know there are a ton out there who don't believe you can live a life packed with experience in a big city like Boston and only spend ~$26k per year. So let's get into the rundown of another action packed month while still maintaining 70% savings rate.
This month features travel to Denver, Colorado for an amazing concert at the famous Grizzly Rose featuring Koe Wetzel. There was a 10 year high school reunion. Kenny Chesney Concert. Travel to Mexico and Mississippi. Three different scuba dives in the famous Cozumel coral reef. Purchasing a flight to FinCon in Orlando as well as CampFI in Little Rock. Add in my child sponsorship and a mild wardrobe refresh and you have another packed month.
So lets dive right in…pun intended…and unpack the events and the damage done to the pocketbook.
Just plain ole paychecks.
What? I was pegging this to be a month way under $2k. This is yet another reminder why you can't project what you'll spend in retirement just based off some hunches. You need data, and a ton of it. Your spending is predictable on a big picture level but it is very hard to account for what all creates that picture without documenting your spending.
So what were all the surprises this month anyways?
Going Out: $0... I mean $244
Ummm....That's embarassing. Does this disqualify me from being a frugal food expert? In my defense, I was led to believe that my meals were covered by my renter's insurance. Trust me, I asked 100 times, but their story changed. The reason they no longer pay for meals is because my hotel room has a small kitchenette. While it is true I can cook a few things in here, it's certainly no normal kitchen. I thought I'd take advantage of the opportunity to remove the hassle of cooking in the play kitchen and buy a lot more prepped food. It was an interesting experience but that experiment is now dead.
Eating out wasn’t all negative. While down in Mexico I had the chance to take two of my favorites from the orphanage out to eat at one of my favorite local spots. El Pique serves up these delicious Mexican pizza type dishes . I always go with Al Pastor which is where the cooks take stacks of pork rubbed down with spices and place it on a vertical rotisserie which is getting blasted by an open flame. It’s normally then served with pineapple, onion, and cilantro.
Stuck with some higher groceries because of the renter's insurance again. I also bought a lot of the ingredients when cooking breakfast for 18 of my family members and buying food for the day out on the lake. What’s done is done though and I’m not gonna stress on it. Had some great food this month.
This month included my $375 quarterly payment to my sponsor kid Norma who recently moved over to Merida to start her new college program. If you ever want to donate your birthday or are simply looking for a good cause I highly recommend you check out Ciudad De Angeles children’s home in Cozumel, Mexico. Other than that I just had the standard rent/insurance/cell type expenses.
The first big event of the month was my boy George’s B-day celebration. We did this awesome trip to an oyster farm and got to pick through some freshly harvested oysters and shucked til we dropped. I never saw myself as much of a oyster guy but I have to admit, these were pretty solid. Our guide also walked us through the science and business of running an oyster farm. Way too much to discuss in a round-up post but I highly recommend a trip like this for both culinary and educational reasons.
Then the whirlwind of a month continued with an incredible yet insanely quick weekend trip to Denver. I stayed with some friends so no hotel was needed and I was meeting up with my best friend for our favorite past time, live music. We hit up the iconic Grizzly Rose to take in a rowdy showing by Koe Wetzel. If you’re curious about him, I’d suggest Wine Glass, February 28, 2016, I’m Done, and Never leave.
The travel blitz continued with a trip down to Cozumel, Mexico. $180 went towards scuba diving down in Mexico. They were absolutely the best dives I’ve ever had. In all I had three dives with each one lasting between 50-70 minutes. I went with an outfit called Eco Divers. If you’re traveling to Cozumel and need a reputable and responsible dive shop, I highly recommend them. They took the incredible picture of me and the sea turtle from the intro. My mom actually joined me on this trip. On top of the diving we had tons of delicious local food, rented a car for a day, and tried fresh coconut water for the first time while relaxing next to the ocean.
I dropped a whole $51.20 on a one way flight for FinCon which takes place on September 26, 2018 down in Orlando. I only needed to purchase the one leg because of a work trip covering the other portion. I should also take this time to plug FinCon. Even if you don’t have a business related to personal finance, it’s an amazing time and a great value. Mr. Money Mustache will actually be there this year. You’ll get insights from the best mind in the business and finally get to meet the face behind all your favorite online personas.
$341.60 went towards flights to CampFI South. I recently wrote up a review of my experience there. Imagine adult summer camp full of people who are on a bullet train to early retirement. I was able to score a free ticket thanks to FIology so the plane ticket felt like a great value. Keep your eyes out on future CampFI meetups across the country next year.
There was also an awesome Kenny Chesney concert that I got tickets for $3.75 a piece and a 10 year class reunion but I just got tired of typing and uploading photos….So let’s move on to the next category.
I refreshed the wardrobe for the first time in forever for $120. I just couldn’t help my self when I saw the short sleeve button up featuring pink flamingos. Got some nice chinos from Banana Republic for $14, a few more shirts, and some shorts. The other fun addition this month was a super portable and lightweight chair from Eddie Bauer. They had sent me a $30 gift certificate because they “missed my business” so I got the chair for only $15. Much cheaper than the $99 options over at REI. If you’re in the marked for one of these lightweight chairs I would actually recommend one we got Leslie on Amazon. It’s $31, 2 lbs, and packs down really compact. You’d be surprised how comfy these chairs are.
A mix of being out of town, riding my bike to work a lot of days and rewards churning had me spending very little on gas this month considering I’m driving a ‘01 Ford F-150 4x4 that’s not too kind on the gas mileage. The credit card churning that’s allowed me to keep the gas so low may be coming to an end but that’s a story for another day.
Big Picture: Net Worth Increase $12,356 to $281,227
This month went way over budget but the Stock Market gods had my back. It’s always much more important to worry about savings rate and incoming cash flow than net-worth increase because we simply cannot control the stock market. With that being said, there’s no escaping this metric and it’s relation to your retirement date.
I swear it feels like I’ve been trapped right around ~4 years for the last year. It’s all good though because I believe I have some low spending months ahead of me and another important thing to remember is that I’ll probably never live anywhere with a higher cost of living than here in Boston.
I’d love to hear what your upcoming goals are so we can celly together! Keep saving and trust the process. Thanks for reading.