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March Budget Review

March Budget Review

Monthly Review: March 2019

I swear it didn’t even feel like I was home this month but when people hear I live on $24k a year in Boston they always assume I just stay in and suffer through life in the name of frugality

Spoiler alert… Not true

Now don’t get me wrong… I’m a touch odd. I even slept in an airport when I didn’t have to but you’ll have to read about that in the “Going Out” section.

This month stuck to that spending rate with a savings rate of 72% and included

  • Trip to Vegas

  • Trip to a Texas Safari

  • Trip to Cozumel

  • Scuba Certification

  • New Samsung S10

    • Plus memory card / case

  • Samsung galaxy buds (think air pods)

  • Flights/Concerts booked for anniversary trip

  • 4 tickets to Eric Church

  • Trip to one of my top 3 breweries

Oh..Happy Birthday to me!

And look at me burying the lead… I turned 29!! Below is a picture with one of the kids, Luiz, from the Mexican orphanage who shares the same birthday with me. He’s also looking to join the military.

But don’t let me give it all away in the intro… Let’s unwrap March.

Income: $7,846

Income is slightly higher here because of some work trips I was sent on. Going to Ohio in the winter isn’t my favorite but what really made it special was the 15 passenger church van I was given as a rental car…


Expenses: $2,188

This is just a hair higher than average but when I look at how much was packed in here, this might be as close to a perfect month as I could ask for.

So many fun activities and get’s me pretty close to that $2k per month that I’d like to stick to.

You saw the big list of activities above but let’s break em down further. .

Going Out: $116.51

  • ($26) Visit to one of my favorite breweries in the land called Jester King in Austin, TX.

  • ($29) Picked up the tab for me and Leslie which included all you can eat fried catfish at Loco Coyote

    • This was a gem in a tiny town down the road in the middle of Texas… makes sense right?

  • ($22) Grabbed a beer and some food with my preacher (yep…my preacher) at Winterhill Brewing

  • ($29) Picked up some drinks at the concert for at a cool Boston music venue for the Drake White concert at Paradise Rock Club

  • ($9) Across my several trips to one of my Priority Pass staples in Boston, Stephanies

I think I finally found my new perfect $28 purchase at Stephanies for the Priority Pass. Fish n’ Chips w/ salad and diet coke

Timberline Grill - Priority Pass Partner at Denver Airport

Groceries: $20

I’m 99% I actually spent less than this on groceries this month because the only groceries I bought was in Mexico where I lived on breakfast tacos the entire month. It’s why I always ensure my Air BnB in Mexico has a kitchen. The rest of the time I was on the road or eating food I already was stocked up on.

Can one ever have too many breakfast tacos?

Air BnB breakfast tacos

Bills: $976

Bills were pretty standard this month with nothing special

  • Rent

  • Car Insurance

  • Internet

  • Cell Phone

Travel: $583

Ok so now the fun really begins… The travel section. Hopefully you don’t get sick of my pictures but there’s a reason I can’t order food without looking up pictures on Yelp… Words can only do so much

The month was a heavy travel month where we hit up a country concert, traveled to Vermont for a ski weekend with friends then left Boston for a work trip in Vegas. Then go straight from there to Texas for a family vacation at a Safari. And finally a week down in Mexico for my annual mission trip. Ok first stop Stowe, Vermont!

Food / Great House / Skiing with Friends - $150

When we lived in Colorado we would often get these homes up in the ski town for the weekend. We’d all pitch in and keep the price down. We brought that tradition back with $150 covering the food for the long weekend and the price of the house. Having the epic ski pass meant all my skiing for the weekend was free. I also ended up bringing back a lot of leftover groceries!

stowe skiing

Time to Sleep in the Airport…Vegas in Style

I was supposed to be heading out on a Sunday for a Monday meeting but the weather didn’t cooperate. Then I was facing a 5 a.m. flight. The problem with that is first that sounds terrible, second I’d have to pay for an uber since there’s no train. But I had a better idea.

I decided I’d go to the airport around 7 p.m. the night prior. Getting there at that time allowed me to eat and get food to go at both Priority Pass restaurants at Logan. It also meant I could get more sleep and catch breakfast at one of those same priority pass restaurants. I brought my backpacking pad and slept like a baby with a pretty good view too!


I’ll be completely honest… Vegas isn’t my scene but I do sight seeing, making extra money on per diem and the Amex Lounge at the Vegas airport has my heart. But now it’s time to make our way to the land of Texas.

Living Inside a Safari in Texas

You find me one other financial blog covering this topic and I’ll just go ahead and cancel mine.

So is there really a safari in Texas? Turns out there is and not just one. We were staying at Fossil Rim near Glen Rose, Texas. And it turns out that they’re doing some really great work for animal conservation. What Kind of animals you might ask? Check out the gallery below.

But What About the Living Part?

One of the coolest parts of this trip was that we were staying in these tiny house style cabins. I think there were seven or eight. It was a big family retreat for Leslie’s family. Our little cabins where located inside a 2 acre electric fence section overlooking a big pond. We could just sit out and watch the animals gather for water.

fossil rim cabins

The rentals were kindly paid for my Leslie’s mom and it was an awesome experience for sure. This was a nice relaxing stop between Vegas and Mexico but now it’s time to head further south for my annual mission trip.

Chopping Jungle and Serving Children

This marks my 6th year down supporting the Ciudad De Angeles Children’s Home in Cozumel, Mexico. I’ll make a shameless plug for this organization. They do an amazing job and currently have 40 children in the program. They range from little kids to college students.

When we’re down there we spend half our day doing manual labor and half the day doing activities and teaching lessons to the children. This years work revolved around clearing a site for a new building and collecting top soil. In Cozumel, top soil is very hard to come by so we save it for other uses.

manual labor mission trip mexico

We also do outreach work with the community. This helps build relationships and spread awareness. We typically work with some local schools, nursing homes, and an autism child center. It’s so awesome to get to see both the differences in culture but at the same time how similar we all really are.


Miscellaneous: $435 (YASS NEW PHONE)

Listen I’m frugal.. like really frugal, but I have a vice for new electronics. They had a deal I couldn’t pass up. I traded in my old phone and got $550 off the phone plus a set of $130 Bluetooth headphones and a $50 accessory credit I used to get a case. That put the upgrade cost at $371.86

A lot of folks in the financial independence space would love to take my frugal card for something like this but we all have things we really enjoy. The idea is to cut out the things that don’t add any happiness or value to your life and I have to say I’ve really loved both of these new items.


Rounded the category off with a memory card for the phone ($22), couple pair of gym shorts ($24), Mom an ornament ($9), and $2 for those amazing pants in the ski photo.

Gas:  $77

Little extra bit of gas from driving out to Vermont but that was split between me and Leslie.

Big Picture: Net Worth Increase $6,042 to $311,992

The market was relatively flat but any month going up is a great one in my book. Getting close to the 1/3rd mark of the double comma club!


$60 Monthly Grocery Plan with Recipes

$60 Monthly Grocery Plan with Recipes

12 Day Hawaii Vacation under $725

12 Day Hawaii Vacation under $725