Don’t get me wrong though, these numbers are primarily written for me and Mrs. Dragon. Every good FIRE breather knows that to be successful, you have to track your expenses.
You have to track them like Link tracks Zelda. How else will you know when your Hoard is big enough for you to retire?
We had several one-time expenses that really drove our spending up this month, including closing costs for the house and a trip to Portland, OR, and Tacoma, WA, that I plan on writing a post about soon.
Without further ado, here are the numbers for March (rounded to the nearest dollar):
Groceries: $690 ($210 on vacation and $106 on protein powder)
Utilities (electric, gas, water, sewer, trash, internet): $178
Cell phones: $46
Restaurants/fast food/bars: $287 (all on vacation)
Insurances (car, personal property, renter’s): $34
Mortgage expenses: $12,907
Student loan payment: $1513
The Goblins category is a catch-all for stuff that we don’t always spend money on. All the little budget goblins that steal our money throughout the month. This month it included a goodwill dress for Mrs. Dragon that she’s going to wear at a friend’s wedding this summer, a yearly credit card fee (part of my travel hacking experiment), some stuff from Home Depot for the new house, some new wiper blades for the car, interfacing for a quilt Mrs. Dragon is making, a car rental while we were in Portland and Tacoma, and a trip to a dispensary.
Woo-wee! Seventeen grand in a month ain’t no joke! Luckily there are several one-time expenses in there that really inflate this number. Since we aren’t real estate moguls, we won’t be buying a house every month. Without the mortgage related expenses our total was $4041. That’s a little better, but definitely still not good.
There’s also a student loan payment this month. The only non-mortgage debt we had was a $1500 student loan that just started accruing interest in February. We decided to go ahead and pay that sucker off so, in the future, we won’t have this category any more. Without the student loan our number this month was $2528. That’s looking much better, but still not where we’d like it to be.
Several of the expenses have the qualification “on vacation” next to them. We knew this month would be a little more spendy than normal because we’ve been planning this trip to see friends in the Pacific Northwest for about 6 months. Without all the vacation related spending the number for March was $1822.
Of course, I can rationalize the spending all I want but the fact of the matter is that we really did spend almost $17k this month. Ouch! Talk about a hit to the hoard. Luckily I don’t anticipate having months anywhere near this expensive for the rest of the year.
However, for the next couple of months we will likely have some home improvement expenses that will be push our totals up a little.
One of the reasons that it’s important to track your spending is that it’s easy to tell yourself, “This was a one time thing! These expenses are totally higher than what we normally spend.” But you might be surprised at how often things come up. Literally almost every month you will have one-time expenses that drive your spending up.
Hopefully they aren’t driving your spending into the stratosphere, like ours was this month, but it’s important to get a feeling for how all these little things chip away at your hard-earned doubloons and rupees.
There you have it! Our expenses laid bare. We were pretty fancy this month, what with our house buying and our vacationing across the country to see friends. But the point of tracking your money is to spend on things that matter to you. I’m OK with the numbers this month. They were planned and we saved for them. Well, except for the trip to the dispensary, but come on. I had to see what all the fuss is about. If I had gone out and bought a new gilded crown or some beard baubles, that would’ve been another story.