EARLY RETIREMENT SPENDING – DECEMBER 2019

December is quite the opposite of November in terms of our spending. If November is low, December is high and the highest since we retired. This is expected because of the holidays.

In December 2019, we spent $8,748.80

Gifts

It is the holidays and the highest line items we have is our holiday gifts specifically for my family. It is a tradition in our family for the kids to give parents cash during Christmas, once the kids are independent, have a job and out of the family house. My older sister and I have been doing this since we graduated from college and start earning real money. I’ve increased the amount significantly since we had MBP. My parents have done so much to help us without expecting in return. Since we have some surplus, it just make sense to me to give some to them.

Health Insurance and Medical Expenses

Next line item is health insurance and medical expenses. This is the last month that we are paying COBRA and I expect this line item to go down considerably this year. We paid some drugs and doctor’s fee as part of our deductible. The good news is the I hit my out of pocket expense and was able to get a Willow pump fully covered by my insurance. I don’t think they fully covered this kind of pump since it is considered out of network, bus since I hit my out of pocket, they fully covered. I have to pay for the accessories, but the pump alone cost $464.2

iPhone 11 and a King Mattress

After contemplating for many months (even years) to upgrade my phone, I finally gave in and bought a new iPhone 11. I’ve had my iPhone 6 for 4 years. The memory doesn’t have enough capacity to hold the OS upgrades, my videos and my pictures. I use my phone as a camera to take pictures and video of MBP and I’m happy with this upgrade, considering that I use it everyday.

Another purchase this month is a king size mattress. We actually purchased one in Costco back in August but ended up returning it because it caused some back pain. I need a softer mattress to provide support as I am a side sleeper. I gambled and bought a Serta mattress online. It was on sale as part of the cyber monday. It’s been good so far and I’m planning to keep it.

A new Christmas Tree, Christmas Cards and Other Items

I also bought a new, unlit Christmas Tree. We donated my old 6.5 ft, pre-lit Christmas Tree that I got in 2009 for $25 at Walmart when we moved to this house. I’ve been telling myself that I want a new one since the old one really doesn’t have any leaves and just look sad. Considering that I bought it for so cheap, I can’t really expect anything more. The tree cost $168.94 on Amazon. My mom gave me all her red ornaments. She has a different theme every year and has been collecting ornaments since I can remember. I even got some ornaments that was from Manila. I still need to buy some lights for next year.

My Mom’s Christmas Tree

I also sent out 19 Christmas Cards on December 26th. I was late, I know, but I can’t get a good photo of the family. We finally got one from the actual Christmas Day. I went to Canva and design a card and printed 20 in FedEx. It actually cost more to print it than to order the cards online, but I want it to go out that day and not wait for shipping, so I suck it up. My husband got the envelopes and the stamps and the card went out that day. I’ll try not to procrastinate next year.

Our other items includes annual car registration for my 2011 Volkswagen Jetta, LED lights and about a dozen plain T-shirts for my husband.

And here’s our expenses for December 2019

DescriptionAmountComments
Christmas Gifts 2,211.26
Health Insurance 1,387.24 Last month under Cobra
Electronics & Software934.47iPhone
Furnishings849.96Matress
Groceries668.05
529 College Fund400.00
Pharmacy356.66Co pay for my progesterone shots
Doctor262.48Co pay for my husband's Dr's appointment
Utilities259.46This includes water, sewer, electric and gas
Shopping251.37A new 7.5 ft unlit Christmas tree and miscelaneous items from Amazon.
Restaurants163.16
Auto & Transport126.25Car registration for my 2010 Volkswagen Jetta
Household Supplies117.33We bought some 2 prong LED lights, wok and other items
Gym115.00Our last month of Y membership. We don't go enough to warrant paying for the monthly fee
Gift100.00Family birthday gifts
Gas & Fuel72.49
Clothing69.95About a dozen colored t-shirts for my husband from Hanes
Pet Food & Supplies68.81
HOA Dues68.25
Garbage61.75This should probably be included in the utilities above
Internet49.95
Baby Supplies46.44Bottles for my new pump
Christmas Cards30.17I printed about 20 christmas cards at Fedex
Lotion21.99
Fast Food18.97
Mobile Phone16.71
Christmas Shopping15.63
Library Fees5.00I put some money to print out items in the library.
Grand Total 8,748.80

Early Retirement Spending – November 2019

November is surprisingly an inexpensive month for us. Most of what we buy are starting to become a routine, with the exception of those one time expenses.

Our November Spending is $3,512.61

Health Care

Health insurance is still the biggest expense for this month and will continued on until December. With our projected low income next year, my research suggest that we will received a substantial subsidy for our health insurance. I’m still finalizing the details of our next year’s insurance. To that note, I maxed out my out of pocket expense this month. I have a maximum out of pocket expense of $3k for the plan year. My health insurance is covered through March until it resets for another year. In theory, I can keep this until February to cover for all child birth expenses. This is part of the reason that I’m still finalizing our insurance for next year. We also have to buy some iron and vitamin c supplements. My 28 week blood draw showed that I am slightly anemic.

Food

Groceries are surprisingly cheap considering that we hosted Thanksgiving for 8 people. We kept it simple with Turkey, mashed potatoes, cranberry and rolls with pumpkin pie for dessert. We also bought some beer for the occasion. My father received either a free turkey or ham from his work. My family is not a fan of turkey, but since this is one of the rare times that we are in town and celebrating Thanksgiving, he asked for a Turkey and gave it to us to cook. My husband cooked all Thanksgiving food and my parents brought some traditional Filipino food. Everyone enjoyed a wonderful meal while watching football and MBP singing “You Are My Sunshine” with his Ukelele.

Our festive Thanksgiving Meal

Our eating out is limited as well. There’s just no good restaurants in the area. MBP is pretty happy with Costco/ Food Court and Happy Meal food. I really miss the restaurants in Seattle, especially the Dimsum places that MBP loves.

Utilities

Our utilities are low because our garbage and water bill are paid every two months. We only have to pay for sewer, electric and gas for this month. The change in weather definitely reflected in our gas bill since we are heating more. It is still cheaper than our old oil furnace in our old house in Seattle. Our Electric and Internet remain constant for the most part. Our cell phone bills from Xfinity for 2 lines is still $18.24. This is very low since we never go over 1 GB of data.

Gym

We are still a member of the Y. MBP is still enrolled on swim lessons twice a week and gymnastics on Saturdays. This is something that we’re evaluating since we’ve missed some classes. For now, it will be in auto pay. MBP still goes at least twice a week, so we will see.

Kids

The only expense that MBP added this month is his class photo for $35. Other than that, we didn’t have to buy him anything aside from food of course!

December will most likely double this with presents and some other “one-time” expenses. So far though, we’re happy with the November expenses and surprised on how low it is, considering.

And here’s our expenses for the month of November

DescriptionAmountComments
Health Insurance 1,387.24 A couple more months in COBRA.
Groceries589.24
529 College Fund400.00I put this as an "expense" since it is alloted to MBP's college fund.
Doctor255.98Some more doctor bills
Utilities155.04Only Gas, Electric and Sewer are paid this month
Gym115.00
Shopping89.86We bought some external hard drive and some other stuff
Gas & Fuel83.65
HOA Dues68.25
Pharmacy58.61Iron and Vitamin Supplements + Laxatives
Internet49.95
Education49.00My Ethics class for my continuing education requirement to remain a CPA
Household Supplies37.15Anything else aside from Groceries
Kids35.00MBP's class photo. Cost 50% less than in Seattle
Restaurants26.08Food Court
Alcohol & Bars24.88Thanksgiving Beverage
Fast Food19.18Happy Meal
Mobile Phone18.242 lines from Xfinity Mobile
Hobbies17.99Another domain name that should have been expired
Pet Food & Supplies16.38
Makeup/Toiletries6.29
Books & Supplies5.04I paid a fine from the library
Gift3.99Wedding Card
Electronics and Software0.57AWS monhly fee to host this blog, which is sooo cheap!
Grand Total 3,512.61

Tell me, how was your November?

5 Books for your Toddler

It’s the holidays and you are searching for that elusive books that your toddler/niece/nephew or any other kid will love. Books that you are hoping that they don’t already own because you want to be a pretty cool caregiver.

Here are the top 5 books that MBP loves. We discovered these from the library. He loves it so much that we started giving it out as gifts for our friend’s kids. It was a hit.

5 books for your toddler

  1. Go Go Go Stop! – The picture books thought my toddler the meaning of green, red and yellow.

2. My Friend Robot – Sing along song that also teaches the concept of Simple Machines.

3. Roadwork – This is a fun picture book with all the trucks and a story on how to build a road.

4. If I Built A Car – I myself enjoy this picture book. It is very imaginative for your little inventor.

5. Whose Truck – Your toddler will learn the function of trucks that they see on the road.

How to sell your wedding dress online

I bought a used wedding gown and paid more than 70 percent off the original price. I eventually sold it for half the cost after I used it a year later. There are many reasons to sell the gown aside from an extra income. Personally, I wouldn’t want to keep a fabulous garment in a closet. I would love to see the gown used by another bride again and pass the savings.  

I bought my gown for $436 including shipping. I sold it for $270. I spent $15.69 to ship it and $30 to list it at preownedwedding dress. Below are the steps I took to sell it online.

How to sell your wedding dress online

Step 1: Know your size the day of your wedding. This is an important detail because you will use it when you list the gown. Measure yourself and take note of it before you go on a honeymoon so it’s handy.

Step 2: Ask your photographer to take a photo of the gown by itself. A professional image can add value to the actual price of the gown. Take some photo with yourself as well. Seeing it on a person can give buyers ideas or fit.

Step 3: Clean your gown, either professionally or yourself. I personally put my wedding gown on a wash and follow these steps. For those that are scared, have it professionally dry clean. If you dry clean it, keep the receipt.

Step  4: List it as soon as possible. This can be hard for some. Who doesn’t want to look at their wedding gowns and be reminded of their special day. If you wait, you might find yourself staring at it in your closet 5 years later and the value of the gown DO NOT appreciate.

Step 5: List on multiple sites or on a consignment store. Before listing it, I send some photos to my local consignment stores of the wedding gown. I prefer to sell it locally, but the shop didn’t accept it. I then listed on ebay and preownedweddingdress.com. Preowned wedding dress charge a $25 fee to list the dress.  If you sell on ebay take note that they charge a selling fee. This fee includes the shipping cost.

Step 6: List as much information as you can. This includes, the gown size, the street size you typically wear, your measurements when you wore the gown as noted on Step #1. The location of the wedding. An outdoor wedding typically means the gown is dirtier. Include the designer, fabric and the style of the gown. 

Step 7: Price it well. I initially price my gown for $400. I searched through the site and it has a comparable price. I waited for about 6 months and I still don’t have any leads. I slash the price for $270

Step 8: Promote the gown. Post the link on facebook. I paid an additional $5 to promote the gown on preowned wedding dress. It’s totally worth it because I received 5 leads in a week and sold my gown during the same week. 

The Cost of a NICU stay

November is prematurity awareness month. According to March For Dimes “the preterm birth rate in the United States has worsened for a third year, rising to 9.93 percent in 2017. Premature birth and its complications are the largest contributors to infant death in this country and globally.”

MBP was born prematurely at 28 weeks and 5 days. Every parent will never forget the day that their kid was born. I will never forget that day and the 74 days in NICU after that.

I’m not going to discuss the emotional trauma that every parent that step in the NICU get – that warrants an entire separate post. I’m going to discussed about the financial implication of a NICU stay.

Direct Medical Cost

We were fortunate to have a great insurance that covered the entire cost of MBP’s stay and the post care that he needed a year after. In WA state, a child is eligible of medicaid regardless of parent’s income if his/her hospital stay exceeds 30 consecutive days. MBP received Medicaid as a secondary insurance. That said, the payment billed on Medicaid is very minimal since I reached my deductible when I gave birth.

The total claims for MBP’s first year of medical expenses is $1,050,098.31. Yes, IT IS OVER A MILLION. It is not a typo. His primary insurance paid $352,293.52 and Medicaid paid $693.89. These are for 195 total claims that was processed.

Insurance gets massive discounts on these claims. This is the time that I’m so grateful to my former employer for providing good health coverage. My insurance even called me after MBP was discharged just to check on him and ensure that we are getting the care we needed.

Indirect Expenses

There are other costs associated to NICU stay other than the actual medical expenses. Funny that we actually spent more on them than the direct medical expenses.

  1. Lodging – Some families don’t live close to the hospital. We were lucky to live in a state that has a Level 4 NICU. I was lucky to deliver my kid in the same hospital and don’t need to fly him from other states. I know other families that have to deal with it.
  2. Transportation – We paid $200/month for monthly parking. The hospital is close to downtown Seattle. When you’re dealing with a NICU stay, finding parking is the least you care about. We were also in an out during the day, delivering the milk that I pumped. We paid $600 in total since MBP was in the NICU for 2.5 months. It’s funny that we pay more for parking than the actual medical cost since it was covered by Medicaid.
  3. Food / Eating out – I didn’t even track this, but I know we had a lot of take outs. I went back to work a couple of weeks after giving birth to save my maternity leave once MBP is discharge. There’s just no time to prep food, between pumping, working, driving in and out of the hospital and a lot and lots and lots of crying.

Healthcare is Important for Early Retiree

We can talk about probability. Statistically, 90% of pregnant women will have a full term pregnancy. They will never have to worry about the high cost of a NICU stay. But if you’re one of the minority group in the 10%, you are out of luck. I talked about Medicaid kicking in after 30 days. Some parents in the hospital actually wants this to happen just so they can afford healthcare. The claims of MBP’s first 30 days, just for the hospital stay is abut $200K. My overall out of pocket expense was $4k at the time and I paid less than that because MBP’s secondary insurance kicked in.

Early Retirement Spending – October 2019

It’s been 4 months since early retirement, but it feels like ages ago. Our spending still varies quite a bit month per month. There seems to be a one time expense almost every month. We were busy this October with the Halloween festivities. MBP enjoyed trick or treating and we went to 3 events – 1 for our neighborhood, 1 for his Co-op and 1 for the actual night. He won the best costume contest for our neighborhood based on facebook likes and received a $75 Target gift card. He still have some gift cards from his birthday that we haven’t used.

Our October Spending: 8,005.43

Property Taxes

Our biggest line item for this month is the second half of our property tax. This isn’t bad compared to what we used to pay in Seattle. Our escrow officer warned us that the county might not mail our bill directly, since they do it once a year. He was correct. I called the county to ask for the bill. That conversation went like this:

Me: Hi, we just purchased our home last April and I want to make sure we pay our property tax on time so we don’t incur any fines

County: Don’t worry, your mortgage company knows it and will pay it through escrow

Me: We don’t have a mortgage. We paid our house in full so we don’t have an escrow account

County: Oh, uhmm, let me put you on hold. (hold for a couple of minutes). Ok, I will send you the bill.

It’s so obvious that it’s very rare for them to get this kind of phone call. They sorted it out and I got the bill and sent the check the next day.

Pregnancy Related Expense

I got some scary news once I hit my 22nd week of pregnancy. I started feeling some contractions in the beginning of my second trimester. Given that MBP was born really early, I’m trying to be cautious as much as I can and listen more to my body. That week, my biweekly cervix scan showed some bad reading. It looks like there was a funneling in my cervix that also looks like a dilation. I needed to have a consult with maternal fetal medical (MFM) as they specialize on high risk pregnancy. I was probably a bit paranoid that week that I went back to my OB 2 days later because I was really concern with the contractions and my OB was also cautious. That turned out ok. I am now being a couch potato. I also make sure that every contraction stop when I move / change positions to make sure that it is just Braxton Hicks. Unfortunately, there’s very little research done on premature birth. My MFM basically just told me to take what I feel seriously and go to triage if I feel that I need to be seen. Expense wise, since I already hit my deductible I paid very little for my co-pay visit. I am also taking a weekly shot that caused 2K/month. My copay is a little over $250 and I paid for 2 months for that. My husband got a crash course from the nurse to give shots so I don’t need to drive to the clinic every week. At this rate, I’m pretty sure that I will hit my out of pocket expense by this month.

Other spending increase

Aside from the property taxes and health care, out utilities also increased given that we started heating. Our thermostat is set at 68 during daytime and 56 at night. I also started eating more, and get hungry in the middle of the night and this reflects in our grocery budget. My go to snack at night are cliff bars. We’re discovering more and more of the area and ate out a couple of times. Since we drove to my doctor twice a week the last two weeks, our gas is also fairly high. I also drove to Seattle and paid for parking to attend Cents Positive which has been a great experience!

On Budgeting

We still don’t budget. I never budgeted per line item on my entire adult life. I just really keep an eye on my total expense. Without the property taxes, we are pretty close to our expenses last month.

We track our spending and net worth using Personal Capital. We use credit cards every time we can in combination of Chase Sapphire for travel and dining, Amazon Prime Card for Amazon purchases and Fidelity Investments Credit Card for everything else. I also recently applied for a Costco Visa Card since Costco is our nearest grocery store and we purchased our gas there.

I highly recommend using some sort of tracking mechanism to track your spending. Credit cards are good to use if you can pay it off every month

And here’s our expenses for the month of October

DescriptionAmountComments
Property Tax 2,811.14
Health Insurance 1,387.24 COBRA for the whole family
Groceries713.40
Pharmacy615.28The progesterone shots that I have to take from week 16 - 36 of my pregnancy
529 College Fund400.00
Utilities289.30Electric, Sewer, Gas and Water
Hotel179.00My little sister will graduate this May and we booked our hotel in advance
Restaurants156.513 trips to retaurants for the family
Gas & Fuel152.21
Preschool Tuition143.42A full year tuition for the community college that is required for ourcoop
Doctor128.97
Baby Supplies117.35This probably should say kids supply
Gym115.00YMCA membership. MBP takes swim classes here twice a week
Arts115.00Membership to the children's museum
Service Fee95.00Credit card fee for Chase Sapphire
Home Improvement90.50We bought a leaf blower / vaccum
Pet Food & Supplies69.94Food for the spoiled furbaby
HOA Dues68.25
Hockey60.00
Shopping50.39
Internet49.95
Parking45.37Parking for the Cents positive in Seattle
Pet Medical38.00Some medicine for the furbaby
Household Supplies32.77
Tolls30.00This is an automatic refill of our toll pass
Gift20.65Another 2 year old bday party
Mobile Phone18.24
Service & Parts12.00
Electronics & Software0.55Blog hosting fee (yes, it's this cheap via AWS)
Total 8,005.43

Fall Kids Consignment Haul

Most of MBP’s clothes and toys are either used or free. There are very active Buy Nothing Groups in Seattle where we got MBP’s crib, chairs, clothes, bottles and tons of toys. I supplement his stuff by buying other items on consignment, which typically happens twice a year.

Savings on Kids Consignment

When we moved this May, I joined the local Buy Nothing Group, but it doesn’t have much activity. There are also more people asking for things and I feel bad taking it from them, knowing very well that I can buy it. My favorite consignment store was also in Seattle that was put together by Seattle Parents of Multiples. I don’t have multiples, but I find that most of their items are barely used, and prices are low. Parents probably stop having kids after having two, or three and want to get rid of the items quickly. Unfortunately I’m now an hour away but was able to find one close enough and I was able to last Friday while MBP was in school.

Buying in Consignment is NOT the cheapest route, but the most convenient for me, while still buying used items that my kid will only use for the next 6 months.

I don’t expect to get super great deal at consignment. Sometimes the prices can be consistent with new items that are on sale. I pay for the convenience of having one room filled with most of the items that my kid will need for the next 6 months. It’s typically seasonal as well. Most consignment happens twice a year, one in fall for the fall and winter season and one in spring for the spring and summer season.

How I buy at consignment store

I make a list of items that I know my son will need, from clothings to feeding to bathing. During the fall season, I keep an eye out for winter wear which cost quite a bit when bought new. I’m still fairly new to this, so there are some items that I bought that I probably don’t need or could get cheaper if needed.

I saved about 82% of all items I bought or about $432.17.

And here’s everything I bought

TypeCost UsedCost NewDiscount
January 2, 1900539.9987%
Folding Play Mat1559.9975%
Pregnancy Wedge3.515.9978%
Skip Hop Backpack Owl319.9985%
Number wooden puzzle3.515.9978%
Starbucks Christmas Kids cup1.57.4980%
Nike size 10 toddler526.9981%
North Side Winter Boots size 1154088%
Kamik size 10 winter boots6.542.9985%
Crocs size 8/9218.9989%
Crocs size 10/11518.9974%
Size 9 winter boots329.9990%
Snozu 2t down jacket649.9988%
Baby shark 2t Costumer1024.9560%
8 pair of underwear310.872%
Training pants25.9967%
2 dozen socks52277%
Cookie monster foam puzzle113.9993%
Toddler Camping chair3.516.9979%
Tax8.67347.2458
Total97.173529.345882%

Free Printable DIY Recipe Card

I realized that I’ve been tackling some projects almost every month since early retirement. On month 1, I repaired 47 Bumgenius Cloth Diaper Elastics. On month 2, I digitized our filing cabinet and got rid of more than half the paper in my filing box. This month, I created a recipe card for our favorite meals.

Old Recipe cards

Our old recipe cards are handwritten on a left over card stocks that we used for our wedding. We bought a rim at that time and still have a lot of left over. I cut it in half and wrote some of our favorite recipes. My husband, who cooked most of our meal also wrote down some recipes. Most of the recipes are found online, but tweak specifically to our liking. We will only wrote the recipes that we actually like. Having it printed on a hard copy is a lot easier than looking at our phones/tablet while cooking. In time these recipe cards have been spilled on. We also stopped adding to it and find ourselves missing the recipe that was used for certain food, if we need to re-create it.

Handwritten recipe cards

New Recipe Cards

You can find many free printable recipe cards online or purchase one from Etsy. You can even get one for free and editable. For these recipe cards, I decided to type it. There is some nostalgia in handwritten recipe cards, but it is useless if you can’t read it. For example, I have a very small handwriting and sometimes my husband complains that he can’t read it. As for him, well his hands get tired of writing down the recipes (and look above for his handwriting). I also think that it is easier to pass along a digital recipe, or print it out for someone.

Personalized Recipe Card
Our new DIY Recipe Card

The Recipe Card

For this recipe card, I used MAC pages as a template. This is the MS word version of MAC but I find that they have better fonts and card template that I can easily use. I ended up using a template for a moving post card template.

Card Templates
MAC Pages Card Template

This will give me 2 cards per sheets. I changed the text, deleted pictures, added more text boxes and typed up our names. I typed up our current recipes and personalized our names. I then printed it on our stock cards. I specifically use a black and white template since we only have a black and white printer.

My plan is to keep it on stock cards so we can still write on it if needed. There might be some variation of the recipe that we want to tweak as it goes along. This will add the personality to it. We don’t have a recipe box either. I don’t want to add anything on our counter top. Our recipe cards are store in one of the drawers in the kitchen.

New Personalized Card
Screenshot of the personalized recipe card

You can download the recipe card here.

It will open in MS Word and you can edit it as you see fit. Enjoy!

Early Retirement Spending – September 2019

I’m going to start logging our monthly household spending, now that we completed 3 months of early retirement. We track our spending pre-retirement and have some idea of our monthly spending, but it would be good to see the actual numbers, now that we have a somewhat different lifestyle.

Early Retirement Spending

Some Background

Our journey to FIRE is short, 1 year and 8 months in total. My husband went back to work after his parental leave. He came home and started talking about early retirement blog that he discovered. That was October 2017. I was excited because I’ve been reading those blogs that he mentioned since I graduated from college. GE Miller from 20Somethingfinance.com helped me pay off my student loan debt quickly. I’m always a firm believer of FI, but never thought that I would trigger early retirement, until I did at age 33. My husband is 37. Our last day of W2 employment was July 1, 2019.

Retiring to something

We don’t hate our jobs. There are a lot of good things about it. My husband met most of his friends in Seattle as an Intern at Microsoft. He stayed at this company until he retired. I was happy at work and was in management position when I left. The year before my retirement was one of the best years. I produced more than I thought, being a working mom. But we know that we are missing the best (or the worst?) years of our first kid. Life move to a completely different direction when he was born. Add another factor that he was born prematurely. We know that we want to spend more time with our son while he actually ask for us. We are now both full time parents, which takes a TON of time and honestly, harder than our previous jobs.

A Very Short Planning

There are pros and cons of short time frame to FIRE. I’ve never read a blog with a shorter timeline as ours. The number 1 pro is that it is short, we’re really just trying to be conservative with our FI number, but we could have retired that same day. The cons, which I discovered a month before retirement, there’s more to early retirement than just a number. Retirement is a significant milestone, mostly done at 60s. There are some data suggesting that folks that retired early actually have a shorter life span. I know some individuals that retired only to go back to work after a year. My hope is that it is not me, but if it is, I’m ok with that. Aside from being a full time parent, and growing our family, I don’t really have a plan. I’m taking this time to slow down, getting to know myself and practicing self care.

Our September Spending: $5,600.33

Healthcare

Our biggest expense, as we expected is healthcare. We are in COBRA until the end of the year and it cost $1,387.24 / month. Talk about a very expensive healthcare. I am also pregnant with kiddo #2, and pay for OB visits, labs, ultrasounds and weekly shots. I’m on a high risk pregnancy, so I’m taking weekly shots and have biweekly ultra sound. I also see my OB every two weeks. My insurance is separate from MBP and my husband, since I already covered my deductible and it would be cheaper to have mine solo.

Annual / Semi Annual expenses

September also hit some annual and semi-annual expenses. I prepaid MBP’s preschool tuition, paid our car insurance for the next 6 months and my husband pay his hockey league fee. We cash flow this expenses and also expect that there will always be one time expense almost every month. It would be interesting to see our average expense after a year.

Food

Food is surprisingly cheap! It’s probably because we are planning our meals, started doing groceries at WINCO and Costco. We haven’t found a decent restaurant near the area. We used to go out or have take outs often. It will be nice if this is consistent, but will probably go up.

On Budgeting

We don’t set a monthly budget. We have some target on our annual spending so we don’t spend more than the 4% rule. However, if we find that we need more, then we will most likely go back to work.

We track our spending and net worth using Personal Capital. We use credit cards every time we can in combination of Chase Sapphire for travel and dining, Amazon Prime Card for Amazon purchases and Fidelity Investments Credit Card for everything else.

I highly recommend using some sort of tracking mechanism to track your spending. Credit cards are good to use if you can pay it off every month.

And here’s our expenses for the month of September

DescriptionAmountComments
Health Insurance801Cobra for MBP and my husband. Mine was logged in August, but should be an additional 586.24
Hockey759.35My husband plays ice hockey and this is the fee for the season
Groceries548.17Surprisingly not bad
Preschool Tuition526.5Annual tuiition for MBP's preschool
529 College Fund400Monthly transfer to MBP's 529 College Fund
Service & Parts323.43Our prius had a flat tire and we changed two tires. Also includes the change oil
Auto Insurance317.266 month insurance for our Prius and VW Jetta
Veterinary194Annual exam for our furbaby dog
Doctor187.81Monthly fee for my OB in addition to insurance cost
Shopping140.77??? This consist of 8 transactions. 4 from Amazon, 2 from Costco, 1 from Walmart and 1 from TJ Maxx. I'm sure Amazon and Costco aren't categorized properly.
Utilities123.39Electric, Gas and Sewer Bill
Gym103.5YMCA membership
HOA Dues68.25Monthly HOA Fee
Water/Sewer/Garbage63.39Garbage fee
Gas & Fuel61.19Gas
Subscription60Our Costco membership renewal
Internet49.95
Restaurants92.61Fair Food + a take out
Baby Supplies39.33Diaper
Gift31.99Gift to our neighbor kid and nephew
Coffee Shops22.68Starbucks Gift Card refill + brewed coffee
Household Supplies20.75These are the household supplies from Costco
Pet Food & Supplies20.38Treats for our spoiled dog
Charity20Boy scout knocked on our door, selling popcorn. We didn't buy the popcorn but gave them $20 for donation
Home Improvement19.65Items in Lowes
Cell Phone18.24Really cheap cell plan for 2 lines through Xfinity Mobile
Parking0.5Street Parking in Seattle
Total5014.09
Add Insurance that was logged in August5600.33

Xfinity Mobile Review 2019

My husband and I switched to Xfinity mobile a month before our early retirement. We were fairly happy with our old plan in T-mobile, but we don’t get coverage in the new house. Verizon have a new cell tower in the area and have great coverage.

Xfinity

Pre Early Retirement Cell Plan

I’ve been a T-mobile customer since 2012. My plan was the cheapest plan. T-mobile actually stopped advertising it. I was on a prepaid plan. I received, unlimited data, unlimited text and 100 minutes per month. I was paying 33.98 per month, tax inclusive. My husband moved in with me in 2014, he switched from Verizon to this same plan. HIs bill went down from $60+ to $33.98. At that time, T-mobile only sell this plan through Walmart. They don’t advertise it. I can’t even find this plan on their website. So since 2014, we were paying $67.96/month for our cell plan.

Discovering Xfinity Mobile

We found out about Xfinity Mobile as recommended by our neighborhood page group. Everyone says good things about it, which surprised me — because you know it is Comcast. I’ve been a Comcast customer because I don’t have a choice – it’s the only provider that gives decent speed in our area. I’m only paying for internet. We don’t have a cable and our phone is through Google which is a one time cost. I don’t want to bundle another product with Xfinity, so I had my doubts.

What is Xfinity Mobile?

Xfinity Mobile is a Mobile Virtual Network Operators (MVNO) operated through Verizon Networks. Verizon have a better coverage than T-mobile, according to review.org. This is already an upgrade for us. Customers are also automatically connected through Xfinity Hotspots. Their plan is only available if you are an existing Xfinity Customers.

Our plan

Xfinity mobile plans allows us to share data and pay only for the data we used. 1GB starts at $12 per month. We are retired, so we are not planning to use much data. We use wifi most of the time or use Xfinity Mobile Hotspots. We were using 2GB pre-retirement. This slowly went down to 1.5 GB to less than 1 after retirement. Our bill ranged from $40 – $19. Our last bill came in at $18.24 including fees for 2 lines, using .77 GB of data. We can save 49.72/month if we really want to cap our usage to 1GB. Even if we go on the high end of 2GB, we are still saving money compared to our previous bill.

Other Deals

Xfinity Mobile were offering customers $100 prepaid debit card if you bring in your iPhone. My iPhone is unlocked and it was a breeze to bring in the phone. My husband’s phone is an Android phone, owned by his former employer. We either have to get a phone through Xfinity if he wants to keep his Android or get an iPhone. My sister has an old iPhone with crack screen. She gave it to us for free and it cost $97.99 to get it repaired. We unlocked the phone and port my husbands number to Xfinity. We also received another $100 prepaid debit card as part of the offer.

Savings

We have saved 345.53 for 4 months of usage, including the offer that we were able to avail. I’ve been pretty happy with the service and pleasantly surprised with the coverage, especially the hotspots.

MonthT-Mobile PlanXfinity Mobile# GB used
Month 167.9639.162.34
Month 267.9639.162.64
Month 367.9629.751.34
Month 467.9618.240.77
Total271.84126.31

One Time Deal: $200

Total Savings: $345.53

Surprisingly, I recommend Xfinity Mobile, if you are looking to lower your cost and do not need much data.