New Years, Birthday and January 2023 Expenses

First month of the 2024 felt very long and short at the same time. We had a low key New Years Eve Celebration. Our local library had a Happy Noon Year celebration. The kids did a countdown and had some bubbly drink. It was surprisingly nice that day so we also visited our local playground. For the actual New Year’s countdown, we watched the London countdown on You Tube so AHP can see it before his bed time. We also watched the New Years countdown for MBP. For dinner, we had burgers and tots. The grown ups were also in bed before midnight. It was glorious. It is actually hard to think that I used to go out on parties for New Years pre kids.

Noon Year Countdown

The kids went back to school and I welcomed our daily walk routine. MBP now built a stamina to walk back from school. The hill was hard to begin with, but we took it slow and I’m glad that I don’t have to push the stroller from school.

I also turned 38 this month. I celebrated it with my family with a cake and a special dish request from my parents. Mr. MMD, MBP, AHP and I also went to Red Robbins for dinner. I got my free dinner. I also purchased a discounted GC from Raise right before we went. The total of our dinner out was about $10.

Birthday Breakfast

Tax season also started and I’m officially employed. I managed a tax site, preparing taxes for low income people. January was still slow, so I never worked more than 10 hours a week. The site is open 2 days a week for 4 hours. I’d say that it really is a great part time work for me.

So for January 2024, we spent $3,652. It’s been a while since we spent less than $4,000 and I was actually surprise. Let’s take a look at our spending.

DESCRIPTIONAMOUNT
Travel901.32
Groceries684.59
Utilities417.14
Education323
Healthcare/Medical202.39
Home Improvement202.21
Gasoline/Fuel121.68
General Merchandise138.22
Dues & Subscriptions102.65
GIFT100
Personal Care91.19
HOA84
Pets/Pet Care77.32
Mobile Phone53.2
Restaurants49.52
Clothing/Shoes46.64
Internet22.87
Gym22
Kids Activities12.97
TOTAL3652.91

Travel – $901

I bought four, 3 days All Inclusive Go City Pass for our Spring break trip in Oahu. The 2 adults and 2 kids price is $814.14. I bought the tickets at Undercovertourist.com and got some cash back from Rakuten. I priced out the single tickets for the attractions that we visited and we will save more than $1k by paying for the Go City Pass. Mr. MMD also got a TSA Pre check for $78. I finally had my Global Entry Interview. I paid $8 for the airport parking. Lastly, I booked our car for our Oahu trip. I used point but paid $$1.18 using my Chase Sapphire, to ensure that I get the insurance. Our trip to Oahu is set. Our airfare and hotels were all booked using points and cost us $0. I’m looking forward to this trip.

Groceries – $684

Our groceries were typical. We buy our food at WINCO and Costco. Lately, we’ve been buying some items at Walmart. I also bought a dozen spaghetti, a dozen spaghetti sauce, a couple of our wedding wine and some flowers at Trader Joes. My tax training was in Seattle, close to Trader Joes and I took the opportunity to stock up.

Flowers from Trader Joes

Utilities – $417

We had some really cold days and our electric and gas bill showed this with a spending of $214.89. Our trash bill was $81.24. Sewer was $66.46 and our water bill was $54.55.

Education – $323

This is MBP’s monthly preschool tuition expense.

Healthcare – $202

I visited an optometrist twice last January and paid $80. This is an in-network optometrist. I’m still trying to find the root cause of my sudden dry eye and unfortunately it is still on-going. I paid $38.76 for our dental insurance, $51.25 for various co-pay for lab exams. My prescription eye drop was $10. I also paid $17.38 for OTC eye drops for my dry eye. Lastly, I paid $5 for my eye insurance.

Home Improvement – $202

We installed bidets for our 2 other bathrooms. We only had it in our master bedroom, but decided that we really liked it and want to have all the toilets to have a bidet. The bidets were ordered from Tushy. I just have to write the name of the company because I think it’s genius.

Mr. MMD also have to go to Lowes to insulate our gas pipe outside. Houses in Pacific Northwest were not build for real winter condition. The weather has been changing and we are now experiencing REAL winter. The pipe froze and our furnace stopped working. Mr. MMD was able to diagnosed and fixed it. I hope that this doesn’t happen again for the rest of the winter.

The frozen pipe for our furnace

General Merchandise – $138

Various items that I don’t even bother to categorize. This is the catch all.

Gas – $121

I’ve been driving more becasue of work and training so this is for the gas of 2 cars.

Dues and Subscription – $102

My Chase Sapphire Credit Card Annual Fee was $95. This card is a keeper. We also paid $7.65 for Amazon Prime.

Gifts – $100

This was a Christmas gift for my sister. She didn’t cash the check since January.

Personal Care – $91

Mr. MMD bought a bar for our garage gym and it cost $65.69. I’ve been using it as well for strength training. I also got a haircut and paid $25.5.

Dumb bells

HOA – $84

This keeps on going up, but hey, we have a really nice trail and playgrounds.

Pets/ Petcare – $77.32

Our fur baby’s food from Chewy.

Mobile Phone – $53

We used more than 1gb of data in December.

Restaurants $49.52

Mr. MMD met up with his buddy in Seattle for dinner and Kracken Game. I purchase $50 Red Robbins GC at Raise for $15.14. I still have $9 left on the GC.

Clothing – $46

Some clothing for me, Mr. MMD and MBP.

Internet – $22

This should actually be lower since I found out that Xfinity was erroneously charging me for an equipment fee.

Gym – $22

Mr. MMD went to a pick up hockey game.

Kids Activities – $12.97

MBP’s school had a bingo party and asked for canned pet food as a donation. These are the pet foods. The event was actually pretty cool. We had chips, pizza and water. MBP won a book and was so excited when he got a Bingo!

That’s our first month in 2024. How’s yours?

The Holidays, December and our 2023 Expenses

We wrap up 2023 with some traditional and low key celebrations here at home. Although it is enticing to go elsewhere and escape the gloomy weather, we prefer to stay home and have our annual traditions, celebrating Christmas here with our family.

The month didn’t necessarily start well. I experienced another bout of pink eye. I was quarantined for almost a week in the room to prevent the kids from getting it. Luckily none of my family members got it. Just after that, Mr. MMD were out of commissioned for almost a week with some cough and chills. At first, I thought it was COVID, but luckily it wasn’t. It still didn’t feel good.

The kids, luckily didn’t get anything aside from some snot and mild cough. At home, they opened their lego Advent calendar and we light up our Menorah for the Chanukah. We put up the Christmas tree, played dreidel and listened to a lot of Holiday Favorites through Alexa. During the start of the break, we drove north and saw the Snowflake Lane in Bellevue. Similar to last year, we made a day out of it and went to Children’s Museum. This year, we also went to a toy store and the boys got something from us. Usually, we eat out at Cheesecake factory, but since this is the first day of the break, it seems that half of Seattle thought the same. We ended up eating an overpriced Greek food inside the mall. AHP was disappointed because he LOVE cheesecake, but luckily he was ok with it. We also got them an overpriced light up balloon, which broke the next day. Now, they know that we will no longer be buying those things next time. I also know to make a reservation at Cheesecake factory next year.

Holiday Craft at AHP’s School

Aside from Holiday festivities, I also attended my book club and started tax training for the upcoming tax season. Similar to last year, I will be managing a tax site and prepare taxes for low income folks. I’ll only be working for 4 hours, 2 days a week. I usually clock in more hours and try to help out during busy times. It was a very rewarding experience. It’s not something that I do for a paycheck, but I do cash it.

MBP’s list for Santa

For this month I will write about our total expenses for the year, instead of our monthly expenses. I’m still getting used to Empower to track our expenses. I’m not sure if I like it, but I’m giving it a try. For this annual expense, I used Mint, probably for one last time.

In total, we spent $81,511.22. We spent 9% more or $7,582.69 more than 2022. I want to say that we loosen up on spending this year, but this is probably more normal. There were one time expenses, like putting up a heat pump but you can say that every year. Our house is 10 years old. I expect that we will need to replace some appliances starting next year. We also spent more on travel this year. We went on Alaskan Cruise and visited almost every theme park in Southern California. This is a lot different than our camping trips in 2022 and significantly more expensive. We also live in a state with high cost of living. Even day to day expenses are just more expensive in general.

Alright, so where did our money went and how did it compare to last year?

CATEGORY2022 Spending2023 SpendingDifference% Difference
Home$2,126.21 $21,143.00 $19,016.79 894%
Food & Dining$10,483.75 $11,350.11 $866.36 8%
Travel$2,405.73 $6,809.96 $4,404.23 183%
Gifts & Donations$6,114.80 $6,623.83 $509.03 8%
Taxes$27,224.42 $6,231.80 ($20,992.62)-77%
Health & Fitness$4,743.79 $6,058.13 $1,314.34 28%
Kids$5,317.24 $5,851.43 $534.19 10%
Auto & Transport$3,527.41 $5,323.57 $1,796.16 51%
Bills & Utilities$4,333.60 $4,163.80 ($169.80)-4%
Shopping$3,102.42 $3,581.79 $479.37 15%
Pets$1,620.28 $2,775.09 $1,154.81 71%
Fees & Charges$954.74 $476.73 ($478.01)-50%
Business Services$40.56 $444.15 $403.59 995%
Personal Care$468.92 $399.55 ($69.37)-15%
Entertainment$1,464.66 $278.28 ($1,186.38)-81%
Total$73,928.53 $81,511.22 $7,582.69

Home – $21,143

This is the highest category of our spending this year, up by $19,016.79 from last year, an 894% increase. This year, we installed a new heat pump, added a shed in our backyard and bought a new couch, a new latex mattress and a new queen size bed. All of it definitely add up. That said, we also use all of it on a day to day basis. There were some small items we bought this year like 2 apple trees and 3 blueberry bushes. The rest are annual items like home insurance and HOA dues.

Food & Dining – $11,350.11

This is $866.36 increased from last year or 8%. This is not bad, especially since this includes food and dining while we travel. Groceries clocked in at $8,857.27 for the year. We ate out more as well with $1,715.8 spent at restaurants and $541.46 at fast foods. Coffee shops were only $84.52.

Travel – $6,809.96

We spent more on travel this year with an increase of $4,404.23 or 183% increase from last year. Our travel is a little different this year. We went on Alaskan Cruise, which is not the cheapest. We also went to San Diego and visited a ton of theme parks and went back to Disneyland in the beginning of the year. I actually prefer this type of long vacations instead of 2-3 nights camping trips.

Gifts and Donation – $6,623.83

This also increased by $509.03 or a 9% increase from last year. $5k were our annual gifts to my parents and the rest are donations / gifts for Christmas. I do feel more generous this year. We are pretty fortunate, so it is good to share it.

Taxes – $6,231.8

At least our taxes decrease significantly by $20,992.62. We only paid for property taxes. In fact, we received a refund on our 2022 taxes.

Health and Fitness – $6,058.13

Our health and fitness spending increased by $1,314.34 or a 28% increase. I spent $1,183.2 on Eye care. I had a couple of bouts on pink eye last year, which leads to dry eye symptoms. I’m glad it was caught early, but I had a hard time finding an in-network eye doctor. Fortunately, I found one this year, and I’m hopeful that this eye issue will be fix. We were also a member of YMCA for about 9 months last year and spent $1,052.92 this year. We no longer have this membership, but will most likely return during the summer to sign up the boys for swim lessons. Our health insurance were $884.22 for the year. We signed up for a gold plan with a monthly premium of $99.58. We received some “rewards” by getting our annual exam and having some preventative care. We used those rewards to pay for some month’s premium. We just got more rewards which will pay for at least 3 months worth of premium this year. Mr. MMD went back to play hockey. We also have some various doctor payments from various visits with a total of $874.88. We paid more on prescription this year, with the biggest one being my eye drop for my dry eye syndrome. I am hopeful that this will go down eventually with our spending mostly focus on preventative items.

Mt. Rainier view on our daily walk from school

Kids – $5,851.46

This also increased by $1,314.34 or 10%. The biggest one is preschool expenses which is $3,056. We bought a fancy chair for AHP and a fancy bike for MBP. The rest are random items. This is pretty minimal. It might go down once AHP is in Kindergarten, but might also increase since they might be interested on more activities.

Auto and Transport – $5,323.57

We spent 51% more or $1,796.16 this year on our cars. Our 2 cars needed some service this year. The Jetta’s parking break got stuck while the Prius A/C needed some repair. Our 2011 Prius might also need some service this year as it reach 120k miles. This is our everyday car. I’m hoping that we can get another 5 years with this car before we need to get a replacement.

Bills and Utilities – $4,163.8

I’m surprised that this decreased by $169.8. A decrease of 4%. We installed Google Nest this year and a heat pump, so perhaps we are more efficient.

Shopping – $3,581.79

This increased by 15% or $479.37 more from last year. This is just various shopping items, include clothings and electronics.

Pets – $2,775.09

We spent $1,154.81, a 71% increase from last year. Our fur baby had her teeth cleaned and had tooth extract, which is basically the reason of the increase.

Fees and Charges – $476.73

This decreased by $478.01, a 50% decreased. We closed a couple of credit cards with annual fee. We are still earning points. Our flights and hotels in Hawaii for this spring break are all paid by points. I just keep earning, so we should have enough for more trips.

Business Services – $444.15

I spent $403.59 more this year because it is a renewal year for my CPA certification. I also pay for a CPE subscription to get my CPE hours.

Personal Care – $399.55

Some toiletries and haircut.

Entertainment – $278.28

Some games, movies, our state park passes, etc.

We spent more, overall, but nothing extravagant. Unfortunately, I had some eye issue that I’m still dealing with and our healthcare expense seems to be increasing over time. Perhaps, this is a good preview as we age. I’m hopeful that with the right lifestyle, this spending doesn’t increase over time.

We are coming on our 5th year of retirement. I no longer think about going back to work full time. I like the slow paced lifestyle. I still struggle with the gloomy weather and we still haven’t find a community here. COVID of course didn’t help as everyone stay in. I am just now meeting more people through the kid’s school and my book club.

Happy New Year! Here’s to hoping for a great 2024, better health, finding real friends and new experiences.

Thanksgiving and November 2023 Expenses

We had a busy November ending with a nasty germs that took our household. As of today, Mr. MMD is recovering from some nasty cough. A week before I had a pink eye with some mild fever beforehand. The boys also have a never ending snot.

Aside from the germs, we had a good November. We had our annual holiday picture taken this month at JC Penney. I purchased a groupon deal that includes 3 Digital Images and 1 print out. The photographer was really trying to upsell us this time, but I stick with the 3 digital images. It was an easy decision because there weren’t a lot of good images to choose from. The photographer was not very good with the kids. I was lucky to get 1 good family shot.

We also went to the Zoo this month. We got our tickets from Camp Fire. MBP is part of it and they gave out free tickets to the Zoo. They also got a badge by completing some of the scavenger hunt. The zoo already have some lanterns at the time and they are starting to decorate for the holidays.

Visiting the Zoo

The kids also met Santa at the Bass Pro Shop. We got a free photo print out and a “movie”. It is unfortunate that they don’t give out a free digital image. It was my first time visiting the store. It is huge like an REI, but catered more towards hunters, fisherman.

We were also in Central Illinois for 9 days, visiting family. We flew direct to Chicago and drove for almost 3 hours to Bloomington area. The kids are pro at travel by now and did great. In Illinois, the kids were able to run around the corn field, visit the Children’s Museum and spent some quality time with their grandparents.

Visiting the cabin by the lake

In terms of finances, this month we spent $3,672. This is the first time that our spending was lower than $4k. I also started using Empower, aka Personal Capital to track our spending. I’ve been using Mint for this blog, but Intuit is sunsetting the app, so I’m switching to Empower. We use Empower to track our net worth so all our accounts are there anyway, but it is also more granular on categories. Anyway, here it is…

Healthcare/Medical – $741.24

Mr. MMD had a colonoscopy this month and paid $350 copay. I’m sure there are more bills to come next year or so. I also purchased a transition glasses from Zenni. It was very affordable at $145.24. I’ll write a review after a couple of months of usage. My doctor’s office was about to charge me $400+ for the same glasses. I paid $164 for my eye exam for a new eye prescription. Mr. MMD had a prescription co-pay of $100 after his colonoscopy as well. I also took MBP to an eye doctor to get his vision check. The doctor doesn’t seem concern with his vision. I’m hoping that none of my kids will ever need some glasses.

Groceries – $632

We usually spend $800+ on groceries. This is low because we were visiting family for 9 days and they fed us for free!

Travel – $352

We rented a car through Costco for $349. $4 are for the tolls.

Education – $323

Monthly preschool tuition for AHP. He goes 5 days a week for almost 3 hours.

Home Improvement – $258

I bought 2 apple trees and 3 blueberry bushes to be planted in Spring for $255.31. There is also some charges at Lowes for $2.50

Electronics – $252

Mr. Mmd bought a new monitor for his computer.

Health Insurance – $145.98

Our health insurance is $99.58. Dental Insurance is for $41.4 and my eye insurance is $5.

Utilities – $251

Our gas and electric bill were $137. Sewer were $67 and water were $48. All normal for the month.

General Merchandise – $148

I bought a latex pillow at Latexforless for $75.56 and another slim latex pillow at Amazon for $32.81. I also bought a couple of books at goodwill for our book club book and wine exchange and some bath soap for the boys on subscription from Amazon was delivered this month.

Health Insurance – $146

Our monthly health insurance for $99.58, dental insurance for 41.4 and my vision insurance for $5.

Restaurants – $146

We ate out on our travel days. We also had a take out from our favorite teriyaki place one day.

General Merchandise – $114

This is a catch all of everything else. I bought 2 books from Goodwill for a book exchange for our book club. I also bought 2 new pillows, one from latex from less and another one from Amazon. So far, both are good.

Automotive – $97

This is the annual tab renewal of our 2010 Volkswagen Jetta

Gas – $93

Majority of this were from our trip to Central Illinois.

HOA – $79

Monthly HOA. This will increase to $84 next year

Christmas Cards – $66

I printed out our Christmas cards from Canva. I also got some stamps from USPS and the shipping fee from JC Penney of our Christmas photo.

Gym – $43

I registered for a 5k run here in our neighborhood which will happen in December.

Kids Activities – $35

The kids got some books from scholastic. We also got free tickets from the Woodland Park Zoo, but paid for parking.

Mobile Phone – $17.2

We only used 1 GB of data for this billing.

Pets/ Pet care – $15

I used the Instacart credits and purchased our furbaby her dog food. This is usually $70+.

Dues / Subscription – $7.65

Monthly Prime subscription.

Hobbies – $2.01

Google Cloud Platform for this blog.

Property taxes, Mattress and October 2023 Expenses

October went by quick and it was busier than expected. We had our normal October activities like visiting the Pumpkin Patch and Halloween. New this year is MBP fundraising event for his school. It was a school fun run. The school ended up raising $27k+ in this event and MBP’s class raised funds the most. In my opinion, this is a great fundraising event. No need to sell anything, just straight up asking folks for some money. I volunteered at the event and saw the kids had a lot of fun running around. I was initially scared that MBP will need his in-hailer, but he didn’t need to. He did end up crying in the beginning because he keeps tripping while other kids run over him. He was slow. One of the moms saw him and walked him towards me. I told him that he can walk instead, but he insisted on running. The other kids finally slowed down and MBP kept running. He was really focus and was so happy afterwards. I was so proud of him. I’m always worried that his lungs never really develop because of prematurity. He gets winded quickly, but we know that he actually need to slowly develop his lungs through exercise. We walk to school everyday. I’m hoping that this will help.

We picked some Asian Pear at my parent’s house. It’s delicious!

We also visited the Pumpkin Patch this year. We’ve been going here since MBP started in his coop school. I recommended this to MBP’s campfire group. One of the parents put it together and got us a deal, which is fantastic! The weather was great and it was a lot of fun.

Picking Pumpkins

In October we spent $7,982.95. It is less than our September spending. Let’s look at it…

CATEGORYSpending
Taxes$3,092.71
Home$1,429.48
Food & Dining$1,002.53
Health & Fitness$833.75
Kids$407.65
Bills & Utilities$401.98
Shopping$392.42
Auto & Transport$198.11
Uncategorized$120.00
Pets$77.32
Gifts & Donations$27.00
Total$7,982.95

Taxes – $3,092.71

Our second half of property tax was due. I paid the 50 cents convenience fee to pay via ACH. Washington’s property tax was about 1% of the property value. The rate was actually lower than other state, but property values here in the Pacific Northwest was high, so the absolute value was high. We chose to stay in a “smaller” 2500 sq ft home in our neighborhood. Our house is probably the cheapest in the block.

Home – $1,429.48

I finally bought a new mattress and it cost $1,154.13. We’ve been using my old queen mattress from 2006 and I’ve been having some back issues. It’s been so bad that I slept on our Thermarest Mondo King camp mattress. I actually purchased a king beds in 2019, one from Costco, which we returned and one from Macy’s which we used for a little over a year until it sagged. That Macy’s King Bed was a waste of money. I was hesitant on buying a new mattress again. I spent a lot of time researching. I ended up buying a 9 inch latex mattress with 120 day trial period. I’m on my second week now and so far my back pain is lot a less and I’m back sleeping in the bed. I’ll write a more comprehensive review about it after the 120 days trial.

We also spent $195.7 at Lowes and $79.65 for our HOA.

Food and Dining – $1,002.53

Our groceries clocked in at $958.6. There might be some non-grocery items here since we buy some other things at Walmart and Costco. Now that the boys are in our neighborhood schools, it’s easier to buy groceries at Walmart, but Mr. MMD still go to Winco for the bulk section items. I ate out in the beginning of the month and spent $31.93 and we also got the boys a $12 cotton candy during Salmon Days.

That is a unicorn shape overprized cotton candy

Health and Fitness – $833.75

I continue to see an out of network ophthalmologist. Apparently I suffer from dry eyes. The prescription cost $310 for a 6 month restasis treatment. I saw a chiropractor 3 times this month as well. Total cost of doctor visits were $273.77 for both the opthalmogist and chiro. Our health insurance for a gold plan is $99.58. Our dental insurance were $41.4. I also started a vision insurance for $5/month. I also had a dental filing this month and it cost me $104 for co-pay.

Kids – $407.65

Preschool tuition is still a majority of this at $323/month. Supplies are $54.11 and other school materials are $30.54

Our neighborhood halloween festivities. The kids were scared of these decorations

Bills and Utilities – $401.98

Our electric and gas is $198.78. This is for 2 months as I forgot to pay it last month. Sewer is constant at $66.46. Internet is $61 for 2 months. Water is $46.78. We used about 2gb of data for our cellphone and paid $28.96 for 2 lines.

Shopping – $392.42

Overall shopping is $172.39. Clothing, mostly kids clothes, kids shoes and halloween costumes are $142.33. Household supplies are $70.05 and our prime subscription is $7.65

Auto and Transport – $198.11

Gas were $198.11. and oil change for our 2010 Volkswagen Jetta is $84.3

Misc – $120

Mr. MMD withdrew $120 cash. He likes having cash, which we usually spend at the fair or Sunday market.

Pets – $77.32

Our Corgi’s food.

Gifts and Donation – $27

This is the Groupon deal for our annual family photo that we used for our holiday cards.

We spent quite a bit on furniture this year. I get a lot of utility on these items and everything is use everyday. Our couch is awesome and we use it everyday. Our bed is awesome and we use it everyday. My hope is that our new latex mattress will last like my old queen mattress that I bought in 2006. So far it is comfortable, but it is too soon to tell if it will sag or not. Our shed housed all our garden materials everyday.

Mint is about to sunset and I will be moving our spending to Empower going forward. There are 2 more months left in 2023. Holidays are in full swing. I’m looking forward to it.

Shed, Couch and other September 2023 Expenses

School started for both kiddos. For the first time in many years, the house was quiet for a couple of hours in the morning. It was a little weird not having the kids at home, but it is nice to do have some time to actually do some work.

We continue to do some work around the house this September. We, really means Mr. MMD. In September, he finished putting up the shed and put the insulation back in our crawl space. Apparently, a big chunk of the insulation fell to the ground because nothing is holding it up. Mr. MMD, managed to fixed this. Hopefully, it will stay put. Other household project includes buying a bed frame for us and a new couch. I led this project and you can see this on our spending.

I used the morning time to organize and declutter. We finally got rid of the grass fertilizer and other household chemicals that were in the laundry room. Funny that we actually move those items in our new house and it took us 4 years to get rid of them. I donated some clothes and household items in Goodwill. Decluttering is really a never ending project, especially with the kids stuff.

AHP finally let go of this trampoline Time for other kids to have fun with it!

I also had my eye examined by an ophthalmologist. It was so hard to find a doctor in my network that I actually went out of network. I’m just glad that I was seen and I’m hoping that this issue will get fix. I also started going to a Chiropractor. I started having some lower back issue when we switch mattress. I’m still having some and I’m looking for a new mattress. My insurance covers 10 visit with a $15 copay per visit. I like my insurance for that and I also like my chiro.

In September, we spent $11,691.21. This is huge and we are living large! I wish I can say that our spending will go down, but I can’t see this happening. We will re-asses by the end of the year. We might need to put together a budget if our spending continue to increase. Let’s take a look where we spent our money.

CATEGORYSpending
Home$5,937.62
Pets$1,564.17
Kids$940.82
Food & Dining$809.39
Travel$791.20
Health & Fitness$651.45
Auto & Transport$622.72
Shopping$164.31
Bills & Utilities$126.81
Personal Care$75.44
Gifts & Donations$7.28
Total$11,691.21

Home – $5,937.62

The biggest items are furnishings. Mr. MMD and I haven’t bought a new furniture together. Our couch is falling apart and I’d like to have a real bed. Macy’s had a sale for labor day and we spent $3,735.04 on a sectional and a queen bed. The amount included a $299 white glove delivery. The guys came in and assembled the furnitures and took out all the garbage with it. It’s well worth the price. I listed our old couch and love seat on our buy nothing page and it was picked up the next weekend.

Goodbye Old Couch. You served us well for 14 years

We also purchased our shed at Walmart for $1,289. We received a $12 credit from Chase offers by ordering on Walmart online. I also got a couple of clocks for the playroom and the living room, a dozen new glassware, flatware for MBP’s lunch box and some scissors at Ikea. I used some old gift card and spent $48.30 on the balance.

The shed with our planter on the left and heat pump on the right

The next item under home, are Home Improvement. These are the expenses to prepare the ground for the shed. Mr. MMD rented a tamper to even out the ground. The cost is $343.51 with delivery. He also ordered some gravel which cost $307.7. We spent $146.42 for various visit at Lowes.

Last category for home is our HOA fee for $79.65.

Pets – $1,564.17

This is a fee for our furbaby’s tooth extraction and tooth cleaning. This is her second tooth cleaning since we got her and is totally overdue. Our dog doesn’t like her teeth brushed. The vet needs to give her some anesthesia for it.

Kids – $940.82

We spent $350.31 on Kids Gadget. We moved AHP out of his high chair and got him a Stokke Chair. I’ve been looking for a used one for months, but I think kids uses it for so long and I never saw a used one closed to us. I didn’t want to drive too far so I hit the buy button at Amazon, instead. It’s expensive at $261.71, but the kids are using this chair everyday. MBP’s chair is still going strong after 3.5 years of use. This is one of those items that I think is worth the splurge for our family. I also got MBP a lunch box. The price is steep at $49.22 but MBP seems to really like it. We can pack hot lunches with it from our left over dinner. The box is big enough to hold his lunch and afternoon snack. I also got AHP a new backpack for his preschool, a headphones for MBP and a rain shield for our double umbrella stroller. We’ve been walking to and from school everyday. The walk is .7 miles one way with elevation of 115 ft. He can walk to school but struggle going back because of the hills. I pick him up with the double stroller. He’ll walk until he gets tired and will climb into the stroller.

Preschool tuition for AHP is $323. We spent $176 on various kids activities. I signed up MBP for Camp Fire. It’s an after school activity that meets every other week, completely ran by parents. The fee and the vest is $78 for the year. I also paid $68 for their school photos and $30 for the pumpkin patch, which happened in October.

School is $91.51. These are various expenses related to kids school like, PTA membership fees for $20 and teacher wish list donation for the rest.

Food and Dining – $884.88

We spent $842.10 on groceries. Mr. MMD spent $38.36 for dinner with his buddy and I spent $4.42 for coffee. We actually didn’t eat out this month.

Travel – $791.2

We bought 4 tickets to Chicago to visit my in-laws for Thanksgiving. I booked a rental car from O’Hare Airport through Costco to drive to Bloomington area. There were plenty of direct flight to O’Hare from Seattle and it makes more sense to just drive to Bloomington instead of flying there.

Health and Fitness – $651.45

I’ve been having some eye issues since June. I can’t find an in-network ophthalmologist on my insurance so I went out of network. I really like my doctor and I’ll be switching to her next year. The cost of my first visit was $266.47. I also paid $30 co-pay for my 2 visits at chiropractor. We paid $154 for our YMCA membership. We never really went to the Y this September, so it will not be a recurring expenses for us until next summer. Our health insurance was $99.58 and our dental insurance was $41.40. I also paid a $50 co-pay for my dentist. Lastly, I paid $10 co-pay for my eye drop. This eye drop cost over $100 without insurance. We are definitely using our insurance this year.

Auto and Transport – $625.96

Our 6 months auto insurance was $534.37. This is for our 2010 VW Jetta and 2010 Toyota Prius. We also spent $79.55 on fuel and $8.8 on tolls from this summer.

Bills and Utilities – $126.81

This is for our water at $43.39, sewer at $66.46 and mobile phone at $16.96. We are back on consuming 1GB on our Xfinity Mobile.

Shopping – $123.31

We got MBP the Super Mario Odyssey game for his switch. He is almost done with it and is now on the bonus section. The cost is $58.2. I also got him a pair of rain boots / snow boots for $43.77. This is a must in the Pacific Northwest. I spent $13.69 at Dollar Tree for sticker books and we also paid $7.65 for our prime subscription.

Personal Care – $40.95

The boys had a hair cut. This is actually cheaper because our hairdresser have a 1 free hair cut for every 10 hair cut. It’s usually cost us $60+ including tips.

Gift and Donation – $7.28

We went to AHP’s friends birthday party and this is the boy’s gift to her.

Theme Parks and August 2023 Expenses

We wrapped up our Summer Adventures, visiting Southern California. We were there for 11 days, visiting Legoland, San Diego Safari, San Diego Zoo, Seaworld, the Aquarium and Belmont Park. Hurricane Hilary were there during our last days and our planned beach days were canceled. San Diego closed the public beaches during that time. We stayed in our hotel instead.

Checking out the Ninja Lego in Legoland

Back to school activities started once we were back home. MBP had quite a bit of friends meet ups with upcoming kindergarteners. There were donut days, sweet and treats days and cookies and milk days. It was fun meeting families in the neighborhood. After 4 years of living here, we are finally meeting getting to know our neighbors.

We continue to loosen up on spending. In August, we spent, $4,840.75. I’m just seeing this the first time too, so let’s dissect our spending.

CATEGORYSpending
Travel$1,452.00
Food & Dining$1,242.73
Bills & Utilities$519.78
Home$452.24
Health & Fitness$338.96
Auto & Transport$288.78
Shopping$274.18
Kids$184.62
Pets$77.32
Personal Care$8.41
Fees & Charges$1.73
Total$4,840.75

Travel – $1,452.00

This cost is associated with our travel to Southern California. Our flight tickets, 9 nights of hotel stays and car rental were paid with points. This is mainly for activities. First, I bought 2 adults and 2 kids 7 day San Diego Go City all inclusive pass. This pass let us visit Legoland 3 times, San Diego Safari, San Diego Zoo, Seaworld, Aquarium and Belmont Park all inclusive rides. I priced out these passes against the cost of individual tickets and it was about a couple of hundred cheaper even though we didn’t visit a lot of places. We would have saved more if we added more activities, but the point is to have a relaxing trip. I bought the passes at Groupon for $1191.88.

We also bought 2 travel car seats at Walmart for $107.08. Our car seats were heavy and we didn’t want to haul it all the way to San Diego. We did it on our last trip in Chicago and vow that we will not travel with those car seats again. We spent $94.01 for hotel parking and some ice cream in the hotel lobby. For these trips we stayed at 3 different hotels – a Hyatt Place, Hyatt House and Fairfield Inn Marriott. I redeemed my Ultimate Rewards from Chase to book the Hyatt hotels and spent $51.03 at Fairfield for one night before our departure. The Fairfield rate is a family member employee rate through my father. We also spent $8 for some knick knacks at Seaworld San Diego.

San Diego Safari. It was hot!

Food and Dining – $1,242.73

This is expectedly high since we ate out more while traveling. We still brought our rice cooker and made some dinner in the hotel. We did groceries and pack some lunches and snacks as much as we can. We spent $667.4 for groceries for the month. The restaurants that we visited were actually really good and I was very impressed. We spent $445.85 on restaurants and $129.48 on foods in the theme parks, fast food and trip to get frozen yogurt back here at home.

Utilities – $519.78

We spent $189.31 on electric and gas. This was for 2 billing cycles. Our garbage bill also charged me for 2 billing cycles and cost us $162.48. We now have a credit on our account. Sewer is flat at $66.46. Our water boll is $51.57. Internet is at $33 and our phone is back at $16.96.

Home – $452.24

This category will also continue to go up. We started a list of home projects. We will take our time, so the cost will not be one time. Majority of the work will also be a labor of love my Mr. MMD, so it shouldn’t be that high. This month we spent $372.59 with 4 charges from Home Depot and 2 charges from Lowes and 2 charges from Amazon. Mr. MMD is almost done with putting the gravel in our yard for the foundation of our shed. It looks nice right now even without the shed. Our HOA is flat at $79.65

Health and Fitness – $338.96

Our health and dental insurance were $281.96. This was also for 2 billing cycles. I paid for a copay of $35 for an urgent care visit that happened last June.

Shopping – $274.18

We renewed our Costco membership for the year at $120. We are now an executive member. We shop there so often that we will get this back in terms of cash back for the year. My 20 year old hair dryer also stopped working. It just stopped heating up. I bought a CONAIR hair dryer from Amazon and cost $33.59. We spent $29.01 on household supplies, $29.01 for MBP’s new Kirby backpack and lunchbox, $10.72 for a souvenir in San Diego Zoo and $7.65 for Amazon subscription.

Auto and Transport – $288.78

We spent $178.78 on gas, including gas to our rental car while we were in Southern California. Gas price there is comparable to Seattle. We also spent $110 on parking at the theme parks that we visited.

Kids – $184.62

Kids activities are $100 fro a visit to Chuck E Cheese and school supplies for MBP’s Kindergarten. Diaper cost us $44.99. We also bought Super Mario Cart Game for $39.63.

The Dolphin show is pretty cool

Pets – $77.32

Our furbaby’s food. She will also need to get her teeth clean and a tooth extract. So this category will be high next month.

Personal Care – $8.41

Kid’s shampoo. How exciting!

Fees and Charges – $1.73

Fee for a credit card interest that I forgot to auto pay. Oh well.

The kids are now back to school. This is the first year that both of them are out of the house for a good half a day. It just started and AHP already caught a cold and had a fever. He missed 2 days of school on his first week. I’m really hoping the we don’t get hit by a bug as frequently as last year. That said, with them being gone, we have more time to ourselves. I still don’t know what it looks like but I’m looking forward to it.

Summer Adventures, Heat Pump and Housework

We spent July at home and enjoyed the great weather in the Pacific Northwest. We were invited to a pool party during 4th of July and to a private lake spot. We definitely enjoyed all of those, though for a moment, I thought about stepping up our game and host something just as elegant, gladly we were out of there right away.

We hit the beach on one of the days

My in-laws also had their annual visits and we all had a great time. It was very laid back and we stayed local. The boys were over the moon.

Mr. MMD and MBP paddle boarding

This month, we started some housework that was put off for the last 4 years. There were some work we wanted to do at home when we initially bought our house. We put it off because we thought we were going to move. After 2 years of searching with a dozen house visits, we finally decided that we will stay put.

So for this month, we spent $13,738.58. The spending trend this year is up, up and up. I wonder if this will be a new normal.

CATEGORYSpending
Home$11,640.79
Food & Dining$749.49
Shopping$355.80
Fees & Charges$285.00
Health & Fitness$274.74
Bills & Utilities$258.80
Auto & Transport$60.83
Pets$38.26
Entertainment$35.00
Kids$20.88
Personal Care$18.99
Total$13,738.58

Home – $11,640.79

After 21 years of living in the Pacific Northwest, I am finally living in a house with central A/C. We installed a heat pump in our house. We actually thought about getting central air 3 years ago after a year of living in our house. The initial quote then was about $7k. Once we decided to stay put, I know that it’s time to install a central air, in case we hit another 90+ degree weather. We spent $10,507.86 for a heat pump. So far, we haven’t had the need to turn on the A/C. We keep it at 75 and our house has been cooler than that.

Since we are staying put, we also decided to add a shed in our backyard. The initial work happened this month, which consist mostly of digging our very rocky land. Mr. MMD did almost all the work. There’s no shed yet and it will probably take another month or 2 before it’s there. I would say, I’ll be happy if we can actually finish a project this year, then we can move on and do some projects inside the house. We spent $121.9 at Home Depot for some wood and some tools.

We also paid our annual Home Insurance at Nationwide for $931.37. I paid it at 4th of July, hoping that our house don’t get burn by the neighborhood fireworks.

Lastly, we paid, $79.65 for HOA Dues.

Neighborhood Fireworks

Food and Dining – $811.86

Our grocery bill is at $637.21. This is low this month. My in-laws were here and they paid for grocery and restaurant for 10 days that they were here. We spend $800sh on average. We spent $162.62 on restaurants. We paid for one take out meal with my in-laws. I met up with a friend and had some ramen and a couple of bubble tea. I only drank one Taro bubble tea and got another one to go for the kids. MBP really enjoyed it. We also ate out and had some Dimsum. Lastly, we got a large kettle corn at the local farmer’s market.

Fees and Charges – $285

This is for 3 Annual Membership Fee for 3 credit cards. We opened 2 Chase Ink Business Preferred in anticipation of paying our heat pump. We already got one sign up bonus of 100,000 points. I value this at about $1,500 conservatively. I’m ok paying for these fees, because we get more value from the sign up bonuses.

Health and Fitness – $274.74

Our monthly YMCA membership is $154. The boys have been taking swim lessons at the Y. MBP is doing really well and AHP is getting more and more comfortable with the water. We were also able to take our in-laws and they swam with the kids at the Y. Mr. MMD also paid $120.74 to play hockey for the season.

Bills and Utilities – $258.8

We paid $112.82 on our phone bill. Mr. MMD used quite a bit of data that month and it actually surprised both of us. Our monthly sewer bill is $66.46. Our water is $59.52 and our internet is at $20.

Shopping – $226.10

Shopping is a catch all. It’s clothes, housing supplies and prime subscription

Auto and Transport – $60.83

We filled up twice and paid 50 cents of parking in Seattle.

Pets – $57.81

Food and treats for our furbaby

Our Corgi watching the fireworks

Kids – $57.66

I bought the kids 2 headphones for travel. I also bought a travel stroller from our neighbor.

Entertainment – $35

Our Annual Discover Pass to visit the state Parks in WA. We already visited 2 state parks this summer.

Personal Care – $29.99

Not sure why Mint is not categorizing it as shopping, but these are just toiletries.

That’s our July. We spent half of August in California. I’ll talk about that on the next month’s update.

How’s your summer?

Car A/C, Birthday and June 2023 Expenses

We spent most of June sick. Our household got hit by this bug that started with MBP, passed on to AHP and to me. Luckily my husband didn’t get it. It wasn’t a typical cold because mine lasted about 3 weeks. We visited urgent care 3 times with 1 visit to virtual urgent care. I’m finally just getting better. We skipped our first and only last camping trip reservation this summer because we were sick.

Fortunately, we were still able to celebrate some milestones. MBP turned 6. We postponed his birthday party because he was sick. We were grateful that his friends were still able to come over.

MBP also graduated preschool. He will start kindergarten in September and AHP will attend the same school for Pre-k.

We also celebrated our 7 year anniversary. I tend to forget this because it is a day before MBP’s birthday and I’m busy preparing for that. Mr. MMD, though, is always on top of it.

Summer events also started. We celebrated Rubharb Days in our small town. We also took the boys to their first ever baseball game. The Mariners lost, but we still had a good time.

Our total expenses for the month is $6,300.13. We are living it up here. Let’s see where that money went.

CATEGORYSpending
Auto & Transport$1,404.54
Food & Dining$1,111.77
Shopping$865.12
Kids$755.23
Home$537.72
Health & Fitness$508.57
Bills & Utilities$468.66
Gifts & Donations$150.00
Entertainment$141.12
Personal Care$140.35
Fees & Charges$95.00
Pets$77.25
Travel$44.80
Total$6,300.13

Auto and Transport – $1,404.54

The air conditioning of our 13 years old Toyota Prius went out. The Prius is our everyday car and it is summer here. Midas charged us $1,229.29 for the service and parts. We spent $156.25 on fuel and $19 for a train ride to Seattle to see the Mariner’s game. The train ride worked out really well. The kids rode free with paying adults and no one has to drive to the city, deal with traffic and pay for parking.

Food and Dining – $1,111.77

We were sick most of June so there are quite a bit of grocery run for food that we can eat (ie chicken noodle soup). Our groceries total $944.17. We spent the rest on eating out. We ate out twice, one at our local restaurant for Rubharb Fest and we had lunch before the Mariner’s game and had ice cream during the game. Mr. MMD also met up with our friend one time for a drink.

Shopping – $865.12

The big chunk is Mr. MMD’s new hockey skates for $466.29. He finally replaced his 10+ years old hockey skates! We spent $147.15 for miscellaneous shopping. I also replaced the batteries of my 4 year old iPhone for $97.99. It is finally charging at 100%. Hopefully, it last for another 4 years. I also bought 3 books from our local bookstore for $43.73. We usually visit that bookstore every summer during Rhubarb Days. I made a rule to myself that if I ever buy a book, I will try to buy it at our local bookstore first before ordering it at Amazon. I usually borrow books from the library, but the one I want has a long waitlist and it was for my bookclub. The boys picked a book for themselves as well. The rest are household supplies, shopping and our prime subscription.

It was a Space Theme Party

Kids – $755.23

We bought MBP a Nintendo Switch for his 6th birthday. We also bought him a game “Kirby the Forgotten Land”. Total for both were $346.78. MBP is really into it. AHP is a little too young, but do try to play it as well. We paid our last preschool tuition for the year for MBP for $294. I spent $92.58 for party supplies for MBP’s birthday party. We also bought a Frida Baby for AHP for 21.87. He was NOT into it!

He moves around the house while playing

Home – $537.72

Our neighbor repaired his fenced and decided to repair the side shared with ours. It was $400. My initial intuition was that it was too high, but I will not really argue with that. Mr. MMD and I decided to go ahead and be a good neighbor and pay it. We also pay $37.5 to dump some wood for recycling. Our HOA was $79.65 and we bought more light bulbs at Amazon for $20.57

Health and Fitness – $508.57

I had my bi-annual eye check and purchased an annual contact lenses for $195.97. Our monthly membership at the YMCA is consistent at $154. The boys are on swim lessons from M-Th for the past 2 weeks. We really get a lot from our membership. Mr. MMD paid for his hockey league for the season at $117.2. We also paid for our dental insurance at $41.4. I used our rewards from our health insurance provider to pay for our July health insurance, so it wasn’t here this month.

Bills and Utilities – $468.66

We paid $208.6 for our electric and gas. We continue to pay extra to get a “green” energy source from our utility provider. We do this because we can. Our garbage were $75.38. Sewer was consistent at $66.46. We paid $52.82 for our mobile phone. We about 4gb of data. We paid $45.4 for water and $20 for internet.

Gifts and Donation – $150

We got 3 $50 Target gift card for MBP’s teachers.

Entertainment – $141.12

MBP’s game was categorized here for $65.63. Our baseball tickets from Costco were $39.99 for 4 tickets. It was cheap seats, but MBP enjoyed it. We also watched the new Pixar Movie, “Elemental” and paid #25 for 3 tickets and big bucket of popcorn. Regal Crown has $5 movie ticket every Tuesday. This was MBP’s 3rd movie and AHP’s 2nd. AHP was able to seat down longer but I still have to go out with him and walk / run the hallway back and forth. I also paid $10 for a meetup membership. It charged me twice, but I let it go.

T-Mobile Park

Fees & Charges – $95

Mr. MMD’s annual credit card fees for Chase Sapphire Preferred. We will keep this card because we get a lot of value from it.

Pets – $77.25

Our furbabby’s dog food from Chewy.

Travel – $44.8

4 round trip tickets to San Diego this August.

Property Taxes, Cruising and May 2023 Expenses

We went on our first ever cruise in May. The cruise departed from Seattle and we visited Juneau, Skagway, Glacier Bay National Park, Ketchikan and Victoria BC, before going back to Seattle. These expenses were paid the previous months with the exception of tips, transit and food while we were visiting the town. I enjoyed Alaska but I don’t think I’ll be cruising anytime soon. I’d like to visit Alaska again in a different way. One day on port was not enough time to truly see the last frontier.

Cruising Glacier Bay National Park. Pictures don’t do it justice

Back here at home, we were preparing for the end of school year and start of our new kindergartner. MBP had his kindergarten assessment right when we got back. He also met some of his new friends in kindergarten.

In May, we spent $6,547.30. An expected high number given our property taxes. Let’s look at where we spent the rest of our money.

CATEGORYSpending
Taxes$3,139.09
Food & Dining$735.29
Health & Fitness$526.35
Shopping$498.39
Travel$468.11
Kids$380.68
Bills & Utilities$356.07
Home$127.00
Pets$121.64
Auto & Transport$108.29
Personal Care$74.39
Entertainment$12.00
Total$6,547.30

Taxes – $3,139.09

This was a one line item for half of our property taxes. I was late on payments and paid some $4 penalty. I made sure to put this task on my calendar from now on.

Food and Dining – $735.29

We spent cinco de mayo in Seattle and gave one of my best friend a send off. She got a great opportunity in London to advance her career. I’ve known this person since college. I will definitely miss her, but I am also very excited for her adventure. We spent the night in Seattle at a friends house and treat him for brunch the next day. The boys spent the night at my parents and we bought some Chinese food takeout for lunch with them. This food also included our dining out in the ports. Food was included in the cruise, but I’d like to support the local businesses in the port when we can. We got chocolate fudge in Juneau, had lunch at Skagway Brewery in Skagway and also got some treats for the kids.

Flights from Skagway Brewery.

Back home, we dine out more at Red Robin. We also celebrated Mr. MMD’s 41st birthday at Taco Bell, per tradition.

Health and Fitness – $526.35

Mr. MMD signed up for hockey this summer season and that cost $317.2 The rest were for our monthly gym membership at our local YMCA, health insurance and some dramamine for our cruise. The good news was that my insurance finally figure out the correct billing. They refunded me the overpayments. It was now corrected going forward.

Shopping – $498.39

Quite a bit of shopping this month, but the biggest one was for Apple Airpods Pro that was a gift for Mr. MMD. It was on sale at Best Buy at $199 vs the regular $250 price tag. I also got a $25 cash back by using my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card. Total with taxes was just under $200. I bought some clothes for the kids for the cruise and a rash guard for Mr. MMD. Total price for the new clothes were $37.17. The rest were for household supplies and miscellaneous shopping, which includes the trinkets that we bought from the ports.

Travel – $468.11

These were the expenses for the cruise including tips. Gratuities for the cruise were $16 per person per day. We used our $200 On Board Credits, which brought it back down to $233.11. This total also included the corkage fee when we had our bottle of wine open during dinner. The wine was under $10, but the corkage fee was a little over $20. It wasn’t that bad though. We were able to share it with my sister and my mom — though Mr. MMD and I mostly drank it. I also paid for some bus tickets to get us from Juneau to Mendenhall Glacier. The bus tickets were quite pricey at $45 per person, but I don’t want to haul our car seats and rent a car. We enjoyed Mendenhall Glacier, but I wished that we have more time to explore.

Wine from Trader Joes. This is the red wine that we served at our wedding. It’s nice that we can get it whenever we want.

Kids – $380.68

This includes the monthly preschool tuition expense for MBP at $294. The rest were some diapers, clothes and some other gadgets.

Utilities – $356.07

Electric and Gas were at $193.64. Water was $46.98. Sewer was flat at $66.46 per month and our internet was $20. Our phone bill for the month was $28.99. It looks like we’ve been using more than 1GB. This is still fairly cheap compare to other phone bill, but I just noticed that we actually used 8gb this month, so there will be month that we will pay more than $100 for the phone bill… yikes!

Home – $127

Our HOA due for $79 and some items for the backyard.

Pets – $121.64

Food for our fur baby from Chewy.com

Auto and Transport – $108.29

Glad to see this being down here. This was normal with 3 fill up of gas, a car wash and parking when Mr. MMD was in Seattle.

Personal Care – $74.39

The boys got a haircut and some lotion for me.

Entertainment – $12

Mint categorized our museum ticket in Ketchikan as entertainment.

Spring Break and April 2023 Expenses

We started the month of April by celebrating the kids’ Spring Break. MBP’s classmate turned 5 and he was invited to a birthday party. The party was held at some bouncy houses / trampoline indoor playground. The kids had fun, but for the most part they didn’t really play together. I also have to follow AHP to make sure that he’s safe as he could easily be smashed by older kids. The birthday party was fun but I really prefer the good old fashion house party. You can invite everyone, have games and pinata and actually talk to some adults instead of following your kids everywhere.

We stayed in for Spring Break. I didn’t get the chance to plan it ahead. We still did quite a bit of stuff for the week. First, visited the YMCA, local playgrounds, and took the kids to the grocery stores! We renewed our YMCA membership in anticipation of Spring Break. The kids were able to play in the pool. We also took them to Costco. A Costco trip is a fairly big deal for the boys and they always enjoy it. They get to try different samples (yes, some are junk).

One of the many parks in our neighborhood

We also went to Hands On Children’s Museum. This is a really big children’s museum. It was Spring Break and they had some special exhibit. We almost the full day here and I’m sure we can spend a whole day. We got a discounted tickets. We did have lunch in the cafe. On hindsight, we could have easily pack some lunch. The food there was a typical lunch food, and not really that special.

On one of the days, we went Chuck E Cheese. The one closest to us was newly renovated. We got the kids timed tickets and they were able to play whatever game they want for 2 hours. I went to Raise and bought a discounted gift card.

MBP also got his second COVID shot and AHP got is first one. These 2 primary shots are actually harder to find. We have to go to another county. Good thing that it was in the mall. We just made a day out of it. We got a pretzel from Auntie Annes and the boys loved it! The boys didn’t get any reaction from the shots. We finished off the Spring Break by celebrating Easter at home and at my parent’s place. The boys got tons and tons of candy!! We are just finishing off their Valentine’s day candy and we got more replenishment.

MBP capture his feelings during easter

So in total, we spent $4,010.45. Our spending for the last months were trending to be over $4,000. It’s looking like a new normal for us. This is actually pretty high, considering we don’t have a mortgage and car payments. Let’s look at where our money went in April.

CATEGORYSpending
Auto & Transport$820.08
Food & Dining$735.42
Travel$532.00
Bills & Utilities$453.11
Kids$431.43
Health & Fitness$361.80
Shopping$192.63
Gifts & Donations$160.18
Home$148.54
Pets$83.53
Personal Care$55.66
Entertainment$24.23
Business Services$11.84
Total$4,010.45

Auto and Transport – $820.08

Another high number for this category. The biggest one was for our 6 months auto insurance for $463.96. We have a liability insurance for our 2010 VW Jetta and 2010 Prius. I also renewed the tabs for our 2010 Prius. It’s been a year since we bought the Prius. So far we’ve put in less than 10k miles and hasn’t had any issues so far aside from the regular change oil. We bought 2 new headlights for the Prius as well and my husband installed it himself. We spent $126.16 for gas and about $20 for parking for the Mr.’s night out in Seattle.

Food and Dining – $735.42

We spent $511.09 on groceries. We spent about $700 per month on groceries. It looks smaller this month because it doesn’t include the VISA gift card that we purchased last month that we used for shopping at WINCO. We also spent $171.52 on restaurants. We ate out a couple of times as a family at the Children’s Museum and at our local’s farmers market. We also got a $25 gift card at a local cupcake place. It was part of an auction for AHP’s school. I also paid for dinner for a friend and Mr. MMD ate out in Seattle with his friends.

Travel – $532

We bid on a 2 night beachfront condo for the summer as part of AHP’s auction. It was $450. We know the family and she mentioned that we can stay for 3 nights. $82 were for 2 night camp site at Sunlake State Park.

Bills and Utilities – $453.11

Electric and Gas is at $220. There was a day that it hailed here and it was still cold. I’m hoping that it goes down. Garbage is at $87.1. I should receive a credit next month since this was higher than expected. Sewer is constant at $66.46. Water is at $47.56. Mobile phone for 2 lines were $17. We only used 1gb this month. Internet was $14.99. We received some credit due to outage.

Kids – $431.43

This includes MBP’s monthly tuition fee at $294. I also included a $40 business fee that I paid for AHP’s school. I haven’t received a reimbursements yet. I also paid another $10 for the auction item for AHP. We spent $50.96 at Chuck E Cheese and $10.5 for the tickets and parking at the Children’s Museum. The rest are for some kids gadgets.

Health and Fitness – $361.8

Gym was at $224. This includes our monthly YMCA gym membership at $154. I also won a one month free for the same YMCA at $70 for AHP’s auction. Dental insurance was $82.8 for 2 months. Mr. MMD played pick up hockey at $35. Mr. MMD also have a $20 copay for lab fees.

Shopping – $192.63

I bought some clothes for Mr. MMD and the boys at the GAP. I try to get the boys clothes used as much as possible, but I can’t really find good pants for them. I really like the GAP because it has the adjustable elastic that can fit the boys better. We also bought some household supplies like paper towels etc. All of these are categorized as shopping.

Gifts & Donation – $160.18

$112 was a donation for AHP’s school. We got some flowers for my mom at the farmer’s market. It was $30 for a beautiful bouquet. I also bought some gift for AHP’s classmate. We went to another birthday party at a jump place in a mall.

The many flowers in the farmers market

Home – $148.54

Typical monthly HOA for $80. We also bought a Google learning nest. Puget Sound Energy gave us a steep discount for the earth month and we got it for $53.61. We also bought some stuff from Home Depot and Lowes

We replaced this old one with a Nest Learning Thermostat

Pets – $83.53

Food for our fur baby

Personal Care – $55.66

Some toiletries/ lotion

Entertainment – $24.23

Our entire family watched the Super Mario Bros. We got a deal at Regal. Admission every Tuesday is only $5.50 and a big popcorn is only for$5. We have the entire movie theatre ourselves. We enjoyed it except for AHP. He cried and got scared on some of the scenes so we have to leave the theatre and walk around a bit then come back.

Business Services – $11.84

This is for another year makinmoneydance.com domain at namecheap.com.

We are spending more. At this rate, we will definitely spend more than $60k this year. We already spent almost $8k this year. Everything is more expensive this year. We are also eating out and will travel more. It will be interesting to see our total spending this year. My gut feel is about $70k.

Well, that is April. How was yours?

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