Trampoline Park, Birthday and February 2023 Expenses

It was a busy, short month of February. We went on some play date in a trampoline playground. It’s basically one giant place for kids to jump around. It was packed and a bit intimidating for our kids. We also had a snow day during valentines day and it has been colder than usual here in the Pacific Northwest. I’m ready for Spring, but Winter never seems to end.

AHP also turned 3 this February. He was so excited for his birthday! He had school on the actual day and we brought mini cupcakes for the class. He also had a family celebration for the weekend and even had 2 cakes!

Hi! I’m 3!

February was an expensive short month. In total we spent, $4,294.9.

Food & Dining$738.33
Bills & Utilities$265.52
Business Services$249.79
Health & Fitness$230.75
Auto & Transport$106.37

Travel – $2,112.4

We spent $1,996 for our upcoming 7 nights Alaskan Cruise this May. It will be our first ever cruise and I’m excited. Even the kids are excited. The cruise will tour Glacier Bay National Park. National Park Rangers will board the ship to give us a “tour” of the glacier. I read really good things about it. Since the tour will go to Canada, we decided to get passports for the kids. We paid $94 to the county for processing and kids passport photos. The actual application fees were cashed in March. I also paid $22.4 for 4 one way ticket to Florida this December during the winter break. I’m still unsure if the trip will happen, but I found a non-stop tickets to FLL, using Ultimate Rewards on Virgin Atlantic (via Delta). The ticket is refundable, so I have some time to plan.

Food and Dining – $738.33

Well, I thought this would be lower, given that we were using our Visa Gift Card to shop at Winco for groceries. We spent $585.88 on groceries. We also ate out twice and spent $107.45 on restaurants. I also spent $45 on Starbucks. Yes, I’m spending money on lattes!

Pets – $410.03

We took our furbaby to the vet again for some skin issues. It is getting a bit expensive but she is also getting old and these expenses are probably normal for her age. We’re hoping that it clears up and we can get to the bottom of it.

Kids – $300

We decided to stop contributing to the kids 529 plan. $200 is for one kid. We also spent $93.11 for the trampoline playground. Not worth it, in my opinion. The kids are just too young for it and it was expensive. The rest are for supplies for AHP’s coop that I donated.

He got stuck!

Utilities – $265.52

These are for water, sewer, garbage, cell phone and last month’s subscription to HBO Max. It looks like we’ve been using 2gbs of data on average and our cell phone bill is now normally $29.29.

Home – $116.4

This is for one month of HOA. We paid for a late fees because it was on an auto pay from a bank account that we closed.

Auto and Transport – $106.37

3 trips to Costco for gas and $40 for my carpool for the month of January and March. I prepare taxes for VITA and carpool with my neighbor three times a week. It’s a fun retirement job and I get to do it with my retired, 74 year old neighbor.

Shopping – $18.10

Subscription fees for Amazon, which we mainly use for music. I also bought some sunnys for the kiddos, for one week when the sun came out!

Disneyland and January 2023 Expenses

We started the New Year visiting the Happiest Place on Earth at Disneyland. This is our second year at Mickeyland. The visit is more relaxed despite the rain on our first day. The kids were also able to appreciate the rides more and have quite a bit more opinion about it. They were able to interact with the characters as well. For me, a vacation in Disneyland is an easy family vacation in terms of logistics. Everything is catered for family and there are services for everything we needed, like a car service with 2 car seats on and a stroller that is delivered right to our hotel and picked up in our hotel. Unlike our visit to Chicago, we didn’t have to lug our 2 heavy car seats and our stroller. Transportation is just easier. The visit also doesn’t need to be expensive. In fact, I think we spent the same amount of money on a per day basis when we visited Chicago.

The Holiday Parade was still on in the first week of January

Most of the expenses for Disney were paid last year, so you will not see it in this report. Similar to last year, our flight and 8 nights hotel stay were paid by points. This year, we stayed at Hyatt Place. It’s a little bit longer walk to Disneyland, but our room is bigger with a separate “living room” and breakfast were included in our stay. We used Southwest to fly from Seattle to Santa Ana and Alaska Airlines to fly from Santa Ana to Seattle.

This month, we spent $4,387.76.

Food & Dining$1,465.19
Health & Fitness$336.30
Bills & Utilities$328.31
Business Services$238.51
Fees & Charges$95.00
Auto & Transport$77.36

Food and Dining – $1,465.19

This is inflated this month. I purchased $400 Visa fee free gift cards at Staples. We exclusively uses this to shop at WINCO. WINCO only accept debit card and by using the gift cards, we can maximize the points that we use for travel. We haven’t used this all and will probably last us until February. We ate out 3 times at Disneyland but the kids got a gift card from my brother and we used that to eat out. Restaurants are actually reasonably price at Disneyland. I bought a $200 GC from Instacart, using I got a little less than $20 back, so the GC only cost $182.88. I used this to buy some groceries delivered to our hotel. We used this for our lunches and Dinner for the 8 nights of vacation. We brought our rice cooker to make some simple dinners (e.g. mac and cheese with hotdogs). It’s actually a hit for the kids, though not the healthiest. I did try to add some steam vegetables, for dinners and tons of fruits for breakfast and lunch. We also visited In and Out when we got off the plane. Our car service allowed a 30 minute stop to a groceries or in and out. Since our flight arrived around noon, we were ready for lunch at that time.

That’s a dessert!

We visited our local diner back home and visited McDonalds once. I also started going to Starbucks. I canceled our YMCA membership and I needed a place to hang out while my the kids are in school. A and I go here before he goes to school. I bring his breakfast while I have coffee and hang out with a parent from his class. So far the cost of coffee is less than or Y membership and I enjoy hanging out with other parents, so I think it is worth it.

Our local diner!

Kids – $1,076.39

This also inflated since the M’s tuition hit in 2 months, one for Jan and one for Feb. Speaking of tuition, it looks like the preschool’s tuition will increase next year. Good thing, M will start Kindergarten, but A will go to preschool for 2 more years. This still includes the $200 contribution per kid to their respective 529 college funds. The kids also got a haircut!

Travel – $508.33

I booked 7 night Alaskan Cruise through Princess cruise. Princess was having a sale with kids free (or 3rd and 4th passenger free), so we booked it. My sister and my mom is also coming with us. I’m excited to try cruising and definitely excited to see Glacier Bay National Park. I bought a $400 Princess Cruise Gift Card at and received 6% discount. I used it for the deposit. The rest is payable in February. The rest of the items were souvenirs from Disneyland, and housekeeping tips during our stay.

Health and Fitness – $336.3

I paid $200 from previous Mr. MMD’s Dr’s visit and ultra sound. I also paid 2 months worth of dental insurance for January and February, so that totaled to $82.8. I bought some medication as well and Mr. MMD paid for a pick up hockey game.

Utilities – $328.31

Utilities are normal for the winter season. Sewer and internet are flat. Our mobile phone range from $16.64 for 1 gb- $28.78 for 2gbs. We have been using 2gbs for the most part now, especially when we travel. We still uses Xfinity mobile and have been happy with the service.

Business Services – $238.51

My CPA certification is due. It is valid 3 years and I intend to keep this forever! About $10 bucks are shipping items and office supplies.

Home – $163.67

AHP moved to a twin bed (that we got from our local buy nothing group). We got him a duvet and a couple of other items for the kitchen. We still have our crib, that we are looking to get rid off. For some reason, our local buy nothing group doesn’t want it.

Fees and Charges – $95

I open a Chase Sapphire Preferred. I was finally eligible to open one with a sign up bonus of 60,000 points. This card allows me to transfer points to different airlines and hotel partners which we uses when traveling. My favorite transfer partner for hotels is Hyatt, which we used in Disneyland. We still have a big chunk and I’m looking for inspiration of places to travel — probably Key West?

Pets – $78.25

We got our furbaby some collar and toys from Petco and some medication from Amazon.

Auto and Transport – $77.36

3 gas filled up from Costco. We were out most of January so this is slightly lower.

Shopping – $18.32

I got a little carried away with the after Christmas sale at the Dollar store and got quite a bit of craft items for the kids.

Entertainment – $2.18

Last month subscription of HBO Max. Technically this is free since I got the cashback as a lump sum from Rakuten.

Everything we spent in 2022

We wrapped up 2022 with more travel as a family of four and a dog. We visited Disneyland in the beginning of the year. We went camping last summer and visited the midwest last fall. We visited friends in the city with the boys. I was also able to see my friends in person this year.

There were also some not so fun days like spending our spring break dealing with a car accident and spending the next month finding a car when car supply were basically zero. I spent 3-4 months dealing with the car accident aftermath with some PT sessions and chiropractor visits. We also had COVID last summer. MBP and AHP went to school this fall and spend the first 3 months, coughing. Viruses came back full forced, but luckily the boys were able to handle it.

Travel and car accidents require spending and this year we spent $77,048.33

We spent $24,987.12 more this year compared to last year – a 48% increase. Looks like we lived it up, right? Let’s see where our money went this year.

Taxes – $27,224.42

We sold our rental property in 2021 and took a tax hit of $20,686.00. The other $6,538.42 was our property tax from owning our home. We no longer own any rental property and expect our tax to be immaterial for 2022.

Federal Tax$20,686.00
Property Tax$6,538.42

Food and Dining – $10,483.75

Surprisingly enough, our food and dining only increased by $293.96 from $10.189.79 in 2021 to $10,483.75 in 2022. Despite of inflation, spending 5 days in Disneyland, 2 days in Chicago and various camping trip, we manage to keep our food cost mostly consistent. I am impressed myself! We are still eating mostly plant food base diet with loads of fruits for snacks. The boys can’t get enough of cosmic crisp apple.

It looks like we ate out on restaurants more and drink more. I want to say we ate less junk food, but that is probably not true. I just neglected to categorized it as junk.

CATEGORYSpending 2022Spending 2021Comments
Groceries 8,126.20 8,528.07 Groceries went down?
Restaurants 1,696.62 993.70But we ate out more
Fast Food394.46428.27
Alcohol & Bars252.97121.92And drink more
Junk Food11.00101.40
Coffee Shops4.0016.43
Food Delivery(1.50)-This was a credit from Instacart
Total 10,483.75 10,189.79

Kids – $7,517.24

This category increased by $2,219.93 from $5,297.31 in 2021 to $7,517.24 in 2022. I expected this. MBP and AHP have a 529 plan. We contribute $200 per month in the plan in total of $400 per month. This is an automatic deduction from our checking account, total $4,800 annually. The boys tuition also increased since AHP started attending his 2’s class and MBP started attending preschool 5 days a week. Next year, MBP will be in kindergarten. If it works out in our local public school, the tuition should decrease. Kids gadgets, supplies, activities and toys are all combination of items specific for the kids. This can really be more in line with shopping and entertainment for adults.

CATEGORYSpending 2022Spending 2021Comments
529 College Fund 4,800.00 3,200.76 Normal and will continue on the upcoming year
Preschool Tuition 2,028.86 1,228.04 This should decrease next year
Kids Gadgets236.88149.43
Baby Supplies182.53158.25You think that this should go down since it's mainly diaper
preschool expenses175.6057.07
Kids Activities64.76371.68
Total 7,517.24 5,297.31

Gifts and Donations – $6,114.8

We spent $213.47 more on gifts this year, increasing from $5,901.33 last year. The charity portion was the fundraising for the boy’s preschool. The holiday card included a photo session from JC Penney with 3 digital images and one print for $27. A shipping fee for the said print and 3 more complementary prints because the photographer was late was $10.45. I printed 50 copies of the Holiday card at Canva for $38.50 and I bought stamps for $12. I enjoyed sending and receiving holiday cards. I make my own design using Canva and find that the prints from them was the cheapest and I’m happy with the quality of the prints.

CATEGORYSpending 2022Spending 2021Comments
Christmas Gifts 5,675.98 5,404.27
Charity100.00-Donation for the boys preschool
Christmas Cards87.9555.97
Total 6,114.80 5,957.30

Health and Fitness – $4,743.79

This category decreased by $1,162.1 from $5,905.89 in 2021 to $4,743.79. I thought that this will decrease more, since we received significant health care insurance subsidy in 2022 vs 2021, but our family also visited doctors more in 2022. We switched our health plan from bronze to gold this year based on this data. In 2022, we spent $1,526.86 for copayment of doctor visits.

We also pay for a gym membership at our local YMCA. MBP and AHP were enrolled in swim classes, gym and soccer and those were included as part of the membership. I also visited the Y significantly in the beginning of the year, before the car accident.

Our dental visit total $460. These were for 3 visits in total, 2 for Mr. MMD and 1 for me. This year, we signed up for dental insurance, which will pay for itself with our bi-annual dental visits and a little coverage for other care.

Others were new bench for our home gym, some meds, and my new eye glasses that I ordered online from that cost me $44.88.

CATEGORYSpending 2022Comments
Gym 1,633.00 Gym Membership for our family at our local YMCA
Doctor 1,526.86 Various doctor visit
Health Insurance723.45This should include the first month of our 2023 health insurance
Home Gym273.49
Total 4,743.79

Bills and Utilities – $4,333.6

This category increased by $419.3 from $3,914.3 in 2021 to $4,333.6. Electric and gas increased the most. I’m pretty sure that the reason for the increase were timing of the payment. I paid December 2021 bill in January 2022 and I just paid the December 2022 bill once I got the bill in December. So in theory, this was probably consistent from last year. Sewer decreased? It’s on autopay so I don’t even look at it. Water increase not necessarily because of the usage but the rate increased as well. Our internet rate increase this year. Garbage decreased, again probably because of the billing cycle. We are still using Xfinity mobile for our cell phone. It increased a bit this year because we used more data when we travel. It is still very affordable at $24.75 per month for 2 lines.

CATEGORYSpending 2022Spending 2022
Electric and Gas 1,681.14 1,248.37
Mobile Phone297.35246.56
Total 4,333.60 3,914.30

Auto and Transport – $3,527.41

This category increased by $810.5 from $2,716.91 in 2021 to $3,527.41. Gas increased. We travelled more this year and gas prices were also at the highest last summer. Auto insurance increased because we added another car. My old sister gave us her car, which she got from me because she bought a new (new to her) car. Service and parts also increased because we added another car. The public transportation included our bus tickets when we were in Chicago. It also included the car service that I booked in 2022 for our upcoming Disney trip in January of 2023. The car service was the big portion of it. Rideshare was for our Chicago trip. Parking increased because we visited the city more frequently this year.

I talked about our car accident that occurred in March 2022. Our 2015 Toyota Prius 4 was totaled. We attempted to get another 2015 Prius with less mileage or a totally brand new car, but there was no inventory in the entire country!! At that time, we only had one car, so we definitely needed to buy a car. We ended up buying a 2011 Toyota Prius 2 with about 103k miles that I found on Craigslist. I didn’t add that purchased here because we used the insurance proceed to buy the car. We think that our Prius 2 will last at least another 5 years and at that time, we should be ready to buy an electric car (or an electric van?).

CATEGORYSpending 2022Spending 2021
Gas & Fuel 1,386.04 1,015.23
Auto Insurance759.55539.00
Service & Parts539.81389.70
Auto & Transport428.67440.23
Public Transportation214.25
Auto Registration126.00326.25
Ride Share27.65
Total 3,527.41 2,716.91

Shopping – $3,102.42

This category increased by $55.62 from $3,046.8 in 2021 to $3,102.42 in 2022. This category is a catch all from our household supplies like toilet paper to electronics to clothing and appliances. Mr. MMD bought a new computer and we bought a new modem. AHP “accidentally” spilled his water to our modem and we were not able to resurrect it. We figured that it was time to say goodbye to this modem, after 7 long hard years of service. In tech world, I’m pretty sure she was considered ancient. We are also now an owner of a pressure washer, which we will probably used once a year.

We also bought some shoes. Actually, I bought 3 pair of shoes while Mr. MMD bought one pair. I have a hard time finding comfortable shoes for my wide flat feet with bunions. I stumbled on this brand, Altra while searching for some camping gear at I won a $200 gift card from steepandcheap and I decided to use it to try out a pair of shoes. These shoes aren’t cheap, but I tend to buy a shoe every 2 years or once the soles were worn out. I like the shoes so much that when it went on sale at REI, I bought 2 more pairs. I went to Rakuten and bought $191 e-gift card from REI and used it to purchased the shoes. Mr. MMD went to Fleet Feet and purchased his shoes. Fleet Feet analyze your feet and take a picture of it before recommending the type of shoes. It was pretty cool. I didn’t buy my shoes there but Mr. MMD did. I did buy toe socks. Alright, enough about shoes. The rest were stuff.

And you will not see the 2021 expenses below. There are tons of category changes and I don’t want to manually add it up.

CATEGORYSpending 2022Comments
Electronics & Software$1,252.58 Computer and Modem
Household Supplies$847.24
Subscription$89.42Amazon subscripiton
Sporting Goods$38.85
Camping Gear$25.34
Christmas Shopping$3.05

Home – $3,046.01

This year, I separated the property taxes and include that as part of taxes. Overall it is consistent from last year. Home insurance and HOA Dues increased. We had our HVAC cleaned. We also have to hire a plumber because our pipe freeze. Our built ins can get some repair, but I’m really waiting until the kids no longer have the need to draw on our walls before making some changes in the house. Hopefully in a couple of years. We didn’t buy any furniture this year but at some point we will most likely buy a new couch and a dining table.

CATEGORYSpending 2022Spending 2021
Home Insurance941.50707.22
HOA Dues919.80876.00
Home Improvement687.61286.66
Home Services489.45834.83
Home Supplies7.65-
Furnishings 1,183.57
Total 3,046.01 3,888.28

Travel – $2,405.73

This is low, considering we spent 8 days in Anaheim, with 5 days in Disneyland, 2 days in Chicago and about 11 nights camping this summer. The biggest expense was our 5 day tickets to Disneyland for January 2023. Our camping site was for 11 nights of camping last summer. Our rental car was for the “extra insurance” that we purchased for the rental car when we had a car accident. The insurance company didn’t reimburse us for it.

Hotels were for 2 nights in Fairfield Inn in Chicago, 1 night in Sheraton in Seattle to celebrate Mr. MMD’s 40th and a $20 tip at Howard Johnson for our 2022 Disney trip. We get an employee rate through Marriott and the rate was really low. We paid $52/night in Chicago including breakfast for 4. The Sheraton hotel was about $81.

Our air travel were all book with points and these were for taxes and fees for 4 round trip tickets to Santa Ana for our Disney trip. Our tickets to Chicago were reimbursed by family so we didn’t include it here. The rest of travel were train tickets and probably other little things.

CATEGORYSpending 2022Comments
Vacation1323.33Most are 3 5-day tickets to Disneyland
Camping Site519.26Includes 4 nights at YMCA camp which includes food
Rental Car & Taxi228.7The insurance that was not covered after the accident
Hotel216.313 hotels and tips
Air Travel74.8taxes and fees
Travel43.33Amtrak tickets

Pets $1,620.28

Our corgi visited the vet twice this year in addition to her annual exam. We also needed to pay for some antibiotics for her. We paid for boarding when we went to Chicago. My parents typically take care of her, but they were out of town as those weeks.

Entertainment – $1,464.66

A thousand was for our ticket to CampMustache this year. Mr. MMD and I went for memorial day weekend. The rest were for tickets to museums and subscriptions to music and videos.

Fees and Charges – $954.74

These are bank fees. We opened credit cards and used it to pay our taxes (with credit card fees) to meet the sign up bonus. This will continue and I’m ok with that because we get more for free airline tickets and free hotels. Our 8 day hotel stay in Disneyland in 2022 and our upcoming trip in January 2023 were all paid by points. Our tickets were also all paid by points. It already saved us at least $4k, just for our Disney trip. It’s a great hobby that pays for itself.

Personal Care – $468.92

Stuff like toiletries and hair cut.

Business Services – $40.56

Some supplies like markers, stamps and the registration of the domain name.

After documenting all our expenditures, the main contributor of the 48% increase was the federal tax paid for the sale of our rental income. Without the $20,686 federal tax liability our spending goes down to $56,362. This represents an 8% increase from our 2021 spending of $52,061.21

Overall, 2022 was a mixed year. I wished it could be better, health wise, but I am thankful that we were finally traveling again. I’m excited for 2023. We are off to Disneyland this month. I’m looking forward to seeing some sun again and escaping the gloomy PNW weather.

How was your 2022?

Everything We Spent In 2021

We finally reviewed our annual spending for our second year of retirement. In total, we spent $52,061.21. This is 23% more than our spending in 2020, up from $39,955.36. The increase was primary driven by our health insurance. We sold our rental condo in 2020 and we paid the full amount of health insurance through marketplace.

We started to seriously consider early retirement back in 2018. We thought about it, shortly after MBP was born in 2017. In early 2018, we assessed our assets and current spending. My husband came up with a monthly spending budget of $4,618 or $55,416 annualized. We never reviewed our spending on this initial budget once we retired in 2019, but successfully spent below that in the last two years.

So where did our money went?

Food – $10.189.79

I wasn’t surprised that this was our biggest expense. The biggest chunk of this spending were for groceries. We followed a plant based diet, for majority of our meals and we think that there can be some room to decrease it. We will not limit ourselves, but will be more cognizant of the prices.

We also ate out this year or ordered a to go meal. We can easily spend $100+ on one restaurant meal for a family of 4. So this was probably acceptable. I do want to limit our fast food visit. It’s just not healthy. Alcohols and bars, were just alcohol from groceries that I categorized separately, similar with junk food. And I apparently went to Starbucks last year.

Groceries 8,528.07
Restaurants 993.70
Fast Food 428.27
Alcohol & Bars 121.92
Junk Food 101.40
Coffee Shops 16.43
Total 10,189.79

Housing – $10,133.08

We do not have a mortgage, but housing is still expensive. We spent over $6k on property taxes last year and I expect this to go up once the county completed there assessment. We’ve been thinking about moving somewhere closer to MBP’s school to an area that do not have an HOA, but the housing market is so nuts! The house prices there are comparable to where we live so we’re not necessarily saving. We’ll see if we can do it this year.

We also added a new mattress and a new to us couch for the kids playroom. We hired someone to clean our roof and gutters, our home insurance went up and we bought some things from Home Depot or Lowes that were accounted as Home Improvement.

Property Tax 6,244.80
Furnishings 1,183.57
HOA Dues 876.00
Home Services 834.83
Home Insurance 707.22
Home Improvement 286.66

Kids – $5,297.31

In theory this could be lower because we included our 529 Plan contribution as an expense. We are adding this contribution because we are hoping that there will be no significant increases in our spending 12-13 years from now (or at least nothing more than the adjusted inflation) Both kids have their own plan and we only contribute $200 each account. This should be $4800/year going forward since we just automated AHP’s contribution.

I’m also expecting an increase in preschool tuition next year. AHP will start his toddler class in our Coop and MBP will go to a different preschool in preparation to kindergarten. MBP’s tuition will more than double for the year because he will no longer be in a coop.

The rest were small items that may or may not be needed. We just didn’t pay enough attention to this. But hey, maybe next year, we will no longer Baby Supplies, because those were all disposable diapers that the boys still uses at night. One can dream, right?

529 College Fund 3,200.76
Preschool Tuition 1,228.04
Kids Activities371.68
Baby Supplies158.25
Kids Gadgets 149.43
preschool expenses 57.07
Entertainment 55.88
Toys 14.30
Total 5,297.31

Health and Fitness – $5,905.89

Major factor of our increase spending was our Health Insurance Premium. We didn’t get a subsidy in the beginning of 2021 and then CARES act provided some subsidy. I will need to check our tax bill this year to ensure that we didn’t overpay or underpay.

We also went back to the YMCA this summer. I enrolled MBP in a swim class last summer and the cost was similar to the monthly membership at the Y at $145/month. The monthly membership is for the entire family and includes swim classes for the boys, if we actually enroll them. So far, we’re just going as a family and I go by myself at least 2x a week.

My husband and I also pay for our dental cleaning out of pocket since we opt out of insurance. The cost was $140 per visit for cleaning and exam. I went once last year and my husband went twice. I also had my eye exam and purchased an annual supply of contact lenses. I also needed new glasses since my eye prescription changed.

Gifts – $5,901.33

Similar to last year, we gifted my parents some cash for Christmas. This was the big chunk of the gifts. The rest were for my immediate family and my godkids. There were also some gifts for birthdays.

Christmas Gifts 5,404.27
Gift 497.06

Utilities – $3,914.3

This price was consistent to last year. This year, I also started paying extra to offset my electric and gas or to purchase clean energy. Puget Sound Energy has an option for their consumer to pay more to use clean energy. For a month, it was only an extra $3-6 depending on our consumption. I reviewed some comparison of our home to other energy efficient, and we were pretty efficient.

Sewer was billed at a flat rate per single family home regardless of water consumption. Our water cost was also lower in comparison to other city. Our unincorporated county gets water from Tacoma and the cost are lower than the closest city we’re at. Internet was pretty normal, although I already received a letter suggesting that rates will increase next year. I also expect some increase in garbage next year. Cell phone was super low for $246.56 annually for 2 lines. We still uses Xfinity Mobile and uses about 1GB per month. There were only 4 months that we used 2 GBs.

Electric and Gas 1,248.37
Sewer 746.67
Water 620.50
Internet 556.34
Garbage 495.86
Mobile Phone 246.56

Shopping – $3,046.8

This cost was a catch all of every item we bought. Some stuff, we itemized, like my husband’s new desk. My husband also bought a new computer monitor and I bought a 1TB hard drive for my MacBook Air. I’m hoping that my laptop last another 5 years. The rest were just stuff. I think I have one purchase at Amazon that we didn’t use, which I think was a waste.

Electronics & Software849.38
Household Supplies311.73
Nick's Desk319.66
Home Supplies52.8
Books & Supplies5
Office Supplies4.94

Transportation – $2,716.91

Unlike 2019, we ventured out in 2020 and went camping for 8 nights. We visited 5 campsites last year – 4 in WA and 1 OR. This means that we drove quite a bit during the summer. My husband also went back volunteering to teach Computer Science at our “local” high school and I swim at least twice a week. We live far from these places so we drove often. Part of the reason we were thinking of moving was to lessen our commute. If we’re successful, maybe this will decrease. If not, this cost will probably be consistent, until our area is somewhat develop — maybe in 10 years.

Our auto registration and insurance increased. Our state based this on the value of the car and apparently our Prius was valued more in 2020 than in 2019. The rest were for new tires, a violation ticket, license renewal, car wash and oil change. We also paid for parking when we were in Seattle.

Gas & Fuel 1,015.23
Auto Insurance 539.00
Auto & Transport 440.23
Service & Parts 389.70
Auto Registration 326.25
Parking 6.50
Total 2,716.91

Disney – $1,369.45

Our trip to Disney was technically this year, but I purchase majority of the expense last year, including our tickets, car service and rental gear.

Entertainment – $1,354.04

My husband plays hockey and the education was for my annual subscription of CPE education for my CPA credentials. I might be able to get some free CPE credits this year, so this should decrease or perhaps be semi-annually. I also paid to rent the new 007 film and purchased 2 months worth of Apple TV subscription to watch Ted Lasso. The only thing that was valuable to add was the Music that MBP purchased from Alexa. We’re lucky he only purchased one.

Sporting Goods81.59
Movies & DVDs21.87

Pets – $852.35

Pet supplies and the cost of the annual exam for our Corgi. She’s almost 7 and is officially an adult dog. We’re lucky there were no emergency exam needed this year.

Camping – $814.7

This year was our first year tent camping. We purchased all our equipment including tents, sleeping pads, sleeping bags and cooking gear. I tried to get some of it used and I might return some of our sleeping pads purchased from Costco. We spent 6 nights at state parks and 2 nights at Kamp of America Campground in Oregon. We went to KOA during their member appreciation day and we received the 2nd night for free. The rest are some foods / groceries / games that we consumed while at the campsite.

Camping Site250.01
Camping Gear409.52
Food & Dining100.00

Vacation – $218.62

We spent one night in Great Wolf Lodge before MBP’s school started last September. This was the cost of the night stay including the arcade games.

Misc – $335.72

Some miscellaneous items like bank fee. We opened 4 new credit cards this year in preparation for our trip to Disney. Christmas cards includes the Groupon photography session and cards ordered from Canva and my annual hair cut.

Bank Fee199.25
Christmas Cards55.97
Personal Care40.00

Overall, 2021 was a great year. We enjoyed the outdoors and surprisingly enjoyed tent camping. Spending wise, we could probably be more efficient in terms of tracking our “shopping”. It’s so easy to just buy things online.

2022 started with great with our vacation. I’m already looking forward to more vacation and more things that we can do before MBP goes to kindergarten.

How was your 2021?

The Monthly Expenses of an Early Retiree – March 2021

The first quarter of 2021 ended. Unlike last year, I find myself more and more optimistic. AHP turned one year old last month and his schedule is getting more and more predictable. We are venturing outside more and more, enjoying the local parks and the trails that our neighborhood offers.

MBP started playing soccer. The “academy” was in our elementary school and we were thinking of more ways for MBP to socialize outdoors. I am 90% sure that we are not going to do this again. MBP was not really into it or perhaps just too young. Majority of the time, he was picking up grass or wants to play with other kids.

uhmm – yeah, that ball


We spent $3,281.87 this month. Ouch!

I tried to deliberately spend a little more money this month because our spending last year was very low and I guess I succeeded!

Food – $902.08

We spent $902.08 on food. We usually spend between $600 – $700 a month. Our grocery spending was higher with more trips to Costco. I also ate quite a bit of fancy easter chocolate candies before easter. Those Lindt bunnies were tasty.

Health Insurance – $657.15

Health insurance for this month was $657.15. The kids are still under apple care because of COVID-19 act (?). I’m not really sure, but I won’t argue with the state plan on this. Mr. MMD and I are paying full premium at bronze level.

Gift – $477.06

We bought an iPhone SE for my mother in law as a birthday present for her. She loves it and it would be another medium for us to face time.

Utilities – $338.99

Utilities clock in at $338.99 this month. Out internet was charged for February and March so it cost twice this month. We paid $28.5 for our cell plan for 2 lines. This was the first time that we used more than 1gb for Xfinity mobile.

Auto – $289.66

We spent $289.96 for car this month. Our car insurance cost $230 for 6 months. This was higher than our last 6 months premium. I don’t know why! I got some other quotes and this was the cheapest. We only have one car and only carry liability. Oh well – maybe it is inflation?

Others are combination of shopping for items ordered from Amazon for some sewing materials. Hobbies are the cost to maintain this blog which includes the annual domain renewal and monthly hosting from Google Cloud Platform. We also bought some treats for our furbaby and paid for our monthly Amazon Prime Subscription.

And here are the detail expenses:

CategoriesDescriptionGrand TotalComments
FoodGroceries707.79Higher this month
FoodRestaurants119.10Take out Chinese Food
FoodJunk Food65.19Those Easter Candies!
FoodAlcohol & Bars10.00For Mr. MMD
HealthHealth Insurance657.152 person at bronze level
GiftGift477.06iPhone SE
Kids529 College Fund200.00
KidsKids Activities119.876 weeks of Soccer for MBP
KidsKids Gadgets63.38New monitor for MBP
KidsBaby Supplies41.23Diapers
UtilitiesElectric and Gas158.08Hopefully this will go down as it gets warmer
UtilitiesInternet90.002 months of internet bill
UtilitiesMobile Phone28.50We used more than 1gb of data!
AutoService & Parts4.50Residual from tires
AutoAuto Insurance230.006 months from progressive
AutoGas & Fuel52.46Gas
HousingHOA Dues73.00Annoying HOA
HousingHome Improvement4.90Something from Lowes
ShoppingShopping75.63Sewing materials and some other items
HobbiesBooks13.09Atomic Habits was 50% off
HobbiesHobbies12.62Blog annual domain renewal
PetsPet Food & Supplies9.36Treats
SubscriptionSubscription6.55Amazon Prime
Grand Total 3,281.87

How was your Q1 2021?

The Monthly Expenses of Early Retiree – February 2021

We celebrated 2 birthdays in February. It was my grandmother’s birthday and AHP’s birthday. We’ve been really good at low key celebrations with just the immediate family. We also went to a drive by birthday parade for one of MBP’s classmate. She turned 4 and was so cute about it.

There was also Valentines Day. This year we cut out rainbow colored heart shaped and wrote letters to the kids. We stick it outside their doors for a whole week before Valentines Day. MBP really loves it.

Valentines Day Hearts

We also enjoyed playing with a LOT of snow this month. MBP got really into and even AHP joined in. I have to remind myself of the great fortune we have to own time and be able to play with the kids during snow whatever day it is and of course not having to worry about work. There were many snowman and snow angel involve.

Snow, Snow and Snow!!!


We spent $2,480.01 this month.

Healthcare is our biggest expense, similar to last month and clocked in at $633.41. Mr. MMD visited the dentist for cleaning. We do not have dental insurance and Mr. MMD paid $140 for x-rays, exams and cleaning. It is still cheaper than paying for dental insurance. Health care premium is also cheaper because apparently the kids are still under Apple Care, and we over pay last month.

We spent $633.41 on food. We ordered buckets of chicken from KFC for AHP’s birthday and ordered a Costco sheet cake. The sheet cake was huge and delicious!

Utilities were high this month at $397.11. It was not unexpected since some of these utilities get paid every other month. This month, we did pay for all of them.

We still contributed $200 for MBP’s 529 plan and paid the registration fee for next year’s preschool of $60.

We bought two set of tires for our Prius. We only have one car and need to make sure that it is on top shape.

The rest are under $100 and are pretty straight forward below.

Health Insurance539.82
Fast Food47.15
Alcohol & Bars19.99
Junk Food5.59Junk food is lower than last month. Yay!
Electric and Gas153.41
Mobile Phone16.31
529 College Fund200.00
Preschool Tuition60.00
Auto & Transport235.362 Tires for our Prius
Gas & Fuel18.50
Service & Parts2.00
Clothing98.344 new pants for Mr. MMD
HOA Dues73.00
Pet Food & Supplies26.00Doggie bag from Amazon
Personal Care16.92
Subscription6.55Prime Subscription

The Monthly Expenses of Early Retiree – January 2021

Well this was a very late post, given that it is already end of March. I thought about stopping my monthly update since our last year’s expenses are surprisingly low. That said, I still find this update useful for me. I like looking back and comparing my finances and the updates of our early retirement life.

Life Update

In January, I turned 35. Woo hoo! I am officially on my mid thirties. It was a low key celebration with my family with some KFC and Boston Cake from Safeway. MBP love love birthday celebrations because he can blow the candles which he did on my cakes.

We also officially sold our rental property. The property is a 1.5 bedroom condo in Seattle. All the proceeds excluding taxes were invested on VTI. I also gifted my Volkswagon Jetta to my sister. I bought that car in 2010 and put in about 50K miles. I haven’t driven that car for the entire 2020 and barely driven it in 2019 after retirement. We have to buy a new battery because the it was dead. We also changed all 4 tires before giving it to my sister. She reimbursed for all maintenance cost and administrative cost. We are now a one car family, until we buy a van in the near future.


We spent $2,045.47 this month! This is actually lower than I thought!

Health insurance premiums are going to be a big expenses this year. There was some back and forth for the kids insurance until I finally got clarity. We opt out for dental care insurance and plan to pay for it out of pocket.

Food is next category that we spent on. I started accounting for all the junk foods that we’re buying, because I really want to stop eating them!

We paid MBP’s tuition fee for the rest of the year and continued to add on to his 529 plan. We will start contributing to AHP’s plan around May.

Utilities this month were for sewer, internet, electric and gas, and our mobile phone. Our electric and gas are low because I accidentally prepay it the previous month.

Our housing expenses consist of HOA dues, furnishings and household supplies. We went to Ikea in January and I’m pretty sure we bought items for the kids but I can’t recall.

The rest are pretty straight forward below and all under $100.

Health Insurance707.15Bronze plan for myself and the Mr.
529 College Fund200.00
Preschool Tuition168.00MBP's tuition for the whole year. It is very affordable because it is a coop
HOA Dues73.00
Fast Food70.99Run to KFC for my birthday and a Burger King trip
Pet Food & Supplies57.47
Electric and Gas38.93
Furnishings33.51Something from Ikea - which I think are gifts for the kids
Junk Food24.47I started accounting for all the junk food that we are eating!
Gas & Fuel21.26
Mobile Phone16.31
Household Supplies10.92
Alcohol & Bars10.00
Books & Supplies5.00Library fine for the books that I apparently lost. I swear I returned it.
Hobbies1.88Cost from Google Cloud Platform to host this blog
Shopping(76.57)I returned some items to Amazon so this is negative
Grand Total 2,045.47

Everything we spent on our first full year of retirement

2020 was our first full year of retirement. This was also the year that the entire world shut down. Like many others we stayed home, wear mask, social distance and limit the time spent with our extended families.

On a happy note, this year also brought some joy in our lives with the birth of our second son, AHP. I discovered weight training and lost 30 lbs post pregnancy and MBP’s preschool moved outdoors and I became more involve in the preschool.

Our Second Son

I was already pregnant when I quit my W2 job back in July 2019. I thought about staying and quitting after taking the maternity leave. My main concern was the cost of health care. I’m glad I left then. I probably lose out over $200k of vested stocks and salary, but we have more than enough. It was a good practice on saying no, it really is enough. During this time, I was able to focus on my pregnant body and spent a lot of time with our growing toddler. AHP was born in February 2020. About 3 weeks later, our state shut down. It was difficult to have a newborn during the shutdown. The outside help from our family was very very limited. We have to pull MBP out of preschool and struggle on making some decisions – like enrolling MBP for this school year, the frequency of our grocery trips and going to the parks. We were trying to protect our newborn and our preemie. Now, we somewhat accepted our new normal and still live our lives with all the precautions that we can take and situation under our control. AHP just turned one. We celebrated it with my parents. He had a cake. We also started taking both kids to Costco – a trip that they enjoy.

Weight Training and Losing Weight

Like everyone else, I gained weight during this pandemic. I was also post partum, so of course I gained weight. I was at my highest at 140 lbs. After getting a green light from my doctor and started sleep training AHP, I set a goal to go back to my previous weight of 105 lbs by the end of the year. I tracked my food intake, tracked my weight and by the time of this writing I’m 108.5 lbs. I didn’t hit the 105 lbs goal, but I’m glad with where I’m at.

MBP’s Outdoor Preschool

MBP is part of a Cooperative Preschool. This means that parents work during class several times a month and take a very active role in the classroom. I enjoy being in the classroom and watching these kids outside. It also gives me an opportunity to be outside for at least 2.5 hours whenever I’m working. We experience rain, sunshine and cold weather and the kids are still having a blast. I’m a co-treasurer this year and I’m glad to be using my background as a CPA to help the school.

2020 Spending

Every month, I published our monthly spending. We retired without necessarily creating a budget so I’m curious of our spending after our first full year of retirement. The total — $39,955.36. We spent just under $40k! This includes adding an additional person in our household! I don’t think we ever spent this low at any given year. Hunkering down definitely helped since we never traveled this year.

What we didn’t pay

Let me go through some of the items that we didn’t spent on this year. First is housing. We do not have a mortgage, so you cannot see that here. Our property taxes was over $6k, given that we live in a suburb of Seattle. This property tax was about half of what we paid when we were living in Seattle. We also didn’t pay for healthcare. In 2020, we have $0 of earned income. Our dividends will hit under $30k so we qualify for Apple Health. We planned for this because my pregnancy was high risk. In 2021, we are paying for a full health care coverage through marketplace without any subsidy for a family of 4.

Spending Details

I used Mint to track our spending. I’m very detailed on the category because I want to track which line items can be optimized. Given that we hit under $40K, I think everything is optimized at this point. $40k is definitely our floor and will go up next year with the cost of our health insurance being the main driver.

Housing – $10,005.61

Housing still top our spending even though we do not have a mortgage. As I said, we live in a suburb of Seattle and property taxes alone was more than $6k. We also have monthly HOA dues and we signed up for lawn care last year. The rest was our household supplies.

Kids – $7,927.14

About $6k of these expenses were contribution to the kids 529 plan. I choose to consider these as expenses and will continue to do so. The rest were some supplies and MBP’s preschool tuition.

Food – $7,788.75

About $7,300 were spent on groceries and the rest were on restaurants and fast food. I am trying to categorize the unhealthy snacks that we buy at the groceries. I want to see if this will be an added motivation to stop buying it. Ruffles, Nutella and Donuts are my enemy and I can’t seem to stop eating them when it is in the house.

Gifts – $5,678.57

The biggest chunk of this was the cash gifted to my parents during Christmas.

Utilities – $3,928.84

Part of living in high cost of living city is paying for high utilities. This was probably half of what we would have paid in Seattle.

Shopping – $1,423.42

This category was combination of clothes, new iPhone, and other items we bought from Amazon.

Pets – $778.68

Not bad for this year. This was mainly her food and treats. We were slowly cutting back on treats because even our furbaby needs to lose weight.

Health – $428.73

This includes a procedure for AHP that was not covered by insurance, one month of gym membership pre-covid, one year supply of contact lenses and some prescription drugs.

Other $726.83

Combination of all the other items we paid for.

Future 2021 Spending

I expect to spend more in 2021. We are paying our health insurance without any subsidy this year. We are also looking to buy a new to us minivan. I’m also hoping that we can start traveling to see family and visit the happiest place on earth! All of that will require more spending, which we are happy to make.

How was your 2020?

The Monthly Expenses of Early Retiree – December 2020

We celebrated the end of 2020 by spending on gifts, just because we can. I’ve been tracking our spending every month and was pleasantly surprised of the number. We have some surplus from our budget so we decided to spend some more in December.

We spent $7,315.39 this December. Whoa!

Here are some unusual / top line items.

Gifts – $5,353.57

We celebrated Christmas with my family, my 3 siblings and my Grandma. Celebration starts on Christmas eve at my parents house and continued on at our house for Christmas Day. This year, my older sister suggested that we do Secret Santa which I happily oblige. Apparently, my family thought that Secret Santa was addition to other presents. We still receive presents from each member of the family and the kids received A LOT – toys, clothes and envelope (with money). We on the other hand only bought presents for our Secret Santa and a check for my parents for $5k. It was unusually large this year. My father was furloughed because of COVID and I can tell that this pandemic affected them. We were fortunate enough that our finances were not affected at all, so why not. I’m really happy that I can do this for them.

Aside from my immediate family, we also bought gifts for my godkids. I procrastinated on this and Mr. MMD have to drive an hour to their house to drop the presents. Both kids got some Legos from us.

Look at my Mom’s beautiful Christmas Tree.

Groceries – $619.78

This is probably on a high end of our grocery spending, but we have to eat, right? Groceries are purchased in Costco and Winco.

Electric and Gas – $245.18

This was for 2 months worth of electric and gas. The company finally started accepting credit card on auto pay instead of one time payment. They made a mistake of charging me twice. I did get the credit for the next month, so it is not a big deal.

Clothing – $252.07

This is for my winter boots, winter jacket and MBP’s winter jacket. I got the jackets on ebay and the winter boots at Nordstrom. I specifically want a down jacket that will keep me warm and water resistant so I can use it while working at MBP’s cooperative preschool. I also needed some boots since the school is outdoors. I bought a Soia and Kyo jacket that is 70 percent down-filled from e-bay. I have a wool jacket from the same brand that I got as a gift and I love it. It really keeps me warm. I already tested the jacket and it worked really well. I also bought a $100 gift card from REI. I got 10% discount on the gift card and I used it to purchased MBP’s jacket.

Auto and Transport – $126.45

I renewed the registration of my 2011 Volkswagon Jetta S. We haven’t used this Jetta for over a year. I am giving the car to my older sister as a gift and she is reimbursing the cost of the registration. We also put gas on our Prius this month.

DescriptionGrand TotalComments
Christmas Gifts 5,353.57 A big chunk of our spending this month is a cash gift - because, why not!
Groceries619.78We probably bought more snacks and junk food
Clothing252.07Winter clothing for me and MBP
Electric and Gas245.182 months of electric and natural gas. It's high because it is getting colder
529 College Fund200.00
Auto & Transport126.45Registration and Gas
HOA Dues68.25
Household Supplies48.38Some stuff from Ikea
Fast Food30.67KFC?
Christmas Cards28.88Stamps and some pictures for our Christmas Cards
Mobile Phone16.31Our very cheap mobile plan for 2 lines!!
Subscription6.55Amazon Prime
Electronics & Software2.47Cost to host this blog from Google Cloud Platform
Grand Total 7,315.39

The Monthly Expenses of Early Retiree – November 2020

Monthly Spending of Early Retiree

In November, we voted, celebrated the result of the election, celebrated Thanksgiving and hunkered down. I’m glad the election is over. I’m happy with the result but I did spent a lot of time refreshing my browser asking google for election result. We also had a small Thanksgiving celebration. Our initial plan is to have my family over, but with the COVID cases going up, we canceled it. Instead, we celebrated it as a family of four, watched Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade on TV and had a whole chicken (because the Turkey we got is HUGE), mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie. Max had fun watching the parade, especially when Elmo showed up. Football was also on the background while cooking and feasting.

We spent $1,858.33 this November. Below are some notable items.

Food – $725.17

This is the most we spent on food for this year. We are still shopping in WINCO and Costco. I think we spent quite a bit on snack this month. I added a line item to separate the junk food we’re buying. I need to stop going through a whole bag of Ruffles or Donuts or Toblerone. Yikes!

Furnishings $302.69

We definitely cranked up the heat this month I ordered 2 heaters for the boys’ rooms so we can lower the heat for the whole house at night. Right now it is set to 68 degrees from 8AM – 7:30PM and 50 degrees for the rest of the night. The small electric heater seems to work out so far.

Christmas Lights

I bought 2 strands of LED Christmas lights to wrap around my tree. Last year, we didn’t put up any lights on the tree, so I made sure to order one before Thanksgiving. Luckily it arrived just in time so we put up the tree after Thanksgiving. I like the lights except for the fact that it didn’t come with a standard male/female connector so I can’t connect my tree topper and have to connect it with an extension cord. It’s ok for now, but it was annoying to see it. I might return it and buy a different led lights after Christmas when it is on sale. We decorated the tree with new to us ornaments from my Mom. Some of the ornaments are from the Philippines and I love seeing them on my tree.

Our tree with handmade Christmas stockings

Baby Supplies – $71.89

I can’t remember the last time we bought some diapers. MBP is still in Pull Ups at night and AHP is using disposables at night and cloth diaper during the day. A pack from Costco typically last us 6 months. I am really glad that we are using cloth diapers. Some folks were hoarding diapers and I know that there were instances that Costco was out of stock of diapers and diaper wipes. Cloth diaper for another win!

Christmas Cards – $44.79

I also successfully printed and mailed our Holiday Cards before the Holidays. Last year, I sent it after Christmas, so I made sure that I have enough time to get some photos taken, create the card and get it printed. My little sister came here last October just before it got too cold and we managed to get some decent family photos with both the boys and the dog actually smiling. We walked to the park on the end of our cul-de-sac and was able to snap some really good ones. I used Canva to create the card and printed 50 cards. I ordered these envelope separately through Amazon because it is cheaper and it looks a lot better. The card looked nice but not necessarily thick enough, even though I ordered the deluxe version.

Alright, so here are the line by line items.

Groceries708.39The highest in the month, but we hve to eat, right?
Furnishings302.692 Heaters
529 College Fund200.00
Baby Supplies71.89Diapers
Shopping(63.56)This is negative because I returned the rainboots I got from Amazon. It was too big.
Household Supplies79.22Probably toilet papers
Electric and Gas75.33
HOA Dues68.25
Clothing54.73Some clothes for Mr MMD
Christmas Cards44.79
Pet Food & Supplies39.28Christmas presents for our fur baby
Business Services35.95I renewed my PTIN
Gas & Fuel34.88
Electronics & Software25.68Mr. MMD bought a new keyboard. It's more expensive than this but he was able to get some gift cards from Walmart
Home Improvement17.48Not necessarily sure but it is an order from Amazon
Snacks16.78Junk foods. New line item that I will try to track
Mobile Phone16.29
Grand Total 1,858.33

One more month for 2020. This year is definitely proving to be our floor in terms of spending. It’s a weird year, overall, but we are safe, healthy and have a privilege to spend all our time with our kids and not worry about work.

How was your November?