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?

Car Troubles, Carrie Underwood, March Madness and March 2023 Expenses

Spring “officially” arrived in the Pacific Northwest. I typed that with quotation mark because we still experience some hail and snow last month. I am pretty sure this is the longest winter I’ve experienced here. Sun peeked for about a week and now we are back on gloomy and wet weather.

This March, we finally got our VW Jetta towed to our local auto mechanic. It’s been broken since January. The parking break got stuck because it was on for a long time during our very cold winter. Our attempted DIY didn’t fix it. The VW is our second car and we rarely drive it. I bought it brand spanking new in December 2010 and it hasn’t even hit 60k miles. I gave it to my sister for a year when we decided to go with one car. It didn’t work and we realize that we really need 2 cars. She bought a new to her car and gave back the VW to us (thanks, sis!) There is no public transportation in our suburb. Occasionally, one of the grown ups have to go somewhere and we like having another car at home to ensure that we don’t get stuck here in case of emergency.

I also saw Carrie Underwood’s concert in Seattle. My sister won 2 tickets from a radio station. Last time, she won 4 tickets to Disney on Ice. I’m not necessarily a big fan of Carrie Underwood, but I do like live music. It was a great show and it’s great to hang out with my big sis and be back in the city.

This is a restaurant for dogs! Only in Seattle

March is also the time of March Madness. It’s a basketball college tournament. Last year, everyone in my family put together a bracket with a $5 buy in. Even our kids participated and we of course put in $5 for them. AHP, our 3 years old picks his team based on the last team that my husband says and he almost won! MBP was disappointed and cried in the beginning because he doesn’t have a lot of points. He finally get the purpose of the game in the end. No one got the champs right, but I won! Second year in a row!!

This month, I also continued preparing taxes for low income people as part of VITA program. It is a very rewarding job. Getting paid is nice too, but I will probably volunteer, even if I don’t do the job.

Back to expenses. Our total expenses in March was $4,430.27

CATEGORYSpending
Auto & Transport$1,297.44
Food & Dining$907.87
Health & Fitness$639.67
Bills & Utilities$412.93
Kids$407.73
Travel$320.00
Pets$227.82
Home$79.65
Business Services$44.80
Shopping$38.44
Entertainment$32.05
Gifts & Donations$21.87
Fees & Charges$0.00
Total$4,430.27

Auto and Transport – $1,297.44

This is our biggest expense this month because of the issue with the VW. I paid $167.12 to get it towed to the mechanic. Our mechanic charged us $697.21 for the fix and to change the rear tires. We also paid $197.98 for oil changes for both Prius and Jetta. I got some Groupon deal for the Jetta but paid full price for the Prius. Oil change is getting expensive but it is such a hassle to do it yourself. The other $224.2 was for gas. I was not able to carpool for a week and drove more. I also bought a phone holder for VW.

Food and Dining – $907.87

This is inflated again. I bought $400 worth of Visa Gift Cards at Office Depot when they were having a $15 sale. This basically free up the activation fee and $2 discount. We uses this gift cards at WINCO exclusively because the grocery store do not accept credit cards. We still have about $300 worth of GCs which we will use in April.

We did buy cereal and milk!

Health and Fitness – $639.67

There is still some issue with our health care bill. I signed up for a Gold Plan that should cost us $99/month, but for some reason the credit from WA state was not reflected on the March invoice. It’s continuing, but I’m hoping that it will get resolved soon. Our dental plan includes March and April. There are still some lingering doctor bills from my husbands medical issue last year. Lastly, we went back to the YMCA. We don’t have plans for the Spring break and went back swimming at the Y. The boys are also signed up for swim and baseball classes.

Bills and Utilities – $412.93

Our internet bill was posted for 2 months, including April. We also paid for water this month. Hopefully, our gas bill goes down in the next few months as it warms up a bit.

Kids – $407.23

About $300 is for MBP’s preschool tuition. I paid $51.75 for AHP’s annual school auction. The 2 tickets includes dinner which was actually pretty good. Even the desserts were homemade. We are, unfortunately still using diapers at night and spent about $50 at Costco for these. I can only hope one day that we can be out of diapers!

Travel – $320

These are for 2 expedited kids passports. We applied in February but the checks weren’t cashed until March. We already received their passports.

Pets – $227.82

More medication for our fur baby. I think she has some allergies so we started her with some allergy medications.

Home – $79.65

Our HOA bill. It is high and I wish it doesn’t exist but we try to use the parks all the time, so maybe it is worth it.?…

Business Services – $44.8

I bought a tax software to prepare ours and my sister’s taxes.

Shopping – $38.44

Some kitchen gadgets like 2 pizza pans and other miscellaneous things.

Entertainment – $32.05

My husband took MBP for his first ever movie experience! They watched Puss in Boots. He enjoyed and apparently no one was in the movie theatre except for them!

Gifts – $21.87

MBP was invited to his classmates birthday party at an indoor jump park. We got her a present. Admission to the park is $20 for one kid. In theory, it was cheaper to buy the presents and the kids had fun. MBP is now asking to have his birthday in a jump parl.. yikes!

Alright, how’s your March?

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.

CATEGORYSpending
Travel$2,112.40
Food & Dining$738.33
Pets$410.03
Kids$300.00
Bills & Utilities$265.52
Business Services$249.79
Health & Fitness$230.75
Home$116.40
Auto & Transport$106.37
Shopping$18.10
Total$4,547.69

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.

CATEGORYSpending
Food & Dining$1,465.19
Kids$1,076.39
Travel$508.33
Health & Fitness$336.30
Bills & Utilities$328.31
Business Services$238.51
Home$163.67
Fees & Charges$95.00
Pets$78.20
Auto & Transport$77.36
Shopping$18.32
Entertainment$2.18
Total$4,387.76

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 raise.com. 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 raise.com 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.

CATEGORYSpending
Federal Tax$20,686.00
Property Tax$6,538.42
Total$27,224.42

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
Toys28.6114.30
Hair61.90
Entertainment55.88
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
Gift250.87497.06
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 eyebuydirect.com 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
Dentist460.00
Home Gym273.49
Pharmacy82.11
Eyecare44.88
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
Sewer772.24746.67
Water581.27620.50
Internet579.51556.34
Garbage422.09495.86
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
Parking45.446.50
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 steepandcheap.com. 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
Shopping$395.20
Shoes$389.21
Subscription$89.42Amazon subscripiton
Sporting Goods$38.85
Clothing$38.67
Camping Gear$25.34
Hobbies$22.86
Christmas Shopping$3.05
Total$3,102.42

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
Total2405.73

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.

DescriptionAmount
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.

DescriptionAmount
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
Total10,133.08

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?

DescriptionAmount
529 College Fund 3,200.76
Preschool Tuition 1,228.04
Kids Activities371.68
Baby Supplies158.25
Kids Gadgets 149.43
Hair61.9
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.

DescriptionAmount
Christmas Gifts 5,404.27
Gift 497.06
Total5,901.33

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.

DescriptionAmount
Electric and Gas 1,248.37
Sewer 746.67
Water 620.50
Internet 556.34
Garbage 495.86
Mobile Phone 246.56
Total3,914.3

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.

DescriptionAmount
Shopping1,084.95
Electronics & Software849.38
Household Supplies311.73
Nick's Desk319.66
Clothing297.29
Toiletries60.30
Home Supplies52.8
Subscription32.75
Shoes28
Books & Supplies5
Office Supplies4.94
Total3,046.80

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.

DescriptionAmount
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.

DescriptionAmount
Hockey935.73
Education149.00
Entertainment76.53
Sporting Goods81.59
Hobbies36.86
Travel35.00
Movies & DVDs21.87
Books13.09
Subscription10.92
Music4.37
Total1,364.96

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.

DescriptionAmount
Camping Site250.01
Camping Gear409.52
Food & Dining100.00
Entertainment43.73
Groceries9.24
Total812.50

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.

DescriptionAmount
Bank Fee199.25
Christmas Cards55.97
Hair40.50
Personal Care40.00
Total335.72

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

Spending

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
UtilitiesSewer62.41
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!!!

Spending

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.

CategoriesAmountComment
Health Insurance539.82
Dentist140.00
Groceries560.68
Fast Food47.15
Alcohol & Bars19.99
Junk Food5.59Junk food is lower than last month. Yay!
Electric and Gas153.41
Water89.77
Garbage75.21
Sewer62.41
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
Toiletries33.00
Pet Food & Supplies26.00Doggie bag from Amazon
Personal Care16.92
Subscription6.55Prime Subscription
2,480.01