Ridinkulous Quarterly Expenses: Q1 2015

Well look what time it is, everyone! It’s time for our very first quarterly report!

Some financial blogs compile their expenses on a monthly basis. Not me! I’m far too lazy! Plus, through our constant churning of credit cards, and the fact that I record every expense on a cash basis, our monthly totals get skewed in weird ways. Quarterly reports allow for smoothing out aberrations and for easier spotting of terrifying and harmful trends in spending!

Q1 2015
Total Expenses: $18,646.13
Avg Per Month: $6,215.38

Excluding Debt Payments
Total Expenses: $10,919.23
Avg Per Month: 3,639.74

The Necessary Evils :

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Mortgage $5,585.00  1,861.67
Student Loans  1,130.00  376.66
Car payments  1,011.90  337.30
Home Insurance  940.00  N/A (Yearly amt)
Property Taxes  2,124.00  N/A
Medical  508.90  N/A

Our normal mortgage payment is $697, but we have been paying $1,000 extra into it each month.
Our monthly student loan payments are about $210 total, but I also put another $500 into them recently.
And for payments on the car loan, technically they are little under $250 a month, but I just randomly throw money in $500 increments at it, and that seems to work.
That’s our entire home insurance bill for the year, and most of our property taxes. I believe another $1,600 or so is paid in September.
The medical bill is completely related to our recent trip to Peru. Gotta stay healthy!


Home Maintenance and Improvements:

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Contractors  0.00 0.00
DIY  171.97  57.33

Not entirely sure what all this was for, but I made some trips to Lowes and Home Depot.



Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Groceries  1,254.05  418.07
Wine & Beer 63.20 21.06
Dining Out 166.28 55.43
Takeout Food 238.17 79.39
Total Food 1,720.72  573.57

In our never-ending quest to spend less on food, we saw a huge decrease in grocery spending from January ($587) to March ($315). We’ll see how it goes from here.
The wine and beer was mostly for gifts, with a bottle of beer for me as a congratulations gift for all that beer shopping!
The only time we dine out now is basically when people ask us, and even then, it’s through my gritted teeth.
Takeout Food, that is a tough one.  Here and there, it all adds up.


Quarterly Total Month Average
EZ Pass  25.00  8.33
Gas 270.00  90.00
Car Insurance Not paid this quarter
Parking  74.76  24.92
Bus Tickets  117.00 39.00
Total Transportation 486.76  162.25

This year is the real beginning of my bus experiment. On average, we spent $90 on gas for January-March, but some of that is holdover from the holidays. I fully expect that to fall to probably $60 a month.
The parking expense is some jive BS. My work takes it out of my paycheck automatically. Since I take the bus most days now, I could cancel it, but if I ever need a parking spot again, I would be on a waiting list of hundreds, so the spot would be as good as gone.
The only other fee was an EZ Pass toll re-fill.



Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Cable  143.77  47.92
Gas 371.06  123.68
Electric 199.57  66.52
Water  & Sewer  126.48  42.16
Telephone  7.66 2.55

Cable looks irregularly low because a month is skipped  due to credit card due dates. It really is about $70 a month, despite all my rage.
Our gas heating bill was exceptionally low, almost unbelievably low now that I’m looking at it. Here in Cohoes, this February was the 4th coldest month in 150 years! Despite that, we only spent $147 in February heating our 1,900 square foot, drafty old house. That is a real accomplishment! How the heck did we do it? Damned if I know. We keep the thermostats between 58 and 64 if that helps.
Electric bill was normal and boring.
Even more boring than the electric bill is the quarterly water and sewer bill. It hasn’t changed much in years. Exciting stuff here, folks! Can you stand it!!??  You’re reading about my sewer bill!
Telephone was only our Ooma bill for the month, which is just FCC fees.  I believe I have a cell phone payment coming up in June, though. Perish the thought.


Fun Stuff:

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Entertainment  227.98 75.99
Recreation  198.20  66.06
Travel  1,406.75  468.92

Entertainment includes Netflix and Hulu Plus, the cost of shipping books through PaperbackSwap, any music I bought (I won’t chew your ear off about the new Björk and Ariel Pink albums, I promise… but they are both great) and two tickets to see They Might Be Giants in April! (My 14th show, Marge’s 10th, I think)
Recreation was mostly one big expense: flute repair for Marge.
And then there’s Travel. What can I say? It’s a big focus for us. And despite using frequent flyer miles like a boss, we still manage to incur a lot of expense. On the plus side, what you see here not only constitutes most of our 10-day trip to Peru (hotels, train tickets, Machu Picchu tickets) but also our trip to Naples in January, and part of our trip to Japan this October! Two nights at an AirB&B are included, as well as our two round-trip first-class tickets on Japan Airlines (salivate here), which only cost us $161 total out of pocket! So we are getting a lot out of that $1,406.
A breathless travel log and expense recount of our Peru trip is forthcoming.



Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Boarding  160.00  53.33
Food 206.77  68.92
Medical 8.60  2.87
Other 31.71  10.57
Total Pet  407.08  135.69

Pets sure are expensive. But at least we are off on a better foot than last year when we started by having to get the rabbits neutered (super expensive) and by the end of the year blew through $3,500.
As for food, Maeby eats Nutro, which is not cheap, but it’s also not junk. For the rabbits, I made my normal order of timothy hay which comes in a huge box about 4 feet tall, costs about $40 with shipping and is enough to last a couple years. They also get regular kibble food. And as for their litter, well, let’s just say that in a future post, you will learn more than you ever cared to know about rabbit litter!
There’s also a city dog license in there.



Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Charity 84.00  28.00
Clothing 321.52 107.17
Computer 207.68 69.23
Gifts Given 732.61  244.20
Home Furnishings  116.60 38.86
Home Supplies  247.79  82.59
Personal Care 131.63 43.87
Postage 36.50 12.16

I donate to charities automatically through payroll deductions and increase the amount every year because it makes me feel like I’m a good person.
Computer expense includes an awesome used tablet we bought on eBay for $69 and three years of web hosting for this blog! Say what you will about Ridinkulous. One thing is true: It will be online for at least three years.
Gifts given? Yes, that’s Christmas, pushed ahead into January because of credit card payment dates. It was much lower than last year’s Christmas total, and hopefully helped along by our excellent homemade apple butter gifts.
In home furnishings, that is mostly our new heated blankey. We can turn our heat down even further and save money with our heated blankey!
Home supplies includes all kinds of things like shampoo, toilet paper, and even last year’s Christmas tree!
Personal Care includes things like Marge’s annual smellgood lotion purchase and a 10-year supply of DIY winterbeard oil ingredients for me.

Anyway, after excluding debt payments, $3,600 seems like more than I’d want to spend every month of the year, but this quarter did include a bunch of large, annual non-recurring expenses. That $940 home insurance bill is only once a year. $2,124 is, sadly, not all of our property taxes, but at least it is most of the annual bill. And the over $500 of medical expense was completely for travel vaccinations, which we won’t need again for many years. It will be interesting to see how much lower our Q2 total is without these non-recurring expenses.

Yearly Goals Progress:

Now, back in January, I made up some goals for the year on the fly. Here’s how we’re doing with them.


  • Yearly Goal: Under $1,000.
  • Spent This Quarter: $270.00
  • On track to spend: $1,080

Like I mentioned above, I fully expect gas expense to drop now that I am commuting almost fully by bus, and biking more as usual in the summer.

Dining Out:

  • Yearly Goal: Under $1,000.
  • Spent This Quarter: $166.28
  • On track to spend: $665.12

I think this will be easy. I probably should’ve made this goal harder to attain. But we will probably have to eat out a lot on vacation, which is cheaper in Peru than in Japan.

Takeout Food:

  • Yearly Goal: Under $1,000.
  • Spent This Quarter: $252.52
  • On track to spend: $1,010.08

This is going to take some work. We have tried to institute Frugal Fridays, but it still might not be enough. You really have to plan to avoid eating junk food at airports and highway rest stops. And honestly, an artisanal doughnut shop opened recently, and what was I supposed to do? Not try it?


  • Yearly Goal: Under $1,000.
  • Spent This Quarter: $321.52
  • On track to spend: $1,286.08

Uh-oh. We are overspent in this category. All I know is that I only bought two pairs of my favorite Banana Republic pants for $25 each, and a few t-shirts. I don’t know about the rest. *eyes Marge suspiciously*  Hey, what’s that sound…

Marge Says:

Slow your roll, Frugal Path Guerrillas! Let the record show that the clothing items in question were purchased in December 2014 which I feel should not count against Q1 2015 numbers.  I have purchased naught one shred of “apparel” in 2015 save for a replacement pair of *Keens .  This was at Norm’s suggestion, mind you, because mine had holes and there was hard core hiking coming up.

*Keen Footwear is in no way affiliated with Ridinkulous, Inc. and has not sponsored this post. However if they wanted to, it would be totally cool….. For the ways I create, care and play,  I’m always in Keen.  Keen Footwear, for your “Hybrid Life”!

Years of Savings:

This magical calculation demonstrates how far we could get if we kept living every month like this ones listed above.  We take our investable assets and divide them by our monthly expenses above. The number to shoot for is 25 years, because at that level of savings, you could theoretically afford to live forever on your money stash, based on a 7% return and 3% inflation.

This quarter, according to our monthly average expenses and our investable assets, we have…

2.6 years of savings

But if you take out the all of the debt payments and consider only what we would have been paying had all of the loans been paid off, we have….

4.4 years of savings.

This will probably improve in the future, right? Right?

Retirement Location Possibility!

If we take that number of years of savings above, and divide by 25, we can figure out where in the world we could afford to retire right now by dividing another country’s cost of living  price index by our own cost of living. I used Rochester, NY, for our own cost of living (154) since it is the closest city to us on Expatistan’s index and is very comparable price-wise.

Our International Retirement Cost of Living Number is….


According to Expatistan’s index, that means we can retire… nowhere!

You can calm down now. I know how super-exciting this all was. Maybe make yourself a cup of tea and have a lie-down. Is the kettle on?


  1. Given the long wait list for parking at your work, could you rent your space out on a month to month basis to make your money back. Then if you want to start driving again, you could just stop renting it. If that sort of thing would be allowed, that is.

    • Norm

      April 13, 2015 at 3:53 pm

      That is an intriguing arrangement, Jenny! My parking cost is subsidized by my union. If I paid full price it would definitely be more, so I could hypothetically make more than what I’m paying. I would probably run against some rule by renting it out, especially since it’s subsidized, but I’m actually going to look into it. Good job thinking outside the box!

  2. Japan! That’s going to be awesome… though a very long flight!

    Hope you enjoyed the retirement COL locale calcs – trust me they get to be much more fun when you start getting around 5 or 6 years of savings and probably start landing in different cities in India first.

    • Norm

      April 14, 2015 at 2:46 pm

      When it comes to international first class, the longer flight, the better! (brag brag) But the jetlag will be something else. Day and night are flipped completely compared to here.

      I ripped off the Cost of Living location idea from you. So… thanks! Margie liked that part especially when she started reading your blog.

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