Ridinkulous Quarterly Expenses: Q2 2015

This was a fun quarter. Starting out in April, we were exploring Peru, then we decided to finally eradicate our house of bats, I biked to work a ton, and we ended the quarter doing a lot of work outdoors on our stone patio. Oh, and we had our offer accepted on a rental property! Despite all this excitement, we only spent $3,556 per month on average including all debt payments.

Green numbers are lower than last quarter.
Red numbers are higher than last quarter.

Total Expenses: $10,668.08
Average Per Month: $3,556.03

Excluding Debt Payments
Total Expenses: $7,443.60
Average Per Month: $2,481.20

The Necessary Evils :

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Mortgage $2,091.00 $697.00
Student Loans $627.48 $209.16
Car payments $500.00 $166.66
Home Insurance $0.00 $0.00
Property Taxes $0.00 $0.00
Medical $6.00 $2.00
Rental Property 795.00 N/A

Rental Property is a new expense this quarter. The $795 relates to our purchase of a rental property. Appraisal and inspection costs.
We made one $500 car payment, and paid nothing extra on the other loans this quarter. We were mostly saving up for the closing on the rental property.

Sand Screeding (6)

The Patio: Beginnings

Home Maintenance and Improvements

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Contractors $608.00 $202.67
DIY $1,002.20 $334.06

For contractors, we told you about how we hired Batman. The $608 is the first half of eradicating bats from our house for good.
All of our DIY expense is related to the patio we’re building out back. There’s basically over $770 of materials, including $500 worth of cobblestones, some tools and a permit. I’ll tell you all about the patio in a future series.

Homemade Doughnuts (7)

DIY Doughnuts


Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Groceries $1,013.85 $337.95
Wine & Beer $73.63 $24.54
Dining Out $371.03 $123.68
Takeout Food $132.61 $44.20
Total Food $1,591.12  $530.37 

We almost came in under $1,000 for the quarter on groceries! We have been making a lot of food at home, and I have even gotten into bread-making. And as you can tell from the picture above, doughnut-making!
That dining expense, though? That’s high. Most of that is due to our trip to Peru, where we ate out a lot and spent $273.35 on food in ten days!


Quarterly Total Month Average
Auto Maintenance/Other $281.83 $93.94
Gas $187.91 $62.64
Car Insurance $732.40 6-month premium
Parking $75.76 $25.25
Bus Tickets $65.00 $21.67
Total Transportation $1,342.90  $447.63 

Man, is car insurance ever expensive! We sipped gas for the quarter, though, averaging three fill-ups each month. That, five bus passes and my bike got me to work all this quarter. There’s also a NY state registration in there, and an online defensive driving course which should reduce our insurance expense.



Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Cable $269.16 $89.72
Gas $284.01 $94.67
Electric $169.70 $56.57
Water  & Sewer $113.22 $37.74
Telephone $7.66 $2.55

We have been having some fantastic months in utilities. Our latest combined Gas & Electric bill for June was $90.56, our lowest bill ever in this house! That’s six years!
Cash-based accounting resulted in four Cable bills being paid this quarter. It’s normally $71, but as you’ll see in a future post, it’s about to get a lot lower.

Machu Picchu (7)

Fun Stuff:

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Entertainment $152.26 $50.75
Recreation $151.00 $50.33
Travel $1,020.41 $340.14

Again, we like to travel, so that expense came out large. There’s a few hotels from Peru in there, along with all our transportation around Peru, and an expensive crap hotel in Queens so we could get our early morning flight from JFK.
Recreation is basically also all having to do with Peru, between all the museums and Inca sites.
Entertainment includes Netflix, Hulu, PaperbackSwap fees, a few albums, a few movies in the theater like Mad Max and Roar,  a double feature at the drive-in theater (Jurassic World and Spy) and a few of my favorite podcasts and radios hows like The Sporkful, Radiolab, This American Life and WFMU’s Do or DIY and Busy Doing Nothing. Yes, I donate to podcasts. You have to support the things you like!
We spent $1,020 on Travel this quarter. Well, we did travel to Peru after all!

Klaus and Cornelius (4)


Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Boarding $240.00 $80.00
Food $194.44 $64.81
Medical $135.41 $45.14
Other $33.69 $11.23
Total Pet $603.54  $201.18

What can I say? One greyhound and two rabbits can get expensive. Maeby’s annual checkup is included, and the cost of boarding her during our Peru trip. And fifty pounds of rabbit food!



Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Charity $136.00 $45.33
Clothing $155.61 $51.87
Computer $32.24 $10.75
Gifts Given $0.00 $0.00
Home Furnishings $8.00 $2.67
Home Supplies $54.00 $18.00
Personal Care $544.79 $181.60
Postage $6.98 $2.33

The computer expense is actually the balance I paid for a used 4th generation iPod Touch. My old one’s screen went bad, and I sold it for $40. I bought a new one for $73. So, net, the new-to-me iPod Touch cost about $32.
That outsized Personal Care includes Marge’s 18-month gym membership of $468. So it’s not, like, really expensive shampoo or something.
Clothing expense is all Marge’s, the most expensive being a new pair of Keen sandals for $55. I bought no clothes this quarter. I did buy a pair of shoes which will hit next quarter.

Back in January, I made up some goals for the year on the fly. Here’s how we’re doing so far.

Yearly Goals Progress, six months in:


  • Goal: Under $1,000.
  • Spent: $457.91
  • On track to spend: $915.82

Coming in well under $80 a month lately. We’re on a great track since our last three years’ gas expense totals have been $2,251, $2,574 and $1,422.

Dining Out: 

  • Goal: Under $1,000.
  • Spent: $537.31
  • On track to spend: $1,074.62

Uh oh. Last time I said it would be easy to come in under $1,000.  But after eating out a bunch in Peru, our total for the year so far is over $500.

Om nom nom

Om nom nom

Takeout Food: 

  • Goal: Under $1,000.
  • Spent: $370.78
  • On track to spend: $741.56

We’ve done really well for the past quarter, hardly ordering out at all. Our past three years in this category have been $1,301, $1,627 and $1,208. So this is shaping up to be a good year.


  • Goal: Under $1,000.
  • Spent: $477.13
  • On track to spend: $954.26

Doing pretty well here. We’re on track to meet our clothing expenses for 2013 and 2014, which were under $1,000 each year.


Years of Savings:

This magical calculation demonstrates how far we could get if we kept living every month like this quarter.  We take our investable assets and divide them by our monthly expenses above. The number to shoot for is 25, because at that level of savings, you could afford to live forever on your money stash. According to our monthly average expenses and our investable assets, we have…

4.63 years of savings

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

6.64 years of savings.

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 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!


  1. Doughnuts looks amazing! Looks like a great quarter, paid some debt and got a lot of living in too. 🙂

    • Norm

      July 1, 2015 at 11:56 am

      Thanks! Doughnuts are only worth making if you’re going to make a lot of them because it’s pretty labor intensive. So they’d be good for a party. In my case, I had no reason, I just wanted to try it out, and so we had about 18 doughnuts in the house… and you can guess what happened next.

  2. Congrats on the rental property getting accepted. Im huge on rental properties. This is how I am going to retire. I really admire your trip to peru. Machu Pichu is on my bucket list for sure. I bet it was amazing!

    • Norm

      July 8, 2015 at 10:33 pm

      Yes, we are anxious to close on it so we can fix a couple things and rent it out.

      Peru was amazing, and I think we liked some of the smaller towns as much as Machu Picchu. The memories of those are just as good.

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