Hi, Ridinkuloids! I hope you had a great quarter full of wise financial decision-making. We did better this quarter than last quarter in terms of spending, mostly because we had no property tax or home insurance bills come due. That said, our expenses were not as low as I would’ve hoped. Like I mentioned last quarter, we had to put down one of our rabbits, Cornelius. The credit cards for all of his exams and treatment came due this quarter. It took many visits to figure out what was wrong with him, and just to keep him going.

Our pet medical expenses also included a dental cleaning for Maeby! This requires her to be knocked out cold because, although she’s a chill dog, she won’t allow anyone near her mouth. So in order for her to keep her notoriously bad greyhound teeth in tact, she periodically has to go in for that procedure.

In good pet news, though, we adopted a new bunny. Her name is Freya and here’s a picture of her relaxing in the gym.

 

Total Expenses: $10,424.14
Avg Per Month: $3,474.71

Excluding Debt Payments
Total Expenses: $8,340.40
Avg Per Month: $2,780.13

Savings Rate: 55.3%

Summary

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Serious Stuff  $2,167.66 $722.55
Food $2,405.33 $801.78
Transportation $1,015.44 $338.48
Utilities $590.75 $196.92
Fun Stuff $1,243.59 $414.53
Pets $2,396.32 $798.88
Miscellaneous $605.05 $201.68

 

DIY lounge chair

Details

Serious Stuff :

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Mortgage $2,083.74 $694.58
Home Insurance $0.00 $0.00
Property Taxes $0.00 $0.00
Medical $0.00 $0.00
Home Maintenance – DIY $83.92 $27.97

Just the normal mortgage payments this month, although I’m planning on making extra payments again starting next month! The DIY expenses were mostly for building a lounge chair in the backyard, which we’ve been enjoying on the weekends. (Plans here)

Sometimes we eat out

Food:

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Groceries $1,441.86 $480.62
Wine & Beer $73.05 $24.35
Dining Out $715.82 $238.61
Takeout Food $174.60 $58.20
Total Food $2,405.33 $801.78

Massive food expense this month! We way overspent dining out. With Marge going on a trip to Vegas, several trips out with friends, and visiting the grand opening of a new branch of our favorite restaurant (now dangerously close to home) we will definitely end up far ahead of 2016’s total dining expense. Grocery expense was also $500 more than last quarter, and I’m not even sure how! I am proud of making those DIY bagels, though.

 

Transportation:

Quarterly Total Month Average
Auto Maintenance/Other  $149.25 $49.75
Gas $165.19 $55.06
Car Insurance $601.00 $200.33
Parking $0.00 $0.00
Bus Tickets $100.00 $33.33
Total Transportation $1,015.44 $338.48

Well if it wasn’t for that damn insurance, transportation cost would be almost nothing! Just AAA membership, new wiper blades, tolls, registration, and some gas. Plus my usual bus tickets since I usually take the bus to work.

 

Utilities:

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Cable $119.97 $39.99
Electric $145.94 $48.65
Gas $197.72 $65.91
Telephone $29.96 $9.99
Water  & Sewer $97.16 $32.39
Total Utilities $590.75 $196.92

Cooler months mean less spent on gas heat. And once we fixed the toilet, the water bill went back down under a hundred dollars a quarter. We just received our new internet bill, and the price is going from $39.99 to $44.99 since Spectrum just bought our company Time Warner Cable. Hey, I thought corporate consolidations were supposed to save us money! Ha ha ha ha ha!!

Green Animals Topiary Garden

Fun Stuff:

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Entertainment $203.73 $67.91
Recreation $155.68 $51.89
Travel $884.18 $294.73
Total Fun Stuff $1,243.59 $414.53

Entertainment includes Netflix, Hulu, New York Times online, a few albums, and a month subscription to Tunnelbear (shhh!) so we could watch the Eurovision Song Contest live. For Travel, we paid for our hotels in St. Kitts and Nevis later this year, and bought our Megabus tickets to Toronto for the CNE!

Maeby enjoying the beach in Eastham, Cape Cod

Pets:

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Boarding $89.90 $29.97
Food $192.42 $64.14
Medical $1,953.04 $651.01
Other $160.96 $64.14
Total Pet $2,396.32 $798.77

Like I said, those pet medical bills are a killer.

 

Miscellaneous:

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Cash $80.00 $26.67
Charity $164.00 $54.67
Clothing $82.72 $27.57
Gifts Given $57.41 $19.14
Home $135.14 $45.05
Personal Care $79.27 $26.42
Postage $6.51 $2.17
Total Miscellaneous $605.05 $201.68

Very good so far this year on clothing expense. We’ve hardy bought anything. No need to institute a clothes shopping ban! Just replace things when they need to be replaced. I assimilated into the borg joined the club and got a FitBit, which is included in home expense. No need to buy a new one at an exorbitant price, though. I got mine for $20 on eBay.

Goal Progress

Total 2017 Spending of $30,000 (excluding debt payments): 

  • Spent so far: $19,661.52
  • On track to spend: $39,323.04

Not doing so well here. Those unexpected expenses always get in the way. We can only spend just over $10,000 for the rest of the year and still come in under $30,000.

 

Savings Rate of 65%: 

  • Savings Rate this quarter: 55%
  • Savings Rate so far this year: 46.1%

Falling short again! It always sucks to miss this goal, but then I remember that the average personal savings rate in the U.S. is about 5%. Our method for calculating our savings rate is shown here.

 

Max Out 457 Plan and Roth IRAs

  • Goals: $18,000 in 457 Plan / $5,500 in each Roth IRA
  • Saved so far: $8,888.92 in 457 Plan / $2,000 in each Roth IRA

We’re on track to max all of these out. We’ve even started to contribute to Marge’s terrible 401(k). The mutual fund choices may be awful, but we desperately need to reduce our tax bill. We simply make too much money! So even though the fees on the 401(k) are bad, the effects of the tax hit now would be marginally worse, so we are contributing to the 401(k), but not maxing out. Those vultures are not going to get all of our money!

 

Read 24 Books

  • Read so far: 10

Behind schedule! I read Your Money Or Your Life, the sort of ur-text for the modern early retirement movement. I should really write a review of it, since I have thoughts on it. But then I also read Grimm’s Household Stories, and I probably have MORE thoughts on that! I mean, I’m all about improving your financial know-how, but Grimm’s fairy tales are just so unbelievably bizarre, I think it would be good for everyone to get lost in its weirdness, so I have to recommend that.

 

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 stash. According to our monthly average expenses (excluding debt payments) and our investable assets, we have…

9.45 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….

65

According to Expatistan’s index, that means we can retire… Chisinau, Moldova! I don’t know anything about this place, but a Google search’s second result is Is It Worth It To Visit Chisinau, Moldova where the author calls Moldova the most boring country in Europe. Work on your SEO game, Moldova!