Ridinkulous Quarterly Expenses: Q3 2015

A quick note here. I am excluding many expenses! Since we have a rental property now, I think I am going to treat that as a completely separate entity with its own income statement posts. Our quarterly expense reports now will be just our living expenses. These are the figures you and I are most interested in anyway, since these are the numbers we have to bring down the most in order to hasten and estimate our early retirement goals.

We only do quarterly expense reports, not monthly, in order to eliminate all the noise, noise, noise.

Total Expenses: $14,578.19
Avg Per Month: $4,859.40

Excluding Debt Payments
Total Expenses: $9,336.37
Avg Per Month: $3,122.12

Previous Quarters:
2015, January-March
2015, April-June

The Necessary Evils :

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Mortgage $2,083.74 $694.58
Student Loans 628.08 209.36
Car payments 2,500.00 833.33
Home Insurance N/A N/A
Property Taxes 1,633.40 644.46
Medical 176.00 56.66

We put enough into our car loan to almost pay it off this quarter. There’s less than $1,000 left. Other than that, we only made the regular debt payments. On that note, check out our new Debt Progress page!


Home Maintenance and Improvements

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Contractors 1,342.84 447.61
DIY 1,126.94 375.64

Neighbors Tree (1)Two big money spending time items this quarter. We paid the second half of our Batman bill. The summer is nearly over and we are still bat-free! And then we had to pay an electrical contractor to re-connect us to the power lines after this tree fell into our yard.

The DIY items have basically been all of the materials for our backyard shed. We rented a U-Haul pickup one day and brought home loads of lumber, plywood and siding. All of that will be written up as part of my Patio series at one point. Right now, the shed is nearing completion, but there will be a lot of finishing touches to put on.


Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Groceries 1,127.36 375.79
Wine & Beer 39.07 13.02
Dining Out 56.00 18.67
Takeout Food 103.86 34.62
Total Food 1,328.29 442.76 

Our grocery spending has been very even this year. It’s been coming out in the mid-$300s every month. Our dining and takeout expense were less than it has been in the previous two quarters.

Wedding Baklava (1)

Weirdly, these baklavas count as a Gift Expense because I made them for a friend’s wedding. There were 80 pieces and they pretty much disappeared!



Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Auto Maintenance/Tolls/Other 149.95 49.98
Gas 253.63 84.54
Car Insurance (23.54) (7.85)
Parking 77.76 25.92
Bus Tickets 65.00 21.67
Total Transportation  522.80 174.27 

Kring Point 2015 (1)The Other includes an oil change and tire rotation, a $53.50 annual registration and $25 in EZ Pass tolls. But overall, this was a very frugal three months in transportation, despite driving all over New York, first to visit the grandparents’ farm for Independence Day, and then to go camping.



Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Cable 71.15 23.72
Gas 99.57 33.19
Electric 176.93 58.98
Water  & Sewer 108.11 36.03
Telephone 76.48 25.49

Our latest Cable expense reflects our new bill. We cancelled our cable and got a discount on our internet, so it’s $34.95 a month! Our average electric bill was only $58.98, not bad considering how many record-breakingly hot days we’ve had here. Early September temperatures average around 75, and we were hitting 100 degrees, so the air conditioner was running a lot. But as I’ve analyzed before, running the air conditioner at night is worth it.

Saratoga Racetrack (5)


Fun Stuff:

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Entertainment $373.07 124.36
Recreation (198.00) (66.00)
Travel 1,168.98 389.66

Another quarter, another thousand dollars of travel expenses! We paid for all of our train travel for our upcoming ten-day trip to Japan, which was $467 total. We’ll be going from Tokyo to Kyoto to Osaka to Takayama and back to Tokyo, so the JR Rail Pass was a good deal. Travel also includes our three night stay in a Kyoto AirB&B, plus some credit card fees we only pay to get the frequent flyer miles.

Recreation expense is negative! What!? It includes a good old-fashioned trip to the fair and some gambling at Saratoga Racetrack (See: Horsies), but is then offset by $230 refund from days we had reserved but cancelled in our Thousand Islands camping trip.

For Entertainment, Marge went to see a Broadway show about our first rapping president, Alexander Hamilton, and that wasn’t cheap. And we also got tickets to see the first ever stage adaptation of A Confederacy of Dunces in Boston, starring Nick Offerman, in December!

My personal Entertainment included a new album by Shopping, and the new Tame Impala which might be my favorite album of the year so far? I’m not sure.



Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Boarding 90.00 30.00
Food 141.25 47.08
Medical 652.15 217.38
Other 50.69 16.90
Total Pet 934.09 311.36 

Maeby, why won’t you just let us brush your teeth!  This dog won’t let anyone touch her mouth, so she has to be anesthetized every two years to have her teeth cleaned. That was the cost driver this quarter. It was our biggest single expense, along with our bat eradication. So far, Maeby still has all her teeth. Lucky dog!

Let Maeby make you feel at home


Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Charity $96.00 32.00
Clothing $170.73 56.91
Computer $40.21 13.40
Gifts Given 31.21 10.40
Home Furnishings 47.77 15.92
Home Supplies 30.76 10.25
Personal Care 27.04 9.01
Postage 0.00 0.00

Goals Progress

Back in January, I made up some goals for the year on the fly. Here’s how we’re doing 3/4 of the way into the year:


  • Goal: Under $1,000
  • Spent So Far: $734.21
  • On track to spend: $978.95

We are right on track with gas spending this year. I don’t see any reason why we won’t stay under $1,000 for the year. I have been biking to work a lot this summer. I’m looking forward to doing a car vs. bike vs. bus commute mileage comparison at the end of the year.

Dining Out: 

  • Goal: Under $1,000
  • Spent: $611.31
  • On track to spend: $815.08

This will be tougher than it looks! Our big trip to Japan is next week! We will be there for ten days, and I don’t think we are going to hold back on the sushi. And unlike our trip to Peru, our Japanese feasts will not come cheap.

Takeout Food: 

  • Goal: Under $1,000
  • Spent: $487.64
  • On track to spend: $650.19

Excellent! We are on track to have our lowest takeout food expense since at least 2008!


  • Goal: Under $1,000
  • Spent: $647.86
  • On track to spend: $863.81

Unlike all you people on clothes shopping bans, I believe some clothing just has to be replaced. With the talk in Personal Finance Blog Land, you’d think everyone was wearing drawers from the Clinton administration. I bought a nice shirt for a wedding and Marge got a new J Crew dress for the same since we were in the wedding “Honor Circle” and needed to color coordinate. But we are still well on track.

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, 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…

3.15 years of savings

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

4.91 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!

How’d you do with spending this summer?


  1. Wow such detail! Great job cutting cable. I LOVE Saratoga and unfortunately only made it once for the meet this summer, I usually try to go twice. Enjoy your trip to Japan!

    • Norm

      October 1, 2015 at 5:59 pm

      Thanks! I didn’t think I would make it to Saratoga at all this year, but then my parents surprised me by calling a few days before the Whitney to say “We’re driving the four hours to Saratoga this weekend. Want to come?”

  2. We put away more money than expected this summer, but this month we’re going to just barely break even.

    I’m impressed by the low spending on takeout/dining out. Also, I’m incredibly jealous of your electric bill. Here in Phoenix, I’m excited (thanks to single pane windows) to have our averaged monthly payment to $202.

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