Hey, Ridinkuloids! We hope everyone had a nice, frugal summer! Here is our expense report for the past three months. Spending-wise, it looks like we had a pretty average quarter. Which is good, because we had a lot of fun! We traveled to Toronto, Newport RI, Boston (twice), the Thousand Islands, and the family farm in western New York.

Just as a reminder, these expense entries do not include any income or expenses related to our rental apartment. That gets its own separate entry!

Total Expenses: $10,510.95
Avg Per Month: $3,503.65

Without Debt Payments
Total Expenses: $8,227.21
Avg Per Month: $2,742.40


Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Serious Stuff  $4,504.90  $1,501.63
Food  $1,938.65 $646.22
Transportation  $763.61 $254.54
Utilities  $521.67 $173.89
Fun Stuff  $1,098.52 $366.17
Pets  $620.58 $206.86
Miscellaneous  $1,063.02 $354.34


Serious Stuff :

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Mortgage $2,283.74 $761.25
School Taxes $2,009.33 Bi-Annual
Medical $80.00 $26.67
Home Maintenance – DIY $131.83 $43.94

We made an extra payment on our mortgage this quarter, which is why it appears to be more than $700/mo. We plan to start making more extra payments on the mortgage again, in the hopes of having it paid off in 2019 or 2020.
The home maintenance cost is partly the materials for a new spice rack that I built! Maybe I’ll outline that in a post another time. Long story short, most spice racks suck. You need to build your own to make the most efficient use of space!

Tacos at CNE


Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Groceries $1,243.95 $414.65
Wine & Beer $10.00 $3.33
Dining Out $478.67 $159.56
Takeout Food $206.03 $68.68
Total Food $1,938.65  $646.22 

We had some great food this summer! We went to Newport, Rhode Island, in June, and also took Marge’s parents out for a birthday, which accounts for why Dining expense was so high this quarter. We like it to be under $100 a month.

Chicken sandwiches at Winner Winner in Newport. We also went to the Canadian National Exhibition, one of the biggest draws of which is the Food Building where you can find every kind of bad fair food imaginable. Kimchi nachos, fried pork belly sandwiches, those tacos, mango smoothes… later in the month we even had lobster in eastern Massachusetts. It was a good summer for food.

Efficient transportation at the CNE


Quarterly Total Month Average
Auto Maintenance/Tolls/Other $240.09 $80.03
Gas $240.52 $80.17
Speeding Ticket $203.00 Never again
Bus Tickets $80.00 $26.67
Total Transportation $763.61 $254.54

Speeding ticket! Yes, I got a speeding ticket. The first one in my life! Despite spending only $80/mo on gas, we did a lot of driving this summer, and somewhere near Rochester I stopped paying attention to the speed limit on the highway. They got me going 72 in a 55. Ouch. It will never happen again. This is why we need driverless cars!

If it wasn’t for that speeding ticket, we would have a fantastically low transportation cost this quarter. We had the annual service done on the 2005 Honda Civic, paid $75 in EZ Pass tolls, $53.50 for the Toyota’s registration, and that’s about it. I ride my bike to work for most of the summer, and also take the bus.

Green Animal Topiary, Middletown, RI


Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Cable $129.97 $43.32
Electric $146.42 $48.81
Gas $118.50 $39.50
Telephone $39.84 $13.28
Water  & Sewer $86.94 $28.98
Total Utilities $521.67 $173.89

Not much to say here, other than we did really well at keeping the electricity costs down over the summer. That is always a worry because we have to use the air conditioner to sleep at night. I’m honestly not sure how we kept it so low at $48 a month. Last summer, it was $69 a month!

Eclipse viewing at the Canadian National Exhibition

Fun Stuff:

Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Entertainment $250.85 $83.62
Recreation $353.18 $117.73
Travel $494.49 $164.83
Total Fun $1,098.52 $366.17

Justin Trudeau butter sculpture!

Recreation-wise we had a lot of fun this summer, so no complaints here! We went to Newport and toured the mansions and walked the cliffs in June, visited the family farm and then Salem and the Peabody Essex Musuem in July, the Canadian National Exhibition in Toronto in August, back to the Boston area for the Middlesex County 4-H Fair, and then camping in the Thousand Islands for Labor Day week! We watched the eclipse at the CNE as seen above. It was only 70%. But now I am determined to see totality next time!
For entertainment, aside from the normal Hulu and Netflix subscriptions, and a few albums, I got to see a concert by one of my favorite musicians, Brian Dewan, at the old Round Lake Auditorium. We even found time to go to the drive-in theater and see Baby Driver and War For the Planet of the Apes.
As for Travel, I saw a billboard advertising a $99 flight to Bergen, Norway, took a photo of it to remember,… and then bought one. It’s true! Advertising works! It just so happens that I’ve been wanting to visit Bergen for a long time, ever since I either saw Rick Steves go there (look at that food!) or I found out the Casiokids were from there. Also part of our upcoming January trip to Turks & Caicos was paid for this quarter.


Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Boarding $353.46 $117.82
Food $143.54 $47.85
Medical $85.12 $28.37
Other $38.46 $12.82
Total Pet $620.58  $206.86

Owl lady at the 4-H fair!

We had to use a couple pet sitters for come of these trips, hence the boarding expense. We used three different sitters for Maeby using Rover.com and she liked them all. That’s a referral link that will give you $20 off, by the way, and also give us $20 if you make a booking. No big thing.


The Breakers’ backporch


Quarterly Total Monthly Average
Cash $33.00 $11.00
Charity $132.00 $44.00
Clothing $199.58 $66.53
Gifts Given $66.80 $22.27
Home $297.61 $99.20
Personal Care $285.70 $95.23
Postage $7.51 $2.50
Other $40.82 $13.61
Total Miscellaneous $1,063.02 $354.34

We’ve been killing it on clothing expense this year. Nine months into the year and we’ve spent less than $400. You don’t need a complete and total ban to keep expenses low!
Charitable giving comes right out of my paycheck and is going to a few local community centers, Planned Parenthood, and the ACLU.
Gifts given is not so much gifts as it is materials for gifts. Marge has been embroidering baby gifts for all of the new parents we know.
One of our rabbits chewed through a bunch of wires, which accounts for some of that Home expense. We had to buy new cables for our Roku, SNES, and modem! Also, my FitBit is included in there, ($20 used on eBay!) and our Sonicare toothbrush broke, which meant buying another one ($40 on eBay!)
Other miscellaneous items include $10 spent at the laundromat giving our sleeping bag a much needed cleaning, $14 in losses at the racetrack, and bank charges for using ATMs in Canada.


Goal Progress

Total 2017 Non-Debt Spending of $30,000: 

  • Spent so far: $27,888
  • On track to spend: $37,184

We are definitely not making this goal this year! The last two years we’ve come out around $35,000, so we might even exceed the last two years’ spending!


Max Out 457 Plan and Roth IRAs

  • Goals: $18,000 in 457 Plan / $5,500 in each Roth IRA
  • Saved so far: $12,803 in 457 Plan / $3,690 in each Roth IRA

We’ll be maxing these out easily.



Read 24 Books

  • Read so far: 12

According to GoodReads, I am six books behind schedule. Not good! I chalk this up to picking some rather dry books to read that haven’t really been enticing me. Although I did pick up Jon Ronson’s The Psychopath Test and finished that in three days while camping.


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 average monthly non-debt expenses above. The number to shoot for is 25 years, 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…

10 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 Hartford, CT, for our own cost of living since it is the closest city to us on Expatistan’s index and is comparable price-wise.

Our International Retirement Cost of Living Number is….


According to Expatistan’s index, that means we have a choice of where to retire to today… Bangalore (India), Tbilisi (Georgia), Chisinau (Moldova), or Kiev (Ukraine). Not super compelling choices, but I would probably pick Kiev, Ukraine, so I could tour the Yanukovich Residence!