November Spending Report – We Bought an Electric Bike (Kit)
THIS POST MAY CONTAIN AFFILIATE LINKS. PLEASE SEE MY DISCLOSURE FOR MORE INFORMATION.
It’s the start of a new month, which means I get to review our spending! When I first started tracking spending using Personal Capital (sign up for free today), I was not excited to see where about my money was going, but taking the time to truly dig into our budget helped us slash our annual spending by almost $15,000. Three years of tracking later, I now love review our spending, it helps me feel more comfortable with our financial independence/early retirement (FIRE) goal.
We made the jump and bought a Luna Cycle mid-drive electric bike conversion kit! We’ve been working to drive less, but our complainypants selves have been slow to ditch our cars. Thanks to Physician on Fire (PoF) for writing up a review! We bought the same kit that PoF recommended the week before Thanksgiving, it looks like the kit is sold out now, but here’s the mid-drive kit without the battery on Amazon. (Warning – buying a high quality battery is a key detail in an electric bike 🙂 .) Mr. Kiwi plans on installing the kit on the first bike he bought with his own money in high school, a hybrid bike with front fork suspension. Also, our frugal (cheap?) selves did not buy the fancy tools, we found some cheaper ones on Ebay and when it’s all assembled we’ll update you on the installation.
We also have some BIG NEWS coming, which has been a big focus for November! Check back next week when we’ll clue you all in on the details!
Somewhere in there we found time to rescue some treasures (this month a cold frame for the garden) and work our standard 8-5 jobs. I’m looking forward to FI when I won’t need to interrupt my day with going to the office!
November Expense Report Intro
A monthly feature on the blog is a detailed breakdown of our expenses AKA spending. The intro will be the same each week, if you’ve read one, you’ve read them all, skip to the table below. For those of you who are not aware we are a pack of two adults and two dogs. The puppies really don’t cost too much (except in September when they are due for their annual vet visit), so you can blame the humans for being spendy.
Why Track Spending?
After the life changing conversation at my friends’ joint birthday party, our pack decided to get serious about how we manage our finances. This meant endeavoring to track every dollar (or Tanzanian Shilling) on our balance sheet. We started tracking our spending using Personal Capital in December 2014.
This has been one of the most eye-opening experiences of our seeking FIRE. Second only to reading the Stock Series and following the Simple Path to Wealth. We use our very own categorized spreadsheet to track our spending (we are working on updating this to share a copy with all of you!), but also use personal capital. Now that I’ve been on the FIRE path for a couple of years I’ve relaxed my net worth obsession. It was awesome growing that first 100k!
We also don’t use a monthly budget. By tracking our expenses using Personal Capital we have a record of what we spend and quickly realize if things are getting out of whack. We spend based on our values, and a budget would probably lead to us spending more. But if a budget works best for you, go for it!
In the 2.5 years of tracking our spending we have recognized that not all of our spending practices align with our values, and have cut our spending significantly. Just seeing where all the money was seeping out the sieve was so EYE OPENING! Lifestyle creep had started to set in, and we were falling victims to the rat race. Frugality took up its sword and slashed the waste and negligent expenses. Now, we are a lean, mean, and saving the green pack (DINKs FTW).
You may have noticed that a couple of typical spending categories were missing in this November expense report breakdown. I’ve done my best to explain them here, but if you have any questions or notice any gaps let me know!
- Car Insurance for our two (cringe) cars: We pay our auto insurance once per year to take advantage of a discount
- Water bill: We have a well and a water filter/softener, which helps us save money in the long run!
- PMI: We put 20% down on our house, so no PMI for us!
- Car payments: both cars are paid in full (2006 Chevy Cobalt and 2010 Chevy HHR)
- Gym memberships: We seek out free (or super cheap exercise). We walk, have an exercise bike, elliptical, adjustable weight dumbbells, do body weight exercises, ride our road bikes sometimes, and practice free yoga using doyogawithme.com.
How do we Spend so Little?
We’ve spent our years seeking FIRE ruthlessly cutting our spending to align it with our values. This really helped us eliminate most of our consumer tendencies. We’ve always loved getting good deals, but then we ended up filling our home with a bunch of stuff. Things don’t bring us joy, and once we realized that it was easier to say no!
But now on to what you are really interested in…the November Spending Report!
November Spending Report
Here’s all the November expense report details for our pack:
|Mortgage||$950||Includes property taxes on home insurance|
We went out for two cheap meals over Thanksgiving to see friends and family!
|Gas||$77||Carpooling to work saves us money on gas!|
|Car Maintenance||$25||New wiper blades needed for one of our cars, bought through Ebates (get $10 for signing up through this link)|
|Cell Phone||$20||One cell phone on the parents family plan|
Charitable donations, a couple of breweries, knitting supplies, and other fun stuff
We have high speed Internet, which is cheapest to get with HBO included in our area
|Electric Bike Kit||$795||Physician on FIRE inspired us to buy a Luna Cycle middrive electric bike kit. We’re anxiously awaiting for it to arrive in the mail!|
|Pet||$21||Arthritis Vitamins for Keweenaw|
|Grocery||$223||Right on track with our average grocery spending for the year!|
Prescriptions, and Doctor Copays. I’m grateful we have good insurance.
No electric/gas bill this month, so this is just the sewer bill
We sold an old dining table on Craigslist! And we cashed in some of our DiscoverIt bonus for our spending last year (sign up for 2% cash back on your first year of spending, plus 5% on certain categories, and discounted gift cards)!
|Total||$2,268||This is pretty much in line with our average this year.|
|Total Minus the Mortgage||$1,318|
|Total Minus the Mortgage and E-Bike Kit||$523||
Okay, this is laughably low. Maybe I should stop reading personal finance blogs, so I don’t buy expensive toys! (Just kidding PoF!)
The November expense report includes aligns well with our values! We bought the E-bike kit, which should reduce our driving in 2018 and help us be more green! We worked to intensely cut spending that provided us little happiness, which allows us to achieve a high savings rate each month.
Things really are on autopilot now. But check back next week for the big news!
Also, check out my frugal holiday gift guide if you are still hunting for great presents this holiday season!
What exciting things did you do this month? How’d your spending go?