Spending for this midwest based family with a mortgage, two adults, two dogs, and plenty of fun!

October Spending Report – Homebrewing, Pumpkin Carving, and Yoga

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This year we were spoiled with almost perfect weather most October! So we tried to spend as much time outside in the garden, on bikes, and drinking on patios! I’m glad we did, because these last few days have been dreary and cold, but I’m ready for crafts and time indoors.

I participated in my first organized “race.” I normally don’t like paying money for the privilege of exercising, but this event seemed unique. It was a 5k/yoga/guided meditation event, and I got to try out aireal yoga (AKA hammock yoga)! Well, the hammock yoga helped me conquer some of my fears and I’ve done it a few times at home since using a frugal hack of hanging a hammock in a tree.

How to save money and live a full life
Frugal Beer and Dinner with Friends! We still spend money sometimes!

We had one rainy weekend, so we brewed gingerbread beer, which should be ready for Christmas! We like to make an event of brewing, so we invited two friends over and watched football, brewed beer, and made homemade sushi!

We also drove to visit my in-laws and extended family. We carved pumpkins and ate pasties (no, not those).

We are still overwhelmed with tomatoes and have been busy preserving the food our garden and mini-orchard produced. Growing our own food has helped to save money and improve my habits. We are experimenting with re-potting our established pepper plants and brought a few inside! Did you know pepper plants are technically trees and can produce for many years? If these survive winter (in our cold house), we should get peppers much earlier in the year in 2018! I could eat a bell pepper every day!

If you want to know more of what we do, follow us on Twitter and Instagram! I’m also on pinterest.

Somewhere in there we found time to rescue some treasures (this month some planters) 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!

October 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, so if you’ve read one, you’ve read them all, so skip to the table below. For those of you who are not aware we are a pack of two adults and two dogs (who I still refer to as puppies). 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. One of the dogs would even be happy to hunt and forage for her own food, but alas, we live in suburbia.

Why Track Spending?

After the infamous and life changing conversation at my friends’ (it was a joint party) 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. I chose to go back a month from the conversation and started the tracking in December 2014.

Aireal Yoga isn't the most frugal, but it's healthy
An intro pose from Aireal Yoga! (Sorry I don’t have a picture of any inversions!)

This has been one of the most eye-opening experiences of our seeking FIRE. Second only to reading the Stock Series. 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. As time passes, and 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, but now it is old habit. Don’t get me wrong I love watching it grow, but I’ve just relaxed a little in my stressing. Do you find yourself obsessing over net worth?

We also don’t have 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, which doesn’t require a budget for us. 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).

See all of our expense reports here. And if you haven’t signed up for Personal Capital get started today! It is free and organizes all of your accounts in one place!

What’s Missing?

You may have noticed that a couple of typical spending categories were missing in this October 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!

Homebrewing to save money and an excuse to get together with friends
Look at that tasty beer on the stove! It’s fermenting away and should be ready come December!
  • 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 an expensive water softener
  • 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!

We spend our time doing frugal activities with friends, cooking, gardening, and have built up hobbies that support our frugal values!

But now on to what you are really interested in…the October Spending Report!

October Spending Report

Here’s all the October expense report details for our pack:

Category Total Spent Notes
Mortgage $950 Includes property taxes on home insurance
Restaurants $81
Includes four restaurants! We actually went on a date at a restaurant (using a groupon), got dinner from a food truck when out at a brewery with friends, and went to two restaurants with family while visiting them.
Gas $93
This is one of my least favorite line items, but we carpool commute to use less gas.
Cell Phone $20 One cell phone on the parents family plan
Entertainment $32
Went to a brewery for drinks with friends and bought yeast for our homebrewing!
Internet $59
We have high speed Internet, which is cheapest to get with HBO included in our area. (Finally cancelled our Netflix!)
Home Improvement $22 We bought some mis-tinted paint, fertilizer for our household plants, and light bulbs
Professional $80 We both carry professional licenses for our jobs, our employer doesn’t pay the semi-annual fee
Pet $198 A year supply of heartworm pills for both dogs!
Grocery $148 This is the last month where the garden was producing in full effect! Our pantry is still pretty full and our freezers are brimming. I think November spending may be low too!
Medical $130
Prescriptions, and Doctor Copays. I’m grateful we have good insurance.
Utility $127
On 10/27 we officially turned the heat on, grr. We actually turned it on (to 57 degrees) just before leaving on vacation with the hope that the allergens would calm down while I wasn’t home. This worked great and I’m not getting a spike in allergy symptoms!
Rewards -$157
An Ebates (get $10 for signing up through this link) check arrived! We signed up for a new credit card and earned the sign-up bonus! We cashed in some of our DiscoverIt bonus for our spending last year!
Total $1,783


The October expense report includes aligns well with our values! We finally spent a decent chunk of change at restaurants, but it gave us some time with family. We worked to intensely cut our spending that provides us little happiness, which allows us to easily afford spending time we friends and achieve a great savings rate in the same month. We both definitely acknowledge our privilege to be in this position and to have started our journey in middle class homes with the expectation of going to college.

Frugal homemade BBQ sauce using garden food
Homemade BBQ sauce made from garden veggies!

We typically hover around $2200/month in spending including our mortgage. So many changes and efficiencies made to our spending took place in the first two years of tracking. Thus, 2017 has been a fairly consistent year of practicing frugality and embracing all the fun that comes with it, the October expense report clearly shows that. Things really are on autopilot for us, as much as I would like to be tweaking things.

Our chest freezer is completely full of veggies from the garden to eat through the winter!

Every month we evaluate our spending to compare, engineer, optimize, and track using Personal Capital. (Join us on the adventure to FI!

What exciting things did you do this month? How’d your spending go?

5 comments on “October Spending Report – Homebrewing, Pumpkin Carving, and Yoga”

  1. Pasties! Haha, I’m not the only one who loves eating those! They are delicious!

    Awesome job keeping expenses low. I’m liking the aerial yoga, that sounds like such a fun challenge 🙂

    1. Reply

      They are so good! And yes, set up a hammock vertically, so it hangs at hip hight when taut! It’s fun and helps get some deeper stretching in!

  2. I have so much to learn about gardening. No, I didn’t know that you could keep your pepper plants going. Unfortunately, we’ve already composted ours this season but I will remember that for next year

    1. Reply

      Oh my goodness! I have so much to learn too! The peppers are doing well inside so far, we’ll see come spring!

  3. Pingback: Church of FI –Unexpected and October expense reports | The Jolly Ledger

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