September Expense Report for Our Family of Two

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September signals the end of summer, produces major garden yields, and the onset of all things pumpkin.

Garden Yield
We have so many tomatoes!

We are overwhelmed with tomatoes and have been busy preserving the food our garden and mini-orchard are producing. We are freezing tomatoes whole and the chest freezer is full! Growing our own food has helped to save money and improve my habits. Now, I’ve learned that 15 tomato plants is too many for two people!

Mr. Kiwi was best man in his best friend’s wedding! Weddings don’t have to be expensive! We shopped through Ebates to save money on part of their wedding gift! I highly recommend it, if you haven’t signed up yet, you get $10 free after your first $25 purchase using this link.

We went to Ohio…enough said.

We also had a birthday in our pack, but I just made a nice dinner. We don’t buy each other gifts or do extravagant things for birthdays. We had planned on going on a bike ride, but it was 95 degrees outside, so we decided to hang out in the basement instead.

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 a kitchen scale) 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!

September 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 six year old 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 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.

Frugal Fall Activies
Fall Dog!

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, but also use personal capital, which is super convenient. 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 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.

What’s Missing?

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

Keweenaw Brewing Company
Don’t worry, our grocery spending includes buying some new beers! We missed you KBC!
  • 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 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

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

September Spending Report

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

Category Total Spent Notes
Mortgage $950 Includes property taxes on home insurance
Restaurants $6 I overspent on a few work dinners.
Gas $100 Lots of travel = lots of gas
Cell Phone $20 One cell phone on the parents family plan
Car Maintenance $68 Car registration
Entertainment $62 We have supplies for two batches of home brew beer!
Internet $65
We have high speed Internet, which is cheapest to get with HBO included in our area.
Gift $55 Wedding gift
Clothing $13 New socks for Mr. Kiwi. This should last many years.
Pet $361
We have two dogs and their annual vet visit is in September. One of the dogs has been getting moles/growths. We had one checked for cancer, yay cancer free! He also started having gross eyes two days before his appointment, so the vet looked at those and gave us eye drops. All this cost ~$100 more than expected, but it is great to have a clean bill of health for the dogs. Owning dogs means taking care of them!
Grocery $128 Woo! The buy no pantry items challenge worked! We did stock up on honeycrisp apples and winter squash.
Medical $66
Prescriptions, and Doctor Copays. I’m grateful we have good insurance.
Utility $124 It is safe to say that we won’t use any AC in 2017
Rewards -$98
Our Ebates (get $10 for signing up through this link) check for 11.87 arrived. We sold some books on craigslist, earned some interest on our checking account, and cashed in some credit card rewards. We cashed in some of our DiscoverIt bonus for our spending last year!
Total $1,919

Summary

The September expense report includes some pretty awesome experiences! 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.

Fall fun
I spent some time decorating for fall! Using pumpkins grown in the garden!

We typically hover around $2000/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 September 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! And the garden is still producing more. If you are in the area, stop on by, I’ll send you home with tomatoes!

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

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

 

*AFFILIATE DISCLAIMER - This website contains endorsements or advertisements for products and services, which means when you click on a link that I recommend, I may receive a commission.

 

4 comments on “September Expense Report for Our Family of Two”

  1. Reply

    Can’t remember what I originally tried to comment, but it was something about chuckling at your dog expenses…as well as being impressed you’re able to stay under $2k w/ a mortgage!

    Nice work, and nice post! 🙂

    1. Reply

      No worries! Thanks for helping me fix the issue! Yep, we run a lean household here and radically in source as much as we can.

  2. Reply

    Under 2k per month with a mortgage, two people, and two pups… On my most frugal months, I’m usually $1,400 – $1,500, and that’s being a single lady and dog-free. You’re very impressive 😉

    1. Reply

      Ah, thanks! Sounds like you live pretty frugal too, two people definitely do not cost twice as much!

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