Hi, and welcome to my March 2019 expense report. Here you’ll find a transparent look into my monthly spending and saving.
The beginning of March marked my return to the United States, and thus, the beginning of significantly increased expenses for me. The most notable of these increased expenses? Rent.
I was spoiled, living and working in Europe for 5 months with rent fully covered. Now that I’m back in the US, rent’s on me.
The office I’ll be working in is located in a high cost of living area. Since long commutes suck, my place of living will be within a five mile radius of my place of work, also in a high cost of living area. Why chain myself to this distance? So I can ride my bike, rather than drive to work each day.
Starting each workday off with a little bit of exercise makes getting through an 8 hour workday a bit easier for me.
Wait a second, we’re supposed to be talking about expenses! To survive without a car, a bike is inevitably important. It gives you the superhuman ability of efficient and rapid local travel, relying on nothing besides your own raw, mechanical, caloric energy.
So I bought a bike mid-month after using city bikeshare bicycles to commute for about a week. I ended up buying a top of the line road/hybrid bike. I rationalized spending an additional few hundred dollars based on more ergonomic/comfortable handlebars and a carbon fiber front fork, rather than a pesky old aluminum alloy fork.
If I could go back, I would probably opt for the slightly cheaper version without these unnecessary upgrades. No need to dwell on this purchase though. I now have a reliable bike for transport to and from work each day, and a reliable exercise and outdoor enjoyment machine for the various paved trails near my apartment.
So, my bike was my biggest expense this month, totaling in at $1,000! Here’s a visual breakdown of my March expenses:
My monthly savings edged out every other category this month, by just one dollar
Home/Rent – $696
Rent this month was half off. I moved in mid-month, and the apartment complex gave me a discounted rate for the month of March. I also paid my renter’s insurance policy for the year in full.
Auto – $0
Not owning a car = no automobile expenses
Transit/Travel – $1007
Of course if you don’t own a car, you probably need a bike. I’m happy to have splurged on a nice bike + accessories, which is representing the majority of the spending in this category ($969). Additionally, I spent $31 on public transit, and splurged on a $7 Uber to work during a stormy Monday morning.
Health/Wellness – $101
A trip to the pharmacy comprised most of this spending. I’m conveniently ignoring my monthly health insurance premiums for the sake of simplicity. That money is taken out of my paycheck before it gets to me, and it’s easier for me to ignore it than to account for it.
Sustenance – $470
Other notable March expenses include food, including plenty of expensive eating out. I was back in the United States from Europe, so I had plenty of fun splurging on all the American foods and cuisine I’d been missing. To be honest, that included way too much fast food. I had plenty of amazing pizza in Italy, yet it turns out I missed greasy and doughy American style pizza. Other food splurges included sushi, Chipotle, and actual authentic Mexican food. Hard to find good Mexican food in Europe!
I spent $271 on groceries, $34 on eating out with coworkers, $73 on restaurants/eating out alone, an additional $17 on fast food, and $75 on Chipotle alone. If you’re not aware, I have an addiction to Chipotle which I rationalize by calling it an “economical’ addiction.
Adding that all up, I spent $470 on food this month. That’s pretty high, but that does include stocking up on a pantry and fridge full of groceries. This is a pretty inflated baseline number. It should be easy to reduce my food spending levels from this number in future months.
Daily Living – $322
Another notable pile of purchases are a variety of household goods from amazon, accounting for $209 of spending this month. In the future, I will attempt to specifically categorize these purchases, rather than leaving them in a general “Amazon” category. That’s about as helpful as having a “Things” category.
Without having a car, and with moving back into the country and into a new apartment, the convenience of having things delivered to my front door was hard to resist. I expect the spending in this category to fall significantly in the coming months..
Entertainment – $203
My entertainment category totaled in at $203 for the month. Mostly driven by purchasing 6 months of Xbox live, bowling, a few books, alcohol, and some disc golf discs.
Disc golfing is one of my favorite summer activities. Beyond purchasing a disc or two up front, it’s completely free.
Total Savings – $1008
A saving grace for this month’s savings rate was a credit card sign up and minimum spend bonus. I got a new credit card and hit the minimum spend requirement within 3 months, which granted me a $500 statement credit. I counted this statement credit as additional income, which boosted my savings rate by about 10% for the month.
As for my total savings rate (% of income not spent), we finished the month at 26%. A solid month, especially considering the splurges that I did make. Again, getting a $500 statement credit helped out a ton.
Next month might be a bit rocky though, as I’ve been thinking about purchasing a car. If that purchase materializes, it’ll surely throw a wrench in my savings numbers
March purchase of the month:
My bicycle! This thing is a beast, and I’m so excited to have this amazing machine to fast travel around my city and on my commute to and from work.