Skip to main content

Fall 2022 Post-Debt Expenses Breakdown

Now that we've finished paying off our debt (I'm still over the moon about it, I really am), I've been working on an updated list of our household expenses for the current quarter. This season of the year is typically our spendiest, thanks to two birthdays, our anniversary, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. 

We try to restrain ourselves when it comes to presents, but even when we're conservative and limit ourselves to 1-2 gifts per person, we always seem to veer away from true frugality (and frankly, I'm at the point now where I'm not going to forego gift-giving in my immediate family just to save a little money). 

Although the topic of expenses might seem a bit boring, I've found it useful to track how they've changed over time. And I know that even with no debts to service, we're spending more than we used to, partly because our needs have changed and partly because of inflation (I'm looking at you, grocery bill and rent!)

Here's what our monthly expenses look like right now:

Rent: $2430 (includes water and trash). If you've been following this blog for a while, you know that our rent has always been pretty high. We live in an HCOL area with an extremely limited housing supply. Renting is expensive. Buying is expensive. No matter how you slice it, it's hard to live cheaply here. 

To add insult to injury, our property management company jacked up our rent by nearly $300 last year. I'm not ready to think about what they might do when our lease comes up for renewal again in six months. Just going to shut that whole concept out of my brain for now.

Ideally, we'd be able to purchase a home to avoid these frustrating annual rent increases and gain more control over our basic living costs. I check on the local housing inventory at least once a week. The good news is that prices have finally dropped a bit, and listings are now sticking around for more than a day or two. But with rising interest rates, the total cost of what we could afford would still exceed the cost of rent, and we'd still be looking at condos or townhomes rather than single-family homes. At this point in my life, I don't want to share walls, deal with an HOA or HOA fees, or dump resources into a fixer-upper. 

In other words, we can't afford what we want, and there are some compromises we won't make.

We're still fairly happy with the rental, although after living here for so many years there's some basic maintenance that needs to be done and that our property management company seems happy to ignore. We'll see what housing prices do in the next few months and see if there's ever an opportunity to jump into the market.

Groceries: $1250. Whew. So expensive thanks to rising food costs. We create meal plans and make grocery lists. We eat a vegetarian or vegan dinner every other day. We don't waste food and we rarely go out to eat. I think these prices simply reflect a) the nature of the economic beast right now, b) the fact that I live with a teenage boy, and c) my desire to make delicious, varied meals. Cooking has become a hobby of mine this year, one that I truly enjoy on a daily basis.

Health Savings Account (HSA) contribution: $628. I love our HSA! It's tax-free to put money in and tax-free to take money out for medical expenses, which we now have on a regular basis. It's nice to have an account separate from the rest of our finances that allows us to pay for prescriptions and doctor's visits. 

For 2023, I plan to sign up for a plan with a much lower deductible ($750 instead of $5000), which means we will no longer be able to contribute to an HSA (booooo, it's so stupid that these aren't available unless you have an HDHP). But I really don't want to deal with a high deductible now that medical bills are basically guaranteed. It doesn't make sense for us. So this expense will go away, but our premiums will rise.

Utilities (electric), gas (for car), and phones: $356. This line item varies somewhat depending on the season but it's usually somewhere between $350 and $400. 

Subscriptions/entertainment: $157. This includes our streaming subscriptions (Netflix, Apple, and Amazon Prime), our cat food/cat litter orders, a Dropps laundry subscription, and a monthly charitable donation. 

Miscellaneous: $500. This includes things like gifts, going out to eat, and our child's school and sports expenses. If this segment of our budget seems high, again, that's because we tend to spend more in the last quarter of the year. I expect our costs to decrease somewhat come spring after all of our fall celebrations have wrapped up.

Total monthly expenses for Q4 2022: $5321


Popular posts from this blog

Well! So That Was April.

Happy spring! Here in the $76K household, April turned out to be a rather eventful month: 1. Our teenager ended up in the ICU and was diagnosed with Type 1 diabetes.  File this situation under "Things We Would Have Never Predicted," especially given that he was rarely ill up until now. In fact, it had been so long since we'd seen his doctor that the man had retired in the meantime and we had no idea until the ER team asked for the name of his primary care physician. 2. As a result, we've been learning and trying new things. Since he was released from the hospital, we've been learning as much as we can about T1D and working with his doctors to get his blood sugar into a healthy range. This has involved frequent blood glucose checks (his fingers have become pin cushions, basically), insulin injections, and some dietary modifications. It's a lot of responsibility for a 15-year-old who's also in the middle of final exams, but he's handled it amazingly wel

So After Five Years, THIS Happened:

Something big happened earlier in October and I wanted to share it here, especially for those who've stuck around since the summer of 2017 when we started this journey : That right there is our student loan balance. Let's take a closer look: And please note that it is now ZEROOOOOOOOOOOOO. (Okay, actually -$1.02, and Mohela says they will be sending us a refund check for that amount. Whatever will we DO with our newfound fortune) That's right. The student loan that has clung to us like an ultra-persistent leech for the past 20 years is gone. What's more, we are finally, FINALLY [[[Drum rolllllllllllll]]] DEBT FREEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE. Here's a graph of our debt payoff in the context of big life events such as medical emergencies, job changes (including my Big Quit back in April 2019 ), and a global pandemic. The x-axis represents month/year (with June and December shown). The y-axis represents total debt in thousands of dollars: Five years, people! FIVE! That's a

Okay, Fine, I'm Back

Why? I miss blogging. I miss talking/ranting about money and personal finance. So I've fired up a new Blogger account, this time with uber-ugly formatting circa 2005!  (A stipulation of me returning to blogging is that I don't have to make the blog look nice. Sorry. I did try to pick the best theme that Blogger has to offer, but we're not working with a whole lot of options here.) And why launch a reboot rather than pick up where I left off on the original $76K Project?  For one thing, all of my old links are broken and I'm too lazy to fix them. For another, the original blog focused on debt reduction. We've* moved beyond that. Although we still have a sizable student loan (~$30K or thereabouts), most of our fiscal attention has turned to saving, investing (we have quite a bit of catching up to do in terms of our retirement accounts), giving, and spending on the things/experiences we value. That said, I do plan to move some of the more useful and/or popular $76K Pro