Our Expenses – December 2016

Wow, was December an intense month over here! You may have noticed that I didn’t really set aside time for blog posting this month between all of the rest of the craziness. I was busy!

Mr. Chedda and I were away from our home for most of the month, between a trip to Milwaukee, a trip to Barcelona, France, and Italy, and staying at our parents’ houses for holiday festiveating!

All of that time spent on trips made our expenses really funky this month.

Scroll down to the bottom if you just want the numbers (I don’t blame you!) but read through the explanations if you want a more thorough dive through our spending.

Being able to look at the details of other people’s budgets and expenses is one of my favorite things about the FIRE (Financial Independence, Retire Early) community. It appeals to my voyeuristic side and it’s a no-nonsense way to see exactly how people assign value to different pieces of their lives.

I’m tracking my expenses each month for you and I to examine every dollar I spend.

If you want to peep last month’s expenses and get an explanation of why we have so few insurance and utility bills listed, go here.

The Usual Suspects

1. Rent

As usual we paid $1,825 for the privilege of living in our apartment for another month.

It feels really weird to spend almost $2,000 on a place that we didn’t actually spend much time at this month, but we didn’t have the mettle to put it up on AirBNB while we were away.

2. Groceries

We were busy enjoying these non-grocery lattes and galette in Marseille!

Wut?! We spent $57.70 on groceries in December.

We were busy eating unlimited food at our parents’ houses…And eating unlimited food at our Aunt and Uncle’s house in Milwaukee…And eating unlimited food on a cruise ship in the Western Mediterranean.

We did way more eating than that $57.70 number conveys, we just didn’t buy our food at a grocery store.

3. Cell Phones

Same as usual. My Nexus 5X on Google’s Project Fi plan costs around $30 a month (depending on my data usage). Mr. Chedda has a Samsung Galaxy S5 on a Verizon Prepaid plan for $45 per month. This month we paid $75.35 between the two of us.

4. Bills

Netflix: $15.98

We pay $7.99 a month for Netflix access. For some reason, both last month’s and this month’s bills were charged in December.

Internet: $91.55

I really goofed on the internet. We prepaid our internet bill a year or so ago to meet minimum spend on a credit card. Luckily, writing last month’s expense post reminded me that I should check when I would actually have to start paying the bill again.

Oops! I had an overdue bill and apparently my introductory rate had run out so I was being charged $10 more a month than I used to pay. I hadn’t known about my overdue bill because stupid Comcast had created its own email account for me that it sent all my bills to.

So, I called Comcast and got my rate back down, but I also owed almost two months’ worth of internet bill.

Gas bill: $29.97

Nothing to see here! Totally normal gas usage for us.

The Anomalies

Travel – $314.71

Last month, after spending $187 on travel, I said with a straight face “Most months we spend nothing on travel.” 

I swear I really believed that, but I’m not really sticking to my word so far.

A neat view during our snow-caused delay at the Milwaukee airport

I know that ~$500 in travel really isn’t that much for how many trips we’ve taken in the past few months (Pennsylvania, Milwaukee, Barcelona, Italy, France, our childhood homes, and did I mention we churned our way to a free Hawaiian vacation?)—but we really aren’t that into traveling and it’s not what I want to spend tons of my money on.

We don’t have many upcoming trips planned, so hopefully we can keep that travel spending low in 2017.

This month’s travel category covers all sorts of travel miscellany.

It’s some Uber rides, some airline fees, some touristy spending, and some local cuisine. It doesn’t actually include any airline or cruise tickets, since those were purchased in advance with a combination of miles, points, and money.

Eating out – $104.50

Ouch! I guess that’s what you get when you aren’t home all month. We spent way more than usual on restaurant food. We did stretch this to cover several meals and a ton of snacks (Mmm, gelato!)

Clothing – $97.26

Ugh, another category where last month I said “Clothing’s another category where we usually spend very little money” and then this month we went ahead and spent another chunk of our chedda.

I bought two pairs of black tights to replace some that had snagged runs. Mr. Chedda bought two fancy new white dress shirts that have a bigger neck than his old ones. (Is his neck growing? Or did he buy the wrong size before? I don’t know.)

Alcohol & Bars – $59.21

A delicious charcuterie and wine tasting in Barolo, Italy

This category is higher than usual, but I don’t mind.

When we were in the Piedmont region of Italy, we went to a vineyard and tasted all of their wines (for free!)

We came home with a bunch of bottles of our favorite red (Barolo, if you were wondering) that we snagged for a wholesale price. Since the Euro is weak against the Dollar right now, we paid about two-thirds what we would have paid (even at that wholesale price) a few years ago.

Gifts – $54.28

‘Tis the season, right? Most of the gifts were just actually treating family and friends to bottles of alcohol while we were staying with them or going to a party at their house. We also bought a few groceries for family when we were staying with them.

We gave very minimal (in quantity and in price) traditional Christmas gifts this year. A lady in my local Buy Nothing group is a food critic who gets advance copies of cookbooks and then gives them away, still in mint condition, to members of the group when she’s done reviewing them. Mr. Chedda’s parents are extremely into trying out new recipes. Voila! A $0 gift match made in heaven.

Work lunches – $8.00

Go us! We were at work so little this month, that I don’t know if we deserve to be congratulated for not spending more on eating out in the middle of the workday, but what the heck. Go us!

Every dollar we spent this month

Rent$1,825.00We love our homey apartment!
Travel$314.71Incidentals on trips to Milwaukee, Barcelona, Italy, France, and our parents' houses
Car$232.93One tank of gas, one month of car payment, one parking fee
Clothing$97.262 new dress shirts for Mr. Chedda, 2 pairs of black tights for me
Eating out$104.50Wow! That's high for us!
Internet$91.55A month and a half's worth of our usual internet bill
Phone$75.35A cell phone on Google Fi and one on Verizon Prepaid
Alcohol & Bars$59.21Lots of wine!
Groceries$57.70Extremely low this month!
Gifts$54.28Lots more wine!
Utilities$29.97Washington Gas bill
Netflix$15.98November and December bills
Work lunch eating out$8.00One food truck kebab platter
Health$0Too busy being on vacation to go to any appointments
Blog hosting$0I prepaid blog hosting for 3 years for $82.08 in November 2016

The total

Not including rent, this month we spent $1,141.44 out of our take home money. All told, we spent $2,966.44

Nice! I’m making a semi-goal going forward to aim to keep our spending under $3,000 a month. We’ll see how that goes!


How did your December spending shape up? Different than usual because of the holidays?

8 thoughts on “Our Expenses – December 2016”

  1. Oooh, I’m jealous of those food costs! But I’m sure those costs were accounted for out of a travel budget, etc. Out of curiosity, why does your hubby prefer the Verizon prepaid service? I left Verizon for Google FI so I was just curious. 🙂

    It still sounds like you had a great month despite traveling so much, so way to go!!

    Our spending was pretty high in December. We’re really trying to rein in expenses, particularly for food. I think our total expenses were around $4,000–yikes!

    1. Yeah, our cruise tickets included unlimited food while we were on the boat traveling through the Mediterranean. Plus, we are on the young ends of our families so everyone tries to feed us a lot around the holidays. We were sent home with leftovers a few times! 🙂 🙂 🙂

      My husband is a phone storage hog who currently has 128 GB of storage on his Samsung phone. He doesn’t want to give that up by switching to a Nexus 5X like I did. So he’s sticking with his current phone and the Verizon plan until it poops out and he has to get a new one.

      Good luck on expense reining-in! I guess January is as good a time as any to get a jump start on that!!

      1. Might want to look at Selectel as a Verizon MVNO. I feel like my food spending was also artificially low because of holiday meals with my family. 😀

        The benefit of being the youngin I suppose…

        1. Ooh thanks for the tip. The Verizon prepaid plan was kind of supposed to be a stopgap measure because we expect Mr. Chedda’s phone to go kaput one of these months, but I guess there’s no harm into spending even less money in the mean time. I’ll look into it!

  2. That Mediterranean Cruise sounds amazing. Especially in December. I’m sure you had a blast. If I thought my son could fly on a plane for 8 hours, he’s one so no chance, we’d definitely would love to follow in your footsteps.

    Our December was fairly quiet since all of our family live close by.

    Hope you and your family have a great 2017!!!

    1. There were 3 babies/toddlers on our return flight! One of them was NOT happy!

      We definitely had a lot of fun on our cruise, but I also really enjoy being home for the holidays and I love having our families close by to visit with. Glad to hear you also have nearby family and you got to spend some time with them.

      Happy New Year!

  3. Now I have a picture of a Mr. Chedda in my head whose neck is large and slowly expanding, eating into all your careful savings with its constant need for new large collars : )

    Sounds like you had a fun December. A Happy New Year to both of you!

    1. Thanks! It’s funny because I extrapolate every purchase just like that! I asked him if he really NEEDED these new shirts or if he should get even larger ones so he wouldn’t just have to replace them again in a year and he just stared at me like “How much do you think my neck grows every year?”

      I don’t know! I think the truth is that a lot of men have muscular necks and Mr. Chedda had lost a lot of muscle mass after his shoulder surgery, which was when he bought the last batch of shirts.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *