Big Sur and Other February Expenses

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I never much liked the dark, cold month of February. All I had to do was check out my expense report from last year to remember the snowy days. That changed when I spent it in Santa Barbara this year. I went on a road trip to Big Sur, hiked every weekend, and spent a lot of time soaking up the sun. Overall, it was a pretty decent month, and I was sad to see it go. 

As per my New Year’s resolution, I looked for more ways to spend guilt free on self-care this month. We’ll see how I did when I tally up my expenses. 

The view from the top of the Boronda hike.

Without further ado, here is the breakdown of my February!

Note: This is the spending for just me. I report expenses when I pay them, so you may not see insurance or other bills until the month that I pay them.

ItemAmountMechanic Musings
Therapy$500I might give this one more month and then start scaling back sessions. I still think this expense is absolutely worth it!
Hair Cut & Dye$300I have learned an important lesson about going to a salon: communicate, communicate, communicate. Setting expectations for what you want and what it is going to cost is very important. Due to some miscommunication I ended up going to the salon not one, but three times and definitely overpaid. I’m going to chalk it up to supporting a local business and do it myself next time!
Amazon$87Self-care, a book, and a smart plug for Alexa
Groceries$72This is low due to some bill shuffling between roommates.
Bureaucratic Documents$107I’ll go into more detail in a future post!
Utilities$45Gas & Electric
Service Charges$32I consolidated my two HSA accounts into Lively HSA, my preferred HSA provider. They don’t have unnecessary fees and allow you to upload receipts, so I decided to move my employer HSA over now that I don’t have a HDHP (High deductible health plan). 
Fuel$20There was a rockslide that took out part of highway 101 so I had to take a bit of a detour to get to Bixby Bridge:

Goodwill$4Bought a puzzle
Total$2,515Yikes! This time last year, I spent $1,282 and thought that was a lot. Rent, therapy, and a couple trips to the salon did me in. I think this will become a new normal though, we will see how much I need to tweak my Financial Independence target by the end of the year. 

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    1. I could write a post on this! Essentially my other option for a plan was simply a better price/value even with no HSA. I think you probably have the right idea if you’re healthy with a HDHP, but I decided to switch this year for peace of mind

  1. I, too, have learned that salon lesson the hard way. Ugh. That was one blessing of lockdown — it gave me time to grow out a so-so dye job to a place where it looked natural enough to just let it do its thing. I definitely don’t miss paying salon prices for my hair these days.

  2. “Bureaucratic Documents”…hmm.

    I’ll just assume you’re finally an ASE certified financial master mechanic. 🙂

    Jenni *just* opened her HSA with HSA Bank. Did you have them in your comparison? It’s what I’ve used for many years. Seem fine.

  3. Looks to me like you’re still perfectly on track! $2,500/month is $30k a year, and your FI plans include $40k/year, iirc?
    Looks like a beautiful hike!

  4. Curious, is there not a lot of covid cases where you are? I haven’t gone to a salon in a while.

    I would think people would spend less on their hair with a lack of in person meetings.

    1. It’s funny because I spent $0 on my hair in the last few years. Going to the salon was for me in this case. They had COVID-19 safety precautions– masks on, only 2 customers allowed and always socially distanced. Still, I agree it’s better to avoid activities like that generally when possible.

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