Craft Brew Carousing and Other October 2019 Expenses

I mentioned in last month’s expense report that I am determined to enjoy this season—and let me tell you, I enjoyed the hell out of it this month.

We kicked off the month by taking a road trip to Burlington, Vermont. Trading driving shifts, we arrived on Thursday, very ready for a three-day weekend. The roads weaved through the changing leaves, and we planned at least one hike per day.

Leading the way

Our Weekend Trip To Vermont

During the day, we explored in the outdoors, hiking and gathering blisters on our feet. By night, we visited breweries and ate out. One evening we took the winding roads up to the von Trapp Lodge, where the family who inspired the Sound of Music lived while in the U.S.


We ordered an entree and an appetizer to share, but we couldn’t resist getting a flight to try!

At night we stayed in an old ski lodge. It’s designed for middle school trips to the mountain in the winter, run by a friendly sibling duo. Our favorite parts: the hot tub and the huge fire pit.

Bundle of Joy

Okay, that’s enough about our weekend trip. Let’s get to the news we all really want to hear about– Mr. Mechanic and I have welcomed a bundle of joy into our lives in the form of a foster cat! We really wanted to adopt a cat given the fact that I work from home and would enjoy a bit of furry company during the winter months. However, it didn’t seem right to subject a new pet to a move across the country in ~7 months.

I called the shelter to ask about fostering and they had several cats in isolation after testing positive for feline leukemia, which is surprisingly contagious between cats. Since false positives are common, they need to keep the cats quarantined for 60 days before they can be retested. 60 days in a tiny kennel!

We took home 7-month-old Muse, and within 5 minutes he was darting around and being a general lovebug:

5 minutes after coming home from the shelter

For more cute pictures, check out my Instagram.

Look at me, waxing on about the month when we really need to be getting to the nitty-gritty. How much did all this craft brew carousing, kitten-foster frenzy, and other October endeavors cost?

Let’s get to it!

Note: These are the expenses for just me.

ItemAmountMechanic Musings
Rent$500Very very excited about having heat and utilities included now that the days are getting chillier.
Groceries$127We made a lot of delicious meals this month, alternating between vegetarian and meat-heavy dishes.

I think we could cut back the steaks (we had multiple!) which would be better for our wallets and the environment.


Charity$100Donation to Planned Parenthood
Restaurants$61We mostly cook at home, but we ate out a couple times while on our weekend trip.
Fuel$42Almost a full day of driving to Vermont and back.
Airbnb$36We stayed in Vermont for three nights. The first night was in your average Airbnb ($36 each), but the second two nights we were in a hostel with free breakfast and a huge firepit ($25.50 per night, each).
I recorded the second hostel in last month’s expense report, so I’m only including the first night here.
Alcohol$38Usually, I keep alcohol in the grocery budget, but it was easy to separate out this time. We bought craft beer while in Vermont and also went to the liquor store to top up our whiskey and wine collection.

After we purchased all of this alcohol, I read about A Purple Life’s lessons learned from 100 Alcohol-free days and now wonder if I should do something similar…

Gifts$14It’s always good to think about Christmas gifts a little early!
Home Improvement$5The car visor on the driver’s side doesn’t seem to want to stay up, so we bought some velcro to try to see if we can make a temporary fix.



That’s what I’m talking about! I hope to keep expenses below $1,000 every month while living in upstate NY. We have to save up for our expensive move to California.

You might notice that there’s nothing on here for the new kitty. That’s because as a foster, the shelter provides the kennel, crate, food, litter, toys, and anything else he needs for his 60 days with us. How about that for frugal pet ownership! Now we’ll see if he destroys any of our furniture or carpets to make up for it…

A photo I took to highlight the autumnal colors

What about you?

What weekend trips have you taken lately?

Do you go on outings to see the changing colors of the leaves?

Have you fostered a pet before?

Let me know in the comments below!

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    1. Thank you! Lodging is definitely one of the more expensive pieces of going to another place, so cheap Airbnbs or local hostels can be wallet-hacks.

    1. Muse says meow! I’m obsessed ?. Yes I was pleased with the outcome this month, especially because our spending seemed so high last month!

    2. I had to update– I forgot about my donation to Planned Parenthood since that was taken out of PayPal and didn’t show up in Personal Capital, oops! Still under $1k though 😀

  1. We live in the burbs of NYC, so this time of year, it’s all about the leaves. We got a late dry period which I think is why we got so many red leaves. That made me happy. Last week, we had a ton of rain, and most of those leaves carpeted my lawn. Most of my land is woodland, but enough is grass for us to use. That rain taking down all those leaves made for a thick heavy wet carpet that took hours to push in to woods with my gasoline powered walk behind leaf blower. It was a good workout, but it was not fun. It was still better than paying someone else to do it though, as all my neighbors do.

    My wife had a weekend more like your taking our son to events while I worked and did the yard work. It’s amazing how many free or low cost events are out there for kiddos; our is 5. You dont have to spend much if you send time, as she is great at, looking for events in towns in your area. Get some friends to join you, as I also usually join them, and we have a party.

    1. Sounds like a productive weekend! We rent so the apartment complex takes care of the leaves and shovelling which is a huge boon for us. I think we got the same rain as you, it flooded some parts of our town!

      It’s great that you can find so many free activities to do! Last month we had a Diwali celebration and then a Halloween party so I felt like there were a lot of opportunities to hang out with people without breaking the bank 🙂

    1. Thank you! I was blown away by the colors the entire walk– but when I saw the bridge I knew I had to get a picture.

  2. I love that you prioritize charity in your budget! This is something that I’m looking to do going forward. Thanks for sharing your expense report!

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