In August, we moved in.
Furnishing Our New Home
If you recall, I was uprooted for the last couple of months because of a housing snafu. Two months after our expected move-in date we finally got the e-mail that our place was ready. We only brought one car-load worth of stuff, which meant we had to furnish the apartment from scratch.
Luckily, Mr. Mechanic started collecting furniture that he found on the side of the road while still living in a temporary house. He bought a desk for $10, a coffee table for $5, and picked up a $1 toaster oven from a yard sale. He carried home a free sofa (although I insisted on buying a cover for it, so it ended up being a $50 sofa).
One of the first things I did after moving was joining the local “Mom’s Group” on Facebook. Despite my lack of children, I’ve noticed that mom groups have a wide network of community involvement, and we scored a free microwave!
I have started working remotely full-time, which has been a bit of an adjustment. Usually, I would praise the lack of a commute, but my commute was a 20-minute bike ride into the city, which was a great way to start the day.
To establish a routine, I have started walking every morning, and in the afternoon I sometimes take advantage of the community kayaks that are stashed away in the trees next to the river.
Otherwise, I have found that it is incredibly helpful to have a room dedicated solely to work, and I am definitely more productive compared to working in my old open-office space.
I love the fact that there are free kayaks for community-use by the river!
A Finance & Media Conference
I have also been preparing to go to FinCon, a financial media conference in DC. I wasn’t going to go at first. It seemed like a lot of money to go to a conference for a blog I had just started.
However, I went to a meet-up in Portland with author Tanja Hester of Work Optional, and I told her about my doubts. I expected her to nod and say something about how you get what you put into it, and if I wasn’t interested maybe I shouldn’t go (yes, I might have been projecting). Instead, she told me that she is so grateful she went to FinCon before she felt ready. She said it was a game-changer for her blog. Convinced, I bought a ticket.
This month, I was nominated for several awards:
Best New Personal Finance Blog
Best FI/RE Blog
And I’m on the leaderboard for the People’s Choice award. By the way, votes are still being taken for People’s Choice! Vote here.
It is a huge honor to be up for these awards, especially considering my low expectations when I started, and the high quality of the other blogs on the leaderboard.
Anyway, it is the end of the month, so you know what that means! It’s time to dig into August expenses.
I expect that this month’s expense report will be higher than most because of everything we bought to furnish the place. You don’t realize how much you need until you don’t have it anymore! Trash cans, bath mats, lamps, appliances, you name it, we had to procure it.
Let’s Find Out
Note: these are the expenses for just me.
|Rent||$500||I am very excited about this new line item! We have a nice place with big windows, light from all sides, even a little nook for me to write the blog in, and it is almost half the cost of our place in Portland.|
|Travel||$379||I used some Chase Sapphire Points and booked my ticket to FinCon. My flight was $184. I’m staying with a group for the five nights I’m there, for a total cost of $195, or $39 per night, for the Airbnb.|
|Groceries||$263||Wow, looks like we spent a lot restocking our shelves with food! Some of this also went into household items like carpets, paper towels, aluminum foil, toilet paper, etc. The rest is food from our first month moving in.|
|Insurance||$240||We paid a 6-month lump sum for car insurance ($177 each) and a year of renter’s insurance ($63 each) upfront.|
|General Merchandise||$227||We ordered in furniture from IKEA and stopped by Home Depot, Walmart, JCPenney, and TJ Maxx to pick up household items.|
|Charity||$150||$100 to ACLU and $50 towards a friend’s Facebook charity request to Mother Africa. I wrote more about my new method of giving here: I Am Not A Generous Person (and The Case Against A Donor Advised Fund)|
|Furniture||$80||Our dining room table, chairs, and lamp from the Salvation Army.|
|Fuel||$41||It will be interesting to see if fuel costs rise since we have to drive farther to get to stores and restaurants and go on weekend trips, or if they go down because day-to-day we don’t use the car at all.|
|Restaurant||$39||Visited the local brewery and went out for Thai food when we went into the nearby town.|
|Internet||$28||The new service in our area is at least 5x faster than what we had in Portland, for nearly the same price.|
|Postage & Shipping||$19||I amended my 2017 taxes and paid for tracking. I also designed some business cards for FinCon.|
|This was an extremely high spending month. Partly because we had to furnish our new place, partly because of the lump-sum insurance payments, and partly because of the travel for the conference. The high amount is helpfully offset by last month when my spending totaled only $255.|
How were your August expenses?
What do you think it would cost to furnish a new apartment?
Have you ever gone to a non-work related conference?
Share in the comments below!