Harry Potter Trivia and Other January 2019 Expenses

ancient arch bridge with train

I kicked off the New Year falling asleep to Star WarsEpisode VIII The Last Jedi (it was good, I was just tired!) Then I headed back to work for business as usual. Between lots of work, we took advantage of every weekend at home.

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Mini-dates and social calls

January was the month of the coffee shop. We trooped through the rain to try different cafés on several weekends. We enjoy getting out for mini-dates where we can get sit down and get productive. Mr. Mechanic tallied up all of the expenses from his residency interviews and I wrote a couple of guest posts. Besides these mini-dates, we were very social this month. A friend had their birthday party at a local board game shop, we spent the weekend at the coast with family, and I went to a Harry Potter Trivia night with some buddies.

Getting out of the house

We also went hiking in the local park. Every weekend we try to get out for a few hours at the very least to go for a walk or a hike. We usually either pick a neighborhood around Portland to explore or find a hiking trail. This time we dropped a pin on the map on the road that weaves through Forest Park, which is just 15-minutes away but feels like it’s removed from the rest of the city. The park is one of the largest urban forests in the country and makes it easy to hike without driving hours outside of town.

Weekends away

We spent one weekend at the Oregonian Coast, which is beautiful even when shrouded in fog. It is a 3-hour drive and is always a nice getaway for a weekend. The eclectic seaside towns are fantastic to visit, with little shops housing books and trinkets along the streets. We also found the most amazing breakfast place that does salmon bagels and aptly named “kick-ass mochas.”

Monthly Spending

Overall we had a great month to kick off the year, and after all of the social events, I was curious to see what my total was for the month.

I track all my expenses using Personal CapitalIf you are wondering where some expenses are, it is likely that I simply don’t pay for them. Other things, like utilities, I pay all at once and they show up in that month. Also, these are the expenses for just me.

Without further ado, here are the expenses from January!

ItemAmountMechanic’s Musings
Groceries$190This bill keeps creeping higher! As opposed to previous months, this month we stayed home. We made a couple more expensive dishes like our favorite ginger-sesame salmon and bought ingredients for crockpot stews.
Restaurants$100This month was one of the most expensive months for dining out since August of last year. We took our beach host out for dinner, and although that pushed our restaurant bill higher, it was a tiny token of our appreciation for being hosted. I also went for lunch twice with coworkers when I forgot my lunch ($8.50 for a burrito and $11 for a bowl of ramen… ouch). Finally, we went on two coffee shop dates on weekends to get some work done and hang out.
Kindle$35I found a Kindle on Craigslist that was in great condition. I downloaded a bunch of finance books on it that I’m excited to read!  ? 
Fuel$17.5We did a trip to the Oregon coast but other than that we have mostly been biking to and from work.
Social Activities$10I went to Harry Potter Trivia with few friends, we had a blast!
Transport$3We get a bus pass for work but I lost mine, so I replaced it.



 Despite higher-than-normal grocery and restaurant spending, this was a pretty light expense month.
My favorite team name: Hoppy Porter and the Goblet of Cider
My favorite team name: Hoppy Porter and the Goblet of Cider

How were your January expenses? Where do you go when you want to get out of the house? What would be your Harry Potter Trivia team name?

Share in the comments below!

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  1. Our town has a trivia night every Thursday and an annual Harry Potter Party, so needless to say, I was especially drawn to this blog post. I’ve dressed up as Moaning Myrtle and the Helena Bonham-Carter character several times! Since I don’t drink, these are social events that cost me nothing (while my husband probably drinks enough to make up for me). He’ll embarrass himself with cheap beers at these awesome breweries though, so at least there is that! BTW, I think you killed it on the groceries! If you ever have time for a breakdown of that, I’d be intrigued… I recently realized our groceries are our largest expense right now. I have some hacking to learn.

    1. Your town sounds amazing! One of the questions we bombed was the name of the actress for Moaning Myrtle 🙁
      The ticket included a beer so the $10 was a pretty good value I thought.
      Yeah I think I’d like to do a post on grocery shopping. I talked a bit about the average consumer in this post: https://financialmechanic.com/the-mechanics-guide-to-meal-planning/ but it is more about meal planning than the actual shopping we do. Thanks for the idea!

    1. Health insurance is a good question. My main way to prepare is to save enough to account for very high medical expenses. But there are a few others: geoarbitrage, moving and living abroad, is something we definitely want to do for many years in early retirement. I also have citizenship in the UK should we want to move closer to family one day. Ultimately, though, I will be researching and planning for healthcare costs heavily before leaving my career in the US to be sure there is enough nest egg to cover insurance and other disastrous events that may occur.

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