It’s the time of the year for reflection, and looking back on my expenses for the year reminds me of all of the adventures I’ve had. This year I said goodbye to friends and family in Portland, Oregon and moved with Mr. Mechanic to upstate New York.
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Highlights of 2019
Before our move, we made sure to fit in a few ski trips.
We drove to the Oregon coast and went tide pooling.
We flew to visit my folks in Denver (and skied some more).
and planned an international trip to Colombia.
Then Mr. Mechanic moved while I went on a series of work trips. First, I taught a negotiation workshop at a local conference. Then I travelled to Texas, Arkansas, Denver, Washington D.C. and finally, New York.
After making it to New York in August, we took advantage of the tail end of summer and the fall season to explore the scenery and changing leaves. We took road trips, picked berries, and went on long hikes in the woods.
How Much I Spent in 2019
With all of the chaos of uprooting and moving across the country, I am so curious to dig into this year’s finances to see how it all turned out.
Adding Up Each Expense Report
The total is $15,339! All in all, I spent about $1,278 per month. This includes one international trip, a move across the country, and funding a great, fulfilling year.
This total is way less than last year, when I spent $20,850. I was very curious to see what changes in my spending caused such a significant difference.
Here is the breakdown of where every penny went.
For the first half of the year, we lived in a two bedroom, two bathroom apartment in Portland, OR and paid $930 per month each. Our lease ended in June and our new housing for New York wasn’t available until August, so I was adrift for a month and didn’t pay rent. The new cost of rent is $507 per month (woohoo!)
Last year, I spent $12k on rent, so I think we can contribute the difference in spending between 2018 and 2019 to the difference in rent.
Our utility bill in Portland averaged about $55 per month, but we split the bill between the two of us. In our new place, the utility bills are included in the rent, so this expense was just for half of the year.
Last year I paid $700 towards car insurance, but I sold my car and now split the insurance bill with Mr. Mechanic on a shared vehicle.
We also paid $125 ($62 each) for renter’s insurance this year.
The price dropped after the move. We split the $45 bill every month. We didn’t pay for internet for 3 months out of the year due to traveling, moving, and utilizing public WiFi (with a VPN).
After finally sitting down and reflecting about giving, I decided to start donating $100 per month. So far I’ve donated to Mother Africa, ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), my local church, and I plan on donating to the local animal shelter next month.
I spent an average of $168 per month on groceries. This is up from last year’s total of $130 per month, and significantly higher than the total I calculated when I wrote about our grocery spending when it was $108 per month.
I think it is higher because we had to restock our kitchen after moving. We also made a few huge trips to stock up at Trader Joe’s as we don’t have one nearby at our new place. Finally, the cost at our local market is much higher than we are used to spending in Portland. Still, we manage to make a lot of delicious meals without breaking the bank.
Eating Out $1,144
This line item came out to $95 per month, which is double last year’s spending. I blame it on my own attempt to eat at every well-recommended restaurant in Portland before we moved. Unfortunately I didn’t realize what a fool’s errand this is— there are too many delicious spots!
I flew to Denver, Washington D.C., Portland, and Bogotá. My flight to Bogotá also took up the last of my Chase points.
Our week in Colombia, a few nights in Vermont, and a night in Portland.
A few Lyfts to and from airports, mostly. We would usually drive to a friend’s house that was closer to the airport, then take a rideshare from there.
Other (hiking gear, hostels, meals) $520
It was tricky to separate trip expenses exactly from grocery and restaurant expenses, but this “other” category includes buying bug spray and other gear for Colombia, hostel stays that weren’t Airbnbs, and larger meals out while traveling.
Furniture and General Merchandise $375
This includes furnishing our new apartment including a desk, chair, bed, side tables, dining room table and chairs, bean bag chair, couch cover, and a kitchen island.
Home Improvement $39
We picked up a few things from Home Depot for the new place. All-in-all, we didn’t spend that much on the move due to doing most of the heavy lifting ourselves. A friend lent us his truck and some family let us crowd their garage with our furniture until we pick it up next year. This saved us a TON of money and we are very grateful.
Last year I only spent $150 on fuel. Things are a lot more spread out in rural New York compared to the city and we’re trying to see a lot of new places!
After driving cross-country and using the car for the year, I took it in for a check-up and oil change. I also picked up an extra quart of oil to top up when it was running low.
Last year I had a few unfortunate medical bills totaling $1,151. I’m happy to say this year I got away with paying just $181.
All The Fun Stuff
Gifts for Myself $317
Business i.e. This Blog $239
The FinCon ticket was $200, I printed some business cards, and I renewed the domain for the website.
Gifts for Others $202
This is on par to last year’s $217. I expected this line item to be higher as I count gifts for my hosts in this category, as well as birthday and Christmas gifts.
Kayaking and skiing.
Personal Care $77
Gym pass, hairbrush, hair cutting kit etc.
I bought two pairs of shoes just before my clothing ban. Unfortunately my pair of hiking shoes leaves me blistered, and I’m hoping to sell them to recoup the costs.
Admission to the local museum and some drinks with coworkers. I saved a lot here because our workplace had a few beers on tap, and we would frequently take a brew to the rooftop for entertainment.
Cat Adoption $50
I had no idea what to expect when it came to my yearly spending and I’m blown away that it’s this low.
Last year I spent $20k, and this year at just $15k, it looks like the main difference is a $5k savings on rent. Unfortunately, this will not be sustainable into 2020 as we will be moving to California where our rent will surely go back up.
Aside from rent, the rest of my spending stayed about the same. After such an eventful year, I’m very pleased I was able to stay so consistent.
Breakdowns By Month
If you’re interested in digging in deeper, you can click on the image to go to the matching expense report.