Shredding Pow and Other January 2021 Expenses

A new year, finally. I feel hope for 2021, even though there’s still a global pandemic, injustice and racial inequality, and things will still fall apart no matter the decade. Yet turning over the New Year still felt like a much needed mental refresher, an opportunity to squish all the negative things in 2020 into a box of “Problems We Still Need To Solve” while still holding room to hope for the future. I have some big plans for 2021, and I used January as a month to establish the foundation for the year. 

One More Month At Home

I spent the month of January with my folks, which included fostering two more kittens, watching International House Hunters, and continuing family routines like daily walks. I’ve been meditating every day using the app Headspace (currently have a streak of 44 days!) in an effort to be more mindful. 

I also took advantage of being in Colorado to go skiing with my pops twice in January. 

Mechanic in the Rocky Mountains

Spending in January

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
Rent$0I stayed with my folks for January and they graciously didn’t charge me rent to stay in my childhood bedroom. Due to a personal arrangement, I didn’t end up paying rent for my place in Santa Barbara either.
Therapy$500I’ve still been getting a lot out of every therapy session. I was worried we would go in circles, repeating advice, stories, or resources, but I always come away with a new perspective, technique, or book to read.
Kindle and Case$125My Kindle started having some battery issues, so I traded it in and bought the latest Paperwhite. In the past I’ve bought secondhand from Craigslist and had great luck with a $20 kindle that lasted a long time. I still think that’s a better way to go, but I won’t lie– I was excited about the waterproof feature of the new Kindles!
Charity$100I used Charity Navigator to find some causes to donate to this year. For January, I donated to Friends of the Earth to focus on environmental justice.
Restaurants$200I had a huge restaurant bill this month, to be expected as I ate out with friends multiple times and experimented with ordering exactly what I wanted, even if it included drinks, appetizers, or dessert. I’m lucky that eating at home was also a grand adventure, as my parents are really good cooks:

When I wasn’t eating out, my dad made delicious meals like this gado gado!
Amazon$193Bought a book and an electronic tool
Gifts$42A housewarming gift for a friend, and my dad’s birthday.
Travel$37Checked a bag and paid for parking.
Service charges$12HSA fee, investment admin fee, and fee for paying a ticket online.
Education$10Bought a course on Udemy, an online learning site, for GraphQL



Spending in January was lower because I didn’t pay rent, but is quite a lot considering I was staying at home and not buying groceries or other necessities. Therapy is definitely a large new expense, and I usually split meals when I go out to restaurants with my partner but this month I ordered solo. This meant a few significant line items! 

What about you?

What is your “word” for 2021?

What new hobbies do you plan to pick up this year?

Have you done any online courses to learn a new skill?

Share in the comments below!

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  1. Great that you’re starting the new year off on a positive note! I’m optimistic about 2021 as well but I just don’t know if the optimism is blind or if it’s warranted. I guess we will know by December, ha.

    Not paying rent is a joyous event to experience and feel.

    1. I’m glad you’re optimistic too! Whether or not it’s warranted, at least it kicks us off with a little bit of hope 🙂

      1. There are shades of reasons to be optimistic out there! More and more folks I know are vaccinated and the J&J one is on the horizon it seems. That’ll be three available. I hope that they can be made available to in-need groups throughout the rest of the world, too, soon.

        Great job, of course, with your money report this month! At a glance, I feel like $500 is a big expenditure… but then you consider your overall spending vs income and it’s like “no big deal”. Multiplying that, you consider what it’s for, and boy—if there’s anything worthwhile spending on, it’s your health. And mental health is a key component to the overall picture. Good on you.

        For someone who finds the general idea of therapy interesting, but has no specific cause for it, I’d find a post that focused on the “value” of counseling thought-provoking and enlightening I think. I only have a vague sense of what you “get” out of it, but I suspect it could be broken down from a spending/value perspective in an interesting way. Hmmm…

        1. Great idea for a future post! I started gathering some numbers yesterday, hopefully I can get something out about it soon 🙂

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