Surfing and other September 2020 Expenses

September started off right with a visit from my sister, who just finished her Master’s in Mechanical Engineering and is prepping to start a new job in Europe! 

We relaxed our strict quarantine to see some family this month. However, with COVID-19 still in full swing in the States, we still had to be careful about masking up, keeping our distance, and washing our hands. While we took precautions, we also planned a few fun activities after months of being apart and stuck inside. We bought out our local Trader Joe’s of all of their treats (or at least it felt that way) and planned outdoor ventures including a hike and most importantly: a trip to go surfing!

The view from our hike.

Catching some waves

We drove south where the beaches are less crowded (and the surf is said to be better for beginners) and rented a board and a wetsuit for 24 hours– which meant we got to go again the following day. 

Mechanic going surfing

I shocked myself by getting up on the board a few times and actually riding some waves! 

Before picking up a new hobby like surfing, I like to rent first and try it out. That way, I can decide if it’s really worth dropping the dough to do the hobby properly. In Portland, this paid off when I wanted to buy a kayak for going out on the river. I thought I would be out on the water more often than I ended up going, and I’m glad I rented a few times a year rather than dealing with lugging and storing an enormous kayak. Renting in this case was a great way to get a few days of practice in before deciding it was worth it to buy our own board. We found one on Facebook Marketplace (shown below).

Mr. Mechanic carrying our new surfboard
Mr. Mechanic carrying our new surfboard

It’s a great hobby to get outside and stay socially distanced at the same time.

Woof! Dog sitting continues

We took care of a few dogs this month using the app Rover. It’s usually just during the weekends, and since we’re spending more time at home it’s easy to work some dog walks into our schedule. MechaniCat is not a huge fan, but he did nap with the 14-year-old blind and deaf dog we took in for a couple of days. (Nap pictured on the right).

So far we’ve mostly had little dogs, which is not intentional but is convenient. Though they need to go out more often, they are pretty easy to manage (though not without some accidents here or there). We like taking repeat clients because each dog is so different and there’s an unexpected adjustment period where you and the dog get to know each other.

September Expenses

We were much more social in September which I think will come across a bit in our expenses. We celebrated a couple of birthdays, saw some family and friends, and made sure we had lots of snacks to share. I’m curious to see how it all shakes out in my expenses this month!

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
Groceries$184Back to a more reasonable monthly amount for food, finally! This is likely due to a huge shop in late August that carried us through most of September.
Home Depot$42Materials for Mr. Mechanic to start an herb garden and a couple of household items.
DMV$38New California license.
Utilities$37Gas & Electric
Restaurants$38We went out for dinner once, picked out some bakery treats, and split a Chipotle burrito.
Surfing rental$45A board and wetsuit for 24 hours.
Fuel$21Glad to see this a bit lower this month.
Cat care$7 



I’m glad to see we’re back down to less than $2k a month for spending! We did a ton of fun things this month even though our total costs are low.

What about you?

How was your September?

What hobby have you spent the most money on?

Did you notice anything interesting in my report?

Share in the comments below!

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    1. Absolutely! We go to the beach every weekend anyway, so it’s not a stretch to start bringing the board and practicing more regularly. I’m excited to get better.

  1. Wow, you guys are pretty lean in your budget once you remove the rent from your monthly expenses! Well done. And after reading your post I miss so much Trader Joe’s goodies (like the cauliflower gnocchis, the pistachios or the almond butter). We don’t have TJ here in Taiwan but we also don’t have COVID so I don’t mind living without it for the time being 🙂

    1. Now there’s a trade I wouldn’t mind making either! We lived without TJ’s for a year and we’ve definitely rebounded to shopping there perhaps a bit too often. I can’t seem to walk out of that place without another plant. Glad to hear that Taiwan is out of the dangerzone when it comes to COVID-19.

  2. So true that sometimes the best activities are the ones that cost the least amount of money. Or even make you money, in the case of having a home filled with adorable dogs! Have you noticed a drop off in Rover customers since more people started to work from home?

    1. I don’t have pre-COVID dogsits to compare it to, unfortunately. I started it up in July after keeping the app dormant while I lived in a small town for a year.

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