Our goal for 2016 is to reduce our yearly expenses to $50,000. That means keeping our expenses at $4,166 per month. And what’s a better way to stay abreast of expenses than reporting out at the end of the month? I can think of none!
April showers bring May flowers. We completely embraced that and found ourselves enjoying the great outdoors for most of May. We were home for exactly 0 weekends which was absolutely crazy, but incredibly fun. A month filled with moving into our new condo, a bachelor and bachelorette party, a graduation, time with family, and a friend who found out she’s pregnant! That sounds like the start of a joke, but really it’s just our life. 🙂 We also hosted 3 sets of Airbnb guests this month bringing in some extra income which is always appreciated.
Let’s get into the May expenses and fun this month:
You may have noticed that we barely had any moving costs. That’s because we went the super cheap route and moved ourselves. It was a ton of steps, stairs, and stress but we did it! Moving ourselves saved us at least $2,000 which we thought was worth the hassle. I will say that after we finished Mr. Doodlepop vowed to never move himself again and to either A.) move on a company’s dime or B.) sell all his stuff before moving. We’ll see if he holds to that promise in the future. 😉
This month we are travel hacking. Check out Travel Miles 101 for a free travel rewards course. The gist of it is we sign up for credit cards with bonus offers such as airline or hotel points and then travel for free using those points. Since traveling is our #1 hobby (is there something higher than #1?? #0??) we see travel hacking as a way to significantly decrease costs without too much effort. The credit card we are currently spending on is the The Starwood Preferred Guest® from American Express. The deal is we get 30,000 bonus Starpoints (aka hotel points) after $3,000 worth of purchases made in the first 3 months of card membership. We usually don’t have an issue meeting the $3,000 worth of spend in 3 months since we put all the expenses we can on credit cards, but this month we don’t have any major purchases on the horizon. This problem was solved by pre-paying some bills (internet, cell phone) and buying gift cards that we know we will use in the future (Amazon, grocery store). We have a bunch of weddings coming up in 2016/2017 so these points will most likely go towards wedding hotels. Yay for free travel!
Our pair of bachelor and bachelorette parties were super fun and foreshadowing of the jubilant wedding to come. Just an incredible couple that knows how to have a good time independently and together. The bachelorette party was in a beautiful vineyard setting in Temecula, CA. The bachelor party was in Austin, TX on a lake house. Both awesome.
What’s my age again? Mr. Doodlepop turned 29! We celebrated the day with pizza & IPA’s. Mrs. Doodlepop surprised him with tickets to see Blink 182, a band near and dear to Mr. Doodlepop’s heart and one that will bring us back to our angsty teenage years. Can’t wait to see them in July! Side note: concert tickets on Groupon for the win. Discounted to start and then we were able to apply another coupon code. Sweet!
May 20th kicked off the beginning of a 3 week vacation in California starting with Mrs. Doodlepop’s sister’s graduation in LA. In the airport on the way to start the journey we found out Mrs. Doodlepop passed the Professional Engineering exam and is now a Professional Engineer! Very nerve racking, but awesome and thankful that we were headed to see family to celebrate all things academic.
We spent a week with Mrs. Doodlepop’s family of 6 (which is quickly growing to 9 between future brother-in-laws and boyfriends) at an incredible Airbnb with a beach view. Absolutely confirmed our love for Airbnb and how cool it is to stay at a home on vacation (even if it is someone else’s home!).
Vacation vibe: low key with a fire in the backyard every night and tons of time soaking up sunshine outside. Family activities included biking along Santa Monica beach, fishing, checking out the Getty museum & the Griffith Observatory, burritos & drinks at a brewery, and many walks on the beach.
A highlight of the trip was Mrs. Doodlepop’s Dad and sister going fishing all day, catching a bunch of white fish, and then making homemade fish tacos that night. So heartwarming to cook with family and enjoy the catch of the day!
As the family retreat came to a close we were left wondering where to go next. The only events binding our time in Cali were the graduation (check!) and a San Diego wedding in early June. With a few days in between we called up friends in San Jose and decided a camping trip was in our future. Cue a 7 hour bus ride from LA to San Jose! More about the camping adventure next month…
What’s coming up:
More time in California including our first U.S National Park visit and a wedding. Once we get back to Texas, we have some guests coming into town next month including Mrs. Doodlepop’s childhood friend on tour with her band (She’s so cool!). Should be fun to see old friends and sleep in our own bed for a little bit.
May = $2,633