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 goal without an accountabilibuddy?? Monthly expense check-in to the rescue!
April, April, April! A month filled with a grueling 8 hour Professional Engineering exam, free festivals abound, outdoor adventures, various get-togethers with friends (Game of Thrones kick-off party, bridal shower, girls night) and mucho moolah in our pockets from Airbnb hosting. Oh, and a massive decrease to our piggy bank from the down payment on our new condo. Talk about conflicting emotions!
Let’s get into the April expenses and fun this month:
Despite closing on our new condo this month, we are under budget. Big surprise! Definitely not a fan of the closing costs, wire transfer fees, and other random expenditures that kept popping up, but this further enforces why we save for the unexpected.
Let’s address the elephant in the room: we did not include the $36K condo down payment as an expense. The down payment is being counted as a ‘transfer of funds’ from our brokerage accounts to our new home equity. All of the one-time home buying fees are being counted as true expenses because unfortunately these don’t build equity; they are just unhappy expenses that tag along with all the confusing, craziness that comes with buying a home. Moving forward we will still be counting our monthly housing expenses (mortgage/interest/Home Owner Association fees) as true expenses. Although paying our mortgage is technically building equity, we still feel this needs to be counted as an expense and tracked as such. Here’s why:
1.) Nomadic lifestyle. Our future plans don’t include staying in one place forever. Because of this I don’t believe we will ever be in the situation where we won’t be paying monthly for a roof over our head. We may keep this place for 30 years and completely pay off our mortgage in that time, but I doubt we will live it in for all those 30 years. Therefore our expenses need to reflect those monthly housing costs we would incur if we were renting.
2.) Conservative is my middle name. Actually my middle name is my Granny’s maiden name, but that’s another story…yay for creative parents! I would rather track everything as an expense and be on the conservative side than go the other way. This detailed expense tracking ultimately tells us how soon we can live off our investments and be financially independent. One of my biggest fears is thinking we are set to go, pulling the trigger, and then years later finding out we didn’t save enough to support our lifestyle.
3.) Mandatory monthly payment. The definition of an expense is “the money spent on something”. Paying off a mortgage falls into that. It isn’t an optional payment that can be cut. If you don’t pay it, the bank will perk up and take notice. Because this is a mandatory, non-negotiable amount of money we must pay each month we will be classifying it as an expense.
Back to the fun stuff and what went down in April. What a social month filled with celebrations, themed get-togethers, and nights out with the girls! On a less social note, Mrs. Doodlepop spent 8 hours locked up in a gymnasium taking the Professional Engineering exam with a focus on Industrial Engineering. She will find out if she passed in May. Fingers crossed!
Free events were everywhere this month with two different street festivals full of performers and beautiful art. We also volunteered at the Fort Worth Food & Wine Festival and were in turn given free tickets to their signature event: delicious food from top chefs in the North Texas area paired with exceptional wines, craft beers, and spirits. What’s not to love?? Maybe the rough hangover the next day, but the food was incredible. Tickets for this event started at $125 per person so needless to say we were extremely happy to get tickets for free!
Outdoor adventures included camping with two other couples which made for fun times around the fire and our first use of pie irons. How have I been camping for so long and never heard about these amazing contraptions? Pretty neat. We also got out on the river with our inflatable kayaks! Highly recommend if storage space is an issue or you are looking for a cheap, yet quality solution to kayaking.
We hosted 3 sets of Airbnb guests this month. Yay for extra income and helping people have an amazing time in our city! We got the keys to our condo at the end of the month and spent the first couple of nights without a bed due to Airbnb guests staying at our apartment. It felt like we were camping again!
What’s on the horizon:
The month of May will be filled with fun, friends, and family! This is a big travel month for us that will be spent bouncing around the state of California as well as a pair of bachelor/bachelorette parties. Basically we bought a condo and now we’re running away from it. Just kidding! But nesting will have to be saved for June.
April = $3,549