And now, here is a report!
March Expense Report
The biggest unusual expenses this month were plane tickets to Dublin and from Shanghai for my big train trip across Europe & Asia (Dublin > Shanghai over 30 days by land and sea) during September. I’ll see a lot more expenses for this trip come in over the next few months as I get train tickets and visas, but plane tickets were the first step.
My tickets came to $322 – for three first-class international tickets. Not bad, eh? Those are the taxes & fuel surcharges I paid for “free” rewards tickets using Chase Ultimate Rewards & Alaska Air points I’d been specifically accumulating for this goal. Here’s a picture of the first class suite I will be hanging out in on Korean Air (the market price of this ticket is $10,000+) between Shanghai, Seoul, and San Francisco.
Credit card “hacking” is a hobby for people who love spreadsheets, deadlines, and have no debt except a mortgage. I don’t advise it for most folks because you need to be highly organized and love research to get any real return- and you must pay off your credit card every single month. If you’re interested in starting credit card hacking, I’d recommend checking out the Reddit Churning community guide.
I also went the the dentist so my health spending is higher. I no longer have dental insurance because I’m self-employed, but honestly, the dental insurance I’ve had access to has always been pretty bad (very low maximums that barely cover one procedure). I prefer to get a cash discount and pay up front, and I usually don’t need anything more than a cleaning or exam because I’m lucky enough to have “good teeth genes”.
Essential Expenses (in descending order): $925.44
Groceries: $166.97 (a bit high this month, many treats)
Transport/Bike: $53.00 (new brake pads + Biketown membership)
Household Goods: $18.46 (detergent)
Health Care (in descending order): $394.20
Health Insurance: $231
Trans-Siberian Railway Trip
Running total YTD: $322.66/$3,000 budget
Wardrobe Redo Project: $68.00
I gave myself a $750 budget for the whole year to redo my wardrobe from scratch, this is a chunk of it getting spent.
Discretionary (in descending order): $101.53
Fitness Membership: $41.00
Spending “Fun” Money: $14.54 (mostly candy + chocolate bribe for my significant other to clean out the fridge)
Discretionary Food & Drink (in descending order): $45.87
Alcohol for home: $9.00 (I’m not drinking, but I restocked the bar for hosting)
Nonalcoholic Whiskey Research Project ingredients: $6.29
Charitable giving: $44.50
Savings (not pictured above): $100
Roth IRA contribution: $100
Total Spending: $1,902.00
Total After-Tax “Day Job” Income: $1,668.90
I am not currently taking a wage from my business, Oh My Dollar! – I started up officially just 5 months ago, and am still in the growth stage. Luckily, I saved quite a lot of cash “buffer” – equal to around a year’s expenses- before I took a leap into my own business, allowing me to spend more than my income from my part-time day job on some months like these, without going into debt.
I am hoping to begin taking a small salary from my business in July and at that point I might publish more thorough business income/expense statements. The business is profitable right now, but not enough to live on.
My stated income comes from my February paycheck, because I live on last month’s income. That means all income from March was allocated towards April’s expenses.