September 2017 Expense Report [Month 9]

Screenshot 2017-10-12 at 8.42.11 AM

September 7 – October 4th

A girl from a group I belong to sent a shout-out that she needed friends to help her fill a group campsite in the Eastern Sierras during the holiday weekend. Five hiking friends went to the rescue. We all didn’t know each other, but it was a blast!

shadow lake hike

In the three days and two locations I completed 15-miles. I didn’t make it as far as I would have liked, but I was still proud of myself considering I was not conditioned for this (but determined).

So I was going to head up the following weekend to conquer what I did not but it snowed major!

twin lakes credit @VisitMammoth

Credit: @VisitMammoth

(different lake, same area)

Oh money…

Camping was $8 for the 3 days + gas + PB jelly sandwiches and 1 breakfast burrito.

Regular living expenses we were out of budget $243.56 for the month of September. This was due to a celebratory dinner and paying an old FSA claim that was denied.

The emotional trip booking set us back $490.60 in non-refundable deposits. And it was money that could have helped us pay debt down.

The overspending total amount will be subtracted from October’s budget and the budgeted categories adjusted with zero sum. Going to be a tight October.

Debt was accrued by way of more dental bills. Described below. Grrr.

Analysis: Expenses

Item Amount Notes
Rent/Utility Share $1,747.46
Food & Dining $705.79 Bit higher due to camping trip & celebratory dinner
Auto Payment $333.26
Auto Gas $166.02 Bit higher due to camping/road trip
Mobile $84.72
Internet $69.99
Utilities $12.49
Household Supplies $71.13
Shopping $44.87
Clothing $31.54
Sporting Goods $12.73
Books $8.69
Electronic & Software $1.99
Travel $490.60 non-refundable deposits for a Salem vacation (I didn’t take)
Entertainment $130.14
Movies & DVD $26.97
Charity $20.00
Cash & ATM $20.00
Dental/Health Bill $184.06  *FSA payback + bill
C. Loan $556.00

Not shown: annual expenses like the auto insurance. I put away a set amount per month in a separate account to cover annual expenses. Then those funds get transferred into my regular checking acct when payment is due.

Travel: fortunately I was able to gift $80 event tickets to a friend. I am glad they were able to be used. Because of the holiday booking, 1-night’s stay was deemed a non-refundable deposit.

Auto Loan

stupid debt auto loan sep 2017

Starting Auto Loan Debt: $3,999.84
Ending Auto Loan Debt: $3673.00

Regular payment $333.26
Total towards car this month: $333.26

This is just not going to get paid off in November as I had hoped (due to the new dental bill(s)). The budget for the next few months were adjusted (especially with the SL payments starting) and the car paid off when I can.

Combined Debt

stupid debt combined debt sept 2017

Starting Total Debt: $68,177.20
Ending Total Debt: $69,365.00

Wrong way! For the 2nd consecutive month. I am very dismayed with the new dental debt. I could have and should have waited for the last bit of work to be done until the funds were available again from my FSA. I am so mad at myself.

But as I see it the dentist is like a medical doctor. If they say it needs to be done, then it needs to be done. Now I have come to the conclusion that dentists are in between being necessary and major salepersons. Final outcome: my teeth look great!

From now on I should have no more problems for years. Just get the normal cleaning as scheduled.

I can’t read this. It is from a pokemon thread. Guessing it is okay. sorry if its not. credit:

Dental debt accrued from last month and this month: tune of $3,141 @ 0% APR (Dec & Oct due dates). Grrrr.

(karma for even thinking about taking a transcontinental vacation?)

October Outlook:

October will be about putting along trying to stay in budget. Will be challenging as it will be a tight month due to subtracting the overspending from the income available.

I admit I am a bit bummed out with the additional dental debt. The other debt I came to terms with it. Lesson learned.

I will keep trying. Maybe add small self-challenges to keep up the determination. Maybe find a side hustle.

Three things I need to do:

  1. Stop accruing new debt,
  2. Make more money, and/or
  3. Reduce expenses

One day the scale shall tip in my favor. Any frugal challenges you are working on this month?

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Breaking Emotional Spending: I didn’t charge $3,000+ on my credit card…

with money that I didn’t have in the first place and I feel like crap for it.

I should feel great for not spending $3,000 that I could not cover. But I don’t feel great. I feel like crap. Crud. Wallowing in my self-pity.

Other titles running through my mind:

  • Being an adult is hard sometimes
  • Super bummed but didn’t charge  $3,000+
  • Feel such guilt. But hey I didn’t blow it!
  • Not spending $3,000+ I didn’t have
  • Listened to my gut. Didn’t succumb to spending $3,000 on my Credit Card

See, I got this great last minute idea to go here:

Salem, MA

Salem, Massachusetts  – Halloween Capital of the World. 

I made the decision based on quite a few valid personal reasons like a significant birthday, child’s final year in high school, and other great personal reasons to remain private (but they were really valid reasons to me). < All part of the somewhat irrational brain (cuz I wanted to spend $ I didn’t have) rationalizing the situation to make it okay.

(I’m really good at rationalizing anything)

However, what comes with a last-minute hyped up holiday trip is exorbitant prices.

  • The flight, reasonable.
  • Added luxuries I desire for a long flight, costly.
  • Then there is parking my car at the airport fee.
  • The accommodations, expensive  Although, I was pretty lucky to score such a place.
  • Then the 11% room fee.
  • Shuttle or Lyft to and from the airport, okay. But getting back to the airport would have cost extra due to an very early morning flight out.
  • The tarot card reading, the seance, the Witch Pix photo shoot, the entrance fees to everything we wanted to do, the Haunted and Essex street fairs, the psychic fairs.
  • The eating.

The trip would have easily costs me $3,500 – $4,000. I mean Salem, MA during Halloween is a hyper-consumer place. Spend, spend, spend!


How it went down:

The emotions…

Called a gazillion places. Staying in a historical place was important to me.

Fare-locked potential airfare plans. To give me 3 days to decide if I wanted to do this.

Made a purchase to an entertainment show I wanted to see.


Finally receive confirmation for time off.

Made the room reservation. Sucked my breath in with the price when booking said reservation.

Mind you my emotions are ALL OVER THE PLACE with this planning. Yes, no. Yes, no.

Book airfare.

Later that night, tell myself we can’t go. “What’s the one fundamental rule I am breaking?” Answer, I am using the credit card without having the money to pay it off right away.

I was getting super nervous about charging so much. Airfare and the room together were at the max I wanted to spend.

Slept on it all before I cancelled.

Morning, decide we are still going.

Look at tons of stuff to do and put together a tentative agenda to figure out what entertainment fees I need to make.

My gut feelings are not screaming at me to listen and not make this trip due because I was throwing myself into a financially vulnerable position charging money I didn’t have or a plan on how I was going to pay it off. Reminding me that I don’t have back up support if I fail to pay and that I need to be a role model to my child. That I don’t have anymore room for debt in my budget spreadsheet.

I go home to figure out potential bus/train ride from Boston to Salem. Look at other transportation options. The fares…

24 hour deadline to cancel airfare looms that evening. I get really nervous. Freak out. Cancel minutes before it expires.

Break news we can’t go.

I cried for not keeping my plans, for trying to make this happen in the first place, and because it’s hard doing the right thing that went with the financial values I am trying to instill.

What would you have done?

Really I do want a consensus on this emotional plan. Did I make the right choice canceling? Financially, yes I did. It’s clear cut. Emotionally, I am not convinced.

Sadly this story isn’t over because my room reservations have not been cancelled yet. I have until Sunday to cancel. Itchy fingers to rebook a flight.

ETA: It’s over, I cancelled. All is cancelled. Not going. 

Tell me to cancel it.

I cancelled!

I’ll lose money on the show if I don’t go. But I am going to send the tickets to my aunt and uncle. Hopefully they will use them or have friends that can. Why don’t I cut costs and stay with family? Because they are a distance the other direction. I want them to come visit me in Salem.

This journey of getting out of debt sucks. Debt has always been a twisted comfort. I am not convinced yet that turning things around will work (save for it, go and not be left with debt). Weird right?

But apparently there is still hope for me. I kind of believe saving for something will work or I wouldn’t have listened to my gut. My gut has always been right.

Silver lining:

  • Shaved a few dollars from some categories and created a travel fund category to pay for a trip up front next time.

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Photo credit: aquatravel and trip savvy

A Debtor’s Money Map

1 Income, 1 Map


1st Blue: The one that pays me
Bright Dark Pink: :-( The 401k that doesn’t get fed while paying down debt
Khaki Green: $
Purple: The one who dispenses the money to me or where I want alloted
Little Orangy-Orange: $ I put away for the child so she can learn about compound interest.
Grey: is the land of ghosts and demons who drain my energy
Pink-Orange: Annual Expenses (AKA, sinking funds). Basically where the EF is housed. But since funds pay out to bills periodically, I didn’t categorize it as a savings.
Blue: Expenses. If all went to crap, I hope I have my fixed expenses covered.

I KNOW! I don’t contribute to my 401K. While technically I could put away more then the punch that would be felt in Net pay, I made the decision to seize allocation to my 401K until some of the debt is eased up (like the car and C. Loan). I know about the ongoing battle of thought – should I or should I not contribute to my retirement account while paying down down?. The cogs on my 401K wheel will likely start back up end of Spring 2018.

Money Map Logistics

So, work pays me > TAXES > squeeeezzzzzee… Net pay into the checking account.  Tiny bit into a Vanguard account. Then the rest is trickled down into 4 categories:

1) Debt,
2) Sinking Funds,
3) Fixed expenses and
4) Discretionary

Anything remaining is a Snowball. It’s grey like debt because it’s all sourced to the same cause – paying for my past.

And there my friends you have a 1 income debtor’s money map.

This GenXer says, “kids, don’t try this at home”

Paying down $65,000 + of debt is no joke. It’s tiresome. I want to bang my head.

More Money Maps to Check Out!

Apathy Ends (anchor)

Budget on a Stick (anchor)

Link 1: The Luxe Strategist
Link 2: Adventure Rich
Link 3: MinaFi
Link 4: Othalafehu
Link 5: The Frugal Gene
Link 6: Work Optional
Link 7: Our Financial Path
Link 8: Eccentric Rich Uncle
Link 9: Atypical Life
Link 10: Cantankerous Life
Link 11: Retirement Manifesto
Link 12: Debts to Riches
Link 13: Need2Save
Link 14: Money Metagame
Link 15: CYinnovations
Link 16: I Dream of FIRE
Link 17: Stupid Debt
Link 18: Spills Spot
Link 19: Making Your Money Matter
Link 20: Life Zemplified
Link 21: Trail to FI
Link 22: The Lady in the Black
Link 23: Smile & Conquer
Link 24: Her Money Moves
Link 25: Full Time Finance
Link 26: Abandoned Cubicle
Link 27: Freedom is Groovy
Link 28: Millennial Money Diaries
Link 29: A Journey to FI
Link 30: Trail to FI
Link 31: All About Balance

I look forward to updating my Money Map when the 401K contributions start back up and the debt is reduced. Ugh, the end of this year is going to be trying. Least I will have a couple weeks to hide in my cave and hoard All the Ice Cream.

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Five Frugal Things

  1. I bought a parachute buckle and sporting good belting for $7 (had 50% off 1 item) to DIY a hip belt onto my current hydration bag that I use for hiking. Saved me $100 for new hydration bag. I love my current bag, so it was easy to go with the DIY choice.

  3. Bonding time with the child means enjoying Peanut Butter shakes at our favorite burger shack. This time around we split our shake and meal. The portions worked out perfectly (why didn’t we start doing this earlier?!)

  5. I was in the mood for a scary movie. With Halloween coming up, Netflix & Hulu are stocking up on the scary movie content available. I was able to indulge in the comforts of my own living room. Lights out, sound up, snacks ensured. Silent Hill anyone? (Hides under blanket)

  7. Enjoyed having groceries bought and delivered to my door. The service recently became available in my area. So I was given a $20 coupon to use (which basically covers tip & delivery charge). It was so nice avoiding the busy store and I did not have to haul any heavy items into the house. Found out I was offered another $20 coupon. Enjoying free grocery delivery once more. The only downside to this service is that rotisserie chicken or the really good chips they sell in the deli section are not available for shopping.

  9. Made Greek chicken, yellow jasmine rice and sauteed purple cabbage. Served up with kalamata olives and tomato-cucumber salad. Had enough leftovers for 2 days of freezer meals

What fine frugal things have you been up to? 

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