Fall snuck up on me this year. Last week was hot and sunny, and this week I’m digging out my sweaters. My two oldest went back to school last week and I have mixed feelings. Part of me (a rather small part) is kind of sad. After all we had such an amazing summer. We traveled for 6 weeks. We spent our time home hiking, at the lake, and in Glacier National Park. We pitted 100lbs of cherries from Flathead lake. We almost finished building out our 2nd bathroom.
Another part of me (perhaps a bit larger part) is ready for school to start. I’m ready to find a more consistent rhythm. I’m ready to have a bit more time to write. I’m ready for our next season to start. Mr. Mt decided to take some college classes this fall. After the last few years of drowning in piles of laundry, I am going to be carving out more time for professional pursuits. Back in the day, before I had 5 little kids at home, I did a fair amount of public speaking for groups. I was invited to speak at a few groups last year, and am hoping to carve out more time for that in 2017.
This summer’s expenses were interesting and informative for me. One of the benefits of taking a year off was to see what our spending would look like if we weren’t working. And these expense posts really help me figure that out.
Our 6 week road trip spanned almost all of June till the middle of July for a total cost of $2889. That included every single item we bought during our trip. So in June you will notice our “food” expense was $0. We did buy food. But it all went under “vacation.” Same with “gas”.
Of the $2849 we spent that month, $1949 was money spent on our vacation. That leaves $896. May’s expenses were a bit high because we took care of a bunch of home maintenance before we left and pre-bought things like duck food. It also included $118 to buy permanent plates for our van. As long as we own our van, we will never have to pay to keep the plates current. Another reason Montana is awesome.
Looking at Junes expenses, we could probably afford to travel full time. Now, I don’t think I would want to in a pop up camper. After a few stormy nights with 50mph winds, I think I would prefer hard sides surrounding me. And perhaps a bathroom. Although, that part wasn’t nearly the burden I thought it might be. There were a few quite morning walks to the outhouse that I even became a touch nostalgic recalling my great grandmothers tales of growing up with an outhouse. Although I think the first morning of below zero weather would cure me of that mighty quick. I don’t think we will be trading our house for a RV just yet. But the trip gave us lots to think about, and time to talk about that possibility.
Total costs were $3386 with $940 being the end of our 6 week trip. So $2446 for July.
We started up the 2nd bath build out when we returned home. We bought a jetted tub and some other tile supplies, which are under the “House Maintenance” for $681. We were able to use Mr. Mt’s 10% military discount. Plus Discover had 5% back at home improvement stores, which will be doubled at the end of the year. Every year we use our cash back to pay for Christmas gifts. So those purchases added almost $70 for gifts this year. We generally average $400-$700 a year in cash back from our various cards. Which pays for a good chuck of our holiday shopping.
Our house maintenance expenses have been interesting to me. On one hand, we have had the time to improve things (adding cost). But we have also had the time to fix things (saving a lot of cost). Overall the budget is about the same, but having our net worth increase from the improvements. That has been a nice surprise.
Part of the reason we went with a jetted tub (it was $300 more than a regular version), is that I am thinking about selling my hot tub. Once upon a time, I use it nearly every day, but now with all the kids I find myself having less time to sneak out there and soak. Plus when it’s in use, it uses about $30 of electricity a month. Again, I love to lower that monthly nut. I think I would love to have one when the kids are older. But right now it doesn’t seem worth the cost. We love going to the hot springs as a family, and making a fun trip out of it. So we might sell the hot tub.
We did pay our car insurance for the year ($503) which made our expenses a bit higher. But overall I was thrilled with the number.
Having so many months come in way under our $4000 budgeted amount led to a fun surprise addition to our home in August. Stay tuned for that post!
Hopefully you all have had a wonderful summer!
Do you know what your fixed expenses look like? What is your strategy for creating more financial freedom? Do you try to lower that monthly nut? Lower flexible expenses? Increase passive income/investments? Want to guess what Mr. Mt bought! A big thanks to all the folks who comment, you all make my day. =)
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