Last updated: April 13, 2023
After publishing our 2022 Expenses post, I thought it might be good to publish our expenses a bit more frequently than once a year.
Initially I thought perhaps I’d publish monthly, since that is how most people think of expenses: yearly and monthly. And that’s how we organize our expenses as well.
But that also seems like a lot of posts, and it could easily get really repetitive. And thus boring for me to write and for you to read!
So instead I’m going to try quarterly updates on our expenses. We’ll see how this goes. Any feedback is welcome of course!
Expenses for each Month
After I decided to do a “quarterly” expenses post, I initially considered showing all expenses for the entire quarter for each category.
But again, that’s not how most people think about their expenses – including us. We think monthly and yearly.
So, I’m going to try listing out each month’s expenses here. However, that means three big tables instead of one – bleh.
I don’t think there’s a perfect solution here, but let me know if you’d prefer a single table where all quarterly expenses are added up, or a table for each month as shown below.
Note: some of the product links below are affiliate links. That means if you look at one of the linked items and make a purchase, we’ll receive a commission from Amazon – at no additional cost to you. This setup is a great win-win in my mind, where you pay nothing extra and support this site at the same time.
|Property Taxes||$7,382.02||Our annual property tax payment. Rates are insane here in Texas. I wish we had a better balanced tax structure.|
|Childcare (Daycare)||$825||Reduced Tuition now that our daughter is 2! Woohoo!|
|Mortgage||$762.51||We’re rocking a pretty low 3.125% interest rate on our mortgage, from back in the good ol’ days when mortgage rates were crazy low. We plan to hold on to this mortgage until it’s paid off in Jan 2050!|
|Groceries (Food)||$505.5||Wow, this amount is neatly exactly our 2022 monthly average for groceries. About $117/week.|
|Childcare (Other)||$144.77||Shoes and diapers.|
|Restaurants & Bars||$124.01||Seven outings.|
|Travel||$55.2||We bought some Hyatt points because we barely didn’t have enough to book a hotel for our California trip (and Hyatt was having a sale). Ironically we could have bought enough points to book the entire stay with less money than paying cash for the entire stay.|
|Medical||$52.75||Mainly vitamins, HEB sale.|
|“Fun” Food (groceries)||$44.7|
|Electronics||$44.37||New battery for our robot vacuum. It’s worked astoundingly well so far. Gave our Roomba a completely new life.|
|Household||$42.39||Paper towels, tissue.|
|Toiletries / Hygiene||$19.02|
|Home Repairs||$15.74||Felt pads for kids furniture, WD-40 White Lithium grease for garage door.|
Required non-yearly expenses: $1,788.82
Required yearly expenses: Property taxes = $7,382.02
Discretionary expenses: $1,178.99
12-month average annual expenses projection: $57,106.94
12-month average annual expenses projection, no daycare: $46,331.90
|Groceries (Food)||$452.53||Nicely lower: $452.53*12/52 = $104.43/week, closer to $100/week|
|Medical||$311||Dental work, copays, meds|
|Home Repairs||$247.89||New above-range microwave. The original microwave from when we moved into our house 10 years ago finally died.|
|Restaurants & Bars||$133.43||Five outings.|
|Gas (House)||$96.75||Cooler month.|
|Gifts||$61.77||Birthday party expenses.|
|“Fun” Food (groceries)||$23.52|
|Entertainment||$16||Doseum in San Antonio|
Required non-yearly expenses: $2,093.11
Discretionary expenses: $1,050.26
12-month average annual expenses projection: $56,395.58
12-month average annual expenses projection, no daycare: $45,620.54
|Groceries (Food)||$596.98||Big jump: $596.98*12/52 = $137.76/week, well above $100/week|
|Childcare (Other)||$225||Swim lessons for the summer.|
|Restaurants & Bars||$157.75||Five outings.|
|Medical||$149.37||Copays, meds, new thermometer.|
|Gas (House)||$91.83||Cooler month.|
|Gas(Car)||$59.74||Two trips to Dallas (only filling the PHEV gas tank when we drive long distances, $30 each time).|
|“Fun” Food (groceries)||$6.88|
|Travel||-$1.56||Tiny refund from the cash portion of a hotel room we canceled.|
Required non-yearly expenses: $2,090.73
Discretionary expenses: $1,292.20
12-month average annual expenses projection: $57,409.00
12-month average annual expenses projection, no daycare: $46,738.96
12-month Average Expenses
After I assemble our expenses each month, I also compute what I call our “12-month average annual expenses projection”. Essentially I add up all the required expenses, discretionary expenses, and the latest values for the required annual expenses (insurance, property taxes, etc.).
I compute this number because I really like to see how our average annual expenses are changing each month, and what we can reasonably expect for the next twelve months.
So if we have a month with particularly high expenses, but we’re doing really good most other months, the average won’t change that much. And thus I don’t freak out because our expenses are so much higher that month. It “smooths the ride”.
Another thing I do each month is subtract all daycare expenses for the previous twelve months from this 12-month average annual expenses projection, per our “Daycare Adjustment”. Thus I can see what our annual expenses are without this relatively short term expense (just 3.5 more years).
So after Q1 of 2023, our 12-month average annual expenses projection without daycare included is $46,738.96, which is just $165.38 more than our average expenses without daycare at the end of 2022 – not too shabby.
Note that I’m not including any work/business expenses here, which is pretty common practice in the FI community. I think it makes sense to keep these expenses separate from our personal expenses. However, I also try very hard to not lump a bunch of “well maybe this is a work expense…” expenses into this category, which can be easy to do sometimes.
As always, if you have any ideas for reducing spending, especially OUR spending, please let me know in the comments or shoot us a note!
Our Best Expenses For the Quarter
The new battery for our robot vacuum works astoundingly well so far. It gave our Roomba a completely new life, and it has a dramatically higher battery capacity (5200mAh vs 1800mAh) than the much more expensive OEM option ($41 vs $79). Very pleased.
Our old thermometer was becoming completely unreliable, and it was a pain having to swipe it across our kids foreheads or stick it in their ears. So we upgraded to an infrared thermometer, which we love so far. It was a Wirecutter recommendation (the cheapest of the three options they specified, which they report are all the same incredibly), and it works amazingly consistently and easily with no contact required. I also tested its surface scanning mode, like for heated water or a pan, and it worked great for that as well. Wish we had spent this $10 a long time ago!
Our Worst Expense For the Quarter
As always, I’m not a fan of how unbalanced our tax system is in Texas. We have no state income taxes, which on the surface sounds great, until you realize it means we have really high property taxes.
I wish we had a reasonable state income tax and much lower property taxes.
For example, in Colorado the state income tax is 4.40%. So for a retirement income of around $60K, you’d have $2640 in taxes. In Texas you’d pay $0.
But Colorado has an average property tax rate of 0.51%, versus 1.8% for Texas. So for a $500K home, you’re looking at $2550 in property taxes in Colorado and $9000 in Texas.
Grand total for Colorado: $5190.
Grant total for Texas: $9000.
So you’d save about $4K a year in taxes living in Colorado! Even though it has a state income tax and Texas does not!
Some will argue that having no income taxes and high property taxes provides an incentive for people to work instead of not work, and I see the merits of that argument. However, that means that housing costs (whether you rent or own, since those taxes will be passed through to rental rates) are MUCH higher. That’s really rough for low income and older retired folks who don’t have the ability to work anymore.
(Fortunately once you’re 65 in Texas, your property taxes are usually frozen, but they can be quite high when you reach that age.)
Anyways, I’ll stop this rant now. At least until next year when you’ll probably see it again 😉
What were your best and/or worst purchases for Q1?
Let us know in the comments or shoot us a note!