2017 Expenses

All the final numbers have come in (I was waiting on the utilities for December) and here is a peak into my 2017 expenses. Overall my expenses increased 21.63% compared to 2016. That’s a huge increase for the year, however to put it in perspective, my total expenses only came out to $8748.20 for the year.

How can my expenses be so low…does this guy not do anything for fun? We’ll look at a breakdown of my expenses in a bit, but my main categories for expenses are housing, food, car, health, and discretionary spending. Keep in mind I have no debt, which includes mortgage or car payments. So a big reason my expenses are low is just the fact that I really only have the ongoing expenses associated with a home and car.

So for housing, you’re looking at taxes, insurance, utilities (i have little maintenance and do that myself) and for a car it would be gas, insurance, maintenance, and registration fees.

My discretionary spending is kind of a catch all category and second biggest category behind housing. Discretionary includes dating cost (yes, I do go out…a lot and actually pay for my date too) and buying a few things I don’t really need or could do without if I really wanted to.

For food, I keep cost low by growing some fruits and veggies, but I also stock up on deals when I find them. I have no issue with freezing meats for a while. There can literally be a month where I only need to go to the store for milk, bread, and toothpaste. Another tip, I love popping by stores like the 99 Cents Only store, Dollar Tree, or Big Lots. You’d be amazed to find 24 pack of Chewy granola bars for $1. Toothpaste, deodorant, and cleaning supplies that you literally pay $3-$5 at the big box stores can be had for $1. Boxes of Kashi cereal, yep $1. Axe shaving cream and after shave, yep, $1. And no, the food isn’t expired, as some people like to think. You just have to be lucky, some days, there’s nothing good in stock. But if there are good items in stock, it’s a good time to load up. Under the food category, I don’t include going out to eat, that falls under discretionary spending and would be another reason food cost are low.

Here’s the expenses month by month:

The biggest expense I have is related to housing. Taxes and insurance ran $1915.01 for the year, utilities, $1340.21, home internet $254, and cell phone $95.31 (I switched to a prepaid monthly plan at the end of the year, vs an old school prepaid plan I had).

My plan later on would be to minimize housing cost and get rid of most things I own. I’ve lately become interested in looking into getting a small trailer and truck. If I stay a bachelor, I want to travel to see the national and state parks and would just basically camp in a trailer for a while (i.e. a few years). You can either pay from $20-$30 a day for a full hook up camp sites, or what I’ve learned from going out camping, some people volunteer and work a few hours a day at the parks for a few weeks/months and get free sites to have their trailer pad (with amazing views). I’ve also been reading up on making these trailers self sufficient with solar panels, so you can go dry camping in some remote places and not have to worry about power. Some places, like Page, AZ I would just rent a spot at an RV park for a month, because that city has lots of cool sites to go and see, one week just would be enough time.

This is kinda what I see in my future…

Food cost came in at $843.96. See above on my tips for keeping food cost low. Learning how to cook is one of the best things you can do to keep food cost low.

With respect to my car, I’ve been fortunate to not really have any issues come up, so aside from changing fluids, I haven’t had any major car expense. I’m spending more on gas than in the past, but I do have to drive to get around now, whereas I used to live in the city and would walk or bike just about everywhere. So, I used to spend under $300 in gas when living in the city, I now spent $797.72 living in the country for gas. Fortunately, driving into work is only 10 miles, but most of the girls I was dating lived on the other side of town. Insurance and registration came in at $244.14. I only have liability insurance, figuring my car is now 15 years old. If I were in a wreck, I would just go and buy another car. Maintenance cost came in at only $100.57 with about $20 of that being an emergency flat repair. Tires were replaced in 2016 and I’m planning on keeping the car for at least 5 more years, hopefully 10. It’s a 2003 Maxima and the thing is rock solid. For 2018, the only major maintenance is the 100k tune up. Most cars this would be an easy 30-60 minute job. Unfortunately, the engine design requires removal of the intake manifold and disconnecting a bunch of sensors to change 2 of the spark plugs. Estimates from the dealer and repair shop come in at $500, luckily someone has documented the process online with pictures, so I’ll do this myself at a cost of around $80 for parts and a few busted knuckles, well worth the savings.

Health expenses were for an annual check up and fluoride treatment at the dentist. After I leave work, I’ll just go back to paying cash for dental cleanings, and luckily I’m healthy, so no worries about health.

Discretionary spending is my second biggest expense. Something I can largely control, but 2017, I did a lot of dating. I got back into the dating game in 2016 and started out meeting a really awesome travel nurse, so she got me back interested in dating. It’s largely been a lot of misses since, but did meet a few women who I enjoyed spending time with in 2017. Unfortunately, I’m back at being single and not quite sure how long I’ll take a break from dating. Yeah, I got my heart broken with the last one. I guess I’m struggling with do I tell a girl who I’ve been seeing a while that I’m a millionaire/when do I tell her. Even with the last girl, I let her know that I retired in 2016 and was well off that I didn’t have to work, but went back out of having too much free time, but never did actually tell her. When the check would come for dinner, I just never hesitated to pick up the bill, and since she had high med student bills, it was one less thing she would have to think about when it comes to money. I’d like to settle down one day, but want to be careful with who I meet, you never really know someone’s intention. Most people who have hit FIRE, did so with a spouse at their side, not as a single person. So yeah, this is a confusing one for me, any advice is much appreciated.

Looking at the spreadsheet above, you see that dividend income came in at $22,662.15 for the year. Compared to expenses of $8748.20, I had a lot of surplus unspent dividend income reinvested. This isn’t even taking into account the $185K increase to my net worth. So, for 2018 I’ve set a goal to spend a little more, somewhere in the neighbor hood of $10,000, which basically accounts to me spending under 1% of my net worth. Since, I want to get out to more national parks, I’ll probably get a DSLR camera for taking awesome pics, and maybe finally get some clip in pedals for my road bike. Other than that, nothing major.

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Readers Comments (28)

  1. I know you can cook, but what are you making that you can spend so little on eating and still have your excellent health? I’m in awe.

    Having never dated as a man, I have no idea what I would do with the money talk. I know that my female friends who date men would definitely be very wary of a man with no job. But it also makes sense to protect yourself from people who could see you as a meal-ticket instead of as a partner.

    My girlfriend and I may not stay together (I hope we do), and I don’t know if I would disclose my blog to folks I was seeing casually. So much detail there. I’m in debt and it is less of a concern for now, but I plan to get into a much better position and I don’t want fake lawsuits coming my way if someone sees Bigger Pockets.

    • I make a lot of chicken based dishes using frozen chicken tenderloins from Kroger, eat a lot of fruit from the garden like tangerines, figs, and oranges. Will try watermelons and cantelopes this year. I use ground turkey instead of beef, since the price of beef is so high. Just season the hell out of it and it taste good. Make a lot of taco salads, and spaghetti and lasagna. About $10, you can make quite a few dishes for a week.

      If February, I think I’m going to pull the trigger on cooking only using things that can be purchased at the discount stores and do a write up on it.

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