December expenses: a hungry month

Another month, another super exciting expense report. Here’s how things shook out:

Let’s start with the categories. Pretty much nothing exciting until the last five:

Food-related expenses

The grocery total was fine, nothing to write home about, BUT I am pretty well stocked going into January, so hopefully that’ll lead to a lower month. Although I’ve definitely said that before! The restaurant bill was pretty off the chain, though it was complicated by travel and treating people a couple times. Not sure I have anything very insightful to say here, other than the fact that traveling is always more expensive than you think it will be.

Car and travel

Car was high due to a little road trip, and travel is always out of control so $77 was actually not that terrible this month.


Ahh, my worst enemy. The main culprit this month was the grad school activity fee–our mandatory fee that we have to pay to use the gym (I think?) whether we want to or not. Apparently our income is increased to adjust for this, but that’s a controversial claim that I don’t think anybody believes. Honestly I could complain about this some more, but I try to avoid that because I think the activity fee actually does some good. You see, life often gives you “activity fees”. What I mean is that there’s pretty much always some curveball within a one month period. Case in point–I don’t really find that my monthly expenses are necessarily lower in the months that I don’t get slapped with this fee. So, I try not to use this as an excuse for higher monthly expenses. Rather, I try to focus on bringing my total down despite the activity fee. That’s the reason why I always focus on things like the groceries and restaurants categories–those are things that are well within my control, even though the total for both of them was less than the Misc. category.


The highlight of the month was probably a half business (to run a marathon) half pleasure trip to California with some old and new friends (who were forced to subscribe to this blog). Seeing people I like, enjoying some perfect fall weather, and the race itself were quite a treat. Other than that, I ate some good food, went on a nice hike, and got at least a little bit of work done.

The California crew at the race expo.
This soup is pretty amazing.


Overall, this was an alright month. I’d give myself a solid B. Maybe a B-, since I didn’t really do anything impressive. I’m actually debating whether to continue these updates, given that the standard deviation from month to month is pretty low which makes things not especially exciting. If you have an opinion, leave a comment! Here’s a table summarizing this month and the months past.

Categories  December November Rolling 5 month Average 
Saving rate  27.8%  32.7%  25.6% 
Time to Financial Independence1Based on this. Assumes a starting net worth of $0, so actual numbers are a little better than what’s shown.  29.6 years  26.1 years  31.4 years 
Monthly Expenses  $1836.69 $1855.39 $1876.03 
$ Required to be Financially Independent2Multiply the above by 300 $551,007  $556,617  $562,807 

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