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A Software Engineer's Path to Financial Independence and Early Retirement (FIRE)

Expense reports

April 2020 Expense Report

April 2020 Expense Report

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April was our stay-at-home month. We tried to isolate and minimize all social aspects. We did all our shopping online (including groceries), minimized all our outdoor activities, and paused daycare. As a result, we stayed healthy and we managed to reduce our expenses down to less than $6k.

Observations

April 2020 Expense Report
  1. Our total expenses were down to $5.8k!
    • Most of the drop is due to limited daycare expenses ($250 instead of $1660) and reduced shopping
  2. Our groceries expenses are still above $1k
    • We used Instacart for all our shopping, which added to the cost, as all items were priced higher
  3. We had some one-time expenses, captured as “Education” and “Other” that totaled almost $400
April 2020 Expense Report - Comparing expenses: March 2020 (green) vs February 2020 (yellow)
Comparing expenses: April 2020 (green) vs March 2020 (yellow)

Detailed breakdown

CategoryExpensesComments
Mortgage$2,658This is a 15-year mortgage @3%
Groceries$1,146We got everything from Costco, PCC, Kroger via Instacart. Unfortunately, this means that we paid higher prices than if we had bought them directly from the store
Shopping$801Amazon 100%
Utilities$351Electricity (80%), Internet, Garbage, Alarm
Daycare$250We were very fortunate that our daycare gave us the option to keep our children at home and keep their spots by paying this one-time fee (instead of charging their regular monthly fee)
Other$199This includes tolls and fees
Education$190Educational expenses for me to learn how to grow this account
Car/Gas$185Car Licensing fees (90%), Costco gas
Cell phone$72

How to easily track your monthly expenses

This is the methodology that I use to monitor my monthly expenses. You can also do the same:

  1. Create a free online account at Personal Capital
  2. Link your accounts, so that you can track them in the Personal Capital dashboard
    • Bank accounts
    • Retirement accounts (401k, IRA, etc)
    • Credit cards
    • Investment accounts
  3. At the end of each month, view the list of your Expenses (also found if you go to Banking -> Cash Flow -> Expense)
    • Go through each line one by one
    • Check if the “Category” of the expense is correct. If not, then move it to the correct category. You can also create your own categories
    • When you are done, you can view the graphs with the aggregate data and compare your expenses with last month

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About Me

I am an engineer with 15+ years in the tech industry, including roles at Google, Amazon, and Microsoft. I've been a Software Engineer, Product Manager, and Technical Program Manager. I also have an MBA from Kellogg School of Management with Majors in Finance and Marketing.

What drives me? A passion for empowering engineers to achieve Financial Independence and Retire Early (FIRE). I reached FIRE, when I turned 40 years old. Whether it's through personal finance strategies or career insights, I'm here to guide you on this path. Have questions or need advice? Feel free to reach out!

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