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

Expense reports

July 2020 Expense Report

July 2020 Expense Report

Disclosure: This post might contain affiliate links. If you click through and make a purchase, I’ll earn a commission, at no additional cost to you. Read my full disclosure here.

Another month with low expenses, as we are still staying at home. Before covid, we had made plans about flying to see our parents. We’d spend a month on vacation, relaxing on the beach. All of this is now replaced by a staycation.

We try to keep our children busy and enjoy the nice weather. Fortunately, there are lots of great parks and nice places, where we can swim. However, at this point, our children are almost begging us to return to daycare. They want to see their friends. They’re asking us why they can’t join other children in the neighborhood, who play outside. Tough to explain about the rules of social distancing 🙁

Our expenses this month were only $5.8k. It would have been even lower, if we hadn’t bought a wedding present for a very close family friend. We were very disappointed that a) we could not attend the wedding and b) they decided to proceed with the wedding regardless of the danger of covid transmissions between the guests. In the end, though, they had a great time and nobody got sick, which is all that matters. We saw lots of pictures and wished them the best.


  1. Our total expenses are only $5.6k, half of which is the mortgage payment
    • This amount will be higher next month when our children return to daycare
  2. Shopping and groceries are another third of the total expenses
    • We buy everything online, mostly from Costco and Amazon.
    • The grocery expenses are lower this month because we used our stock from the previous month. The total amount is affected by the fact that we’re (gladly) paying Instacart a commission, on top of the cost of the groceries.
  3. We paid $566 for the wedding present of a close family friend
    • From one side, we’re really sad that we could not attend the wedding. We’re very close and it’s sad to miss out on these happy events.
    • I kept postponing the cancelation of the airplane tickets until the very last moment, hoping that we’d be able to travel. In the end, reality won
    • On the other hand, I still believe that it was very risky for them to get married during the pandemic. What if somebody with covid came to the wedding? Lots of people would be affected. In the end, it turned out great, but things could have easily gone the other way
    • Anyway, we really wish the happy couple to live happily ever after 🙂

Detailed breakdown

Mortgage$2,658This is a 15-year mortgage @3%
Shopping$1,438Almost 100% from Amazon
Groceries$724Almost 100% using Instacart
Gift$566Wedding gift for close family friend
Utilities$177Electricity (66%), internet, alarm
Gas$86Almost 100% from Costco
Personal care$67In-house hobby for my wife
Cell phone$64Received a kickback discount from T-Mobile for low data usage, since we’re using the wifi all the time
Children’s activities$20Paid for an online class for our children, so that they can play and learn

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

Any suggestions?

Any Suggestions - Write to Us

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!

My Newsletter

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *