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

Expense reports

June 2020 Expense Report

June 2020 Expense Report

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We didn’t have any major changes in our lives since May. We stayed at home and ordered everything online. We only went outside, so that our children could play, always social distancing and wearing masks.

Before covid started, we had scheduled for some family members to visit us. We would also travel to Hawaii afterwards and spend some time as a family. However, these plans were cancelled because of covid. Fortunately, we got full refunds from all airlines and AirBnb.

Most airlines (United, Lufthansa, Condor, Hawaiian Air) and AirBnb were amazing in providing full monetary refunds. However, Air Canada would not give a refund (only a waiver for a future flight), even though they had canceled their flight. As a result, we had to dispute the transaction from our credit card. Fortunately, this effort was successful and we got our money back. Who knows when it’ll be safe to fly again and whether Air Canada (or any other airline) will survive from this pandemic?

Our expenses this month were $6.5k, mostly due to the fact that we are not sending our children to daycare. One main factor that increased this amount compared to last month is that we spent almost ~$600 in only education costs.


  1. Our total expenses are still less than our pre-COVID expenses so far: $6.5k
    • This biggest change compared to other months is that we’re still not paying for daycare
  2. Our online expenses (groceries, shopping and online education) are still 40% of our expenses
    • The actual amount that we are paying for these categories hasn’t changed much. However, instead of going to the stores, we now buy everything online
    • We spent almost $600 on online education. Since we are isolating at home, we have a great opportunity to learn new things.
  3. Bought 3 amazing online courses related to SEO and Pinterest that I found very interesting:
    • Stupid Simple SEO: Great in-depth course from Mike Pearson that simplifies every aspect of SEO. The videos show a step-by-step guide. It’s not a quick-and-easy fix, but a methodology that works.
    • Pinterest Ninja: This video-based course is a great overall guide on how to use Pinterest, in order to drive traffic to your website. It starts from the basics and goes into more advanced topics
    • Big Pin Energy: This is a pdf-based guide for Pinterest traffic. Lots of great information on how to create pins that will lead to clicks for your website.
  4. We spend $460 as a gift to a family member

Detailed breakdown

Mortgage$2,658This is a 15-year mortgage @3%
Groceries$1,161Almost 100% from Costco (via Instacart)
Shopping$793100% from Amazon
Education$583Paid for 3 online classes for SEO and Pinterest marketing:
Stupid Simple SEO
Pinterest Ninja
Big Pin Energy
Gift$460Gift to family member
Utilities$236Electricity (50%), internet, garbage, alarm
Gas$106100% Costco gas
Babysitting$75Went out for 1 date with my wife. We stayed away from people, but it was nice to be outside of the house without children after a long time
Cell phone$64Received some kickback for not using lots of data

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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