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

Expense reports

November 2020 Expense Report

November 2020 Expense Report

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November was a scary month.

Initially, we were told that one of my daughter’s classmates had covid. We were certain that we’d be found positive as well. We did the test and isolated at home. The results came in a few days later and fortunately they were negative ๐Ÿ™‚ However, as we were ready to return to our routine, we found out that a second classmate of my daughter’s also had covid. Since she had come in contact with the second person just a couple of days before our covid test, this meant that that the test results were invalid. So, we stayed isolated at home for almost 3 weeks total. Fortunately, we had no symptoms, so we returned back to our routine after that.

While all of this was happening, we found out that another extended family member passed away. This was totally unrelated with covid. However, we could not pay our condolences in person. All these losses are becoming very painful, since we lost another family member last month ๐Ÿ™

This month our expenses were $11.1k. The vast majority is our usual “suspects”: daycare, mortgage and groceries. Shopping was also elevated, since we bought holiday and birthday gifts.

Observations

November 2020 Expenses
  1. Our total expenses were $11.1k
    • Daycare, mortgage, groceries, and shopping were more than 75%
    • Shopping was elevated due to multiple gifts for birthdays and the holidays
  2. One-time costs were almost $1k
    • US Citizenship application for a family member was $725
    • Donated $200 as part of bereavement due to the loss of my extended family member (according to the wishes of their immediate family)
  3. Periodic costs were more than $500
    • Housecleaning (this will be a recurring cost moving forward) was $237
    • Annual eye care exam (covered by insurance) and 2 pairs of glasses (bought them from Zenni Optical) cost $180 total
    • Annual website renewal was $153. This included my domain registration. Bluehost is my hosting provider.
  4. Entertainment costs were around $200
    • We picked up food from local restaurants a few times and paid $110. This was just to break the routine of being inside the house for so long
    • Children’s activities were another $85
    • Wife’s personal care cost was $38

Detailed breakdown

CategoryExpensesComments
Daycare$3,6122 children at daycare
Mortgage$2,658This is a 15-year mortgage @3%
Groceries$1,514Whole Foods (80%), Costco (20%)
Shopping$1,148This is elevated, since we bought gifts for birthdays and holidays.

We mostly used Amazon (80%).
US Citizenship application$725Standard fees
Utilities$342Water (66%), Electricity (20%), internet, alarm
Housecleaning$237Restarted our housecleaning, so this will become a recurring expense going forward
Bereavement donation$200Lost another member of my extended family ๐Ÿ™
Eye care$180$20 co-pay for eye exam. The rest is for 2 pairs of glasses at Zenni Optical
Website renewal$153Bluehost is my provider. I’m quite happy so far, so I renewed
Restaurants$110Food pick-up
Children’s activities$85Online learning for children. This will be the last month that we’re paying for this, since they’re back to school now, so we’re not using the online subscription anymore
Gas$75Costco (50%)
Cell phone$722 lines with T-Mobile, unlimited plans
Personal care$38Wife’s haircut
Other$2

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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