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

Expense reports

October 2020 Expense Report

October 2020 Expense Report

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In October we had to fly to San Francisco for a particular errand. Since we had canceled all our travel plans up to that point, we were a little scared about this trip. We did not know what to expect at the airport, the airplane, the car rental, the Airbnb, etc. However, this was something that we could not avoid, so we took the plunge and went for it.

We stacked with KN-95 masks, shields, gloves, sanitizer wipes and went to the airport. Fortunately, both the airport and the airplane were almost empty. When we arrived in San Francisco, we sanitized the car and drove to the apartment. The apartment was clean, however, we also did our own sanitization. We stayed for a few days in the city and we had lots of fun. As time progressed, we became more comfortable with the city, so we spent some time visiting different places. We also did pickup from different restaurants and tried different cuisines.

The only hiccup with this trip was in our return flight. It turned out that the family sitting next to me (at the other side of the aisle) was not a big fond of masks. As they sat down in the airplane, they took their masks off. I complained once to the flight attendant, so they put their masks on for 5 seconds. As soon as the flight attendant left, they lowered their masks below their nose. After my second complaint, they put their masks on and kept them for the whole flight. Every now and then they would give me the look, but I looked the other way. When we landed and went out of the plan, they immediately took the masks off and were showing off how “brave” they were. Maybe that’s why US has so many covid cases and deaths…

However, the toughest part for me during October was I lost a very close family member. This was totally unexpected and not due to covid. Big loss for the whole family. Currently, hospitals do not allow visitors, so it was not possible for me to be closer at time of death. I am still very sad about it 🙁 I’ll miss you 🙁

Our expenses this month were elevated and reached $13.1k. This was expected, as it includes travel expenses (airplane tickets, car rental, restaurants, etc). This is the second month, where we paid full tuition for 2 children at daycare.


  1. Our total expenses were $13.1k
    • Biggest contributors: Daycare and mortgage (almost 50%)
  2. Trip to San Francisco total cost: $2.2k
    • Airplane tickets and Airbnb: $1.4k
    • Restaurants: $395
    • Car rental: $282
    • Gas: $131
    • Parking: $42
    • Fees: $39
    • Coffee: $13
  3. Additional one-time costs: $1,091
    • Bereavement donation: $824
    • Dentist: $239
    • Photo: $27
  4. Periodic costs: $174
    • Car licensing fees: $174

Detailed breakdown

Daycare$3,6122 children at daycare
Mortgage$2,658This is a 15-year mortgage @3%
Utilities$1,514This is elevated, as it includes 2 payments for water/sewer (33%) and 2 for garbage (33%). The rest is electricity (10%), internet and alarm
Travel$1,319Flights and Airbnb in San Francisco
Groceries$1,110Whole Foods (66%), Costco (34%)
Bereavement donation$824I’m very sad for the loss of a family member 🙁
Shopping$654Amazon (33%). The rest is from Target, Walmart, Walgreens, Ross
Restaurants$395Eating out in San Francisco
Car rental$282Car rental in San Francisco
Dentist$239Dental cleaning
Car licensing fees$174Annual fee for 1 car
Gas$131Elevated due to San Francisco trip
Cell phone$722 lines with T-Mobile, unlimited plans
Parking$42Related to San Francisco trip
Fees$39Random fees
Photo$27Family picture
Children’s activities$20Online learning for children
Coffee$13San Francisco trip

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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