Wednesday, November 27, 2019


For the past 9 years I have been using Mint to follow my accounts, track spending and budgeting.  Gathered tons of great info and discovered some patterns.

I would budget to pt some sense of balance into my life and save up a bit for my investment activities.   I based by budget amounts on annual averages.

One thing I have always noticed is some of the categories always blew up in my face.  One is the "kids" category.  That's all of the stuff I get for my school activities...field trips...gymnastics....stuff like that.

I keep trying to control the costs.  But every single month I exceeded my budget. 

Fact of the matter is, costs go up.

Not just inflation, but also increased costs as she grows up.  She's 9 now and surely has more (and more expensive) activities than she had at age 3.

For example, her gymnastics class averages to $25 per session.  And then there's the uniform.   That's an extra $100.

She loves gymnastics.  She's good at it too.  I would never deny her this opportunity for accomplishment and happiness.

Same goes with books and her flute class (got to rent the flute..)   And her Halloween costume that she has had her mind on for months.  She saved her allowance for most of it, but I did the good dad thing and upgraded it so she could feel real proud about her costume.

Here she is as Audrey from The Descendants.....

Audrey and some blogger escorting her for Trick or Treating.

Another category is groceries.  Especially during the holidays and with the goal of healthy eating.  After spending my coll

ege years

It makes no sense to sacrifice health by avoiding the more expensive groceries - fresh veggies, fish, lean meats, and fruit.  Longevity means I get to have time with my dividend results.

Living on pizza slices, fast food burgers,  and Ramen cups would only result being unhealthy once I made my FI/RE goals.  That's idiotic.

23" pizza.  Courtesy of Italian Family Pizza in Seattle.  Real real good.

I mean look at this pizza.  It was so large, I had to move the passenger seat all the way up to fit in the  flat back seat.  $30 and it lasted days.   But it was not healthy eating.   My weight ballooned.

It was idiotic.   So  is eating wild salmon and lobster every day....  But there is a balance.

I do my best at being cost effective, but healthy eating for 3 in Seattle is about $150 per week.   Seattle has the highest grocery costs in the US (including Honolulu!!! - really).
Roasted thighs are a winner at home

Thighs are semi affordable in this town.

Things like this will extend your life, but it's not free..

This salad is mega healthy and is priced that way.   In the summer I grow my own tomatoes, onions, dill, and fennell.  But it only saves my $ for the summer months.

I budgeted $400 per month, but always blew up the budget.  I had to be honest with myself and realized that I was near $600 per month.

Once I did, I often came in at around $560 to $625 per month.

Huge sense of relief AND allowed me to work on lowering costs in other categories.  Areas like "online subscriptions" and "streaming TV" costs. 

I cut those costs and have not missed a thing.

The thought of working on cutting costs is just not realistic in some categories.

sometimes you have to be honest and budget much more than you originally imagine.

I can still try to spend less, but understanding the reality of certain costs means I know I will spend that money in that category and not elsewhere.

The end result is a victory!

It's a huge weight off my chest no longer stressing to make it under budget for the month.  Instead of trying and always failing at meeting that budget, succeed in hitting it on target and work on other areas of the budget that I can actually impact.

It's jut about being honest and prioritizing the important things in life. 

Once you face reality about certain costs, proper budgeting and saving in areas where you can actually succeed will bring a sense of satisfaction you will appreciate


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