May 2023 Expense Report – Phones and Food

As usual, it is time for another expense report. This time for May 2023.

Expenses

Housing1352
Utilities447
Groceries338
Discretionary174
Other754
Total3063

Housing

Housing was $1352. Not much to say on this one. If I remain at this place after my lease is up, I’ll seek a roommate to cut down on the costs.

Utilities

My utilities for the month were $447.  I still have that $90 a month extra on my utilities. This additional charge should be removed from my monthly bill soon, I think July is when the last payment will be made (June’s bill).

I expect my water bill to go up some now that it’s warmer out and my plants are using more water. However, I’ve turned off the heat so I expect my gas bill to essentially disappear. Overall, I think my utilities will be lower until it gets cold again.

The city also screwed up my water bill and can’t fix it this cycle so July might have an abnormal bill. They weren’t really clear if the error meant my bill would go up or down as a result, I’m going to assume higher for the bill I pay off in July.

Groceries

My groceries were $338. I promised an update on my attempts to keep my grocery bills down, here’s what my meals currently cost since the end of March. My most expensive meals were gyros, smoothies, and pizza. The table below shows my meals and their cost as of June 3rd, 2023.

My most expensive meal was the gyros. But the most expensive components of that meal were items I’ll be able to use elsewhere like vinegar so I think it will make future similar meals cheaper.

Otherwise, my smoothies were rather expensive. I switched to one less handful of fruit and one more of greens to try and slow the use of the more expensive parts. I might need to take a different tact going forward.

Pizza’s also been kind of expensive. But I have a lot of those items that I don’t restock very often. I expect over the long term this price will lower. Maybe I’ll find a substitute for the cheeses I buy or something.

My cheapest meal was pasta which came in at just about $0.37 a meal. 

As a whole, lunches come in at about $5. Which has cut the cost a bit from the ~$8 they were costing me before. I think this is mostly by cutting to cheaper fruit and stretching the more expensive trail mix items further, I only restock some of the trail mix stuff every other week now and other items once a month.

One of the individual items that put pressure on my grocery bill was the almonds that I mix into my trail mix at $20 or so a container. I may try to find a substitute or stretch them even further.

Next month I’ll have another update to try and continue toward the long-term average for these meals I have all the time. I don’t know if I have enough data for some of my meals.

Overall I’m trending downward but I still need to do some more work to bring it down to $300 or less.

Over the next few months, I think I’m going to try making dumplings (or some other new recipe) at least once a month. I have a good wrapper recipe but I’m still working on the filling and dipping sauce. It’ll make for an interesting few meals at least. I’ve got a book from my library that has a few different recipes so I’ll probably give it a few tries over the next few months. Of course, the first recipe I’ve picked out from the dumpling book is pork buns.

Other than that, currently the plan is salads, beans, pasta, or fried rice (maybe I’ll use the rice to try making char siu so I can get a good recipe for that) for the rest of the month depending on how many sets of dinners I’ll end up making. Probably I’ll try and focus on salads and pasta since it’s been fairly hot recently.

Discretionary

My discretionary expenses were $174. Not exactly ideal. But I’m mostly done with plants finally. I think almost all of this month’s discretionary expenses this month were due to plants. I may need to buy another pot or two as some of the newer plants begin to grow in earnest. But I don’t plan on much in the way of new plants this year, maybe a few herbs if I notice plants for sale, and a few more plants to start from seed but I’ll probably kick the can down the road to next year.

My tea supply is running low, so I’ll probably spend the next few months getting a few blends to restock the stuff I drink regularly. This will cost about $21-$22 a month but I expect them to last a long time, I’ll try to track it just to see how the price comes out. I consider these discretionary expenses since I really could go without.

Other than the tea I drink at home/work, I have my regular $3 teas I get while putting up these posts. I expect those to total $12 for June.

My goal fund currently has $0.

Other

My other expenses were $754.

This month I managed to drop my phone and the screen started having serious issues. As it’s my only source of internet and I need it for my job I decided to upgrade to last year’s model. This phone managed to last me 4 years before I had any issues. I was hoping to get at least 2 more years out of my old one, but it is what it is. Hopefully, the new one will last 6-8 years. I’m going to not add anything to my discretionary fund for this month as a result. In total, it was about $755 for the phone and a new case.

Just like my old phone, I plan to run this one into the ground.

All in all, I’m not too thrilled about my phone. But, as they say, it is what it is. I’ve made the expense and now it’s time to get back to saving.

To add to the non-regular expenses expect some car maintenance and fuel costs for next month. I estimate these will cost about $150. Currently, I plan to count these as other expenses. I don’t think I can put this off much longer, I’ve already put off this maintenance since January. It’ll also be the first time gassing up my car since I finished my move so I expect to almost make it to New Year’s with this.

Total

In total, I spent $3,063. Excluding the whole phone debacle, I’m still a little short of my goal of $2,100 or less in expenses a month for this month (50% of my take-home pay). There is still some fat I could trim, parts of my grocery bill could probably use some work. I’m expecting my utility bill to drop somewhat for the next few months since I have yet to turn the AC on (and currently I don’t plan to turn it on at all) and the heat is off. I think being done with major plant-related stuff, for now, will also help with that.

Income

My income for the month was $6,565. Currently, I do not include investment income in that total. Same as usual, things have more or less stabilized from the income front.

Take-Home4240
Retirement2325
Total6565

Account balances

Below are my account balances as of the end of day May 31st, 2023.

Account TypeAmount
Cash16,000
Taxable66,500
Retirement45,400
Total127,900

The graph below tracks my change in net worth since I started tracking it in January 2023.

It’s still trending up and to the right. What I like to see. It looks a bit steeper this month. Maybe. It’s hard to say. Not much in the way of comments this month. Adding money is still the biggest factor at the moment and I’m trending in the right direction.

Savings Rate

This month, my savings rate was: 53%. Due to my phone, it was quite a bit lower than months previous, but it’s still trending fairly high even if it isn’t where I’d like it to be. Still working towards that 66% goal (without the phone my savings rate was only 65% so still short of my goal). I’m hoping to start hitting that goal starting in June. Overall, I think I’m still on the right track here.

My average savings rate Year to Date is 61.9%.

Like the net worth graph, the graph below tracks my monthly savings rate. This is to help me track long-term trends regarding my savings.

It’s dropped below my average for the month, which isn’t exactly great, but it is what it is. I expect it to trend back up again in the coming months.

Goal Updates

As usual, this table is mirrored on the goals page.

GoalTermTypeProgress
Expand Emergency FundShortOne time100
Workout 5 days a weekShortContinuousOn Track
Repair ForgeMediumOne time25
Enroll in a Spanish CourseMediumOne timeOn hold
Reduce Spending in a CategoryMediumAnnual50
Repair 3D PrintersMediumOne timeOn hold
Expand Potted GardenMediumOne time100
Net worth 150,000LongOne Time85.26666667
Learn Spanish Verb ConjugationLongOne time30
Set New Workout GoalsLongAnnualOn Track
Reach FILongerContinuous8.526666667
Expand Engineering SkillsLongerContinuousOn Track
Obtain some Degree of Fluency in SpanishLongerContinuousOn Track
Maintain Retirement ContributionsLongerContinuousOn Track
Increase Savings RateLongerContinuousN/A
Expand workout RegimeLongerOne TimeOn Track

Well, it’s the halfway point of the year. It might be a good time to see if I’m on track to hit $150,000 by the end of the year. I’ve been saving just under $4,300 a month. Extrapolating this out for six months I’ll have a net worth of about $153,000 with a bit of a contingency. Things are looking good for hitting that goal.

Working out is going well. I started running again near the end of May instead of doing a walk or a bike ride. Currently, I’m going for 3 runs a week, but I plan to work up to 5 by the end of June. It has felt good to run again, even if it has been hot and humid.

Spanish is going okay. I’m doing one Spanish-related thing a day. But I definitely could be doing better at keeping up with it. Some days I just don’t want to work on it. I’ll have to figure out a way to keep up with it. Same with my other Spanish goals.

Overall, I’m still working on learning all of the verb conjugations.

Vocabulary is still my weakest point.

I also need to find some more opportunities to practice speaking since it can always use work. I sometimes stumble over certain syllables when they’re next to each other since they’re not commonly together in English.

Language is a muscle and my Spanish muscles are extremely atrophied.

I’m going to put the Spanish lessons on hold for now. We’ll wait until later in the year/early next year for that. I’ve at least scouted out the class offerings near me. I’d prefer in-person language classes.

As mentioned last month, the 3D printer repairs are currently on hold while I figure out if I’ll just be upgrading directly or having to buy the repair parts anyway. Didn’t look at that this month, I’ll be trying to figure this out next month.

The forge repairs will be the next project as soon as I get enough spare cash in my expense fund, currently, I estimate about $100 for this. This goal is probably a few months out. Although I’ve got some ideas for the projects I’ll be working on first, assuming I have the steel for it.

That’s it for this month. I’ll see you all next month.

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