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Sunday, June 4

My Frugal Miser - May Expenses: $9,892

My spending in May is deceptively high:  take out the non-recurring expenses, and I was moderately frugal last month.  In May, I advanced another $5,000 to the contractor who is remodeling both bathrooms in my home.  I spent $975 for the crown over my implant.  I'm happy to report this implant is completely done now.  I also paid E*Trade $832 to borrow shares of Sears stock.  Absent these costs, I spent about $3,000 last month.

One bit of good news:  I have now fully depreciated the cost of my car.  That has been one of the biggest monthly expenses.

Food spending for the two of us was $254, and most of that was eating out.   We were out of town 13 days last month and we usually don't have a way to heat food, so eating out is easiest.  In June we will be in Europe for 13 days and I expect our food spending to be especially high.

May Expenses:  $9,892

$1,145 Auto ($12 gas, $0 repairs/maintenance, $598 depreciation, $535 6 months insurance)
$277 Bank Fees (2% fee on 0% cash advance offer)
$13 Clothing
$0 Computer
$122 Entertainment (movies, gambling, alcohol)
$257 Food
$0 Gifts Given
$5,135 Household/Housing/Home Repair
$28 Health and Dental Insurance (prepaid 2017 health insurance premiums in December 2016)
$0 Investment Expense
$847 Interest Expense*
$1,109 Medical/Dental
$0 Miscellaneous
$80 Personal Care
$35 Subscriptions
$0 Taxes
$63 Sharing Economy Expenses (tolls, car washes, etc.)
$403 Utilities
$380 Vacation

*Interest expense includes student loans and the loan on my car.  As both rates are below 2%, I am completely comfortable paying the interest each month and investing the money that I would otherwise use to pay off these loans.  In May, I paid $832 to E*Trade for "hard to borrow" interest on a short sale of Sears Holdings stock. 


  1. I know you made a profit on your E*Trade transaction...could you explain how you did this, and why?

    Your readers, me included, would appreciate and benefit from it!

    1. Usually capital gains when I sell a stock. I am "shorting" Sears (SHLD), which means I am borrowing shares at today's price and hoping to return those shares to the owner in the future at a lower price. If I borrow shares when they are selling for $7/share, and return the same number of shares when they are selling for $5/share, I make a profit of $2/share. But to do this, Etrade charges me a fee, which they call hard-to-borrow interest.