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Tuesday, February 2

My Frugal Miser: January 2021 Expenses

In January I finally managed to reduce our spending on food.  I also started a new ACA health insurance plan that reduced my premium by more than $400.  A few other highlights...
  • The household expense includes $1,601 for the mortgage.  The mortgage company did an escrow analysis and this will drop almost $200 in February.  After we move - hopefully in March - this expense will decline even more.
  • Spending on food dropped significantly.  We are still on the keto diet, but other than one restaurant meal we ate entirely at home.  
  • I bought a set of 4 tires for the Elantra.  A nice surprise is that tires are less expensive than the Sonata because they are slightly smaller.  I paid $42.88/tire from Walmart, plus $12/each for mounting which includes lifetime tire rotations.  I also changed the oil.  The rest of the spending is for fuel.
  • Health and Dental were helped in a couple ways and hurt in one.  I won a Healthy Wage 90 day challenge.  I bet $60 that I could lose 6% of my body weight and received $86 from the prize pool.  I also switched to an ACA plan that is a fraction of what I was paying last year.  However, I needed a minor periodontal procedure and my portion of the cost was $176.


We love adventures, which makes it exciting to talk about the "fun" category.  
  • I visited Tunica for two nights.  My birthday offers were attractive and included free play and food, along with a free hotel room.  Flights were cheap, so why not?
  • I booked most of the air travel for our August trip to Australia.  I suspect airlines will raise fares once the pandemic eases up and wanted to lock in what looked to be decent fares.  We will fly to Honolulu on Southwest and then fly to Sydney on Jetstar, which is the "low-fare" side of Qantas Airlines.
  • I paused one of our AMC A-List memberships and will pause the other in February.

January Expenses:  $5,605

$589 Auto (service, gas, insurance, AAA, etc.)
$149 Bank Fees (annual fee on Chase SWA card)
$13 Clothing/ Personal Care
$2,017 Fun (vacations, movies, gambling, alcohol, concert tickets)
$377 Food
$197 Health and Dental
$1,853 Household/Mortgage Payment/Home Repair
$0 Interest Expense
$0 Miscellaneous
$228 Taxes
$182 Utilities

I have streamlined this post for 2021 by not reporting business spending in 2021 (Airbnb, rental property, unreimbursed job expenses, etc.)  This blog is about my personal journey towards financial independence, and I wanted to simplify things and focus on the expenses I should be able to reduce or eliminate.


  1. Hmm don't want to rain on your parade, but it's highly you will be coming to Australia in August if you mean August 2021. As an Australian, it's been made obvious to us by our Government that they are unlikely to open the international border in 2021 even if we are fully vaccinated. Those flights being sold by Jetstar are unlikely to run so if I was you, I would not be spending any more hard earned dollars on this trip as it will be more work to ge your refunds.

    1. Thanks for the information, Toula. I know there is risk that we won't be able to come in August. I guess the optimist in me is hoping the vaccines' effectiveness by the summer will change government's mind and allow for it.