October was another great month for our wallet. And it could of been our lowest spending month YTD, except that I made a bonehead mistake while booking a rental car for an upcoming trip to Orlando
I use Personal Capital to keep track of our spending. Given how many different cards we use to manage our household finances, I find that this is the best free online tool available to help me keep track.
Top 3 Spending Categories (Housing, Transportation, Food)
This month we spent a grand total of $56 on transportation. Wow. My wife is still on maternity leave, which means she isn’t driving as much as she used to. I like to take the train into work whenever possible. This has been a huge help in getting our average transportation costs in line for the year. Especially after the ridiculous amounts we spent in July.
We came in under budget for food this month, largely because my mother-in-law was in town helping us out with the babies and she volunteered to pay for our groceries a few times. That is extremely generous of her given that she is already using her vacation time to come and relieve us. We were extremely grateful to have both of our moms take time out of their lives to help us.
This month we spent almost $500 booking a rental car for an upcoming trip to Orlando. Although the price appears to be competitive, I made an awful mistake when booking via Priceline’s website. My normal process for booking rental cars is to make the reservation (which is normally refundable), and then use Autoslash to track the prices. Autoslash will notify me if/when the price of the reservation has dropped and I would go ahead and cancel and rebook the car.
I failed to realize that when booking an express deal via priceline, the reservation is non-refundable and non-changeable. I was so mad at myself and at priceline for not bolding and highlighting this fact. So when you see t”Express Deal” on Priceline’s website that says it will save you 40%, be sure to read the fine print.
In the end, it’ll probably be fine. It would of been nice to defer that cost as long as possible, but at least it is something less that I have to plan for prior to our trip
Progress Toward Financial Independence
Despite the low spend month, we did not move the needle toward our FIRE goals this month. Our budget planning meeting is next month and I plan to propose that we resume saving for our FIRE plans
I came into this month a little nervous that it might be a high spend month because we were contemplating a last minute birthday party for our 3yr old. However, my wife pleasantly surprised me when she suggested we keep it low key by doing something at daycare and taking her to catch a movie. We ended up going to see Lion King, which I thoroughly enjoyed (again).
Is there anything I can address better in future posts? How do you track your finances?