Adventuring in the Alps and Other December Spending

Adventuring in the Alps and Other December Spending

December included a wonderful few days of celebrating Christmas with loved ones in our hometown, followed by the excitement of jetting off to Interlaken, Switzerland to ring in the New Year with some good friends. (I included the whole trip in our “December spending” even though it overlapped January by 4 days.)

A quick reminder: these monthly spending reports are an effort to keep myself accountable to the idea that doctors do not have to spend a totally ridiculous amount of money to live well and love life. We’ve now successfully done these spending reports for every month in 2018.

As I have mentioned before, we do not do traditional budgeting. You absolutely should do traditional budgeting if that works for you as a way to control your spending.  More on this topic here.

Notes About December

We did second-hand Christmas presents for our kids this year, and the Switzerland trip rang up to $2,424.94 total for all 4 of us, thanks to a large accumulation of airline/hotel points. You can read the cost breakdown of that trip here.

If you’re interested, you can check out our spending reports for January, February, March, April, MayJune, JulyAugust, SeptemberOctober, and November. June’s report contains totals for the half-year mark.

Our total spending for the first 3 quarters of 2018 (January-September) was $55,047.20.

Notes About The Numbers

-I have not included our charitable giving here, which can be a very sensitive subject for a lot of people (especially those who feel like they are drowning in debt).  But unless you yourself are about to starve or freeze to death due to lack of basic resources, I recommend you find at least one charitable organization you are really excited about and send them monthly donations via auto-draft, even if it’s a small amount. Many charities desperately need people who can commit to monthly financial support.

-This list does not include our HSA, stock investments, or our real estate investments. You can read about our biggest upcoming investment/real estate experiment here.

-This list does not include business loan payments, professional dues, licensing fees, malpractice insurance, or other expenses that are due exclusively to our business ownership and – unlike my student loans – would go away if I sold the business and switched careers.

-The student loan payment shown here is what’s on auto-draft. You can read here about how we are paying extra on our loans every month in an effort to be done with them this year. I include student loans in “home” spending even though they are related to my career because they don’t go away no matter what I do career-wise.

-We have health insurance and an HSA though my husband’s work as a teacher, both of which are deducted directly from his paycheck. It’s actually a pretty great deal, all things considered. We pay out of pocket for dental care and eye care services as needed.

-All “Entertainment/Dining” expenses are 100% optional expenses. For us, these tend to be things like going to the movies and eating at Chick-fil-A.

-I include life and disability insurance in this list even though they are sort of related to work, because they are what protect our current lifestyle.  My disability insurance is expensive because it is important to us to be able to pay off all our debts and live well even if I am unable to work.

-“Groceries” includes food, household items, medications, and toiletries purchased at Sam’s Club or grocery stores or Walgreens.

-This list does not include at-home babysitters, who we very occasionally pay in cash to watch our kids when Grandma isn’t available (Grandmas are the best!!!). Any at-home babysitters we pay are non-essential, although very much appreciated. The daycare/childcare shown is what we pay for while we are both at work (which is very much essential as long as we both want to work) and is listed under “Daycare/Childcare”.

So here is our home/family spending for December of 2018, in the form of the sophisticated screenshot from a Numbers document that you’ve come to expect:

Numbers spreadsheet of December spending

That total is $8,180.42 .

Our total spending for 2018 came to $78,708.38, for our family of 4 in a high COL town, including trips all over the U.S. and two international trips.

I’ll be doing a post shortly going into more detail about this year’s spending – particularly the “optional” vs “essential” spending – as well as looking at some non-doctor career options that can allow for this sort of lifestyle.

Important note: even though our mortgage is a HUGE percentage of our spending in a typical month for us, it is far less than that if looked at as a percentage of our income. If you’re not in a position to take on a mortgage, remember that there is nothing wrong with renting or having roommates!

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