Another month of spending shenanigans is in the books. October certainly looks to be better than September, but it’s not where I’d like it to be. The good news is that there are definitely some road trip expenses in here and I guess it’s good to know that anything I pay now while I’m gainfully employed, I don’t need to worry about paying for while i’m on the road. Read on to get inside the nitty gritty of my October expenditures.

TJ's October Spending

A reminder that the “Comparison” column is LAST month’s spending. Certainly a move in the right direction, but last month was spendy as hell.


The travel spend seems pretty high considering I didn’t do any traveling, right? That’s because I booked my first 28-night AirBNB for the Road Trip.  I’ll be spending a solid month in an 1880s adobe house near Albuquerque, New Mexico.  The logic here is that March/April is still pretty Winter-y in a lot of places that I’d like to travel to. I’ve never been to Albuquerque, it’s half the price of rent here, so why the heck not? It will serve as a fun home base to explore Albuquerque and the surrounding areas at my own pace while I wait for the weather to improve in most of this country. If you sign up through my AirBNB link, you get $35 off a $75 or higher AirBNB booking and I get $35 towards future AirBNB travel for myself!  I also bought some camping gear.

Blog + Entertainment

October was definitely a month where I invested some cash into the blog. Like that new logo you see at the top of the page. I hope you noticed! I also sprung for a blog coaching session. There is also the mid-level microphone and pop filter that I ordered so that I can sound half way decent when I show up on my very first podcast in the coming months. Interested in having me for YOUR podcast? Contact me! 🙂

My entertainment expenses were a few CD’s and a beach parking fee from when I took my Australian friend to the beach.

Food & Health

Health is essentially my Fitness boot camp.

Food is still higher than it ought to be considering I’m not going out as much as I used to. There’s a few reasons for this. When I had my Australian friend in town, I took her to all of my favorite restaurants. Not that these were posh luxury restaurants by any means, but it’s certainly more expensive (and more calories!) than my basic home cooking. I ordered another greens supplement towards the end of the month, but this time I went for powder instead of capsules because it was cheaper per serving (Frugal nerd alert!). It was about twice as expensive than the pills, but it’s like a 3 month supply instead of 1. Unfortunately the powder definitely tastes more like greens than the pills did.

I also ordered a Syntha-6  protein powder, which is almost like a quasi-meal replacement (might come in handy on the road!) because it has a mix of protein, carbs, fiber and fat. There are better protein powders out there for sure, but you need to take something that tastes good enough that you’ll actually use, and for someone who has drastically decreased his calories since eating at home, I’m okay with the extra calories on this vs. other powders on the market…it’s some cheap extra protein and tastes delicious. And I don’t seem to be having any adverse reactions to any of the sub-optimal processed ingredients. Also it will make it a whole lot easier to get that veggie powder down when it tastes like a chocolate milkshake. 😉

Financials & Utilities

Nothing out of the ordinary here. My monthly recurring disability insurance premium and our Cable Internet Bill. Auto insurance starts billing again in November.

Auto & Personal Care

The auto obviously looks a lot more reasonable this month vs. last month. It’s still higher than it should be because I had my Australian friend in town one weekend and we drove all over creation. It was a lot of fun though. Personal care would be my monthly hair cut.

Shopping & Fees

I bought some sun sleeves for my road trip. It’s okay because they were on close-out super sale, right? I incurred a $5 fee on one of my savings accounts. Because I didn’t pay attention to account minimums to avoid the fees. There is a $300 minimum to avoid a fee, but I only had $25 in the account. That bank has given me a lot of signup bonuses this year. You win some and you lose some I guess. Other people might call up the bank and fight the fee, but meh, I feel like sometimes it’s okay if the bank gets to win due to my laziness.


TJ October 2016 Income

Income Commentary

As I mentioned last month, it’s always exciting for me to see the non-paycheck income. This month, non-work income clocked in at a solid 10% of after tax salary. Tip to those who are building their wealth in a taxable account. There are A LOT of brokerages which will pay you cash to invest with them. Last year I did Merrill Edge and E*Trade. This year, I did a few of the others. If you’re a high baller and have a ginormous sum to invest all at once, you probably will get more bang for your buck consolidating it to just one brokerage, but do your own due diligence.

My taxable assets have grown over time due to my savings efforts, and I’ve had cash hanging out in bank accounts to trigger hefty bonuses.  I’m okay with incurring a mutual fund trading fee if the cash bonus noticeably offsets it. The bad news is, one of those brokerages DOESN’T LET YOU ACH YOUR OWN MONEY OUT. That brokerage would be SCOTTRADE. I feel like I’m stuck in the 1990’s when I log in to my Scottrade account.  You actually have to go in a branch and request a check if you want to withdraw from your account. And, no, they don’t print the check for you while you’re at the branch, they mail to you at the address on file.

Needless to say, this is not ideal circumstances for someone soon to be embarking on nomadic life. They certainly don’t make this obvious before you ACH your money in to the account. Which of course is no problem at all. They assure me that ACH withdrawal capabilities will be rolled out in the 1st quarter of next year. I have to say it’s a bummer that I didn’t know that ahead of time since I invested in a bond fund there. The whole point of investing in said bond fund, in addition to having generally less volatility with a portion of my taxable portfolio, was to collect (and spend) the bond interest.

For now, I have this account reinvesting the bond dividends, so that means when they do finally activate the ACH option, I can turn off the reinvestment and send the bond interest to my checking account at that time, and when that happens, it will be a slightly higher bond payment because I”ll have a slightly higher number of shares with the reinvested distributions for the next few months. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it. The good news is that I also have a bond fund at TD Ameritrade and the monthly automated ACH from that brokerage account to my checking account works flawlessly. TD Ameritrade actually acquired Scottrade in the past month and the sooner my accounts merge, the happier I’ll be. 😀

Seeing the bond Interest trickle in is exciting in it’s own right. I’m at a loss as to whether this is what a typical month of bond income will look like. I opened one of these bond positions midway through the month and it is my understanding that you only get paid bond interest for the portion of the month that you owned the fund. So, if you sell a bond fund mid month, they will send you a partial month interest check. But I’m not 100% on that.

We’ll find out in November’s update what a normal month of bond income will look like. If this is an accurate figure, considering a month of rent in Albuquerque was somewhere around $500, it’s pretty fun to think that a year of bond distributions alone might pay for 3 months of rent somewhere cheap. And that doesn’t even consider the dividends from my taxable equity investments! I learned a few days ago from a Twitter friend that $325/mo buys you a month of rent in Lincoln, Nebraska. Cool deal.

I redeemed some cashback on my Chase Freedom card, I generally let it build up and redeem around the end of the year.


My net worth went down this month. Sad story. I’m 8 years and 3 months away from financial independence according to the Mad Fientist’s FI Lab as of November 1 2016. I was 7 years, 9 months back in early September, so it’s not exactly going in the right direction. Still, it’s not too shabby when you’ve saved nearly 30% of your after-tax income salary*.


*Not actually my after-tax income because will owe taxes on any interest, dividends, etc. I periodically do pay estimated taxes (often to hit a signup bonus on a credit card).  I would identify that tax payment as an expense which reduces my “after-tax salary savings rate”. It’s convoluted but I’m not sure of a better way to do it. How do you guys do it?