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Monthly Financial Snapshot: November 2016

You can also track my all-time progress on the aptly-named Current Progress page. Excitingly, I had to adjust the vertical scale this month because my net worth has (literally) gone off the chart!


Nov-16CommentsRent$765.00$750 for rent + $15 in fees for Plastiq in order to pay via credit cardInternet$60.92Internet is kind of expensive out here in the booniesCell Phone$32.88$30 + taxes/fees for 5 GB of 4G data through T-MobileNatural Gas$22.49Slightly higher than average gas bill, but still pretty lowElectricity$61.81Two electric bills this month, due to bill cycle timing. Pretty average months though.Water$43.82My actual water usage is only about $5, but my town tacks on so many fees that the bill comes to $40+ every month! :(Groceries$170.89Slightly above-average grocery bill for the month.Car Insurance$35.30I pay every 6 months in April and October. Decided to increase my liability coverage, so I paid an extra $35.30 this month.Gasoline$38.19Lower than average this month.Car Expenses…

My Utility Consumption

I spent some time today thinking about how much water and electricity I consume. Fortunately, my utility companies are more than happy to give me that data to play with.

Here's what I found:



The months listed on the x-axis are the months in which my billing period begins and the period goes until the middle of the following month (for example, May actually corresponds to the period 5/15 - 6/15).

As one might expect, it tends to be a little higher in the summertime than the rest of the year, due to extra energy being used to keep my apartment cool. However, I run the air conditioner very sparingly in the summertime, instead relying on my ceiling fan and my HVAC fan alone when the air is cooler at night.

Taking the average over the course of all months, I come up with 87 kWh. If we only use the past 12 months to avoid any seasonal bias, I get 86.5 kWh. So, let's say I use an average of 87 kWh / month, which comes out to 1,044 kWh per year.

For comparison, the average American ho…

Monthly Financial Snapshot: October 2016

You can also track my all-time progress on the aptly-named Current Progress page.


Oct-16CommentsRent$765.00$750 for rent + $15 in fees for Plastiq in order to pay via credit cardInternet$60.92Internet is kind of expensive out here in the booniesCell Phone$32.88$30 + taxes/fees for 5 GB of 4G data through T-MobileNatural Gas$0.00No gas bill this month due to timing.Electricity$0.00No electric bill this month due to timing.Water$42.48My actual water usage is only about $5, but my town tacks on so many fees that the bill comes to $40+ every month! :(Groceries$187.72About average grocery bill for the month.Car Insurance$224.98I pay every 6 months in April and October. Decided to increase my liability coverage, so I will pay an extra $30 ish next month on top of thisGasoline$40.64A little less than average this month.Car Expenses$0.00Nothing broken or needing maintenance this month!Health Insurance$19.30Heavily subsidized, high-deductible plan through my work. Includes health, dental, and v…

Monthly Financial Snapshot: September 2016

You can also track my all-time progress on the aptly-named Current Progress page.

Sep-16CommentsRent$765.00$750 for rent + $15 in fees for Plastiq in order to pay via credit cardInternet$60.92Internet is kind of expensive out here in the booniesCell Phone$32.88$30 + taxes/fees for 5 GB of 4G data through T-MobileNatural Gas$18.38About average gas use for the month.Electricity$62.54Two months' worth due to billing timing.Water$40.51My actual water usage is only about $5, but my town tacks on so many fees that the bill comes to $40+ every month! :(Groceries$119.64My second-lowest grocery bill this year! I cook nearly all of my meals myself and do 95% of my grocery shopping at Aldi for massive savings.Car Insurance$0.00I pay every 6 months in April and October.Gasoline$58.90More than average, due to a couple trips to the city/airport.Car Expenses$0.00Nothing broken or needing maintenance this month!Health Insurance$19.30

Expenditures: Me vs. the Average Joe

I thought it would be interesting to compare my expenses against the "Average Joe", to see how different my lifestyle really is from the norm.

It turns out that the Bureau of Labor Statistics collects data on this sort of thing every year as part of the Consumer Expenditure Survey. And, lucky for me, the most recent data sets for 2014-2015 were released only 2 weeks ago. So, I dug in.

Since I am single, male, and between 25 and 34 years of age, that is the cohort that I will be comparing myself against. That data can be found in this table.

At first, I wanted to compare my expenses with the average cohort of my age category by category, but some of my spending categories do not match up very well with the BLS's, so it was hard to make direct comparisons. BLS was oddly specific in some cases (floor coverings? really?) and notably lacking in others (I guess nobody does any travelling?). For the more ordinary expenses, I was able to make some direct comparisons with the las…