So, its been a while since I’ve done a money post. We moved home at the end of May and have been hanging out here in Cincinnati for the last three months. We now have a pretty good idea of what our costs are like here in Cincinnati. Since we last did our budget post in May we’ve changed a few things around.
First, we no longer have budgets! That’s right, no more budgets. :) Just kidding. We still have budgets, but we have decided that we are going to move more towards a daily cost and away from strict category budgets. We learned about this method from some of our friends and it just didn’t make sense for us at first. However, after giving it more thought we like it and are going to give it a shot.
For example, say we save money in one category such as Rent, but then we end up spending more in another category such as Food. We would normally report that we are over budget in Food, but under budget in Rent. That’s great, but what really matters is if we are over/under budget all together.
So, this helps us keep an eye on the big picture. We still keep an eye on categories, but the focus is on the overall. I think it gets easier to do this over time, especially with a lot of data to back it. We are now going to keep a moving 12-month daily average of our cost of living.
Here are our running total, which you can always see by clicking the Costs link on the top of the site.
Our Rent has changed quite a bit since we’ve been home. If you remember that we sold almost all of our belongings before we left for South America. We also rented out our home on a year lease. So, when we returned, we had no where to live! We were still vegabonds. Luckily my parents let us live with them for a little bit to get our footings. Then we had another friend who rented us a spare bedroom at a whopping $200/month. That was a great deal and we had to take it!
After a couple months we found out our tenant in our loft downtown was moving out. As Wendy described we decided to move in and check it out for a while. So, for August we had to spend some money out of our savings account to pay for the mortgage on our fancy loft.
Since then we’ve decided we want to stay. We have a few other rental properties, including one Wendy made an offer on while sitting on a rock in Punto Del Diablo using wifi to make a skype call!! Combining the 2 other rental properties we had before the trip, and the new one, we should have enough income coming in to cover the mortgage on our loft. We still aren’t sure if we are going to rent it during our next adventure, but we love it so much we are considering trying to keep it and make it our home base. I guess it all depends on how we do in our businesses and if we can afford both travel and having a (fantastic) home.
So, misc was a little high in August at $900-something. This was mainly buying furniture and goods we needed to fill our loft. You know, things like couches and beds. We actually spent another couple thousand on it, but that was paid for by the Rental business, with the assumption that we are going to rent the house and we needed to stage it. So, I suppose if we decide to stay, we will need to buy back that furniture from the Business. Its really just funny money going between a bank account for the business and a bank account for the family, but we like to keep things separate for accounting reasons.
Transportation costs are mainly gas here. It looks like we are spending about 200-300/month on gas. We also had to replace some tires on our old car and still have a few more repairs we need to make on it. So, overall, the costs aren’t that much different than South America, aside from our expensive flying or ferrying months.
Allowance and Food
Restaurants are expensive here! We love to visit BW3’s and other establishments with our friends. As a matter of fact, I went religiously after every Wednesday night water polo practice and sometimes Sunday after our other practice. Also, Friday nights. It adds up fast! We still try to share food whenever we are out. Its actually pretty easy to do in the US as almost all meals are way oversized. We realized that if we order separate meals we will still eat all of it, but if we share one, we are still full. I think this method is as good for our waistlines as it is for the budget.
Regardless, we are spending a lot on Food and Alcohol. Wait until you see Septembers numbers after our road trip to the East Coast is added up. I’m not looking forward to that!
We’ve struggled with keeping track of everything since we’ve been home since we are apart from each other more than we were in South America. In SA, it was easy, I would make a cash withdrawal every week. Then we’d just spend from that pot and write down what we bought. Here its a little different since Wendy will sometimes be spending independently from me. Luckily, I found a program called Xpenser which is helping to make this easier. We still try to do our best to track cash expenses and then use Xpenser to sort through the credit card and debit card expenses. But, we have to keep an eye on the credit card because it makes it so easy to spend.
Overall, as you can see on the spreadsheet, we are spending about the same amount of money here as in South America. We’ll see how it goes with us trying to keep a home base and travel. Perhaps we will ditch the home base. Or, perhaps we will take smaller trips from now on so we can concentrate on building our businesses. Who knows! We’ll just have to wait and see….