December Expenses – $1101.10

Here is a breakdown of my expenses for December.

Household $9.90
Rent $440
Entertainment $54.62
Transportation $189.76
Food $161.07
Travel $70.53
Phone $50.78
Health $124.44
Total $1101.10

My December expenses were reasonably low. I expect my monthly expenses will stay around this level for the next few months.

The rent was for 10 nights hotel in Kansas City while I was working on a document review project there. It also includes $125 paid to my mom for staying at her home. The next few months my rent will be very low since I’m staying at my mom’s house and she is only charging me 1/2 of the utilities as rent. I offered to pay more, but half of the utilities is all she wanted to be paid.

Transportation was mainly gas for my car. I drove between KC and southern Missouri several times while working on the document review job. I also had to pay a little over $50 for personal property tax on my car. This month I will only drive to KC one time and otherwise will be working from home so the transportation expense should go way down.

My food expense was about the same as always. It should go down a bit this month since I will be eating at home more often. Spending about $150 a month on food is pretty reasonable so I won’t sweat this expense category too much.

Travel was for taxes and fees on a round-trip airline ticket from a small regional airport near my current home to Shanghai, China. From China I can buy a round-trip ticket to Thailand for less than $200. I was going to delay buying a ticket to Asia then I saw a deal for cheap award flights on Delta from the U.S. to China. When I was able to find a ticket allowing me to start from Springfield, MO I decided to go ahead and get the ticket. The ticket was only 34,000 Delta points which is about half of the regular price.

Being able to leave from Springfield means that I don’t need a domestic positioning flight like last year. For my Asia trip last year I had to buy a positioning flight from KC to LA and also got a hotel in LA for the night since I wanted to be in LA a day early to make sure I didn’t miss my flight due to a delay from KC. Not needing a domestic positioning flight will save me a little money and time. The combination of the low cost of the ticket and the convenience of flying from a nearby airport on one itinerary was enough to convince me to go ahead and book my Asia flight now. It is unlikely there will be a better deal for my circumstances before I leave for Asia.

Phone was for almost two months of Google Fi phone service. When I paused my service in Thailand they didn’t be bill me for the almost full month I had used at that time. After I resumed service they billed me for that almost full month and the new month. This bill will go down to about $25 this month.

Health was for the January premium on my new health insurance. My health insurance premium for this year has gone up about $125 a month. Last year, subsidies were enough to pay my entire health insurance premium. With the rate hike that is no longer the case. I didn’t get much use from my Marketplace insurance last year. I had one doctor visit that I had to pay out of pocket for and then they paid a little towards my prescriptions. If I understand my health insurance coverage correctly, my new policy is a little better. It will allow me to have doctor visits for free or a low co-pay rather than being out of pocket until I hit my deductible like last year. Since I’ve moved I will be visiting a new doctor so I might have a few visits getting things checked out this year.

My student loan payment amount has adjusted from $0 to $132 a month. Since I’m on income-based repayment my premium went up due my higher income in 2017. The total of the required payments will still be less than I voluntarily paid last year so this isn’t really a big deal.

I’m pretty happy with my December expenses.  How was your month?

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