May. The end of spring and kickoff of summer and what a month it has been. We had some bumps in the road with our spending, and there is room for improvement, but in general it wasn’t bad. We were able to close on our lot in Canyon Lake, so we now have an official place to kick off Phase 1 of our Lifestyle Change. We reviewed our budget situation and decided that we can make the house work if we build it sooner than later, so we met with a custom home builder and designer this month and are on track to start designing our house probably by the end of the week. We found a couple of plans that we like ~90% of the layout, and we have a powerpoint presentation (because who doesn’t use powerpoint for everything?) with notes and details for the other things relating to homebuilding beyond the layout. I think it will come together pretty easily as we seem to be on the same page for almost every design aspect we’ve come across so far. Getting back to our spending, here’s where our money went this past month.
This is the last month of paying for daycare and after school care as the kids wrapped up their year at the end of May. They’ll be home with Mrs. SSC all summer, so that will be exciting, and scary. End of the school year means gifts for their teachers, so between that and the kids’ birthday presents, we still managed to keep it all under $200. Woohoo for the small wins. Otherwise, it was a 5 Monday month so daycare was a shade higher than normal.
House upkeep was low this month, see not every month needs a big house expense. Don’t worry, it gets made up for in June, but that’s a story for next month. Car registration rolled around for Mrs. SSC, so that was another expected, low bill.
Almost no vet bills this month, as the hookworm issue finally got resolved. That means we’ve been able to switch Zoe back onto Lola’s food and hooray, they’re both eating the same food again, Zoe’s put on some weight, and things are mostly good in that realm. We did buy a thunder shirt for Zoe because we found out she is a thunderphobe. Yep, she goes bonkers during thunderstorms and we thought the shirt might help. It hasn’t cured her, but it does seem to help some because she’s calmed down by about half since we got the shirt.
Man did there seem to be a lot of bad. Not bad, just higher than usual in some categories. Family fun was up to $252 this month with ~$100 of that coming from Astro’s tickets over Memorial Day weekend. I forgot I could have saved $20 by getting tickets through my company discount. D’oh!
Shopping was up with purchases for the dog, summer, and the upcoming travel that we have planned. Speaking of travel, we paid for the rental car for our MT/ID vacation next month and that was ~$700.
Our grocery bill was close to $700 this month, I think related to me doing a couple of grocery runs and having the in-laws in town for Mrs. SSC’s dad’s 70th birthday celebration. Well, we had a nice dinner and hung out, no real big party or anything. We’ll have to keep an eye on it and adjust accordingly in future projections if we keep missing our $500/month target.
We also spent ~$55k on our Canyon Lake lot, which I don’t count as “ugly” per se, but it was a huge chunk of change to spend. I should get used to that though because if want to have our house built by next summer, there will be lots of these over the next year.
Our total monthly spending was just shy of $8k, not including the lot purchase or 529 contributions. Not bad, but it could be better.
Fully Funded Lifestyle Change (FFLC) Spending Estimates
Now that we know where we’ll be kicking off our FFLC, it is a LOT easier to estimate things that can vary state to state like property tax, cost of living, healthcare (hahaha I know, no one can estimate that), and other things. Our biggest expenses will be property tax (~$5500/yr), groceries (~$6700/yr), and then allowance (~$4800/yr), which we’ve already cut in half. Canyon Lake has a cost of living index of 82 which is pretty darn good. If we are estimating $40k/yr + travel and have $50k/yr total living then we are looking at a withdrawal rate of ~3%.
That is assuming ZERO side income in that scenario. Like I keep reminding myself, if we can even find enough side income to cover property tax, that’s 10% of our yearly budget. So we’d need a side gig that makes ~$6k/yr or $500/month. I’m fairly confident Mrs. SSC and I can find something that fits that, along with flexibility so it fits our Lifestyle. If you really break it down, that’s just $250/mo we’d each have to come up with to create a 10% financial plan buffer. Pretty crazy when you think about it like that.
That’s our month, hopefully yours went well and you didn’t find yourself covering any unexpected expenses.