April Fool’s Finances

Mrs. Butter Passing Robot got it into her head that she wanted to try to take on a monthly challenge and document our progress here on this blog. The first thing she came up with that she wants to tackle is our spending. As a guy who has been testing the waters of the Financial Independence community for the last several months, I was thrilled to hear this.

I recommended that she check out the Uber Frugal Month challenge over at the Frugalwoods. I’ll let her tell you where she ended up on the whole thing, but in the meantime, I figured I could at least provide some moral support by engaging in a challenge of my own: I’m going to document every purchase that we make during the month of April.

If you’ve been following us on our financial journey, you might have caught that I’ve got a little bit of a head start on this challenge. I’ve already got a database of all our cashflows going back to September 1, 2016 that I update on a weekly basis. All I really need to do now is update it daily…and tell you about it.

So consider this day one: April 1, 2018 – we didn’t spend anything today!

You know, I actually thought that was true. Mrs. BPR asked me about it when I said I’d start logging this, and I was all “Oh, this will be an easy first post. I didn’t spend anything yesterday.”

In my defense, yesterday was not my best day ever. I spent most of it in the bathroom of my parents’ house, dealing with a GI bug. When I wasn’t double over down in the basement, I was shuffling my kids back and forth from a playdate to the grandparents’. In the snow. In a tiny car. On Easter.

Anyways, April Fools! Turns out when I actually got around to checking the accounts online, we did, in fact, have money go out the door yesterday.

  • The first line item was a $99 annual fee for my new Southwest Rapid Reward Premier credit card from Chase (not an affiliate link, just saving you the Google search). I feel pretty good about this one: it is a consequence of our attempt to take advantage of credit card travel hacking which was one of the first things that drew us onto the FI road. By the time we earn the sign-up bonus on this card, we will be less than $5,000 of spending away from earning the coveted Companion Pass.  Once we get that, the $99 will more than be made up for in reduced airfare.
  • Item number 2: the mortgage. Wha wha wha. Given that this is our most reliable and fixed expense, you’d think I know it was coming. Perhaps I have a hard time remembering it is because it is on autopilot. Whatever the reason, the checking account was a little bit lighter. (Mrs. BPR reminds me that “you own your privacy” and has requested that I not include the dollar amount associated with this expense. I will say this, however, we took out a 15-year note and put down 20% when we purchased our house last April, and we were more in line with Mr. Money Mustache’s kick-ass approach than the middle-class status quo.)

And that was it for April 1st. Seriously. No fooling.

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