January 2019: setting the bar high

Snow, hikes, and tax forms rolling in, oh my! The first month of 2019 is done (yes, I had to double-check that I put the right year in the title and URL), so it’s time for a recap of my spending.

Gwen from Fiery Millennials has darkened the doorstep of DC, so I’ve felt compelled to spend some time with her lately. Her first hike in the area was on an extremely icy path (that definitely wasn’t planned, just a coincidence…), but she survived the experience so I guess I’ll be forced to spend more time with her in the future ?

The hikes

I should just keep this as a permanent section each month, given the prevalence of hiking trips over the last year and a half. And I love that. I didn’t go anywhere on vacation in January, but I got to get out and explore. Even if a hike isn’t as relaxing as a vacation might be! (Except not, since I’m bad at being on vacation.)


View this post on Instagram


So in hindsight, perhaps a seven mile hike as the first one after a hiking hiatus that lasted the better part of two months wasn’t the best idea. Because ouch, today I’m feeling just how out of shape I got in that almost two months! But I wasn’t working a side-hustle shift and it was too gorgeous of a day yesterday not to take advantage of the weather (blue sky and sunshine, omg!), so it was the perfect day to get back out on the trail. • Last time I did this hike, I was hiking alone and it was summer (also I was in way better shape!), and I was amazed at how different the trail looks in the winter. I fully recognize that there are way fewer opportunities for hiking in the winter (since I’m a wimp and not going when it’s actually cold out), which made the lovely day with one of my favorite people even better ☀️

A post shared by Erin | Reaching for FI (@reachingforfi) on

Yes, that’s the path that’s completely iced over. Not ideal (and good thing it was a short path since finding rocks on the side to keep to so you don’t slip is extremely slow-going), but it was definitely an experience!

Walking in snow counts as a hike since it’s more labor-intensive, so these pictures of our lovely 10 inches of snow mid-month belong in this section, too.


View this post on Instagram


More scenes from yesterday’s snow day. My neighborhood is gorgeous to begin with but is ??? as a winter wonderland!

A post shared by Erin | Reaching for FI (@reachingforfi) on

Also snow is gorgeous and delightful and I wouldn’t mind a few more snow days before the end of winter. Even if the 70 degree weather we had earlier this week was amazing.


As you’ll see, I went… way over my ballpark $150 not-budget for the month (and I’d managed to bring that $150 average down to $130 last year).

I really don’t have any excuses, other than it was a stock-up month (Costco trips will always ruin your grocery average, and I was facing a frozen pizza emergency) and essentially a five-week month—but without the extra paycheck.

So yeah I spent a lot of money, and if that trend continues I’ll know I need to pay better attention to things, but I’m honestly not upset. Of all the things to overspend on, groceries is one of the least bad in my book. I may not always make myself terribly healthy food, but cooking (and baking. Life is better with some baked goods in it) is still better for me—and cheaper—than going out.

Also now I have eight frozen pizzas in my freezer. I regret nothing.

A plug here

In case you hadn’t heard, That Frugal Pharmacist’s son was recently diagnosed with cancer. I don’t have words for how awful and unfair that is, so I’m trying to support the family by adding them into my monthly giving.

If you want to help out, head to Uriah.life to see your options (there’s a Paypal donation link as well as an Amazon affiliate link. They also have an Amazon wishlist here). I’m going with the small amount every month approach here. Because they will absolutely still need our support in the long term.

An omission

In a weird turn of events, and something that hasn’t been seen on this blog for probably the better part of the year, I had zero vacation spending in January. I’ve got an international trip coming up imminently (omg I need to get my ass in gear about planning that) so that won’t last for long, but I definitely noticed the absence of that category.

The numbers

Rent $1050.00 My half of rent
Internet and utilities $43.55 Last month of no gas bill. It was a good run while it lasted!
Groceries $257.57 YIKES
Gas $20.10
Transportation $7.34 A Lyft ride
Barre membership $104.69
Restaurants/bars $30.67
Misc household goods $27.42 A replacement lid for a water bottle and a pillow that I think I’ll be returning in February
Personal care $25.77
Charitable giving $85.00 Another plug for Uriah.life. The DC food pantry also got money from me, especially because of the government shutdown
Misc dues/subscriptions $32.99 This is going to be higher because my prepaid year of Spotify has ended so I’m back to paying every month ?
Entertainment $6.94 Dating someone who sings in a choir means you get dragged to their concerts. This is my boyfriend’s ticket for my next concert
Clothes $17.35 Broke my continued shopping ban for a long, heavy cardigan. I’ve worn that thing like 10 times in the month I’ve had it. Worth it
Total spending: $1709.39
Paychecks and other income $1920.62 Including a $50 referral from Discover (thank you, whoever it is that signed up using my link!)
Side hustle income $551.25 I worked a ton in January, and they were shifts with good tips
Retirement contributions $1390.12
Total income: $3861.99
Total: $2152.60
Savings rate: 56%

Heyo, starting off the year on a high note!

4 Replies to “January 2019: setting the bar high”

  1. Congrats on that savings rate! I’m hoping that nasty expenses will subside soon and I’ll be able to start seeing some better (read: any, really) savings rates.

    Sounds like you’re getting the new year off on a good foot (groceries notwithstanding, and yes a frozen pizza emergency is nothing to sniff at), so keep up the good work!

  2. ZERO vacation spending dollars in January?? So bizarre. I don’t think we’ve had a month of zero there yet haha. And as far as going over on grocery spending being less bad… ask me exactly how bad that can actually get ??

    All the love to Frugal Pharm and little Uriah, as always ❤️

  3. Woah that’s a big grocery number! It’s almost like you were feeding some other human for several nights… It can’t be this new guy can it!? Plus you buying that ticket for him?? What a mooch!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *