May 2018: FinCon ticket and a format change

Hello, and welcome to another edition of Erin Spends a Lot of Money!

This is going to be a short one because my siblings are crashing with me tonight on their way down to NC, plus I already wrote extensively about many of the things reflected in my spending for May.

Another spendy month

A lot happened to make May an expensive month: I traveled quite a bit plus bought bus tickets for a trip up to NYC in a few weeks. I paid for another year’s worth of car insurance. I paid off my student debt!!! I managed to find a not-horribly-expensive ticket to Hamilton at the Kennedy Center this month and I’m going to enjoy the shit out of finally seeing it.

And oh hey, I’m officially going to FinCon! I haven’t decided when I’m leaving afterwards yet, but I bought my conference ticket and my flight to Orlando a few weeks ago.

Suffice it to say so far I’m doing quite well on getting the minimum spend on my newest credit card (and I know May is always expensive for me thanks to car insurance, which is why I opened a new card at the end of April).

More income

So what I heard in the comments on April’s spending report was essentially how on earth are you not including your contributions to your retirement accounts in your savings rate, you idiot?! They absolutely count! 

Fair. And it’s a hefty amount of my paycheck that gets deducted pre-tax. I don’t get paid a ton but I also opt to have quite a bit taken out automatically so I never see it (certainly much to the detriment of my cash flow).

But like I said in that post, the perfectionist that I am balks at both a) comparing pre- and post-tax dollars to each other and b) figuring out some complicated formula that’ll convert my pre-tax dollars to what they’re worth post-tax (or vice-versa) so that I’m not comparing apples and oranges. But I’m gonna grit my teeth and not worry about those things. Because it doesn’t actually need to be a perfectly accurate savings rate!

Obviously a pre-tax dollar goes farther than a post-tax dollar, so comparing dollar amounts isn’t entirely accurate but for the sake of ease, I’m just gonna suck it up and throw out the numbers and not worry about pre- or post-tax rates. Cold, hard dollar amounts it is.

Also the income from my second job looks pretty great for May, thanks to multiple weekends worked, including a stint of four days in a row. Ahem, my resolution to give myself some time off is obviously still a work in progress… ?‍♀️




My half of rent
Internet and utilities


My half of utilities


Student loans




Barre membership




When friends come back to town to visit and you end up very drunk, things get expensive…
Personal care


Charitable giving


Sometimes you’re having a shitty day and you go and make a $100 donation for women’s reproductive rights just so you can say something good happened


Hamilton ticket!! (with a bunch of fees, boooo)
Misc dues/subscriptions


Patreon pledges




FinCon ticket plus one-way ticket to Orlando
Car insurance


It’s that time of year again
Total spending:


Paychecks and other income


Side hustle income


Retirement contributions


Hey look, it’s a new addition! I’m including my employer contributions in here, too. Free money is awesome!
Total income:




Savings rate:


And look, my savings rate before I put my retirement contributions in was -20% versus the 12% these numbers reflect.

(Also not included are transfers from my savings apps to cover much of the travel costs and my FinCon ticket, which would also bump up my savings rate to 28% if they were included in my income. Saving to spend to the rescue!)

So selfishly this makes me look way better in a ridiculously expensive month. Maybe I’ll keep this retirement contribution thing going!

22 Replies to “May 2018: FinCon ticket and a format change”

  1. I need to go to Fincon! i think it will be well worth the investment… i need to start looking into this ASAP!

    But you are absolutely killing it with the retirement contributions, in comparison to income… That’s awesome!

  2. Nice! Now that’s more like it with the pre-tax contributions! 🙂

    Feels a lot better to know you really had a good savings rate even after an expensive month!

    Super jealous you’re going to FinCon.. I’m sure it will be a blast!

    1. The pre-tax contributions have now saved me on more than one occasion so I’m extremely glad I started including them!

      I mean I’m sure your friend’s wedding will be a blast, too. Although it’s not too late yet to ditch your friend… 😉

  3. Considering everything you bought this month, your spending was low!!! SOOO jealous you got Hamilton tickets!!!
    And isn’t investing for retirement actually fun?! Makes me feel so good!
    Congrats on conquering student loan debt. Major kudos!

    1. AHHHH IT WAS SO GOOD! That ticket was well-worth it!

      Yeah, since I never see that money anyway to miss it, it’s always fun to look at my balances growing (so far, anyway) every time I get paid!

  4. Whoa, look at those SICK retirement contributions! That is really good on your income. I think showing those contributions can help people who might not think they can contribute that much on a similar income.

    Also, crap, I haven’t bought my plane ticket to Orlando yet! And yay, see you in a few weeks!

    1. You’re totally right, I needed to be including those from the beginning. Because it helps put my middling income and the idea of saving for retirement in perspective!

      Guess you didn’t need to buy tickets to Orlando after all 🙁

  5. Every month I’m insanely impressed by how little you spend, especially on food. It’s clear what you value because that Hamilton ticket is more than both grocery and restaurant spending combined. I would LOVE to go see that play someday but I can’t even get myself to spend $100 on a ticket, let alone $200+.

    1. Haha no, just had to decide when I’m leaving after FinCon and Disney. Winter in Orlando sounds fantastically appealing though…

  6. I think (okay, I KNOW) I’ve said this before, but I’M SO EXCITED THAT YOU’LL BE AT FINCON TOO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    I’m super impressed by your grocery numbers for May, but wow that rent is painful. But I know you don’t live in the cheapest city and I probably actually do out here in the middle of nowhere haha. I’m also envious of your low spending on gas – that makes up a few hundred dollars for me.

    You’re doing great with that savings rate and crushing those retirement contributions!!


      I am SO GLAD my old car still gets good gas mileage. It helps that I hardly ever drive during the week too, and sometimes not on weekends either, haha. But yeah, I make up for that in rent ?

  7. I totally feel you on including pre-tax retirement contributions in your savings rate, but that’s truly money saved and it needs to be counted there. And since I’m on the “Anti-Budget” that Paula Pant talks about, most of my savings are pre-tax before I even get the money, and only save a bit on the back-end.
    Woo hoo FinCon. I’m ridiculously excited to meet everyone!!

    1. Same here, a lot of my saving is forced saving beforehand. And obviously I’m not fantastic about consistent savings pre-tax ?

      Woohoo, can’t wait to meet you!

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