May 2019: I went shopping. And that’s okay

May was…a month that happened. It was a largely stressful month—every year about this time I have a fun existential crisis about what am I doing with my life, am I moving or staying here, am I moving out of DC entirely, am I falling prey to one more year syndrome? (Spoiler alert: I’ve been in my apartment five years and at my job for three. There’s been a lot of one more year syndrome buuuuuuuut that also doesn’t mean I don’t freak out for a few months every year anyway before ultimately deciding to stay put.) Nothing like a little annual existential crisis to spice up your life!

This year, my partner and I were exploring those questions together so it was nice to not go through it myself. That does not mean that there wasn’t stress constantly in the background, though.

I’m happy to report that those questions have been resolved for now. Stay tuned for updates on that.

The fun stuff

NYC trip

At the end of April I found out that my SO being out of town coincided with a rare weekend I wasn’t scheduled for work, so on a whim I bought bus tickets up to NYC to see a college friend I hadn’t seen in a while.

We were going to go on a hike but the weather didn’t cooperate so we hit up The Met instead (and the awesome thing about knowing NYC museum workers is that they get free passes!). Excluding the bus tickets, I spent about $50 that weekend, all on food. Bagels are always yum, everyone lives their best life when they’re eating ice cream in the park, and also DC needs to get the chain Dig Inn.

Localized cherry blossom snow in Central Park

The rainy stuff

I didn’t go hiking in May because the weather is a jerk here and we had a good stretch there where it only rained on weekends, not during the week. One of those weekends I worked another double-shift weekend (my side-hustle income was mind-blowing for May), and on another my partner and Gwen and I went to go see Captain Marvel. (And then we got absolutely poured on in the two-block mad dash out of the theater to our Uber.) I guess the good thing about the rain is that it allowed me to get caught up on all the Avengers movies!

The money nerd stuff

The last weekend of May was CampFI Mid-Atlantic. It’s always nice to get together with money nerds (and honestly, it’s nice to get to go with your partner. Yes, he was there! Yes, I’m dating a money nerd!).


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Last weekend at @campfi.togetherwefi

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This year (partly because of the stress and partly because this was my third CampFI), I took it easier and didn’t feel the need to go to every session and be constantly socializing. I spent a fair amount of time reading in my hammock (the $60 purchase that just keeps on giving!). I hung out at the pool. I was certainly better-rested after the weekend than I was last year—no severe-thunderstorm-induced Cards Against Humanity session until 3am this time around ?

The pre-wedding stuff

Remember that time I was supposed to go to a high school friend’s wedding in September except it got rescheduled thanks to a hurricane that hit the NC coast that weekend? It was rescheduled for May 31st.

My partner and I made a weekend of it, so some of the wedding stuff hit in May and the rest of it happened in June. We stayed in two separate places since we decided later to stay at the beach after the wedding instead of heading back to DC or stopping by my parents’ house on the way back, but the first night and half of the second night were paid for in previous months. This month saw me withdrawing cash for the wedding gift, some gas spending, lunch on the way to the wedding, and the second half of our Airbnb payment for the night after the wedding.

I love the High Line so much


What you’ll notice in the chart below is that I spent a lot of money in May. And not just a lot of money, specifically a lot of money shopping. It’s a damn good thing all the Memorial Day sales coincided with an extra paycheck month because otherwise I’d have been screwed.

So what did I buy? More like what didn’t I buy?

Lots of my purchases happened at REI (thank you, annual member sale time!). In advance of CampFI I decided it was time to upgrade my sleeping bag from the one I’d been using that my mom used growing up to an Actual one. So I bought a used one (not from REI but from Mil$—she’d bought it at a REI garage sale) and then I bought sleeping bag liners (one for warmer and one for colder weather—I’ve already slept in both by themselves and used the colder weather one in my sleeping bag. I’m a huge fan of the fact that sleeping liners mean I don’t have to wash my expensive down bag as often and can save it some wear and tear). And a sleeping mat (that I just tested out last weekend and suspect I’ll be taking back womp womp).

I bought two pairs of polarized sunglasses because they were on sale and I decided that as sensitive as my eyes are and as much time as I spend outdoors, maybe I should own some good sunglasses in addition to the $20 pair from Target I’ve been wearing the last five years. I bought a winter headband because again, it was on sale and my ears need protection from the wind and cold but I don’t always want to wear a hat. I’m gonna appreciate that purchase in a few months. I also bought a pair of hiking pants and shorts. I bought a windbreaker jacket (which came in handy camping last weekend).

On the non-technical gear front, there’s a pair of shoes and a shirt, both of which I’ve worn to work multiple times since I bought them. I bought a French press and some coffee because I decided making my own cold brew on the weekends is a thing I want to do #fancy #pissingawaymillionsoncoffee

The point is, I spent a lot of money. And you could argue that I didn’t need anything I bought. But I regret none of it (except that the sleeping mat felt way too much like sleeping on the ground).

Here we go

Rent $1050.00 My half of rent
Internet and utilities $55.83 My half of internet and utilities
Groceries $61.74
Gas $6.90
Transportation $6.25
Barre membership $104.94
Car insurance $681.00 Annual renewal time
Restaurants/bars $70.07 Get-togethers with money nerds—none of us are ever going to retire, omg! Two ramen visits, and dinner and drinks after Tanja’s Work Optional event right before CampFI
Vacation $108.64 Trip to NYC and the first bit of the wedding I went to in June
Misc household goods $18.42
Entertainment $49.97 I bought three movie tickets in May: Captain Marvel, the Avengers (all caught up finally!), and Playing with FIRE
Charitable giving $25.00
Gifts $140.00 Mother’s Day gift and I withdrew cash for a wedding gift
Misc dues/subscriptions $35.99 Patreon
CampFI Mid-Atlantic $33.03 Yes, this was for booze
Clothes $182.29
Other shopping $853.19
Healthcare/medical -$30.00 A refund showed up on my credit card for…I have no idea but I’ll take it
Total spending: $3453.26
Paychecks and other income $2459.20 Extra paycheck month for the win
Retirement contributions $1961.42 Extra paycheck month plus a 4% increase from my raise in April for the win
Side hustle income $1116.05 Remember that time I worked two weekends in a row/19 days straight? The second half of that came in May. And then I worked another double weekend
Total income: $5536.67
Total: $2083.41
Savings rate: 38%

With the ridiculously elevated spending in May, I’m not mad about that savings rate.

4 Replies to “May 2019: I went shopping. And that’s okay”

  1. Didn’t realize your boyfriend was a money nerd too, that’s exciting!! I’m sure having a partner that has the same money values as you makes things much easier along your journey! That side hustle income though… ? way to go!

  2. Hey! So I’m new here so maybe I’ve missed the explanation somewhere but can you explain why you count your retirement contributions as income? Is this money not being double counted as it is money you received in your other jobs that you’re just putting towards retirement savings?

    Or are these values for your returns on retirement investments?


    1. Hi, Megan. The retirement contribution amount is money that comes out of my paycheck pre-tax for my full-time job that goes straight into my 401(k), as well as my employer match. It’s not double-counted and it’s income because if I weren’t putting it into my 401(k), it would appear in my paycheck (although as a smaller amount because it would be taxed). I do contribute to my Roth IRA as well, but that doesn’t get reported on here as retirement contributions because it’s money I’ve already included in my income number that’s just getting moved around to essentially a different savings account.

      I don’t include my returns or dividends as income at all, mainly because my strategy is to set it and forget it, plus the returns aren’t actually returns until I sell shares. Returns and dividends only affect my net worth (which I don’t share on the blog).

      Hope this answers your question!

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