October 2018: it’s time for a no-spend month

Ah, October. It was a tumultuous month in the market and quite a few bloggers published ugly net worth updates. But hey, I don’t share my net worth so y’all don’t get to see the carnage 😉

Or, well, that particular kind of carnage. You still get to see all of the spending I’ve been doing lately!

Sunflowers are my summer favorites! And I got to see lots of them one weekend in October, oddly enough

Happenings, happenings

Remember when I thought October would be a slower month? Yeah, about that.

I ate my way through Epcot

I started off the month in Orlando post-FinCon with a four-day trip to Disney, and the timing was amazingly convenient spending report-wise because I got to cheat. All of my FinCon18 spending was September, but the trip I took to Disney was conveniently right after that in October, so while the two trips were back-to-back, they also fell in different months so I could break up that large chunk of spending.

Also it was the International Food and Wine Festival at Epcot when we were there. I ate so much food! And got to see some fireworks.


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#sorrynotsorry I love fireworks ? #disneyfab5

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A special guest

Cait Flanders was briefly in town for a book tour stop at one of the VA libraries! I went to her book talk that Thursday evening and then got to hang out with her and a bunch of other DC bloggers the next evening. It was awesome to get to spend more time with her in person.

Spending on gas but saving on groceries

I also went to visit my parents‘ dog in NC the last weekend of the month, right before Cents Positive. I wrote about that trip being worth it, even despite the traffic, but here’s another way I benefited: I came back to DC with enough leftovers to last me FOUR DAYS. That was conveniently the exact amount of time between my NC trip and when I flew out to Denver for Cents Positive, so I didn’t have to worry about going to the grocery store during those days.

Always a good time for another dog pic

Spending on plane tickets. Twice

Yeah, there was that time I didn’t know the trick for cancelling/rebooking on Southwest and ended up paying for a second return flight home from Cents Positive. But hey, at least it meant my holiday travel ended up being prepaid!

I went hiking because of course I did

The three weekends in a row that I was in town, to be exact. Two of the weekends were overcast and great for waterfalls, so it was a good time to visit two Maryland state parks I hadn’t been to before.

The next weekend was back to Shenandoah in the hopes of seeing fall colors. It was brisk, partially overcast, unfortunately still too early for leaves (although it was just not a good leaf season this year. Half of our trees in DC are still green and the other half have lost their leaves already), and included three separate hikes, one of which was a waterfall. Go figure  ?


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Last weekend’s hikes were very chilly and breezy, but there are still a bunch of little wildflowers out ?

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The trip to Shenandoah was sans entrance fee as usual thanks to my national parks pass, but I did end up spending $6 for an entrance fee to one of the Maryland state parks. Worth it. I love being able to hike on weekends, and I do a fair amount of contorting my weekends so that I can go hiking around my work schedule.

Playing the bonus game

In addition to working more weekends in October, I got a lovely boost of extra income this month: I took advantage of an offer from Chase to open a checking account for a $300 bonus. I can’t usually get these bonuses because so many of them involve keeping $5,000-$15,000 in the new account and AHAHAHA I do not have that kind of cash just sitting around.

In theory this checking account has a $0 minimum, but the fine print says you have to have a minimum balance of $1,500 to avoid the $12/month service fee or whatever bullshit they’re charging. Lucky for me, I just so happen to have more than a $1,500 buffer in my emergency fund so could afford to send that over to Chase for a few months until I inevitably close the account. So I transferred the money, started sending $10 of my direct deposit to the new account, and boom, there was my $300 bonus a few days later. Thank you, Chase!

Just how much food did I eat at Disney?

Rent $1050.00 My half of rent
Internet and utilities $42.19 Again, we’re not paying our gas bill for a few more months, so this is only my half of internet and electricity
Groceries $58.94 My last month of having gift cards to use. Also I was at Disney for the first part of the month and also came back from my parents’ with FOUR DAYS’ WORTH OF LEFTOVERS, enough to get me through the days between that trip and leaving for Cents Positive(!!!). So no, I didn’t do a ton of grocery shopping in October
Gas $54.10 It was a driving-intensive month with hiking trips and a trip down to NC to see my parents
Transportation $21.00 I find myself in a much more metro-intensive time than I’ve previously been in, and my pre-tax salary deductions aren’t enough to cover my metro costs right now. Gotta remember to up that amount since I’ve already had to top off in November, too. I also paid $6 for a state park entrance fee one weekend
Barre membership $104.69
Restaurants/bars $17.29 Not inclusive of Disney spending, obviously
Misc household goods $23.89
Charitable giving $25.00
Misc dues/subscriptions $23.00 Patreon dues
Disney trip $333.88 Four days post-FinCon as part of the #disneyfab5
FinCon $205.32 Ticket for next year
Cents Positive $272.34 $66.36 for our AirBnB and $205.98 for a second return flight back. Hey, at least $96 of this is still a credit on my Southwest account!
Clothes $34.97 Broke my shopping ban and bought…a onesie for Cents Positive #comfyashell
Haircut $33.60 It was long past time for a haircut (my second of the year?) when I was in NC
Phone case $19.99 I need to get my phone battery replaced and my case was falling apart anyway, so I figured I’d get a new case while I needed to pry it off my phone anyway
Vacation $5.60 Fee for the Christmas flight I paid for with points
Total spending: $2325.80
Paychecks and other income $2118.99
Side hustle income $291.92
Retirement contributions $1211.92 My contribution plus 9% employer match
Bonuses $300.00
Total income: $3922.83
Total: $1597.03
Savings rate: 41%

As with September, I’m utterly pleasantly surprised with that savings rate considering all of the spending that happened. But a positive savings rate isn’t an excuse to coast, and even though winter tends to be cheaper for me in general (maybe because I’m hibernating at home until the sun comes out again), that’s no excuse not to push myself.

So for November I’m working on a no-spend month. Or at least one where I’m assuming I’m spending nothing and then approaching any spending on a case-by-case basis to determine if I do actually want to spend the money. Considering it’s also an extra paycheck month (and I won’t have to spend any money on gas to get home for Thanksgiving), I’ve got high hopes for the next savings rate you’ll see here!

5 Replies to “October 2018: it’s time for a no-spend month”

  1. Woah nicely done on the savings rate! That sure was a lot of hiking in the month! ?

    No spend November is challenging, but could be interesting to see how that savings rate comes out especially with the third paycheck!

    1. Yep, seems like October was the month for hiking 😉

      No spend November is slightly suffering right now (friends are the worst!!), but it’s okay, it’ll be fine ?

  2. 1. That’s an amazing savings rate
    2. Those hiking pics are amazing
    3. You’re giving me extreme FOMO over missing FinCon/Disney

    But really, given the amount of traveling you did this past month, that savings rate is super impressive! Looking forward to what you pull off for November – I haven’t been able to successfully do a no-spend month… ever… ?(I need tips!)

    1. Hah I’m not great at them either, so not sure I’m the person to go to for tips. But please tell me you’re coming to FinCon next year!

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