Roaming About

A Life Less Ordinary

Monthly Expenses – November 2016

Expenses - image

Every month, I post a report of our expenses to show that it is possible to live a comfortable, exciting and relatively adventurous life without being rich. Or even without owning/earning a lot of money. That being said, Mark and I seem to manage one big expense a month for some reason, whether it is car, plane, travel or computer-related. Luckily, we live totally rent-free and in comfort, wherever we end up. 🙂

This report includes ALL of our expenses, in US$, for the two of us. Under groceries we incorporate all the food, produce and non-alcoholic drinks (100% orange juice, oat milk for Mark and organic 1% milk for me) predominantly bought in supermarkets. Toiletries belong in that category as well. Dining out means eating at a restaurant/event or purchasing take-out food. The health category covers medicines and Mark's vitamins and supplements. Utilities are always Skype-related, now that our internet is free during house sits and our phone costs are business-deductible.  You don't see health care costs, because Mark and I are eligible for free health care in the state of Massachusetts, since our income this year is  in the lowest bracket. If a non-emergency were to happen outside of the state (we are currently in California), it will be expensive! I still pay a small three-monthly fee in Belgium for health care (required to keep my citizenship), which I will report on at the end of the year.

Here is an overview of our expenses in November, again an above average month because of Thanksgiving, my birthday and a bunch of membership fees.

November 2016 Overview:



Miscellaneous (membership renewal house sitting sites):

Dining out:

Health and Fitness (wheat grass, 30-day "gym" membership):

Alcohol (wine):

Car (fuel):

Drinking out:

Charity (Best Friends):


Utilities (Skype):


















$ 1165


  1. I love how your Health and Fitness expenses are exactly the same as your Alcohol — way to budget!

    Stephanie @ SV CAMBRIA

  2. I hadn’t thought about the fact that you need to join house sitting organizations to get gigs. Definitely, a worthwhile investment as a lot less than actually paying rent or mortgage. Love the fact that you have a separate health & fitness category and the mention of wheat grass in it.

    • Maybe, once we become famous house sitters, word of mouth will get us enough gigs. But, not quite yet, Ellen, unfortunately. 🙂 The sites are a great way to find home owners, but the competition of house sitters has become tremendous in one year time! Some of the owners receive 50-100 applications and don’t even read all the letters… Maybe this has to do with popular California as well.

      Mark swears by flax seeds (we ground them ourselves and they are very cheap and very beneficial to everyone’s health – I try to eat two table spoons a day as well) and wheat grass, which we buy in big containers full of green powder. Not cheap, but, very healthy! He also takes other supplements to keep the cancer out of his body, but these two are his favorites! 🙂

  3. I find these posts so interesting. Do you ever try to find ways to cut back, or are you happy with your budget as is? I’m going to be on a very lean budget myself next year, so any advice gratefully accepted.

    • I am planning to write a few topics about frugal living in the future, but I have been saying that for a while… I always seem to have enough other (easier?) topics to post three times a week. In regards to ourselves, even though we say we are on a tight budget (we are, but more automatically), we don’t really follow any rules, or cut back. I know that sounds weird, but our general habit is that we only buy what is really needed and when it is a splurge, we try to justify it (“Oh. let’s make that our Christmas gift to each other”, for example), or we say “It has been a month since we have eaten out, so we can afford it”. We are both very good and consistent about not spending much. It comes easy. I never had much money and am used to saving up for my travels, when I had a real job, and I never owned anything big either, unless you count a simple bicycle. But, that probably doesn’t help you.

      We have it easy not having to pay for utilities or rent, the biggest expenses for most people. We have a small, hybrid car that doesn’t use much fuel. We take a risk with our health right now, by being away from Massachusetts, where we are covered. Other than that, we use simple bathroom products of no name brands, go to the cheaper supermarkets, and choose products that are on sale if the choice is there. We basically cook all our meals at home and take packed sandwiches for lunches when we go on an excursion (this is a big saving tip for people who eat lunch at work). We refill a stainless steel water bottle with free tap water everywhere we go and we don’t buy or drink soda. When going out for drinks, we try to make this coincide with happy hour. Oh, and I only have two pairs of shoes, a pair of flip flops and a pair of old Crocs. No wait, Mark just bought me a pair of sandals for my birthday as well. 🙂 But, I see you are working on that, as in your shoe collection! Selling stuff you don’t need or use anymore is a good start and basically trying to do with less. It might be hard to get there, but once there, it is liberating! It is a shift of priorities, mainly. 🙂

  4. You did a great job with your finances for November. My husband and I try to keep our spending low, but we’ve never managed to get that low! And you said it was high for you! 🙂 And in California no less! Great job! 🙂

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