Roaming About

A Life Less Ordinary

Monthly Expenses – September 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 2% 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. I read somewhere that "dining out" is meant to happen in fancy places. Not in this list! But, I do like the term "dining out" better than "eating out", so I'm keeping it. The health category covers medicines and Mark's vitamins and supplements. Utilities are always Skype-related, now that our internet is free 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 is  in the lowest bracket (for now). 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 September, which are much higher than usual, because of all the travel and socializing we did and a short vacation we took. For once, we didn't mind spending lots of money, since we are "playing the credit card game": in order to earn 50,000 miles, we have to spend $4000 over three months. We are well on our way, based on this month!

September 2016 Overview:

Car ($306 insurance, fuel, $50 maintenance, parking):


Dining out:

Travel (camping Acadia, bike rental):




Drinking out:

Computer (Domain hosting):


Health (haircut Liesbet):

Charity (Best Friends):

Utilities (Skype):




















$ 1768


  1. Still looks like an amazing budget with a holiday included! which credit card do you find best for collecting miles? We put most everything on our Mastercard for the same purpose of getting Air Miles. We also have a visa Aeroplan card. Neither is perfect but I’m always happy to get those free flights. With Air Miles the taxes are still required so that is a bit of a drag.

    • We have always had United Mileage Plus, which is now our back-up and works very slowly, because we don’t spend a lot of money (haven’t gotten a free ticket in ages and taxes still needed to get paid). Then, Mark started looking into better reward cards a couple of months ago. That lead to getting Chase Sapphire cards, which offer the benefits I was talking about. It is free for one year, so we plan on moving onto something else in about a year. He already has a good idea of what will be next. 🙂

  2. I’ve got a credit card that gives me cash back so I try to pay for everything on it and pay it off in full each month. Is your domain hosting charge an annual one or monthly?

    • The fee for the domains is annually. The amount you see for September is for two of the five domains we own with Blue Host, so they are $16 each a year. We have the option to get money back as well, but I believe there are extra advantages when you use the points as miles. We do the same thing: pay as much with credit card and pay it off every month. It’s the only way to remain depth-free! 🙂

  3. That is a lot of discipline keeping track of all expenses in a month.

    I wholeheartedly agree that one can absolutely live an adventurous life without being wealthy. We long ago decided we would prioritise experience over “stuff”


    • That’s right! And, I am sure that you don’t regret that decision. It is so nice to travel as much as you guys are doing. Keep enjoying this wonderful “stuff-less” lifestyle, Peta!

  4. Liesbet, you are both very disciplined to keep track. It is impressive!

    • I/we have been keeping track of expenses as long as we have been adults. Not sure what purpose it serves, as we don’t really have a “budget” but are always careful with what we spend, in general. It is kind of nice to realize the total you spend every month, though, in case it needs some tweaking. 🙂

  5. Seems pretty reasonable to me. Your domain fee is incredibly low, and $20 for a woman’s haircut? How did you manage that?


    • We usually cut our own hair (cost: $0), but every so often, I want a bob with layers in the back (about once a year). SuperCuts delivers: $18 + tip! I am not much of a “real” woman when it comes to hair or appearances… 🙂

  6. I just found your blog and I think it’s great!! I really enjoyed reading through your posts!

  7. I’m in awe of your discipline! I work freelance, so try to keep an eye on my expenses so I can be reasonably confidently there’s (slightly!) more coming in than going out, but inevitably I always forget a few each month. I’m inspired to be better this month after this though, thanks!

    • Sometimes it is with the little things that you can save quite a bit, and everything helps. One of these weeks, I’ll put some “frugal posts” together, when I finally wrap my head about these last hectic weeks. Thanks for visiting, fellow freelancer! 🙂

  8. What fun when your objective is to spend money! Happy point earning.

    • Yes! That was a totally new experience and, I have to admit, i kind of liked it. 🙂 Now, we are getting back to spending less, though, after the high expenses of crossing the country!

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