Snow Lake, Seattle, WA

Snow Lake, outside of Seattle, WA

I have yet to see a more beautiful place in summer than the Pacific Northwest, particularly Seattle. With daily crystal clear skies, comfortable temperatures, and easy access to lakes and mountains, it is an outdoor lovers paradise.  Naturally we took advantage of this, camping, hiking, boating, and barbequing with friends, including a great birthday party for yours truly.  With all of the amazing times we’ve had, it is pleasantly surprising how little money we spent

As extra bonuses, we had a surprise visit from a friend of mine from high school and a visit from a friend we met in Guatemala.  We love visitors!  It’s a lot of fun to play tour guide and introduce friends to our favorite bars & restaurants.  Unsurprisingly, these activities were a little less budget friendly.

We finished out the month with a Labor Day pilgrimage to Burning Man, where we lived the hippie dream with 60,000 of our closest friends.  This pushed our overall spending for the month to record levels

For the past two months we have been more or less house sitting at a friend’s home in Seattle.  He has had a busy summer with work and holiday travel, so we’ve had the place to ourselves for all but 2 weeks, during which we prepared home cooked meals and wine as a way to share our gratitude.  Our only housing expense this month was 1 night in a hotel in Reno, NV, on our way out to Burning Man

A blessing and a curse, we’ve also been taking tender care of our friend’s Ford Escape.  It is great for getting to trail heads and for camping trips, but there are few places in town that I can’t get to easier, faster, and less expensively on a bicycle. Having the car has meant that laziness often wins, however.  Gasoline spending has bumped our travel spending up, as well as flights to Burning Man.  For nights out when it isn’t a good idea to drive, we’ve started using Uber. On a scale of 1 to 10, traveling by taxi is a 3 and using Uber is an 11, for the same cost.  Try it out using the link provided and get $10 in Uber credit

With access to a kitchen, we’ve eaten the majority of our meals at home.  Winnie is an incredible chef, so home cooked meals are always more flavorful and healthy, at a lower cost.  It is the best of all worlds, especially when there is a dishwasher to help with clean up.  Having friends over for a home cooked meal is a great way to catch up.  This pushed our grocery spending up.  We also had several meals at restaurants, the majority with our out of town visitors.  Overall spending on food was higher than average, but lower than last month

For entertainment, a simple $35 trail pass provided hours of outdoor fun as we hiked and explored the region.  Cost wise, the majority of our expenses are Burning Man related, although I’ve also included the entire cost of hosting a birthday barbeque. We prepared grilled pork ribs, carnitas, 3 different kinds of home made salsa, several different appetizers and side dishes, and a never ending supply of dangerously delicious margarita jalapeno margaritas.

Miscellaneous spending was high this month with several optional purchases.  We bought a new (to us) point and shoot camera on eBay, getting last years product just as the new model was being launched.  This saved $400.  At the same time, we sold our old point and shoot and an old film camera. The net result is we have a new fantastic camera for $119

Of course we then had to buy a few camera accessories, the biggest of which was a water and dust proof case.  We also bought some new clothes, gifts for a friend’s wedding, and paid the annual fee on our LLC.

The table below provides a detailed breakdown of all spending for August 2013

DetailsAugust 2013Notes
LocationUnited StatesSeattle, Reno, Black Rock City
Housing$54House sitting
1 night in Reno, NV
Healthcare$233HDHP monthly premium
Transportation$3401-way flights from SEA to RNO ($149)
Gasoline ($152)
Checked bag fee ($20)
A few Uber rides
Groceries$728$23.50/day
Dining Out$433$14/day
Alcohol$199$6.40/day
Entertainment$1816Burning Man related ($1501)
Birthday Party ($280)
Hiking pass ($35)
Misc$567New Camera ($119)
Clothes ($103)
LLC Fee ($96)
Camera gadgets (dust proof case, etc...) ($85)
BM stuff (wet wipes, etc...) ($75)
Wedding gift ($60)
Cell phone service ($15)
Total$4,370

All together, August was our most expensive “travel” month despite free rent. Without Burning Man related expenses, total spending would have been a more modest $2,489.

Spending will head south through the rest of the year

Retire Early.

Travel the World.

Let's do this.

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