May 2015 Money Puddle and Spending Report

May was a very crazy month for us, actually – both financially and just for our life!


1) We walked in our graduation ceremony, so we had family come to town for the weekend. The associated costs included our regalia and extra food (though our family partially reimbursed us).


2) We attended a wedding in Kansas over Memorial Day weekend. It was a very fun but very un-frugal weekend.


goofing around after Kyle received his first interview invitation

goofing around after Kyle received his first interview invitation

3) Kyle applied for, interviewed for, and received offers for two jobs. Literally all those stages happened just this month. He applied for two positions at the beginning of the month, immediately had phone interviews scheduled, went for in-person interviews for both in the second half of the month, and had two offers in hand by the end of the month to start ASAP. (In practice, ASAP probably means by August 1.)


We couldn’t believe how fast the whole process went. One of the jobs is a postdoc, and we were always told that those would take 6-9 months from initial contact to start date. He was able to make some time near the end of the month to apply for the other jobs he was interested in, but he hasn’t even heard back from them yet and he was already supposed to decide about the first offer. The financial aspect of this process is that we paid up front for all his travel – well over $2,000 – which will all be reimbursed, but we’re not sure exactly when. The to-be-reimbursed costs are not included below, and I’ll put any incidentals we end up being responsible for in next month’s recap if it’s resolved by then.


4) Our five-year wedding anniversary was this month. We didn’t do anything to celebrate it really, what with everything else going on, but the Kansas trip was immediately after so that was a nice getaway.



Money Puddle


Our money puddle represents our gross income from April, less taxes, our tithe, and savings into our Roth IRAs. This is the source of all of our spending money for the month (before dipping into savings).


May 2015 Money Puddle: $2,539.01


  • Kyle’s postdoc paycheck
  • Emily’s fellowship paycheck
  • Emily’s contract work paycheck
  • Kyle’s side job paycheck





This is our first month back as a single household for the entire month! Our normal-type spending was actually very reasonable-to-low this month, but we had some high irregular expenses.


Housing and Utilities

  • rent $910
  • electricity $69.20: Sweet springtime low energy costs!
  • internet $34.99
  • cell phones $61.52: Our low cell phone costs are because I have Republic Wireless and Kyle has Cricket Wireless.
  • water $35.57



  • gas $29.09: Hm, I’m not sure why we spent so little on gas this month – maybe because we have two cars and two tanks of gas at our disposal? And all the travel?
  • car insurance $620.68: Six months of insurance on our two cars. Even though we have inexpensive older cars, this still feels expensive!
  • parking $3: We paid for parking during our graduation ceremony, which annoyed us because the lot we parked in is usually free at that time.



  • groceries $355.67: Yay, under budget for once! I hope this is our ‘new normal’ since I am doing serious meal planning these days. Meal planning is actually going a bit easier for me these days than it used to – not so time-consuming or stressful.
  • eating out $26.82: This was actually 1 fast food meal we bought for ourselves and one set of parents during graduation weekend. We apparently didn’t go out at all this month for non-travel-related reasons (ours or others’). The rest of our eating out is in the Kansas travel line item and will be reimbursed by Kyle’s potential employers.




Reimbursed from Charitable Giving





Money Puddle: $2,539.01

Total Spending: $2,992.55

Difference: -$453.54


This summer, all I care about is the bottom line, and this month we were way over due to our trip to Kansas or our car insurance. This is my last month of having any fellowship income, so it’s just going to get worse from here!


But it was maybe a good month overall because of the job offers. 🙂 More details to come – once Kyle decides on one!


How long did your most recent job search take? Is summer travel stressing your budget?


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14 Responses to "May 2015 Money Puddle and Spending Report"

  1. Mrs. PoP says:

    Great news on Kyle’s job search! It’s a nice feeling to get job offers even if they end up not being the right one and you turn it down.
    Our summer budget buster is definitely going to be our kitchen, not so much with the travel this year (though we will each take a little trip to visit our best friends). =P

    1. Emily says:

      I’m fairly sure he’s going to accept one of these two… Neither is perfect (read: in San Diego), though, so it’s a tough decision.

      Do you expect the kitchen renovation to last all summer?

  2. Fiby says:

    Depending on how you look at it, I had a pretty high spend May. I had to pay school fees of $977 for the summer (but honestly, this isn’t in my control, so it shouldn’t “count” in some sense).
    I normally end up with a little bit under $500 in non rent or school fee expenses, but this month I spent $823! I spent $246 on bicycle stuff (someday I’m going to have enough stuff that I don’t need any more other than maintenance items like tires, tubes, chains, etc.), and $162 on furniture (I just moved).
    I did move on May 1st which saves $500/month on rent, but this should in no way justify higher spending elsewhere in my budget!

    In reality I don’t have an explicit budget for anything. I just try to be as frugal as I can while still spending on things that I think are important (like bike gear and travel).

    1. Emily says:

      Sometimes there are just months like that! But the big win for you is definitely the rent – that is amazing! Even $250 on bicycle stuff is small potatoes in comparison to occasional car costs. The A/C just went out on my car and I’m considering whether I need to get it recharged and/or repaired. 🙁

      1. FIby says:

        Haha yea we all have these kind of months. So long as we’re prepared for them it’s not really a big deal.

        My roommate has sunk several thousand dollars into repairs on his car and he probably has to get some more repairs done so I can appreciate that.

        By the way didn’t you guys only have one car at some point?

        1. Emily says:

          We’ve always owned two cars, but we stopped driving mine for about 3 years. We got it back on the road when I moved to DC.

  3. Leigh says:

    Congratulations to Kyle on the two offers! I can’t believe how quickly that went. It took me about four months from first job application until offer accept. That was wayyyy too long!

    Happy anniversary! Five years sounds so long to me 🙂

    Summer travel isn’t stressing my budget too much since we had planned on it. We have a wedding to go to later this month that we’ve paid for the Airbnb and flights so far, which was $2k combined. I need to write them a check since they don’t have a registry and we still need to pay for the rental car and food. I currently have no plans for any further travel costs for the year (my boyfriend ended up buying the Christmas flights), which is quite a breather after how expensive (but amazing!) NZ was.

    1. Emily says:

      It was crazy faster than we were expecting, and it was a bit funny that the two jobs he applied to first both moved unusually fast. He should have applied to some of the slower-moving positions first, but we didn’t know! At first I thought Kyle’s skills are just that obvious/in demand, but now I think that AND that these particular employers need to fill positions fast. 🙂

      Yeah, you’ve already had a big travel year – it’s reasonable to have a slower summer!

  4. Alicia says:

    That’s really awesome to hear about Kyle’s job prospects. I’m also quite intrigued by one being a PDF, which means the other isn’t! That’s a really quick turnaround. In my experience with hiring a few postdocs lately, it’s pretty quick turnarounds because the funding is already in place and industrial, so it’s getting a body in the lab as soon as possible.

    1. Emily says:

      Yes, I think that’s the case with the two offers – they just really need to hire fast! Also, Kyle was a really, really good fit for both positions, so I think it was easy for them to see his value.

      Yes, one offer is a postdoc and the other is a real job. That’s really what he’s weighing right now – which would ultimately be more beneficial for his career. The postdoc is the safe option and the industry job is the risky option.

  5. Congrats, Kyle!(And you too, hee.) I hope you’re able to make the decision soon so you know where you’re moving *to* — always a good thing.

    1. Emily says:

      Thanks (on Kyle’s behalf)! Yes, it is kind of weird to be sure we’re moving next month but not sure to where!

  6. Cheer up, Emily. The rest of the months could still be better. Stay hopeful and get some side hustles, if possible.

    1. Emily says:

      I think I’ll wait until Kyle’s job situation shakes out before considering hustling on top of my existing business and side hustle… though if he takes the postdoc that is a definite possibility!

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