July 2015 Money Puddle and Spending Report

This month was a BLOODBATH on the expenses side. (Get ready for a bloodbath next month on the income side!) Our actual accounts look even worse than this reflects, because we made a lot of expenditures that are going to be reimbursed. I’ve included the numbers for both the spending that we expect to be reimbursed and the spending we won’t have reimbursed, though I’ve only counted the spending we are responsible for against the money puddle total.


A major part of this bloodbath was the huge outlay of cash to get into our new apartment. We had to pay a partial rent in July, August’s rent, and a security deposit of a full month’s rent. Thankfully we are not in addition paying last month’s rent up front! We should be getting a rent reimbursement and our security deposit back from our place in Durham, but that probably won’t be until September. So for now, it’s just cash out out out. (Oh, and this category is a bit falsely high because I’ve recorded in July our July rent in Durham AND our July and August rent in Seattle because I want to start accounting for each month’s rent at the end of the prior month.)


found a free couch right next to our apartment!

found a free couch right next to our apartment!

Oh, we did have one frugal win with respect to our new housing! The part of our move that I kid you not Kyle was MOST worried about was buying a couch in Seattle. He didn’t want the cost of the couch (probably from craigslist) plus the cost and hassle of renting some kind of vehicle to transport it and having to wrangle it into our apartment, and we also didn’t want to buy a new couch just to have it delivered or assemble it in our apartment. Well, on the very day we got our keys to our new place and were unloading the stuff from our car into our apartment, we noticed a very nice-looking couch sitting on the corner (a major intersection) right next to our building. We eyed it for a while as we were unloading, and after about 20 minutes walked over and checked it out, sat on it, and so forth. No one was around looking like they were dropping it off or picking it up. So we check out the free section on craigslist and also freecycle, and we found the couch listed on freecycle! Score! So we literally just picked it up and moved it into our apartment. It was so easy and so convenient and it’s the nicest couch we’ve ever owned and it was free! We feel so lucky!


Money Puddle


Our money puddle represents our gross income from June, 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). This month, we additionally sold some furniture in Durham ($345), which gave us a nice bit of cash to take on our trip!


July 2015 Money Puddle: $2,638.04


  • Kyle’s postdoc paycheck
  • Emily’s contract work paycheck
  • Kyle’s side job paycheck
  • furniture sold


This month we were also reimbursed for Kyle’s interview expenses from June and received cash birthday/graduation gifts (bypassed money puddle).





I’ve put our partially-reimbursed, one-time expenses up front in this section and included the Seattle housing stuff under the Housing heading.


Moving Expenses $3,053.44:

We will ask for $3.052.39 of this to be reimbursed, so I am only counting $1.05 against our money puddle this month. In addition to the pod-based moving company we used, we bought some moving supplies.


Cross-Country Trip $2,317.97:

This is the full cost of our road trip, including lodging, food, entertainment, etc. We will ask for $1,339.71 of this to be reimbursed, so I am only counting $978.26 against our money puddle (purely vacation expenses). I’ll publish a post next week with all the vacation spending details.


Housing and Utilities

  • rent in Durham $910: We paid for a full month of rent in Durham despite moving out mid-month. More on this in another post.
  • rent+wsg in Seattle for July $48: One day!
  • rent+wsg in Seattle for August $1495: Our rent is $1,375, and water/sewer/garbage is $60/month/person.
  • one-time fees and charges $302.48: This was a processing fee, two application fees, and finance charges for getting money orders.
  • security deposit in Seattle $1375
  • electricity $115.50: Not bad for the summer!
  • internet $34.99
  • cell phones $4.07: This month, we had our normal cell phone costs of $26.43 Republic Wireless and $35 for Cricket Wireless, and we also received Kyle’s reimbursement from his former Verizon account of $57.46.
  • water $35


last meal in our townhouse in Durham

last meal in our townhouse in Durham


  • groceries $205.91: This was mostly for our time in Durham and a couple trips once we got to Seattle so we could contribute some food to parties.
  • eating out in Durham $113.12: We ate out a ton in Durham in the first half of the month because 1) we were being unusually social saying goodbye to friends, 2) Kyle had a few ‘bucket list’ restaurants to try, and 3) we packed up our cooking stuff a few days before we left.
  • eating out in Seattle $255.26: This is insanity! We were in Seattle for about a week at the end of the month and eating out once or twice per day because we had no means of cooking. We also took our friends out for a meal as a thank-you for letting us stay with them. I can’t believe how expensive eating out consistently is!!



  • gas $61.48: This is two fill-ups in Durham.
  • parking $12.28: We are so unaccustomed to paying for parking, but it seems to be an occasional necessity in Seattle. I’m hoping it won’t happen as often once we get settled in and are not running all over the city on weird errands. I downloaded a parking app to my phone and linked up my credit card for convenience, but that seems a bit dangerous!


fresh haircuts mid-roadtrip

fresh haircuts mid-roadtrip

Personal Care and Shopping

  • drugstore $4.76
  • ponchos $17.26: We bought these the day we were going to Six Flags because rain was predicted; we used them that day and in Yellowstone. I think they will come in handy in Seattle as well!
  • medical co-pay $15.42: We realized just before Kyle finished working at our university that we had to use up the funds in our FSA, so we both got eye exams and so forth. All that was reimbursed except for this remaining partial co-pay.
  • haircuts $40: We didn’t find the time to cut our hair before we left Durham, so we got it cut at a Great Clips in Louisville.
  • Amazon Prime $49


enjoying fireworks out on a lake!

about to enjoy fireworks out on a lake!


  • student loan payment $98.46
  • Netflix $21.48
  • July 4 entertainment $100: We spent a wonderful weekend with some friends on a lake; this was our portion of the gas and fireworks.
  • postcards $2.91: We bought these in Yellowstone.
  • stamps $2.45
  • shipping $17.30: We mailed a gift to a friend.


Reimbursed from Charitable Giving





Money Puddle: $2,638.04

Total Spending: $6,316.44

Difference: -$3,678.40


Holy what. So much spending against the money puddle, even more awaiting reimbursement. I am so so so so so glad we built up our savings during grad school so we can handle this without relying on credit cards.


When was your last bloodbath month for spending, and what was the reason? How much cash did you lay out the last time you moved into a new residence? What was your latest frugal win?


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7 Responses to "July 2015 Money Puddle and Spending Report"

  1. Fiby says:

    “I downloaded a parking app to my phone and linked up my credit card for convenience, but that seems a bit dangerous!”
    Did you mean dangerous because you’re storing credit card information, or because that’ll make it easier for you to park and you might park more?

    Nice find on the couch! I’ve gotten a bunch of furniture for cheap used, but never free.

    My last month was also a pretty spendy month because I also moved. I also had to pay a full month’s rent for my old place despite moving out mid month. Then I bought some more furniture and a dehumidifier.
    Though it helped that my parents gave me money on my birthday haha.
    Rent for the old place: $500
    Rent for the new place: $540
    Application fee: $62.50 (this is actually “cancelled out” by a $100 discount on August’s rent)
    Utilities for new place: $32 (will be higher going forward, this is just Internet where you know the cost of next month’s service)
    Renter’s insurance (prepaid one year) for new place: $155
    Modem for Internet because I don’t want to pay $7/month to “rent” a modem: $66
    Security Deposit; $0 This was really weird (but hey I’m not complaining!) They checked my credit and said oh no security deposit required.
    Some general stuff for the new place: $158 (LED lightbulbs, trash can, lamp, etc)
    Dehumidifier: 208

    Frugal wins (used on craigslist)
    Microwave: 20
    Futon: 20
    Kitchen table and 4 chairs: 50

    Extra eating out expenses: $29

    Total of the above: 1683
    I may have missed some stuff in the above.

    Total spending in July: 2330.29.

    In absolute terms actually, this isn’t that much different than how much I spend in months that I have to pay my school fees.

    1. Emily says:

      Re: parking. I was thinking the latter, but now that you mention it the former also makes me nervous! I try to avoid storing sensitive info on my phone.

      We gave some furniture away in Durham when we left, so I guess it’s coming around but we’re getting the better end?

      That’s great that you got a rent discount that offset the application fee and that they waived the deposit. When we started our rental life we had like $50 deposits, but more recently have been paying 1 month, ugh. I guess it’s because we moved away from large apartment complexes catering to students. Also, we totally concur on buying a modem. We actually were able to hook our internet up here the day we moved in because we already had all the equipment, which saved me a week of working in coffee shops waiting for the service provider appointment!

      Your move didn’t really add too many big expenses! Great job!

  2. I watched our checking account drop by $11K this past month, for much the same reason as the ones you cite. (Though some of that will be/has been reimbursed because it’s business travel– DH and I both bought plane tickets for work travel.)

    We scored a bunch of free furniture on loan from people who want some more space in their garages but aren’t yet ready to let go, but we have had to pay for, for example, a piano mover.

    (And I was feeling a bit grumpy about the 11K, even though we’ve budgeted over 80K for the year, but then I saw engineeringcents’ post on her monthly expenditures from renovating her new house and felt that 11K wasn’t so bad in retrospect.)

    1. Emily says:

      It is pretty surprising how expensive moving is, and housing transitions generally. Some of your costs and ours as well are reimbursable (travel, deposits), but it doesn’t make the meantime feel much better!

      That is great that you can use borrowed furniture! That never occurred to me, except for borrowing from my parents. I don’t know too many people with garages at this stage of life! 🙂

  3. It’s great to know that your saving backed you up. It’s good that you prepared much to cover such cases. Use of credit card is still good during this period as long as you pay it in full. Congrats Emily.

  4. […] at Evolving PF shared an update on her ‘money puddle’ and expenses. Emily and her husband recently finished grad school and just relocated to Seattle from Durham, […]

  5. […] was wrong about this month being a bloodbath on the income side. I mean, I was right about that, but this month was also a bloodbath on the expenses side! We had […]

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