Chronicles Of A Father With Cents

Simple Life. Personal Finance. Family

Expense Chronicles November 2017 – Car Registration and the Steam Train

Expense Chronicles1

This was an unusual month of spending for us as it always is this time of year with the holiday season.  If you haven’t seen my past expense chronicles you can look at them here.

This is a monthly check up of my expenses and it is broken up into categories.  Few things to note:

  • We are a one car family so our gas and car insurance charges are all for our Toyota Prius C
  • We both drive to work at different times of the day which is why we are able to own just one car and eliminates monthly public transit costs.  And fortunately both of our parking spaces are free which eliminates parking costs.
  • I do have complimentary breakfast and lunch at my work. If the food is really good that day I usually take a box to go for dinner.  But on some occasions I bring my own lunch if I don’t feel like eating the food from work
  • We mainly use credit cards for our purchases and pay it in full each month.

With that said, here is how our expenses went in November

Rent  $   1000.00
Gas  $        42.48
Mobile Phone  $        85.00
Internet  $        50.00
Electricity  $        22.04
Car Insurance  $        88.94
Groceries  $      211.90
Restaurant/Fast Food  $        25.72
Retail Shopping  $      108.76
Car Registration  $      247.00
Blog Payment  $        79.00
FasTrak  $        25.00
Family Outings  $        35.93
Medical Expenses  $          5.00
 Total  $  2,026.77

Here is a breakdown of each category:

Rent: $1000.00

Mobile Phone: $85.00

Internet: $50.00

Gas: $42.48

These four categories are fixed costs for every month (our gas averages $40 a month).  If you want a breakdown of these categories you can check out my July Expense Report

Electricity – $22.04

Back at it’s normal monthly rate.  After last month where we only paid $5.17 because of their yearly credit to customers, we are back at the usual $20-25 rate.  It may be higher next month since we have been using the space heater lately in the morning when I’m getting ready for work and feeding Baby with Cents with his morning milk.

Car Insurance – $88.94

We went across the bay twice to Tilden Park where they have various kid friendly options such as the petting farm and steam train.  So since our insurance, MetroMile, is a pay-per-mile company our monthly charge was bit up again for driving the close to 50 miles to and from the park.

Groceries – $211.90

Nothing unusual this month.  We did our rounds at Costco and Trader Joe’s and buying our usual fruits, veggies and milk.  We bought granola cereal and toothpaste that were on sale at Costco during the month.  Costco also had weekly sales to promote the holiday season approaching and bought a couple bags of wontons so we can make some soup its getting a bit colder (I know it’s ridiculous saying its cold in the Bay Area compared to anywhere else in the country but for us it’s cold). Also we had to buy some expensive multi-grain bread for Baby with Cents since he has a likening to it lately.

Restaurants/Fast Food – $25.72

Another month of In N Out and Dominos sprinked with a dash of a free burger at Red Robin.  We bought a couple of medium pizzas at Dominos because we were close to getting free pizza.  After a couple of days of ordering the pizza, the points kicked in and qualified for a free medium pizza.  We immediately took advantage of the offer and ordered another one.  We brought it to my brother and sister in-laws house so we can have some family time with Baby with Cents while chowing down on some good free pizza.


Mmmm….In N Out Burger

Also it was Mother with Cents birthday early in the month and her request is a free burger at Red Robin for her birthday gift.  For those that live by the gourmet burger chain, if you sign up and get their red robin royalty card you can use it during the month of your birthday and get a free burger.  We have been doing this for almost five years now where we both have royalty card and are guaranteed a free burger twice a year.  It’s perfect timing too since our birthdays are about four months apart (July and November) and have that craving for a gourmet burger because after we’re finished with it we don’t another one for a while.

Retail Shopping – $108.76

Yikes…this is a lot for us.  Ok so first we fell for the retail shopping trap at Kohls where they had multiple sales during November.  First it was during Veteran’s Day weekend in which they mailed us coupons for up to 30% off.  So we went and use it for toddler clothes for Baby with Cents and a pair of Nikes for Mother with Cents.

We continued our shopping at the closing Gymboree and bought some socks and more toddler clothes for Baby with Cents

Car Registration – 247.00

It’s our annual payment for the car registration so we can get piece of paper in our glove compartment and bright colored sticker.  Hopefully the price will go down next year since it will be four years since we bought the Prius

Blog Payment – $79.00

I have officially switched to self-hosting.  After researching the good and bad of staying with Word Press or jumping to self host on Blue Host. I decided that self-hosting is best since I get to control all of my content and have the option to monetize.  After a couple of days to figuring out how to transfer the domain to Blue Host, I got the blog up and running.  I still get to use the Word Press features so it wasn’t a tough transition.

FasTrak – $25.00

The amount in our account was running low after we crossed the Bay Bridge from the Petting Farm in the east bay, FasTrak automatically charged $25 to add to our account.  For those unfamiliar, FasTrak is an electronic toll collection in which they provide drivers with a device that we use to cross bridges and toll roads.  After crossing a toll bridge or road, the device collects the info and deducts it from our account.

Family Outings – 35.98

We took Baby with Cents on a steam train in the East Bay.  The train ride costs $3 each with kids under 4 is free.  We went ahead and bought $12 worth because we have a pretty good idea that we will come back again.  The train ride was not only fun for Baby with Cents but also for us parents.  Hearing the train blow some steam going around the park felt like we could go on it much longer.  We are definitely going back…maybe before the end of the year.20171125_132434

After the steam train, we went back to the petting farm since it was close by.  This was our second time going to the petting farm in the last two months. Baby with Cents really loves going here and feeding the animals especially the cows.  Since we are only allowed to feed them celery or lettuce, we brought two heads of celery for the cows.  This place is becoming a go-to spot for us.

We also rented a row boat the day after Thanksgiving and rowed around Stow Lake in Golden Gate Park.  There were a lot of people on the lake that day using either a row boat like us or a paddle boat.  We opt to row boat since it was cheaper option at $22(plus tax) but maybe next time we will go for the paddle boat since they are easier to go navigate around the lake. It’s only $5 more than the row boat so it looks something fun to try next time.  Baby with Cents enjoyed being a boat for the first time by always pointing all the ducks and gooses that were on the lake.

Medical Expenses – $5

I had my yearly check-up with the doctor and everything was a-ok.  But I should start shedding some pounds because I haven’t had a full workout since Baby with Cents was born. When I checked in at the doctor’s office, I weighted over 200 lbs.  This is first time I’ve been at that weight since I’m usually hovering 175-185 lbs for the longest time and with my height being 5’10 it’s an ideal weight.  We don’t have a weighting scale at home so I was afraid of how much I would weigh when I went to the appointment. This is motivation for me to really cut down and fit a workout schedule in.

What do you think of our expenses? How was your expenses in November? Feel free to comment below.



  1. Wow I think your expenses are super reasonable, especially in the Bay Area. It’s amazing how you guys manage to keep your food expenses at a such a great level!

    • We are incredibility fortunate that our food expenses are really low. It’s a combination of having free food at work, living close by both of your parents so can offer us food and limiting snacks at home.

  2. We love the Tilden Park steam train! I just wish it didn’t take so long to get over there. I love how low your expenses are, that’s so awesome. Ours remained high but with recent events developing, we should be clawing back some of our income.

    We keep thinking of doing the paddle boating when we’re in the city but never remember to plan doing it on purpose. Maybe we’ll put that on the list to do for JB’s birthday.

    • You should really consider doing the paddle boating at Stow Lake. It can fit up to 6 people so it’s perfect for the whole family and a great way to spend a birthday. It takes an hour to get around the lake and plus you guys can see ducks and nice views of GGP.

  3. Hey Kris!!

    It’s nice to see how you break down your expenses for the month! That way you see exactly where the money goes. Fantastic job!

    BTW, your Restaurant/Fast Food is really good for the month!! I was surprised at the number. I saw that number and thought to myself “why couldn’t we have that number??” I also really like In ‘N Out Burger. It’s a smart idea to sign up for some rewards to get a free burger for the year. Too bad we don’t have In ‘N Out here in Canada. We don’t have Shake Shack either… gosh….. what do we have??? 😦

    Overall, great job with the tracking! Keep it up, Kris!

    • Thanks panda! I heard that burger chain in Canada, Burger’s Priest is their version of In N Out. Have you tried it out?
      We try to limit our spending for restaurants to one or two outings a month. Unfortunately December is off to bad start, we already went to Chipotle twice for their veggie burrito bowl,

  4. Your car registration/insurance is so low. Mine is about $1800 for the year. I like the idea of a pay per use insurance.

    When I go to Costco (rarely because I don’t have a membership) we usually spend over $100 so I’m so impressed your food expenses are so low.

    Mm free red robin burger! Happy birthday to mother with cents!

    • Wow $1800 is a lot, I really hate how high car insurance costs but their’s no way around it.
      The way it’s looking, our total for car insurance and registration is going to be around $1100. Hopefully it’s going to be lower next year, aiming for under $1000.

      • PS I almost bought a Toyota Prius C a few years ago, I LOVEEEED the turquoise colour. I ended up with a Honda FIT. I kind of regret it because I just drove a hybrid recently (though Turo rental) and it’s awesome how little gas you need!

        Did you get the electric orange colour? 😉

        Oh well, maybe in 10 more years I will get a hybrid 🙂

        • Unfortunately we got a boring gray colored prius c..😳😄 but we did consider a lime green one but it wasn’t available at that time.
          The gas mileage is great, we get about 45-50 miles for every gallon.

  5. I’ve never been to Red Robin, didn’t even know we had that chain in the bay! What’s so yummy about it compare to the golden burger Gods like In n Out and (Omg) Super Duper Burger? (Is it because it’s free hahaha.) What a frugal mom!

    • There is a Red Robin in San Bruno by Tanforan Mall. That’s where we went to get our burger. They have different types of burgers, more than In N Out and Super Duper(great burgers btw). They also add-on unlimited steak fries with your burger if you dine in with honey mustard dipping sauce. But mainly go here because it’s free, lol!!

  6. A Prius C! Living the dream!

    I’m stuck fueling a 2005 Grand Caravan for now 🙁

    Great post, thanks for such a transparent report.

    • Thanks for stopping by Mike. Talk about fuel efficient car, our prius can go about 2 weeks without stopping at the gas station and that’s driving close to 300 miles during that time span.
      I try to make it as transparent as I can and with these expenses being very recent, it makes it easier to detail them.

  7. Oh man, our spending is soo similar! And you live in a way more expensive area with an extra mouth to feed! I’m impressed!

    • Thanks Mrs. Kiwi, appreciate you stopping by the blog. I’m fortunate to have family around us to take care of the little one, a workplace that provides free food and a wife that’s really low maintenance when it comes to spending.

  8. I love how you have such frugal birthday traditions! It really shows how much you value just being together and enjoying each other’s company than going all out for a $$$$ meal!

    Always impressed with your shopping habits, you guys are great at holding back! That’s not too shabby for holiday spending 🙂

    • Thanks Jing! It looks like our holiday spending is shooting way up here in December so the expenses will look a bit(or may a lot since we’re not halfway through the month yet) different than November.

  9. Self-hosting is the way to go. Also impressed by the $200 monthly grocery bill. We spend more than triple that. Keep up the good work!

    99to1percent recently posted…How we live on 15% of our income

    • Thanks Ms99to1%! Mother with Cents doesn’t like it when were close the $300 range for our groceries, hahaha!! I told her that’s really low especially with baby but she’s determined to keep it under $250. Hey I’m all for it!! 🙂

  10. Your son is so cute!

    We had a Prius once. It was with us for a few week but it was awesome to have even if it was just for a short time. It saved me so much gas money! I would spend about $220 a month on gas for two cars and we always alternate the cars throughout the week. It also doesn’t help that our cars are gas guzzlers, Toyota Tacoma, and a 4Runner. If either car one day breaks down, I would love to have an electric car.

    • Oh man, $220 a month! That’s a lot for gas. We are on track to spend just under $500 on gas for the whole year. Fortunately it planned out great for us because the both of us can take it to work since we work at different shifts and go out together with Baby with Cents.

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