Chronicles Of A Father With Cents

Simple Life. Personal Finance. Family

Expense Chronicles – January 2018 Prius Checkup, New Tires and Fitbits

Expense Chronicles

We got off to pretty crazy start for the new year for our expenses. We had some

spending for new tires for our Prius C and higher than usual restaurant expenses.

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 eliminate 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.

Here is our breakdown from the first month of 2018

Rent $ 1,000.00
Internet $ 50.00
Electricity $ 30.37
Car Insurance $ 85.73
Gas $ 39.48
Groceries $ 257.96
Restaurants/Fast Food $ 70.90
Retail Shopping $ 125.73
Mobile Phone $ 85.00
Service Check for Prius $ 306.81
New Tires for Prius $ 492.57
Eye Appointment Co-Payment $ 10.00
Total Expenses $ 2,554.55

Here is a breakdown of each category:

Rent: $1000.00

Mobile Phone: $85.00

Internet: $50.00

Gas: $39.48

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 – $30.37

Another cold month here in the Bay Area, which meant more usage of our space heater. At least our bill was a bit lower than last month.

Car Insurance – $85.73

I changed our deductibles from $500 to $1000 for both collision and comprehensive. That lowered about our base rate and our charge-per-mile rate a bit. So hopefully we can get to the lower $80s for our monthly insurance

Groceries – 257.96

Bought some lobster ravioli on a few occasions at Costco along with our usual items like milk, eggs, fruits and veggies.

Car Service Checkup – $306.81

It was our annual checkup for the Prius. When we first bought it in 2014, Toyota granted us complimentary maintenance for the first two years which was great. But now last year and this past month we had to pay out of pocket for the maintenance. Last year I had to pay around $130 and initially they were going to charge me over $600 over changing the oil, fluids, and filters, rotating the tires, and adjusted the brakes. Luckily I got a coupon from the dealership a month before for a charge of close to $300 for the checkup. That’s still lots to shell out for a service checkup. I may have to go to an independent one next time and it will probably be way less than $300. Or I may have to do it myself which will cost even less. I used to change oil and filers for my old car, a 2000 Honda Civic, so I have some experience doing some handy work on cars.

Unfortunately, they found that our tires were treading pretty low and could go out at any point. The warranty for the tires was around 30K miles and we had just drove over that amount so it was definitely for some new ones. They recommended to buy new tires for them for an additional $700. I passed up on their offer and went to Costco the next day.

New Tires for Prius – $492.57

As soon as I left the Toyota service center, I researched on where to get new tires at a good price. After looking through several tire shops, Costco had pretty good prices and went there the following day. Got some Bridgestone Ecopia for $80 each. That with all the additional charges like discarding of the old tires, labor for installing the new ones, and taxes came out to be close to $500. Hey it’s better than having it done by Toyota. I went there about an hour after it opened and dropped it off for the rest of the morning. Fortunately the Costco is about a 20 minute walk to my work so I was able to head thereafter and pick it up during my lunch break.

Retail Shopping – $125.73

So we bought some movie tickets as a late Xmas gift for my brother-in-law (Mother with Cents brother) and his wife (our sister-in-law) since they were in Asia during the holidays.

But the bigger story here is that we bought a couple of FitBits for Mother with Cents and my MIL from Kohls online for close to $200.

Right after placing the order, we got a standard email confirming it and stating they would ship it in a few days. A week passes by and still no status regarding the shipment of the FitBits. So I chatted with a Kohls rep online and informed me they would get on it and ship it immediately. A few days later receive the FitBits so good that we notified them…or so we thought. About a week after we received the FitBits, we got another package in the mail from Kohls, it was another pair of FitBits. I’m guessing that Kohls forgot to notify me that they ship out the first pair of FitBits and when the rep didn’t see any record of it they send out another pair of them. So now we got 4 of them for the price of 2. Not bad!! We took advantage of this by getting myself one and returning the other one. We got 3 FitBits for $100!!

Restaurants – $70.90

Our monthly stop at In N Out and some other places as well. We went to bakery called 85 degrees and they had various amounts of bread. Apparently this place is pretty popular because it took about a ten minute wait to buy these breads. But first we had to select which type of breads we wanted and since it was self-serviced, we picked out around five different types of bread. After picking them out, we stood in that long line. They are also popular with their various drink selection too. Everything came out to be $20 but that bread is pretty darn good.

With the recommendation from Cyn over at Saving with Sense, I bought a milk tea from the Boba Guys. I got jasmine milk tea, 75% sweet with almond jelly. Pretty good, may go there again soon.

I also went to Super Duper burger, popular local burger chain. This place is about a block away from my work for more than five years. I’ve been there once before but didn’t have a great reflection on how good their burgers were. After thinking about going there for almost a week, I convinced myself to go there and damn it was worth it. Super Duper has some pretty juicy burgers, maybe as good as In N out. But I don’t know if I can compare the two because the prices of Super Duper is twice as much as In N Out. I’ll comeback in six months to spend over $10 for a burger.

Vision Check-Up – $10

My first vision appointment since…well I believe when I was in grade school. My co-payment for a vision check is only $10 through Mother with Cents’ work so why not finally take advantage of it. Also, I thought it was about time that I have a check-up since I’m approaching my 40s and my eyes have been squinting a bit lately when driving at night. Turns out my eyes are a-ok! The optometrist did give me a prescription for glasses but said it was optional to get a pair since it will only slightly sharpen my vision at night but other than that, my vision is great. I’ll make this an annual trip to the optometrist


  1. I hate spending money at the dealership! I avoid them and just go to an independent place. Good for you to buy the tires at Costco!

    Lucky you your vision is good! Everything is blurry for me without glasses or contacts haha.

    • From now on, I’m going to an independent car repair shop. Going to the car dealership shops is way too much, should have only gone there when I had complimentary services for the first two years then shopped for an independent one.
      It’s good now but I’m afraid my vision will deteriorate within the next 5-10 years since I’m approaching my 40s. Gonna have a yearly check-up from now on.

  2. AHHHHHHHHH you tower of toots!!!!!!!!! I haven’t had Boba Guys for as long as I haven’t had a Super Duper burger. I didn’t get to go over Xmas. The in laws wanted to go to Habit Burger & Grill.

    It is pretty expensive though. Very hipster. I think my almost $6 garlic fries were delicious but it was almost $6 for a small side of potatoes.

    • Both Super Duper and Boba Guys are really tempting to go there a lot especially both establishments are by my work. But spending on expensive food will limit my visits there.

  3. I’m curious, do you have cable? I just realized that I didn’t see it on your list here. But either way, it’s nice to see how you are still able to keep your expenses so low. I wish my expenses could reflect yours lol. Keep it up! You’re doing great!

    • Thanks Melanie!! I cut out cable when we got married. I just rely on Youtube and borrow movies from the library as my entertainment now. It really saves nowadays because monthly cable bills can be up to $100 a month. Yikes!!

  4. I’m a straight boba fan, no weird jellies for me please. And I’m totally jealous of your free work food – definitely makes it easier to keep the grocery bill down.

  5. That burger looks realllly good.

    • Oh man that was a good burger, one the better ones I’ve had. I savored it because I won’t comeback for while since it’s an expensive burger.

  6. You’re so lucky to get lunch and/or dinner from your work!! That’s so awesome bc you don’t have to lug anything to work 😛

    And the fitbit… wow, that’s amazing how that happened! That’s like a steal… oopsies, looks like someone made a boo boo haha!!

    BTW, I LOVE bubble tea! So, I’m wondering… do all of you guys in the US call it boba tea?? Even though we have a few shops opened with the word “boba,” we still call it bubble tea here (or bbt)…

    As always, you’re expenses look great! You are always k-i-l-l-i-n’ it!

    • Thanks Panda!! I know right, I was surprised when we got that second package from Kohls, probably some type of mix up on their part. But hey we got 3 Fitbits from $100, good deal!!
      It’s either boba or bubble tea over here!! Even though it’s two different pronunciations for it, we all know it’s the same.

  7. Cars are so expensive! I had to buy new tires last year , I also went to Costco. They had the best deal. Now I am waiting for my winter tires to give:(
    Wow breakfast and lunch at work, wish we had that too!

    • Hey thanks for stopping by Caroline!! Can’t beat Costco even at their tire center, the only negative thing about their tire center is that they don’t do wheel alignment which I may have to check on sometime this month.

  8. Aww thanks for the mention and link! So glad you liked what you got at Boba Guys! Hopefully you don’t get addicted like I am! 😛

    I like Super Duper too. Their mini burger is the perfect size for me and it’s a pretty good price!

    That’s great that even with the car maintenance costs, your expenses for this month were still pretty low!

    • No problem Cyn, probably wouldn’t have gone there without your suggestion. 🙂 I’ll probably stay away from Boba Guys for a while, don’t want to get too addicted to it.
      Speaking of getting addicted, I could get easily hooked on Super Duper Burgers since its a block away from my work and the burgers are so juicy. I think their prices for burgers are a bit high compared to In N Out but it’s expected from a downtown establishment. I’ll make a stop every few months so I won’t kill my wallet that much.
      Yeah January was pretty high for my standards because of the car maintenance and the new tires. It should go back to normal in February!!

  9. Those expenses are amazingly low for the Bay Area!

    Fellow Prius owner here. We liked the customer service at the dealership, but the last straw was when they quoted something like $600 to replace a passenger-side mirror. Our local shop did it for about a tenth of that. With all the Priuses up there, there may be an independent shop that specializes in them–there are down here in Southern California.

    • Thanks for stopping by Frieda! Yeah I’m going to an independent shop from now on, the prices when getting service at the dealership are crazy high. The only good part was that they provided Lyft to and from work.
      That’s crazy, $600 to replace the side mirror just because it’s coming from Toyota.

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