Golden Gate Bridge as Seen From Alcatraz Island

Golden Gate Bridge as Seen From Alcatraz Island

As September began, we found ourselves in San Francisco, visiting friends and former coworkers.  We blew enormous amounts of cash as we bounced all over the bay area on the BART and Caltrain, and ate our weight in local cuisine.

Back up in the Pacific Northwest, we made a 4-day trip to the Olympic Peninsula to explore Olympic National Park.  We made it just before the jokers in DC shut it down.  The elk we saw probably appreciate that

As the month came to an end, so did our time in the US.  We met up with a few more friends and then hid ourselves away to finish packing, before boarding a flight to Mexico (otra vez)

We were still house sitting in Seattle in September, so we had no rent and access to a car with only fuel costs.  Fortunately, the price tag on our days in SF was significantly reduced by staying with friends.  Thank you!  This meant our only housing related costs this month were for camping in Olympic National Park

Housing prices in the SF Bay Area are astronomically high.  I believe that the majority of people in the region spend more on housing than we do on our entire cost of living, and then spend the rest of their hard earned money on getting from place to place.  I’m convinced the entire region’s zoning was designed by the automobile and oil companies.  To support this, incomes in the area are also quite high… great for working hard and saving hard.

Food spending was up this month, due to our extravagant exploration of San Francisco.  We spent $586 at restaurants in 10 days, more than 2x what we spent the entire rest of the month.  C’est la vie

In what is hopefully the beginning of a trend, we had dinners at the homes of 7 different friends this month.  (You would think that would cut down on restaurant spending…)  Preparing and sharing meals with friends is an ideal evening, especially when there is a little wine involved.  Dear friends, come eat with us in Mexico!

With all of that money spent on food, alcohol spending should have soared, but no.  We only spent $27 on drinks this month.  This was likely due to our livers needing a break after Burning Man.

We spent a hefty sum on transportation this month, including $178 getting around the Bay Area.  The bus system in SF is incredibly good value, only $2 to get anywhere in the city, but the BART and CalTrain systems are a bit ridiculous.  We also took a couple taxis and Uber rides, mostly late at night.  Maybe we should have bought a bike instead.  We also dropped some cash on a flight from SFO to SEA, paid the taxes and a checked bag fee on our free flight to Mexico, and filled up the tank on the Ford Escape we were looking out for in Seattle.

We had a few experiences we splurged on while in SF as well, dropping $104 on foot massages in China Town, and $60 on tickets to tour Alcatraz.

Our miscellaneous budget included some gadget repairs and purchases.  We got a 2nd Kindle on Craigslist for $50, which should increase harmony during our leisure time.  Our iPhone camera stopped working some months ago, which cost $64 to replace.  Now that we have it again, it will probably just be used for taking pictures of food.  We also added $182 worth of clothing to the wardrobe/backpack, replacing some items that have become worse for wear

In the “Other” category, for irregular or non-travel related expenses, we purchased a refurbished Vitamix blender for $360.  This replaces one we donated to my sister when we sold everything we owned, and will take on the role of green smoothie machine at our rental in Mexico.

A detailed breakdown of total expenses is shared in the table below

DetailsSeptember 2013Notes
LocationUnited StatesSan Francisco, Olympic Peninsula, Seattle
Housing$47House sitting
3 nights camping
Healthcare$233Monthly HDHP Premium
Transportation$651SF Transit: $178
SFO to SEA flight: $168
SEA to BJX flight: $56
Checked bag fee: $40
Dining Out$851SF: $586
Entertainment$203Foot massages: $104
Alcatraz: $60
Sol Duc hot springs: $24.50
Olympic National Park fee: $15
Miscellaneous$306Clothes: $182
iPhone repair: $65
Kindle: $50
Other Expenses Nonrecurring and atypical travel costs
Vitamix Blender$360
Total Other$360
Total Spending$3,123$104/day

Overall, spending was high due to living like rock stars and several 1-time purchases.  During the remainder of the year we will be in Mexico, where spending will likely be closer to our previous Mexican average of $80 – $90 a day (while still living like rock stars)


Retire Early.
Travel the World.

Retire Early.

Travel the World.

Let's do this.

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