Calligraphy for Posers

August was an exciting month for our family, with confirmation that Winnie is pregnant with our first child.  With that much excitement, we didn’t have much time or energy for other activities.

A baby on the way has impacted other things…  we are having more meals at home and have hired somebody to help with cleaning and home care a few hours a week.  Based on the advice of her flute teacher, Winnie is putting her flute lessons on hold until things are more stable.  She has also decided to avoid contact with the chemicals in oil paints, so no more art classes for awhile

Eating more meals at home has affected our grocery spending and dining habits.  We even ventured to the local Costco for the first time for some heavy duty shopping

With all of these changes our spending patterns shifted around a lot, but the total was roughly similar to previous months in Taiwan

Full details below

August 2014 Monthly Expenses1

  • Housing – When we first arrived in Taipei, we found a great apartment for rent. Total cost is 31,500 TWD (~$1,050)
  • Healthcare – I had a follow-up visit to the Dentist to get 3 fillings replaced.  Winnie paid for her health insurance, which included back payments (~$12.50/month.)
  • Transportation – We regularly ride free bikes around the city, along with riding buses, the subway, and taxis. We took a few more taxis than is typical for visits to the Doctor, and Winnie is no longer riding bikes
  • Groceries – Our grocery spending in August was $534, substantially higher than in previous months in Taiwan.  This includes a large amount of meat and fish from a local organic farm, and about $190 of meat, nuts, frozen fruit, Greek yogurt, cheese, and vegetables from Costco
  • Dining Out – Our big dining out reductions didn’t happen until later in the month, so spending is still in line with previous months.  Total was $797, or about $13/person/day
  • Entertainment – Winnie had oil painting classes this month, and we attended a photo exhibit of the Life Magazine portfolio.  We also had a few small purchases from iTunes and Kindle
  • Misc – I continue to study Chinese 3 hours a day.  We also purchased a Costco membership and basic living supplies at the warehouse for the coming months.  We have now also added a house cleaner with a weekly fee of 1100 TWD (~$37) for 4 hours
DetailsAug 2014Notes
Housing$1,050Our sweet Taipei rental
Healthcare$184W insurance: $51
W dentist: $5
J dentist: $128
Transportation$150Free public bikes
Typical bus ride: $0.50
Typical subway ride: $0.80
Typical taxi ride: $4
Groceries$534Costco: $190
Farm delivery: $87
Dining Out$797~$13/person/day
Entertainment$105Oil painting classes: $65
Random kindle and itunes: $25 (includes baby book)
Life photo exhibit: $15
Misc$600Chinese class: $370
Misc Costco: $100
Costco membership: $40
Cleaning: $37
Cell phone bill: $22

We didn’t find nearly the selection of fresh produce at the Taipei Costco that we were hoping for, based on our experiences back in Seattle.  Instead of large boxes of greens for salads we settled for packages of nuts and yogurt, and what is probably a lifetime supply of toothbrushes.  We consider our Costco experiment to be a failure, and probably won’t go back.

In “Other” expenses this month, I’ve accounted for the full IVF and baby care to date, including related expenses like Chinese Medicine and home pregnancy tests.  I will continue to account for baby specific medical expenses in this other category, since they are atypical and unrelated to a travel lifestyle

Other Expenses Atypical and Nonrecurring expenses
IVF Expenses$5,502All expenses, including freezing embryos and sperm for potential future use
Male contribution to IVF Expenses$855due to previous vasectomy
Chinese Medicine$723herbs from pregnancy specialist
Other Baby Expenses$84Unscheduled Dr visits, home pregnancy tests, misc
Total Other Expenses$7,165All Baby related
Total August Expenses$10,594


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