We started the new year right on track as far as our expenses go, spending a total of $1,826.71 in January. And we track everything — tips to the parking guys, the coca cola at the little market up the street, and every toll we pay along the highways. It was difficult tracking everything at first, but now we’re used to it. It’s just part of what we do on a regular basis.
We fell well within our goal of $2,000 per month. One of the only categories that was higher than anticipated was groceries. We had some weekend guests — a family of five — and that contributed to the higher cost of groceries in January.
Our other high category was Office/Postal for two reasons. One, we bought printer cartridges for our new Epson printer. As they told us when we bought it, the cartridges are less expensive than we were used to paying for our previous HP printer. But what they didn’t tell us is that the cartridges don’t last nearly as long, and you need four different ones if you want to print in color. The other reason we spend more in this category is that it was time to renew our P.O. Box for the coming year. The cost: 14,000 colones (about $28-$30, depending on the exchange rate). In the past, the renewal fee was only 10,000 colones so this year there was a big rate jump.
We went shopping for new clothes at our local Ropa Americana (one of our “Money Saving Tips”) and each of us came away with three new pieces for 2,000 colones per piece (about $4 each, for a total of $24).