Closing Out the Books for February 2020

Brett’s budget journals aren’t as pretty as this one, but he gets everything in there to keep us on track. Receipts are taped in, the daily average for the month is computed (as well as our average for the location), and steps taken and stairs climbed that day are noted as well. It’s an ingrained habit now, something he’ll continue to do long after we stop traveling.

We did OK in February. Not great, but not bad either. Our daily spending average for the month of February was $39/day; we ended the month with an average of $33.91. We can live with that.

Our commissary shop plus two trips to the mini-mart at Hardy Barracks and the New Sanno are a big reason for the elevated average last month, but I’m happy to report that we have lots of food on hand, probably a little more than three weeks’ worth. Our freezer is stuffed full of food! We also picked up extra supplies at Tokyu and at Kaldi Coffee Farm (cheese, peanut butter and oatmeal) this month. We have sufficient supplies of paper products to get us through the rest of our stay. We want to have plenty on hand if the virus situation here takes a turn for the worse.

March may or may not be a challenge. It’s a 31-day month, and there is nothing remaining out of the $400 we brought along for commissary shopping, so we’re going to have to stay within our limit of ¥40,000 for the month for food. That’s only around $12/day for food for the two of us. Our monthly budget of ¥80,000 only gives us about $24/day, our lowest budget amount since we began traveling. This is where our food stockpile will come in handy – when those items are gradually added back in over the next few weeks we should be OK. As we won’t be traveling daily to pick up the grandkids or going out sightseeing our transportation costs will be lower as well. We’ve done much better than expected at keeping our dining out expenses well below ¥3000 per week, and that will continue too. We do have one big event coming up at the end of the month – our 41st anniversary – but we haven’t decided yet what or if we’ll be doing (if anything) for that special event.

So, here we go again, with fingers crossed!


12 thoughts on “Closing Out the Books for February 2020

  1. I am confident you will be fine.
    Maybe you need to dip into April a bit for a nice dinner for your anniversary?
    Feb was our best month for a long, long time. Our food budget is down, as is discretionary spending. WE have been working on it—for sure!
    The virus keeps my hubby in, but if I can live through that flu, I can handle anything!
    Just wondering. Are there any loans your daughter can take out that do not incur interest until graduation? My dil did that. Her dad paid it a few months after she graduated- establishing a great credit history and giving him time to save. Just a thought….


    1. Fingers are crossed here that our food budget will drop this month because we have so much on hand now. The issue will be how we use it – we don’t want to use everything at once, but make it last for another 4-6 weeks. Our discretionary spending is way down as well, especially for Japan. This month will help as well because we will be over at our son’s almost every day to help with the kids. We should be fine, if we’re careful.

      Our daughter will most likely be taking out subsidized loans even with the amount we contribute, and we’d like her to borrow as little as possible as both her sisters graduated/will graduate with no debt. We will be helping through January 2021. The one thing we have in our favor with YaYu is that she is VERY frugal, and will work hard, take extra jobs, etc. in order to not have to borrow, or borrow as little as possible. We are curious to see what she will be doing this summer!


  2. I am again so impressed by your spending discipline. Good for you two! I’m sure you’ll find something meaningful and not very expensive to celebrate your anniversary. Happy Anniversary, you’ve got a good number worth of celebrating!


    1. The thing we’re discovering is that the longer we go, the easier the budgeting gets, and the less we want to spend. Our travel days have really whipped our budgeting into shape, and we’ll have no trouble keeping it up once we’re done.

      Two funny things about our anniversary – when I set off for school (I was in the navy then), my mom’s last plea was, “For God’s sake, Laura – don’t marry a sailor!” When I told her I was engaged, she came right down to meet Brett, but thought he was fantastic, and she was his biggest fan for the rest of her life. Also, when I said I was going to get married, so many of my co-workers told me not to, that it would never last! Guess that advice wasn’t so good either.


  3. Where do you go next? Are you concerned about being refused entry coming from Japan unless of course you are US bound. I must admit you may have said and I have forgotten. I have a trip to Asia booked for July and am watching the situation develop wondering if at some stage I will just have to eat the cancellation fees and come up with a Plan B.


    1. We havent revealed our next destination yet – it will be a mystery until we arrive. However, currently there will be no problems for us entering – we check frequently. Japan is doing a very good job of keeping the virus in check here so hopefully that will continue. I’m actually more worried about the U.S. right now – the virus has the potential to explode there thanks to lack of preparation and education. It’s coming now, but it may be too late.

      We always have a plan B! Thankfully we’ve never had to execute it, but it’s always there, just in case.


  4. I love your budget posts. Always keeps me in line! On another note, had a good post-op visit with surgeon’s P.A. yesterday. Les got his psa and it’s still undetectable. Yippee!


    1. Thanks Joy – writing them helps us see how well we did and where we need to improve. Keeping the journal has been good training for us.

      Good news for both you and Les! Kaua’i was definitely the right place for you to settle. Can we call Les cured yet (20 years clear for Brett this year!)


  5. Love the detail on the budget. Thank you.
    I wanted to share with you the following:

    Had an interesting bit of information to come my way today. Someone we know of just got back from Japan and as a healthcare professional along with spouse both are under self quarantine for two weeks. No I do not know the purpose of the visit to Japan. This self quarantine is an abundance of caution and most likely what was advised by health professionals/maybe employers. This ripple effect has impacted a larger number of people as an event had to be canceled due to inability with short notice to find a replacement as one person in the household cannot participate due to protocols. Perhaps your next adventure will not be in the states. But it also brings home to me the necessity to be vigilant with washing, disinfecting and taking extra precautions. And that this virus is all around as we do already have cases in our state. Whereas until the last ten days it was in other places but now is here. Please take care and safe travels.


    1. I feel some days that I am going to wash my skin right off, but we are vigilant about handwashing, etc. I sure wish we could find some hand sanitizer, but the shelves are still empty. We don’t have a choice about travel as we have to leave Japan in April (so we don’t overstay our visa), but are already doing research, taking precautions, etc. We have heard from our airline about what they are doing, and feel good about that for now.

      I wonder if your friends were in any way connected with the situation on the Island Princess? So far we’ve seen nothing to indicate that we will have to self-quarantine, but we are aware that things can change, and change quickly.

      March’s budget is going to be interesting as the dollar is falling against the yen, and our money is not going to go as far. So far we’re doing OK, but we’re going to have to be very careful in the coming weeks.


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