2016 by the numbers: $187.36 on sweet potatoes?

55 thoughts on “2016 by the numbers: $187.36 on sweet potatoes?”

  1. Seriously…who keeps track of how much you spend on sweet potatoes? LOL

    It’s pretty impressive actually. I categorize the spending for all of our receipts, but I never go so far as to enter individual items!

    Does she need a hobby?

    1. Ha! Yeah, she’s the spreadsheet queen of the family. It’s pretty amazing what she can do with an Excel spreadsheet and some formulas. πŸ˜‰

  2. Wow that is some detail! I wish I could get that granular but have never taken the time. Similarly though, I do love excel!

    Where you on the campground as long as you lived in the house? I’m trying to remember back and I seem to recall you selling the houses in the first half of 2016. So apples to apples the “expensive” campground looks even cheaper?

    I look forward to seeing how the numbers change throughout 2017. Thanks for the update!

    1. Hey Green Swan! We sold the first house in April and the second house in August, so yeah, we were in the Airstream for over half the year. It’s made a world of difference in our utility bills, not to mention the cost of “rent” itself.

  3. Damn you are hardcore… Tracking exactly how much you spent on sweet potatoes. But I love it! Maybe that’s something we need to look into for our budget.

    1. Hehe, thanks Tawcan. I will say that tracking expenses down to this level does help us to make cheaper meals. We can pinpoint the ingredients that we spend the most money on throughout the year and made a more informed decision about whether it’s worth it or not. Sweet potatoes definitely are! πŸ™‚

  4. Congrats again on the early retirement last year! I am so envious; the thought of dumping the house and living in an ultra-cool Airstream sounds wonderful to me. Unfortunately, we have a 7 year-old mini monster in school. Ugh.

    At any rate, I can’t say we can deduce the cost of every item we bought in 2016, but I can say with certainty that I spent absolutely nothing on clothes, thanks to my clothes-buying ban, which was surprisingly easy and has been seamlessly extended for another year πŸ™‚ One item I know we spent too much of our hard earned cash on last year was grain-free dog food. Our one dog has allergies so it’s a must. Our other dog doesn’t but it’s too difficult to try to feed them different food. Plus, grain-free is a good option. Our goal for 2017 is to find a brand that meets our needs and doesn’t drain our wallets.

    Nice job on cutting expenses with a little creativity. I look forward to cheering you and your wife on in the new year! Congrats on the broccoli substitute, too πŸ™‚

    Mrs. Mad Money Monster

    1. Hey, spending nothing on clothes is a HUGE achievement. I did buy a rain coat last year because I didn’t have one, and maybe a pair of socks, but other than that, I was pretty lean in that department as well. I very rarely buy clothes.

      Our dog has a gluten sensitivity. We found that the Costco-brand dog food (the beef/sweet potato flavor) is best for her. And since it’s from Costco, it’s pretty darn cheap for us to buy.

    2. I second Costco food, I did a lot of research to find quality food at a reasonable price and Costco was the best option. We use the Chicken for small breeds and it has worked out well.

  5. Very cool. I have nothing like at level of granularity. A question, is the w and who houses counting the payout from selling your own home. Doesn’t that kind of offset? Where do your expenses stand on things like insurance?

        1. Oh! Umm, we probably paid for a quarter of the trailer with the equity of my wife’s house…maybe. The house that I lived in and rented out for a couple years, however, definitely lost a LOT of money. Buying that house was probably the worst financial decision that I’ve ever made.

  6. Now that is some extreme expense tracking! I’m a details guy but even that is too detailed for me. Keep doing what works for you. Looks like you had a nice 2016!

    And I love Personal Capital. I probably check it too often, but I love seeing my results each day and how my return compares to the market. Even on bad days, if I lost less than the S&P did, I’m happy!

    1. Thanks Go F’ Yourself. Honestly, I probably check Personal Capital too often as well, but that’s okay. I know the market will go up and down, so I’m not overly excited/saddened by fluctuations that I see by looking a couple times a week. πŸ™‚

  7. I enjoy sweet potatoes, but I’m not sure I’ve gotten that details to know how much I’ve spent on them in 2016. We use a combination of excel and personal capital to track our money. We do not go as far as tracking individual food items, but do track categories/buckets.

    1. Thanks Brian – before I married the wife, that’s what I did too and it worked perfectly fine for me. She’s just a little more…detailed oriented than I am. πŸ™‚

  8. Hey, sweet potatoes are a superfood! The more you spend on that means the more you’re getting them in your diet. Oh, it’s funny that you mention black beans right after sweet potatoes. Have you baked sweet potatoes, covered them in black beans, and added a little sauce? Man! That’s some good eatin’. Good job on the numbers though! Those savings rates are pretty impressive!

  9. Duuuude I love the savings rate you got without the home!!! After becoming a homeowner myself I can attest that it is, indeed, stupid-expensive.

    Hahaha, that’s a lot of sweet potatoes! But in all fairness potatoes and beans are pretty darn cheap and reasonably healthy, so I wouldn’t be too ticked off about that. At least y’all are making an effort to cook more at home. If we lived on the road full-time I’m sure we’d be tempted to eat out more often.

    We don’t track particular food items, but we do track our cost per meal each month. In the last year we’ve gone down from $10/meal to $3/meal, which is AMAZING. We do keep a close eye on how much money we spend on beer, though, since it’s an unnecessary luxury that easily gets out of hand when we don’t monitor it.

    1. There are a lot of people who live in RVs who go out to eat a lot because they believe it’s tougher to cook. I understand that some RVs may not be setup as well as others, but if you have a sink and an oven, it’s perfectly fine cooking at home. I love going out to eat, though…unfortunately! πŸ™‚

  10. That is a kick ass savings rate, especially given that it was an ‘expensive’ year for you. I’m curious about your tanks. How long does the water last before you need to fill up? Is the gating factor typically the water supply or the waste tanks?

    Oh and have you tried your local Indian grocery store, if you have one, for cauliflower? Ours sells it much cheaper than the supermarket.

    1. Thanks Mrs. BITA! Regarding the water, we have a 62 gallon fresh water tank and it usually lasts a little more than a week before we need to fill up. We can extend that a little more if we conserve more water. Where ever we are, we plan to make a trip into town at least once a week, so that should give us enough water supply to last until our next trip.

      Oh, and haven’t looked at any Indian grocery stores in our area – not sure there are any, but then again, I haven’t specifically looked for them, either. Thanks for the tip, we’ll check that out!

  11. Wow! I thought I was an expert expense tracker, but I’ve been outdone. LOVE that your wife tracks money spent on individual food items! A super idea that I may just steal…(and will probably drive my husband insane!).

    1. Ha! Glad we could assist, Amanda. If you’re a natural organizer, it probably won’t be a big deal for you. The nice thing is…it does let you know if there are any ingredients that you might be able to switch out for something else to save some greeeeeeen.

  12. Nice 2016, and whoa on the granularity! Beer would be the only other foood item I might come close to saying I could track for the whole year, but that’s mainly because it mostly comes from my allowance, since Mrs. SSC doesn’t drink beer.

    We’ve done a couple of months where we keep our grocery receipts and did a detailed tracking, mainly to find out why overall grovery spending was up, and then it was easy to highlight where the big spenders were. That month we spent $44 in yogurt alone… Not surprisingly meat was our biggest other category, so we’ve done a good job of reducing that by watching for sales, and essentially not paying full price for meats.

    1. Good call on watching for meat sales! We cook mostly vegan and don’t eat a lot of meat, but we definitely do the same thing with expensive veggies like cauliflower. When it’s on sale, we pounce! πŸ™‚

  13. I think it’s awesome that your wife keeps track of specifics like the sweet potatoes!

    Looking forward to reading about your boondocking experiences.

  14. Well done Steve.

    Maybe if you’re really nice in 2017 you can add a third food to your apparently subsistence diet of sweet potatoes and beans! But who am I to judge, generations of students turn out just fine surviving on beer and pizza πŸ˜‰

    1. Thanks Slow Dad! It’s true, beer and pizza can be very life-sustaining, especially when you’re young and those arteries aren’t all that clogged…yet! πŸ™‚

  15. Love to see those numbers! Especially the cut in home housing…that alone has been my biggest key to my savings rate. Welllll…and the food budget. You guys are living large with all that cauliflower! πŸ˜‰ Curious (and you may have answered this before), how long can you go between dumping and water stops? Those types of logistics are fascinating to me…almost as fascinating as watching you guys install that toilet!

    1. Thanks Miss Mazuma! Regarding dumping our tanks, we can go for several weeks without having to dump. The reason is we replaced our traditional toilet with a composting toilet, which means it uses NO water and therefore freed up our black tank – that previously stored sewage – to store regular gray water from sinks and showers. We more than doubled our gray water storage capacity by switching out our toilet.

    1. Hehe – yup, the damn mortgage was the biggest expenditure for us, by FAR. Without that, our savings rate jumped quite nicely. Worse, we didn’t even make any money on our homes. I lost a TON, in fact. Ugh…that’s a mistake I hope to never make again! πŸ™‚

  16. I love me some sweet potatoes, but I couldn’t tell you in the slightest how much we spent on them in 2016. You should win some kind of award for the most fascinatingly-random budgetary stat of 2016. Perhaps a sweet potato-shaped trophy. . .

    Call me a budget nerd, but I track every transaction meticulously, by category. I could tell you how much we spent each month within a specific category. I’ve been tracking this data for almost 8 years now. It’s pretty interesting to look back several years and see how our incomes have grown a lot. Sadly, some of our expenses have grown, too, but some have actually decreased.

    1. I agree, it is definitely fascinating to look back at previous budget sheets. I did that once upon a time with some of my hand-made budget sheets from back in high school. Yeah, my folks had me budget even then, and everything was done through printed pieces of paper and, when necessary, a calculator. Man, I feel old!

    1. Oh snap, you got us! No, we couldn’t tell you exactly how many sweet potatoes were bought over the year. I just told my wife your question, though, and she said, “I can do that for you if you’d like.” I said no, I’m good without that level of detail! πŸ˜‰

      1. I can just imagine the Retirement Police and naysayers reacting to a FIRE blogger tracking average yearly cost per sweet potato. What a wildfire of a comments section that would be!

    1. Hey Freedom 40 Guy – these ingredients aren’t necessarily used in the *same* dish, but we do make a mean Cuban bowl. Sweet Potatoes, black beans, cauliflower and homemade pico, topped with our hot sauce of choice. So damn tasty!

  17. Nice break-down here guys, looks like the year was okay for you, if not spectacular although I must say it’s impressive :).. That isn’t a whole lot on food though for the 2 of you so good effort

    I track categories more than specific items although if I really wanted I could get some data together on specifics, it’s done all manually in an application

    Enjoy your travelling and looking forward to hearing updates from you
    Here’s to an epic 2017 where you earn more than 10K from your passions!

  18. Wow, that’s a lot of sweet potatoes. We probably spent about $10 on yam and sweet potato last year. Mrs. RB40 uses it in an Uzbek dish, but I don’t use them much.
    I track income pretty meticulously. The expense is pretty sloppy. I put them in big buckets similar to Personal Capital. It’d be interesting to see how much we spend individual items.

  19. I love sweet potatoes. I have a new goal now for 2017 – to eat more of them. I just got back from vacation so now it’s time to bulk πŸ™‚

    I don’t track in that much detail but I do track my expenses in general categories, which is definitely better than what I used to do – not track at all.

    1. Sweet potatoes are an awesome choice for healthy mass building. We eat primarily vegan when at home, so sweet potatoes are definitely a staple in our diet.

    1. Oops! Actually, I think I lost those numbers unfortunately. I migrated over to a new web hosting provider several months ago and neglected to take table information with it. Damn!

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