The Ledger –Insurance Scam and April 2017 Expense Reports

April was replete with extra expenses including a trip to New York City !

Our time there was uneventful.

I also received a medical bill for $400. This is the second time this year that our insurance company/doctor’s office has screwed us out of our benefits. Our medical insurance is supposed to cover preventative costs at 100%. This would include annual wellness visits, lab tests, blood tests and the like.

Earlier this year when Mr. TJL finally went in for his wellness exam, the doctor’s office coded his visit as “new patient” instead of “preventative”. Unfortunately, I could not get them to re-code so we paid $90.

This month my bill was for blood lab tests to establish a baseline for cholesterol, thyroid function, lipids and all the other medical blah blah blah. Even though my coverage is 100% for preventative costs, my insurance company covered less than half of this bill.

Luckily after a phone call to my insurance company, (and after some haggling), they finally agree to cover the entire bill! Bullet dodged.


I foolishly got screwed out of an annual fee on a credit card. I canceled this card in December, but they never did. I did not catch the mistake until too late. Good-bye $95!


Other than that, April was average month in terms of expenses.


The Expense Report!

In the tables, I produce a monthly and year-to-date summary of expenses, the monthly spending average, and the budget. I keep track of progress and spending behavior. It is much easier to detect any problem areas by keeping careful track of where the money is going.

Summary of April 2017 spending

Green highlighted fields indicate income. We have four sources of regular income; salary and related benefits, rental income, interest and dividends and Mr. TJL’s business income.

Orange highlighted fields indicate expense and are denoted as a negative value in parentheses. Our regular expenses are categorized by monthly expenses and yearly expenses. The combination are our total operating expenses. Additional expenses are paycheck deductions of charitable contributions, health insurance and income taxes.

Blue highlighted fields are our investment and savings contribution.

The bottom line is the balance.

Our monthly budget is tabulated in the far right column.


In April, our income normalized; we generally bring in about $10,000 per month before taxes.

The art business income dropped slightly, but Mr. TJL has a show next month that might generate more income.

Total operating expenses were about $400 over budget, but we maintained a high savings rate, so I am unworried. We remain $3,872 in the red for the year due to a major expense in January.


The Jolly Ledger’s Income Statement

I prefer to manage our finances like a business so I track all sources of income and expense. Below are the details for the monthly summary.


2017 FIRE Progress

I am on-track to retire in four years at age 45. To visualize my progress, I chart my expenses versus my passive income. Passive income is calculated as 4%, the safe withdrawal rate, of my investment balance including holdings in 401k, traditional IRA, Roth IRA, and brokerage accounts.

Due to the contributions and earnings on our investments, our passive income is $1,404 (as of 4/1/2017) per month. In retirement, we expect to withdraw $2,733* per month.

Overall spending went up in April due to vacation expenses; these expenses were budgeted. I am hoping that spending around $3000 per month or less becomes our “norm”.

*Total retirement spending is expected to be $40,000 per year. We will receive $7,200 per year in rental income. Our investments will have to provide us with the remaining $32,800, hence $2,733 per month. If Mr. TJL’s art business provides any income, we will be able to withdraw less, but we are conservatively planning as if we will not make any income in retirement.


Overall, April wasn’t nearly as expensive as I expected. How is your spending shaping up?



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2 Responses to The Ledger –Insurance Scam and April 2017 Expense Reports

  1. Another great month in the books! Medical bills….what an administrative pain they are. I’m constantly amazed at how prone to error doctor offices & hospitals are when it comes to billing. It has me really worried for people who don’t watch their expenses like a hawk (like you and I do), and who willingly pay erroneous medical bills. Anyway, congrats on another great month!

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