Today after we got back from church Stephanie and I witnessed a miracle, it was actually sunny outside (it’s been really, really rainy lately). To celebrate we decided that we would pull ourselves away from our wide array of screens for a couple of hours and go take advantage of the fact that we live about 50 feet away from one of the best parks in the entire world. That park, for all of you who don’t know, is Golden Gate Park and it’s kinda like the bomb.
We were excited to go snag some of the sun so we hurried up and got ready, grabbed Frank and headed out for a two hour stroll. Of course, when you head out for a walk in San Francisco you almost always end up seeing something you weren’t necessarily expecting. I guess that’s one of the perks of living here. Here are a couple of things that we didn’t really expect to see during our walk — enjoy.
The first thing that caught our attention was a huge crowd of all different types of people who were playing drums, dancing and singing together. It was nothing like we had ever seen before, kinda like a freestyle mashup of all different types of people who all happened to be hanging out at the same place at the same time. I even saw a couple of guys rockin’ a didgeridoo, which was pretty sweet.
The group was made up of black people, white people, Asian people, homeless people, little kids, hippies, hipsters and who knows who else. Even though they were all as different as could be, somehow it all just worked. This is something that I’ve noticed a lot since living in San Francisco — people can be as weird as they want and as long as they’re being themselves it all seems to work out.
As we walked through the crowd we had to stop and take it all in for a few minutes. During those few minutes I saw a young couple get yelled at by a homeless guy, an older man with a white beard scream like crazy to the beat of the drums and a younger hippie woman dance in non-stop circles. I also saw several guys with maracas.
There was a mother and daughter who were having fun, too. The little girl was dancing around and playing the drums. It was super cute.
After we left the drumming extravaganza we thought that we couldn’t top it. That is, until we walked up to the roller skating rink. Yes, there’s a roller skating rink in Golden Gate Park. We both really enjoyed the guy with the streamers.
Of course, we had to stop and snap a shot of the family. Awww, how cute.
Our walks are always awesome and they’re one of the few times when Stephanie and I can unplug from everything and actually talk to each other about some of the things that have been on our minds, which is super important for old, married couples like us. We both like to stay busy during the week, but making time for hanging out together is super important and something that we always need to make a priority. To be honest, I’m not always happy to be pulled away from my laptop, but when Stephanie does it I’m always thankful afterward. What an awesome wife, huh?
Now that it’s a brand new month, it means that there is a whole other month now behind us. In other words goodbye November and helllllo December! The fact that it’s a new month means a few things to Stephanie and I:
1. It’s now December and Thanksgiving is officially over, which means that we can now finally listen to Christmas music 24/7 (which we now do). We’re actually going to watch Straight No Chaser later on tonight so that Stephanie can get her fix.
2. We’re going to be back in Indiana later on this month for Christmas, which is the only thing that gets Stephanie more excited about than listening to Christmas music. Yeah, I’m super excited to go home, too but Stephanie takes it to a whole new level. She almost makes herself sick she gets so excited. Seriously.
3. We now have a whole new month of our spending data so that we can give our official November update. I’m not sure why I get so excited about doing this, but I just think it’s so much fun to crunch the numbers on what we spend our money on and to see what creates the fluctuations in our bank account. For instance, last month we had all of our money wiped out (except for $.65), which makes for an interesting graph to look at (see below).
Before I get started on the November spending you should probably check out our initial post called What Hup and Steph spend their money on each month in San Francisco so that you can get a good idea of why I put one of these posts together in the first place. Basically I think that it’s a great way to stay updated on where your money is going each month because knowing where your money is spent can tell you a lot about what you’re focusing on in life. Not trying to lecture anyone here, but it’s the truth and it’s even stated in the Bible: For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. – Matthew 6:21.
So, with no further ado here are some more sweet looking graphs and thoughts on what Stephanie and I spent our money on in November of 2010.
The ways that we spent our money in November weren’t a whole lot different from last month (see last month’s graph), but there are a few things that I would like to point out.
Food Spending Stayed the Same: We ended up spending the exact same percentage of our monthly budget on food — 12%. We made a conscious attempt to lower that amount by not eating out as much, but we came within like $50 of what we spent last month. We also ended up spending the same percentage of our spend on eating out vs. eating in which surprised me since we were trying to eat at home more.
Charitable Giving vs. Entertainment: One other thing that Stephanie and I talked about working on last month was making sure that we spent more towards charitable giving than we did towards entertainment. Last month entertainment won out, but this month charitable giving took the lead.
Shelter Spending Gets A Boost: When compared to last month our shelter spend went up quite a bit and this is due to the fact that we finally got around to buying ourselves a couch. We still don’t use it a whole due to the fact that we haven’t bought a TV, but it looks great in our living room.
Here is the graph that I’m a little disappointed but not that surprised about. I say this because Stephanie and I tried to cut down on our overall food spend by eating out less and making more food at home. I feel like we had a great start, but it seems like our busy days got the best of us as the month went on. We’ll continue to work on improving this, but due to the fact that we’re never home I’m honestly not sure how much less we can spend.
Sometimes categorizing entertainment gets tough due to the fact that it’s a very broad thing to keep track of. One thing that I decided to throw into this category is all ATM withdrawals due to the fact that whenever we get money out of an ATM we seem to blow it pretty fast. All of that chunk might not be entertainment, but I’m pretty sure a majority of it is.
You can also see that I added a Frank category since my friend Amanda asked me where his spending was last time around. To be honest, we actually don’t spend much money on the little guy besides some food and a bath/nail clipping here and there, but next month it will get a little boost as it’s time for the Frankster to get his shots updated. I’m sure he’s real excited about that.
I didn’t add this graph to my post last month, but I think that it’s pretty interesting to look at. This shows what the running balance of our bank account looks like throughout the month. The big drops are usually when we pay our rent or some other large monthly bill and the big spikes are when we get paid. Kinda cool, huh?
This graph has a little more personality due to the fact that we had our bank account emptied last month after someone stole my credit card number. That little gap between the bottom of the graph and the bottom line is what was left after they hit our bank account over and over with $275 Target gift card purchases. It was a little scary at the time, but not as bad as I thought it’d be. I mean, it’s only money, right?
Here’s a look at both month’s running bank account balances with October in green and November in red. It’s not exactly synced up day for day and transaction for transaction due to the fact that we had more transactions go through on our account in October.
One last graph that I was curious to see was when all of the transactions on our bank account actually go through so I broke them all out by day of the week. As you can see there are no transactions processed on weekends and nearly 75% of our monthly tranactions hit our bank account on Monday. I never really noticed this before so it was a little bit of a surprise to see how the transactions graphed out. I guess that’s why we make graphs in the first place, huh?
Just like with last month’s installment, if you have any questions about any of these graphs please leave us a comment and we’ll get you an answer. Also, even if you don’t feel like going through the trouble of graphing out all of your monthly spending like I did in this post, taking a look at and better understanding your finances is still an awesome habit to get into. I’ve really enjoyed pulling all of this information together each month and it’s sparked some great conversations between Stephanie and I along the way, so I would highly recommend doing it if you can find the time.
This is just a glimpse of what Stephanie did to me last Saturday. Once I can gather together more of my thoughts I’ll post some more of the details. Until then, enjoy the video of what happened.
To start this post off, let me drop some quick knowledge on you. There’s a verse in the Bible (Matthew 6:19-21 to be exact) that tells some truth about all of us as human beings and especially about us as human beings who live in the United States. The verse goes a little something like this:
Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moth and rust do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
I won’t go too deep into this verse, but basically it’s trying to get across two very simple points about money and other tangible stuff that we tend to focus on in our day-to-day lives:
1. We shouldn’t be focusing too much on accumulating stuff, such as money, houses, every version of the iPhone and other earthly possessions. These are all very temporary things and will stay here on earth after you’re long gone. I’m sorry, but you can’t take any carry-ons with you to heaven.
2. Where you spend your money and focus your time says a lot about where your heart is. Your bank account transactions can tell an eye-opening story about who you are and what you’re focused on most in life.
Stephanie and I both totally agree on the truth in these two points, but unfortunately we’re also usually horrible about setting budgets and seeing where we’re spending our money each month. To get a better insight into our spending and now that this month is nearly over I thought that it would be a fun and insightful exercise for me to dig into our bank accounts for the past 30 days and see what stories it tells about us.
With all of the super-easy ways to spend our money these days I think that it’s always good to have a good handle on where it’s all going and what it’s being spent on. Who knows, you might be surprised about some of the things you find. I know I was.
Check out the graphs below to see some interesting information about where Stephanie and I spend our money on any given month, what percentage goes where and what our spending habits are like while we’re living in San Francisco.
This first graph shows an overall split of where Stephanie and I are spending our money each month while living in San Francisco. Keep in mind that these graphs only include data from October of 2010, but overall I feel like October was a fairly average month as far as our spending goes. In other words, we didn’t end up spending any significant amount of extra money on multiple plane tickets for Wheel of Fortune auditions or something like that.
We split up this graph into a few main sections:
Shelter: Any living costs such as rent and utilities.
Self Care: Gym memberships, health/hygiene products, prescriptions.
Food: Any type of purchased food from grocerie stores and restaurants.
Entertainment: Movies, events, Starbucks, video games, bars and cabs.
Clothing: Clothes and shoes.
Transportation: Gas, auto insurance, car lease payments and parking tickets.
Charitable Giving: Giving to our church and other non-profits.
Phone: Cell phone bills.
This graph represents all of the money that both Stephanie and I spent in the month of October 2010. The most obvious thing that I noticed right off the bat was that we spend the most money on rent each month by a pretty hefty margin, which shouldn’t surprise anyone else who lives in the Bay Area.
Another thing that I noticed was that there are four other sections that we spend about the same amount of money on each month. Food, entrainment, transportation and charitable giving are all hovering right around 10-15%.
You can also see that we don’t spend much on clothing each month. I hate shopping and Stephanie doesn’t have a ton of time to hit up the malls around here, which I don’t think is necessarily a bad thing. If you asked her I’m sure she would have a different opinion.
This graph shows the ratio between the things that we are guaranteed to spend our money on each month (car, rent, giving, cable, etc.) and how much disposable income we have left over to spend on other stuff. Due to the variation of how we spend our money on food, entertainment and other miscellaneous things, I lumped them all into the disposable income amount. Of course, if we want to save any money month to month that would come out of the disposable piece of the pie as well.
As you all know, the way you budget your meals each month can have a huge impact on anyone’s monthly bottom line. I thought that this was an interesting way to view how much we spent last month on eating in (buying groceries) vs. eating out (buying from a restaurant). With how much we run around during the week it didn’t surprise me that we spend two-thirds of our food budget on eating out, although I also think that this is a place where we can save a ton of money by making more dinners at home. We’re going to experiment with this one this month and see how it goes.
Also, I thought that it was good to point out that on average we spend $30 per day on food as a couple (so $15 each, every day). We’re going to see if we can take that down a notch or two this month.
Where we spend our entertainment dollars each month varies quite a bit and I think that this graph tells that story clearly. The big Las Vegas trip chunk is from when I went out there for a conference and thought that I could win some money gambling (which I obviously didn’t).
The SF Giants bar tab was a pretty big piece of the pie last month, too. Apparently we were a little too loose with the credit card.
The Hup’s Web Stuff is me buying up domain names for new ideas and for other random expenses that have to do with me experimenting with things online.
The rest of the 40% other section was made up of things like cab rides, wine nights and other more typical one-off types of purchases.
Well, that’s about all that I have for you to check out right now. If you have any questions about what I’ve posted up or if you would like more details on why or how I did this, feel free to let me know in the comments. Also, if you’d like to give this a shot with your October spending it would be awesome to hear some of the more interesting things you noticed while going through your monthly transactions. If nothing else, it will give you a better handle on your personal finances, which is one of the most important things you can stay on top of.
Check out this video of our bike riding adventure in Monterey, CA this past weekend. We headed down there to celebrate our 1 year anniversary and it was so awesome that I’m now too tired at work on Monday to even tell you all about it. That will have to happen some other time.
We’re not really sure why, but the weather here in San Francisco was BE-A-UTIFUL tonight. So nice, in fact, that Stephanie and I decided that it would be a waste if we didn’t take advantage of it by taking a nice, long walk. Pulling ourselves away from the TV/laptop for the night gave us a great chance to catch up with each other after being gone from each other the past couple of weeks (I was in Austin, TX for South by Southwest Interactive and Stephanie was in Hawaii visiting her friends).
We took off not knowing where we were going to go and ended up walking nearly 3 miles and talking about all kinds of different stuff along the way. After getting back we both agreed that we should definitely do something like this much more often.
Check out where we walked in the map below.
Unfortunately I never ended up writing up last week’s post, but with the message that we heard this morning at church this week should more than make up for it. This week’s message was all about how Jesus died to make us righteous, which is actually a subject that Stephanie and I just talked about last night while having dinner at one of our favorite places in San Francisco, Miss Saigon (tasty Vietnamese deliciousness).
The conversation that we had and that I actually started was all about how in just the past couple of years I have had a strong sense of finding who I really am as I have made what I would consider to be several major life changes. Just to give you an example of these life changes, here are just a few things that I have personally experienced in just the past 24 months:
- Met Stephanie and she became my first official girlfriend since my junior year of high school
- Moved to California with Stephanie, which was also the first time that I have ever lived with a significant other (yeah, that’s quite a change)
- Changed jobs once I moved out to California
- Was saved and became a true follower of Jesus Christ in December of 2008 (a whole other story altogether)
- Became engaged to Stephanie on Christmas of 2008 (awesome)
- Moved from Palo Alto to San Francisco in April of 2009
- Had my first major surgery in May of 2008
- Got my first dog in June of 2009 (Frank is the best dog, ever)
- Got married in August of 2009 (should we now change it to HupandHup.com?)
So, as you can see, there have been some major things going in both mine and Stephanie’s lives and I think once all of the these things happened I started to wonder what God had in store for me and what I should be doing with my life. This is naturally something that many of us think about (especially once we turn 30 years old), but today’s message reminded me that I need to not worry so much about what I’m supposed to be doing or who I’m supposed to be, but instead trust that God will continue to point me in the right direction and enjoy the ride.
I say all of this because today’s message focused around how Jesus died to make us righteous and only through this gift can I truly become what God has intended me to be. I know that this sounds a little heavy and hard to understand, but that’s where having faith comes in. The idea of receiving the gift that God gave us with the death of His son isn’t something that just clicks and makes sense in an instant. It’s something that is a life long journey of learning and actively living out what God has built us to do — serve, love and spread the word about how Jesus gave up his life so that our sins could be forgiven.
I hope that all makes sense, but for some of you it’s probably sounds like I’m speaking another language. For those of you I encourage you to reach out to Stephanie and I through the comments below or our email/Facebook links to the right. We’d both love to chat with you all about it.
Stephanie and I just got back from a Sunday morning 3-miler and I think that we both realized something about half-way through the ‘supposed to be really easy’ a.m. skedaddle (is that even a word?). The thing that we both realized was that getting back into running is hard and getting back into the groove of running is even harder.
At this point you might be thinking to yourself:
- Are we talking about the Hup who literally burned up an 8k a few months back?
- Are we talking about the Steph who ran a sub 4-hour marathon (and over 20 miles to prepare) not too long ago?
Well, the truth of the matter is — yes, unfortunately we are still talking about the same Hup and Steph that should be running a 3-miler in their sleep (yeah, that’s us — in the third person). The truth is, even though we should be able to run 15,840 feet literally without breaking a sweat, the fact of the matter is:
Everything that you forget about or become complacent with will eventually be harder than it should be.
I don’t care if it’s running, a relationship with your girlfriend/wife/best friend or the position that you are paid to do at work. If you let yourself become too comfortable in any type of situation and stop pushing yourself in (or even stop paying attention to) whatever you’re involved in, it’s only going to make it harder in the end.
So, what I would suggest is that you take inventory of what you currently deem valuable or a priority in your life and ask yourself a few questions about them:
- Have I become too comfortable with it to the point that I am just going through the motions?
- Am I taking it serious enough right now, or do I simply feel like I have it under control because I always have in the past?
- Has something seemed to become much harder than it always has been for no apparent reason?
After you ask yourself these questions, it’s then time to take action on them and to make sure that you are constantly becoming a better, all around person at the things that you feel are the most important in your life. This goes way beyond running (especially for me) and includes things like work, faith and love among others.
I hope that this makes sense — I’m going to try to articulate and push out some of my more personal thoughts on here and this was my first shot. Don’t worry, they’ll only get better from here.
Thanks for listening and feel free to give me any feedback that you have. If you need me I’ll be prepping for the Turkey Trot 5-miler that’s coming up on Thanksgiving (wish us luck!).
In just the past couple of days it seems like both Stephanie and I have snapped some pretty priceless ‘cuddling’ pics with our adorable, little Frank. Honestly, we could have posted many, many more due to the fact that Frank is cuddle-master supreme, but I guess that we don’t want to pump our Facebook newsfeeds with any more Frank than we already do right now (which would probably be pretty hard to do). I mean, Frank doesn’t just like to cuddle, he LOVES to and when you’re on the other end of one of his cuddlefests it’s practically impossible to say no to the little guy.
Need to get to work? Yeah, it’s going to have to wait.
Have to go pick up something to make for dinner tonight? It can be put off for a few minutes longer.
Someone just stole your TV right out of your living room? That’s just too bad because Frank isn’t done snuggling up with you just yet (man, you really liked that TV, too).
All I’m trying to say here is that until you get a taste of the infamous Frank cuddle you can’t even come close to ever possibly saying that we have gone off the deep end when it comes to getting up close and snuggling personal with Frank. Basically, don’t knock it until you try it.
To properly close off this post the only way I know how, here are a few of the latest cuddling sessions that both Stephanie and I have had with Frank the past couple of days (don’t be jealous):
Me and Frank getting our cuddle on in the morning before we head into the office.
Stephanie and Frank catching up on some weekend snuggles on the couch.
Some good, old-fashioned Saturday-on-the-window-stoop snuggles.
The past year or so I have really grown a lot spiritually while being with Stephanie and our faith has become the center and focus of our relationship with one another (which is probably why we’re so annoyingly in love). Well, as I was looking over this blog, I noticed that if you have never known anything about us and have never met us face-to-face, you would probably have no idea that we are dedicated Christians who both have put faith on the top of our priority lists. After noticing this I didn’t think that it was quite how either Stephanie or I should be representing ourselves to the public at large, so I made a few small (yet powerful) changes to our blog.
First I moved the About Us section to the top of the right side of our blog, so that it can be quickly read by anyone who visits our corner of the world wide web.
Next, I updated the About Us to let everyone know that we are in fact married and I made another addition that let’s everyone also know that we are both dedicated Christians. Like I said, not a huge change, but something that I felt was needed.
Oh, and don’t worry — we’re still going to be fun (yes, you can actually be fun and be a Christian).