Minimum Wage Challenge, Personal Finance

Lost Months: Minimum Wage Challenge Days 49 – 120

Well, it certainly has been awhile. If you can remember that far back, in late February I was diagnosed with extremely low vitamin D after going to visit my doctor because I had a fuzzy head. Over the last 2+ months I had good days and bad days, but things have progressively gotten better. I finished the last of the prescribed mega doses last Saturday and I will go in and get my blood tested again after my current house sitting job (fingers crossed that all is okay there). I feel that I have enough of my concentration back (and I feel safe driving which was a big concern for a bit) so that I can continue writing about the minimum wage challenge.

There have been some good things that have happened and some that, from a financial perspective, probably weren’t the best choices to make, but they made sense where I was at the time. If they end up being the reason that I fail at this challenge, I’m okay with that. So, here’s an extremely condensed update on my spending:



I was quite fortunate in this area. I was able to house sit, stay with family or stay with friends all but one day during the last two months. The one day I ended up getting a hotel room was when I made the decision to drive 1200 miles in two days to see a “once in a lifetime” bloom of Joshua Trees:

flowering Joshua tree

(You can see more of the photos from the trip) for a few hours in Mojave National Preserve. That put me back $42.75 for the night. Overall my housing expenses have been minimal and far less than I initially budgeted.


I had to get the registration for my car renewed and have it pass a smog check. Luckily my car passed the smog check without needing any work on it which was $25. The cost for registering the car and taxes was $115 bringing the total cost to $140.

department of motor vehicles

While the vast majority of the driving I did was either deductible as part of my work or reimbursed as transportation cost by those I was house sitting for, I did end up spending $42 on gas for driving to other areas which were not covered by those two. The total cost for the car during the past couple of months was $182.


I received an invitation to visit college friends in Colorado for a week and although it was last minute and unplanned, I decided that it was worth going (this was at the time that the fuzzy head was still pretty bad and I felt I needed a change of pace). My ticket cost $320, lodging was free as I stayed with friends at their house and at a cabin they owned.

Crested Butte mountain

I decided to go skiing one day since this is something I had passed up earlier in the challenge (one of the friends had a 2 for 1 coupon that allowed me on the mountain for free, but I did need to rent skis and boots which put me back $35.

skiing Crested Butte

I also had friends come out to visit me who I took to the Golden Gate Bridge and the Marin Headlands (where one of the America’s Cup boats happened to be practicing

golden gate bridge americas cup

Muir Woods National Monument

Muir Woods redwoods

and Glass Beach.

glass beach

That trip ended up costing me $53.26 from various things.


Health care is the area that really puts a dent into my budget. I’ve had to make 3 payments at $485 each since the last time I wrote setting me back $1455. I also had to buy over-the-counter vitamin D supplements (2000 mg daily) that I’ll need to take for the rest of the year, and that put me back $12.65. If buying vitamin D supplements ends up being the extent of my costs dealing with this entire episode, I’ll consider myself extremely lucky.


While the house sitting and eating perishables from the refrigerators saved me a lot of money, I did have a lot more food expenses the last couple of months. I had a friend that really needed to talk and we went out to breakfast and I picked up the tab for that at a cost of $29. I had my second “date” (which wasn’t really a date at all, but a get-together hike with someone from high school who I knew of, but didn’t really know — I’ll get into more detail on that one in a later post) I ended up buying lunch and drinks which came to $19.64. On the Colorado trip, chipping in for food and a couple of times we went out set me back $75. Then stocking food back up for the people returning where I was house sitting and various snacks and meals here and there ended up adding another $126.49. I definitely didn’t do as well in this area as I started out, and I will probably have to take a bit more care there in the future. That adds up to $250.13 for food.


There were a number of miscellaneous purchases as well from more postcards being sent to the girls, two of the five gifts and postage for the ones that I promised I would get for this challenge, to a number of other small things that I needed. The total came to $48.81.

I know that is a pretty quick and dirty summary of the past few months, but I’m more than happy to answer any questions if you’re curious about any part of the spending mentioned.

2+ month’s Spending

Food: $250.13
Car: $182.00
Housing: $42.75
Travel: $408.26
Health: $1467.65
Misc: $48.81

Total: $2399.60

Total Spending

Food: $278.02
Car: $227.00
Housing: $42.75
Travel: $408.26
Health: $2032.65
Misc: $67.81

Total: $3056.49

13 thoughts on “Lost Months: Minimum Wage Challenge Days 49 – 120

  1. Glad to have you back in circulation, Jeffrey. I hope your blood test is good and you’re feeling 100 percent very soon. Thanks for the beautiful pix!

  2. Glad to see your back. I hope your health gets all the way back to normal. I’m looking forward seeing regular updates on the minimum wage challenge again.

  3. Glad to see you back. Hope you are back to your old self soon. Have enjoyed your posts and have missed them. Be well!

  4. Hi Jeff,
    What happened with the clutch in your car? I don’t see the repair cost in your expenses. Did it fix itself? lol

  5. I think it matters a lot what state you live in — I’m in Nevada where that is typical.

  6. The clutch was repaired, but of course, it didn’t take too long until the piece seemed to slip out again. Through trial and experimentation, I have figured out how to keep it from clicking by being very careful when using the clutch — that seems to be working for now.

  7. Just noticed you were back mate. Glad to hear you are on the mend. To be honest medical bills when I seem them in budgets like this it breaks my heart how expensive they are. Awesome photos and the Joshua tree is amazing.

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