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Old 11-11-2013, 02:33 PM   #41
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Originally Posted by daylatedollarshort View Post
His numbers are for one person of a two person household.
Then he's not really living on $18k per year and it's deceptive to pretend that he is.
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Old 11-11-2013, 02:47 PM   #42
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Originally Posted by Alex in Virginia View Post
Some of my posts will be about money management. About what I call frugality without sacrifice. About how I manage to lead a pretty nice lifestyle for less than $18,000 gross a year.
 
Alex

I am very interested in your posts and I do think you have a lot to offer.

However, I think that you undermine your good points by presenting yourself as living on $18,000 a year when you are married and you've said your wife also contributes the same.

If we assume that your wife spends exactly the same as you (I wonder about that because often people have different hobbies that cost different amounts and the reality is that women pay more for some things typically than men do - at the same hairdressers a haircut for a woman costs $25 more than a haircut for a man, etc), then the more accurate way to describe your spending is to say that you are married and you and your wife collectively spend $36,000 a year (If her spending is not the same then adjust it).

The reality is that you can't divide in half the spending of a married couple and say that is what "you" spend since not all expenses can be neatly divided that way. That is, if you were on your own with no wife it is highly likely that many of your expenses would change and it is doubtful that you would spend exactly $18k a year. You can perhaps make a case that you would. However, you aren't on your own living alone so you can't just pretend that your expenses are the same as someone in that situation.

I know you feel that you aren't being carried by your wife. I am not saying that you are. If you say that she is spending $18k a year as well I take you at your word. But, it seems potentially misleading (I am not saying intentionally so) to say you spend $18k a year when pretty much everyone else in the world would report household spending when you are part of a married couple. I know you have followed Mr. Money Mustache and even he reports things form a household standpoint. He doesn't take the household spending and then divide it in two and report that as his spending.

I think it would be impressive enough to be spending $36k a year as a married couple and you don't have to try to make it sound better by saying you personally spend $18k as your share.
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Old 11-11-2013, 02:59 PM   #43
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Exactly Katsmeow. A budget of 36k for two people is impressive and I'd love to hear more. I am wondering about income taxes, if there is a budget for repair / replacement of household items (including things like the roof), if Alex has a car and how much he spends on it (insurance, gas, maintenance) and how to make the most out of every dollar spent on these things. Mr Money Mustache is a bit extreme for me at times - I'm looking for a more real life perspective which I think Alex can provide.
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Old 11-11-2013, 03:13 PM   #44
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Some concrete examples of why you can't simply divide the household expense in two and say you live on that much money:

1. Real property tax. My property taxes are $12,000 per year regardless of the number of people who live in the house. If I lived here alone, that's how much I would pay. Attributing half of that to my wife is misleading.

2. Utilities - when I heat and light the house, I heat and light the space. It is largely independent of the number of people who use that space, and it would cost me the same if I lived alone, not half as much. In addition, most of my utilities have a basic service fee that is independent of usage. That wouldn't be cut in half if I lived alone.

3. My car insurance would cost nearly the same if I were the only driver and my homeowner's insurance would be identical if I were the only one who lived in the house.

4. In a situation where one spouse is working, it is likely the health insurance is via that spouse's employment. That cannot be duplicated for the same cost by the retired spouse on his own.

As Katsmeow said, do the accounting on a household basis and it will be meaningful and helpful. Otherwise it's misleading.
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Old 11-11-2013, 03:13 PM   #45
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Originally Posted by Katsmeow View Post
Alex

I am very interested in your posts and I do think you have a lot to offer.

However, I think that you undermine your good points by presenting yourself as living on $18,000 a year when you are married and you've said your wife also contributes the same.

<snip>
+1
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Old 11-11-2013, 03:18 PM   #46
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Mr Money Mustache is a bit extreme for me at times - I'm looking for a more real life perspective which I think Alex can provide.
His blog has some good general ideas, but many aspects are based on unsound planning, like 4% is a safe withdrawal rate at any age and will last forever and a budget with some missing basic expenses or hard to believe, low expense numbers, like $172 in dental visits for a family of three in one year. We spend more than that per person per year just for routine cleanings and exams.
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Old 11-11-2013, 03:35 PM   #47
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Originally Posted by daylatedollarshort View Post

His blog has some good general ideas, but many aspects are based on unsound planning, like 4% is a safe withdrawal rate at any age and will last forever and a budget with some missing basic expenses or hard to believe, low expense numbers, like $172 in dental visits for a family of three in one year. We spend more than that per person per year just for routine cleanings and exams.
+1 --Nomad
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Old 11-11-2013, 04:48 PM   #48
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Dear Walt34, LiveandLearn, Al in Ohio, Amethyst, Meadbh, Gumby, Bestwifeever, Jager, daylatedollarshort, rbmrtn, Nomad4hire, Alan, Katsmeow -- and anyone I missed who is also curious, skeptical or critical regarding my $18,000 annual basic expenses budget...

First, thanks for livening up the discussion. You've all posed lots of good questions, but I am choosing not to answer them piecemeal. So, second, yes, I will start working right away on a post to detail out the $18K budget as well as answer all the questions about housing type, spousal involvement, cat food eating, government handouts and everything else. Third, sorry if this disappoints, but it will take a little while to complete that post (since my post writing is limited to an hour -- about 200 words or so -- each morning first thing after I get up). Factoring in math and column setups and all that stuff, figure on a week or so for that post to appear.

In the meantime, don't be surprised if you see other new posts written by me. They're already written and sitting "in the queue" to get posted at 5-day intervals.

Again, thanks for the feedback and the writing challenge!


Alex in Virginia
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Old 11-11-2013, 05:01 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by Alex in Virginia View Post

First, thanks for livening up the discussion. You've all posed lots of good questions, but I am choosing not to answer them piecemeal. So, second, yes, I will start working right away on a post to detail out the $18K budget as well as answer all the questions about housing type, spousal involvement, cat food eating, government handouts and everything else.
Look forward to the post and understand why you want to wait until it is ready. If it is still in process, I would gently suggest that if you want to keep calling it an $18k budget (rather than a household budget of $36k or whatever) then the first recommendation for how to do it may need to be: First, live with someone else and share all expenses 50/50. Once you have done that, then do......
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Old 11-11-2013, 07:03 PM   #50
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Then he's not really living on $18k per year and it's deceptive to pretend that he is.
I am shocked to discover this!
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Old 11-11-2013, 08:20 PM   #51
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Perhaps the OP wants to utilize this principle of public speaking:

Tell 'em what you're going to tell 'em
Tell 'em
Tell 'em what you told 'em

Or perhaps he is a self-aggrandizing bullshit artist. Anyone else getting ***** vibes?
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Old 11-11-2013, 08:35 PM   #52
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Ok, making popcorn now.
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Old 11-11-2013, 08:50 PM   #53
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Ok, making popcorn now.
Is it this kind?

INCREDIBLE POPCORN | J&D's Foods, Inc. | World Leaders In Delicious.
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Old 11-11-2013, 09:02 PM   #54
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mmm.bacon flavored popcorn!!!!
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Old 11-11-2013, 09:23 PM   #55
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Cats can has popcorn

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Old 11-12-2013, 08:25 AM   #56
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mmm.bacon flavored popcorn!!!!
I love this company! What a great story they have--started with money they won from America's Funniest Home videos. Did you see the Siracha flavored candy canes? To say nothing of the bacon deodorant! OMG--my entire Christmas list could be completed on their website.
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Old 11-12-2013, 10:03 AM   #57
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I'm feeling "I'm selling something" vibe. Don't give this dude any more attention.
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Old 11-12-2013, 10:46 AM   #58
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I enjoyed reading Playing the Frugal Game is Fun post that you wrote. I am sure that there have been plenty of other posts that you have written that I have enjoyed also. Count me in as one of the people who are looking forward to your new posts.
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Old 11-12-2013, 10:50 AM   #59
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Cats can has popcorn
Speaking of cats, ever see this compilation?

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Old 11-12-2013, 11:06 AM   #60
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I look forward to Alex's posts. FWIW I think the reason he mentioned his plans is that he is doing something different from the usual post. For most posts people are either asking a question or answering a question. There are exceptions, of course such as ongoing threads to post photos or what you do each day. Others occasionally post short informative posts or posts to generate a discussion without really having a question (I'm looking at you Midpack - this is not a complaint, BTW).

I think that what Alex is planning to do is more like a blog post with a longer post that is more informational. In informative blog posts (there are other kinds) the main post is that of the blogger who is usually imparting information to you rather than having a discussion with you. To be sure, most blogs have comments that create more of a discussion aspect but still most of the writing is that of the blogger....

Thanks for that, Katsmeow. You've said exactly what I would have said. But it's better that it came from you.

Cheers...

Alex in Virginia
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