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Old 12-07-2011, 09:44 PM   #61
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We live only once my friend...
Absolutely. I eat almost $6000/year, me only. I have guests sometimes, but they have me too so it mostly is a wash. And another much smaller but also nice sum on really good meals out. Tonight I was shopping for dinner after coming home from downtown where I had a dozen superb oysters and some house chablis. I saw 2 beautiful thin sliced porterhouse steaks for ony $9. I briefly thought about this thread and considered hamburger, then thought-Nah, look at those steaks! I just fried one rare in really hot butter, covered with big salt crystals and cracked peppercorns. Splashed some wine in the skillet and boiled it off then poured over my steak. With a good Trader Joe salad and a glass of cheap Trader Joe Cabernet it was excellent.

I have nothing to say about the way others eat, (except I kind of worry about that $3/day one) but I am sure glad to be able to eat the way I do.

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Old 12-07-2011, 10:06 PM   #62
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Yeah, yeah...

See the numbers I posted? Next year, when my youngest is gone, look how much foie gras, jamón ibérico, and prosciutto I can afford with the extra $29K/year. I will out-eat ya'all...

Just kidding... I have been eating a lot of veggie for health reason. Yet, veggie can be expensive if you do not know where to shop. My wife has been going to Hispanic and Oriental grocery stores to buy the veggie there, and when on sales, they are even cheaper.

I only eat homemade soup and salad for lunch. For dinner, I try to gorge myself on about two or three cups of steamed or sauteed veggie before I touch the main dish. The veggie fills me up so that I eat less of the higher calorie foodstuff. As for my wife, she hardly eats anything.

So, that's why our food cost is so low. Yet, my blood pressure and weight have been inching up alarmingly over the years.

Yep, it is sad that when you are financially secure and can afford to eat "real food", your body can't take it any more. Oh well....
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Old 12-07-2011, 10:39 PM   #63
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Interesting thread! Here's my data:

Discretionary 1200
Car 291 ins, tax, fuel. No payments
Comm 299 phone, TV, Internet, sat radio
Food 500
Health 52 insurance is company paid
Home 144 tax + insurance. No Mortgage
Security 20 identity & computer data
Subscriptions 30 newspaper, magazines
Utility 230 total electric + $19 trash pickup
Total $2766

Considerations: Still working, company paid insurance (mostly )
Household of 2. DW is retired, I'm getting close
Assorted expenses such as auto maintenance come out of discretionary.
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Old 12-07-2011, 10:55 PM   #64
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When I retired at the end of July, I made sure my income streams could match our historical pre-retirement expenses with margin. This thread is a great benchmark for reducing spending. I see many areas to cut costs without appreciable loss of quality of life. Thanks to everyone for sharing. Next year I will post my monthly expenses after I have taken the chain saw to certain categories and a scalpel to the rest.
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Old 12-08-2011, 08:50 AM   #65
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Originally Posted by Koolau View Post
But, while we're on the subject, how do folks account for things like:

Deferred maintenance and/or replacement on house, cars, electronics, household devices, etc.?

Car depreciation?

Anticipated "big" future expenses (daughter(s)' wedding(s), special trips rather than yearly vacations, "big toys" (boat, RV, plastic surgery))



etc.?
That's what accrual expenses are in my post. I budget for each year knowing it will flucuate, and then show actual expenses in each year. I include:
  • periodic cars for myself and DW (shorter cycle for DW),
  • furniture (some may have to be replaced, I certainly don't expect to have the same bed for 30-40 years, I've never had a couch that lasted 30-40 years, etc.),
  • major home expenses (roof replacement, painting the house, HVAC replacement, appliance replacement, bath kitchen remodeling every 20 yrs or so),
  • electronics (PC, TV, etc.),
  • major vacations (we do them every 2-3 years, so budget for same).
  • And I've projected a few more major purchase items that occur at intervals greater than annual.
The total is significant, so I can't imagine not acknowledging it in managing a 30-40 year spendout. I've tried to be reasonable with my projections, I know what our history has been for more than 30 years. And if we spend less, great. My plan has modest (IMO) safety factors built in by design.

But I show operating expenses as a subtotal for comparison (who cares?) to those who don't. YMMV
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Old 12-08-2011, 01:18 PM   #66
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Ok, here's mine... I probably spend more than some of you on some things, but....that's just me. I didn't include my daughter's wedding expenses but the clothes amount does include some new clothes for wedding. These are averages through November for one person, in a paid off house. Entertainment includes dining out with my kids. Medical does not include insurance but only expenses paid out of pocket and it was not a good year for medical.

auto ($123.57)
cable ($118.66)
cell ($8.75)
clothes ($159.68)
elec ($77.54)
entertainment ($156.36)
food ($383.15)
garbage ($31.09)
gifts ($68.47)
heat ($70.55)
home repair ($132.55)
household ($634.66)
landline ($90.04)
medical ($491.17)
personal care ($62.62)
pets ($104.20)
prop tax ($327.47)
travel ($270.42)
water/sewer ($16.49)
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Old 12-08-2011, 01:48 PM   #67
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Wow, I am afraid to list my expenses. Maybe it is living in the North East where everything costs a lot.
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Old 12-08-2011, 02:00 PM   #68
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I have problems characterizing our expenses. I do keep track of income and outgo to the penny, and in this our first year of retirement, <gulp> our total expenses are a razor-thin 1.5% less than our total income. Here in frigid fly-over land. (Total income includes value of retirement benefits).

I do know where we must cut back, I overspend on ridiculously empty calories like energy drinks, and my DW has a gift-buying habit. It is interesting to see what everyone spends their dough on.
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Old 12-08-2011, 02:46 PM   #69
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I know I shouldn't, but I somehow feel ashamed to post my full numbers given the low numbers shown here. But I really appreciate seeing everyone else's numbers, and feel I should reciprocate. It really helps to have a sense of how your spending in various categories compares to others - if nothing else for ideas about where you may be too high. I had two homes for part of the year. I bought a new car intended to last 15 years, and I had the expenses of the two houses (property taxes, mortgage, utilities, staging, selling costs, etc). So here are my abridged numbers, without the over $50K that went for those line items.

One person, new mortgage, 2011 average monthly spending $6837:

Home related
Mortgage $1730.43;
property taxes $869.50; condo fee $255, utilities (electric, water, gas, trash) $269.58, utilities (cable, phone internet) $228.50; home furn, maint & supplies (painting, ceiling fans, new couch and rugs, etc)$577

Auto:
Gasoline $67; registration $6; maintenance $17; insurance (includes umbrella and home) $241
Transportation other $6

Groceries $276; Dining Out $128
Clothing $150
Health/ Medical $244 (does not include employer paid health insurance)
Gym $76
Charity $28
Family $263 (Help mom with monthly expenses)
Gifts $218
Travel $566
Entertainment $151
Personal $168 (hair, makeup, massage, etc)
Misc $71
Investment Expenses $167
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Old 12-08-2011, 02:46 PM   #70
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For our family of 4 (plus a cat), we are running about $25,600 a year for core spending (that spending which will carry over into ER). That includes roughly $7000 on food/household items (including dining out), $7000 on housing related items (utilities and maintenance, insurance, taxes), and $3000 for maintaining and fueling our autos. The remainder, in order from largest expense to least, are vacations/entertainment, gifts, medical/dental, electronics, educational, clothing, and misc.

I have omitted our mortgage payment because we could easily pay it off but choose to keep it due to the ridiculously low rate, and it has 4 years left on the loan anyway. If I included that it would up the numbers by about $6000 a year, but mentally to me, it is just a matter of accounting and cash flow whether to keep or pay off the mortgage so I don't really consider it an "expense".

I would say we are very cost conscious but have no problem spending money when it brings value.
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Old 12-08-2011, 03:03 PM   #71
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Wow, I am afraid to list my expenses. Maybe it is living in the North East where everything costs a lot.
Don't be afraid - - nobody's gonna bite. Most of us know that it costs a lot more to live in the Northeast than in the South or Midwest. Also many of us would find the distribution of expenses in a larger budget to be interesting.
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Old 12-08-2011, 03:22 PM   #72
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OK here goes we are big spenders.

Utilities 250
Home taxes, home and car insurance 275
Health care 110
Food 400
Car 150
Home maintance 75

Total 1260
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Old 12-08-2011, 03:23 PM   #73
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Here are my 2011 Averages (divorce, one child). Paid off the condo mid way thru the year so they are skewed a bit. I do not track things taken out of my check such as health insurance premiums, taxes, charity, etc... Basically these are my expenses I must pay with my "net" take home pay:

Mortage/Property Taxes: $553
Child Support/High School Tuition: $1,365
Condo Maint Fees & Condo Repairs: $311
Car: $410
Car Gas & Maint: $118
Shopping (clothes, house) and Misc: $249
Auto/Condo Insurance: $124
Water: $17
Natural Gas: $34
Electric: $59
Cable/Inet/Phone: $152
Medical/Dental (out of pocket only): $44
Grocery: $240
Cash (Entertainment, Gifts, vacation, bars, etc..): $1,333
Total: $5,009

Good news is child support and tuition will only be for two more years. The obvious area I need to cut back on is my "cash" which is mostly spent in bars, restaurants, concerts, sporting events, etc.... Feel kind of ashamed that I spend more on "fun" than some of you do on EVERYTHING!
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Old 12-08-2011, 03:41 PM   #74
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way thru the year so they are skewed a bit. I do not track things taken out of Here are my 2011 Averages (divorce, one child). Paid off the condo midmy check such as health insurance premiums, taxes, charity, etc... Basically these are my expenses I must pay with my "net" take home pay:

Mortage/Property Taxes: $553
Child Support/High School Tuition: $1,365
Condo Maint Fees & Condo Repairs: $311
Car: $410
Car Gas & Maint: $118
Shopping (clothes, house) and Misc: $249
Auto/Condo Insurance: $124
Water: $17
Natural Gas: $34
Electric: $59
Cable/Inet/Phone: $152
Medical/Dental (out of pocket only): $44
Grocery: $240
Cash (Entertainment, Gifts, vacation, bars, etc..): $1,333
Total: $5,009

Good news is child support and tuition will only be for two more years. The obvious area I need to cut back on is my "cash" which is mostly spent in bars, restaurants, concerts, sporting events, etc.... Feel kind of ashamed that I spend more on "fun" than some of you do on EVERYTHING!
No need to feel ashamed. You clearly make much more money therefore you can spend much more money. Yes your "fun" money is more than my entire budget but that's because i'm unemployed with a total portfolio hovering at the border between 5 and 6 figures and when I eventually get another job i'll barely(or not even) have a take-home pay of $1000/mo so I have to keep my expenses low. You don't. Enjoy yourself if you're able to, as you clearly are. Not all of us can.
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Old 12-08-2011, 06:41 PM   #75
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Sorry to hear about your job loss there, Aaron. I remember that early this year, or was it even before that, you had some apprehension that your job might be in jeopardy. Hope the economy picks up and you will find something soon.
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Old 12-08-2011, 06:52 PM   #76
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Sorry to hear about your job loss there, Aaron. I remember that early this year, or was it even before that, you had some apprehension that your job might be in jeopardy. Hope the economy picks up and you will find something soon.

Thanks. I have no doubt i'll find a job but i've hade no luck applying for the better type jobs that I qualify for. Even those jobs only pay around $12/hr starting. I may have to resort to an employment agency which will likely only pay $8-$9/hr for difficult manual labor jobs. That may not even cover my $1000/mo budget. I could probably drop my budget down to $800/mo if needed but that would make me feel deprived. That extra $200/mo really makes a difference for me.
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Old 12-08-2011, 09:43 PM   #77
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Unfortunately I have not made it a habit to track expenses in any detail at all. My numbers will be of little use to others, but here they are.

I have only 2 "buckets".
1,400 rent. 1br condo. Includes pretty much everything. Cable, water, elec, heat, parking, etc.
1,500 all other spending. Food, entertainment, vacations, car expenses, clothers, toys, cell, gym etc.

Total of 2,900 a month, 35k a year.

This has been pretty level for the last 4 years. Making me lazy to track in detail.

Health insurance is thru work. Not included in the numbers above. Costs me 110 a month, 1,320 a year.

Single, high cost of living area, eat out almost all the time.

T
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Old 12-09-2011, 05:48 AM   #78
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I quit itemizing expenses for 2011. But we'll end up spending close to $72k which is what I budgeted in these categories.

Insurance 305
Utilities, TV,internet 511
DW Auto 200
Groceries 500
DW Misc 800
DH Auto 400
Condo 670
Dining, ent, travel 1000
Home Repair,etc 400
DH Misc 800
Property taxes 600
total 6186
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Old 12-09-2011, 06:56 AM   #79
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We are among the top spenders around here, but I knew that without seeing any numbers. I don’t keep a detailed record of our spending but I do monitor it. We have a second home (budget death trap) which is a major draw, and we contribute substantially. Still, our single largest category of spending is health care. Insurance premiums this year will be $23K. This HSA policy allows us the opportunity to pay the first $5K, which we are doing, and it does not cover certain types of services or supplements, which we consume. So, in healthcare alone, our budget this year is over $30K and I do not see that falling.
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Old 12-09-2011, 07:27 AM   #80
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I enjoyed reading this thread. It gives me hope that I can make it on my pension which I've often described as 'meager'.

This year - my first ER year - wasn't as good as my next years will be. It is taking me a while to reduce spending. It is a wonder I was able to save so much over the years because I spent so much on things like $200 bed sheets. Now, I buy the $50 ones. September through November spending is looking a lot better than February through June.
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