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Old 12-11-2011, 02:22 PM   #121
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Maybe it's just me, but where I don't see any harm in sharing expenses, I don't see any need to share the other three numbers you're suggesting. YMMV.
Don't worry you have the anonymity of the internet.
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Old 12-11-2011, 06:11 PM   #122
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I will admit to being a bit curious about other people's "numbers", but after being here a while, it significantly lessened. It's because I have come to see that most posters' spending habits are similar to mine, particularly people with comparable income, as far as I can guess. Because this forum has been (or perhaps was?) about the LBYM philosophy, which enables many of us to achieve FI, a complete picture cannot be formed without knowing more about the person financial stats. But most people are not comfortable with giving out such details. I am not.

While some expense info is useful, for example the health care cost, or even the grocery bills, some other expenses such as heating cost for those snowbound places, or the higher RE taxes for some states are just to satisfy my curiosity regarding how the rest of America lives. That's all. The discretionary spending would vary based on the person's net worth. One has more, so he spends more. After the basic needs are satisfied, it is all fluff anyway.

What I have found more interesting are the expenses of the full-time RV'ers. I first read some blogs to get ideas of interesting places for my own itinerary, but then got interested in reading about their lifestyles and expenses. They surely spend a lot less than I do, yet lead interesting lives, travel places, with lots of healthy physical activities. Yes, many are early retirees too, with no pension.

It was an eye-opener for me, who has been having such a conventional life. It is not for me, well not yet anyway, but knowing that one can live happily with less money makes me feel good.
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Old 12-11-2011, 07:19 PM   #123
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I still plan to post my numbers for the year as it's the first year I've done this type of tracking. Unfortunately, we still have some significant numbers to add to the spread sheet as we plan to "titrate" our charity numbers for the year.

Unfortunately, even though I could tell you what I've sent to the various taxing agencies, I don't know what our 2011 taxes will actually be (until next April). Our taxes vary (almost wildly) depending upon how much we take from the 401(k) and how much we convert to Roths. So, I may just throw in an estimate based on what %age tax we usually pay on our income. We'll see when the time comes. Of course, if this thread becomes inactive by then, who knows.

Very interesting topic in general. Difficult to fathom how some folks can live on so little - and that's a compliment, not a criticism. If I didn't pay taxes or have medical insurance (payments) and out-of-pocket, I suppose mine COULD be managed significantly lower. However, we do have "voluntary expenses" which are significant that we will continue to pay as long as we are able (mentioned elsewhere, charity and gifts to kids, etc.). Our other "manageable" expense is living in a relatively high cost area. I know (from 60 years experience) that there are much less expensive areas to live. I'm certain I could find a modest yet comfortable apartment in some areas of the country for what I pay in HOA/maintenance dues. So far, I'm willing to pay the freight to live where I want to. YMMV
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Old 12-11-2011, 07:53 PM   #124
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This thread has been very good education to me. While I have been aware that many members here have achieved very low monthly spending levels, this thread has truly helped me understand what it takes.

Quote:
Originally Posted by FIREd View Post
As long as DW keeps her job, we spend more on FICA and income taxes than we spend on ourselves. I don't include those taxes in our budget at the moment because it would be depressing.
Same situation here with our taxes over 2x our spending. Our monthly spending for two people averaged $5348 the last 12 months. Over 40% of our total was spent in clearly discretionary stuff like travel, hobbies, or pricey food, but we have not (yet) felt too much pressure to reduce it since we were still able to keep on our aggressive savings plan with target to achieve FI in 2014 at age of 50 & 49.

Here is our breakdown:
Cats 27
Charity 300
Clothing 210
Dining out 207
Gifts 121
Food & household consumables 585
Hobbies & travel 2139
Home improvements 247
Home insurance 413
Other household expenses 139
Medical 57
Property tax 463
Utilities, tv, phone, security 440

Most of the medical and all transportation is paid by employers.
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Old 12-11-2011, 10:10 PM   #125
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We've tracked for over 20 years. It's great to be able to look back at what has happened to our spending long term.
Our categories are:
food
household
clothes & personal
reading and entertainment
utilities
taxes
home maintenance
medical
a professional account for each of us (books, journals, conferences, etc.)
auto
insurance (some of this goes under auto)
misc. (things like postage stamps)
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Old 12-13-2011, 07:28 PM   #126
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Okay, I sorta promised to "show you mine". Keep in mind that this is through today's date, so it's a little shy of the true figures. Nor do I certify that everything is to the penny (Clearly, some figures are rounded). I've gotten lazy a few times and ended up going through piles of receipts, so...

Also, realize that we all have our "systems", so my "household" might not be the same as yours. I'll make a couple of notes for clarification.

Not including taxes as I'm not sure what they are (were? will be?) for 2011. I'm guessing they will be around 30% or more of the total expenditures for Fed and State. Seems high, but I didn't include Roth conversions as "expenses" - only the tax costs thereof. Taxes (or call them fees) specific to a category are included in that category e.g., car tags or RE taxes, etc

Surprised me a bit throughout the year as I saw what we were spending. I see half a dozen places I could cut back if we need to. Without serious strain, I could cut $20K. With some strain, I could cut an additional $10K. If suspenders come to belt come to elastic waist band, I could move back the mainland apartment and live on 1/3 - but I don't want to. This is what I want to do as a retiree. (Note, going back to w*rk is not one of my back ups, heh, heh).

YMMV

Yearly Totals, 2 people:

Dining Out - $ 5453
Cars - $ 5583 (includes $2000 estimated depreciation)
Personal Care $ 275 (Hair cuts, soap, toothpaste, etc.)
Medical (Ins. and OOP) $10303 (more bills to come)
Dental (Ins. and OOP) $ 727
Life Insurance $ 4550 (Note, significant cash value in this figure)
LTC Ins. $ 3690
Food $ 4320
Dwelling $ 7320 (Doesn't include opportunity costs or most
allowances for replacement accrual, etc.)
Household $ 2300 (Paper products, consumables, etc.)
Entertainment $ 2010 (Movies, DVD/CD, crafts, concerts, computer stuff, etc.)
Utilities $ 1600 (primarily electricity Net and cell phones)
Clothes $ 460
Financial costs $ 550 (Blank Checks, Lock box, fees)
Gifts $ 7025 (Primarily Kids' Roths plus xmas/BD etc.)
Charity $ 12525 (Domestic and International)
Travel $ 7775 (Includes apartment in midwest)

Total $76,500
Monthly $ 6,375

Guestimate on taxes and to make it come out about even (round) number $23,500

Grand total for year $100K
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Old 12-13-2011, 07:44 PM   #127
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Somehow, I expected your medical costs to be higher. Perhaps from your earlier posts.

About cutting back, why? You are obviously comfortable with this budget, so just party on!
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Old 12-14-2011, 12:57 AM   #128
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Here's ours for a couple in Southern California:

Monthly Budget

Mortgage$2,206.80
Car Payments$623.41
Real Estate Tax$550.00
Lunch$320.00
Groceries$250.00
Gasoline$200.00
Car Insurance$170.00
Home Insurance$160.00
Cellphone$126.00
Home Maintenance$100.00
Car Maintenance$90.00
Clothing$80.00
Garden$65.00
Dining Out$60.00
Water$50.00
Electricity$45.00
Internet$42.00
HomeOwners$35.00
Gas$30.00
Healthcare Copays$30.00
Trash$25.00
Netflix/Cable$20.00
Car Registration$20.00
Gifts$20.00
Movies$20.00
  
Total$5338.21
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Old 12-14-2011, 09:16 AM   #129
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Here are just my expenses. I live in my partner's house which is mortgage free. We split all house & food expenses. My biggest expense was for my son Eric who was out of work for a long period of time. He is working again so hopefully I won't have that expense 2012. My planned expenses going into the year was $3,000/mo so if I take out the money for my son the actual would have been $2509.

Sorry but I couldn't cut & paste the excel sheet.


Gifts $64
Food $150
House $175
Misc $236
Eric $565
Ins $359
Books/Mag $33
Dinner $90
Meds $228
Clothing $12
Newspaper $42
Utilities $206
Pets $426
Doctors $136
Charity $25
Entertain $54
Car $131
Taxes $104
Vacation $34
Total $3,074
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Old 12-14-2011, 07:09 PM   #130
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These were my monthly expenditures in 2011 (one person, large home, own car, high deductible health insurance):

Housing $4,000
Grocery $780
Insurance $253
Entertainment & Misc $688
Travel $1,755

Total: $7,476

I guess grocery's so high for one person because I just push the cart around and get whatever looks good. It was about half that before I ER'd and was on a tighter budget.
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Old 12-15-2011, 03:25 AM   #131
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Somehow, I expected your medical costs to be higher. Perhaps from your earlier posts.
I suppose I gave the impression of "higher" medical costs because there have been so many individual "procedures" this year. However, when you consider that I have "subsidized" health insurance, spending 10% of my total on health care still seems high to me. Also, if you throw in LTC, it's closer to 14%. I'm going to have to get with my tax "professional" to see if we can take a tax write off on some of it.
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Old 12-15-2011, 10:26 AM   #132
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Thanks to all for sharing - one thing I noticed was the internet and cell phone expenses- those are definitely more of an ubiquitous 21st century expense that one might not have had in the late 1990s (just landline before). I see those average around $100 each. One other thing, if one looked at what was purchased, one could probably get a good idea of what to invest in as an industry :-) There are things that most people consider necessary and would probably have a decent consistent return from an investment perspective. For haha, it would be fish :-)
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Old 12-15-2011, 10:44 AM   #133
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Thanks to all for sharing - one thing I noticed was the internet and cell phone expenses- those are definitely more of an ubiquitous 21st century expense that one might not have had in the late 1990s (just landline before). I see those average around $100 each. One other thing, if one looked at what was purchased, one could probably get a good idea of what to invest in as an industry :-) There are things that most people consider necessary and would probably have a decent consistent return from an investment perspective. For haha, it would be fish :-)
I remember when I used to read The Motley Fool (back when they were free). They were talking about what a big deal wireless service was going to be and how once people got hooked on the convenience of cell phones, they wouldn't want to give them up. My reaction was skepticism - I figured that folk wouldn't want to keep paying such high cellphone bills month after month, but boy was I wrong!

My entire telecommunications bill is just under $28 a month. $8 for a basic landline and $20 for basic DSL. No cable TV here - I manage to find enough free entertainment on the internet. I thought I was going to miss my cellphone, but have found that I rather like not being connected when I go out. No-one can get hold of me when I'm out playing. I like that!
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Old 12-15-2011, 10:54 AM   #134
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Thanks to all for sharing - one thing I noticed was the internet and cell phone expenses- those are definitely more of an ubiquitous 21st century expense that one might not have had in the late 1990s (just landline before). I see those average around $100 each. One other thing, if one looked at what was purchased, one could probably get a good idea of what to invest in as an industry :-) There are things that most people consider necessary and would probably have a decent consistent return from an investment perspective. For haha, it would be fish :-)
We used to spend almost $100/mo for landline and DW's cellphone, and I had a Blackberry at work before retiring that would have cost me another $100 if I was paying for it. We dropped our landline years ago and now spend $30-35 a month for two Net10 cellphones, as others here have. We have 200-250 minutes per month each (phone and data plan), or 400-1000 texts per month. That's enough for us and we can buy more minutes at no premium per minute cost, and there's no contract at all. I realize many users need or just want more minutes or the latest and greatest phone technology (though Net10 just started offering Android phones!), but there are many inexpensive no contract options that are adequate for some. FWIW...
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Old 12-15-2011, 02:22 PM   #135
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Here's mine through Dec 15th:

Taxes: 2,739
Medical: 450
Housing (PITI, HOA): 2,213; darn HCOL area!
Recreation: 575
Food: 650
Utilities: 240
Insurance (Auto, Life Umbrella): 187
Auto (gas & maintenance): 287
House: 216
Clothing: 41
Gifts: 85 (est to 100 by end of year)
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Old 12-16-2011, 12:50 PM   #136
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Looks like we all have something to learn from these folks. Family of three lives well on $20,000 a year
Here is the link
Life Inc. - Family of three lives well on $20,000 a year
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Old 12-16-2011, 01:03 PM   #137
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I read the entire series about the various families. You have to admire their ability to stretch a buck and live within their means. But I certainly dont want to aspire to that level of thriftiness. I would have to say its not 100% accurate as I read that family to have state health insurance provided, which is not part of their 20k expenses. Some people on this forum have more than 20k a year in health costs paid out of pocket.
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Old 12-16-2011, 05:13 PM   #138
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While I don't think of us as big spenders or living the high life, our spending is certainly higher than many. These are projections since we've recently compressed from two homes into one so I may well have overstated the budget for certain items (I hope so anyway).

I don't include taxes because I expect that we will have no income taxes in retirement. Besides, when I was working it was depressing to see how much we were actually paying in taxes when I did our tax return each year.

Also, this is based on three people and hopefully will be lower once DS lands a job and moves into his own place (soon we hope).

 Monthly 
Auto943includes fuel, insurance, repairs, depreciation (3 cars)
Housing1,042property taxes, heat, repairs,cable, utiliites, insurance,
Entertainment792vacations, dining, skiing, golf, hockey, snowmobiling
Food6003 people
Medical & dental1,135Insurance + deductibles/copays
Cell phone703 phones
Other949cash spending, household
 5,530 
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Old 01-02-2012, 08:51 PM   #139
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Final number for 2011 is $11,950. I spent $11,974 in 2010 so i'm staying consistent with my $12,000 budget. I have every intention of keeping it right there for 2012.
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Old 01-02-2012, 09:42 PM   #140
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I just finished carrying over my Excel templates to my 2012 worksheets. My final consumption amount in 2011 was $36,920. This does not include FIT.

My housing erxpenses should be less in 2012, even if I allocate a capital cost to my condo. (Which I won't do!)

Ha
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