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Old 01-02-2016, 02:06 PM   #61
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Pfffttt, that's nothing. For years we've donated almost all of our after-tax funds to an unemployed couple in their 60's.
Come to think of it, we also supported people in the construction, landscaping business, as well as in travel industry. What we really use for ourselves such as food and clothing is minuscule.
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Old 01-02-2016, 03:58 PM   #62
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Last year I spent $11,543 or approx. $955/mo. It was broken down like this.

-Electric:75/mo
-Condo fee
Tax/insurance/maint.:295(includes $500 for a once a decade refrigerator)
-Internet/cell:105(will go down to ~$80 with cheaper cell phone service)
-Car-gas/maint./ins.:155/mo(will go down with cheaper gas and no trip to Florida although with 90,000 miles, maint. will start to go up)
-Food:175/mo
-Health:100/mo(includes subsidized premium and $500 max OOP)
-misc.:50/mo

Yesterday I ate oatmeal for breakfast. I had several pieces of microwaved summer sausage for lunch. I had a few handfuls of dry roasted peanuts throughout the afternoon as snacks. I ate a frozen pizza for dinner. I only drink water. Total cost of all food and drink is around $6/day. I don't eat the healthiest of diets but it works for me. I'm not overweight(6'6" & 181 lbs) and my blood work(which I have done many times a year for work) is all good.
Thank you for the information. I feel I could cut down my spending much more if I had to. It helps to have lower housing cost also.
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Old 01-02-2016, 04:06 PM   #63
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Thank you for the information. I feel I could cut down my spending much more if I had to. It helps to have lower housing cost also.
I live in a low cost of living area and I bought less than I could afford. When I was looking for a home in 2007 I was pre-approved for $160K. There happened to be a house for sale 1/2 mile from work for $155K but I didn't want to spend that much on an income of ~$46K/yr so I bought a $40K condo a little further away instead. Less than 4 years later I was unemployed and haven't made over $20K in any year since so i'm glad I didn't by the most house I could afford. I bought only what I needed--an 860 sqft condo.
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Old 01-02-2016, 04:37 PM   #64
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Come to think of it, we also supported people in the construction, landscaping business, as well as in travel industry. What we really use for ourselves such as food and clothing is minuscule.
We had $50K worth of work done on the house we bought in last July, definitely supported the travel industry, and donated as much to charity as we spent on travel. Yeah, I'd say we're doing our part.
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Old 01-02-2016, 04:38 PM   #65
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Even food costs are supporting farmers and food processors. It's all contributing to the economy.
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Old 01-02-2016, 04:41 PM   #66
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Even food costs are supporting farmers and food processors. It's all contributing to the economy...
and our waistline.

But it is true that money makes the world go round. Gotta keep the money movin'.
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Old 01-02-2016, 04:55 PM   #67
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That sounds like a perfect house to me too, except I would probably get something a little smaller
Ha ha!!! Thank you. You know just what I mean, then. Sometimes a smaller, older house is the house of one's dreams.

I was thinking that a more conventional dream house for many people might be around 2500 square feet, built in 2005.
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Old 01-02-2016, 05:13 PM   #68
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Ha ha!!! Thank you. You know just what I mean, then. Sometimes a smaller, older house is the house of one's dreams.

I was thinking that a more conventional dream house for many people might be around 2500 square feet, built in 2005.
A lot of people live in rural areas and I think people get used to bigger houses. I am originally from Japan (very, very small houses there) and I just moved out of Silicon Valley (A lot of my friends live in much less than 1500 sq ft), so my standards may be different from someone who has lived in rural areas with lower real estate prices. If I can fit all my clothes and cookware and hobby items (which isn't much), that's big enough for me. I would never be able live in a so-called "tiny" house though - that is way too small.
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Old 01-02-2016, 05:19 PM   #69
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I live in a low cost of living area and I bought less than I could afford. When I was looking for a home in 2007 I was pre-approved for $160K. There happened to be a house for sale 1/2 mile from work for $155K but I didn't want to spend that much on an income of ~$46K/yr so I bought a $40K condo a little further away instead. Less than 4 years later I was unemployed and haven't made over $20K in any year since so i'm glad I didn't by the most house I could afford. I bought only what I needed--an 860 sqft condo.
WOW, a $40K condo for a 860 sqft! WOW!! I am realizing more and more that there are pockets of America where living is quite affordable. I didn't notice the city in your profile - Is it in an OK (semi-safe) neighborhood?
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Old 01-02-2016, 05:35 PM   #70
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WOW, a $40K condo for a 860 sqft! WOW!! I am realizing more and more that there are pockets of America where living is quite affordable. I didn't notice the city in your profile - Is it in an OK (semi-safe) neighborhood?
I live in small town Wisconsin--one of the safest places in the country. My condo was the cheapest place on the market when I bought it. It's gone down in value but a decent single family home is at least $60K+ which seems too expensive to me so I stay where I am.
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Old 01-02-2016, 05:44 PM   #71
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Ha ha!!! Thank you. You know just what I mean, then. Sometimes a smaller, older house is the house of one's dreams.

I was thinking that a more conventional dream house for many people might be around 2500 square feet, built in 2005.
I don't want to hijack this thread but I see a lot of references to your dream home but never saw a place where you tell the story about it. Did you share it in another thread I missed? Just curious, and you don't have to if you don't want. I just recall that you had talked for quite awhile about moving elsewhere but now it looks like you've decided to stay in New Orleans?
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Old 01-02-2016, 05:44 PM   #72
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Surprises in 2015? Yeah. FIL died penniless in Phoenix, leaving us with the $17,000 in funeral expenses. We were glad to do it to give him a proper send off in his home state but the cost was real and set us back on savings goals. Though we have ample emergency reserves, I chose to use our line of credit to instill some psychological pressure on myself to pay it back ASAP rather than allow myself to get slack after instead simply selling some stock to cover it. We've paid ourselves back all but $5,000 since it happened in July. We would have finished payback in December except then, BLAMMO, in October, DW was diagnosed with breast cancer at 52. Prognosis for DW is excellent as they caught it very early, thank Goodness, and it's her second go-round with it so we are battle-hardened cancer veterans and know the drill, unfortunately. We've had about $3,500 in associated out of pocket costs so far. She's a Fed, too, so it's been eye-opening that we've had that much to pay, though we obviously spent it without a second thought. Either Federal employee health insurance ain't what it used to be or drug costs are skyrocketing, or both. We are paying those bills with current cash so far. Again, addressing the scary episode emotionally is far more important than the pain of spending money in unwanted fashion, but both matters knocked us off our savings goals. Maybe the positive lesson is the real-life demonstration that having some resources and options for these speed bumps in life lets one focus on the actual speed bumps rather than the money, primarily, so we are grateful for our "odd" savings habits. We're mostly glad that 2015 is in the rear view mirror, though.


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Old 01-02-2016, 05:54 PM   #73
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I don't want to hijack this thread but I see a lot of references to your dream home but never saw a place where you tell the story about it. Did you share it in another thread I missed? Just curious, and you don't have to if you don't want. I just recall that you had talked for quite awhile about moving elsewhere but now it looks like you've decided to stay in New Orleans?
W2R, please hijack the thread all you want (from OP )
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Old 01-02-2016, 06:12 PM   #74
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I don't want to hijack this thread but I see a lot of references to your dream home but never saw a place where you tell the story about it. Did you share it in another thread I missed? Just curious, and you don't have to if you don't want. I just recall that you had talked for quite awhile about moving elsewhere but now it looks like you've decided to stay in New Orleans?

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W2R, please hijack the thread all you want (from OP )
OK, thank you!!!! I'll try to be brief. I think most of the story is sprinkled here and there on the "what did you do today" thread so I'll include a few links to that thread. There are lots of other posts on that thread about my Dream House from May-July.

In 2010-2011, we had our New Orleans homes on the market and planned to move to Missouri. Frank got the first offer on his house, the reality sank in, and he said he did not want to move away. We both took our homes off the market because I didn't want to live in Missouri without him. Time passed, and I realized that I still wanted a nicer home, hopefully within walking distance of his house.

I kept my eyes open until September of 2014, when a house on his block was for sale. I made an offer, but it wasn't enough to get the house and my realtor advised against offering any more than I already had. Broke my heart.

On May 1st of 2015 at 8 PM we saw a realtor putting up a "For Sale" sign next door to Frank's house. I had no idea how big the house was or how expensive or anything about it. Most of the houses in his neighborhood were way too big and way more than I could afford. I immediately called my real estate man and he got an appointment for me as the first showing of the house, on May 2nd. The house was perfect for me, better than the "one that got away", and the asking price was very low because they needed to sell quickly. Within an hour of seeing the house I had a full price cash offer in on it, contingent on inspection. This was 19 hours after the sign went up, and before it even hit the realtors' version of the MLS.

Closing was in June, although it was originally scheduled in May so I ended up spending 6 weeks "camping out" in my old home with everything packed in boxes (ugh). The closing date was changed 5 times by the sellers, because my inspections showed that they had some major repairs to do on the plumbing and that took time. This was $25K worth of repairs, required to make it habitable. I moved in on July 1st. It has been a dream come true for me. It is wonderful living next door to one another. The house has features I always dreamed of having - - like the huge shower that I always wanted, and a big detached garage for my Venza. And, of course, a terrific next door neighbor...
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Old 01-02-2016, 06:18 PM   #75
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Thanks for the update! I should start following that thread again. That's why I missed it. How great that you found a house you love right next to Frank!
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Old 01-02-2016, 06:45 PM   #76
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Thanks for the update! I should start following that thread again. That's why I missed it. How great that you found a house you love right next to Frank!
Thank you! I think so too, and it was $50K cheaper than I had offered for the first house, plus my present home is so much better for me. Being this close, Frank and I are spending more time together spontaneously now and we can help one another more.
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Old 01-02-2016, 07:00 PM   #77
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I live in a low cost of living area and I bought less than I could afford. When I was looking for a home in 2007 I was pre-approved for $160K. There happened to be a house for sale 1/2 mile from work for $155K but I didn't want to spend that much on an income of ~$46K/yr so I bought a $40K condo a little further away instead. Less than 4 years later I was unemployed and haven't made over $20K in any year since so i'm glad I didn't by the most house I could afford. I bought only what I needed--an 860 sqft condo.
$40K? That's not even enough downpayment to avoid mortgage insurance where I live...
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Old 01-02-2016, 07:09 PM   #78
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We shoot for about 100K/yr but came in well under at $80K. Moving to a smaller place helped as taxes are significantly lower.


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Old 01-02-2016, 09:24 PM   #79
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Surprises in 2015? Yeah. FIL died penniless in Phoenix, leaving us with the $17,000 in funeral expenses. We were glad to do it to give him a proper send off in his home state but the cost was real and set us back on savings goals. Though we have ample emergency reserves, I chose to use our line of credit to instill some psychological pressure on myself to pay it back ASAP rather than allow myself to get slack after instead simply selling some stock to cover it. We've paid ourselves back all but $5,000 since it happened in July. We would have finished payback in December except then, BLAMMO, in October, DW was diagnosed with breast cancer at 52. Prognosis for DW is excellent as they caught it very early, thank Goodness, and it's her second go-round with it so we are battle-hardened cancer veterans and know the drill, unfortunately. We've had about $3,500 in associated out of pocket costs so far. She's a Fed, too, so it's been eye-opening that we've had that much to pay, though we obviously spent it without a second thought. Either Federal employee health insurance ain't what it used to be or drug costs are skyrocketing, or both. We are paying those bills with current cash so far. Again, addressing the scary episode emotionally is far more important than the pain of spending money in unwanted fashion, but both matters knocked us off our savings goals. Maybe the positive lesson is the real-life demonstration that having some resources and options for these speed bumps in life lets one focus on the actual speed bumps rather than the money, primarily, so we are grateful for our "odd" savings habits. We're mostly glad that 2015 is in the rear view mirror, though.


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Markola - Sounds like you had a tough year. Best wishes for a good recovery for your wife. Cancer sucks.
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Old 01-02-2016, 11:51 PM   #80
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Not retired yet (come on April 2017!!), and we don't actually have a "budget" that we stick to but we did manage to save 75% of our income in 2015 and have our Net Worth increase by 20% from January 2015 so I think we are doing great! No surprises and I am just desperate for the next 15 months to just zip by!
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