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Old 12-07-2007, 05:21 PM   #41
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There haven't been too many comments about the expenses of living as a single vs living as a couple.

My own estimate, given our life style and life preferences, is that it costs DW and I close to double what either of us would spend living as a single.

Housing seems to be the primary area to save as a couple. But even there, you could downsize, take in a roommate, sell and rent something modest, etc., if your status changed to single.

I think I could live OK on $30K/yr (given all the prepaid expenses most assume such as home ownership), but doubt DW and I could do it together for $30K. Too independent. We each want our own car, pocket money, personal expenses, medical, hobby money, enough room in the house for two, etc., etc.

Just hypothetical. No plans to split after 37 yrs and have an RE income over the proposed $30K currently being discussed.
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Old 12-07-2007, 05:55 PM   #42
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My folks live on about 20-22k. Simple people, simple lifestyle, not extravagent. They mainly live off of SS, but have a couple of small pensions. House is paid for, no mortgage, prop tax around 1300/year, medical is probably their biggest other expense (the out of pocket not paid by medicare or whayever they have to supplement it).

As for us, we're not FIREd yet, and still living in a work situation that skews things. Best estimate for us is about 86.4k after tax, assuming the lifestyle we think we'll lead, in expenses except for income taxes and tithing. Grossing up for that will be about 116k pre-tax and tithes. This assumes some tax management, but I think I can do just a little better. However, if we include an RV, which we would like, then the figure becomes about 96.3k post-tax. Note that these figures include quite a bit of play money and travel money, as well as depreciation on two cars and the RV (which are always bought with cash, never debt). My more reasonable estimates are in the 66k post-tax range, but tastes and experience are telling me that DW won't be happy on the 66k version. Me? I would be fine between 30-40k, but it would require a home downsizing because of the cost of tax and upkeep on the McMansion.
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Old 12-07-2007, 06:31 PM   #43
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There haven't been too many comments about the expenses of living as a single vs living as a couple.

My own estimate, given our life style and life preferences, is that it costs DW and I close to double what either of us would spend living as a single.
There was a long discussion of this about 3 years ago, we seemed to arrive at a couple on average can live on roughly 1 & 2/3 the cost for a single person.

Even housing costs are somewhat higher for a couple than a single, as you mention. You really do need more room; you have to accommodate a woman's taste in decor; you may have to keep the home warmer, or at least heated more since with 2 people there are going ot be times when one is gone, but hte other home- hence heat or AC must be kept going.

I really can't understand any of these low cost claims. If a couple can live on $30,000, theoretically then I should be able to live on 3/5 of that, or $18,000. Well, that would get me my one bedroom apartment and my medical insurance, with enough left over to buy water and sewer. But that would appear to leave a quite a few uncovered expenses- food for one. Even if you reduce my rent to what the average homeowner here pays for property tax and insurance and modest maintenance alone, that still would only leave about $4000-$5000 for all other expenses.

Years ago I lived in LA. I knew a woman who was into yoga, and specifically Indian Yogi Gurus. Some famous yogi was visiting LA from his holy ashram in India, and he was said to subsist on air and water only. No need at all for food. But when he arrived it turned out that he needed to go out for meals. Why? The LA air was too impure for him to metabolize it.
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Old 12-07-2007, 07:29 PM   #44
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Years ago I lived in LA. I knew a woman who was into yoga, and specifically Indian Yogi Gurus. Some famous yogi was visiting LA from his holy ashram in India, and he was said to subsist on air and water only. No need at all for food. But when he arrived it turned out that he needed to go out for meals. Why? The LA air was too impure for him to metabolize it.
I love it. Is he sure it wasn't just the bad aura's emanating from
of all us corrupt southern californians?
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Old 12-07-2007, 07:33 PM   #45
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Here's my YTD, 2 people, 1 dog, no kids in NY:

$16,438.01 - Mortgage
$9,067.00 - Propety Tax
$6,583.54 - Groceries
$5,726.09 - Dining Out
$3,979.67 - Pet
$3,881.90 - Auto Repair
$2,922.00 - Insurance
$2,516.83 - Gasoline
$2,430.00 - Tuition
$2,141.12 - Clothes
$1,965.13 - Oil
$1,792.37 - Electric/Gas
$1,630.98 - Medical
$1,565.37 - Household
$1,482.46 - Cable
$1,394.60 - Gifts
$1,381.37 - Home Maint
$1,328.45 - Wine/Spirits
$1,158.50 - Misc
$1,072.80 - Entertainment
$884.86 - Phone
$811.40 - Hobbies
$761.24 - Health/Beauty
$545.00 - Charity
$532.61 - Electronics
$329.78 - School/Work
$238.33 - Water
$79.92 - Furniture

$74.641.33 - Total
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Old 12-07-2007, 08:09 PM   #46
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$1,482 on cable? I haven't had cable since the 80s, but that seems really high to me.
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Old 12-07-2007, 08:27 PM   #47
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Does Rover have a taste for fine dining?
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Old 12-07-2007, 08:45 PM   #48
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Single with one dog. I live a pretty good life on 30k a year. Probably will pick up the pace in a few years, but retiring at 53 makes me some what reluctant to spend the normal 4% at this stage of my retirement.
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Old 12-07-2007, 08:48 PM   #49
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LOL...cable includes internet, tv and wired phone, plus HD recorder. Phone bill is for wireless accounts. Rover is old and cancer survivor, but worth every penny! Another item standing out is auto repair...new tires/brakes for 2 cars and new tranny for truck hurts!
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Seems to me that the corporation's race to the top is resulting in a race to the bottom for the employee's quality of life. FIRE can't come soon enough.
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Old 12-07-2007, 08:52 PM   #50
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$1965 for oil? Does that include the cost of airfare to the middle east to pick it up?
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Old 12-07-2007, 08:59 PM   #51
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$1965 for oil? Does that include the cost of airfare to the middle east to pick it up?

Heating oil is expensive.
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Old 12-07-2007, 09:04 PM   #52
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He already had electric/gas expenses of $1792. I assumed that covered heating costs.
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Old 12-07-2007, 10:30 PM   #53
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$9,067.00 - Propety Tax


Yikes! Glad I don't live on the east coast!
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Old 12-08-2007, 12:37 AM   #54
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I live comfortably on less than 30K a year... but I have no debt.
Property taxes are high here in Texas... but my other living expenses
are low compared with other areas of the country.
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Old 12-08-2007, 01:33 AM   #55
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$1965 for oil? Does that include the cost of airfare to the middle east to pick it up?
This kind of comedy is why I won't post my expenses here. The one and only time I did someone thought how much I spent on food was hilarious.

ha
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Old 12-08-2007, 07:16 AM   #56
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I really can't understand any of these low cost claims. If a couple can live on $30,000, theoretically then I should be able to live on 3/5 of that, or $18,000.
I have lived on $16,000 plus the P&I on my house for years. This past year since my house was paid off, I averaged much less (probably around $12,000) because nothing really broke and I had no big expenses.

Yet I buy everything I want, including art, expensive food, $125 running shoes, $16 socks, nice formal meeting clothes when needed for work, and a membership in the most expensive gym in the area.

What's my secret? Living in a paid off house in a less expensive part of the country is really helpful. Also, my self confidence and feelings of self worth are not tied to my possessions. I have never had a lot more to spend than this, so I am used to living "like a student", so to speak. And finally, I have a lot to do other than shop.

I get a huge kick out of watching the vast majority of the money that I make rolling into my bank account, 401K, Roth, and Vanguard. I am going to have more to spend when I retire (in two years) than I am spending now, and though I can't imagine what I'll do with most of it, I will have fun exploring that a little bit in the years to come.

Ha, if you lived in a paid off house in a less expensive part of the country, you would probably spend much less. But living in an apartment in a coastal city makes you happy, and you can afford it, so why not?

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$9,067.00 - Property Tax
I just paid my property tax last week for my median priced home in an fairly upscale suburb of New Orleans. It was $451 for the entire year. Last year it was less than that. It was higher before Katrina, but still only around $900 or $1000. It's all in where you live.
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Old 12-08-2007, 07:16 AM   #57
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30K seems about 12K short. That was my impression when I decided to leave my job. I have a 32K pension and after tax its about 26K. I figured I needed another 1000 a month and it would work. I am finding that my extra 3000 a month really is sweet.

We are not extravagant, but having 55K a year makes it so we are not watching every penny we spend. At 52 and 54 we still have a few years to the 62 age for SS which we will take at that time. By then my cola pension should be near 38K a year and the wife will have a 3K small pension , figure in another 22K combined SS at 62 I would not even have to do any part time work. But I am really enjoying my new found teaching part time elementary Phys Ed positions. 3 different schools each week all within a 15 mile short easy local drive. I mean I work a total of 4 hours a day 3 days a week.

And I love my wife but being around her 24/7 is well not condusive to a happy life, for either of us. We both need our own time.
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Old 12-08-2007, 07:18 AM   #58
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I have lived on $16,000 plus the P&I on my house for years. This past year since my house was paid off, I averaged much less (probably around $12,000) because nothing really broke and I had no big expenses.

Yet I buy everything I want, including art, expensive food, $125 running shoes, $16 socks, nice formal meeting clothes when needed for work, and a membership in the most expensive gym in the area.

What's my secret? Living in a paid off house in a less expensive part of the country is really helpful. Also, my self confidence and feelings of self worth are not tied to my possessions. And finally, I have a lot to do other than shop.

Ha, if you lived in a paid off house in a less expensive part of the country, you would probably spend much less. But living in an apartment in a coastal city makes you happy, and you can afford it, so why not?
I just will not pay 125 for running shoes and I run upwards of 70 miles a week! I go through them so fast. Found a fantastic pair of Mizunos yesterday on sale for 59 dollars reg price was 95, ugly color but hey great price and they fit!
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Old 12-08-2007, 07:27 AM   #59
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Everyone's circumstance is so different. With a mortage, DH, 2 kids, pets (1 dog, 2 cats, a hamster, and lizard - average monthly cost for pets is $175 for food, boarding, purchase, vet, etc) no way can we make it on $30k.

While I can project a budget for when house is paid for, kids leave, pet population is reduced, and income/taxes are reduced, it is somewhat of a frivolous exercise. ER plans anticipate that all current expenses will still be in place. If it ends up we have excess funds later, great - more traveling, but I can't/won't ER anticipating lower spending later because it makes it all too tight.
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Old 12-08-2007, 07:34 AM   #60
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Everyone's circumstance is so different. With a mortage, DH, 2 kids, pets (1 dog, 2 cats, a hamster, and lizard - average monthly cost for pets is $175 for food, boarding, purchase, vet, etc) no way can we make it on $30k.

While I can project a budget for when house is paid for, kids leave, pet population is reduced, and income/taxes are reduced, it is somewhat of a frivolous exercise. ER plans anticipate that all current expenses will still be in place. If it ends up we have excess funds later, great - more traveling, but I can't/won't ER anticipating lower spending later because it makes it all too tight.

Moving out of the expensive northeast and paying cash for the new house made it so we could live on much less. we were paying 2200 a month to live in the house . Now taxes are 300 a month thats it no mortgage. No 120 mile round trip auto commute anymore. Save another big amount on gasoline a month.

Those are the big things. So when we plugged in the numbers I took away about 30K from my 90K salary and then figured less tax less SS tax we could do it on about 50% of my last salary. So far it worked out. But last month I was offered another two days of part time work at a 3000K month salary and yes it makes things soooo easy.

So that makes it exactly what I was making back up north with the larger salary. 32K pension and 36 K salary 66K with no mortgage. No real commuting costs and much lower real estate taxes.
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