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Old 03-23-2010, 05:26 PM   #41
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I didn't understand "Bank charges". What's that? No one pays any bank charges nowadays. Is that a mistake?
I do business with an online bank so I have to pay ATM fees every time I withdraw cash from a local bank's ATM (the fees eventually get reimbursed but, still, I like to account for them). I also get charged for wiring money to my charitable fund, though they just started to accept ACH transfers so those fees are going away. My old bank used to charge me to reorder checks too (my new bank does not).
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Old 03-23-2010, 05:48 PM   #42
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I am probably a little (a lot?) odd, but every month when I receive my bank statement I am really excited. Why? Because I am just dying to type in the stuff and see how much I spent in the previous month.

For some reason I get a huge charge out of this. Perhaps my Scottish heritage?
Ha ha. Me too. I like to track, pay bills, track networth, split receipts, etc. Anything with numbers or spreadsheets.

Regarding tracking, I do my own cash to the penny. But with my husband I just track when he withdraws cash. We use cards for almost everything so his cash usually isn't that much. He'll let me know if he uses cash for "joint" expenses. Since I track these differently from individual purchases. And he just keeps receipts in his wallet and I collect them every couple weeks.

I track mostly because I like it. If I just wanted a financial picture, I would just track income vs. expenses very roughly using the bank and credit card statements and networth using investment statements. There's really no reason I need to track as detailed as I do, but I enjoy it and am curious how certain categories might change if there are life style changes.
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Old 03-23-2010, 06:42 PM   #43
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I tracked my cash purchases specifically (including which restaurants, how much was spent, and so on) in December out of curiousity. Now, I just track "cash" and if it is just $400-$500 I don't worry about it. If it goes up to $600, then I make sure it is less the following month.

.
I know you love to LBYM so I'm shocked at your restaurant expenditure .It is surprisingly high . Considering It's just you so between you & Frank your restaurant expenditures are $12000 a year ! Yikes ! For that amount you could be cruising the Greek Isles .
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Old 03-23-2010, 07:31 PM   #44
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I just got my bank statement today! So, I added up my February expenses - - a total of $1,083. It was low (for me) despite higher than normal ATM/cash expenditures. My $31 electric bill didn't clear until the day after the statement closed, which helped, and also my $20/month water/sewage/trash bill is billed every other month and this is the off month.

My average expenses during the four months since retirement are $1,563.

These expenses exclude the car (which was saved for over ten years), plus income taxes and medical premiums that are deducted from my pension before I get it. But even if I put the income taxes and medical and 1/12th of the car in my monthly expenses, I am still not spending as much as FIRECalc says I can afford. Yet I am honestly buying everything I might possibly want or need.

I don't want more money -- I just wish I had another 50 years.

I timed myself -- it took 2 minute to type in the numbers, less than I had thought. I only had 11 expenditures (ATM, check, debit card, automatic bank deduction) this month.
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Old 03-23-2010, 07:40 PM   #45
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I'm like W2R, I like to keep track of the details and I enjoy my spreadsheets. Certain monthly expenses are always the same so those I can just copy over each month.

Phone (Soon to be dropped, switching to Magicjack)
City Utilities (Electric, water/sewer, trash/recycling)
Car Insurance
Life Insurances
Internet
Gas (heat) on budget plan
DirecTV
Property Taxes (save 1/12 per month)
Home Insurance (save 1/12 per month)
Cash (set amount every 2 weeks, split between us)

Then I have budgeted categories for things that will vary-
Groceries
Eating Out (Friday night w/ family)
Gas (auto)
Other - includes clothing, car maintenance, gifts, medical copays and Rxs, vet, postage, periodic reloads to the pre-paid cell phones, misc expenses that occur, etc, etc.

All "shopping" is done using the PenFed rebate card and I move the "spent" money to a savings account and pay the PenFed in full every month. The rebated amount stays in savings.

I go to Walmart or Target once a month and split the expense into the proper category. It really only takes a minute to figure out what belongs in Groceries (food, toiletries, paper goods, shampoo, vitamins, cleaning products, etc) vs. Other (small appliance, yard, car, linens, etc.). I realize I have a lot of "etcs" but I do keep it consistent.

Right now our cash is $30 each every 2 weeks. We can use it for anything and we don't keep track. DH usually uses his for eating a lunch out and maybe a magazine or book. I rarely use mine and end up supplementing his when he's used his up before the end of the 2 weeks. I always end up with an excess and when I replenish my $30 I move what was left into my house stash, cash I keep around for .... whatever.
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Old 03-23-2010, 07:44 PM   #46
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I just got my bank statement today! So, I added up my February expenses - - a total of $1,083...

I timed myself -- it took 2 minute to type in the numbers, less than I had thought. I only had 11 expenditures (ATM, check, debit card) this month.
You need to take some travel with the RV Venza! Spread your wealth the way you like it, or the gummint will do it for you.
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Old 03-23-2010, 07:51 PM   #47
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You need to take some travel with the RV Venza! Spread your wealth the way you like it, or the gummint will do it for you.
We are planning to drive somewhere for maybe a week or two sometime in the next month, as soon as Frank gets his gargantuan retention bonus check in the mail and safely in the bank. I offered to drive the Venza on this trip.
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Old 03-23-2010, 07:58 PM   #48
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We are planning to drive somewhere for maybe a week or two sometime in the next month...
For retirees, the time to LBYM is already past.

If one does not live AT her means in retirement, then when does she?

The economy always needs lots of stimulation. Party on!
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Old 03-23-2010, 08:08 PM   #49
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My $31 electric bill
$31 electric bill this time of year? My last 4 have averaged over $200/mo. Looking forward to May-Oct where I average $40-something/mo. I may have a couple months where my total expenses go below $1000 even with my mortgage.
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Old 03-23-2010, 08:10 PM   #50
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For retirees, the time to LBYM is already past.

If one does not live AT her means in retirement, then when does she?

The economy always needs lots of stimulation. Party on!
I'm trying!! Too busy enjoying a wonderful, idyllic retirement to get enough shopping in, I guess.
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Old 03-23-2010, 08:13 PM   #51
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$31 electric bill this time of year? My last 4 have averaged over $200/mo. Looking forward to May-Oct where I average $40-something/mo. I may have a couple months where my total expenses go below $1000 even with my mortgage.
My heat is natural gas, which was $78 in February. I have had a persistent cough so the thermostat was at 75 degrees whenever I was home. Even though we had a cold winter, winters just aren't that cold down here. This time of year the electric just covers lights, refrigerator, computer, TV, and so on.

Now last July my electric bill was $127 due to the air conditioning during many consecutive days over 100 degrees or at least very hot. All 11 other months in the last 12 were under $100 so my average electric bill for the whole year is $63/month.

Your expenses are wonderfully low, Aaron!! You spend much less than I do overall. I think you should be crowned the King of LBYM.
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Old 03-23-2010, 08:21 PM   #52
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My average expenses during the four months since retirement are $1,563.
Good grief.

The first year of retirement is typically a period where a new retiree is very cautious with expenses. In a year or so you'll get comfortable and loosen up your spending. Bet you'll up your average monthly spend to maybe $2,000, blowing money on all sorts of frivolous expenditures.
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Old 03-23-2010, 08:26 PM   #53
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Your expenses are wonderfully low, Aaron!! You spend much less than I do overall. I think you should be crowned the King of LBYM.
Thanks, but I think I big part of why I spend so little compared to many here is because I make so little($48K in 2009) compared to most here and also because i'm in the early accumulation phase and have more of a NEED to spend little.
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Old 03-23-2010, 08:29 PM   #54
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For retirees, the time to LBYM is already past.

If one does not live AT her means in retirement, then when does she?

The economy always needs lots of stimulation. Party on!

I really try to do my best but I also spend way less than Firecalc says and I usually have a surplus of $10,000 in my budget at the end of the year . Any suggestions on how I should spend it ?
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Old 03-23-2010, 08:34 PM   #55
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I really try to do my best but I also spend way less than Firecalc says and I usually have a surplus of $10,000 in my budget at the end of the year . Any suggestions on how I should spend it ?
Eat out more?
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Old 03-23-2010, 08:36 PM   #56
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I am amazed at $1k and $2k expenditures for one month. Each month of my spreadsheet has an $830 balance before I spend a dime.

(Yearly expenses of med/dental/vision ins, homeowner/car insurance, real estate tax divided by 12)
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Old 03-23-2010, 08:39 PM   #57
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Eat out more?

I'd be afraid if I did that I 'd have to live on the treadmill so I'll pass but thanks for the suggestion !
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Old 03-23-2010, 08:40 PM   #58
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I am amazed at $1k and $2k expenditures for one month. Each month of my spreadsheet has an $830 balance before I spend a dime.

(Yearly expenses of med/dental/vision ins, homeowner/car insurance, real estate tax divided by 12)
Well, insurance and property taxes in December are why my four month average is so much more than my one month average. My medical insurance is $170/month and not counted. This really isn't THAT low - - I think the reason yours is higher is that you have two people instead of one.
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Old 03-23-2010, 08:41 PM   #59
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I really try to do my best but I also spend way less than Firecalc says and I usually have a surplus of $10,000 in my budget at the end of the year . Any suggestions on how I should spend it ?
That ought to buy some nice travel. Or I could just send you a stamped, self-addressed envelope - whichever works for you!

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Eat out more?
I'm starting to have a hard time seeing you moving to Missouri. You living someplace other than NOLA, where you can just pop in for something blackened, or etoufee'ed or whatnot, doesn't seem quite right. My secretary when I was with the big G got married to another fed employee who was from Missouri and they moved there for a few years. I would talk to her every few weeks and every phone call included, "Oh Dave, I miss the food. They just can't cook up here!"
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Old 03-23-2010, 08:43 PM   #60
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I'd be afraid if I did that I 'd have to live on the treadmill so I'll pass but thanks for the suggestion !
Well that's another reason and I can sympathize! Tonight for dinner we each just ordered a cup of gumbo and a house salad, with fork-dipped dressing in my case. No pizza or lasagna though it is tempting. The gumbo was delicious though and a cup of gumbo is only about 200 calories. Yesterday we shared a grilled chicken sandwich on French bread and it was fabulous though even half was more calories than that.
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