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Change in spending once kids are out
Old 08-12-2006, 02:10 PM   #1
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Change in spending once kids are out

Can anyone share their spending experience with me? Net of tuition, how much did your annual spending decrease (on a %'age basis) when your kids were out of the house?

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Re: Change in spending once kids are out
Old 08-12-2006, 10:07 PM   #2
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Re: Change in spending once kids are out

I can share how it affected us, but the answers are going to vary enormously depending on individual circumstances.* Both our children went through public schoool so we spent very little during those years allowing us to save for a more expensive college education.* We also told both children that we would pay for only the first degree.* They are 2 school years apart.

Daughter is oldest and went out of state and cost us a total of $70K over 4 years then walked into a job with IBM paying $60K/year (3 years ago) so we consider that really good value for our investment.* (this figure includes rent, books, tuition, travel home, plus $10K towards a car on graduation).

Son chose to stay in-state which paid all tuition paid plus extra college scholarships meant that for first 3.5 years it cost us next to nothing (never paid more than $200/semester) but did spend $6k on a car for him to use plus $1k/year insurance.* (Daughter did without a car).* Son took ill so last 2 years has cost about $12K, but he should graduate in 6 months, meaning a total of 5.5 years to get his degree and he has financed last 18 months using an inheritance (6K) and student loan (5K).

During the peak years both DW and I were working and we had timed our mortgage to be paid a couple of months before daughter went to college.* To clear the mortgage we had been paying $18K/year so this just continued for 4 more years while she went through college then suddenly we had a net gain of $18K/year to start putting into savings.* It felt like having a HUGE pay raise.

Don't know if this helps.* *I'm sure that are as many different stories as there are folks who put their kids through college.
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Re: Change in spending once kids are out
Old 08-13-2006, 05:47 AM   #3
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Re: Change in spending once kids are out

Exclusive of educational expenses (tuition, room, board, books, etc) the net decrease in our expenditures after last kid graduated, became self supporting, and left the fold so to speak, was not more than 5%.

The educational expenses were significant but voluntary on our part. Once over, we felt an enormous relief.

We do expect that as we downsize our expenses in those areas (homes, cars, etc) will decrease, but we'll spend the money elsewhere.

Hope that helps in your planning.
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Re: Change in spending once kids are out
Old 08-13-2006, 07:27 AM   #4
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Re: Change in spending once kids are out

Not as much as I would have liked. The same month that youngest son graduated from college hubby decided to retire. The money that was being spent for tution/room/board now was funneled to health care coverage for hubby and I.

That same month the oldest son decided to get married (within 6 days of the announcement) since he was heading to Iraq with his army unit. Long story but we paid for the wedding.

Then the youngest son rec'd a great job offer in a large city and needed the first two months' rent. That was another large check being written.

And, of course, a week or so later a fantastic opportunity came along where hubby could spend 3 weeks in Alaska fishing and sight-seeing. Too good to pass up.

As uncledrz stated, we're just spending the money in other areas. And, I must admit, having fun doing just that.

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Re: Change in spending once kids are out
Old 08-13-2006, 08:00 AM   #5
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Re: Change in spending once kids are out

We experienced a remarkable increase in disposable income once our two daughters graduated college and the nest was truly empty. In the 7.5 year time span between DD#2ís graduation at the end of 1997 and my retirement in mid 2005, we managed to:

- Pay for two weddings
- Buld a new house and pay off a $190K mortgage
- Allow DW to retire in year 5
- Double our retirement nest egg (excluding home equity)

The savings we realized by no longer having the kids on our payroll was not the only reason we were able to do this, but it did play a very large part. As Alan said, it was like getting a HUGE pay increase. It was very tempting to spend some of it on immediate gratification, so we came up with a way to do that and still fund our retirement: building our retirement home and paying off the mortgage.

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Re: Change in spending once kids are out
Old 08-13-2006, 10:10 AM   #6
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Re: Change in spending once kids are out

I'm 5 years away from that situation. I expect to see a 30% reduction in expense.
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Re: Change in spending once kids are out
Old 08-13-2006, 10:17 AM   #7
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Re: Change in spending once kids are out

I copied the following into my paper notebook from an earlier post here. I think the post was from sgeee, but I'm not sure.

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, spending is as follows:

two adults, two kids = 1.00

two adults, one kid = 0.82

two adults, no kids = 0.60

one adult = 0.36

As I recall, there may have been a typo in the original post, which I may have changed in the above list.

Hope this helps . . .
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Re: Change in spending once kids are out
Old 08-13-2006, 10:55 AM   #8
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Re: Change in spending once kids are out

I still have 1 son at home, but when my other son moved out I noticed the gas , electric and grocery bill reduced immediately. I didn't keep track of the percent, though.

It took me awhile to stop buying so many groceries and cook for a family. Once I figured that out, the grocery bill dropped by about $50 to $100 a month.
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Re: Change in spending once kids are out
Old 08-13-2006, 03:51 PM   #9
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Re: Change in spending once kids are out

This will be an interesting thread for me. I suspect nothing will align with my particular situation, my older son left home some years ago and now has grad degree, job, wife & our grandchild(!). Younger son starts senior year of high school in a few weeks. Then college. He is looking mostly at instate colleges, a reasonable distance from home. I expect to retire in about a year but will leave it open depending on things like college costs, possible severe market decline and adjusting to lower income from recently retired wife.
I forecast costs but there are too many variables to get enough resolution that I am willing to commit to a specific retirement date and amount of money we are willing to live on. But we have not cut back on our spending. We have had a bunch of family trips and expect to visit Copper Canyon on Mexico in December. Not wild travel spending but significant. Money that was used for the mortgage is now channeled into home improvement and travel. So if things get tight these would be the items to be cut back a bit.
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