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Old 03-27-2014, 08:47 AM   #41
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We tracked expenses for three years. While there were several changes, most were off setting. i.e. we spend more on travel, but less on eating out. New house is more remote and we don't go out as much, but we have taken more cruises. So on the expense side we are just about on track.

I would call it the 'Unexpected' expenses that have surprised me. These are things I never thought about spending on while saving for retirement, but now spend money on. We spend more on toys now than we use to.
Ditto

Our total was very accurate but the categories varied widely in the first few years. Now I just do an annual reconciliation.
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Old 03-27-2014, 09:15 AM   #42
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Current plan includes travel, as opposed to vacation . We also include a sinking fund for one time expenses. This includes home repairs, medical, new car, and things that pop up. So far it works and the sinking fund is growing. We have a second sinking fund for LTC. Calculating this is a little more complicated than looking at a balance.
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Old 03-27-2014, 09:45 AM   #43
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Only 9 months into ER, but it seems to be going as planned. I tracked our expenses via Quicken for 8 years prior to ER and had a pretty good idea of how we spent our money. I will say that being retired has ramped up my inner frugal consumer and as a result we are roughly 25% under budget for the first 9 months. Nice to have that buffer building up.
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Old 03-27-2014, 09:53 AM   #44
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So, instead of a luxury vacation to Hawaii one year, it's dental copays and deductibles?

Does this happen more often than not?

I have budgeted a certain amount of yearly expenses for 'vacations' - so, in any given year the same amount could be used for medical/dental expenses, but it would be nice to actually have a vacation!
Some extra costs could be absorbed without denying ourselves a vacation. That luxury vacation could be revised to reduce the luxury (but not the time necessarily). One has plenty of flexibility.

Also if your portfolio is rising that same year (more years are up then down), it's easier to give yourself a bit of more room that year. Especially if you are trying to spend a set percentage of the portfolio.

Example, in 2012 our portfolio was up double digits and the 10k dental bill was incurred late in the year. So it was no hardship to take the one time uptick in expenses.
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Old 03-27-2014, 11:05 AM   #45
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Absolutely plan for this if you don't have healthy teeth.

My dental bill this year? About 50K.
50K! May I ask? What did you have done for that amount?
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Old 03-27-2014, 01:53 PM   #46
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We spend about what we planned, but have more leeway for extras than I had figured on.
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Old 03-28-2014, 03:56 PM   #47
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Other than assuming that RE expenses would be about the same as before, I did not make any other assumptions or projections as I am unable to predict what will happen in the future. Our expenses are pretty level.
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Old 04-01-2014, 02:11 AM   #48
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Six months into ER here. My retirement expenses are turning out to about 25% lower than I estimated and they are trending further downwards. Said to the wife yesterday that, had I known that was going to happen, I would have retired a few years earlier! Just joking of course, as it is too early to tell, but the massive underspend certainly surprised me.
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Old 04-01-2014, 08:36 AM   #49
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We find the flexibility of timing allows us to capitalize on discount days and sale periods so we are consistently under budget.
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Old 04-01-2014, 08:45 PM   #50
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50K! May I ask? What did you have done for that amount?
10 implants (some w/ bone grafting), 1 bridge, 2 crowns, and full lower denture.
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The unexpected costs
Old 04-02-2014, 12:44 AM   #51
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The unexpected costs

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Thanks everyone for sharing - the medical/dental expenses increasing unexpectedly seems the most unanticipated.

But - that does seem to make sense.

Is it the premium increases or the co-pays/deductibles that are the 'killers'??
6 yrs into retirement, and the two biggest unexpected higher expenses are health costs and taxes. I guess you could say its the co-pays/deductibles but it's really the total costs - Wasn't expecting to get sick, and all of the expensive treatments put me at much higher then I thought. When I blew through the Part B into catastrophic level and bypassed the donut hole area early in the year, that told the story. Short term capital gains getting treated like earned income rates meant significant taxes but the higher income was needed to pay the aforementioned medical costs, so it's a spiral effect. All of the previous time modeling spreadsheets etc, on ordinary expenses put the total of them within about 5% of the modeled levels, so no big deal for them. I know its a good news bad news story, but nonetheless who can predict the total health care costs when you get a serious ailment. (Oh, did I mention that both DW and myself contracted a similar sickness, her's was just quicker acting and more expensive then mine.
Maybe I should increase my beer drinking budget, like some of the others on the board.
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Old 04-02-2014, 01:01 AM   #52
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We did have one very high expense medical year, but that was offset by some other areas of the budget with lower than expected expenses.

Overall we have been pleasantly surprised at how much money we save just by having more time to comparison shop and review expenses. For example we switched to off brand ink cartridges that cost $2 each to buy instead of $30 each and we recycle them for $2 each, so our ink costs are now zero. We get printer paper for free from free after rebates programs so that cost went to zero, too. We just never had time to research all these little money saving ideas before but across all our expense categories all these little savings ideas here and there have really added up to lower our overall annual expenses by quite a bit.
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Old 04-02-2014, 10:12 AM   #53
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100% accurate since we didn't predict, just guessimated. I do know that wine spending is through the roof.
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Old 04-02-2014, 11:44 AM   #54
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We just never had time to research all these little money saving ideas before but across all our expense categories all these little savings ideas here and there have really added up to lower our overall annual expenses by quite a bit.

We have the luxury of time now. We can go for a day without printing. We can shop at the stores on seniors days. We can comparison shop online then negotiate with a local retailer to match the price (including shipping) and give a discount for cash. All these steps contribute to lower than budgeted costs.
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Old 04-02-2014, 02:19 PM   #55
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We have the luxury of time now. We can go for a day without printing. We can shop at the stores on seniors days. We can comparison shop online then negotiate with a local retailer to match the price (including shipping) and give a discount for cash. All these steps contribute to lower than budgeted costs.
We do the same. During the week we go to the pack it yourself grocery store. It is owned by Lucky's and has the same products more or less as their retail grocery stores, but we save $70 a week driving an extra 5 minutes and spending 10 minutes packing our own groceries. I bring my own recyclable bags for an extra 15 cents a bag cash back and pay with a cash back credit card (2%), but I plan to apply for a 6% cash back on groceries card soon. This week I also had a $10 coupon off our grocery bill.

Every time we go there we laugh about if our former co-workers could see us now, since we used to manage multi-million dollar IT projects for megacorps and now we price shop squash. But when we have met up with some of them all they do is talk about how stressed they are and how much they hate their jobs but still are hoping they won't get fired or outsourced because they can't afford to retire.

We'd rather pack our own groceries and recycle ink cartridges in the morning and then have the afternoon free to walk around the lake near our house with fountains and a rose garden or visit a museum for free with a NARM or library pass.
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Old 04-02-2014, 02:28 PM   #56
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We do the same. During the week we go to the pack it yourself grocery store. It is owned by Lucky's and has the same products more or less as their retail grocery stores, but we save $70 a week driving an extra 5 minutes and spending 10 minutes packing our own groceries. I bring my own recyclable bags for an extra 15 cents a bag cash back and pay with a cash back credit card (2%), but I plan to apply for a 6% cash back on groceries card soon. This week I also had a $10 coupon off our grocery bill.

Every time we go there we laugh about if our former co-workers could see us now, since we used to manage multi-million dollar IT projects for megacorps and now we price shop squash. But when we have met up with some of them all they do is talk about how stressed they are and how much they hate their jobs but still are hoping they won't get fired or outsourced because they can't afford to retire.

We'd rather pack our own groceries and recycle ink cartridges in the morning and then have the afternoon free to walk around the lake near our house with fountains and a rose garden or visit a museum for free with a NARM or library pass.
The last time I used recycled ink cartridges it was a bust. I bought two cartridges and the first one had one color that didn't work and the second one a different color didn't work. I needed to print something so I went to town and bought a new one and it worked just fine. It was over twice the price.

I guess I need to try the refilled cartridges again. I don't think I will buy two though, I wouldn't know if the second one was good or bad for months.
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Old 04-02-2014, 02:33 PM   #57
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The last time I used recycled ink cartridges it was a bust. I bought two cartridges and the first one had one color that didn't work and the second one a different color didn't work. I needed to print something so I went to town and bought a new one and it worked just fine. It was over twice the price.

I guess I need to try the refilled cartridges again. I don't think I will buy two though, I wouldn't know if the second one was good or bad for months.
I buy Sophia Global ink cartridges at Amazon with a cash back credit card and have not had any issues. I swapped out the downstairs printer as it was cheaper to buy a new printer that could use the $2 cartridges than it was to keep the old printer that didn't have a Sophia cartridge to fit.
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Old 04-02-2014, 02:43 PM   #58
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I buy Sophia Global ink cartridges at Amazon with a cash back credit card and have not had any issues. I swapped out the downstairs printer as it was cheaper to buy a new printer that could use the $2 cartridges than it was to keep the old printer that didn't have a Sophia cartridge to fit.
Thanks!
I wrote that down. The last ones were through Amazon and I returned them without an issue. I'll try the Sophia Global next time.
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Old 04-02-2014, 03:09 PM   #59
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The last time I used recycled ink cartridges it was a bust. I bought two cartridges and the first one had one color that didn't work and the second one a different color didn't work. I needed to print something so I went to town and bought a new one and it worked just fine. It was over twice the price.

I guess I need to try the refilled cartridges again. I don't think I will buy two though, I wouldn't know if the second one was good or bad for months.
My experienced was a mixed bag. In December, I bought two black and one set of color ink cartridges that had some good reviews rather then the HP brand. I ran out of black ink last week and proceeded to replace the cartridge. The cartridge was leaking ink all over the place - created quite a mess for me to clean up, stained a pair of jeans I was wearing and had black ink on my hands for a few days.

However, once I got rid of the "excess" ink and installed the cartridge, it does seem to print well.

I went to try to return the remaining cartridges, but alas, it was too late to return them so I'll use them but be much more careful when replacing the cartridge next time. If the remaining cartridges go ok, then I'll continue to use them.
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Old 04-02-2014, 03:56 PM   #60
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I'm on the frugal side (understatement) when it comes to printing expenses. I'm still using a decade+ old HP Deskjet 400 printer. I use Printronic remanufactured cartridges and recycle the clean side of paper DW provided when she cleaned out her files from 34 years of working as a special ed teacher. (Thousands of sheets of paper.) Costs are about a penny a page for the ink. I do keep a small amount of new paper on hand in case I need to send out a letter or something...... rare.

I noticed recently while paging through my print out of last years taxes that the opposite side was a bunch of writing exercises done by children with limited use of their hands.

Anyway...... these cartridges remanufactured by Printronic (I think I got them off Amazon) have worked just fine. No leaks. No running dry prematurely.

I've also refilled the cartridges myself, but it's a mess, at least when I do it. Since I only use 2 - 3 cartridges a year, buying remanufactured cartridges seems frugal enough, even for me.........
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