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Old 01-01-2011, 10:28 PM   #81
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We bought a house (paid cash) and bought furniture and A/V equipment and even dishes and such. We really had very little to move in with. 2010 expenses were pretty darn high. I don't think I'm going to report it! LOL!

We had money already set aside for a lot of these expenses, so they have had their own budget category.

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Old 01-01-2011, 10:34 PM   #82
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I just recalled that I have been paying for my kids college costs, and although state U does not cost nearly as much as private schools, it is still a sizeable expense. With only one kid left, and just one more year at that, things are looking up. That's more money I can afford to blow out the tail pipe of the RV. But I still need to look into tactically shifting some more money into the energy sector, just because it is the thing to do.

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I spent -$4500, hedonically adjusted.
The minus sign had me thinking that you derived less worldly pleasure compared to last year, but the smiley made me not so sure.
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Old 01-01-2011, 11:11 PM   #83
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The minus sign had me thinking that you derived less worldly pleasure compared to last year, but the smiley made me not so sure.
Nope, it means that whatever I spent I derived more satisfaction than it cost.

Ha
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Old 01-01-2011, 11:18 PM   #84
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Proof that deflation is alive and well. Sounds like a winner.

But I guess it's personal deflation, which each of us needs to seek out for his own, meaning your experience may not be shareable.
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Old 01-02-2011, 12:13 AM   #85
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We spent approximately 16500, here are the details

1133 Car
2667 Grocery
333 Phone
267 Elec
4200 Rent
3733 School
178 Medical
222 Clothes
3044 TV+Furniture
267 Misc
222 Books+dress
============
16267 TOTAL

There are invisible expenses, like car, appliance, etc. depreciation, company paid health insurance, internet. I was aiming for 24000 but somehow was not able to reach that.
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Old 01-02-2011, 02:02 AM   #86
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Reading all the porn here got me excited to try (again) to track expenses for the coming year. Just a quick gander through the check book makes me think we "spent" something upwards of 100K this year, but that's misleading. So many "expenses" are tax related in one way or another. These are non-recurring or discretionary. They really aren't related to daily living.

How, for instance, does one account for the non-recurring "expenses" such as realtor fees for the sale of a property? That didn't even come out of the check book.....
As Nords already said: "Whatever works best for you".

I track the usual categories + subcategories for Utilities, Housing, Food, Recreation, Transportation, etc etc. I also have a special category called "Extraordinary" for those things that simply don't fit into any of the standard buckets. I keep track of the yearly expenditures for both Ordinary and Extraordinary. I have 7 years of data now, so not only do I know how much we spend on the ordinary day-to-day expenses, I'm getting some good insights into the range of extraordinary expenses that our ER budget will need to handle. This is very useful information for retirement planning!

If this method appeals to you, feel free to use it. Or use any of the other methods that other posters are using. Don't let the variability of expenses stop you. Variable, one-time expenses are part of real life. Pick a method, any method!, and start learning more about how your own personal spending patterns really work.

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Old 01-02-2011, 05:57 AM   #87
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I quit tracking during 2010, so I don't know how much we spent. I don't really care as long as net worth goes up and working hours go down.
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Old 01-02-2011, 07:05 AM   #88
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Why a Budget Is Like a Diet — Ineffective

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Part of the reason so many people spend too much, or fail to stick to self-imposed budgets, is because parting with our money has become an abstraction in our increasingly cashless society. Credit cards provide immediate gratification, but no immediate consequences. Plucking actual dollars from your pile of cash, research suggests, is more painful, and leads you to spend less.

There’s another factor that prevents people from being model financial citizens (besides, of course, uncontrollable circumstances like joblessness). As a species, humans are notoriously poor at following through with their plans. Sticking to a budget — a dirty word even among many financial planners, who prefer the more euphemistic “spending plan” — feels too much like dieting. And we often fail at both for the same reasons: too much focus on the restrictions, not enough on fun.
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Old 01-02-2011, 08:16 AM   #89
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I include everything in my spending amount . Mainly because I am afraid to cross over that 4% mark so I include taxes ,remodeling and large expenses . I now see a lot of people do not do it that way so I concede that my way while rigid works for me but it's not for everyone .
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Old 01-02-2011, 09:14 AM   #90
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My spending included absolutely everything (even one time purchases) except income taxes. I exclude inc tax because I am still working and won't pay anywhere near that much when/if I retire - my spend tracking is used to model future spending.

I know what I paid in taxes, it's outrageous!
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Old 01-02-2011, 09:20 AM   #91
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I include everything in my spending amount . Mainly because I am afraid to cross over that 4% mark so I include taxes ,remodeling and large expenses . I now see a lot of people do not do it that way so I concede that my way while rigid works for me but it's not for everyone .
I swear that this year I'll really track all my spending...

It's complicated, and especially so because I'm lazy, and because I'm still slogging to the mines every day. I track all the major expenses - PITI (or is that PITA?), utilities (including water, sewer, refuse collection, cable, internet, mobile), auto fuel and insurance, med/dental insurance, haircuts, toll tag charges... I started tracking groceries last year, but fell off the wagon early. I do know that I spend around $25/wk on groceries, with 2-3 major Costco runs a year to stock up on meat, coffee, and such, that run around $150 apiece. This doesn't include a fair number of restaurant meals...

Also, started tracking med/dental expenses, but fell off that wagon too... I have the info, just haven't compiled it.

All said, though, 2010 was an expensive year, starting with a major remodel, new roof, new chimney, new girlfriend... But these expenses were budgeted for a number of years, and came from savings, and hopefully most of them won't be repeated anytime soon. Well, except the GF...

Given what I make, and what I spend, while not precise by any means, I get a good feel for how much I need to FIRE. And, as I do now, if the bills are paid, including rainy day/new roof/new car slush funds, then all other money can be spent partying and/or traveling. Considering that a large chunk of current income is funding savings and retirement accounts, which I do not consider "expenses", if I can come close to the same income in retirement as I make w*rking, I should be golden.

Such is my rationalization for not tracking spending to the penny...
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Old 01-02-2011, 09:22 AM   #92
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I'm also a believer in "don't ask, don't tell". We had a very unusual year, money wise, spending

- $X on day to day living, including discretionary items
- $2X on gifts (among other things, both kids bought houses and we helped with the down payment)
- $2.5X in various taxes (mostly CG as I had to exercise a bunch of former mega-corp options before they expired)

Still our portfolio is bigger than it was a year ago, so all in all it was a good year financially.
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Old 01-02-2011, 09:24 AM   #93
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All said, though, 2010 was an expensive year, starting with a major remodel, new roof, new chimney, new girlfriend... But these expenses were budgeted for a number of years, and came from savings, and hopefully most of them won't be repeated anytime soon.

Exactly how much do you budget for a new girlfriend ?
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Old 01-02-2011, 09:32 AM   #94
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Exactly how much do you budget for a new girlfriend ?
Not enough...
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Old 01-02-2011, 09:44 AM   #95
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I won't have the final numbers until I upload all the credit card purchases when this billing cycle closes in a few days. But it looks like it will be about $72,000 -- with about 1/3 of that being taxes (fed income, SS, Medicare, property taxes). Apart from taxes it looks like we spent about $49,000 -- and probably could have easily lopped $10K off of that if we needed to and probably $15-18K if we really needed to.
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Old 01-02-2011, 10:29 AM   #96
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I haven't worked through all my numbers yet, but it looks like my spending totals ~$21.5K.

This does not include income tax. I am single, my house is paid off, and while I am not wealthy, to tell the truth I can buy whatever I want if I spend that much. This is more than I am used to spending and includes a lot of discretionary purchases.

In addition to the above, I bought a car at the beginning of 2010 as a retirement present to myself, with money that I had set aside over 10 years. This will be my last car so there is no need to save for another.

Also, I withdrew several thousand temporarily to use for preparing my house to sell (painting and re-doing the flooring for the entire house, various repairs, and cosmetic work and upgrades) but kept track of every penny and will get it back from the equity after it sells. This is a loan to myself, rather than spending.

If I included all of the above, luckily I would still come in less than my 3.5% SWR (based on my 1/1/2010 portfolio value less the cost of the car) so I am not worried about it. I find the ~$21.5K figure to be helpful for me, because that this figure and my figures for previous years are reasonably comparable.
As mentioned above, all of my spending falls within my 3.5% SWR.

The set-aside for the car may have seemed confusing but it is just simple arithmetic; most of us do not include our entire net worth when computing SWR. Money for the car was set aside years before retirement, and was never considered to be part of my ER nestegg in my retirement computations.
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Old 01-02-2011, 10:34 AM   #97
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We came in around 14k for the two of us. Living modest in the midwest. It would be great if there were a poll on this question.
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Old 01-02-2011, 10:41 AM   #98
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It would be great if there were a poll on this question.
Why not post one?
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Old 01-02-2011, 10:55 AM   #99
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$60,457.......... Of course, I have two kids at home, a mortgage, and a DW that enjoys shopping, but not too bad. Paid off one car, another will be paid off in April, then the house is the last big debt expense...........
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Old 01-02-2011, 11:09 AM   #100
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$60,457.......... Of course, I have two kids at home, a mortgage, and a DW that enjoys shopping, but not too bad. Paid off one car, another will be paid off in April, then the house is the last big debt expense...........
Then you will be, in classic Dave Ramsey fashion, "DEBT FREEEEEEE!!!"
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