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Old 01-03-2011, 12:50 PM   #141
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But the question was what you spent... not how close to your budget... which IMO includes EVERYTHING where dollars went out, even if taken from the paycheck (if you still have one)... now, you can say that you spent X dollars and of that 20% was taxes because of .... but saying you spend .8X is not total spending...
Sometimes the questions are not well constructed.

IMO the most important question is what did you spend on living. To relate spending to SWR you need to know taxes, but as many have pointed out, current taxes often have almost nothing to do with life spending, though they must be paid.

I don't want to say what I spent, but it is meaningfully less than prior years. Like $7000 less. No trips, and perhaps most important, I stopped paying people to teach me things. I began to feel that if I do take a class or lesson, it should be short, sweet, and to the point. Which is mainly what the teachers do not want. In dancing I replaced about $1000 worth of classes and fees with 3 DVDs from BA costing a total of $65, and a good practice partner. These will keep us busy indefinitely.

Also I worked the library system much more intensively. And I shop almost exclusively at Trader Joe, except fish from International district. Other than basics, my biggest expense is entertainment, and it really isn't bad and I would hate to cut it much. I have cut it somewhat anyway, as I no longer like to stay up late very often. I experience this as something of a loss, but I sleep so much better that it is likely worth it.

Ha
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:39 PM   #142
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Sometimes the questions are not well constructed.

IMO the most important question is what did you spend on living. To relate spending to SWR you need to know taxes, but as many have pointed out, current taxes often have almost nothing to do with life spending, though they must be paid.

I worked the library system much more intensively. And I shop almost exclusively at Trader Joe, except fish from International district...
Talk about taxes, it is amazing how much our income taxes go down compared to when both of us were toiling.

And about availability of public libraries and good grocery stores, I did not realize how much we would miss these amenities when thinking we could go retire in the boonies. We watch few movies, so there are several lifetimes worth of DVD of movies in public libraries that we have not watched.

And about the International District, whenever we are in Seattle, always manage to go there for a meal or two.
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Old 01-03-2011, 01:59 PM   #143
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Most of our expenses were retiring debt and college tuition. Next highest category was charity.
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Old 01-03-2011, 02:25 PM   #144
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We were just north of 120k for the year

Most painful were

Mortgage interest -$18K
Health Insurance - $20K (uggghh)
Baby delivery - $5K
Food - $10K
Taxes - 30K
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Old 01-03-2011, 04:30 PM   #145
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We were just north of 120k for the year

Most painful were

Baby delivery - $5K
Especially for your wife!

Ha
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Old 01-03-2011, 04:59 PM   #146
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Something is wrong with $20K health insurance if a baby costs more than a $20 co-pay.
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Old 01-03-2011, 05:02 PM   #147
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Those who find expense tracking burdensome may want to consider Mint.com, which offers a free service that periodically aggregates information from your online accounts into a transaction database. You can easily reclassify, ignore, and add new transactions, and the site provides trending, category, and other useful reports.

I have been using it since August and am pleased with the service.

Regarding the original question, I'm in the don't ask, don't tell camp, but when I multiply the August-December expenses by 12/5 and divide that into the portfolio I predict we'll have at our possible retirement (July 2011), we're at 3.9%. That's too high for age 48, but I am optimistic about bringing expenses down as the kids graduate from college and get jobs.
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Old 01-03-2011, 07:09 PM   #148
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Something is wrong with $20K health insurance if a baby costs more than a $20 co-pay.
Welcome to the world of having an uninsurable wife and the only option being a small group plan. $20k gets me a group policy with a $5,000 deductible
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Old 01-03-2011, 09:39 PM   #149
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A couple of these posts are unrealistically low unless people are sitting around in the dark eating rice and beans three meals a day (granted, that's possible). I suspect people have put what they think they are spending without actually adding up receipts; if they actually tracked every expense on a credit card in Quicken they would see that their expenses are higher than their guesstimate.
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:42 PM   #150
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A couple of these posts are unrealistically low unless people are sitting around in the dark eating rice and beans three meals a day (granted, that's possible). I suspect people have put what they think they are spending without actually adding up receipts; if they actually tracked every expense on a credit card in Quicken they would see that their expenses are higher than their guesstimate.
If you doubt some budgets, you could ask for a budget break-down to explain how they could live on so little. I suppose credit cards do complicate things but I think most of our members track expenses pretty well.

Perhaps we could all learn from them. Often there are cost of living differences in different parts of the country or world, and also as I'm sure we all know, people differ a great deal on what purchases they think are necessary. Some may lead a simple life with few transactions to track.

Just one question - - is a single person with just one recessed light directly overhead turned on, sitting in the dark? If so I'm guilty of that right now. But no rice or beans today (as my spending implies, since it wasn't that low).
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:54 PM   #151
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But no rice or beans today...
there's always Red Beans and Rice at Dunbars tomorrow...
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Old 01-03-2011, 10:57 PM   #152
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there's always Red Beans and Rice at Dunbars tomorrow...
Red beans and rice are for Mondays... I just had half a grilled chicken sandwich on French bread today instead, to lose weight. The way they make red beans and rice down here, it's pretty fattening.
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:00 PM   #153
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Red beans and rice are for Mondays...
Mmmm.........red beans and rice *rubs tummy*
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:00 PM   #154
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People are eating three meals a day? Spendthrifts!
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:03 PM   #155
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People are eating three meals a day? Spendthrifts!
I had steak for supper tonight. Yep...Izahuzzy...
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Old 01-03-2011, 11:05 PM   #156
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I had steak for supper tonight. Yep...Izahuzzy...
Whew, you're UPTOWN tonight!
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Old 01-04-2011, 05:48 AM   #157
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This is one of the reasons why I enjoy reading all the posts. It is interesting to see how different our spending patterns are as a group.

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I'm with you, there are folks here that spent less on food last year than I spent last month. That includes going out to eat as well as shopping.
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Old 01-04-2011, 09:17 AM   #158
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This is one of the reasons why I enjoy reading all the posts. It is interesting to see how different our spending patterns are as a group.
I suspect there are some posters who don't want to disclose their spending levels because they are higher (much?) and wouldn't be consistent with the dominant culture of this site.
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Old 01-04-2011, 09:41 AM   #159
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Waiting for a post from MMND.............
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Old 01-04-2011, 10:34 AM   #160
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A couple of these posts are unrealistically low unless people are sitting around in the dark eating rice and beans three meals a day (granted, that's possible). I suspect people have put what they think they are spending without actually adding up receipts; if they actually tracked every expense on a credit card in Quicken they would see that their expenses are higher than their guesstimate.
I think this thread is an excellent eye-opener into how people's lifestyles and situations vary. I don't see that any of the numbers are unreasonable on either the low or high end as long as they are effective relative to income and/or SWR.

Whether someone owns a residence, has spouse and children, and pays for healthcare out of pocket will certainly play a large role in total expenses and are not necessarily detailed. Also, there's a big difference between the person who may have payments on a 4000sqft house near a big city and Mercedes versus a 1000sqft house in a rural area with a 10 year old pickup.

My personal expenses were higher than some and lower than others; around $27k for the year (not including taxes). I live in one of the most expensive parts of the country and do not own a residence, have very expensive hobbies, and partake in a large amount of domestic and international travel.

I also track every single expense down to the penny (actually, I round up every purchase to the nearest dollar, so my numbers are slightly high). Will I ever get down to the $12k that one poster manages? Most likely not in this location or with my present lifestyle, but I used to live on something close to that amount for many years in less expensive locales (inflation adjusted).

I think this is an opportunity to ask questions and reevaluate what expenses are truly necessary to lead a contented life; I'd suggest that by far the majority of people here are quite accurate in describing their lifestyle and costs.
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