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Old 07-24-2014, 01:44 PM   #301
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I did the math for one person:
Meal cost: $15/2 = $7.50
8 oz salmon - 340 cals
1 cup broccoli - 60 cals
spinach salad + healthy low-sugar dressing = 100 cals

So $7.50/500 cals = $0.015/cal

$0.015/cal * 3000 cal/day = $45/day for one person

I agree with you -- I wouldn't want to eat salmon for 6 meals a day (3000 cals/day divided by 500 cal/meal).

I generally shoot for 4 meals a day, or 750 cals/meal using our hypothetical 3000 cal/day need.

But I don't think your alternative options are healthy or include enough calories, and I think the cost estimate of the lunch meal is too low. Bread, pasta and other high-carb meals are definitely inexpensive calories, but also unhealthy. So is added sugar (strawberry jam). Also, around here, real turkey breast (only turkey, no slurry/reformed/additive crap) is $12/lb and organic fruit is typically $1-$2 each. Ignoring the healthiness issue, the breakfast option is 300 calories total with plain oatmeal. A half pound turkey sandwich with the bread is around 500 calories, so you'd need a lot of fruit to make up the additional 250 needed. The turkey alone would be $6, plus say $1 for half an organic avocado and $2-$3 for two organic oranges. Right back up around the same price as the salmon meal.
Wow, those are expensive prices. I'm looking at our local Sprouts ad right now and organic grass fed beef is $5.99 a pound and an assortment of organic produce is on sale for $1 a pound.
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Old 07-24-2014, 01:45 PM   #302
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I'm guessing you lucky ducks in SoCal have very cheap organic fruit available to buy, or even pick for "free" from your own or neighbor's trees.

Grass-feed meat here is $10-$16/lb raw.
Grass-fed price is the same here. I wait until I see ribeye on sale for less than $12/lb, Strip for $10/lb, or I'll buy sirloin at $10/lb, then I buy a crapload of it.

Organic produce is a waste of money. There's almost no evidence that it changes the nutritional profile of the food, nor that pesticides are terribly harmful - if you're worried about pesticides, wash it.

... but that's a whole different thread...

I eat almost nothing that comes in a package, and I eat no bread or cereal or pasta, yet I can get by, with DW, on $650-700/month as a competitive endurance athlete...
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Old 07-24-2014, 01:46 PM   #303
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Wow, those are expensive prices. I'm looking at our local Sprouts ad right now and organic grass fed beef is $5.99 a pound and an assortment of organic produce is on sale for $1 a pound.
Grass-fed ground beef is $6/lb here, too, but I don't usually "do" ground beef unless I have a hankerin' for a burger or DW is craving spaghetti.
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Old 07-24-2014, 01:49 PM   #304
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Grass-fed price is the same here. I wait until I see ribeye on sale for less than $12/lb, Strip for $10/lb, or I'll buy sirloin at $10/lb, then I buy a crapload of it.

Organic produce is a waste of money. There's almost no evidence that it changes the nutritional profile of the food, nor that pesticides are terribly harmful - if you're worried about pesticides, wash it.

I eat almost nothing that comes in a package, and I eat no bread or cereal or pasta, yet I can get by, with DW, on $650-700/month as a competitive endurance athlete...
I do like me some ribeye. That is the best cut IMO...just enough fat to make it oh so tender when you grill it. I know it isn't particularly healthy to eat often but I always pick it up when it goes on sale for $9.99 (Normally around $14 to $16/lb).
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Old 07-24-2014, 01:51 PM   #305
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I do like me some ribeye. That is the best cut IMO...just enough fat to make it oh so tender when you grill it. I know it isn't particularly healthy to eat often but I always pick it up when it goes on sale for $9.99 (Normally around $14 to $16/lb).
Without question. I buy at least 3lbs when it drops in price. The difference - particularly when you're talking grass-fed - is noticable. Grass-fed sirloin tends to be a little "gamey" sometimes, but ribeye just melts...

Grass-fed ribeye, medium rare, sea salt, ground pepper, pad of butter. Glass of red wine.
Heaven at home for less than $20.
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Old 07-24-2014, 01:52 PM   #306
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Whole foods (I'm assume that is "whole paycheck") is substantially more -- I refuse to shop there. Admittedly, we generally shop at a place that is walking distance rather than drive 10-25 miles each way to cherry pick discounts.

I just bought around 3lbs of fresh organic/antibiotic free/etc. chicken tenders for $10/lb. I can get less desirable parts of frozen chicken for perhaps $3/lb.

I also just bought grass-fed no-antibiotic sirloin for $11/lb.

These are typical prices.
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Old 07-24-2014, 01:55 PM   #307
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Grass-fed ground beef is $6/lb here, too, but I don't usually "do" ground beef unless I have a hankerin' for a burger or DW is craving spaghetti.
This is actually roast beef. The organic ground beef was $4.99 last week on sale at Sprouts or $4.99 all the time at Costco.

Our local grocery store has overstocked meat on sale every now and then so this past month I bought organic chicken for 99 cents a pound and grass fed beef roasts for $3.48 and stocked up the freezer.

The local Costco has bulk organic rice, pasta and quinoa pretty cheap. The ethnic markets and local warehouse store have all sorts of non-organic fruits and veggies for 2 - 3 pounds for a dollar.
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Old 07-24-2014, 01:56 PM   #308
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I could spend a lot more than that if I chose to, but this notion that you can't eat healthfully without spending exorbitantly is nonsense.
It is also a straw man made up solely by you. I only objected to your assertion that spending more would make a person need to spend more later to lose the weight. This is obviously false, as one equipped with eyes to see can testify. However, this does not make the statement that you make at all reasonable. For all I know, the world may be full of happy, healthy people who eat nothing but carbohydrate, and no one is disputing this.

To my knowledge, one doesn't get into heaven by minimized his expenses. This board is I thought about retiring early, and pleasantly. Don't a person's tastes enter into this somewhere?

Perhaps you need to economize severely. I don't know because I don't concern myself with this. But it hardly qualifies as a categorical imperative for others, even other retirees.
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Old 07-24-2014, 02:05 PM   #309
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Nash, I estimate you're spending around $0.0035/calorie which is very impressive. Maybe I do need to start using supplemental powders/etc.

Organic fruit is complicated for me. I concede that part of buying organic is to reduce the use of pesticides going into the environment and harming the low-wage folks who work the fields/orchards/whatever. For oranges, raspberries, blackberries and strawberries, the organic versions are often noticeably better tasting. Blueberries I cannot tell apart so I buy regular. So I guess I am only partially a concerned citizen

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Grass-fed price is the same here. I wait until I see ribeye on sale for less than $12/lb, Strip for $10/lb, or I'll buy sirloin at $10/lb, then I buy a crapload of it.

Organic produce is a waste of money. There's almost no evidence that it changes the nutritional profile of the food, nor that pesticides are terribly harmful - if you're worried about pesticides, wash it.

... but that's a whole different thread...

I eat almost nothing that comes in a package, and I eat no bread or cereal or pasta, yet I can get by, with DW, on $650-700/month as a competitive endurance athlete...
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Old 07-24-2014, 02:08 PM   #310
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It is also a straw man made up solely by you. I only objected to your assertion that spending more would make a person need to spend more later to lose the weight.
I think nash took some of the blame there which was from a statement I made. The spend more later was not entirely focused on personal weight gain but on several factors.

There are quite a number of overweight individuals in the software industry where the job requires many hours a day sitting at a computer. The more money you spend, the longer you have to work at this job. This can cause you to spend more later to lose the weight (personal trainer, gym membership, even gastric bypass surgery in 3 people I know personally).

The second point is the accumulation of items that comes from spending. This ends up requiring more house, more insurance, more taxes, more maintenance. I have this problem personally. We accumulated a vast amount of stuff and I will end up spending money to get rid of it (or at least losing a great deal of money in depreciation and opportunity cost).
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Old 07-24-2014, 02:08 PM   #311
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I like to split bottle red wine with DW every evening. I don't know if that makes us alcoholics . But this habit costs 600 bucks a month. Add to it food in dollar range that nash031 mentioned and we are looking at 1300-1400 a month. Add to 5-6 times eating out at 30 bucks for 2 and we have all together 1500 dollars gone.

We don't plan to change that after we FIRE.
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Old 07-24-2014, 02:15 PM   #312
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I have to add that we've recently made an effort to separate out non-food items purchased on grocery trips and taking that into account, we are spending around $750/mo on food groceries. It creeps up though as we try to cut down on dining out expenses.
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Old 07-24-2014, 02:19 PM   #313
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Maybe I could switch to MD2020. That would cut our expense down to 900 a months.
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Old 07-24-2014, 02:22 PM   #314
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I like to split bottle red wine with DW every evening. I don't know if that makes us alcoholics . But this habit costs 600 bucks a month. Add to it food in dollar range that nash031 mentioned and we are looking at 1300-1400 a month. Add to 5-6 times eating out at 30 bucks for 2 and we have all together 1500 dollars gone.

We don't plan to change that after we FIRE.
Your food and beverage costs are the same as my "everything" costs. That being said, if you can afford it and it improves your quality of life enough to justify the cost then there's no reason not to do it. My beverage costs are $15/mo and food is $150-200. I almost never eat at a restaurant unless i'm on the road for work and then I eat off of McDonalds' dollar menu.

I don't plan to change that after I FIRE. If I somehow come into a large amount of money then i'll spend more on food but I won't work longer to spend more on food.
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Old 07-24-2014, 02:26 PM   #315
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YI almost never eat at a restaurant unless i'm on the road for work and then I eat off of McDonalds' dollar menu.
I just had one of their $1 McChickens the other day. Not bad for a buck! But for me, "fine dining" means Wendy's or Burger King instead of McDonalds...
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Old 07-24-2014, 02:29 PM   #316
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It is also a straw man made up solely by you. I only objected to your assertion that spending more would make a person need to spend more later to lose the weight. This is obviously false, as one equipped with eyes to see can testify. However, this does not make the statement that you make at all reasonable. For all I know, the world may be full of happy, healthy people who eat nothing but carbohydrate, and no one is disputing this.

To my knowledge, one doesn't get into heaven by minimized his expenses. This board is I thought about retiring early, and pleasantly. Don't a person's tastes enter into this somewhere?

Perhaps you need to economize severely. I don't know because I don't concern myself with this. But it hardly qualifies as a categorical imperative for others, even other retirees.

I definitely think regional areas come into play as you mentioned earlier, Ha. For example myself, I would have to drive 60-70 miles to experience a type of dinner you mentioned. So you can imagine then the options that are available locally for me. Combine carbfest with a "plate cleaner" attitude I have, eating out has to be controlled for me. I also understand where you are coming from. Some of our differences in food are reflected in our attitude toward it. Some consider it like a heat bill. A pain in the wallet and expenses need to be controlled. Some prefer the value in preparing great nutritious meals at home. I try to eat well but it is on the lower end as I am single and don't have the patience. So nutritious to me is shredded wheat with fresh strawberries and walnuts for dinner!
And as I have gotten older, I have shifted from the "hurry up and eat so I can enjoy entertainment" to "eating for entertainment".
I personally would not want to live retirement in such a manner that I felt I couldn't go out to eat when I wanted to with my GF.


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Old 07-24-2014, 02:31 PM   #317
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I just had one of their $1 McChickens the other day. Not bad for a buck! But for me, "fine dining" means Wendy's or Burger King instead of McDonalds...
My usual lunch or dinner is 2 McChickens. I used to get McDoubles but they raised the price to $1.19. That's expensive for poor people like me Breakfast is 1 or 2 Sausage McMuffins. Fine dining for me is Subway.
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Old 07-24-2014, 02:48 PM   #318
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A few items people miss are the income tax and car payment expenses. They can live on $75K, but need $90K+ in income to have $75 after taxes.
I think you are overestimating amount of income taxes at this level of income.
Even assuming all $75k is taxable and let's say half in LTCG and half STCG & interest, a couple would only pay $1750 in federal income tax. Your state (Minnesota) would only take another $3300. ( Checked here: 2014 Minnesota Income Tax Calculator - Tax Year 2013 )
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Old 07-24-2014, 02:51 PM   #319
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You can live on very little, but if you are going to make every financial decision a major focus of your life, I would rather work another year. If you have to eat at home because you cannot afford the $20 it takes to eat out, you are on the brink of disaster.

It’s great to save in retirement, but if you have to skimp every day just to make it work, it’s not for me.
I'm sorry, but you really have no idea how much life $30k buys around here. You might have your own preconceptions based on how you live, but you can't speak for everyone else. The point about taxes is very valid, for example - you're not paying much if anything at this level, so essentially your 'take-home pay' may not be much different than someone making $50k or more once you factor in 401k WDs, savings, SSI, taxes, etc. If I'm making $100k a year but only spending $36k, I'm not materially worse off when I retire at that level.
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Old 07-24-2014, 03:00 PM   #320
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Reading this forum, I was wondering the same thing as the OP posted. I feel really poor when reading these forums, but from net worth calculators, I think I'm in the top quarter or so for my age. I've never had a great salary, and much of my wealth is in the two houses I own, which makes me look even poorer in comparison.

I just keep telling myself I'm hanging out with the top 5-10% on here and that I'll get there.
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