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Old 12-07-2010, 10:40 AM   #141
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Originally Posted by aaronc879 View Post
2011 Annual expenses
property taxes: 75/mo
condo insurance: 12/mo
car reg./AAA: 13/mo
 
2011 budget
annual expenses:100/mo
electric: 100/mo
condo fee/maint,: 125/mo
cable/internet/phone:175/mo
Car-gas/maint/ins.: 125/mo
groceries: 225/mo
enter./misc.:150/mo

Total: 1000/mo

I will come in at just under $1000/mo average in 2010 even with paying a mortgage for half the year. I rounded up on many of these and will almost certainly come in under $1000/mo average even with a planned 2 1/2 week vacation to Florida in February.
oooh, thanks!!

Right off I am seeing two more items in my budget that aren't 1n yours: gifts & pet expenses, but I don't spend enough on these to explain the whole difference. In the event of really tight finances, I'd eliminate the gifts, but I just have to have a cat! I'll have to look at this more closely later on.

added later: do you have a pot of money that you set aside for replacing your car and other large infrequent expenses? What are "annual" expenses (first line under "2011 Budget"?
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Old 12-07-2010, 10:57 AM   #142
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additional expenses we have looking at our last few years of tracking expenses

medical: insurance and co-pays over $6000
insurances: auto and house much higher
property tax: much higher
travel: visits to kids, grandkids and MIL- overseas every few years and national park visit on off years.
gifts: we help fund 529's for grandchildren and also give gifts to kids for Christmas/Birthdays
hobbies: yearly quilt show trip, sewing stuff, tuition at Wooden boat school in Maine, expanded rose bed last year etc.
house maintenance: replace and repair of various things averages several hundred a month
charity: gifts to library, fire department, boy scouts and other local charities we believe in.
auto: several hundred each month goes into a repair/replace fund
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Old 12-07-2010, 11:03 AM   #143
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Here is a copy/paste from my expense tracking spreadsheet. Comments below the line items.

2. House - repairs/maintenance (incl. appliances/repairs) 98
3. House - insurance/taxes 81
4. Utilities-Gas/Electric 137
5. Utilities-Water/Sewer/Trash 66
6. Utilities-Cable TV 0
7. Home Furnishings/ Furniture 0
8. Communications - Phone/Cell Phone/Internet 56
9. Auto-maintenance/insurance/taxes/license/regis. 113
10. Auto-gas 150
11. Medical/Dental 25
12. Clothing 63
13. Groceries/Household (Walmart, Target, Grocery Store) 484
14. Student Loan Payments
15. Education/Training/Prof Fees
16. Childcare/Afterschool care
17. Dining out 70
18. Entertainment/Toys/Fun (incl. ABC store) 57
19. Vacations
20. Electronics 101
21. Gifts 79
22. Charity 0
23. Misc. 5
24. Cash 1

total: $1586/mo or $19,035/yr

Mortgage expense was excluded, as was student loans, childcare, education, and vacations. For me, the above spending reflects my average monthly bare bones core expenses I want to have no doubt of being able to fund during FIRE. This is our actual data from the six month period of April-September 2010. I'm at work so I don't have the updated expense tracking spreadsheet through Dec 1 2010, but I can tell you our expenses have crept up to an annual rate of $20,600 for the first 8 months of tracking (large med/dental expenses are probably the culprit). There is also no reserve fund for car replacement, so that could be another $1000-3000 a year. This is for a family of 4 in a city in the southeast US.
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Old 12-07-2010, 12:08 PM   #144
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I have pretty well given up benchmarking my expenses against the more frugal memebers here. For example, I think I spent more than $250/mo on food 40 years ago just out of school.

For me at least, I am far from the point where the pleasure vs. spending line flattens out.

I totally understand doing whatever one has to do to make lemonade out of lemons, but I equally do not understand electing that pathway if others are available.

It is somewhat different with a young family. Kids are all the entertainment you need, and if you can keep down family expenses you can live fairly cheaply and still have fun, at least until they want ski-ing lessons, riding lessons, music lessons, soccer fees, Tai-Kwan Do ....

And then, if you find yourself alone you may well want more activity.

I do think it is possible that some do not understand what their lives really cost. For example, under modern standards of pet care, the life cycle cost of anything more than a goldfish or perhaps a guinea pig can be huge.

Ha
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Old 12-07-2010, 02:19 PM   #145
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I do think it is possible that some do not understand what their lives really cost. For example, under modern standards of pet care, the life cycle cost of anything more than a goldfish or perhaps a guinea pig can be huge.
Amen. The dear wife spent $1k+ today to have one of our cats teeth cleaned, which is a recurring expense for all four cats and the dog, despite our brushing their teeth twice a day! I'm still amazed at how much pet care standards have changed. Nowadays, medically our cats and dog get almost the same standard of care as a human child.

If I didn't have to cover medical expenses for me, my wife, our dog and our cats, I would probably be able to retire today.
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Old 12-07-2010, 02:59 PM   #146
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Amen. The dear wife spent $1k+ today to have one of our cats teeth cleaned, which is a recurring expense for all four cats and the dog, despite our brushing their teeth twice a day!
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Old 12-07-2010, 11:23 PM   #147
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1, one, a single, cat. teeth cleaned @ $1000?

i never heard of cleaning a cat's teeth. that is a very large sum of money that if it was 1 time every 10 years i'd still question it but something tells me it is a lot more frequent than that.
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Old 12-07-2010, 11:48 PM   #148
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i never heard of cleaning a cat's teeth. that is a very large sum of money that if it was 1 time every 10 years i'd still question it but something tells me it is a lot more frequent than that.
Brushing a cat's teeth isn't so bad. Getting them to floss, though...


(Disclaimer: I've never had dental problems with my cats. They're on a higher quality dry food, which may help.)
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Old 12-08-2010, 12:26 AM   #149
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I sure would like to see a line item budget from some of you folks who live or are planning to live on $20K a year or under.

...

How do you guys do it? What are you leaving out of your budget that I'm keeping in mine? Or is the extra 25-30% just the price I pay to live here in the NW?

Food $ 338.14

Insurance $ 327.87

Utilities $ 224.22

House $ 181.66

Auto $ 111.32

Tax $ 91.74

Recreation $ 73.52

Medical $ 27.45

Clothing $ 21.00

Misc $ 5.87





Month total
$ 1,402.81





Annual
$ 16,833.68


The above is a pro-forma monthly budget for me on 3/7/2014 based on my actual living expenses in Quicken the last six months. Fundamentally it is how I live now adjusted for things I know will increase/decrease in retirement, then adjusted for my mortgage and child support (for which I set aside separate sinking funds), then increased by my estimate for inflation. The above assumes living in my typical suburbia house in Boise.

It's pretty realistic, except where it isn't. I do believe in a pinch that what I have above is "do-able" for me personally. My plan is to continue working until I hit a 4% S(?!?)WR then take a more realistic look at things. Who knows, I still have some other thoughts and plans that if I follow them would result in a completely different lifestyle and budget.

No pets, no alcohol, no tithing (yeah, maybe I should change my user name), no spouse, no expensive hobbies, budding minimalist. Above budget specifically does not include sinking funds for car replacement and long term house maintenance, though.

2Cor521
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Old 12-08-2010, 02:03 AM   #150
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Amen. The dear wife spent $1k+ today to have one of our cats teeth cleaned, which is a recurring expense for all four cats and the dog, despite our brushing their teeth twice a day! (snip)
1, one, a single, cat. teeth cleaned @ $1000?

i never heard of cleaning a cat's teeth. that is a very large sum of money that if it was 1 time every 10 years i'd still question it but something tells me it is a lot more frequent than that.
Cats' teeth can need cleaning, and more often than once a decade, too, but I think bamsphd's vet is extraordinarily expensive. I would expect to be able to get two or in a pinch three cats' teeth cleaned for that kind of money!
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Old 12-08-2010, 06:23 AM   #151
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1, one, a single, cat. teeth cleaned @ $1000?

i never heard of cleaning a cat's teeth. that is a very large sum of money that if it was 1 time every 10 years i'd still question it but something tells me it is a lot more frequent than that.
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Cats' teeth can need cleaning, and more often than once a decade, too, but I think bamsphd's vet is extraordinarily expensive. I would expect to be able to get two or in a pinch three cats' teeth cleaned for that kind of money!
I agree. I think my vet charged us around $250 or $300 back in 2004.
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Old 12-08-2010, 11:51 AM   #152
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Cats' teeth can need cleaning, and more often than once a decade, too, but I think bamsphd's vet is extraordinarily expensive
Our "regular vet" actually offers teeth cleaning for considerably less money. As I understand it, they don't have a dentist on staff, they host a traveling dentist a few days a month. However, five years ago or so, our cat Tigger developed kidney failure and other issues very shortly after having his teeth cleaned. We don't know if there was a causal connection in Tigger's case. However, my wife blames our eventually losing Tigger in part on that dental procedure, and she is not going to let a traveling dentist treat another of our pets.

So instead she drives almost an hour down into Mass to visit http://www.veterinarydental.com/ which is a specialized dentist only vet. I will freely admit they seem to do very nice, if pricey, work. You may not always get what you pay for, but you always pay for what you get. However, the really expensive part is that they advocate routine yearly cleaning! They try to anchor you with the idea that human dentists recommend twice yearly cleanings, and that because pets can not tell you when they are in pain you should not postpone visits for too long. I'm always pushing to let the local vet decide when cleanings are needed instead, since the local vet's standards are much more minimalist. However, I don't always succeed. As far as my wife is concerned, the pets always get the best. Getting her to go to the doctor for herself is a challenge, but she is practically a hypochondriac when it comes to the pets.

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Amen. The dear wife spent $1k+ today to have one of our cats teeth cleaned, which is a recurring expense for all four cats and the dog
Update: The final dental vet bill for the cat was just under $900, though the total dental vet bill just broke $1k. However, the total bill also included a "dental evaluation" of our dog, and some over-priced dental treats.

However, yesterday the dear wife also ended up taking another cat to our regular vet because it was throwing up after almost every meal for the past few days. So that cat got sedation, an exam, X-rays, ultrasound, and had blood drawn for tests. At least she pushed back on boarding the cat overnight! She mentioned the sedation cost about $150, and the ultrasound about $300, but I don't know the grand total. Perhaps just as well. The vet did not find anything. For now we are giving over-the-counter Pepcid, and a "bland" chicken and rice diet. Hopefully the cat will get better on its own, or the blood tests will show something easy to treat. If not, I already know my wife will be taking the cat to http://www.intownmassvet.com/ a "referral" vet down in Mass. I will freely admit they are a very very good vet. Probably the best I've ever seen. I also like it that they work to solve your issue and then hope to never see you again! However, they are also not shy about charging.

Wives and pets can sure be expensive. Even when you get your pets at the animal shelter.

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If I didn't have to cover medical expenses for me, my wife, our dog and our cats, I would probably be able to retire today.
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Old 12-08-2010, 12:35 PM   #153
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Now that we have totally hijacked this thread , I'll mention that I occasionally descale my dog's teeth with dental tools that you can buy at Target. They are stainless steel and look like the dental tools your dentist uses. It is important to be gentle and not scratch the enamel on the tooth.

For cats, this procedure probably requires heavy leather gloves.
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Old 12-08-2010, 02:35 PM   #154
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Um, my parents cat was close to having kidney failure, and my parents only had to spend $500 for a full array of tests (including hydration). This was over the course of three visits, and included a ton of specialized medicine/food (she basically had stopped eating for a long time on her own and needed to be force fed at home for three weeks). The hydration was useful, but the tests were not, I ended up figuring out what it was before the vet did .
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Old 12-08-2010, 03:20 PM   #155
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Is living in an inexpensive part of the country pretty much the whole secret of the sub-$20K budget? Too bad for me if it is, because I don't know of anywhere else I'd want to live. If push comes to shove, I guess I am willing to pay extra to live in WA.
Come on over to the dark dry side of the Everbrown Evergreen state. Cheap livin' over here as long as you can put up with the dry, dusty summers, colder winters, the..... oops, this is starting to sound like REWahoo promoting his area of residence
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Old 12-08-2010, 10:16 PM   #156
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Is living in an inexpensive part of the country pretty much the whole secret of the sub-$20K budget? Too bad for me if it is, because I don't know of anywhere else I'd want to live. If push comes to shove, I guess I am willing to pay extra to live in WA.
Oh, come on! You are a loaded lady. Enough Waffling, Already!

Shouldn't you be fine somewhere around the Puget Sound with that money? It seems to me if one does not demand to be near the water, there should be plenty of towns where it is not too expensive to live, like Sequim or Port Angeles. Those towns are not too big to be crowded, nor too small to lack amenities. Of course I was only a visitor and might have the wrong impression.
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Old 12-09-2010, 01:05 AM   #157
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Come on over to the dark dry side of the Everbrown Evergreen state. Cheap livin' over here as long as you can put up with the dry, dusty summers, colder winters, the..... oops, this is starting to sound like REWahoo promoting his area of residence
It is cheaper east of the mountains, but I'm not going to move there. I got my fill of hot, dry and brown when I lived in California. Eastern WA has all those faults and lacks CA's compensating merit of mild winters.

I remember reading an article a long time ago, in which the author asserted that the state line between WA & OR is in the wrong place and really ought to run along the Cascade ridge instead of the Columbia River, because as it is now, western OR & WA have a lot more in common with each other than with the other halves of their respective states, and likewise with the parts of each state east of the mountains.
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Old 12-09-2010, 01:42 AM   #158
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Oh, come on! You are a loaded lady. Enough Waffling, Already!

Shouldn't you be fine somewhere around the Puget Sound with that money? It seems to me if one does not demand to be near the water, there should be plenty of towns where it is not too expensive to live, like Sequim or Port Angeles. Those towns are not too big to be crowded, nor too small to lack amenities. Of course I was only a visitor and might have the wrong impression.
Sequim and Port Angeles are not all that much less expensive than other parts of the country—City-Data gives them a cost of living index of 96 and 92.1 respectively (100 is the national average). If you want economical living in western WA, you go somewhere like Aberdeen or Hoquiam in Gray's Harbor County (index of 87.5 for the county). And Seattle, at 126.3, makes everywhere else (except San Francisco) look cheap!
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Old 12-29-2010, 05:15 PM   #159
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Amen. The dear wife spent $1k+ today to have one of our cats teeth cleaned, which is a recurring expense for all four cats and the dog, despite our brushing their teeth twice a day!

That is the business I want to go into. If you allocate 30 minutes per cleaning - 16 cleanings a day - $16k/day. Work 3 days/yr would support retirement. If you want a new car, work an extra 1 1/2 - 2 days.
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Old 12-30-2010, 01:32 PM   #160
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That is the business I want to go into. If you allocate 30 minutes per cleaning - 16 cleanings a day - $16k/day. Work 3 days/yr would support retirement. If you want a new car, work an extra 1 1/2 - 2 days.
You do have to also pay for equipment, the dental assistant, the receptionist, the rent, .... It also takes longer than 30 minutes per cleaning.

P.S.
The other cat did not get better on its own. It was eventually taken to the MA Vet Referral Hospital where a second ultrasound found what turned out to be a chunk of rubber chew toy stuck in its intestine. The good news is that yesterday it had its surgical staples removed, seemed all better, and was finally released from post-surgical confinement. The bad news is it threw up twice this morning, so the story might not be done. This month alone, that 2 year old cat from the shelter has run up almost $4k in vet bills, and it is not even the cat that got its teeth cleaned!
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