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Old 01-01-2013, 05:35 PM   #201
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[...]being frugal allows me to spend money on things that are important without blinking an eye. And my cat is important to me, as have been previous pets. The recent veterinary care has allowed her to remain comfortable and happy in her senior years.

The $15K is a drop in the bucket compared to what she provides. The way I look at it is ... "I hope I have the opportunity to spend just as much on her in 2013."
Knowing oneself and what you really want is a huge accomplishment, IMO, especially for a future retiree.

Still, after seeing those vet bills, I am glad that I do not want pets right now.

All the best to you and your cat!
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Old 01-01-2013, 05:47 PM   #202
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But being frugal allows me to spend money on things that are important without blinking an eye. And my cat is important to me, as have been previous pets.
Yep. If you can't spend your money on yourself and those who are important to you, then what's the point?
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Old 01-01-2013, 06:05 PM   #203
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But being frugal allows me to spend money on things that are important without blinking an eye. And my cat is important to me, as have been previous pets. The recent veterinary care has allowed her to remain comfortable and happy in her senior years.

The $15K is a drop in the bucket compared to what she provides. The way I look at it is ... "I hope I have the opportunity to spend just as much on her in 2013."
Totally understand. I've been a cat lover all my life and volunteer at our shelter to help homeless animals. Have 4 foster kittens here right now I'm caring for. Like you, I've spent some major bucks on my cats. Don't ever let anyone tell you what to do with your money or criticize how you choose to spend it.

This being said, I'd like to add a few more comments based on my experiences. I had a cat I lost to liver disease a few years ago. I spent thousands on him and don't regret it. I loved him so much - more than the money for sure. Looking back, I wish I'd let him go a bit sooner. It had become very clear he wasn't going to live but I just couldn't let go.

It was for me more than him I think and I went too far trying to save him. End result he suffered longer than he should. He went from being a 12 pound beautiful cat to less than five pounds and barely aware he was even alive. Everything he loved - food, play, affection - he couldn't do anymore.

One thing I love about pets it what they teach us. To live in the here and now. My pets don't worry about what happened last summer or if they'll see next Christmas. They just know right now they're safe, loved and comfortable. It's so hard to know when to let them go and I'm sure I'll struggle with this again.

I hope your beloved cat lives a good long life. Just listen to her and know when it's time to say goodbye. I'd love to see a picture of her. Here's my beautiful boy I lost so long ago when he was still healthy. Still still love him so much.
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Old 01-01-2013, 10:50 PM   #204
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We track and record everything we spend, this is the 4th year in a row now. Our total out of pocket spending for 2012 for two people with no pets:

auto & house insurance $1,189
Bargain rates for 2 cars and a house, I think.
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Old 01-01-2013, 11:30 PM   #205
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This is a different cat than the one from 2004/2005.

It is interesting that health care for pets can be as extensive (and expensive) as health care for people. The treatment options are comparable. I have a local vet, but I also take my cat to a specialist care center, where they have internal medicine, neurology, oncology, 24/7 emergency, etc. Also available are the significant resources of a veterinary teaching hospital at a nearby university.

Sometimes people criticize me for being a frugal person and a big saver (e.g., I save about 80% of my after-tax income; my food expenses are typically less than the food stamp budget). But being frugal allows me to spend money on things that are important without blinking an eye. And my cat is important to me, as have been previous pets. The recent veterinary care has allowed her to remain comfortable and happy in her senior years.

The $15K is a drop in the bucket compared to what she provides. The way I look at it is ... "I hope I have the opportunity to spend just as much on her in 2013."
Yes, as long as one practices LBYM, it does not matter whether one spends his money on a fast car, or on one's pet health care.

However, as a cat lover myself, I think we should try to know when to let our beloved cat go, than to have him/her suffer some more. It's hard to tell when it's time, as it's up to us to make that choice and we do not really know how bad they feel.

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Whether $9.86 or $8/day, that's way more than I spend!

My wife always pays for grocery, even when I go shopping with her. And as I do not hang around bars, or even go to a cafe, I hardly spend any money. My wife even buys most of my booze. I have been threatening to go buy a $50 bottle of Tequila for a month now, even started a thread about it, and have yet to do it.
I recently went out to spend just a little bit of money on some booze. However, I will report on this in another more appropriate thread.
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Old 01-02-2013, 01:44 AM   #206
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Me, DW, and 16 year old.....56K for 2012

It's 22K less than the previous year, but I still think we spent like drunken almost retired folks.
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Old 01-02-2013, 06:34 AM   #207
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Bargain rates for 2 cars and a house, I think.
I am very satisfied with our insurance rates. We use an independent insurance agent and shop rates each year. Price is low partly because our vehicles are 10 and 8 years old. But we have full coverage and $500 deductable. Homeowners is full replacement coverage with low deductible as well. Of course, we have a good driving records and good credit scores, never had a homeowner's claim in 40 years.
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Old 01-02-2013, 07:10 AM   #208
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I just tallied up my final expenses for the year. Single, no kids, first year FIRED. 2.5% withdrawal rate. Plans for 2013 are around the same amount, but in very different categories.

Annual Expenses, 2012

Home - Mortgage - $6923
Home - RE Taxes - $10440
Home - Condo Fee - $3088
Home - Elec, Gas - $2136
Home - Cable, Intnt, Phone - $2085
Home - Maint, Suppl, Improv. - $2017
Home - Cleaner - $970
Mobile Phone - $1743
Insurance - Home, Auto, Umbr. - $2375
Auto - Gas, Maint, Registration - $952
Groceries - $2228
Clothing - $1788
Health - Insurance, Deduct, Copays - $5123
Gym - $1058
Charity - $2530
Travel - $11424
Gifts, Family - $1666
Dining - $1868
Entertain - $1693
Personal - $2709
Misc - $346

Total - $65163

Plans for 2013 are around the same amount, but in very different categories. Less on mobile phone (bought an iphone), mortgage (paid off), house cleaner (not working, no need), more on health (full year COBRA), gifts, misc/ slush fund.
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Old 01-02-2013, 08:25 AM   #209
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Personal expenses totaled $53K in 2012, including taxes, debt repayment and a $5000 contribution to my TFSA, which I consider nondiscretionary. I suppose that "spending", strictly speaking, was $48K.

Up to now I have never laid out a budget, but as I have recently ERd, that's what I did yesterday, along with an expense tracking worksheet. I will spend more this year and next as I will have 12 payments on my car loan (36 months @ 0.9% interest), TFSA contribution will be $5500, and I want to allow more for travel and activities. Expect to withdraw ~$65K in 2013. I will allow myself up to $75K, which will still be <3% of investable assets.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:06 AM   #210
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Final tally is $14,945. $55 under my planned budget. Plan to drop down to $12,000 for 2013. Thought about dropping to $10,000 but felt i'd feel deprived at that level.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:35 AM   #211
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Originally Posted by eridanus View Post
Yep. If you can't spend your money on yourself and those who are important to you, then what's the point?
+1!

What's wonderful is having the choice to do so.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:42 AM   #212
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Up to now I have never laid out a budget, but as I have recently ERd, that's what I did yesterday, along with an expense tracking worksheet.
I also stopped my part-time consulting work last summer. So, for the 1st time, my income did not carry our expenses, and I had to withdraw from my stash. Yes, 1.6%WR last year. That's just the start, and I am sure I will draw more in the years ahead. It's a new territory for me!

My annual expenses dropped quite a bit since my children were done with college. Still do not really have a budget per se, but I have been tracking expenses with Quicken for the last 2 years, and know roughly how much we spend on each category. If I maintain the same lifestyle, I should be right at about 3.5%WR. However, with all the free time, I may find more things to spend money on. And that is not necessarily a good thing.

For inspiration on how other people can "buy" happiness with so little money, and get into healthy activities too, I like to read blogs of some full-time RV'ers. Their lifestyle is not for me, being a bit too lazy, pampered, and introverted, but I admire their resourcefulness.

For example, an excerpt from a blog by a Canadian couple in their early 50s follows. They were able to travel for so little by shopping carefully. I cannot do couch surfing like they do, but surely should be able to do the same sightseeing and take public transportation and eat cheaply in my travel as they do. Search the Web for "Kevin and Ruth" if you are curious. Of course if they were American, their expenses would have jumped up $12K+ for health insurance already. They also have to live down in Mexico much of the year for lower food costs. Still...

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From "Kevin and Ruth" (Full-time RV'er bloggers): Good thing we don't spend very much. In fact, our total expenses for the year came to only $16,367 ($1,363 per month average). When you consider that we were in 13 different airports and 8 different countries this past year, that's pretty darn good.
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Old 01-02-2013, 09:58 PM   #213
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This being said, I'd like to add a few more comments based on my experiences. I had a cat I lost to liver disease a few years ago. I spent thousands on him and don't regret it. I loved him so much - more than the money for sure. Looking back, I wish I'd let him go a bit sooner. It had become very clear he wasn't going to live but I just couldn't let go.

[...]

I hope your beloved cat lives a good long life. Just listen to her and know when it's time to say goodbye. I'd love to see a picture of her. Here's my beautiful boy I lost so long ago when he was still healthy. Still still love him so much.
Yes, I followed the previous posts about your cat. Very touching. You will always love him. I've been in similar situations. It's never an easy issue.

Personally, I've been satisfied with the medical care provided to my pets. One advantage of significant medical care is that multiple medical personnel are available to provide opinions about your pet and his/her quality of life. In addition to my cat's regular vet, she has an internal medicine specialist, a veterinary nurse, and the "pet nanny" who stops by my house each day to give my cat medication and IV (sub q) fluids when I'm at work. The pet nanny is great. Between the two of us, my cat has gained over 1 pound in the last 6 months (from 6.25 to 7.25 pounds, while being at 8.5 pounds as a healthy adult).

I happened to be home last Saturday when the pet nanny stopped by. My cat is a former feral and goes inside/outside at will. She was outside at the time, inspecting the neighborhood from the top of a 6 foot redwood fence (she climbs up like a squirrel). When my cat saw the pet nanny, she jumped down from the fence, walked inside the house, and got up on the couch where she often gets her medications. It was incredibly cute watching her "assume the position" all on her own. Her ears where back during the pills, but she relaxed while receiving her fluids.

While anything can happen, my cat is clearly enjoying her life. All this is definitely worth the continued medical care, no matter the cost.

Since you asked, attached is a recent picture of my cat sitting on top of the above mentioned fence, and another recent picture of her in the back yard.
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File Type: jpeg image3.jpeg (138.0 KB, 8 views)
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Old 01-02-2013, 10:22 PM   #214
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Nice photos! What dreamy eyes she has.
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:13 AM   #215
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Our family of 4 (me, DH, and 2 DDs) spent $45K in 2012. I'd like to try to bring that down to $40K this year. Unless we buy a house, which would likely result in a larger housing payment, since we are renting less home than we'd like to own. And I would love to finally buy a home!
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Old 01-03-2013, 12:37 AM   #216
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$67K this year, but that includes $12K of extra mortgage principal payments. So $55K actual living expenses (which is consistent with my spending over the last few years, and what I expect in the next few years as well). I also was able to put an additional $70K towards the nest egg from w*rk income last year.
Beyond this, I also paid $37K in income/payroll taxes.... the good news is that will be the last year those will be so high since I'll be RE in 2013 and at a lower income level!
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Old 01-05-2013, 02:38 PM   #217
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Wow. I never expected to get so many answers when I posted the original comment before I left for vacation two weeks ago. Thanks everyone for participating.

I will try to spend a bit more in 2013. l would like to target a $50k total expenditure goal for the year. However, I always find it harder to spend on myself rather than on others. I need to force myself to keep my newspapers subscriptions for example, but i have no problem buying meds or even give cash to homeless patients of mine at the free clinics. Weird.
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Old 01-05-2013, 04:48 PM   #218
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You are just not that turned on by material things, evidently, and you gain a lot of satisfaction from helping others.That's what's enabled you to become FI and I'm sure you have many friends!

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I need to force myself to keep my newspapers subscriptions for example, but i have no problem buying meds or even give cash to homeless patients of mine at the free clinics. Weird.
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Old 01-05-2013, 06:31 PM   #219
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I will try to spend a bit more in 2013. l would like to target a $50k total expenditure goal for the year.
$50k is like a magic number. It is approx the median HH income in the US. I will withdraw slightly more than that this year. With the new tax code locked in and most of my income derived from divs and LT gains, my federal tax bill will be less than $1k (single filer). I think at $50k the bill would be zero or close to it.
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Old 01-07-2013, 09:10 AM   #220
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We're "young guns" at 31, but my wife and I spent ~$60k in a year which had the birth of our first child, and some other medical expenses (yay for out-of-pocket limits!). This is in a high cost-of-living area too. Not too bad for 2 people. (I think)
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