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Thoughts on this budget?
Old 04-17-2018, 02:58 PM   #1
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Thoughts on this budget?

Based on your own budgeting experience in retirement, what items jump out at you as being possibly too high or too low? How much are y'all budgeting for dental and vision? This proposed budget would be for a couple both on Medicare. (Taxes are considered and handled.)

Car - Gas, Maint, Lic$150
Car - insurance$175
Clothing$150
Travel/Entertainment$1,000
Fitness$100
Food & Dining$1,200
Gifts$50
Hair Care$100
House - Maint / Supplies*$300
House - P&I/tax/ins$725
Medical $1,000
Utilities - Cable TV$100
Utilities - Cell Bill$165
Utilities - Electric $150
Utilities - Internet & Phone$80
Utilities - Water Gas Trash $100

* A/C and roof replacements are accounted for outside of this budget.
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Old 04-17-2018, 03:18 PM   #2
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We have no idea what your income is, so there's no way to evaluate whether the budget is reasonable...however, a few initial thoughts.

Car insurance - how many cars/what kind? I pay $26/month for car insurance for a Toyota Rav4 in an urban area.
Food & Dining - My wife and I spend ~$900/month on food/dining out.
Cable TV - We don't have cable (substitute $29/mo for Netflix).
Cell Bill - We spend $67/month for two cell phones.
Mortgage - none.
Travel - For a retired budget, travel seems a bit low, but it just depends on what you're wanting to do!
House - seem to be missing house insurance and property taxes.
Everything else seems reasonable to me...
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Old 04-17-2018, 03:40 PM   #3
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Before FIRE, I tried to put together a budget like this. Some costs are easy, since they are known and re-occur regularly. Some are just a guess.

What I finally did was sit down and go through the previous 5 years of expenses. Not itemized, just monthly outgo. Since everything was paid out of one checking account, it was easy to get a total.

What I found was that year over year, our expenses were fairly consistent (+/-10%), even though the items and individual costs varied.

I also noticed that when we downsized several years before FIRE, there was a step drop in expenses. Made sense since property taxes and gas costs dropped significantly.

That was when it hit me. Our ACTUAL expenses are only 60% (+/-) of what FireCalc says we COULD withdraw. Decided to FIRE the following year.

I guess my suggestion to you is to not look at the individual items, but the overall dollars needed, historically.

FWIW, your annual budget is very close to our actual spend.
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Old 04-17-2018, 04:30 PM   #4
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I do not see taxes, budgets for unplanned emergent expenses or charity donations/church. The Bureau of Labor Statistics publishes a review of expenses for older Americans every couple of years, the most recent is from 2016 https://www.bls.gov/opub/btn/volume-...-americans.htm.

Not knowing your spending patterns, a little hard to comment on proposed budget.
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Old 04-17-2018, 04:42 PM   #5
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Our post-retirement food/dining spend is lower than I predicted, partly because I included eating in the travel bucket and we're on the go a lot, and partly because it turns out that we eat in instead of out a lot more than I expected when we're home, so you might look at those numbers.

We don't spend anywhere near $100/mo on hair care, but one of us (not me) doesn't have as much hair as he used to. I lump whatever we spend on that in with other personal care items like toothpaste, nail files, etc.

Our combined electric/water/gas/trash is only $180/mo, but we don't need to heat or cool our home, and there's not much you can do about those costs anyway.

Your cell phone numbers are very high. We are under $60 for two lines.
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Old 04-17-2018, 04:47 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by HNL Bill View Post
We have no idea what your income is, so there's no way to evaluate whether the budget is reasonable
Whether a budget is reasonable or is not can not be judged by the income level.
This budget as presented is for expenses, nothing to do with actual or perceived income.

I took the OP' statement regarding taxes to cover income tax.
The rest seems fine for a certain COL area, but the $300 aimed at "House - Maint / Supplies" seem inadequate.

My budget has 6 related line items:
- property tax
- home insurance
- house & property maintenance
- renovations & repairs
- household purchases
- big seldom expense (heater/AC/roof etc.)
and my total for these is about $7500 per annum, based on 19 years of collected actual detailed expense (Quicken) while living in own home in 3 different states (IL, NC, PA).
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Old 04-17-2018, 04:50 PM   #7
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In a real sense, you can't budget for Utilities, Insurance, and other things billed to you from external sources. Rather, you need to plan for those bills so you pay them when they come due. If you want to eliminate some things, like an extra car, or downsize from a fancy cell phone to a basic one, you can reduce some of those bills.
I like the things I have and use, so accept the bills for service and insurance as part of that. As to discretionary items such as entertainment, gifts, etc that is very individual. Most definitely YMMV.
As one example, I have 2 married children and 4 grandchildren, a wife who likes jewelry for presents.........and I like "toys" for my hobbies and interests. So, my Gifts budget is not cheap. But the budget is well within what we can afford.
In sum, I don't think any of us can properly tell you whether your budget is reasonable or not. If you can afford your proposed budget, then the only question is whether you want to spend that amount.
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Old 04-17-2018, 05:00 PM   #8
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Just to clarify - I'm not asking if the budgets seems reasonable in relation to income. I'm more interested in hearing thoughts about the overall items in the budget and the proposed amounts (i.e., a reality check). Btw, most of the amounts are based on our historical spending and a few of the amounts are my guesses about future spending since I'm not retired yet.
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Old 04-17-2018, 05:06 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cathy63 View Post
Your cell phone numbers are very high. We are under $60 for two lines.
I should explain the $165 for cell phones - that amount includes a total of 5 lines currently. We still have 3 of our young adults on our plan. That amount will be dropping as soon as we can get them to let go of this last remaining item in the nest.
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Old 04-17-2018, 05:41 PM   #10
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A few notes for you below (I'm single)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Carpediem View Post

Car - Gas, Maint, Lic$150 Me: $100
Car - insurance$175 Me: $80 for 2 autos, will double if/when I buy a sports car
Clothing$150 Me: I don't track it, but it's less than $50
Travel/Entertainment$1,000 Me - hard to put into a monthly amount, so I don't even try
Fitness$100 Me: $67
Food & Dining$1,200 Me: $350
Gifts$50
Hair Care$100
House - Maint / Supplies*$300 Me: not that high, but the house is only a couple years old
House - P&I/tax/ins$725
Medical $1,000
Utilities - Cable TV$100
Utilities - Cell Bill$165 Me: $30 Selectel Wireless, unlimited voice, 1GB data
Utilities - Electric $150
Utilities - Internet & Phone$80
Utilities - Water Gas Trash $100

* A/C and roof replacements are accounted for outside of this budget.
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