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What are your One or Two Largest Spending Categories?
Old 12-08-2009, 01:04 PM   #1
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What are your One or Two Largest Spending Categories?

I've been doing some preliminary review of my expenses for 2009 and starting to prepare an expected budget for 2010. It's been interesting for me to see what my largest expense categories are in retirement and wondered what the greatest expenses are for most others on this board. Here are my 2 largest:

#1 is Property Tax on my house. Even though I live in a modest home in an average middle-class neighborhood, the tax bite is big and getting bigger. The tax increase is capped at 10% per year, so they are still catching up to the run-up in prices several years ago. I know the solution to this is to move to a lower COL area, but that is a few years off.

#2 is Health Insurance. Even with a HDHP and HSA, this is an ever-growing component of my budget. I will be turning 50 soon and am hitting that big bump-up in premium. In the back of my mind, my fallback plan is to maybe switch to a higher deductible/lower premium plan, but if I do that, I won't be eligibile for the HSA.

I've been surprised to realize that all other expenses pale in comparison to these. It's not what I would have guessed years ago when I started preparing for early retirement. Of course if I still had a mortgage, that would be #1 on the list.

So, what are your one or two largest constant spending categories?
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Old 12-08-2009, 01:14 PM   #2
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Food and utilities but the car is up there high too. So say family members that are retired.
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Old 12-08-2009, 01:17 PM   #3
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This year (2009):

#1: Food (both eating out and groceries)
#2: Homeowners' and Flood insurance

Last year (2008):

#1: Food (both eating out and groceries)
#2: Repair of previous hurricane damage to my home (Gustav and Katrina, not done yet... not enough to be worth making a claim over, though, and some didn't show up for years afterwards)

My property tax only averages $72/month due to our local tax structure. My health insurance was deducted from my salary, but was only $152/month in 2009.
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Old 12-08-2009, 01:17 PM   #4
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Like yours...property tax and medical expenses are the largest for me.

Number 3 would be home improvements/maintenance.

Discretionary expense would be travel.
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Old 12-08-2009, 01:22 PM   #5
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Ignoring income tax, mine are 1,2,3: Rent, medical and food.

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Old 12-08-2009, 01:27 PM   #6
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1) groceries
2) mortgage payment

Of course, when one counts taxes as an expense, income tax is the biggie, representing almost 50% of our expenses and almost 9 times as much as groceries...
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Old 12-08-2009, 01:30 PM   #7
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Mortgage, child-related expenses (includes daycare, swim lessons, etc), and food are 1-3 for us. The first 2 account for about 40% of our after-tax spending.
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Old 12-08-2009, 01:45 PM   #8
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My #1 expense by far is our health insurance premiums.
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Old 12-08-2009, 02:09 PM   #9
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1. College tuition/room/board/books for DD
2. Property Tax
3. Vacation, this year's was a biggie
4. Groceries
5. Ski/Golf club dues

Fortunately #1 won't last forever, #3 can be reduced, and #5 could be dropped if I need to. #2 can be reduced a lot too, by trading to a smaller place.
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Old 12-08-2009, 02:19 PM   #10
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So far this year, mine are:

1. Utilities (includes high def cable & other goodies)
2. Household (I bought a new bed plus other things)
3. Medical Most of it, so far, was my paying daughter's health insurance for her first year after college. I haven't rec'd billings yet for my recent hospitalization, so things might change.

My property tax is up there too but, the three listed above are my largest expenses so far this year.
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Old 12-08-2009, 02:20 PM   #11
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1. property taxes -
2. insurance - homeowners , flood , car ,medical
3. travel
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Old 12-08-2009, 02:37 PM   #12
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1. Groceries - includes everything bought at the grocery store, not just food
2. Health insurance
3. Property taxes
4. Car, pickup truck and motorcycle (amortized over their expected lifespans)
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Old 12-08-2009, 02:40 PM   #13
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1. Health Insurance
2. Food (groceries and eating out)
3. Property Taxes
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Old 12-08-2009, 03:11 PM   #14
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I don't do a lot of detail as I can not get my wife to even look at it... so trying to figure out where to put things, I just have a big bucket for 'other'... that is all food, gas, clothes.
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Old 12-08-2009, 03:17 PM   #15
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1. Mortgage
2. Medical bills (insurance premiums & out of pocket expenses)
3. Utilities
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Old 12-08-2009, 03:24 PM   #16
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1. Property taxes
2. Health insurance premium
3. Travel
4. Groceries (food only)
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Old 12-08-2009, 03:26 PM   #17
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1) Property taxes. Texas and Iowa.

2) Health insurance

3) Utilities

4) groceries

No mortgage or car loans
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Old 12-08-2009, 03:33 PM   #18
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1. Property taxes(PA and FL)
2. Insurances(auto, home, life, umbrella, but not health which is fully paid by employer)
3. Utilities
4. Food
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Old 12-08-2009, 03:44 PM   #19
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1. Property tax
2. restaurants and groceries are just about tied for 2nd place.

I'm newly retired and still on COBRA. I expect health insurance to be nearly 2nd place next year.
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Old 12-08-2009, 03:51 PM   #20
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1) Mortgage
2) RE and property tax
3) Medical Insurance and costs
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