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What is your monthly budget?
Old 03-18-2014, 12:53 PM   #1
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What is your monthly budget?

I know this will vary greatly, but would be interested to know what the average is here in the forum. What area of the country you live, married single, mortgage or not would be helpful info. Also, where does the majority of your expenses come from.
As I prepare for possible Semi-er soon, would be curious as to what those that have successfully er'd budget for monthly expenses.
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Old 03-18-2014, 01:15 PM   #2
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Here's something from a few years ago:

Annual Expense Poll
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Old 03-18-2014, 01:24 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by mcdevin1970 View Post
I know this will vary greatly, but would be interested to know what the average is here in the forum. What area of the country you live, married single, mortgage or not would be helpful info. Also, where does the majority of your expenses come from.
As I prepare for possible Semi-er soon, would be curious as to what those that have successfully er'd budget for monthly expenses.
I don't really have a budget. I do very carefully record my spending and if I was spending too much, I would reduce it and maybe then work up a budget. But so far, so good.

Last year I spent $2663/month plus income taxes, which depend on income and tax planning strategies.

I live in a suburb of New Orleans.
I am single and live alone.
I have no mortgage.
I am not trying to be frugal right now because I don't need to be.

About 80% of my spending is covered by my portfolio dividends, and that is my main income source. I also have a tiny federal pension that covers the rest. I have not claimed Social Security yet. This is my 5th year of retirement.

Really, the best way to figure out what you will spend in retirement, is to take your present budget and tweak it according to how you envision your retirement. For example, if you are always wanted to travel in retirement, you could add some for travel. Maybe you won't need commuting or work clothes expenses, and so on.

EDITED to add category break-down of annual expenses, copied from previous thread "2013 Expenses":

Groceries$2,488.66Includes toiletries, detergent, etc.
Restaurants$2,665.23lunch every day plus some dinners
Gasoline$965.24I live in an inner suburb, and everything is close by.
Car$1,443.91insurance, maintenance, registration, safety inspection, driver's license renewal
House$4,904.48insurance (homeowners' and flood), property tax, lawn care (no other maintenance/upgrades)
Utilities$4,947.11Cable TV,internet, nat. gas, electricity, water, trash, sewage, cell, landline
Fitness$1,140.43gym fees, weight watchers
Clothes$527.37casual "retiree wear" and shoes
Miscellaneous$4,039.32Gifts, books, new 55" TV & stand, router, laptop, financial software, furniture, etc.
Video Games, apps$904.19also includes yet another two video game consoles
Medical$4,968.25dentist, implant & crown, optometrist, prescription sunglasses & eyeglasses, prescriptions
Health insurance$2,967.26federal retiree health insurance + 7 months of Medicare Part B
Total$31,961.45 plus income tax
.
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Old 03-18-2014, 01:34 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcdevin1970 View Post
I know this will vary greatly, but would be interested to know what the average is here in the forum. What area of the country you live, married single, mortgage or not would be helpful info. Also, where does the majority of your expenses come from.
As I prepare for possible Semi-er soon, would be curious as to what those that have successfully er'd budget for monthly expenses.
Ours is around $5,000 per month (excluding vacation travel). Live in northeast, married, excludes mortgage.

The highest 5 budget items (which represent about 40% of the total budget) are: property taxes, groceries, "spending money" (mostly ATM withdrawals for cash spending we don't bother to track), fuel (for two cars), and car maintenance/repairs.

I don't include income taxes in our budget.
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Old 03-18-2014, 01:39 PM   #5
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Roughly $3k/month but that can vary a lot. The last several months it's been lower because we've been in hibernation mode over the winter.
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Old 03-18-2014, 01:56 PM   #6
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About $4,100/mo. Family of 4 Seattle suburb.

Food and Spending $1,500
Gasoline $500
Utilities $400
Tithe $500
Property Taxes $350
Insurance $300
Cell $225
Maintenance/repair $325
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Old 03-18-2014, 01:59 PM   #7
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Roughly $3k/month but that can vary a lot. The last several months it's been lower because we've been in hibernation mode over the winter.
When that happens I spend more money because I research and book my next trip!

FWIW my lifestyle budget is approximately $4500 per month, excluding income tax and debt repayment, which is my biggest expense category. However, as my car payment (@0.99%) comes to an end in 2015, and as I pay down mortgages on rental properties, debt repayment decreases. I expect it to be zero within 5-7 years.

2013 was my first year of ER and I spent ~90% of my budget for lifestyle expenses. My biggest lifestyle expense is travel. I spend more on travel than I pay in income tax. I am single and live in Canada. I do not have a home mortgage (interest payments on a residential mortgage are not tax deductible in Canada, but no capital gains tax is payable on the sale of a primary residence).
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Old 03-18-2014, 02:33 PM   #8
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When that happens I spend more money because I book my next trip!
Oh yes, we'll make up for it! We're not big on travel, but we'll eat out some more, and we're planning to treat DW's nephew & family to a day trip to a woods & river zip line in WV.
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Old 03-18-2014, 02:36 PM   #9
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I spend ~$1400/month. A little over half of that comes from dividends from the taxable portion of my portfolio, about $100/month comes from a very minor part-time gig, and the rest from the sale of funds. I am 50, so won't be touching the tax-deferred investments just yet.

I'm single and live alone with 3 cats in a small rented studio apartment in the San Francisco East Bay. No car - just a bicycle and the occasional use of public transport.
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Old 03-18-2014, 02:59 PM   #10
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About $60K year (just retired 1/1/14. Been tracking expenses for a long time.)

No mortgage.

Biggest expense: Medicare premiums, Medigap premiums, Part D premiums, prescription costs = approximately $10,000/year (DW and I combined).

The rest is spread out over utilities, gasoline, repairs, food, misc, church, Insurance (cars, home, umbrella).

Property taxes are about $4K/year.

Currently drawing RMD's and SS so that covers all expenses plus a good margin left over. Taxes this year will be low and probably in the 10% bracket.
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Old 03-18-2014, 03:11 PM   #11
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I'm still paying off my mortgage - (Hoping to lump sum it later this year).
Our gross income from all sources (salary, bonus, rental income, etc.) is about $140k
But last year we put 32k into 401ks, 12k into 529's. So our remainder (which includes taxes) is about 96k. This also includes SS and medicare payments.

Our Gross spend per month, including taxes, but excluding big savings, is $8k. That will drop by $2500/month later when the mortgage goes away.

We live in San Diego. Eliminating our mortgage will make this less of a high COL area.

For me, it's hard to say we spend $X dollars/month and have it be net. Too many things are payroll deducted like health care, flexible spending, etc. I need to include those in my spending.

When calculating our retirement budget I looked at our current gross income and subtracted out the things we wouldn't be doing in ER. (saving for retirement, paying SS or medicare) then added back in the things that will be more expensive in ER. (Health Insurance!!!).
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Old 03-18-2014, 03:14 PM   #12
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What is your monthly budget?
Once I deduct taxes and housing, it's really not that much...
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Old 03-18-2014, 03:15 PM   #13
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I spend ~$1400/month. A little over half of that comes from dividends from the taxable portion of my portfolio, about $100/month comes from a very minor part-time gig, and the rest from the sale of funds. I am 50, so won't be touching the tax-deferred investments just yet.

I'm single and live alone with 3 cats in a small rented studio apartment in the San Francisco East Bay. No car - just a bicycle and the occasional use of public transport.
Major Tom, how do you manage $1400 month with healthcare? I'm impressed! I'm estimating $5K/year for medical, based on threads I've read here and elsewhere.

I'm formerly from the Bay Area recall all of it being rather expensive. OTOH, I must be doing something really wrong as I've estimate around $40K/yr spending in ER starting (very) early next year. This is base on current budget in Los Angeles and includes about $5K/yr for travel and $5K+/yr for "emergencies". Truth is, my "lifestyle" will actually be better in retirement as I will be travelling much more than I have while working.

I'm impressedthat about 40% taking the poll live on less than 48K household income per year. Your post also inspires me to think about ways to further reduce spending!
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Old 03-18-2014, 04:04 PM   #14
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About $3000.00 a month at present...one person in small city in SWestern PA, no mortgage. This excludes travel, donations to charity and the occasional big ticket item. $3000.00 is almost the exact amount of the pension I will begin collecting in July. Any SS and investment income will be reinvested, given to my son just to get it out of my name, or possibly spent as needed if the $ starts to burn a hole in my pocket. I plan to take my sick leave windfall money and splash out on a new vehicle (will trade in two older cars).
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Old 03-18-2014, 04:13 PM   #15
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For me, about $1,800 per month. I live alone in a co-op on Long Island (NY). No mortgage. My co-op maintenance charges (mostly property taxes and the co-op's own mortgage) are just under 30% of my budget. Then comes medical costs (health insurance and dental), about 20%. Income taxes (federal and state) are about 12%.
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Old 03-18-2014, 04:19 PM   #16
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$8k/month for me and DW in Bay Area. Mortgage, golf, property tax, supplementing parents' SS are the heavy hitters.
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Old 03-18-2014, 04:25 PM   #17
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~$1400/month actual spending, budget plan $2000/month. Deep South, single, no mortgage, no debts. Income is from investments ( int, div, CG ). Future income from small pension and SS if they are still around by then ( 10-15yrs away )
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Old 03-18-2014, 04:38 PM   #18
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Major Tom, how do you manage $1400 month with healthcare? I'm impressed! I'm estimating $5K/year for medical, based on threads I've read here and elsewhere.
Well, don't be too impressed, as I achieved it by being comfortable with a low material standard of living. Although I withdrew $15,600 from my portfolio last year, the income from interest and dividends in the taxable portion of my account was only ~$8,000, qualifying me for Medi-Cal (the CA version of Medicaid). Under the Obamacare Medicaid expansion, there are no resource (asset) limits for Medicaid - only an income requirement. My doctor and surgery co-pays are $0. Not only that, but I actually like my doctor and can get an appointment within a day or two if it's an issue for which I don't want to wait a few weeks.

When I was working and living in Los Angeles, expenses were higher but not a whole lot, as I rented a 1 bedroom apartment for ~$750 and lived close to work, using a bicycle for transport. Healthcare was on a group policy with my employer, so it came with very low out of pocket expenses.

It's easier to live this way when you're single.
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Old 03-18-2014, 04:48 PM   #19
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It's easier to live this way when you're single.
I've noticed that some folks here (like you Tom) seem to manage on a very low budget. I did that during divorce #2 (California style) which felt to me like I had enough income and possessions to live in a stolen shopping cart.

I wonder how many single ladies here are living on such low budgets or is it just the men here?
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Old 03-18-2014, 04:56 PM   #20
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It's easier to live this way when you're single.

Or married with a like minded partner.

Our projected monthly expenses in our first full year retirement will only be around $2000 plus entertainment.

$200 per month RV/motorcycle insurance
$200 per month ACA subsidized health insurance (with max subsidized copay)
$300 per month RV maintenance/registration/permits
$600 per month food
$200 per month campground fee (maybe 4 or 5 stays per month)
$500 per month fuel

Of course I want to do a 2 or 3 month stint in the Florida keys and the monthly budget then would be:

$3000 per month house rental (with boat dock)
$800 per month food
$200 per month ACA
$300 per month RV maintenance/registration/permits
$200 per month fuel

So perhaps 8 months of spending $2000 to $2500 and 4 months of spending $4500 to $5000, for an annual budget of $34,000 to $40,000 which would fit well into a 3% SWR from a $1,400,000 portfolio.
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