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Old 01-25-2021, 12:41 PM   #81
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Live in the SF Bay Area. No mortgage, no debt and subsidized medical insurance.

Essentials for me (prop tax, ins, utilities, food, medical, auto): $30K
Routine spending (gifts, travel, entertainment, recreation): $15K
Non-routine spending (replacement of items, new purchases, family): $15K

Total Standard of Living cost: $60K


Essentials for wife: $15K
Routine spending for wife: $20K (she likes to shop)
Non-routine spending for wife: $10K

Total for wife: $45k

Total for both: $105K
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Old 01-25-2021, 12:57 PM   #82
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We live on the coast in Southern California where the cost of living is quite high. Our property taxes and insurance is about $20K per year. Beyond that we need about $90K per year to live on, so we budget $110K per year. But that does not include buying new cars, doing home remodeling, or any other non-recurring expenses. We have no debt so this is just living expenses.

But we’ve lived here for our entire adult lives, and our incomes were higher as a result of having jobs that were based in a HCOL area. So these expenses just seem normal to us. I’m aware we could live for much less if we moved inland but we really enjoy living by the beach and we have enough to live here comfortably so there is no reason for us to move at this point.

I’m always amazed at people who say they live comfortably on less than $30K per year. We like splurging now that we are retired. But everyone has to decide what level of luxury they expect to have in retirement before they make the decision to leave the workforce.
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Old 01-25-2021, 01:14 PM   #83
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Originally Posted by ShokWaveRider View Post
What on earth do you eat? Ours is $500 a month for 2 people. I would hate to think what RobbieB's is?
In my experience cooking at home using basic ingredients (meaning no beef/certain kinds of fish/organics) is inexpensive if you have flexible tastes. Packaged foods incorporate various degrees of markup, even at the discount chains, plus I haven't found many to be very impressive in their taste.

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I'm a single and spend $400/month. That excludes alcohol but includes cleaning products, etc. and dietary supplements. I'm practically a vegetarian so no crab legs or wagyu beef in there. I weigh 124 so it's not mass quantities, either. I'm sure I could whittle it down but glad I don't have to.
I guess I grew up a bit on the lower side of middle-class in the midwest, and I'm sure when I was young, one of the primary motivators for me to do well in school was to live better. Now that I'm the same age as my dad was when I was a teenager, I find I'm happy living at exactly the same standard I was raised. Anyway to answer the OP question-- our rent is 2k per month, and "everything else" is approximately $500/month so my total spend is about 30k per year excluding income taxes and employer-provided health insurance.

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Oh man! if you still happen to have any of that ham left in your freezer this is a killer cold wet weather recipe:

https://www.allrecipes.com/recipe/22...d=cardslot%203

Been wanting to make it again but used up the ham we had already.
That's a bit fancy but I'll have to try that sometime! My usual casserole is mixing it into Aldi Mac & Cheese ($0.34 per box) along with some chips and peas (Russets were $0.69 for the 10lb bag a couple of weeks ago and their frozen peas is $0.69 for 12oz I recall) to dilute the >1000mg sodium. I carved it up yesterday and slow cooked a soup out of the bone and gristle, and even though it's marked "fully cooked" boy did that soup turn out fantastic!
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Old 01-25-2021, 01:20 PM   #84
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Jezz .. my cousin in Illinois pays $10,000 a year for an old 1970s house. What's your state.
OH. Cincinnati area. 2% is the norm.
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Old 01-25-2021, 01:44 PM   #85
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Originally Posted by dunkelblau View Post
In my experience cooking at home using basic ingredients (meaning no beef/certain kinds of fish/organics) is inexpensive if you have flexible tastes. Packaged foods incorporate various degrees of markup, even at the discount chains, plus I haven't found many to be very impressive in their taste.



I guess I grew up a bit on the lower side of middle-class in the midwest, and I'm sure when I was young, one of the primary motivators for me to do well in school was to live better. Now that I'm the same age as my dad was when I was a teenager, I find I'm happy living at exactly the same standard I was raised. Anyway to answer the OP question-- our rent is 2k per month, and "everything else" is approximately $500/month so my total spend is about 30k per year excluding income taxes and employer-provided health insurance.



That's a bit fancy but I'll have to try that sometime! My usual casserole is mixing it into Aldi Mac & Cheese ($0.34 per box) along with some chips and peas (Russets were $0.69 for the 10lb bag a couple of weeks ago and their frozen peas is $0.69 for 12oz I recall) to dilute the >1000mg sodium. I carved it up yesterday and slow cooked a soup out of the bone and gristle, and even though it's marked "fully cooked" boy did that soup turn out fantastic!
We spend 1200 monthly, which includes groceries, dining out and alcohol.
This area is one of our pleasures in retirement. If we didn't have to cook, we rarely would do so.
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Old 01-25-2021, 01:53 PM   #86
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Annual spend is about 18K, but my portfolio throws off more income than that which I like to call my buffer. So when the SHTF I have some flexibility or margin , whatever you want to call it. Believe it or not when I first retired in 2016 my annual spend was 12K for the first few years and then I ramped it up a bit because I could.

Everyone's lifestyle is different and this works for me. It would not work for a great many people and that's alright as they must adjust to their own needs. I know this could never work in an expensive area of the country and that was the price I was willing to pay. For those with more expensive tastes that's ok, but they will pay for that, and they will pay a lot, and that's alright as well.
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Old 01-25-2021, 02:22 PM   #87
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I'd probably be better off commenting on the "How High Can You Go" thread. I don't consider us wasteful spenders and the biggest part of our spending involves college and gifts to kids. Once the last kid is totally off the payroll, we should get down to a more reasonable figure - maybe around $80K. At least that's the hope.
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Old 01-25-2021, 02:39 PM   #88
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But then I'd have to live in Tennessee (no offense to those who do). Currently, the Atlantic Ocean is about 300 feet from my bedroom.
I would say "flyover country" is anywhere 100 miles or so away from the oceans. So it wouldn't have to be Tennessee.

But I'm not really sure if you're "wondering" then, or just expressing a different lifestyle choice. I think it's the latter. I think you understand that you could live for $30K or $40K or whatever in flyover country; you just don't want to. Maybe I'm wrong though.

If the juice is worth the squeeze for you, that's what matters. From a FIRE perspective, higher expenses generally require higher incomes, which are taxed really very progressively these days between federal, state, ACA, IRMAA, and in my case FAFSA EFC. I suppose a person could get there instead via way-above-average investment performance, inheritance, or a long working career, but I think those would be the exception to the rule.

What some people do is geo-arbitrage inside the US - make a high salary in an HCOL area for a decade or two, then FIRE, sell the big house, and move to Kansas or Arizona or rural Texas.

...

A few years ago, the average household income in the US was about $52K. Since not everyone goes bankrupt, there must be a lot of people making it on that amount of money. If one lived like they do, then one could match their expenses.

...

In threads like these, people clearly exclude some portion of their spending for all sorts of reasons. My $28K figure excludes some expenses directly attributable to my kids that I expect to end in the next few years - specifically college expenses and the food and utilities associated with the two of them living at home currently.

People also tend to add up things in different ways. Some track ATM withdrawals, some do eyeball estimates. As probably several others here do, I use Quicken and track pretty much everything except the occasional $10 Starbucks gift card I get for donating platelets.

I think it's much more interesting to talk about specific categories and how one manages to spend $X per month in that category rather than bland, approximate, yearly tallies. So to lower property taxes, move to an area where housing prices are lower, live in an RV, or move to an area where property taxes are lower. To lower groceries, be careful about the store you pick, buy less prepared stuff, buy store brand, don't shop on an empty stomach, meal plan, clip coupons, etc.

And to be clear, it's all good with me (and most here) if people want to live at different levels of expenditure or spend their money on different things, or spend different amounts relative to their FIRE stash, or budget differently, or live within 300 feet of an ocean.
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Old 01-25-2021, 02:53 PM   #89
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I guess I grew up a bit on the lower side of middle-class in the midwest, and I'm sure when I was young, one of the primary motivators for me to do well in school was to live better. Now that I'm the same age as my dad was when I was a teenager, I find I'm happy living at exactly the same standard I was raised. Anyway to answer the OP question-- our rent is 2k per month, and "everything else" is approximately $500/month so my total spend is about 30k per year excluding income taxes and employer-provided health insurance.
I consider myself frugal but am having a hard time believing you only spend $30k per year when $24k is rent and $2400 is food, That only leaves $3600 a year or $300/month for everything else in your life? Especially in San Jose.
I can see someone living on $30k annually pretty easily but not when $24k or 80% of it is rent.
Do you have any of the following: internet, cell phones, gifts, charities, a vehicle, clothes to wear, insurance deductibles, fuel, rental insurance, entertainment, pets, recreational equipment, audio/video equipment, shaving items, toiletries, utility bills, alcohol or other vises, vacations , income taxes etc.
You get the point. I am certainly not criticizing your lifestyle at all just can't get my head around everything else in life only being $300/month.
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Old 01-25-2021, 03:03 PM   #90
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We spend 1200 monthly, which includes groceries, dining out and alcohol.
This area is one of our pleasures in retirement. If we didn't have to cook, we rarely would do so.
That is impressive! I thought we were doing good around $1800 for everything including taxes and health insurance.
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Old 01-25-2021, 03:05 PM   #91
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I'd probably be better off commenting on the "How High Can You Go" thread. I don't consider us wasteful spenders and the biggest part of our spending involves college and gifts to kids. Once the last kid is totally off the payroll, we should get down to a more reasonable figure - maybe around $80K. At least that's the hope.
I'm not sure the kids every totally get off the payroll. Maybe toss a few bucks their way for buying a house, remodeling, marriage, maybe grandkids, etc..
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Old 01-25-2021, 03:07 PM   #92
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That is impressive! I thought we were doing good around $1800 for everything including taxes and health insurance.
No no sorry let me clarify, we spend 1200 monthly just on food which includes groceries, dining out and alcohol. lol
Our total spend in 2020 was 72k, which was lower than normal due to no travel and lesser entertainment.
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Old 01-25-2021, 03:08 PM   #93
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No no sorry let me clarify, we spend 1200 monthly just on food which includes groceries, dining out and alcohol. lol
Our total spend in 2020 was 72k, which was lower than normal due to no travel and lesser entertainment.
LOL ok
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Old 01-25-2021, 03:11 PM   #94
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I consider myself frugal but am having a hard time believing you only spend $30k per year when $24k is rent and $2400 is food, That only leaves $3600 a year or $300/month for everything else in your life? Especially in San Jose.
I can see someone living on $30k annually pretty easily but not when $24k or 80% of it is rent.
Do you have any of the following: internet, cell phones, gifts, charities, a vehicle, clothes to wear, insurance deductibles, fuel, rental insurance, entertainment, pets, recreational equipment, audio/video equipment, shaving items, toiletries, utility bills, alcohol or other vises, vacations , income taxes etc.
You get the point. I am certainly not criticizing your lifestyle at all just can't get my head around everything else in life only being $300/month.
I was thinking the same thing. I live fairly close to San Jose and my wife and I spend $400/month for each car. That includes insurance, registration, gas, maintenance and repairs.
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Old 01-25-2021, 03:37 PM   #95
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I was thinking the same thing. I live fairly close to San Jose and my wife and I spend $400/month for each car. That includes insurance, registration, gas, maintenance and repairs.
Another San Jose resident here. I spend around $33K annually, which includes property tax around $13K and some occasional overseas travels. Health insurance is sponsored by employer, therefore the cost is included but it is not significant. Plan is to spend around $42K annually when retired, with addition solely due to individual healthcare cost.
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Old 01-25-2021, 03:51 PM   #96
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But then I'd have to live in Tennessee (no offense to those who do). Currently, the Atlantic Ocean is about 300 feet from my bedroom.
If you live in a LCOL area and don't really care about being near water (very overrated IMO), then it can be pretty inexpensive to live.

My fixed expenses are about $1500 a month. My GF moved in last year and we're sharing expenses and along with her income we both feel like we're rich
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Old 01-25-2021, 03:59 PM   #97
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DW and I are right at $60k annually. Major expenses included in this are:


$16,000 for health insurance
$7,000 income tax
$2,000 property tax on a $230,000 home


We give a bit away and take a couple modest trips a year.
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Old 01-25-2021, 04:00 PM   #98
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If you live in a LCOL area and don't really care about being near water (very overrated IMO), then it can be pretty inexpensive to live.

We used to live couple of miles from a beach for a couple of years. We had no kids at the time. We barely went to the beach unless we had a visitor or a get together. So yes, I understand it looks overrated to some people like me. May be different people think differently. Now we are a stone throw away from a lake and we don't visit the shores as often as one would think. May be I would find time once I retire!
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Old 01-25-2021, 04:02 PM   #99
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Mine is $1500
We spend $18k a year on food and dining.
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Old 01-25-2021, 04:06 PM   #100
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If you live in a LCOL area and don't really care about being near water (very overrated IMO), then it can be pretty inexpensive to live....
Sure, housing prices (which matters to the extent you're still paying a mortgage or are renting), home insurance and most taxes are likely to be higher near the coast, but the prices of cars, computers, groceries, clothes and other everyday items are within a fairly narrow band just about everywhere.

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We spend $18k a year on food and dining.
Same here. Although, for us, the "food" item in the budget includes anything bought at the grocery or the drug store, such as toothpaste, dish soap, etc. It also includes wine for home.
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