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Old 01-29-2021, 05:17 PM   #121
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Been living OK on under $50K/year for while.

House is paid for. It's brick, 2 car garage, 3BR, 3bath, ~2400 sq ft. We're in an unincorporated area (no HOA) but close (1/2 mile) to 2 grocery stores, a restaurant, pizza takeout/delivery (3 of them ;-) and a gas station. Bank branch, post office, county library branch, more food providers, auto parts, 2 home centers, LIDL and ALDI in ~2 miles. Yearly property tax is ~$900 - no school tax for those over 65, something we voted for maybe 40 years ago (the school tax is about triple the County General Property tax). The wife and I do most of the yard work (some of that will be on hold for 3 months or so because of surgery for osteoarthrosis of the carpometacarpal joint of the thumb - hard to do some things with one hand in a sling or cast ;-) One vehicle is paid for, the other is 5 payments away from that goal. We tend to drive the wheels off them - my previous truck was 18 years old when I replaced it; her Camry was 20. Finally replaced the 17 year old riding mower last year. You could consider me a shade tree mechanic but I now have a garage to work in ;-) If you buy new just for the sake of having new, you're spending your future.

Not many jobs out there for those over 75 but my book royalties last year were ~$2000, which covered the utilities. I do my writing on a 16 year old Dell laptop because I like the screen and keyboard - and I can get a replacement laptop on Ebay for $150 delivered and just swap the hard drive (SSD) to be back where I was when the laptop failed. Our cell phones are with Tracfone (about $100-$150 purchase price for a basic smartphone) and our yearly bill is about $120 each. Neither of us "lives" on our phones and I know where the free wifi is so I don't need unlimited data.

We're more likely to make up a pot of soup, stew or chili than to eat out, especially in winter. The current pot is 11 bean soup, seasoned with sliced kielbasa, with fresh baked biscuits on the side. Hungry yet?
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Old 01-29-2021, 05:21 PM   #122
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Originally Posted by FatBob View Post
Heck....even in my current (non retired) life, my wife and I live very comfortably on $60K.

HOUSEHOLD ANNUALLY
RENT $21,900
INSURANCE (RENT/HOMEOWNER) $384
HOME SUPPLIES $1,200
INTERNET $540
MOBILE PHONE $900
UTILITIES $1,680
TOTAL HOUSEHOLD $26,604

FOOD ANNUALLY
GROCERIES $6,000
EATING OUT $3,600
COFFEE SHOP $540
ALCOHOL $540
TOTAL FOOD $10,680

TRANSPORTATION ANNUALLY
CAR INSURANCE $1,560
GAS $2,040
MAINTENANCE $600
MISC (PARK/TOLL/TAX) $300
PUBLIC TRANSIT $60
TOTAL TRANSPORTATION $4,560

PERSONAL CARE ANNUALLY
HEALTH (INS/DOC/PHARM/EYE) $3,600
LIFE INSURANCE $396
HAIRCUT / SALON $300
SHOPPING (CLOTHING/TOILETRIES) $2,640
GIFTS $960
TOTAL PERSONAL CARE $7,896

ENTERTAINMENT & TRAVEL ANNUALLY
AIRFARE $6,000
HOTEL / AIRBNB $1,500
RENTAL CAR $600
ENTERTAINMENT $516
TOTAL ENT & TRAVEL $8,616

SERVICES ANNUALLY
FINANCIAL $720.0

In retirement, we plan to move to our beach house in Portugal (paid off already) and our expenses will drop to about $35K annually.
I have noticed to some extent with budgets in this area of spending and lower, there tends to be lower areas of spending with the Entertainment category.
Not that my entertainment budget of 6k would kill a budget.
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Old 01-29-2021, 05:21 PM   #123
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$15,000 wouldn't be possible here, but $33,000 is. We live in Arkansas. Property taxes for our home and the rental we own are $1100. Yr. Pretty low cost of living here. Nice weather....
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Old 01-29-2021, 05:22 PM   #124
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We have almost $60K in fixed income coming in and support 3 vehicles and two homes (Florida ocean condo and home in SW Michigan) with it. Trick is having everything paid for.
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Old 01-29-2021, 05:31 PM   #125
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I have noticed to some extent with budgets in this area of spending and lower, there tends to be lower areas of spending with the Entertainment category.
Not that my entertainment budget of 6k would kill a budget.
I'm jamming at a friend's place tonight...one of my favourite hobbies. Cost is $3000 for gear bought years ago that will last for my lifetime, and $2 for gas. If I amortized my equipment over the number of hours played it comes to well under $1 an hour.
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Old 01-29-2021, 05:40 PM   #126
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You kids get off my lawn

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Originally Posted by anothercog View Post
For those couples living on less than $60k/year, how do you do it? What does your budget look like?

We spend about $55k a year, hardly drive anywhere and don't eat out that much. We usually go to Las Vegas once a year. North of Seattle, not that expensive here, mid-60's split level goes for $380K or so, a lot more closer to Seattle though, despite it being a hell-hole.



It helps that I have retiree medical, and no debt (house and cars paid off, will pay cash for next car.)
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Old 01-29-2021, 05:52 PM   #127
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I'm somewhat amazed on what people say they live on. I saw one guy said his annual budget is $15k!? How is that even possible in America.

Even after I pay off my mortgage, my property taxes, HOA, insurance and light maintenance will still run $20k/year. I'm sure my expenses will drop considerably once my kids are grown and hopefully financially independent but I can't see how DW and I can get any lower than 80k/year including health care costs and that is with cutting travel to the bone.

I'm not interested in a retirement where we have to live with roommates and live off ramen. I already did that in college.

For those couples living on less than $60k/year, how do you do it? What does your budget look like?
Our total gross wages in 2020 were somewhere around $74K
We put $42,250 into 401(k), Roth IRA, T-IRA, HSA accounts.
Paid out around $14K in payroll deductions (Fed/state taxes, FICA, Insurance, etc.) Our tax refund was about $2K
So that leaves us about $20K for the year. We did get the COVID stimulus check last year but we used it to put up a carport. We also put $12K into the house (new roof and replaced sewer pipes)
So we lived off about $8K last year. But we didn't go on any trips due to COVID-19.
Maybe we'll get to spend some $$ this year.
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Old 01-29-2021, 06:04 PM   #128
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Originally Posted by ArmchairMillionaire23 View Post
Our total gross wages in 2020 were somewhere around $74K
We put $42,250 into 401(k), Roth IRA, T-IRA, HSA accounts.
Paid out around $14K in payroll deductions (Fed/state taxes, FICA, Insurance, etc.) Our tax refund was about $2K
So that leaves us about $20K for the year. We did get the COVID stimulus check last year but we used it to put up a carport. We also put $12K into the house (new roof and replaced sewer pipes)
So we lived off about $8K last year. But we didn't go on any trips due to COVID-19.
Maybe we'll get to spend some $$ this year.
Wow 8k for two. That is very impressive. How about health insurance? Paid for home? We are at 22k for everything including taxes and insurance.
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Old 01-29-2021, 06:07 PM   #129
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Many others have contributed this, but when my FIL/MIL moved from southern NH to NC, their property tax on a similar home dropped from > $5000/yr to $800/yr.

Right now, with two houses but otherwise modest lifestyle, we are about $60K/yr. I personally hope to raise that after I get off of ACA health insurance. :-)
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Old 01-29-2021, 06:11 PM   #130
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Wow 8k for two. That is very impressive. How about health insurance? Paid for home? We are at 22k for everything including taxes and insurance.
We have no debt. We're still working so the health insurance was part of the payroll deductions. We're lucky that our employers cover most of the costs of our insurance. That will change once we retire. (hopefully in 2025!)

2020 was a very low year for us, spending-wise as we basically didn't do much at all for fun. We have a collection of vintage board games that keeps us occupied in the evenings.
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Old 01-29-2021, 06:15 PM   #131
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I have a "baseline budget" for fixed expenses (insurance, utilities, Medicare, basic food, basic phone/internet, etc.) of ~$1,050/month. It helps that I have no debts at all, property tax/utilities are reasonable, and I like to cook from scratch.
Then a "variable budget" would include additional expenses like more food (steaks, bakery items, etc.). And a "discretionary budget" would be all those things that are nice but not necessary for living (eating out, entertainment, new clothes, new phone, cable TV, etc.).
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Old 01-29-2021, 06:16 PM   #132
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We have no debt. We're still working so the health insurance was part of the payroll deductions. We're lucky that our employers cover most of the costs of our insurance. That will change once we retire. (hopefully in 2025!)

2020 was a very low year for us, spending-wise as we basically didn't do much at all for fun. We have a collection of vintage board games that keeps us occupied in the evenings.
Ok I had to read that again so if you include taxes and insurance you are at the 34k. But that 20k in spending(roof, sewer, spending) is still impressive. Our spending taking out taxes and insurance is about 18k
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Old 01-29-2021, 06:22 PM   #133
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I have just divorced and am in the process of buying a condo. My income will be 31k. The 2 of us lived on between 45-60k. That didn’t include all our travel. We had separate savings for that. I will still travel and probably use savings for large ticket items. I am guessing that groceries for one will be around 200. Together we spent between 400-500/month but he ate much more than me.
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Old 01-29-2021, 06:44 PM   #134
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Originally Posted by ArmchairMillionaire23 View Post
Our total gross wages in 2020 were somewhere around $74K
We put $42,250 into 401(k), Roth IRA, T-IRA, HSA accounts.
Paid out around $14K in payroll deductions (Fed/state taxes, FICA, Insurance, etc.) Our tax refund was about $2K
So that leaves us about $20K for the year. We did get the COVID stimulus check last year but we used it to put up a carport. We also put $12K into the house (new roof and replaced sewer pipes)
So we lived off about $8K last year. But we didn't go on any trips due to COVID-19.
Maybe we'll get to spend some $$ this year.

Your example is what I mentioned earlier, people excluding insurance because it comes out of their pay automatically. But, it's still an expense, regardless. And so are home repairs. So is the carport. If you add sinking funds for future home repairs and future car replacements, the figures go up higher, as I mentioned earlier. People can play around with their numbers so much that these threads are almost comical at times.
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Old 01-29-2021, 09:22 PM   #135
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When I was going thru chemo & radiation treatments I spent remarkably few $, don't recommend it. I don't care if I spend a little or a lot (if I can afford it) as long as I get value for $. Got a lot loser with $ after treatments. Hey DW-do you really want that car? OK by me.
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Old 01-29-2021, 10:29 PM   #136
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We live really well in SoCal in a 3,200 SF Home, 3 cars, 1 boat, no debt on 45K per year including health insurance, no vacation but add 20K for vacation.
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Old 01-29-2021, 10:38 PM   #137
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I think that many people who live on lower spending amounts choose not to spend money on the things I spend money on. Or maybe they just do it occasionally. So I have an iPhone and that is more expensive than buying an Android phone and keeping it for years (or buying an iPhone and keeping it for several years). I have an Apple Watch, I go to the hairdresser every month (well, I did pre-Covid), I subscribe to Carrot Weather, etc. None of these things are "necessary" and I could gut expenses a lot of I got rid of stuff like that. But those are things I enjoy....


I could live on under $60k perhaps if my home was paid for. We do have a small mortgage. Last year had some atypical expenses. We had some expenses for an adult child (was looking for a job when Covid hit so we supported him for several months until he was able to move and get a new job). We also did a huge remodeling project. One thing I noticed about people who don't spend a lot is that there are entire categories of spending that I have that they never seem to mention. Examples:

HH Goods -- We spent about $1000 on those. Those are things like small appliances (food processor was one last year), kitchen tools, dishes, sheets, towels, etc. Just the durable household goods. No, we don't often buy new dishes. Last year we bought a few new bowls for the first time in years. And, we don't need new sheets every year. But, every year this category ends up being around $1200.

Office/Tech goods -- Printer ink, paper, new computer mouse, headphones, mousepad, pens, etc. Tech goods includes any computer repairs or upgrades but not a new computer. Collectively these categories average about $1600 or so a year.

Software/Phone Apps - Not a hot. But a little bit every year.

Ongoing online computer services or memberships -- YNAB, Ms Office, my domain name, Amazon Prime, Evernote, Todoist, Costco, etc. Some of these I could get rid of but I use them all

Hair Care - As a female who doesn't like grey hair I've typically sent a lot on hair care. Between root color, highlighting and keratin treatments that is over $2k a year. This past year it was way less as I didn't go to the hairdresser. I did start doing my roots myself and will probably continue that. Of course, this is not a necessity but I enjoy it.

Content -- This is books, YouTubeTV, Netflix, HBOmax, couple of newspapers and magazines (digital only). I could get rid of these of course but this is easily several hundred dollars a year not even counting YouTubeTV.

Hobbies -- Main one is Genealogy. Memberships to Ancestry and MyHeritage as well as some specific services that help with my hobby of helping others use DNA to find unknown parents.

Pets -- We have 3 cats and a dog. Last year they weren't very expensive relatively speaking although still probably around $2k once you include food, litter and routine vet care. However, once of our cats is going to see a cardiology specialist and just the evaluation is over $1k.

As far as housing, the mortgage is not that much but we paid about $6500 in property taxes plus home insurance typically runs over $3k.

I can fairly easily get expenses to the mid-$70s without too much difficulty but getting below that is difficult without getting rid of stuff that I enjoy.
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Old 01-29-2021, 11:07 PM   #138
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Interesting, I find it easy to live on around $20K in the bay area (including $5k in property tax and $1k income tax). No debt, no kids, no spouse and no expensive habits. My healthcare costs are almost zero thanks to the ACA. I bought my home in 2011 near the bottom of the market, so Prop 13 keeps my property tax reasonable. Another factor is that I enjoy doing most of the maintenance on my vehicles and home.
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Old 01-29-2021, 11:49 PM   #139
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I used to live in the USA (Brit with greencard) but now my Mongolian wife and I live in Nha Trang, Vietnam.

We live on about $800-1000 per month, so let’s say $12k per year. We just rent, pay no taxes, hold no debt. I only ride 2 wheelers which were paid for in cash. We don’t have health insurance in Vietnam but are covered in our home countries. Our current rental is a very nice big studio in a beachside hotel but we could cut that down substantially by living in an apartment. However, the hotel is our one extravagance because we like the amenities pool and gym). We mainly cook at home but occasionally eat out but that’s cheap too. There’s no opportunity for international travel at the moment so that’s saving us a lot.

We plan to move to Turkey when the pandemic has eased off. We’ll rent for up to a year (about $150 pm) and possibly buy our own place for $50k. Monthly Expenses should be less in Turkey than Vietnam so we can use some discretionary buying for things like more e-bikes and trips. $12k per year is 4% of my cash assets but we do some online work too, mostly she does.
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Old 01-30-2021, 12:57 AM   #140
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I think that many people who live on lower spending amounts choose not to spend money on the things I spend money on. Or maybe they just do it occasionally. So I have an iPhone and that is more expensive than buying an Android phone and keeping it for years (or buying an iPhone and keeping it for several years). I have an Apple Watch, I go to the hairdresser every month (well, I did pre-Covid), I subscribe to Carrot Weather, etc. None of these things are "necessary" and I could gut expenses a lot of I got rid of stuff like that. But those are things I enjoy....
We buy inexpensive things and keep them for a while. Example my Android phone was $250 new, will keep for 3+ years. She just paid $600 for a basic iPhone a few months ago to replace the hand-me-down she got from her daughter.

Quote:
Examples:

HH Goods -- We spent about $1000 on those. Those are things like small appliances (food processor was one last year), kitchen tools, dishes, sheets, towels, etc. Just the durable household goods. No, we don't often buy new dishes. Last year we bought a few new bowls for the first time in years. And, we don't need new sheets every year. But, every year this category ends up being around $1200.
We're probably at $200 or so a year counting major appliances, the last appliance was an Instantpot 3 years ago. Fridge, stove, and dishwasher are 20+ years old, paid $2000 all in for them. Washer bought used for $200 20 years ago dryer $350 20 years ago. Obviously we'll have to replace them all soon.

Quote:
Office/Tech goods -- Printer ink, paper, new computer mouse, headphones, mousepad, pens, etc. Tech goods includes any computer repairs or upgrades but not a new computer. Collectively these categories average about $1600 or so a year.
$100 or so...I have a $400 desktop PC that's 6 years old, bought a laptop on sale for $250 2 years ago. No plans to replace anything soon. Printer $75, ink about $20 a year.

Quote:
Software/Phone Apps - Not a hot. But a little bit every year.
Maybe $40 for antivirus

Quote:
Ongoing online computer services or memberships -- YNAB, Ms Office, my domain name, Amazon Prime, Evernote, Todoist, Costco, etc. Some of these I could get rid of but I use them all
I use Open Office (free), cashback on Costco Mastercard nets me $600 a year after paying for the membership. We have Amazon Prime so a $500 profit for us.

Quote:
Hair Care - As a female who doesn't like grey hair I've typically sent a lot on hair care. Between root color, highlighting and keratin treatments that is over $2k a year. This past year it was way less as I didn't go to the hairdresser. I did start doing my roots myself and will probably continue that. Of course, this is not a necessity but I enjoy it.
Me (male) $120 a year on hair, she spends $300 a year

Quote:
Content -- This is books, YouTubeTV, Netflix, HBOmax, couple of newspapers and magazines (digital only). I could get rid of these of course but this is easily several hundred dollars a year not even counting YouTubeTV.
Netflix $120 a year? I'm not sure exactly

Quote:
Hobbies -- Main one is Genealogy. Memberships to Ancestry and MyHeritage as well as some specific services that help with my hobby of helping others use DNA to find unknown parents.
My music hobby nets me a small amount of money a year...maybe $2000, although very little during Covid. She bowls and plays slowpitch, $500 a year. Net gain $1500 in a normal year, $0 right now as neither one of us are making or spending.

Quote:
Pets -- We have 3 cats and a dog. Last year they weren't very expensive relatively speaking although still probably around $2k once you include food, litter and routine vet care. However, once of our cats is going to see a cardiology specialist and just the evaluation is over $1k.
She spends about $1000 a year on her 2 cats, one of them needs special food that's $$$.

Quote:
As far as housing, the mortgage is not that much but we paid about $6500 in property taxes plus home insurance typically runs over $3k.
Taxes $2700, insurance $900

We're probably at the low end of spending for most people here.
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