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Old 01-05-2018, 07:34 AM   #41
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We came in at ~$45k That is about average. We are retired, we do not want to cut anything. I have been toying in moving to a smaller home "Sans Pool" is all but not really for budgetary reasons.
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Old 01-05-2018, 07:37 AM   #42
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If I had to I could sell my coastal condo. Eliminate a good bit of fixed cost and put money in the bank. And I could eliminate golf club dues. Those 2 things could easily go away in another 15 years anyway due to age. Hopefully I'm still alive and playing golf another 15 years or so......
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Old 01-05-2018, 09:18 AM   #43
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Reading this list, I sometimes get the impression that there are folks who would recycle toilet paper to save a few bucks if it were feasible.

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Old 01-05-2018, 09:30 AM   #44
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Our expenses last year were around 36K, and very reasonable, in my opinion. If push came to shove (something VERY catastrophic would have to happen since I have a decent pension that is about as secure as it gets and covers our current spending in addition to a decent nest egg that isn't touched and that has grown nicely over the last number of years) then we could bring it down to about 26K. That would be done through the elimination of one car, travel, restaurants and other "assorted" discretionary spending.

However, before I did retire, I made DAMN sure that the basics would be covered, no matter what. Thankfully, we have more than enough to live a very happy, fulfilling FIRE'd life.
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Old 01-05-2018, 09:35 AM   #45
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Toilet paper? A luxury!

During the Great Recession of 2008-2009, we were talking about how life was simpler in the old days. Perhaps it was to prepare ourselves mentally for what was coming.

People talked about growing up with an outhouse, and using corn cob!
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Old 01-05-2018, 09:36 AM   #46
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I don't travel or drink and don't miss them.
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Old 01-05-2018, 09:38 AM   #47
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I am so impressed with OPs low spending amount !


We spent $66k and of that about $13k (20%) could be eliminated if DIRE straights. That includes $4k for the dog (health issues), $3k on boat cosmetic repairs (dumb day on the water !), $4k on travel, $1k on dining out, and $1k in entertainment. I would rather eat ramen noodles every day than give up the dog. The boat thing was one time stupidity (or at least I hope it was one time !!).
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Old 01-05-2018, 09:44 AM   #48
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Well, my food bill of over $10k/year could easily be dropped to 25% of that amount I'd wager. Could go with much cheaper cell phone plan and probably save another $6-700/year. Cut out most of the "fun" money (vacations, golfing, buying miscellaneous "stuff") to save another $12k+/year. Driving less could probably save another $5-600/year. Oh, and shortly after I plan to retire I should pay off the house, which will save me ~$12k/year. Oh, and when I retire I won't be putting money in my 401k or IRA..

So, $12k +$7.5k+$600+$600 so I could cut out about $20,700 spending, plus all my savings, and that would get me down to around $35k/year. That would still leave me about $5k/year for "enjoyment" spending after paying the bills.
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Old 01-05-2018, 10:12 AM   #49
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I think it's really interesting how many of us currently spend around $40k, could trim to a comfortable, if unexciting, $30k-ish, and dip into the $20k range without selling off cars and homes.

I'm not planning to cut my spending to the bone, but it's good to know we have room to cut if things went haywire.
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Old 01-05-2018, 10:25 AM   #50
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I have a $34K floor, but we spend more like $48k. That $14K is travel, furniture, electronics, entertainment, food/alcohol choices (ie cut back on the sushi and $38 craft beer growlers). After $34K we would have to look at more drastic lifestyle change. I could certainly live on much much less, but I wouldn't like it.
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Old 01-05-2018, 10:48 AM   #51
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OP: Are you already ER'd? Your spouse? How about following MMM (mr money mustache) advice and get rid of one of the cars and get a bicycle? If the response is that you're working and are too far away from work, then think about relocating. Doing that, you could also think about a duplex or similar so that the place you live also has a renter for the income.

Otherwise, seems like your spending is already low and you're aware of what additional cuts would do to your lifestyle. i.e. you're at a fairly comfortable middle ground right now.

Since you didn't give healthcare and taxation numbers, I'll assume that you've already done the research and implemented solutions to minimize those costs.
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Old 01-05-2018, 11:23 AM   #52
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After summarizing our 2017 spending I looked at the number with a bit of disappointment. We live in a paid off home in a low cost of living area, with 2 paid off cars and employer healthcare, and we still managed to spend more than $37000 this year.

But what could I cut?

- $3000 on home improvements, $2000 was necessary but could’ve been delayed
- $5000 on “personal purchases”. This is everything from clothes to going out. DW and I each get half of that per year. We could probably cut this in half, but it wouldn’t be fun.
- $2000 on travel. A lowball, all of the airfare and most of the hotels were paid for with points.
- $1000 on booze
- $700 in union dues. $200 on Spotify.
- We’ll move in RE and save $1300 on neighborhood fees.
- We don’t have cable, our hobbies are cheap/free, we eat out maybe 5 times a year.

So we’re looking at $35k a year (plus healthcare & taxes) in retirement. We could trim down to about $30k a year while still covering needs and most wants. Down to $24k if we had to scrape by for a bit for some reason.

What about others? How much wiggle room do you have?
You are listing about $13k in expenses, what are you spending the other $24k on?
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Old 01-05-2018, 11:37 AM   #53
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- $5000 on “personal purchases”. This is everything from clothes to going out. DW and I each get half of that per year. We could probably cut this in half, but it wouldn’t be fun.
The last sentence is the crux of the issue. Cutting is never fun. If cutting were fun, DW and I would be living in a studio apartment eating cat food (not that there's anything wrong with that ).

We just look at our spending categories as "wants" and "needs". The "wants" categories are what we could cut completely - while it would not be "fun", we could accept it. The "needs" category we could not cut out completely, but in most cases we could figure out some way to save.

in my view, cutting means ultimately deciding what "wants" no longer have a priority in your life.
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Old 01-05-2018, 11:53 AM   #54
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The last sentence is the crux of the issue. Cutting is never fun. If cutting were fun, DW and I would be living in a studio apartment eating cat food (not that there's anything wrong with that )...
There's everything wrong with the above. First, you can live in an RV out in the open, and get plenty of exercise with hiking, biking, instead of being cooped up in an inner-city studio apartment.

Secondly, tuna cans are not more expensive than cat food. Of course one's choice may be based on taste, and as I have never been curious to try cat food (it stinks way more than canned tuna), I would not know.
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Old 01-05-2018, 12:03 PM   #55
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...could trim to a comfortable, if unexciting, $30k-ish, and dip into the $20k range without selling off cars and homes...
Our first cut would be getting rid of 3 cars and using transit, feet, bikes, taxis, Uber and rentals.
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Old 01-05-2018, 12:06 PM   #56
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There's everything wrong with the above. First, you can live in an RV out in the open, and get plenty of exercise with hiking, biking, instead of being cooped up in an inner-city studio apartment.

Secondly, tuna cans are not more expensive than cat food. Of course one's choice may be based on taste, and as I have never been curious to try cat food (it stinks way more than canned tuna), I would not know.
I grew up in the inner city and would not have a problem going back and living there if that was my only option. You can still get plenty of exercise, particularly since you'll have to walk everywhere, and run from the muggers .

But I will concede the tuna point. It is just that as a kid we had to eat canned tuna so much, I would be willing to give cat food a try .
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Old 01-05-2018, 12:08 PM   #57
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If defined into "wants" & "needs," my needs = $1767 month inc property tax or $21,200 year. Note I include socializing at Starbucks as a "need" kinda like some need the sports bar on the corner
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Old 01-05-2018, 12:11 PM   #58
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You guys rock

A big thank you to the OP and all the respondents. This kind of thread is gold for a pre-retiree. For me right now, it's a higher priority to get a handle on future outgo than future income.

The biggest question mark I have as I shuffle closer to the big R is what my actual expenses will look like. I have run countless calculators on the revenue side, but since DW and I are still in transition from w*rking-stiffs-raising-five-kids to seniors-with-those-legacy-costs-behind-us, I've been struggling to figure out how much we are most likely to be spending.

I've been prepping disbursement models ranging from wolf-at-the-door (poor mountaineer barely kept his family fed) to lap-of-luxury (swimming pools, movie stars), which translates to between 30% and 180% of my target. That's an awfully wide gulf. I just don't know yet where I'll land.

But anecdotes like these give me confidence that I'll be able to manage regardless of where I end up.
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Old 01-05-2018, 12:32 PM   #59
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I was just telling my wife about this thread and what I would cut if I had too. I also said we could cut cable TV and cell phone and internet. She said NO WAY we cutting cable TV and she told me not to even worry about it we won't be in that shape. LOL So cable will stay but will starve to death but cable stays. LOL
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Old 01-05-2018, 12:39 PM   #60
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There are always things we could cut, airplane, golf, and travel. But with health insurance costing us $18,500, there is no way we could get by in the low 30’s. Well I guess we could, but hopefully we wouldn’t have to find out.

I’m 60 now and the wife is a few years younger. I’m actually starting to think about spending more while we are still healthy. I don’t know how much longer I’ll be able to fly, but like driving the day will come. Also I’m sure traveling will be more trouble than it’s worth. I see some pretty old guys still enjoying golf, but my dad at 80 had to give it up.

I’ve been retired now for 10 years so I quit right before the big recession and everything has been good.
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