Author Topic: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's  (Read 9341 times)

NYCMiniBee133

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I could really use some help from fellow Mustachians. I canít for the life of me make my spending numbers look like MM's. If you are open to providing advice, here are the details:


I commenced a bottoms-up analysis after selecting a lower cost of living city for us to move to. I chose Bellingham, WA (no state income tax) in case my spouse wants to continue working even though I donít.  I went through every line and looked up the local cost quotes for each item. Here is what I come up with.

*Assumes purchasing a house and two used cars
Bellingham, WA:


First line is Monthly
Second line is Annual

Property tax
333
4,000
House insurance (if applicable)
58
700
Utilities (water, sewer, electric, gas)
301
3,612
Internet
50
599
Food
780
9,360
Car
0
0
Car Insurance
200
2,400
Gas
110
1,320
Transportation
70
840
Clothing
280
3,360
Health Insurance Premiums
605
7,260
Addtl Health Costs (Deductibles)
333
4,000
Other Entertainment
400
4,800
Miscellaneous/CatchAll
417
5,000

Base Total
5,908
47,251



Car Maintenance
83
1,000
Home Maintenance
210
2,520
Non-Handy Person Luxuries Total
293
3,520



Vacation
417
5,000
Eating Out
460
5,520
Optional: Child Enrichment Programming (Summer camps, music lessons, etc.)
800
9,600
Optional Luxuries Total
1,677
20,120


Grand Total
7,878 per month
70,891 per year



My base budget ends up 74% higher than MM. My budget inclusive of the compromises on child-raising with my spouse and the fact that we both suck at car and home physical stuff (weíre just not good at it, Iíd rather earn money elsewhere to cover this) leaves me with a budget that is well more than double MM's.

Here are my questions:
Base Budget
∑         Focusing on the base budget, most of this stuff is essential. I canít argue with my spouseís concern that as a family of four weíll have doctor visits and such and the occasional problem that will require us to put money towards our deductible. We canít just budget bare bones on health care costs and get surprised later. Any thoughts on this? Did you guys set aside extra 'savings' in your 'stash for medical expenses?

∑         Is there anywhere else besides the miscellaneous category where we may not be thinking of things properly? We put the miscellaneous in there as a security blanket for things we havenít thought about. Iím still young and Iíve never run a budget for a family before. Iím pretty sure there are things I wonít think of happening and we donít want to be caught short-handed on cash.

Luxuries
∑         Child enrichment stuff seems so EXPENSIVE. I have no other comparison to how other children have grown up. Have your kids faced any of this so far and what have you done when your kid wanted to join the soccer team or pick up an instrument or go to summer camp for his first sleepaway experience?

∑       MM advocates driving and doing lower cost vacation activities Ė I completely get that. Iím not sure how to get around the cost of visiting family, though. Our family is all across the US and the cost to visit one or twice per year for four family members is easily 1.5-2k each time round trip.

Iíd like to apply a 3.5% rule. That means based on the above and an assumed fed tax rate, Iíd need $2.5 million plus the cost of the house. And if there were anything else I hadnít thought to figure in, Iíd be completely screwed.

Any thoughts for a fellow Mustachian whoís feeling helpless? Or gentle nudges about things I've let slip into my budget that don't need to be there? At this rate Iíll need to slave away in my job for many more years to come.
« Last Edit: June 04, 2016, 02:00:59 AM by NYCMiniBee133 »

GuitarStv

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Re: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's
« Reply #1 on: February 07, 2014, 09:24:53 AM »
Take your eating out expenses to 0 by not eating out.

Stop buying so much clothing.  Stop buying new clothing altogether.

If your family has chosen to live thousands of miles apart, it's unreasonable to regularly get visits from other family members.  So maybe cut it down to 1 vacation trip a year.

I see HUGE budgets for 'Other Entertainment' and 'Misc.'.  You need to list out what that entails.

Why send your child to camp?  Do you or your spouse play a musical instrument or do you know someone who could teach your kid a bit?  Maybe try doing things with your kid rather than paying others to 'enrich' their lives.  Working on a project to build something together can be inexpensive and involves huge amounts of learning for both you and your kid.  Many museums are cheap/free.  Every year there are inexpensive outdoor music festivals in most large cities.


Looks like you could knock about 20k off your sticker price without even trying.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2014, 09:27:29 AM by GuitarStv »

Rural

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Re: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's
« Reply #2 on: February 07, 2014, 09:34:44 AM »
I see a monthly food budget of $780 separate from the eating out. I assume you're feeding a family of more than ten people for that cost. If not, it's batshit crazy.

brand new stash

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Re: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's
« Reply #3 on: February 07, 2014, 09:36:12 AM »
I have three young kids who play a sport each season, and participate in clubs to a very unmustachian level, and our child activities run between $200 and $300 a month for all three of them. 

The clothing budget you listed is much much higher than my family.

Also, your car insurance is high. 

Also, you don't account for college savings here.  My strong guess is that if your husband doesn't want to let your kids go without camp, he probably is thinking of paying for at least some college too.

MissStache

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Re: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's
« Reply #4 on: February 07, 2014, 09:36:21 AM »
My responses in bold:


Food
780
CRAZY TALK.  There is NO WAY you need to spend this much per month, unless you have a ton of children.  I don't know how many you have, but I don't think it is enough to justify this.

Car Insurance
200
Way too much per month.  Lower your deductibles, get quotes from other places.  I pay $40/month and I have very generous full coverage

Transportation
70
What does this cover?

Clothing
280
I know clothes are tricky when you have kids, but this can definitely be lower

Other Entertainment
400
This is a lot of money, but it is also vague.  What are you budeting for here?

Eating Out
460
FACEPUNCH.  This is more than our entire grocery, eating out, and entertainment budget combined, and we live in DC

Optional: Child Enrichment Programming (Summer camps, music lessons, etc.)
800
I get that hubby has strong feelings about this, but there must be a way to do this cheaper.  I don't have kids myself, so I don't have anything to base this on, but this number is astronomical.  What could they possibly be doing that would cost this much?

 the fact that we both suck at car and home physical stuff (weíre just not good at it, Iíd rather earn money elsewhere to cover this)
Get better.  Anyone can learn to fix things around the house.  I'm not saying you need to become electricians or plumbers, but you can learn to do practically anything with Youtube and books.  Have this be one of your RE goals.

Luxuries
∑         Child enrichment stuff seems so EXPENSIVE. I have no other comparison to how other children have grown up. Have your kids faced any of this so far and what have you done when your kid wanted to join the soccer team or pick up an instrument or go to summer camp for his first sleepaway experience?
I don't know how old your kids are, but are they old enough to earn their own money?  My mom let me work in her office in the summer and I earned a little bit, which I used to pay for things I wanted to do.  And my parents were perfectly capable of paying for me to do just about anything I wanted, but it was important to them that I understood the value of work.  And let them work with the budget you set.  "Honey, I know you want to do Soccer and Space Camp and take Tap Dancing lessions, but we only have XXX amount for your summer activites.  Which one do you choose?


You can EASILY get your budget to be much lower, but you have to be willing to make some changes and look at your spending with a critical eye.  Your husband is right.  With your current budget, you can't retire on $1.4MIL, but your current budget is nuts.

Mlkmn

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Re: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's
« Reply #5 on: February 07, 2014, 10:23:07 AM »
You are budgeting around $30,000 a year for everything from child enrichment, eating out, to vacationing, to "optional luxuries." I mean, you could literally eat out for $75 a day and still not spend all of the money you have budgeted for "extras". Do you really think you need to spend that much money every year to entertain yourselves? Is there a "going outside" tax in Washington state? Do you have to buy half the library to use it?

Also, I was highly active in sports and hobbies in a public school in a town of 70,000 people in just about middle of nowhere Indiana and it offered great teachers and plenty of AP classes. My parents certainly did not spend $800 a month for my enrichment. Maybe a couple hundred dollars a year for equipment and fees. Parents, friends, the outdoors, books, and the internet provide plenty of enrichment and learning opportunities.

Clothing: once you have a wardrobe you do not need to buy more clothes.  Wear them until they are well worn and then keep wearing them, use them as rags in the garage, or hand them off. I can't remember the last time I actually paid money for a shirt, companies practically give them out at every event you can think of. Paying over $20 for a brand new pair of jeans is crazy. If you won't buy used, go to an outlet mall. The companies actually make brand new clothing specifically for those stores and sell them for less.

Also, are you staying with family when you visit them or in a hotel? Are you flying during peak times? Are you using points from credit card rewards for your tickets? Impose yourself on your family if you aren't already. If they only see you 1-2 times a year they should be fine with you staying at their house.

I think you can bring your budget down $30,000 a year without even breaking a sweat. The rest is just smart spending on food, car insurance, utility use, etc. Good luck!

the fixer

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Re: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2014, 10:39:20 AM »
Gas
110
1,320

[...]

Car Maintenance
83
1,000
How much are you planning on driving per year? Based on your gas cost per month, it sounds like you're planning on driving 1100 miles per month ($110/month divided by $3.50 per gallon times 35 miles per gallon). That's a lot, especially for people who are planning on RETIRING, so you won't even have the excuse of commuting to work. Live close to your kids' schools, have them take the bus, get bikes, etc.

Your annual driving mileage should not exceed 10k miles, and I think MMM drives only about 7k including one or two cross-country road trips per year. Get this number down.

thepokercab

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Re: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2014, 10:53:52 AM »
Just for some perspective- My wife and I have two kids, and your eating out, vacation, child enrichment and entertainment/miscellaneous line items are almost as much as our entire yearly budget.  You're going to get some good advice here, but my god you definitely have room to cut. 

Indio

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Re: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's
« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2014, 11:05:49 AM »
When it comes to enrichment, I purchased a family membership at a local museum. The access to that museum also gets me free admission to 6 other museums. Every month we are guaranteed to have at least 3 Museum related activities, not to mention the exhibits/openings for an annual cost of $50. I really feel as if I get my money's worth from that membership. The local library also frequently has free activities. We routinely go to after school chess workshop, science and music programs. Enrichment can be accessible for close to free as long as you put the creativity into finding it.

foobar

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Re: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's
« Reply #9 on: February 07, 2014, 12:30:47 PM »
You are not MMM. You shouldn't try to have his budget. What you should do is see where you can trim yours without effecting your values. If you compare budgets most of the difference is  those values.

Lets go through your 50k buget and see how to get it down to 25k like MMM
Pay 1500 less in property tax = 48.5
spend 2500 less on food         - 46
spend 7500 less on health care = 38.5k
spend ~2500 less on transportation = 36k
Spend 2500 less on food = 33.5k
Spend 2500 less on clothes = 31.5k
Spend 3k less on misc = 28.5k
Spend about 3k less on entertainment = 25.5k
Now you probably should add a a 1k-2k for the"luxeries" in MMM budget but you get the point. You are choosing to live a lot more expensive life. Now some of that could be regional (food costs vary +-20% depending where you live, along with property taxes, and so on).

And of course you don't spend 20k on eating out, enriching your kid, or taking vactions.

For something to think about, I am guessing you would be better in a state with an income tax and no sales tax when you retire. Not many states have 9%+ income tax rates  on incomes <70k.

Slowly go through your budget and start trimming stuff that doesn't matter. Cut 100 bucks off the grocery, 50 off the clothes and so on. Then in 12 months revisit it.



I could really use some help from fellow Mustachians. I canít for the life of me make my spending numbers look like MM's. If you are open to providing advice, here are the details:


We think there's a pretty good chance we'll get to $1.4 million in the near future:

∑         My spouse is very worried this is not enough money. He is a not a flashy guy, but his one request is that we provide our children the Ďquality of learning experiences and opportunitiesí that we were given in our upper-middle class families growing up. This means giving them access to a school with 15-20 AP courses and strong teachers, a chance to pursue hobbies that may require paid lessons, and summer camp. I realize certain Mustachians would argue a child does not need this to have a meaningful life. Consider this the compromise we will have to make to make Mustachianism work for us.

I commenced a bottoms-up analysis after selecting a lower cost of living city for us to move to. I chose Bellingham, WA (no state income tax) in case my spouse wants to continue working even though I donít.  I went through every line and looked up the local cost quotes for each item. Here is what I come up with.

*Assumes purchasing a house and two used cars
Bellingham, WA:


First line is Monthly
Second line is Annual

Property tax
333
4,000
House insurance (if applicable)
58
700
Utilities (water, sewer, electric, gas)
301
3,612
Internet
50
599
Food
780
9,360
Car
0
0
Car Insurance
200
2,400
Gas
110
1,320
Transportation
70
840
Clothing
280
3,360
Health Insurance Premiums
605
7,260
Addtl Health Costs (Deductibles)
333
4,000
Other Entertainment
400
4,800
Miscellaneous/CatchAll
417
5,000

Base Total
5,908
47,251



Car Maintenance
83
1,000
Home Maintenance
210
2,520
Non-Handy Person Luxuries Total
293
3,520



Vacation
417
5,000
Eating Out
460
5,520
Optional: Child Enrichment Programming (Summer camps, music lessons, etc.)
800
9,600
Optional Luxuries Total
1,677
20,120


Grand Total
7,878 per month
70,891 per year



My base budget ends up 74% higher than MM. My budget inclusive of the compromises on child-raising with my spouse and the fact that we both suck at car and home physical stuff (weíre just not good at it, Iíd rather earn money elsewhere to cover this) leaves me with a budget that is well more than double MM's.

Here are my questions:
Base Budget
∑         Focusing on the base budget, most of this stuff is essential. I canít argue with my spouseís concern that as a family of four weíll have doctor visits and such and the occasional problem that will require us to put money towards our deductible. We canít just budget bare bones on health care costs and get surprised later. Any thoughts on this? Did you guys set aside extra 'savings' in your 'stash for medical expenses?

∑         Is there anywhere else besides the miscellaneous category where we may not be thinking of things properly? We put the miscellaneous in there as a security blanket for things we havenít thought about. Iím still young and Iíve never run a budget for a family before. Iím pretty sure there are things I wonít think of happening and we donít want to be caught short-handed on cash.

Luxuries
∑         Child enrichment stuff seems so EXPENSIVE. I have no other comparison to how other children have grown up. Have your kids faced any of this so far and what have you done when your kid wanted to join the soccer team or pick up an instrument or go to summer camp for his first sleepaway experience?

∑       MM advocates driving and doing lower cost vacation activities Ė I completely get that. Iím not sure how to get around the cost of visiting family, though. Our family is all across the US and the cost to visit one or twice per year for four family members is easily 1.5-2k each time round trip.

Iíd like to apply a 3.5% rule. That means based on the above and an assumed fed tax rate, Iíd need $2.5 million plus the cost of the house. And if there were anything else I hadnít thought to figure in, Iíd be completely screwed.

Any thoughts for a fellow Mustachian whoís feeling helpless? Or gentle nudges about things I've let slip into my budget that don't need to be there? At this rate Iíll need to slave away in my job for many more years to come.

Argyle

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Re: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's
« Reply #10 on: February 07, 2014, 02:23:46 PM »
If you're aiming for FIRE, why pick a state for the income tax rate?  Your income will be nice and low anyway.  Why not pick a state where the cost of living is lower?  Bellingham is a fairly expensive area of the country. Housing will be pricy, and food also pricier than in some other regions.  Why not pick a lower-cost area of the country within easier distance of the relatives you'd most like to visit?  That would save money on two different fronts. 

Fine to send your kids to summer camp if that seems a worthwhile expense to you, but pay attention to how they react.  Some kids adore the camp; some can take it or leave it; some loathe it.  If it's the first, you can think about sending them back the second year.  If it's either of the other two, maybe the money would be better saved for FIRE or for their college educations.

the fixer

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Re: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's
« Reply #11 on: February 07, 2014, 02:44:18 PM »
Washington's tax rate isn't too bad for an early retiree, it hinges on how much property you own and how much taxable stuff you buy. Buy a small house and trim that budget, and you should be fine.

Remember, food is not subject to sales tax, and that should be one of your largest budget items if you're truly being frugal. Washington also does not have an Internet sales tax, though you will owe sales taxes for stuff purchased on Amazon because they're based here. For long-term planning, of course, I'd assume this situation will change in the next few years once Congress finally gets on the ball.

The only other state who's taxes I'm quite familiar with is Maryland. There, you'd have a 6% sales tax PLUS a 5.75% income tax on your federal AGI (that includes capital gains/qualified dividends but not Roth distributions) PLUS local income taxes of 1-3% PLUS property taxes. Granted Maryland's not a very tax-friendly state but you could definitely do worse than Washington.

Villanelle

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Re: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2014, 02:52:19 PM »
If you are going to be retired, you can drive once a year to see family, while the kids are out of school.  Even with gas and 2 or *maybe* 3 nights in a motel, you aren't going to spend $2000. 

And if you choose to move across the country from family, maybe you don't see them every year.  Every other year plus free Skype calls is not unreasonable. 

What is "transportation" if you have car, car insurance, car maintenance, and gas is line items? 

As others have said, your food and eating out amounts are out of control. 

And $800 month for kid's activities is just insane.  Find some day camps, instead of overnight.  You are paying for a home with sleeping space for your kids.  No need to pay for a second one for a couple weeks a year.  Find free or nearly free activities. 

Heck, it would be a great lesson for them, depending on their ages, to give *them* a monthly lessons and enrichment budget and help them decide how to spend it. If one kid must have expensive horseback riding lessons, then she sees that in order to do so, she has to give up karate, but she can still do free board game night at the library and the $100 annual membership to the zoo.  And a week at the science camp of her dreams.  The other kid may pick dance, but decide to opt for the cheaper, less flashy studio when she sees that will allow her to also have piano lessons and Girl Scouts, along with a week at day camp.  Or maybe she really wants 2 weeks at sleepover camp, so she gives up piano entirely and pays a nominal fee to join an art class put on by the local rec program.  What a wonderful budgeting lesson that would be for them!  And the number need not be anywhere near $800/mo.  Cut that in half.  At least.  And then let them take the reins, assisting with research when they want to price karate or ballet classes. 

Lans Holman

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Re: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's
« Reply #13 on: February 07, 2014, 03:09:35 PM »
Hey, that's where I live.  Not sure if you were just using it as a placeholder example or if it's somewhere you're really thinking of.  I love it here, but I wouldn't choose it just to avoid income tax. 

While echoing everything people have said above about some of the line items on the budget, especially child enrichment, transportation, car insurance, and clothing, I think the two bigger issues are:
1)  What makes this a low-COL area (relative to NYC, anyway) is not just the home prices or the taxes, it's the mindset.  People aren't as interested in new clothes, big vacations, expensive summer camps, etc.  We do a lot of hiking and have lots of potlucks.  Take advantage of the change in scenery to change your mentality.
2) Your budget shows no evidence that I can see of the fact that you're going to be retired.  That's a huge advantage.  Learn some home maintenance skills.  Plan some cool enrichment activities or cheap trips for the family.  Find all the cool places to show your relatives when they come to visit you.

If all else fails, give me a budget of $150/mo. and I'll do your home maintenance. 

Other relevant questions: what kind of work does your husband do, and how old are your kids?

KulshanGirl

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Re: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's
« Reply #14 on: February 07, 2014, 03:41:48 PM »
That's where I live too.  Your eating out, misc entertainment and child enrichment budgets are more non mustachian Seattleite than Bellinghamish.  There are a lot of inexpensive enrichment sorts of things to do here.  Those are what your kids friends will be doing.

Edit to add:  Hi Lans!  Nice to see another Hamster here.
« Last Edit: February 07, 2014, 03:46:54 PM by KulshanGirl »

foobar

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Re: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's
« Reply #15 on: February 07, 2014, 03:59:01 PM »
MD is a cheap state. Look at CA where you get to pay 9% income taxes and 9% sales taxes. Best of both worlds;)

You can't just look at one tax. You need to look at all 3 (property, income, and sales) to figure stuff out. And doing that is super hard. How do you compare  texas (No state income tax but a sales tax of around 8% AND property tax rates of around 2%) to WA (no income tax, property tax closer to 1% and sales tax of around 9%) to Oregon (no sales tax, 9% income tax on anything over 15k, and where the property taxes  of 1.5-2% but the cost basis isn't the sales price and only goes up 3% a year). And those are just the big taxes. Things like auto reg, mandatory inspections, school assessments, taxes on dividends but not income, home stead exemptions can made it really confusing.

WA is by no means a bad tax state. I just wouldn't value that super high for a person looking to live on 25k-50k/yr as in most states, you income tax is going to be pretty low and things like property tax matter just as much.

Washington's tax rate isn't too bad for an early retiree, it hinges on how much property you own and how much taxable stuff you buy. Buy a small house and trim that budget, and you should be fine.

Remember, food is not subject to sales tax, and that should be one of your largest budget items if you're truly being frugal. Washington also does not have an Internet sales tax, though you will owe sales taxes for stuff purchased on Amazon because they're based here. For long-term planning, of course, I'd assume this situation will change in the next few years once Congress finally gets on the ball.

The only other state who's taxes I'm quite familiar with is Maryland. There, you'd have a 6% sales tax PLUS a 5.75% income tax on your federal AGI (that includes capital gains/qualified dividends but not Roth distributions) PLUS local income taxes of 1-3% PLUS property taxes. Granted Maryland's not a very tax-friendly state but you could definitely do worse than Washington.

NYCMiniBee133

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Re: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's
« Reply #16 on: February 07, 2014, 04:26:52 PM »
I totally forgot the impact of sales tax. Thanks guys. Have gone back to my budget with a cudgel. I lopped off 25-30%. Now each additional cut causes me to wince, so I'm going to have thing much longer and harder about extra ones. Any other suggestions, please fire away! It's fascinating - I thought I had really absorbed all the Mustachian principles and now I realize how entrenched certain defaults are in the way I think about spending.

Unique User

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Re: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's
« Reply #17 on: February 07, 2014, 04:30:47 PM »
I don't come close to MMM's budget, but throwing my 2 cents in. 


*Assumes purchasing a house and two used cars
Bellingham, WA:


First line is Monthly
Second line is Annual

Food
780 - plus $460 a month in eating out??  That is $1,240 a month.  We spend less than half that number with 1 12 year old and 2 working adults, one of whom is a former professional chef.  Learn how to cook and menu plan.  Google it, tons of mommy blogs out there can help you.
9,360

Car Insurance
200 - This seems like a ridiculous number, I am not in WA, but only pay $40 a month.
2,400

Clothing
280 - Learn to like goodwill and thrift stores.  We spend maybe $35-$40 a month on clothes, shoes, coats, etc, mostly used.  My husband has to wear a business clothes for work (lie a sport coat, slacks and tie) and my 12 year old daughter wants name brands and loses clothes like crazy (thankfully she's never lost her pants).  Goodwill is your friend.
3,360

Other Entertainment
400 - Should be $100 or less.  Find free and/or low cost entertainment.  Spend time outdoors.  Go to free concerts.
4,800

Miscellaneous/CatchAll
417  - Also should be $100 or less
5,000

Base Total
5,908
47,251


Eating Out
460 - dealt with above
5,520

Optional: Child Enrichment Programming (Summer camps, music lessons, etc.)
800 - Look into low cost enrichment activities, this plus your entertainment budget is $1,200 a month.  Our science center has awesome $300 camps, we only do 1-2 of those a year.  Look for low cost fun, we just moved to a new city last January and this is a list of just some of the free or very cheap activities we have found nearby. 1.  Free river float trip with the Dept of Conservation 2.  Lots of free archery classes, orienteering, guided hikes, eagle days, educational classes/fun with the Dept of Conservation.  3.  Family Archeology weekend at a local dig for $75 plus food, includes an overnight stay in the no-frills dormitory.  4.  Free Fan day that included scrimmages with the local pro football team.  5.  Free brewery tours.  6.  Art Museum, History Museum, Zoo and Science center are all free. 
9,600


That is with just a quick look at your budget, but I need to go cook dinner now since we don't eat out or order pizza on Fridays.  Good Luck!

« Last Edit: February 08, 2014, 04:14:19 PM by Unique User »

NYCMiniBee133

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Re: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's
« Reply #18 on: February 07, 2014, 04:33:21 PM »
@ Lans and KulshanGirl:

I had picked Bellingham as it seemed to have the laid back culture my partner and I really dig + a little intellectual flavor/artsiness. I really loved that it seemed down to earth and somewhat environmentally conscious. Our other top places to live if price weren't an issue would be Seattle area or Portland. I would consider Chicago or Burlington Vt in terms of culture, too, if they weren't so freezing cold!

Would you recommend Bellingham for folks who love rain, are limited to moderate outdoor goers but definitely enjoy the scenery, like somewhat friendly thought not necessarily overtly friend places, and enjoy a somewhat slower pace of life than NYC (where we currently live)? I'm from the bay area originally but actually don't love the culture there. This is an over-generalization but it felt like people were a little flaky and fake as a group. May be my age group as well. Also really didn't like the hype around start-ups.

ch12

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Re: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's
« Reply #19 on: February 07, 2014, 04:59:38 PM »
You are budgeting around $30,000 a year for everything from child enrichment, eating out, to vacationing, to "optional luxuries." I mean, you could literally eat out for $75 a day and still not spend all of the money you have budgeted for "extras". Do you really think you need to spend that much money every year to entertain yourselves? Is there a "going outside" tax in Washington state? Do you have to buy half the library to use it?

Also, I was highly active in sports and hobbies in a public school in a town of 70,000 people in just about middle of nowhere Indiana and it offered great teachers and plenty of AP classes. My parents certainly did not spend $800 a month for my enrichment. Maybe a couple hundred dollars a year for equipment and fees. Parents, friends, the outdoors, books, and the internet provide plenty of enrichment and learning opportunities.

I grew up in Indiana in a suburb of the 12th largest city in the nation. If I had gone to public school, I would've gone to the 5th best high school in the state: http://www.usnews.com/education/best-high-schools/indiana. It offers more than 30 AP classes: http://www1.ccs.k12.in.us/district/dollarsandsense/advancedplacement. It's also 10th in the nation for sports: http://www.ccs.k12.in.us/chs/carmelgreyhounds/athletic-department. My point is that you don't have to live in an ultra pricy place to give your kids what you want to give them.

It's important to give your kids reasonable opportunities. I went to summer camp, too. Be reasonable.

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/2011/10/12/avoiding-ivy-league-preschool-syndrome/

Lans Holman

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Re: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's
« Reply #20 on: February 07, 2014, 05:07:23 PM »
@ Lans and KulshanGirl:

I had picked Bellingham as it seemed to have the laid back culture my partner and I really dig + a little intellectual flavor/artsiness. I really loved that it seemed down to earth and somewhat environmentally conscious. Our other top places to live if price weren't an issue would be Seattle area or Portland. I would consider Chicago or Burlington Vt in terms of culture, too, if they weren't so freezing cold!

Would you recommend Bellingham for folks who love rain, are limited to moderate outdoor goers but definitely enjoy the scenery, like somewhat friendly thought not necessarily overtly friend places, and enjoy a somewhat slower pace of life than NYC (where we currently live)? I'm from the bay area originally but actually don't love the culture there. This is an over-generalization but it felt like people were a little flaky and fake as a group. May be my age group as well. Also really didn't like the hype around start-ups.

That's a perfect description of the sort of person who would really enjoy it here. 

KulshanGirl, hello!

dragoncar

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Re: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's
« Reply #21 on: February 07, 2014, 05:08:41 PM »
agree with the above, but why is "car" 0?  Don't you need to include depreciation or amortized replacement cost?

ShortInSeattle

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Re: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's
« Reply #22 on: February 07, 2014, 06:05:07 PM »


Grand Total
7,878 per month
70,891 per year



Iíd like to apply a 3.5% rule. That means based on the above and an assumed fed tax rate, Iíd need $2.5 million plus the cost of the house. And if there were anything else I hadnít thought to figure in, Iíd be completely screwed.

Any thoughts for a fellow Mustachian whoís feeling helpless? Or gentle nudges about things I've let slip into my budget that don't need to be there? At this rate Iíll need to slave away in my job for many more years to come.

A few thoughts:
1) Your husband is correct, you don't have enough $$. Your nest egg might supply MMM levels of spending - but you are not there.  So you probably need to keep working and saving.
2) Slicing your budget on paper is one thing, but can you actually live off those amounts? I think it's smart to delay ER until you've successfully lived on your ER budget for a time.
3) MMM's budget is his - it won't necessarily be yours. Our ER budget will be about 75k as well, so we're still saving and working. There are trade-offs for every expense. We're willing to work longer for a nice home and a generous travel budget. You may need to do the same for an artsy community and good schools. You are not "screwed." These are all choices. :)
4) Bellingham is nice. :) But why would you need two cars in ER?

NYCMiniBee133

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Re: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's
« Reply #23 on: February 07, 2014, 06:47:32 PM »
All fair comments. I can't road test my budget for two reasons, unfortunately. 1) Don't have the kiddos yet2) I live in NYC. My tiny apt  on the sixth  floor of a walk up building with slanted floors cost 2000+ a month. I can't go farther out or the commute will affect my already longish hours at work and wouldn't save me much. That's why your guys' input has been super helpful.

foobar

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Re: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's
« Reply #24 on: February 07, 2014, 08:46:00 PM »
The only budgets that matter are when you go over a years of receipts. When you thought experiments like this you are often off by 30% when you realize you missed 1k for gifts (think about birthdays, christmas, weddings, baby showers,...) and even then your guessing to some extent. You see it all the time when people posts budgets showing 2k+/month surpluses but they don't have that money anywhere.

It is good to write these down but you really need to make sure they are realistic and not just fantasies you get by playing around with numbers.


2) Slicing your budget on paper is one thing, but can you actually live off those amounts? I think it's smart to delay ER until you've successfully lived on your ER budget for a time.


the fixer

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Re: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's
« Reply #25 on: February 07, 2014, 08:51:31 PM »
FWIW my retirement plan as it stands now is to move out somewhere more rural in Washington. Seattle is a cool place but I wouldn't recommend it to retire and raise a family, you'd be torn between high cost of housing downtown or living in the 'burbs and being car-dependent.

We've thought about Wenatchee since it's really close to some awesome rock climbing and housing should be dirt cheap. Bellingham and Everett both sound like good choices too. Carnation is also a great choice, I have a friend renting a cabin for really cheap and he has views of Rainier and the Olympic Mountains. North Bend might work, but I don't know how low the housing costs are. I've heard that Issaquah is still too close to Seattle, and housing is expensive.

There are also good options in Oregon, but I'm less familiar with them.

athomeintheworld

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Re: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's
« Reply #26 on: February 07, 2014, 08:56:31 PM »
I see that you are getting some facepunches:) but hang in there. Lots of good advice here. 

Your budget still has NYC mentality prices.  Even if you do want to eat out sometimes - you don't need $500/mo to do this!  Again - this is not NYC.  And with a couple of kiddos you will not eat out all the time anyway. 

Groceries - you can eat very very well, for much less.  We eat almost all organic, buy beer/wine, and frequently host friends/family all for much less than 800/mo.

Child activities - you can get meaningful experiences for your children for WAY less than 800/mo!  Check out community centers for art, music, sports programs.  Check out meetup.com for playgroups in your area - great resource for learning a new area and getting to know some similar families.

Allen

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Re: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's
« Reply #27 on: February 07, 2014, 09:49:57 PM »
Bellingham is you low cost of living choice?  Try Spokane. Much cheaper.

mm1970

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Re: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's
« Reply #28 on: February 07, 2014, 09:53:16 PM »
Quote
Grand Total
7,878 per month
70,891 per year
Math alert: 7878 per month is $94536 per year.

If you are budgeting based on NYC prices, you'll have to adjust.

Vacations: we travel to visit family every two years, at the price of $1500 to $2000 each trip.

Every OTHER year.  We used to go every year to both places, but that got expensive and painful very quickly.  With one child, it's a pain.  With two?  Forget it.  We fly into PA, spend a week, drive to NY, spend a week, drive home.

mm1970

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Re: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's
« Reply #29 on: February 07, 2014, 09:58:54 PM »
Also: $460/ month eating out is way too high.  We generally spend $150 or less.
Misc entertainment also very high.
You should be able to cut vacation in half or less, by traveling less often.
Car insurance is a bit high.

Enrichment: so, here's what we pay for my one school aged child:
After school care: $100/month times 9 months
Summer camp: $600/month times 2.5 months (full time summer camp, which you would not need if you are not working)
Chess enrichment class: $200/ year
Soccer: $200/year

That is $2800 per year (even with two kids that would come out to less than $6k), far less than $800 per month.  You are budgeting almost $10k per year. 

Kaminoge

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Re: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's
« Reply #30 on: February 08, 2014, 07:15:18 AM »
All fair comments. I can't road test my budget for two reasons, unfortunately. 1) Don't have the kiddos yet2) I live in NYC. My tiny apt  on the sixth  floor of a walk up building with slanted floors cost 2000+ a month. I can't go farther out or the commute will affect my already longish hours at work and wouldn't save me much. That's why your guys' input has been super helpful.

Hahaha! This is awesome. I am a person who loves planning ahead and being prepared but you truly put me to shame :-)

Well done for all this thinking ahead but I do think there's only so much preplanning you can do. Although given your initial budget you're saving buckloads by not having real children to pay for right now. I do think though that you're very smart to be trying to introduce some thoughtful frugality before you have kids. I'd highly recommend that you bring them up to appreciate the value of money and how sometimes trade offs have to be made (someone gave a great explanation above of letting them be involved in choices). Mind you by the time your kids are old enough for summer camp it may all be virtual anyway. You'll just keep them home and plug them in every morning.

mollyjade

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Re: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's
« Reply #31 on: February 08, 2014, 12:59:56 PM »
All fair comments. I can't road test my budget for two reasons, unfortunately. 1) Don't have the kiddos yet2) I live in NYC. My tiny apt  on the sixth  floor of a walk up building with slanted floors cost 2000+ a month. I can't go farther out or the commute will affect my already longish hours at work and wouldn't save me much. That's why your guys' input has been super helpful.
I think you'll find all your enrichment activities are much cheaper outside of NYC. I did all the things you mentioned (a ton of AP classes, rent/buy instrument, private music lessons, sports something-or-other, some sort of camp every summer) and it didn't cost anywhere near that much.

Greg

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Re: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's
« Reply #32 on: February 08, 2014, 03:51:07 PM »
I think you'll find all your enrichment activities are much cheaper outside of NYC. I did all the things you mentioned (a ton of AP classes, rent/buy instrument, private music lessons, sports something-or-other, some sort of camp every summer) and it didn't cost anywhere near that much.

And really, most of it can be covered by three words.  "Go play outside."

dragoncar

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Re: Help! I can't Get My Budget Even Into the Same Solar System as MM's
« Reply #33 on: February 08, 2014, 04:19:38 PM »
I think this is a matter of won't not cant