Author Topic: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?  (Read 35972 times)

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1799
  • Age: 40
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #50 on: April 16, 2014, 09:53:36 AM »
What's fair market rent the other tenants are paying?

$860 (which is already lower than most 1bdrms in this city, including worse neighborhoods.  no idea why)

But then, I am also getting free electricity, laundry, and the extra (finished) room, plus storage in the basement.  Maybe the extra room makes it more similar to the 2 bedrooms, which are $1200

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 28237
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #51 on: April 16, 2014, 10:03:10 AM »
You may be vastly underpaid.  We should delve into some numbers on that.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1799
  • Age: 40
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #52 on: April 17, 2014, 07:14:09 PM »
You may be vastly underpaid.  We should delve into some numbers on that.

Alright, you inspired me to finally write down some numbers.
$975 rent credit
$15 monthly laundrymat cost
$10 former gym membership
$30 electric bill (est.)
$1030 savings
Would take $1211 to get $1030 take home if it were taxable pay.
Average 1-2 hours per week x 4.3 weeks per month ~ 7 hours per month.

To make the equivalent from regular hourly work, I'd have to make $173 per hour.

I was not expecting that!  I would have been happy with $20/hr equivalent.

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 28237
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #53 on: April 17, 2014, 07:24:56 PM »
What makes you think it's not taxable?

The pay is judged based on what the equivalent person providing that service gets paid, not an hourly rate you think is fair or not.  :)

In other words, if you moved out and they had to hire someone to do the job and they'd have to pay them 2k/mo, you'd be getting underpaid.

I'm not saying you need to push for the full fair market value, you can give them a discount on your work and make a win-win scenario, but you also may be able to negotiate for more and still have them be happy with it, and have it priced under the equivalent market price.

So you do some miscellaneous handyman work.  Can you give some examples of stuff you've done?  Do you collect rent from other tenants?  How many units are in the building?  They pay an average of 860/mo.?  Do you advertise for, and screen, potential tenants?

And yes, property management work pays ridiculously well per hour.  It's the dealing with angry people aspect, being available at odd hours, etc. that make it so.  It's why I still manage all my own local properties - very little time for very good pay (saving 8-10% per month of gross rents that would go to a PM).  Oh, and I don't do any actual work on the properties, I have handymen and contractors for that stuff.  It's also why I don't understand people who say they don't want to landlord because they don't have time.  :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

Bakari

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1799
  • Age: 40
  • Location: Oakland, CA
  • Veggie Powered Handyman
    • The Flamboyant Introvert
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #54 on: April 18, 2014, 06:39:04 AM »
The pay is judged based on what the equivalent person providing that service gets paid, not an hourly rate you think is fair or not.  :)

In other words, if you moved out and they had to hire someone to do the job and they'd have to pay them 2k/mo, you'd be getting underpaid.
That's a subjective standard.  Its not how I look at it.  Seems a little keeping up with the Jones-y.  What other people make has nothing to do with me.


Quote
So you do some miscellaneous handyman work.  Can you give some examples of stuff you've done?
Replaced a couple broken windows, change locks between tenants, clear drains, repair cabinets and drawers, replace ceiling fans, change lightbulbs - lots of the same stuff I do in my own handyman business.

 
Quote
Do you collect rent from other tenants?
  Two tenants who pay in cash bring it to me, and I keep the cash and write the landlords a check.  A couple people drop off money orders with me. I never go to them to collect or ask for it.
Quote
How many units are in the building?
  18, including mine.
Quote
They pay an average of 860/mo.?
1bdrms do.  2 bdrms are 1200. 
Quote
Do you advertise for, and screen, potential tenants?
Never.  I do unlock the door for showings once a week (about an hour each time) when we have a vacancy.


Quote
It's the dealing with angry people aspect
I don't.
Quote
being available at odd hours
phone goes off when I go to sleep

 
Quote
Oh, and I don't do any actual work on the properties, I have handymen and contractors for that stuff
That's the part I actually enjoy, and am good at.  And I charge less than one quarter as much when I do the same work for own clients.

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 28237
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #55 on: April 18, 2014, 11:56:57 AM »
Alright, if you're good with it, I have no other input.  :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

APowers

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1171
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #56 on: August 26, 2014, 11:21:24 PM »
Our consumption spending is pretty low for a family of 5

Food/personal care $450
Medical OOP $50
Fuel $150
Car insurance $80
Discretionary/personal (varies, but typically zero unless it is gift or side business)

Travel and educational field trips add about $150 a month

It's having a house that is killer. It is small and cheap, but there are few cheap things about home ownership. Even fully paid off it would be:

Tax $200
Utilities $250
Insurance $40
Vague capital expenses $100ish over time

*I know it's an old thread, but I hate starting a brand new one with the exact same subject, and I hadn't seen any similar thread with the same gist.*

Family of 4 here-- our budget/spending is $1,800/mo, including mortgage and extra principal payments. Goblinchief, is your house fully paid off?-- I didn't see you list any kind of mortgage payment.

   $800-- Mortgage payment
   $106-- Property Tax
     $46-- Homeowners Insurance
   $245-- Utilities
     $10-- Phone
     $22-- Internet

   $175-- Gasoline
     $65-- Auto Insurance
     $30-- Auto Maintenance
       $8-- Auto Licensing/Registration

     $70-- Household Supplies
   $160-- Food
     $35-- Clothes
     $15-- School Supplies
     $20-- Fun Activities

     $76-- Personal Care
     $17-- Life Insurance

Without a mortgage payment (likely next year!), we're at $1,100/mo. If I were FIRE and not working a day job, we could drive one car to cut auto insurance/maintenance/licensing in half, trim at least $100 off the gasoline budget, and once the kiddos are potty-trained, we could probably cut out $50 from personal care. That'd leave us with a $900/mo budget.

Btw ^This^ $1,100 budget is pretty luxurious, IMO. So many areas we could cut back if we really really had to.

Michael792

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 223
  • Age: 27
  • Location: US
    • Rising Ascendant
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #57 on: August 27, 2014, 03:53:32 AM »
Internet: 49.95/mo
Phone: 54/mo
Required debt payment: 75.53
Discretionary: 200/mo

I pay much more than the minimum, but count that as savings, since that's what it's doing. Please note: I am military, so have very few expenses.

iampatriciag

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 23
  • Location: Gig Harbor, WA
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #58 on: August 27, 2014, 08:40:59 AM »
Man, these groceries budgets are amazing!  I worked hard to keep this month's under $500 (for the two of us!) and am already $100 over with 4 days to go. 

*sigh* We'll try again next month!

Jessa

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6314
  • Age: 39
  • Location: MA, USA
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #59 on: August 27, 2014, 09:11:04 AM »
Man, these groceries budgets are amazing!  I worked hard to keep this month's under $500 (for the two of us!) and am already $100 over with 4 days to go. 

*sigh* We'll try again next month!

I'm with you! I was averaging $450-$500/month for the two of us. At this point I'm budgeting for $400/month, because I think I can actually do that, although eventually I'd like to get down to $350...

anisotropy

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 681
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #60 on: August 27, 2014, 10:47:39 AM »
wow some crazy low budgets, you guys are pro !

Inevitable

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 71
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #61 on: August 27, 2014, 11:15:44 AM »
My housing alone is higher than many of your budgets...and it's not a very big house, lol.

Inevitable

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 71
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #62 on: August 27, 2014, 11:18:42 AM »
Ok, someone please tell me how the heck you keep your grocery budgets so low.

Spartana

  • Guest
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #63 on: August 27, 2014, 02:02:35 PM »
Ok, someone please tell me how the heck you keep your grocery budgets so low.
By shopping at places like this http://99only.com/. Some meals for me (single, no kids) cost about $.50 cents or less.

My budget is about $700/month or less for basic expenses with a paid off house. This includes food, gas, reg. and insurance for the paid-for vehicle, house insurance and prop taxes, utilities and pretty much everything else.  I do spend more for things like budget travel though.

Zikoris

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3569
  • Age: 33
  • Location: Vancouver, BC
  • Vancouverstachian
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #64 on: August 27, 2014, 02:12:57 PM »
Ok, someone please tell me how the heck you keep your grocery budgets so low.

I think planning is key - a lot of us are just extremely organized. We make a weekly meal plan pulled from a monthly rotation of our 25 favourite meals (so we make each dish only once per month, plus new dishes for the few remaining meals, which is enough variety for our tastes). When we go grocery shopping, it's for specific items for that week's meals, planned around the weekly flyers. We have four grocery stores that we go to very frequently, and about four more we go to rarely when we need a specific item. We know which store has the best price on every item we buy.

We have a tight ingredient and food rotation that ensures we never need to toss leftovers, and we also never have ingredients get forgotten and expire. We buy exactly what we need for our meals and baking, and nothing more.

We definitely don't buy expensive pre-made meal type things like frozen pizza, microwave meals, things from the bakery, or whatever else the masses are eating these days.

RootofGood

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1361
  • Age: 39
  • Location: North Carolina
  • Retired at age 33. 5 years in, still loving it!
    • Root of Good
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #65 on: August 27, 2014, 02:23:22 PM »
We have budgeted $32,000 per year ($2700 per month) to cover everything for a family of 5.  That's $533 per month per person. 

I think that's pretty low considering it includes $5000 per year of travel and all the capital reserves to replace a car occasionally and update our house as necessary. 

We are underspending our budget so far.  In June, for example, we only spent $830 total (for a family of 5). 


OSUBearCub

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 397
  • Age: 39
  • Location: Orlando, Florida
  • Tackling student loan debt/not saving dryer lint.
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #66 on: August 27, 2014, 03:11:29 PM »
Ok, someone please tell me how the heck you keep your grocery budgets so low.

I'm on a $20-25 per week grocery budget, so $80-100 per month.  I'm single, not a very good planner, and I have a finicky appetite.  My solution is to keep a well-stocked pantry of staple canned/boxed items: pasta, sauce, stovetop stuffing (my crack), soup, canned veg, etc. that I purchase through couponing.  There's a "Do You Stockpile" thread that goes into better detail.  The only things I buy each week are fresh produce, eggs, meat, bread and the occasional $1 or less jar of dried herbs.  $5-10 of the weekly budget goes to maintaining the pantry by jumping on the hot coupon deals of the week. 

Secondly, when I cook, most recipes are for 6 servings (or in my world 3).  So I portion and freeze two meals immediately after I'm done cooking.  These become my lunches or in-a-hurry dinners throughout the week.

Helvegen

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 542
  • Location: PNW
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #67 on: August 27, 2014, 03:24:54 PM »
My housing alone is higher than many of your budgets...and it's not a very big house, lol.

Yeah, really. I rent for way under market, but it is still just over a grand a month alone. Life in a HCOLA for you.

Back when I lived in a LCOLA, we were able to get by on about $1400 a month. Those were the days, according to my wallet.

Jon_Snow

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3372
  • Location: An Island in the Salish Sea (or Baja)
  • I am no manís chair.
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?fo
« Reply #68 on: August 27, 2014, 05:37:30 PM »
And here I thought we were pretty badass with our sub 3k monthly budget.

Some amazingly frugal types in this thread. Not sure I'm willing (or my wife) to go there.

Dicey

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 11446
  • Age: 61
  • Location: NorCal
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #69 on: August 27, 2014, 06:15:05 PM »
My best friend's goal for 2013 was to spend $500/mo - $250 on rent (bedroom in a house shared with multiple other people), 250 on food and everything else.  That'd be $6k/yr.  I believe he ended up spending around 10k for the year though, partly due to book purchases.
Sounds like your friend could use a tour of the library and a FREE! FREE! FREE! library card. My book habit was a budget tanker until I started volunteering at the library book sales. Any book is $1 or less and nary a library fine. Plus I made new, frugal friends that way and the experience had completely enriched my life. His mileage may vary, but it's so worth a try.

Michael792

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 223
  • Age: 27
  • Location: US
    • Rising Ascendant
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #70 on: August 27, 2014, 06:26:34 PM »
My best friend's goal for 2013 was to spend $500/mo - $250 on rent (bedroom in a house shared with multiple other people), 250 on food and everything else.  That'd be $6k/yr.  I believe he ended up spending around 10k for the year though, partly due to book purchases.
Sounds like your friend could use a tour of the library and a FREE! FREE! FREE! library card. My book habit was a budget tanker until I started volunteering at the library book sales. Any book is $1 or less and nary a library fine. Plus I made new, frugal friends that way and the experience had completely enriched my life. His mileage may vary, but it's so worth a try.

I misunderstood budget tanker.


arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 28237
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #71 on: August 27, 2014, 08:00:42 PM »
My best friend's goal for 2013 was to spend $500/mo - $250 on rent (bedroom in a house shared with multiple other people), 250 on food and everything else.  That'd be $6k/yr.  I believe he ended up spending around 10k for the year though, partly due to book purchases.
Sounds like your friend could use a tour of the library and a FREE! FREE! FREE! library card. My book habit was a budget tanker until I started volunteering at the library book sales. Any book is $1 or less and nary a library fine. Plus I made new, frugal friends that way and the experience had completely enriched my life. His mileage may vary, but it's so worth a try.

He gets a lot at the library, yes, but generally reads books that aren't available at libraries.  I personally find it hard to criticize someone's budget who spends ~6-10k/yr., personally.  If they want to indulge and own some books, rather than rent them for free, I'm okay with it.  :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

APowers

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1171
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #72 on: August 27, 2014, 10:40:31 PM »
Ok, someone please tell me how the heck you keep your grocery budgets so low.

I'm on a $20-25 per week grocery budget, so $80-100 per month.  I'm single, not a very good planner, and I have a finicky appetite.  My solution is to keep a well-stocked pantry of staple canned/boxed items: pasta, sauce, stovetop stuffing (my crack), soup, canned veg, etc. that I purchase through couponing.  There's a "Do You Stockpile" thread that goes into better detail.  The only things I buy each week are fresh produce, eggs, meat, bread and the occasional $1 or less jar of dried herbs.  $5-10 of the weekly budget goes to maintaining the pantry by jumping on the hot coupon deals of the week. 

Secondly, when I cook, most recipes are for 6 servings (or in my world 3).  So I portion and freeze two meals immediately after I'm done cooking.  These become my lunches or in-a-hurry dinners throughout the week.

We've been *actually* spending closer to 180-190/mo lately, but that spending level feels careless and not tight at all. We don't coupon, but we buy in bulk (oatmeal, flour, rice, beans, lentils, etc.), we shop the sales (and only the sales, unless it's absolutely necessary), and when it's a super good price on a non-perishable we buy a ton (dry pasta, ice cream, tuna, cheese, etc.). And we almost always only buy ingredients, rather than foods-- flour, yeast, salt, and oil rather than bread, for example. And we never eat out (last time we did, it was in the Costco food court to the tune of about $4.50).

I keep meaning to write a blog post about how we grocery shop, but I haven't gotten around to it.

4alpacas

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1896
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #73 on: August 28, 2014, 12:19:34 PM »
Ok, someone please tell me how the heck you keep your grocery budgets so low.

I'm on a $20-25 per week grocery budget, so $80-100 per month.  I'm single, not a very good planner, and I have a finicky appetite.  My solution is to keep a well-stocked pantry of staple canned/boxed items: pasta, sauce, stovetop stuffing (my crack), soup, canned veg, etc. that I purchase through couponing.  There's a "Do You Stockpile" thread that goes into better detail.  The only things I buy each week are fresh produce, eggs, meat, bread and the occasional $1 or less jar of dried herbs.  $5-10 of the weekly budget goes to maintaining the pantry by jumping on the hot coupon deals of the week. 

Secondly, when I cook, most recipes are for 6 servings (or in my world 3).  So I portion and freeze two meals immediately after I'm done cooking.  These become my lunches or in-a-hurry dinners throughout the week.

We've been *actually* spending closer to 180-190/mo lately, but that spending level feels careless and not tight at all. We don't coupon, but we buy in bulk (oatmeal, flour, rice, beans, lentils, etc.), we shop the sales (and only the sales, unless it's absolutely necessary), and when it's a super good price on a non-perishable we buy a ton (dry pasta, ice cream, tuna, cheese, etc.). And we almost always only buy ingredients, rather than foods-- flour, yeast, salt, and oil rather than bread, for example. And we never eat out (last time we did, it was in the Costco food court to the tune of about $4.50).

I keep meaning to write a blog post about how we grocery shop, but I haven't gotten around to it.
We spend $150-$250/month.  This includes paper products, personal care products, cleaning products, etc. 

We shop at one store.  We have our groceries delivered ($3).  We don't use coupons.  We don't shop sales. 

We analyze cost/ounce.  Our goal is to have no food waste.  We also cook in bulk and freeze individual portions.  We shun most prepared foods, but we always have a frozen pizza around for our lazy nights.  We stopped buying unnecessary cleaning stuff.

Meal planning, shopping at multiple stores, coupons, tracking sales, and stockpiling are overwhelming to me.  I've reduced our grocery budget from $800/month to $200 (on average).  This has also lead to a reduction of time in the kitchen (woohoo!).  I spend 1-2 hours/weekend cooking and preparing food.  During the week, I spend ~15 minutes/day prepping dinner, packing lunches, and moving food (freezer to fridge). 

I will abstain from posting our budget until there is a "prize" for the largest.  Our rent ($2k/month) is higher than the budget for full families!

Roland of Gilead

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1959
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #74 on: August 28, 2014, 12:47:18 PM »
I don't see how a "we" can do $150 to $250 a month shopping at one store getting delivery if that also includes toiletries.

Some things have a base price.   Fruit is $0.60 to $0.80 a pound everywhere.   Figure eating 1 pound a day for 2 people that is near $20 right there.  Even 1 ply toilet paper made from recycled diapers would be $10 a month.

I don't doubt your figures but I would love to see a typical breakdown of your meals and food, if you have the time and are willing to share.  It might give us some ideas where to save.

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 28237
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #75 on: August 28, 2014, 01:57:15 PM »
I don't see how a "we" can do $150 to $250 a month shopping at one store getting delivery if that also includes toiletries.

Some things have a base price.   Fruit is $0.60 to $0.80 a pound everywhere.   Figure eating 1 pound a day for 2 people that is near $20 right there.  Even 1 ply toilet paper made from recycled diapers would be $10 a month.

I don't doubt your figures but I would love to see a typical breakdown of your meals and food, if you have the time and are willing to share.  It might give us some ideas where to save.

If you can believe it for food, why would toiletries push it over?  How much do you spend on toiletries?
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

Roland of Gilead

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1959
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #76 on: August 28, 2014, 02:06:16 PM »

If you can believe it for food, why would toiletries push it over?  How much do you spend on toiletries?

Actually I don't know really.   I would estimate about $2 on dishwashing tabs, $1 on laundry detergent,  $15 on toilet paper, $2 on deodorant, $0.50 on razors/shaving cream, $8 on paper towels, $1 on other cleaners, $10 on female stuff (guess here).

That is for 2 people per month.   About $40.   That is probably low though, as some months you need things like cotton swabs, alcohol, creams, sunblock, etc. etc.

Paul der Krake

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 4627
  • Age: 11
  • Location: UTC-10:00
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #77 on: August 28, 2014, 03:05:37 PM »

If you can believe it for food, why would toiletries push it over?  How much do you spend on toiletries?

Actually I don't know really.   I would estimate about $2 on dishwashing tabs, $1 on laundry detergent,  $15 on toilet paper, $2 on deodorant, $0.50 on razors/shaving cream, $8 on paper towels, $1 on other cleaners, $10 on female stuff (guess here).

That is for 2 people per month.   About $40.   That is probably low though, as some months you need things like cotton swabs, alcohol, creams, sunblock, etc. etc.
$15 dollars per month on toilet paper!? Are you one of these people who are litterally wiping their butts with money?

Spartana

  • Guest
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #78 on: August 28, 2014, 03:19:28 PM »

If you can believe it for food, why would toiletries push it over?  How much do you spend on toiletries?

Actually I don't know really.   I would estimate about $2 on dishwashing tabs, $1 on laundry detergent,  $15 on toilet paper, $2 on deodorant, $0.50 on razors/shaving cream, $8 on paper towels, $1 on other cleaners, $10 on female stuff (guess here).

That is for 2 people per month.   About $40.   That is probably low though, as some months you need things like cotton swabs, alcohol, creams, sunblock, etc. etc.
$15 dollars per month on toilet paper!? Are you one of these people who are litterally wiping their butts with money?
It might be extra cushy soft :-)! I buy mine at Costco - 30 very large rools for about $13 I think.  2 layers of soft absorbancy (or so says the package). I buy a lot of stuff form the 99 cent only stores we have her in SoCal. For instance just bought up a bunch of Coppertone brand spray sunscreen (SPF 50 Sports version for us sweaty sporty types) for .99 cents each. Other stuff like that plus cleaners, paper towels (Bounty, Ajax, etc...) food, veggies, fruit, etc...  Most food is bought at Costco though.

Roland of Gilead

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1959
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #79 on: August 28, 2014, 03:27:46 PM »
Yes, I also load up on the extra soft Charmin toilet paper at Costco when they have coupons.  I had though it was $15 with coupon but maybe it is $13.  You get about 30 rolls.   Perhaps we don't use 30 rolls per month...  I am kind of a toilet paper freak as I have about 8 of the Costco packages (240) rolls in the storage closet.

Hey, TEOTWAWKI and I am going to have the cleanest, softest bottom!

Spartana

  • Guest
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #80 on: August 28, 2014, 03:30:52 PM »
Yes, I also load up on the extra soft Charmin toilet paper at Costco when they have coupons.  I had though it was $15 with coupon but maybe it is $13.  You get about 30 rolls.   Perhaps we don't use 30 rolls per month...  I am kind of a toilet paper freak as I have about 8 of the Costco packages (240) rolls in the storage closet.

Hey, TEOTWAWKI and I am going to have the cleanest, softest bottom!
I get Costco's brand (Kirkland) and it's actually...er...quite nice! Has a lot more TP/roll than Charmin's too so more bang for your buck... or for your butt :-)!

4alpacas

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1896
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #81 on: August 28, 2014, 03:48:21 PM »
I don't see how a "we" can do $150 to $250 a month shopping at one store getting delivery if that also includes toiletries.

Some things have a base price.   Fruit is $0.60 to $0.80 a pound everywhere.   Figure eating 1 pound a day for 2 people that is near $20 right there.  Even 1 ply toilet paper made from recycled diapers would be $10 a month.

I don't doubt your figures but I would love to see a typical breakdown of your meals and food, if you have the time and are willing to share.  It might give us some ideas where to save.
I'll provide a breakdown...but I worry the nutrition police are going to face punch me about my sweets.

Our major protein sources are eggs, black beans, and chicken breasts. 

Our habits are inconsistent, which is why our grocery bill fluctuates.  Right now, we're eating hard boiled eggs as a snack.  We buy eggs in a package of 5 dozen for $8.84.  I eat 2-4 eggs/day.  We spend about $20/month on chicken breasts ($1.99/pound).  I stretch the chicken by using it as a component in a dish rather than the main course.  My favorite recipe is chicken taco bowl from Budget Bytes (http://www.budgetbytes.com/2011/07/taco-chicken-bowls/).  I double the recipe for everything except the black beans and corn.  I use a 'Rotel-esque' can of tomatoes instead of salsa. We eat chicken taco bowl on chips, in tortillas, and mixed with eggs.  I'm usually lazy and use cans of black beans ($0.68) instead of cooking our own ($2/2 pound). 

For carbs, I love sweet potatoes.  I buy about 5 pounds/month.  We also eat a whole wheat pasta dish at least once/week.  I'll  make a pesto (basil $2 plant from TJ on our balcony, minced garlic bought in a large jar, olive oil) or defrost a marinara sauce (http://www.budgetbytes.com/2011/11/slow-cooker-marinara/).  We also have egg noodles, which I use when I make chicken noodle soup. 

We also buy several pounds of fruit every week.  This week we have apples($1.40/lb) and bananas ($0.59/pound).  We each 1-2 pieces of fruit/day. 

For vegetables, we're even more inconsistent.  We buy a lot of avocados (~$10-20/month).  I buy a large clamshell of spring mix for salads (use whatever we have around for toppings) 2-3 times/month.  I toss frozen peas in pasta and rice dishes.  We're also buy baby carrots and hummus about 2x/month ($10).

On dairy...We also spend $20/month on cheese.  No regrets.  We don't buy shredded (it tastes weird to me, so we shred our own).   We buy 1/2 gallon of organic milk ($3.58) every other week.  I also buy a container of Fage 1x/month.  My DH buys a few Yoplait yogurts every once in a while for snacks/breakfast.

Now for the bad stuff.  Last week, I spend $2 on pudding mixes (4 boxes).  I'm putting them in our popsicle maker.  I also buy expensive dark chocolate (Ghiradelli >70%) frequently ($2-$4/bar).  My DH drinks about 4L of diet orange pop/week (~$7/month).  I've started to buy turkey bacon ($2.50/week) too often.  We also buy a fair amount of alcohol.  We drink ~2 times/week.  Hard alcohol (~$5/month), wine ($20/month), beer ($5/month). 

We don't drink coffee.  I drink tea, but it's all gifted (so lucky). 


APowers

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1171
  • Location: Colorado
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #82 on: August 29, 2014, 08:40:16 AM »
I don't see how a "we" can do $150 to $250 a month shopping at one store getting delivery if that also includes toiletries.

Some things have a base price.   Fruit is $0.60 to $0.80 a pound everywhere.   Figure eating 1 pound a day for 2 people that is near $20 right there.  Even 1 ply toilet paper made from recycled diapers would be $10 a month.

I don't doubt your figures but I would love to see a typical breakdown of your meals and food, if you have the time and are willing to share.  It might give us some ideas where to save.

I think I've posted this somewhere else, but here is a snapshot from our spreadsheet-- what we actually bought for a random (recent) three months, and how much we actually paid. It's no meal plan, but it might help you get a better idea what us low-budget people are spending on. Stores shopped from include Costco, national chain groceries (Kroger/Safeway/etc), the local farm/produce store, and Azure Standard (for bulk oatmeal/rice/spices mainly). In July, we were at $210.30, I expect this month to be similar, if not a little lower. April is high, but note that we bought a ton of ground beef, and a ginormous jar of coconut oil. Notice all the extravagant spending: turkey lunch meat and chocolate in April ($19); a ton of ice cream and more sliced turkey in May ($41); cashews in June ($15). This is not a spartan diet.


Pooperman

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2973
  • Age: 30
  • Location: North Carolina
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #83 on: August 29, 2014, 09:47:15 AM »
My monthly spending is about $700. Then again, I don't pay rent (because parent's house is the most mustashian!). If I cut the unnecessary crap and lived the Spartan way for a month, spending would be much closer to $400.

scrubbyfish

  • Guest
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #84 on: August 29, 2014, 10:58:57 AM »
Thanks, everyone, for the detailed notes, breakdowns, and/or spreadsheet shots. I'm studying!

I realize that item by item, food is generally more expensive in Canada than it is in the States, and my son and I can't do much in the way of carbohydrates (he literally loses his ability to speak; I lose several levels of happiness and mental ability) but still I'm dismayed that our best average is $400/mo for just the two of us, and we get a fair amount of stuff from a store for people with low income!

It's a vast improvement over our previous $1000/mo (!!), but I'm shocked at how it's still adding up despite several significant changes (no more organic, no more household cleaner, no more eco toilet paper, eating less food, no more supplements/vitamins, adding as many cheap carb fillers as our bodies seem to be able to manage, eating a ridiculous number of meals from whole salmon from the low income store -$2 per whole salmon- instead of beef, chicken, etc).

I do spend some on luxuries like tea (Stash, boxed) and cream.

I've been doing not a complete breakdown for July and August, but as much as I can bear to do. Meat (rather than "chicken", "salmon", "tuna", etc) is a category, for example, and the low-income store does not name most items on its receipts, so I drop those in under a general category. Will keep studying your details!

4alpacas

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1896
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #85 on: August 29, 2014, 11:18:02 AM »
scrubbyfish, Have you tried to stretch your meat with other proteins?  Black beans are a staple in my diet.  They're delicious and easy. 

If you want to post your grocery bills, maybe we could help point out cheaper alternatives. 

Also, I think tea is a necessity!  Have you tried brewing loose leaf tea?  I like it a lot more, and it's usually cheaper than quality tea bags (no comment on Lipton). 

scrubbyfish

  • Guest
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #86 on: August 29, 2014, 12:02:27 PM »
4alpacas: Thanks!

Beans, legumes (and fruit, grains, rice, etc), all fall under the type of carbohydrates that affect us. (Paleo does wonder for us both. A similar diet took my son from literally non-verbal to fully verbal within three days of starting it.) We have been slowly incorporating a small amount of rice and a couple of slices of bread in a week, and we also seem okay with lentils if we soak/ferment them first, but I'm a little too disorganized to take care of those. But it is indeed an option. I've so far reduced our costly meat a lot via the whole $2 salmon (that's $2 for the whole thing, not per pound) and by using eggs more.

I will definitely want to post my grocery bills. After August ends, I'll see if I can organize the material to post what I have for July and August.

One funny thing is that after my second hot yoga class, I have had almost no appetite. For two days! So maybe that's my answer ;)

Zikoris

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3569
  • Age: 33
  • Location: Vancouver, BC
  • Vancouverstachian
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #87 on: August 29, 2014, 12:04:38 PM »
Quote
I realize that item by item, food is generally more expensive in Canada than it is in the States, and my son and I can't do much in the way of carbohydrates (he literally loses his ability to speak; I lose several levels of happiness and mental ability)

Not to derail, but this sounds so bizarre! What medical condition is this?

SimpleGuy

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 37
  • Age: 40
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #88 on: August 29, 2014, 03:15:58 PM »
I'm also amazed at how low some of the monthly food expenses are.  I average $315/month on groceries for 1 person, not including toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc.  But I think living in Fairbanks, being a strict vegetarian, and limiting my consumption of processed foods contribute to the high cost.  When I ate more processed foods my grocery bill was about $50 cheaper. 

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6006
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #89 on: August 29, 2014, 03:25:38 PM »
We spend about $350-400/month for 2 people. However, when I look at some of the things listed many people don't eat much meat or a variety of meat like we do.  This also includes all our paper products, etc.  We also have people over to eat frequently.

scrubbyfish

  • Guest
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #90 on: August 29, 2014, 05:09:35 PM »
Not to derail, but this sounds so bizarre! What medical condition is this?

Agreeing not to derail (because I already have to some extent, getting from "lowest budget" to "grocery breakdowns"), so I'll say just that it's not specific to any one medical condition, per se, but rather heaps of people responding to carbohydrates with any number of symptoms: depression, pain, inflammation, anxiety, stuttering, constipation, crabbiness, mutism, eczema, fatigue, disorientation, you name it. We take them out, relief. We put them in, symptoms return. (And yes, it seemed absolutely bizarre to me, too, the first several times I tested it!) Most of my son's most obvious symptoms of autism disappeared when I removed these carbohydrates from his diet. Which got me thinking today, after posting here, that maybe I would feel better distributing food costs across two categories: "food; prevention" or "food, disability". Because as it stands, I feel compelled to swap some foods to save money...when it's kinda critical that we (my son and I, not everyone) not do that too, too much!

Colgate_Toothpaste

  • Guest
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #91 on: August 29, 2014, 09:20:43 PM »
I'd post my budget but I'd probably get banned.  It's a work in progress...  :/

Mesmoiselle

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 334
  • Location: Kentucky
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #92 on: December 04, 2014, 12:35:41 PM »
So all the super low expenses people are getting rent covered by parents\roomates or it's built into their job?

It's disheartening but explains why I can barely scrape down to 9 (perfect budget)-12k (closer to reality as I slim down) a person.

Big Boots Buddha

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 99
  • Age: 38
  • Location: NE China
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #93 on: December 04, 2014, 09:32:27 PM »
I'm also a free-rent teach in Asia low budget buster.

Rent - Free
Utilities - Free (electric, heat, water, gas)
Internet - 100yuan (17 dollars or so)
Phone - I get a 50yuan voucher, my bill costs 18yuan (3 dollars) including data. I make 5 dollars there.

I work 7 days a week, lift and play board games. I cook mostly vegetables. I haven't done a budget but would put it likely in the low 200 dollars each month. I had to buy the board games, squat rack, bench, weights, etc before.

I make average 3-4k a month US.

Ian

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 364
  • Location: South Korea
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #94 on: December 05, 2014, 01:16:14 AM »
I make average 3-4k a month US.
Not bad - what level of education and what kind of hours do you work?

SimpleGuy

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 37
  • Age: 40
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #95 on: December 05, 2014, 12:15:48 PM »
I'm also a free-rent teach in Asia low budget buster.

Rent - Free
Utilities - Free (electric, heat, water, gas)
Internet - 100yuan (17 dollars or so)
Phone - I get a 50yuan voucher, my bill costs 18yuan (3 dollars) including data. I make 5 dollars there.

I work 7 days a week, lift and play board games. I cook mostly vegetables. I haven't done a budget but would put it likely in the low 200 dollars each month. I had to buy the board games, squat rack, bench, weights, etc before.

I make average 3-4k a month US.

What do you net after taxes if you don't mind me asking?

scrubbyfish

  • Guest
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #96 on: December 05, 2014, 05:21:18 PM »
Kudos to them for thinking outside the normal consumer sucka box.

+++1! I've successfully pursued cheap rent (via unconventional living), but I'm really excited for the ones who've combined solid incomes with that or better. Well done!!

Mesmoiselle

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 334
  • Location: Kentucky
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #97 on: December 05, 2014, 05:24:44 PM »
So all the super low expenses people are getting rent covered by parents\roomates or it's built into their job?

It's disheartening but explains why I can barely scrape down to 9 (perfect budget)-12k (closer to reality as I slim down) a person.
Also wanted to add that I think it's great that all these people (especially the younger ones) are bucking the common trend of getting an expensive apt or house just because they can afford to. Most seem to "live small and save big" so that, when the time comes, they can probably buy a place with cash and live the MMM ideal of FIRE on a small budget. Kudos to them for thinking outside the normal consumer sucka box.

What I mean by disheartening is that I can't mimic. Hate my mother, and my mother in law is moving in with US, not the other way around. Nobody's job pays for our phone or housing (although three roommates come close to covering the mortgage.) Don't own the house but at 38k A 3.5% we are focusing on the 28k @ 6.8% school loans first. I look for examples of how I can slim down to ERE numbers, people post and I'm like wow! But then it's because they get free housing/phones or mortgage free.

scrubbyfish

  • Guest
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #98 on: December 05, 2014, 05:39:53 PM »
I look for examples of how I can slim down to ERE numbers, people post and I'm like wow! But then it's because they get free housing/phones or mortgage free.

?   The vast majority of folks on this forum don't get free housing or phones. Most people are paying for those. It's an exciting few who aren't. Also of note is that many people who have finished the (in most cases) hard work of paying off their mortgages are still paying for home insurance, property taxes, maintenance, etc, which can add up.

A whole bunch of us who don't have the immediate option of free housing have pursued other ways to reduce housing costs. We live in RVs, or manage apartment buildings for reduced rent, or do work exchanges, or move into other weird and wonderful opportunities. Don't despair, Mesmoiselle! There are ways. They may require releasing conventions like "a house", or "home ownership", or "minimum 1000 sq feet", or "in this particular city", or "in the country I was born in", or "able to host houseguests several times per year". We walk away from stuff like that :)

It's merely a bonus if our place is, alas, too small for MIL to move in ;)

xenon5

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 118
  • Age: 28
  • Location: NYC
Re: Who thinks they have the lowest budget?
« Reply #99 on: December 05, 2014, 10:07:36 PM »
I'm still home living with family.  I pay no rent and minimal groceries in exchange for doing household chores.  Here's my monthly average this year:

$130 transportation
$100 entertainment (also includes expenses from a trip to London)
$80 cash
$80 eating out (boo)
$65 general merchandise and gifts
$40 pharmacy
$40 groceries

for a total of ~$555 per month.

However, I also got walloped by 2 major unexpected medical events this year, with a monthly-averaged cost of $430 a month :(

So about $1000 a month with one-off medical events included.
« Last Edit: December 05, 2014, 10:22:48 PM by xenon5 »