Author Topic: Are you living on $2k/month or less? Share your budget [please]  (Read 9405 times)

civil4life

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Re: Are you living on $2k/month or less? Share your budget [please]
« Reply #50 on: May 10, 2018, 11:25:25 AM »
I started tracking my spending in September of last year.  If you ignore my insane loan repayments of over $1000/month not including my mortgage I am in your near $2000 range.  I also share the changes I have made since having more awareness.  It is all in my journal if you are interested.

https://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/journals/fire-highway/msg1995709/#msg1995709

Also, 34 yr old/S, MCOL, hoping to FI by 40 but that depends on a really big variable that is explained in my journal.

Prairie Stash

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Re: Are you living on $2k/month or less? Share your budget [please]
« Reply #51 on: May 10, 2018, 11:54:13 AM »
are you being deliberately obtuse?

Often, but not in this case.

Children are real people.  They have real expenses, which have to be paid by someone.  They need bedrooms and fridge space like anyone else.

The efficiencies of family life come from putting five people under one roof.  They are exactly analogous to having four roommates, except in this case they are roommates who don't have jobs.
Its a fair point. My $2500 is total for everyone since I'm too lazy to divide it out (its not an equal split, I eat the most and use the most utilities and have the master bedroom - shared with the wife). Without kids it would be lower, likely closer to $2000/month (for the two of us). Without her, I'd spend $1200-1500, clearly its not scalar.

My kids are living in bedrooms that use to get me $350/month each to offset my housing cost. I also no longer get $800/month from the secondary suite. It is now part of the toy/hobby/craft space for the house. My wife and I discussed all this prior to having kids, it was a conscious choice to give up the cash flow and improve our lives. In my case I did exactly what Sol suggests, I transitioned from rent paying roomates to jobless children. In 15-20 yers the situation will reverse, the kids will start paying rent.

Carrie

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Re: Are you living on $2k/month or less? Share your budget [please]
« Reply #52 on: May 10, 2018, 12:10:56 PM »
My less than 2k number included all 5 people in the household - even those slacker kids.

Without the kids we could downsize house, get rid of one car and halve the groceries.
We live inexpensively because of paid off mortgage, no debt (older bought in cash low mileage cars), and few kid activities.  No daycare, and now no more preschool. I imagine activity expenses will increase in the fall when we add another music lesson & band expenses.

Nederstash

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Re: Are you living on $2k/month or less? Share your budget [please]
« Reply #53 on: May 10, 2018, 12:37:30 PM »
31, F, HCOL, Netherlands. Target FIRE: 48. I have 2 spending (checking, you call that?) accounts. One is all on autopay, that's for the bills. The second is for optional spending or sinking funds, like holidays or gifts or home improvement. Also for frivolous personal spending (clothes, hairdresser etc).

Account 1: needs
Mortgage: 885
Gas/lights/water: 90
Internet: 30
Several types of insurance: 115
Groceries: 180
Phone: 0 (through employer)
Total for necessities: 1300

Account 2: wants/sinking funds
Presents: 75
Going out: 100
Home: 100
Personal: 75
Holiday: 100 (saved up during the year for trips)
Car: 50 (I bike to work and the car is a luxury. This is also for check-ups)
Total for wants: 500

Two more notes: in May and November I get holiday bonuses of at least 2000 each. Half of the May bonus goes toward the holiday fund, half gets invested. The November bonus is split between real estate and city tax (800) and prepaying a year's health insurance (1200).

I was already pretty scrappy, but setting my budget too tight had adverse effects. I denied myself so much. Setting up  my 'wants' account has really helped me, because I don't dip into my savings account when I want to splurge a little. And I don't worry over a little free spending, because I know it won't affect my overall goals.

In short:
Take home pay: 2920
Needs: 1300
Wants: 500
Savings/Investments: 1120

Rightflyer

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Re: Are you living on $2k/month or less? Share your budget [please]
« Reply #54 on: May 10, 2018, 01:33:14 PM »
50's, Couple, MCOL, Southwest England

Council Tax            £141.18    
Water                    £23.62    
Electric                    £31.50    
Gas                            £37.08    
TV Licence                    £12.25    
Netflix/Prime            £16.00    
Internet/Phone            £29.59    
Mobile Phones x 2    £26.00    
Firewood                    £25.00    
Restaurants            £160.00    
Groceries                    £240.00    
Booze                    £90.00    
Meds                            £26.32    
Auto                            £150.00    
Other (pet etc)       £175.00    
                    Total £1,183.54    

so roughly     $1,597.78 in US Dollars for 2 people.

For a fair comparison, rents around here for a couple would be 700-1200 a month.

DreamFIRE

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Re: Are you living on $2k/month or less? Share your budget [please]
« Reply #55 on: May 10, 2018, 08:55:37 PM »
My post from another recent thread:

I’d love to see the budgets of anyone really, especially people spending under 2 grand and living comfortable and traveling etc.  Something simple not like a case study.

Here's a partial for me:

$300 Property tax
$200 Food expenses
$110 Electric bill
$85 Natural gas
$71 Homeowner's insurance
$60 Health insurance premium (net out of pocket)
$40 Internet
$36 Water/Garbage Bill
$2 Online streaming or subscription services
$1 Cell phone
$0 Cable TV bill
$0 Newspaper / Magazines
>$5500 Left over for misc. discretionary / mostly saving

Edit:  I want to add that I live alone in my house and am not sharing any expenses with anyone.

About $1300/mo current barebones
Expected $1600/mo FIRE barebones  -  Stash at 63X yearly at this rate + estimated taxes
« Last Edit: May 11, 2018, 05:25:50 AM by DreamFIRE »

Moses

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Re: Are you living on $2k/month or less? Share your budget [please]
« Reply #56 on: May 11, 2018, 09:14:46 AM »
My current budget is $2K/month which I hope to drop considerably this year. I am 29, single, no kids, and hopefully FI at 40, I am in a LCOL area in Southwestern Ohio. I have really only been on the FI journey for a couple years now. My work has a pension, but due to economy, mismanagement etc, changes were made which made me realize I needed to be more proactive on securing my future. That led me to MMM and several hard fought face punches to do better. I wouldn't call any of my changes sacrifices because I'm certainly not worse off for them - hedonic adaptation and all. My current breakdown is as follows.
$796- Mortgage on my main home 15 year loan
$150- Utilities
$355- Mortgage on investment property- what I dub the life experience. Hopefully gone this year after I finish up and sell it.
$80- Utilities on IP
$200-Groceries
$60- meals out- this doesn't usually all get spent.
$50- Internet
$18- Phone-Republic Wireless WIFI only plan
$50- Gas- Recent increase due to promotion which moved my location to a new department
$41- Netflix, HULU, Audible
$60- Medical supplies for an ongoing health condition
$60- Entertainment
$30- Miscellaneous household expenses




Padonak

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Re: Are you living on $2k/month or less? Share your budget [please]
« Reply #57 on: May 11, 2018, 09:17:20 AM »
Ptf

LittleWanderer

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Re: Are you living on $2k/month or less? Share your budget [please]
« Reply #58 on: May 11, 2018, 10:31:26 AM »
35 year old, female, living with SO in a MCOL city.  Target FIRE = ??

This was my average monthly breakdown from 2017.  There are definitely things I could cut if necessary.  I feel like I'm living a life of luxury.  We mostly buy whatever we want from the grocery store.  I own a lot of nice outdoor gear.  When we travel, we almost always camp so vacations tend to be fairly cheap.  We like to travel on our bikes and on our feet.  (Bike touring, backpacking.)  We rarely buy/drink alcohol. 

$700 - Rent (my half)
$38 - Cell phone
$60 - Car insurance
$50 - Utilities (my half)
$68 - Internet (I pay for internet while my SO pays for subscription stuff like Netflix, Amazon, Apple music.)
$50 - Gas for car
$250 - Groceries (my half? - not sure if this works out to be 100% 50/50.  I typically spend more than he does because we split the big trips, but I wind up paying for all of the smaller trips because I'm the one to stop alone on the way home from work.)
$47 - Restaurants/eating out
$100 - Pets (1 old dog, 1 lizard.)
$50 - Personal care
$60 - Travel
$200 - Clothing, outdoor gear, running shoes, misc spending
$14 - Camping/park/trail fees
$158 - Health/dental insurance
$200 - Health copays, dental work, contacts (I had a lot of dental work done and an injury; this is not a category I expect to always be this much, therefore bringing me down under $2k/month.)

Total: $2045/month
« Last Edit: May 11, 2018, 10:40:09 AM by MSquared »

cl_noll

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Re: Are you living on $2k/month or less? Share your budget [please]
« Reply #59 on: May 11, 2018, 10:52:21 PM »
I'll take a crack...

Total monthly expenses= $1300
Rent (with a roommate) = $615
Utilities = $100 +/- 25
Health Insurance & Expenses = $120
Food = $120                           Using a pressure cooker on low-cost grains, beans, and meats is key.
Slush-fund (wants) = $230       Set to 10% of my take home pay.
Transportation = $40                Includes insurance. I don't drive more than once a week.
Phone = $36                           (I need a facepunch for not switching to the $20 republic plan)
Avg surplus = $800

It's not a glamorous life and I'd like to allow myself a few more comforts, like having a dog and buying a house, but real estate is crazy so oh well. All just exercises in mild discomfort...
« Last Edit: May 11, 2018, 10:57:02 PM by cl_noll »

Rightflyer

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Re: Are you living on $2k/month or less? Share your budget [please]
« Reply #60 on: May 12, 2018, 02:27:52 AM »
TV licence £12 - a legal requirement in the UK

Not if you don't have a TV, or if you don't connect your TV to an aerial. I used to have a TV for my PS2, but did not pay TV license because it was never hooked up for TV.

Actually, it doesn't need to be a TV.

Any broadcast (online included) on "any device, including a TV, desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone, tablet, games console, digital box or DVD/VHS recorder."

They kinda got ya every which way.

daverobev

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Re: Are you living on $2k/month or less? Share your budget [please]
« Reply #61 on: May 12, 2018, 08:08:29 AM »
TV licence £12 - a legal requirement in the UK

Not if you don't have a TV, or if you don't connect your TV to an aerial. I used to have a TV for my PS2, but did not pay TV license because it was never hooked up for TV.

Actually, it doesn't need to be a TV.

Any broadcast (online included) on "any device, including a TV, desktop computer, laptop, mobile phone, tablet, games console, digital box or DVD/VHS recorder."

They kinda got ya every which way.

Mm, fair enough. Any live broadcast, or iPlayer. https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/utilities/tv-licence

Imma

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Re: Are you living on $2k/month or less? Share your budget [please]
« Reply #62 on: May 12, 2018, 02:02:03 PM »
Couple, 27/31, the Netherlands, MCOL (big city, but not big-4).

From joint account
€300   mortgage                 (got lucky, very cheap house, very low interest)
  €70   electricity/natural gas
  €35   internet
  €28   water -> also includes some taxes
  €50   property taxes and garbage collection
€120   groceries  -> this is fairly bare bones, we don't pay snacks from this account.
€  20   union
€  35   contents insurance -> high because it includes s/o's business equipment
€  12   home insurance
€  35   other -> small, yearly payments like the maintenance of our central heating system.   

Total: €705.

From personal accounts (for me, roughly the same for him)
€150  health insurance, yearly deductible, some out of pocket costs
€200  spending

Total: €350 x 2 , total spending €1405.

I don't know the details of his monthly spending, but my spending is something like this:
€50  hobbies
€10  life insurance
€50  public traffic
€  8  phone

Which leaves around €80 for clothes / going out / buying some extra, technically unnecessary groceries. This is our bare bones budget and this is what we put in our checking accounts every payday. Everything else goes straight to savings / investments, but I'm pretty flexible with budgets. We are thinking of increasing our grocery budget, because food prices have been going up quite a lot over the last year.

The big gamechanger for us was buying a very cheap house. I think that's possibly the best decision I've ever made in my life, except for the guy I bought it with :)

cawiau

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Re: Are you living on $2k/month or less? Share your budget [please]
« Reply #63 on: May 12, 2018, 09:42:46 PM »
OP Please clarify... is that 2k/month per person or per household?

If it is 2k/month per household we do not qualify since our mortgage alone is $3,200/month

Now a family of 4 at 2k/person = $8k we would qualify since we spend less than ~$6,100/month.

We also live in a HCOLA (DC)


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Mesmoiselle

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Re: Are you living on $2k/month or less? Share your budget [please]
« Reply #64 on: May 13, 2018, 07:30:36 AM »
Half of a couple (just me) which I think is a viable statement as we keep our finances separate. I am on his insurance though.
My FIRE goal is 38.5 years of age, but may go as late as 39.5 years (2026-2027)  according to my excel sheet and depending on events. I only intend to save $300,000 and live on the interest. Louisville, KY is LCOL place.

$250 Groceries
$450 Mortgage Principle/House Insurance/Taxes/Interest/Extra to principal
$50 share Water/Waterline Ins/Sewer/Gas/Electric/Trash/Recycling
$155 Dog food/meds/insurance/grooming
$170 Car Insurance
$30 Republic Wireless
$30 Internet
$32 Gas
$20 Life Insurance for self
$150 Home Improvement (an average going forward)
$40 for Household Goods and clothing
$180 entertainment
$50 Donations (Charity: Water and Local Animal Sanctuary)

Total Monthly Bills: $1607 (expect it to be $1000 after I fire)
Total Monthly Income: $3700

But if I Travel Work, my income and bills both go up, usually increase bills by $1300 for an extra rental place and travel friendly food, but my income goes up to $6800-$7600

Biggest changes to get my numbers down was Dine Out/Entertainment, Groceries, Phone Bill, working the CC churn, not buying stupid crap in the first place, and jumping into a traveling career for the last two years. Additionally, I only bought a 52k house that I slowly do the work on myself with husband and other partner. there are half a million dollar houses, maybe even million dollar houses in this city, but I have no interest in mansions. this two bedroom one bath with full basement (1900 square feet) two small yards, and a garage is enough for us.

We're actually a Trink (Triple Income, No Kids) So three adults in a partnership. And this is how April 2018 went:
Spoiler: show
April Roundup:

Recurring Monthly Necessities Total: $2259
$537 Groceries
$450 Mortgage Principle/House Insurance/Taxes/Interest/Extra to principal
$238/Water/Waterline Ins/Sewer/Gas/Electric/Trash/Recycling
$326/mon College Loans
$234 Dog Edibles (2+ months dog food bulk purchase)
$170 Car Insurance for E
$90 Republic Wireless Data Phones for Three
$82 Dog Health Insurance
$50 Internet
$47 Gas for Two Cars
$35 Life Insurance for C/E

Irregular Necessities Total: $944
$283 Biannual Insurance for M
$250 Uniforms for Work
$144 Home Improvement
$106 for Microsoft program for C
$100 (irregular) Groom for two dogs
$61 in transport fees for C
$43 new Winter Jacket on sale from bioware
$31 for Household Goods (soap)
$20 to dog proof yard
$6 Dude Meds

Entertainment: $1354

$740 Vacation

$268 Trink Fund

$76 Personal Spend E.

$104 Personal spend C.

$166 Personal Spend M

Health Related Total: $282

$150 Sports Massage for E.

$48 Group Therapy for M

$84 YMCA for E/C

Giving: $119

$50 Donations (Charity: Water and Local Animal Sanctuary)

$69 Christmas Presents

Total Spend: $4671

Total Income: $5870
« Last Edit: May 13, 2018, 07:48:32 AM by Mesmoiselle »

Mesmoiselle

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Re: Are you living on $2k/month or less? Share your budget [please]
« Reply #65 on: May 13, 2018, 08:04:42 AM »
It seems the common factor for people actually living below the 2k/month limit is controlled housing costs, especially through shared living arrangements.

I definitely have shared housing of the home I live in. but it's family, I charge $75 to one and $150 to the other (add on a bit for utilities.)

I intentionally chose a cheap ugly 52k house in an already LCOL area. I listed that I personally paid the $450 (all things related to buying house) in my numbers. Listed what they paid me as an income.  I did reduce my Util bill in my list, but it'd also be a lot cheaper without them using my util so I think that's a fair representation of my bills.

If I had no partners or roommates, my bills would still be under 2k.


Mesmoiselle

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Re: Are you living on $2k/month or less? Share your budget [please]
« Reply #66 on: May 13, 2018, 08:17:46 AM »
It looks like 4 of 12 responses mentioned roommates or tenants.
5 of 12 mention having a SO
3 of 12 seemed to be single, and one of those was over 2k/person
2 mentioned paid off mortgages
They are not exclusive, and I think I counted some of them wrong.
Costs for the shared-living-type people seem to be lower than the (few) single ones. Deliberate lowering of housing costs seemed to me like the stand-out trait of people with low monthly expenses on this thread. The sample size is small, but the rate of shared housing looks to be higher than what I guess is the US/Ca average.
.....

I could be wrong, if it's true that people's "misc" and "spending" categories really do include the amortized cost of their vehicle / next vehicle, expected maintenance costs, or things like home repair (did you amortize your 20-year roof in there at $20k/20years? I only saw one other person include this item in their budget). But I doubt most posters are doing this especially if not already FI.
.....

Fair point. By the time I reach FI (9 years from now), my mortgage will be paid off and I'll have finished the long list of renovations I wish to do on the house I live in. Also, FI doesn't mean I'll never earn money. It just means work is optional, I can be picky, I can be choosy. I think even when I'm FI, I will make 26k/year doing exactly one travel assignment per year to keep up my career skills. Or maybe I won't work, but I will only if some big repair like a roof is happening. although it would be nowhere near 20k. I definitely expect the mileage on my car to move forward at a tortoise pace instead of all these miles for travel, meaning it'll last longer. And I wouldn't replace it with a spanking new car either, I'd buy something about 5k. I may sell stocks for that, or work for 8 weeks to buy it.

If I picked an FI number that depended on me never, ever, no matter the life event, to go back to work? I'd work a decade or more longer than I ever wish to.

DreamFIRE

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Re: Are you living on $2k/month or less? Share your budget [please]
« Reply #67 on: May 13, 2018, 01:38:00 PM »
OP Please clarify... is that 2k/month per person or per household?

These questions always seem to be based on the total household expenses, not breaking it down per every person living in the household.  I always answer them based on total household expenses regardless of the number family members.  Of course, some people like to do their own additional exclusions from expenses, such as daycare, new car purchases, long term home maintenance, mortgage payments, charity, etc.  I include all of those things and only exclude income/payroll taxes and expenses on investments.
« Last Edit: May 13, 2018, 01:41:46 PM by DreamFIRE »

Carrie

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Re: Are you living on $2k/month or less? Share your budget [please]
« Reply #68 on: May 13, 2018, 02:55:47 PM »
I used total household because spending $10,000 per month would be ridiculous (fam of 5).

cawiau

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Re: Are you living on $2k/month or less? Share your budget [please]
« Reply #69 on: May 13, 2018, 09:37:06 PM »
I used total household because spending $10,000 per month would be ridiculous (fam of 5).

How is it ridiculous?

Depending on COLA it is quite possible.

Add in young kids/before care/after care and daycare and you are there.

Daycare in my area is easily $2,000/month, the cheapest one co-worker has managed to find is half that price using an old lady that already watches her neighbors son.

We are lucky and grateful that my MIL chose to move in with us and she watches our DD during the day, so instead of paying Daycare we are able to save ~3,000/month towards retirement, the increased cost of her living with us is negligible compared to what she saves us. Some people are not that lucky...

My parents still work and live over 4 hours away which is the case for many young professionals like us that relocated to the DC metro area and force to pay for before care/after care and daycare.

Not everyone can stager their schedules for one parent to work days and the other night, I only know one couple that does it and it is because one is a RN and was able to switch to nights.

Anyway that is all. Just took slight offense to the blanket “ridiculous”
Comment because plenty of young families in HCOLA areas are forced to spend that between high cost of owning a home or renting (2 bedrooms downtown DC are over 3k/month), add in the cost of having young children and they are already halfway there.


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Zikoris

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Re: Are you living on $2k/month or less? Share your budget [please]
« Reply #70 on: May 14, 2018, 12:00:15 AM »
I used total household because spending $10,000 per month would be ridiculous (fam of 5).

How is it ridiculous?

Because JFC, that's $120,000 year, and this is the MMM forums. What the hell is happening to this place. That's the top, what, 2% of incomes in the country? NOBODY is forced to spend that much. That statement is not offensive, it's THE POINT OF THE ENTIRE BLOG.

Carrie

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Re: Are you living on $2k/month or less? Share your budget [please]
« Reply #71 on: May 14, 2018, 06:41:11 AM »
Oh I realize it's quite possible (to spend $10k month), but it is not frugal. Heck, you could spend that in a LCOL if you drive newer gas guzzlers, vacation at Disney annually, have the three kids enrolled in private school, and own & maintain a mc mansion.  Housekeeper & lawn service included. I know many who do that - and many won't be retiring early. But - if this is your spend you cannot claim that you are doing your best to live on little, to be frugal, or to think outside the box to not be normal consumerist suckas.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 12:02:38 PM by Carrie »

sol

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Re: Are you living on $2k/month or less? Share your budget [please]
« Reply #72 on: May 14, 2018, 08:41:12 AM »
That statement is not offensive, it's THE POINT OF THE ENTIRE BLOG.

Was.  WAS the point of the entire blog.

adamb

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Re: Are you living on $2k/month or less? Share your budget [please]
« Reply #73 on: May 14, 2018, 11:15:53 AM »
1800 a month for me

875 - rent and internet (working on improving next year!)
75 - gas and electric utilities (100 in winter, 50 in summer)
35 - phone
105 - health and dental ins
400 - food (working on improving this one!)
50 - transportation (bike maintenance and weekend subway trips, I deliberately moved close to work to avoid driving)
300 - miscellaneous. this can be split 3 ways into airplane tickets, clothes, and presents for others, which vary wildly in each category, but safe to say 3,600 a year is correct here.

so I guess its more like 1850 :). Which actually nicely matches up with 850 a month to 401k and 1k a month to savings so im right at a 50% savings rate.

EDIT:
26 yo single male living in Boston, have 3 roommates in a 4 bedroom house. Fire target hopefully sometime mid to late 30s, will need one final career step up to 75-80k (up from about 65k) to make the savings rate possible IMO.
« Last Edit: May 14, 2018, 11:27:01 AM by adamb »