Author Topic: How much does your household spend per month and where do you live? May 2020 ed  (Read 2398 times)

lazycow

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I have searched the forum and only found this topic in 2015, so rather than necroposting,  thought I'd start another thread. I have spend a very enjoyable wet and windy afternoon going through the family finances to finally pin down how much we spend each month (AUD). We are a family of 4 (2 adults, 2 older teens) in semi-rural Victoria. Husband is self-employed, I work as a casual temp (when there is work available), daughter is having a gap year at home and *was* working and son is in later years of high school (independent school, so we pay fees).

I am never sure how to calculate everything due to my husband's work: he has a business expense-related credit card and all our phone/internet/car expenses, including petrol go on to this.

We have 1 credit card for almost all other spending (utilities, council rates, vet, dental, medical, health insurance, groceries, alcohol, weekend trips, clothing, school fees, etc) and withdraw some money each for personal spending.

So this year so far (Jan-April) we've spent an average of $3904 a month on the personal credit card (paid off religiously each month) and $1753 of business expenses, totalling $5657.

We don't have pay TV (daughter pays for her own Netflix account), we op shop for most clothing, books and home stuff, cook 95% of our meals from scratch, and rarely if ever eat out as a family. I have just renegotiated our private health insurance to the lowest possible rate, and got rid of extras as the cost of it no longer pays for itself. We've recently installed solar panels, so our monthly electricity bill should decrease from around $150 a month to almost $0. And there is only 1.5 years of school fees ($500 a month) left, woo hoo!

ETA: Forgot to mention we are mortgage -free and have a $500 a month car payment for another year (husband explained how it is better doing it this way hus business but I still would have preferred to pay it outright.)


« Last Edit: May 09, 2020, 09:08:54 PM by lazycow »

fell-like-rain

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One person, Boston MA. Glancing at my spreadsheet, the avg for the last 12 months has been about $1360/month- $810 to rent and utils, $160 on groceries and dining, $180 on purchases and entertainment, and $190 to medical and other misc.

Pandemic has been kind of a wash- spending on concerts and things is out, obviously, but I had a big broker fee for next yearís apartment land recently, so that bumped the average quite a bit. Overall I think I do pretty well given the area. I wish rent wasnít so ridiculous (the $3000 my roommates and I spend for a 4-bedroom is actually quite low), but itís doable for now and I donít plan to spend the rest of my life here.

StarBright

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Family of 4 (two elementary school age) and a big dog in Ohio, US. In 2019 we averaged 3,600 a month for every day life.

That is not bare bones for us: it includes fun things like symphony subscription, charity/annual giving commitments, zoo and art museum annual memberships, and amusement park season passes factored in.

It does not include special one time large purchases or vacations, which get their own savings accounts and aren't factored in to monthly spend numbers.






« Last Edit: May 09, 2020, 07:44:57 AM by StarBright »

Dave1442397

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We're in NJ, and spend around $6500/month. Taxes and insurance rates are high here, so between mortgage, property taxes, and insurance we spend just over $3,000 a month.

Our savings rate is 30% of gross income, though, so we're doing ok.

StarBright

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One person, Boston MA. Glancing at my spreadsheet, the avg for the last 12 months has been about $1360/month- $810 to rent and utils, $160 on groceries and dining, $180 on purchases and entertainment, and $190 to medical and other misc.

Pandemic has been kind of a wash- spending on concerts and things is out, obviously, but I had a big broker fee for next yearís apartment land recently, so that bumped the average quite a bit. Overall I think I do pretty well given the area. I wish rent wasnít so ridiculous (the $3000 my roommates and I spend for a 4-bedroom is actually quite low), but itís doable for now and I donít plan to spend the rest of my life here.

That seems like great rent in Boston! Well done on finding it. I paid $900 for a room in a super crappy 3bed in Brighton almost fifteen years ago.

Greystache

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My wife and I live in coastal southern California. Our retirement budget is $60KUSD per year.  Our house is paid for and the kids are out of the house.  Our budget includes a lot of travel, entertainment, and charitable donations.  If we were to cut out the non essential spending we could get by on $40K USD.  When we had kids at home/in college and paying the mortgage, our spending was between $72K and $80K  a month (it varied a lot depending on where the kids were going to school).

Staunch Aim

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~1350 a month. 800 PITI on the house, 200 utilities, 250 food/spending and 100 for a transit pass. Just me, living in the Denver Metro area.  This only includes the regular, fixed costs but most months don't see expenses outside those.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2020, 05:32:50 PM by Staunch Aim »

TheFrenchCat

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We're a family of three in a rural area of PA.  Our spending is at about $3000 per month, which includes about $700 for full time preschool and about $500 towards college savings.  Currently we're not paying for the school, and by the time things start up again she'll be in kindergarten that's $450 a month.

wenchsenior

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We spend on average 70K/year US$ supporting 2 adults in one household, and partly supporting 1 adult in a separate household.  MCOL area with neither of the two houses paid off.

In terms of supporting the other adult, we pay mortgage/insurance/prop taxes/utilities/cell phone/and they drive a car owned by us that we pay registration/auto insurance, etc., on. They pay for food, entertainment, gas, and any miscellaneous repairs and household expenses and medical bills and so on that are under 1K/per bill.


spartana

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Coastal SoCal. House paid for and no debts. Single (divorced) no kids. Prop tax and insurance approx $300/month. Utilities (gas, water, elect, trash, sewage) $100/month. Cheap Trafone cell phone less than $5/month. Food and sundries $200/month. Free/low cost medical thru the VA (have a military service connect disability). No home internet or any TV or subscriptions.  Currently car-free but carry a non-owners liability policy around $25/month in case I rent or borrow a car. Gym membership is $50/year (yes year!). That's the basics but spend more for occasional house repairs and related stuff, and fun things like travel, clothes, gifts, meals out, etc.  Passive income is currently $2400/month and average annual spending has been about $1800/month or less (including a lot of travel - usually camping road trips so cheap). Lots less now that we are in lockdown.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2020, 01:56:11 PM by spartana »

Padonak

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How do some people spend so little on groceries per month? I spend about $400/mo on groceries in northern NJ for one person. I shop at local grocery stores. I don't buy organic stuff, filet mingon, lobsters, expensive cheeses or anything like that. I buy what I want but within reason.I usually cook from scratch and don't buy ready to eat meals. Those who spend $150/mo, do you guys eat rice and beans or are groceries so much cheaper where you live? Maybe I'm missing something here.

Oh, and I don't have a car so I can't go to Aldi or Costco. There is a Costco competitor called BJ's nearby but for a single person there's not much point trying to buy in bulk and save there.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2020, 02:07:38 PM by Padonak »

spartana

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How do some people spend so little on groceries per month? I spend about $400/mo on groceries in northern NJ for one person. I shop at local grocery stores. I don't buy organic stuff, filet mingon, lobsters, expensive cheeses or anything like that. I buy what I want but within reason. Don't usually buy ready to eat meals. Those who spend $150/mo, do you guys eat rice and beans or are groceries so much cheaper where you live?
look for the sticky thread by @APowers about $200 monthly grocery bills.

Padonak

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thanks a lot @spartana
 
I'll bookmark that thread

American GenX

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$1300/mo while still working.

I budget $200/mo for groceries.   If I eat out, I put that under discretionary, and I don't do much of that.

My entire monthly budget over the long run, factoring in those long term expenses averaged out, is $1300/mo.

Single guy living in the Midwest smaller city with ~$4000 property tax.

spartana

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How do some people spend so little on groceries per month? I spend about $400/mo on groceries in northern NJ for one person. I shop at local grocery stores. I don't buy organic stuff, filet mingon, lobsters, expensive cheeses or anything like that. I buy what I want but within reason.I usually cook from scratch and don't buy ready to eat meals. Those who spend $150/mo, do you guys eat rice and beans or are groceries so much cheaper where you live? Maybe I'm missing something here.

Oh, and I don't have a car so I can't go to Aldi or Costco. There is a Costco competitor called BJ's nearby but for a single person there's not much point trying to buy in bulk and save there.
I don't buy in bulk myself (except for the toilet paper hording that is ;-)) and often shop everyday (well before corona) at my local supermarket to pick up a few fresh things - usually on sale. Its on my bike route home so don't get a lot at once. Don't eat any kind of meat or dairy so that keeps cost low. I do buy some stuff at the 99 Cent store.

OtherJen

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How do some people spend so little on groceries per month? I spend about $400/mo on groceries in northern NJ for one person. I shop at local grocery stores. I don't buy organic stuff, filet mingon, lobsters, expensive cheeses or anything like that. I buy what I want but within reason.I usually cook from scratch and don't buy ready to eat meals. Those who spend $150/mo, do you guys eat rice and beans or are groceries so much cheaper where you live? Maybe I'm missing something here.

Oh, and I don't have a car so I can't go to Aldi or Costco. There is a Costco competitor called BJ's nearby but for a single person there's not much point trying to buy in bulk and save there.

Do you have a green grocer or ethnic grocer in your area? In my experience, those stores tend to have better prices than the big chain grocers.

I'm part of a 2-person household and we have a BJ's membership. They're actually decent for things like produce, dairy, and meat (i.e., they sell in more manageable quantities than Costco). The one near me will let you in the door without a membership card, so it may be worth it to walk through the store and determine whether it would be worth it for you.

Zikoris

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We're a household of two in Vancouver, and normally spend around $2,300/month, but about 1/3 of that is international travel, so 2020 has been substantially lower than normal (~$1400-$1,800/month). Usually we spend about $250-$300 on groceries, but it's trending a little higher now due to the pandemic (~$350). Rent is $847 right now, including utilities. We pay about $35 for internet and under $60 for our two phones. We've been buying a lot of video games and ebooks lately. We don't eat restaurant food or have a car. Other than travel, our hobbies are cheap (hiking, etc). Nothing we do is difficult - everything is set up to be automatic and low effort.

Freedomin5

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Family of three in Shanghai, China. Normally spend around $1200 a month. Rent, healthcare, and tuition are covered by employer. Our biggest expenses are food, insurance, DDís lessons, utilities, and our cleaning lady.

DadJokes

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Couple with a toddler in Tennessee

Mortgage: $1,600
Food & Groceries: $570
Giving: $325
Utilities & HOA: $170
Phone & Internet: $122
Daycare: $155
Baby Misc: $100
Vehicles: $300
Dog: $60
Misc/Blow: $200
Vacation: $100
Christmas: $35
Clothes: $25
Professional: $20
Medical, Life Insurance, and Misc Health: $280

Total is about $4,060 per month. You can add $700 per month in taxes (payroll and income) if you like.

That's in the average non-covid month. Naturally, expenses are lower in some categories and a little higher in others.

APowers

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How do some people spend so little on groceries per month? I spend about $400/mo on groceries in northern NJ for one person. I shop at local grocery stores. I don't buy organic stuff, filet mingon, lobsters, expensive cheeses or anything like that. I buy what I want but within reason. Don't usually buy ready to eat meals. Those who spend $150/mo, do you guys eat rice and beans or are groceries so much cheaper where you live?
look for the sticky thread by @APowers about $200 monthly grocery bills.

Thanks for the shout-out, @spartana !

We're a family of 4 and live just east of the Rockies (Colorado Springs), our household spend is something around $2,200-2,500/month. My individual expenses as a single person as if I had one kid are ~$1,700/month (I own the house, so that includes the whole mortgage).

MudPuppy

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2 adults (and 3 large dogs, 2 with chronic medical conditions requiring daily med$) living in a suburb of a larger city in the southeastern US. We spend about $4200 a month with about $1400 of that going to mortgage and just under $500 to the vet expenses. We could definitely trim some of our other expenses, though, we've gotten a little free with our spending in the past year.
« Last Edit: May 09, 2020, 08:15:07 PM by MudPuppy »

yakamashii

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SINKs in a second-tier city in Japan. We spend $4,600/month on everything, including business expenses, and taxes and social insurance premiums, which are based off income. Take those away and our monthly spending is $2,500.

Looking ahead, we don't expect to spend the $1,100/month we've spent on travel and outings over the past several years, so knock that down to $100 and we're looking at $1,500, which is basically rent, utilities, food, and the odd medical expense (but not the cost of insurance, which, again, is income-based).

Obviously, a long-term plan would need to include medical insurance and increased medical expenses as we age (we're in our 30s), but I'm a bit surprised that it boils down to $1,500. Probably more like $1,600 in Pandemic Mode; like many here, we've stopped bargain shopping at the grocery store and just grab what we need/what's there.


I am never sure how to calculate everything due to my husband's work: he has a business expense-related credit card and all our phone/internet/car expenses, including petrol go on to this.

I'm a sole proprietor and have faced the same problem. I think the answer depends on what you want your calculations to help you do or understand.

We do separate calculations for business and personal spending. We want the business calculations to show us what we need to reduce our tax burden, and we want the personal calculations to show us present spending and help us project post-FIRE expenses.

Since FIRE for us means me not doing the business any more, our solution is to ask the same question about every expense: "Would we have made this purchase if we didn't have this business?" If no, we count it against the business. If yes, we count it as part of our personal spending, even if it is a legitimate business expense.

Examples:

-I have a business website for which I have to pay various fees. I'm letting the site go when I retire, so that's not an expense we'll need to account for in the future. Business website expenses = All business

-Our work stations take up around 50% of the space in our small apartment. However, we want this same amount of space when we FIRE, so our rent will probably stay the same. Rent = All personal (though obviously we write off the 50% as a business expense for accounting purposes)

Bettersafe

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Household of 2 adults, 2 kids (11yo and 9 yo) and a dog. We life in Europe and spent under 4800 a month in a HCOL area. This includes a really nice healthcare plan, a private school for one of the kids and paying down our mortgage a little bit.

chemistk

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Mid Atlantic (PA), 2 adults (28/29), 3 kids (5, 2, 6mos) - average is roughly $3300 a month. Pre and post cocid is identical as spending has just shifted categories.

We rent, the total spending is post tax.

Side note: whenever posts like this crop up, I've always wanted to record and chart the responses in something like Minitab - would be a cool exercise.

Igelfreundin

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$2200/month in a suburb of DC. I'm a single, 44 year old woman.  Given the high cost of living in my area, I've only been able to do this by buying a house (where I luckily don't care about school district), always having a roommate, and DIYing pretty much everything except medical care and major car repair.

Sent from my LM-V350 using Tapatalk


OtherJen

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Quicken says that we (me and husband) spent $1845 post-tax in the last 30 days. The normal monthly average is closer to $2500, which says that we normally spend more on gas, hobbies, and socializing than I realized. Definitely something to work on going forward.

We live just outside of Detroit, USA.

lazycow

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I am never sure how to calculate everything due to my husband's work: he has a business expense-related credit card and all our phone/internet/car expenses, including petrol go on to this.

I'm a sole proprietor and have faced the same problem. I think the answer depends on what you want your calculations to help you do or understand.

We do separate calculations for business and personal spending. We want the business calculations to show us what we need to reduce our tax burden, and we want the personal calculations to show us present spending and help us project post-FIRE expenses.

Since FIRE for us means me not doing the business any more, our solution is to ask the same question about every expense: "Would we have made this purchase if we didn't have this business?" If no, we count it against the business. If yes, we count it as part of our personal spending, even if it is a legitimate business expense.

Examples:

-I have a business website for which I have to pay various fees. I'm letting the site go when I retire, so that's not an expense we'll need to account for in the future. Business website expenses = All business

-Our work stations take up around 50% of the space in our small apartment. However, we want this same amount of space when we FIRE, so our rent will probably stay the same. Rent = All personal (though obviously we write off the 50% as a business expense for accounting purposes)

Thanks so much for that! My husband (at this stage) has no plans to retire as he loves what he does, and works as much or little as he likes - so we will continue to have a lot of these expenses for the forseeable future. It has taken several years of very variable income (including NO income at the beginning) for us to get to this stage.


Tardis81

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Sydney, family of 4, all figures are AUD:
$3000 rent
$1000 food
$2000 all bills including household, medical, insurances, school
$6000 total ($4K USD?)

SpareChange

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1 person in Fort Worth. Studio apt. Living expenses last year were almost $17,000, or about $1,420/mon on average.

Rent: 700
Gas, trash, sewer, pest control, blah: 50-55
Electric: averages 25
Internet: 52.20
Cellular: 99/year
Grocery: ~325
Gas: 50-100

whywork

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Two adults and two kids in northern california

Rent: 3000
Grocery & Other toiletries: 500
Two Cars: 350
Utilities+Cell: 300
Shopping: 300
Kids Tutoring & Occasional school expenses: 300
Healthcare: 200
Vacation: 250
Movies & Entertainment: 50
Misc: 200
Total: ~5500