Author Topic: Potential opportunity in Boulder, CO. Budget review  (Read 3758 times)

bluecheeze

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Potential opportunity in Boulder, CO. Budget review
« on: February 02, 2015, 02:31:02 AM »
I am considering taking a job in Boulder, CO and was playing around with some budget numbers I was hoping some of you CO residents could help to validate.
This job would be a substantial pay cut for me, but I think it would more then make up for it in a quality of life way. 
Married, no kids, 2 dogs, plan for a baby in 2-3 years.  Wife will probably not generate any income for a while (she is a photographer and would need some time to set up business/clients)
The only hesitation I have is the insane cost of living in the area.  Buying seems out of the question and rent is super high so I just wanted to make sure my numbers were in the ballpark before I made any decision.
I would ideally like to live in Boulder so I can bike to work and keep it down to one car for both of us.
Basically are my variable expenses legit?


Do the numbers seem reasonable?
   
INCOME:   $120,000
Base   $10,000
401k Match   $500
Total Income   $10,500

FIXED EXPENSES:   
Federal   $1,000
State   $463
SS   $613
Medicare   $145
Health   $250
Total Fixed   $2,471

SAVINGS:   
401k   $1,500
ROTH   $917
Taxable   $2,000
Total Savings   $4,417

VARIABLE EXPENSES:   
Food   $600
Cell Phone   $50
Housing   $1,500
Dogs   $50
Car Insurance/Gas   $100
Utilities   $100
Fitness/Sports   $250
Purchases   $500
Total Variable   $3,150

Total Outflow   $10,038
Net Available   -$38
Saved   63.21%
« Last Edit: February 02, 2015, 02:34:35 AM by bluecheeze »

chasesfish

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Re: Potential opportunity in Boulder, CO. Budget review
« Reply #1 on: February 02, 2015, 05:27:04 AM »
This looks pretty reasonable.  Its possible to pick at some of your expenses, but at a 63% savings rate you aren't doing much to cut back on your retirement timeline by inching that up.  Y'all must be one insanely fit couple at $250/mo.

Is there a particular reason you need the taxable savings instead of increasing your 401k up to get to the $18,000/year cap?  The match doesn't count towards your cap.

bluecheeze

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Re: Potential opportunity in Boulder, CO. Budget review
« Reply #2 on: February 02, 2015, 05:35:23 AM »
18,000/12= 1,500 - that is budgeting for the max unless I'm crazy - only I have a 401k, not the wife.
Also at this point in our life all we need to ER is enough to buy the house cash which will come from the taxable accounts.

Crossfit x2 - fun social thing we enjoy as a husband/wife could be cut to save more during hard times but for planning purposes I keep it.  Also I am sure the hiking/biking excursions that we will do constantly will have some cost associated was thinking like 50/month.

Ftao93

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Re: Potential opportunity in Boulder, CO. Budget review
« Reply #3 on: February 02, 2015, 06:34:03 AM »
The cost of living in Boulder IS nuts.  Same with downtown Denver. 

Is there a way you could do an outlying area like Gunbarrel or Broomfield, etc.?  Boulder has gotten itself into a pickle, where they want money but hate building.  The residents 'don't want apartments", but with more population, jobs, and school booming, not everyone can afford 1200/month for a 2 bedroom in a party house.

Normally I would say live as close as possible to work, but in this case a commute might save substantial cash.

MDM

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Re: Potential opportunity in Boulder, CO. Budget review
« Reply #4 on: February 02, 2015, 12:41:38 PM »
Basically are my variable expenses legit?
Do the numbers seem reasonable?
I'll defer to the Boulder denizens for advice on the first question.
Kudos to you on the second question for posting a consistent set of numbers.  Again, no comment on the correctness of the living expenses but at least everything adds up and the federal tax calculations look great.

You might check the Colorado State income tax: appears it is 4.63% of your Federal taxable income, so closer to $314/mo than $463/mo.  Another $1800/yr for your investing pleasure if so.

bluecheeze

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Re: Potential opportunity in Boulder, CO. Budget review
« Reply #5 on: February 02, 2015, 09:45:55 PM »
Basically are my variable expenses legit?
Do the numbers seem reasonable?
I'll defer to the Boulder denizens for advice on the first question.
Kudos to you on the second question for posting a consistent set of numbers.  Again, no comment on the correctness of the living expenses but at least everything adds up and the federal tax calculations look great.

You might check the Colorado State income tax: appears it is 4.63% of your Federal taxable income, so closer to $314/mo than $463/mo.  Another $1800/yr for your investing pleasure if so.

Good catch with the state tax. $150/month is huge.

The cost of living in Boulder IS nuts.  Same with downtown Denver. 

Is there a way you could do an outlying area like Gunbarrel or Broomfield, etc.?  Boulder has gotten itself into a pickle, where they want money but hate building.  The residents 'don't want apartments", but with more population, jobs, and school booming, not everyone can afford 1200/month for a 2 bedroom in a party house.

Normally I would say live as close as possible to work, but in this case a commute might save substantial cash.

I may have to consider this approach.  Gunbarrel seems close enough.  I just HATE sitting in traffic so I may have to get a short term lease and try it out for a month or two to find the best location.  Potential office looks like it is on the east most side of town centered from top to bottom- so I wouldn't need to drive to the very center of Boulder which could be helpful.  One other option I am trying to get my wife to consider would be to have roommates to help split the cost.

m8547

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Re: Potential opportunity in Boulder, CO. Budget review
« Reply #6 on: February 02, 2015, 09:56:57 PM »
I would budget more like $200 for utilities and $1800 for rent (and maybe a little more for pet rent) as an upper bound. Water is expensive, electricity is expensive (around $0.13/kwh), and you'll need heat in the winter. A lot of the housing is old and not energy efficient by today's standards. You can find a 2br place for less than $1800, but increasing the budget gives you more options. $1800 should get you a nice place, unless you need a really fancy place, in which case there are some that are even more expensive.

Budget more for food if you go out to eat on a regular basis. Most of the restaurants are expensive with mediocre food. And if you get a drink with a meal you will probably be over $20 a person ($12 meal (like a burger, nothing fancy), $5-7 beer, tax and tip) most of the time. I prefer to spend around $10 for similar food/no drink, but there are not many places in that price range.

For two people:
Groceries: $400
Going out to eat twice a week: $320
Or once a week $160

Water rates are up about 25% as of 2015. Sales tax is up to 8.845% now! (it was 8.36) so consider that in "purchases". And don't even think about buying a brand new car. With sales tax and registration you'll pay thousands extra. You have to pay sales tax on used cars, too, and probably get an emissions test, but at least registration cost depreciates with age.

Total cost really depends on your lifestyle. It's possible to live in Boulder without spending a whole lot, but it's easy to get caught up in things and spend way more than you have to before you realize it. I was at Whole Foods the other day for one particular item, and I noticed that everything was nearly double what I normally pay. And the store was packed with people!

Good news is you can bike anywhere in Boulder, it's only like four miles wide. If you live outside Boulder it's less convenient to bike in because of the greenspace buffer around the city.

MDM

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Re: Potential opportunity in Boulder, CO. Budget review
« Reply #7 on: February 02, 2015, 10:15:53 PM »
...I may have to get a short term lease and try it out for a month or two to find the best location.
Excellent idea.  No need to buy in haste and repent at leisure.

bluecheeze

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Re: Potential opportunity in Boulder, CO. Budget review
« Reply #8 on: February 02, 2015, 10:17:56 PM »
Good points.

We currently have no car because we live out of the country.  I will need to purchase something if I moved out there- used all the way for me though until my Tesla stock gamble takes off in 5 years and buys me the Model S :-) don't judge. 
I didn't budget for anything I need (car/bikes/household items) as they are just one time purchases- I am sure the "set up" fees will be in the 15-20k range, but that is the cost of relocating across the world...again.  Historically we don't eat out more then 1 time per month, if that.  The good news (after reading my company documents) is that I am entitled to ~25k in final benefit payments (they essentially pay for my re-relocation) so I think all of the one times are covered.

m8547-
Sounds like you are familiar with the area, would you suggest living outside of Boulder and commuting to save rent $ or will we miss out on too much of the Boulder "experience" by doing so?

Spondulix

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Re: Potential opportunity in Boulder, CO. Budget review
« Reply #9 on: February 03, 2015, 07:49:29 PM »
Its been a while since I lived in CO, but I think there's RTD bus system from Lafayette/Louisville to the Boulder transit system. It's not near as trendy/fun as Boulder, but much more affordable.

bluecheeze

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Re: Potential opportunity in Boulder, CO. Budget review
« Reply #10 on: February 04, 2015, 04:37:39 AM »
Just as an update, I decided to pursue the opportunity further and will be flying out second week of March for a final interview and to check out the area.

chasesfish

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Re: Potential opportunity in Boulder, CO. Budget review
« Reply #11 on: February 04, 2015, 05:31:10 AM »
18,000/12= 1,500 - that is budgeting for the max unless I'm crazy - only I have a 401k, not the wife.
Also at this point in our life all we need to ER is enough to buy the house cash which will come from the taxable accounts.

Crossfit x2 - fun social thing we enjoy as a husband/wife could be cut to save more during hard times but for planning purposes I keep it.  Also I am sure the hiking/biking excursions that we will do constantly will have some cost associated was thinking like 50/month.

You're correct.  I didn't know if your $1,500/mo number was inclusive or exclusive of the match.

I'm also a fitness nut, but it kills me to pay the $15.75/mo I pay through Costco for one of the national chains.  I can't fathom $250/mo

SomeDaySoon

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Re: Potential opportunity in Boulder, CO. Budget review
« Reply #12 on: February 07, 2015, 11:03:36 PM »
Are you hikers, going out to dinner types? Is so, it makes sense trying to stay in Boulder since you'll end up "going into Boulder" quite a bit.

Louisville would be bikeable and has a great downtown. Lafayette would be bikeable as well.

It really depends on what lifestyle you're after. Boulder is expensive but so is commuting.