Author Topic: What expenses went up/down after FIRE?  (Read 6641 times)

StreetCat

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 81
What expenses went up/down after FIRE?
« on: July 16, 2016, 10:27:40 AM »
I am not FIREd yet and I'm curious to see all the different ways in which people reduced expenses after FIREing, or some potential increases that I need to account for when I FIRE.
  • Do you consider your pre-FIRE lifestyle to have been Mustachian/frugal?
  • Where do you now spend less/more money compared to when you were working?
  • How much monthly reduction/excess did you achieve after FIRE compared to before FIRE (either in $ terms or percentage)?

Financial.Velociraptor

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1701
  • Age: 48
  • Location: Houston TX
  • Devour your prey raptors!
    • Financial Velociraptor
Re: What expenses went up/down after FIRE?
« Reply #1 on: July 16, 2016, 11:43:12 AM »
I am not FIREd yet and I'm curious to see all the different ways in which people reduced expenses after FIREing, or some potential increases that I need to account for when I FIRE.
  • Do you consider your pre-FIRE lifestyle to have been Mustachian/frugal?
  • Where do you now spend less/more money compared to when you were working?
  • How much monthly reduction/excess did you achieve after FIRE compared to before FIRE (either in $ terms or percentage)?

  • I was moderately frugal before FIRE and stay about the same.  I'm practice the 'anti-budget' where you set an allowance and don't go over it and otherwise buy anything I damn well please.  That includes going to the movies 3 or 4 times a month and paying someone to mow my lawn.  So frugal without any hardcore edges
  • Less on gas, less on taxes, more on health insurance.  Most everything else about the same.
  • I don't have a number because I never budgeted.  I'd ballpark it at being a trivial change for the better.

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5747
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: What expenses went up/down after FIRE?
« Reply #2 on: July 16, 2016, 04:21:22 PM »

  • Less on gas, less on taxes, more on health insurance.  Most everything else about the same.
This.

StreetCat

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 81
Re: What expenses went up/down after FIRE?
« Reply #3 on: July 16, 2016, 05:28:29 PM »

  • Less on gas, less on taxes, more on health insurance.  Most everything else about the same.
This.
That's surprising to me.  I was thinking that people saved money on food after FIRE due to cooking more at home and eating out less.  Were you both very frugal that way even before FIRE and that's why you didn't save much on that after FIRE?

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5747
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: What expenses went up/down after FIRE?
« Reply #4 on: July 16, 2016, 05:45:57 PM »

  • Less on gas, less on taxes, more on health insurance.  Most everything else about the same.
This.
That's surprising to me.  I was thinking that people saved money on food after FIRE due to cooking more at home and eating out less.  Were you both very frugal that way even before FIRE and that's why you didn't save much on that after FIRE?

We pretty much ate at home before and after FIRE.  Lunches at work were generally leftovers from the night before. 

The wife and I have a long standing tradition of "lunch out on Friday".  We don't do anything fancy... it's just one of our "extravagances."  We did that before and after FIRE.

Lake161

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 113
  • Location: NorCal
Re: What expenses went up/down after FIRE?
« Reply #5 on: July 16, 2016, 06:30:21 PM »
Here is our initial experience:

Went down:
Eating out and takeout food
Work-related costs (commute, wardrobe, hair salon)
Taxes
Car-related: went from 2 cars to 1

Went up:
Health insurance, dental, vision (no employer coverage)
Groceries (slightly, due to not eating out)
Online services (with my new spare time I found free alternatives to things we had been paying for)
Fun travel

Note: This represents our experience in the US. We then went overseas and nearly everything went down.

Frankies Girl

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3507
  • Age: 83
  • Location: The oubliette.
  • Ghouls Just Wanna Have Funds!
Re: What expenses went up/down after FIRE?
« Reply #6 on: July 17, 2016, 09:18:59 AM »
Grocery bill went down slightly since I have time to comparison shop more (and luckily have 4 groceries within a 1 block radius).

Restaurant bill up slightly as we do enjoy eating out 2-3 times a week.

Gas/transportation costs WAY down. We fill up the cars maybe once every 3 months?

Water bill down - we wear less clothes (no work clothes, mostly hang out in teeshirts/shorts right now) and the laundry has reduced significantly, and I also got a lovely clothesline installed so I can hang dry everything (again, more time to mess with this stuff).

Electric bill slightly higher. It was the same if not lower when I FIREd, but now that my husband is FIREd, I've seen the bill creep up a bit.

I cut the husband's hair now, so that cost is gone. My own hair expenses have gone down because I no longer go to a stylist every month; I still go, but it's like every 4-ish months, and I do my own color and bleaching at home now.

Medical bill actually went down as we have a low enough income to qualify for a higher subsidy. I pay less than when I was working. But the coverage was better (had a PPO instead of the current HMO).

We pay out of pocket for dental now (was paid by work 100% and got our cleanings/x-rays for zero) so that went up.

Entertainment costs down - we're exploring fun free/low cost things to do around our city. We're mostly happy to putter around our house or do the free/cheap forms of entertainment. There will be occasional pops of things like concerts, but overall it's been cheaper. We're more easily entertained now that we're not desperate for distraction from work stress?

Travel expenses up. ;)
« Last Edit: July 17, 2016, 09:20:42 AM by Frankies Girl »

soccerluvof4

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6676
  • Location: Artic Midwest
  • Retired at 50
    • My Journal
Re: What expenses went up/down after FIRE?
« Reply #7 on: July 17, 2016, 04:14:46 PM »
We started practicing being more frugal 2-3 years for being Fire'd but here is some that come to mind.

Outside services- I do everything now myself from lawn-care to fixing our appliances etc.
Fuel- this was cut big time
Food- We have a budget for 6 people we stay under and sharpened our pencil on
Entertainment- We have gotten better at planning things that are cheap but fun to do and work around things that are less money.
Taxes- downsizing our taxes are a third of what they were
Maintenance and Utilities- again i either fix myself and downsizing has reduced costs.

Gone up- Healthcare , vision , dental


Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6904
Re: What expenses went up/down after FIRE?
« Reply #8 on: July 19, 2016, 12:33:40 PM »
Our healthcare went from 150/month to 869/month-ugh!  All work related expenses down and we drive much less. I usually fill the gas tank 1x/month and that includes going to visit someone in a home an hour each way every week.  We have 2 cars but when one dies in probably 10 years we will go down to 1. We vacation more so that went up and do more fun activities and eat out more. We don't outsource things because we have the time to do them.

Dicey

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 15550
  • Age: 63
  • Location: NorCal
Re: What expenses went up/down after FIRE?
« Reply #9 on: July 21, 2016, 08:23:35 AM »
This is from an earlier PM I sent to Streetcat. I'm too lazy to write it out again.

(ETA: These are ways my expenses went down post FIRE. DH still works, so healthcare is still fully paid by his employer. When he retires, his pension will include a health insurance benefit, but it will be far below current coverage, so that will be a big increase. Boo-hoo.)

More time to comparison shop.
More time to make food from scratch.
More time for exercise, possibly leading to lower healthcare costs.
More time to clear out clutter from your life. I swear, better organization leads to more efficient use of stuff, which ultimately costs less.
More time to anticipate future expenses, giving you time to find most cost-effective ways of obtaining what's needed. i.e. gifts, seasonal items, tools, supplies.
More time to scour Freecycle, Craigslist, garage sales for the few things you will need.
More time to get places, so you can choose slower modes of transportation. Walk, bike, bus, etc.
More time to scour your town for free activities.
More time for volunteer activities.
 -I see free plays in exchange for ushering at our regional theater.
 -I never pay more than $1.00 for a book because I volunteer at my library's book sales. At the end of the day, a whole bag is $5.00. When we take town the sale, anything leftover is free.
- I used to volunteer at golf tournaments. We were thanked with a free round of golf.
- If you volunteer to work elections, specifically in your own precinct, you get paid a stipend, and you also get to meet more of your neighbors.
You have time to learn how to repair things. YouTube is your new best DIY friend. Watch as many as you want, you'll never run out.
Same for TED talks.
You can make new frugal friends by joining your local Buy Nothing Group.
More time to surf Frugal Living and ER blogs for constant inspiration.
« Last Edit: July 23, 2016, 08:47:16 AM by Diane C »

BoonDogle

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 139
Re: What expenses went up/down after FIRE?
« Reply #10 on: July 21, 2016, 01:58:31 PM »
Not trying to hijack the thread, but several people have indicated that health insurance costs are much higher after FIRE.  I was thinking that when I get there my health insurance would go down since my income would be very low and the ACA subsidies would kick in.  For those that went up, is your income too high in retirement for subsidies?  Was your employer paying a substantial portion of the cost while you were working?  Just curious for my own sake.

Spork

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 5747
    • Spork In The Eye
Re: What expenses went up/down after FIRE?
« Reply #11 on: July 21, 2016, 02:33:59 PM »
Not trying to hijack the thread, but several people have indicated that health insurance costs are much higher after FIRE.  I was thinking that when I get there my health insurance would go down since my income would be very low and the ACA subsidies would kick in.  For those that went up, is your income too high in retirement for subsidies?  Was your employer paying a substantial portion of the cost while you were working?  Just curious for my own sake.

In short: yes, my employer subsidy was MUCH higher.  It paid for what would be considered a gold plan under ACA with very minimal cost to me.  My subsidized costs for a less desirable bronze plan costs a bit more.  I do qualify currently for subsidies at the 300% FPL.  I'm considering doing income gymnastics that will bump my subsidies down to the 400% FPL.

jim555

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2607
Re: What expenses went up/down after FIRE?
« Reply #12 on: July 21, 2016, 02:48:33 PM »
For me everything is lower.  I keep the MAGI below 138 so medical is not an issue.  No Federal taxes, minimal state taxes.  I walk most of the time so the car sits most days.  Interest and divs cover my base expenses.

mathjak107

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 558
Re: What expenses went up/down after FIRE?
« Reply #13 on: July 23, 2016, 07:20:53 AM »
for us , pretty much expenses are higher . medical insurance is 2x what it was .  we now have a long term care partnership plan in place to pay each year , but mostly because with us , we are out daily doing things and we find time cost money . now that we are retired one thing we have plenty of is time .

plenty of time to travel , to go places and to take the grandkids to . this being our first full year in retirement we clocked in higher in what we spent then we did while  working when all our time was taken up . .
« Last Edit: July 23, 2016, 07:22:56 AM by mathjak107 »

Classical_Liberal

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1171
  • Age: 45
Re: What expenses went up/down after FIRE?
« Reply #14 on: July 23, 2016, 09:36:45 AM »
For me everything is lower.  I keep the MAGI below 138 so medical is not an issue.  No Federal taxes, minimal state taxes.  I walk most of the time so the car sits most days.  Interest and divs cover my base expenses.

Does this mean you are on Medicaid? If so, are there any pitfalls to this coverage (ie having to repay large claims from assets at some future point, ect).  How much does it cost and what are deductibles/copays?

mathjak107

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 558
Re: What expenses went up/down after FIRE?
« Reply #15 on: July 23, 2016, 10:01:53 AM »
in our parts many doctors will not take medicaid plans . we had a terrible time finding quality care for my daughter when she was on healthy ny which is basically a medicaid plan  .

some folks have a moral issue utilizing medicaid at tax payers expense  when they  can afford to pay for insurance .

some feel aca subsidy is okay but medicaid is another story . others see nothing wrong and will utilize what ever they can that costs them little or nothing .

« Last Edit: July 23, 2016, 10:04:30 AM by mathjak107 »

G-dog

  • Senior Mustachian
  • ********
  • Posts: 16294
Re: What expenses went up/down after FIRE?
« Reply #16 on: July 23, 2016, 10:08:43 AM »
Increased: medical insurance; groceries
Decreased: eating out; gasoline

Only one year of data

mathjak107

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 558
Re: What expenses went up/down after FIRE?
« Reply #17 on: July 23, 2016, 10:10:44 AM »
we went the other way . we are always out and going places so we eat out more and more . in fact most of the fun is the fact we are in to photography and like to sample the foods in all the different areas we go . a bit to hot today but typically we are out daily year round going somewhere if we are not seeing the kids and grand kids .

jim555

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 2607
Re: What expenses went up/down after FIRE?
« Reply #18 on: July 23, 2016, 10:19:56 AM »
For me everything is lower.  I keep the MAGI below 138 so medical is not an issue.  No Federal taxes, minimal state taxes.  I walk most of the time so the car sits most days.  Interest and divs cover my base expenses.

Does this mean you are on Medicaid? If so, are there any pitfalls to this coverage (ie having to repay large claims from assets at some future point, ect).  How much does it cost and what are deductibles/copays?
Yes.  Fortunately my doctors from my former workplace are in the same network as the Medicaid plan which is a managed care plan.  I am under 55 so estate recovery doesn't apply yet.  No co-pays, no premiums, $1/$3 for Rx, $200 Max OOP per year.

Cassie

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 6904
Re: What expenses went up/down after FIRE?
« Reply #19 on: July 24, 2016, 10:00:07 AM »
Account: to answer your question my employer paid much more of my health insurance when I was an active employee versus being retired.  If I switched to the ACA plans I would have a 6500k deductible before anything was paid for and it is not cheap so it is better to keep my employer plan because at least I only need to pay for co-pays.  Because we still work p.t. in our fields we make between 65-75k/year so no subsidies.  Even with them the deductibles are too high.

Ozstache

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 863
  • Age: 53
  • Location: Oztralia
Re: What expenses went up/down after FIRE?
« Reply #20 on: July 24, 2016, 06:07:20 PM »
Down:
Utilities - more use from being at home more often but more than offset by energy efficient appliances and solar recently installed
Groceries - more eating at home but much more time to buy efficiently and negligible convenience foods purchased
General spending - much more focused on only buying what we will really need/love/use than pre-FIRE
Presents - same theme as spending reductions
Transportation - no mind numbing job to drive to anymore

Up:
Holidays - work no longer holds me back so we go more often
House projects - many more DIY projects, but a good ROI is a prerequisite
Donations - increasing recognition that others need money more than we do
Helping family - as per donations, but tempered with trying not to encourage ongoing financial dependency

Our pre-FIRE lifestyle was reasonably frugal compared to my peers, but MMM exposure has sharpened those skills into FIRE.

We are probably spending about 25% less on core living expenses since FIREing but we make up for it with intentional discretionary expenses as detailed in the Up category above, so overall about the same.
« Last Edit: July 24, 2016, 06:14:58 PM by Ozstache »