Author Topic: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income  (Read 26663 times)

Beric01

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I though this calculator was pretty cool. Compare your expenses to others based on income using Bureau of Labor Statistics data. What do you guys get?

I got 3%, though I'm still working on attacking my expenses so that should drop more.

Pooperman

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #1 on: October 01, 2014, 04:07:10 AM »
14%. I don't make enough for it to be a lower number. I know what I need to live in my high COL area (about 25k/2 people every year). When my career is really going, I will join you in the 3% category.

nottoolatetostart

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #2 on: October 01, 2014, 04:15:39 AM »
8.44%

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #3 on: October 01, 2014, 07:58:24 AM »
2.69

thedayisbrave

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #4 on: October 01, 2014, 09:47:08 AM »
I based it off the income I will be earning starting my new job next month and current expenses (which I don't expect to change).  2.2%.  Is that right?! Holy cow.

wing117

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #5 on: October 01, 2014, 10:08:36 AM »
I dunno if this is right, but mine came in at 0.33%.

arebelspy

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #6 on: October 01, 2014, 11:47:46 AM »
Neat tool, good use of the Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

It says to use gross income and not count retirement savings as an expense (duh?), but doesn't say if you should count taxes as an expense or not.  What did you all do - just normal monthly expenses, or normal expenses and taxes?

I get 1.13% if I do the former, 2.32% if I do the latter.

Got a ways to go to get in the top 1%, especially if taxes are counted as an expense.
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Exflyboy

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #7 on: October 01, 2014, 12:12:19 PM »
0.63%, but then I don't have a real job anymore so its not really meaningful

frank

Beric01

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #8 on: October 01, 2014, 12:13:24 PM »
Neat tool, good use of the Bureau of Labor Statistics data.

It says to use gross income and not count retirement savings as an expense (duh?), but doesn't say if you should count taxes as an expense or not.  What did you all do - just normal monthly expenses, or normal expenses and taxes?

I get 1.13% if I do the former, 2.32% if I do the latter.

Got a ways to go to get in the top 1%, especially if taxes are counted as an expense.

I think it was pretty clear that taxes don't count as an expense - I don't think most people even know their what their taxes are on a monthly basis.

Once my apartment lease expires and I start renting a room, it looks like I'll move up to .94%!

sol

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #9 on: October 01, 2014, 12:21:25 PM »
Between 15 and 25%, depending on how you measure income.  Over half of which is our primary mortgage.

I find it amazing that even with that relatively high spending rate (compared to others here) we're still on track to retire comfortably by age 40.  Does that mean that 20% of the population in my income bracket should also be able to retire by age 40?

MJP

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #10 on: October 01, 2014, 12:30:32 PM »
Interesting to see how much the size of the from/to income ranges impact the sample size which in turn impacts the final %.

First I put in from 160,000 to 160,000 with expenses of 2500. This resulted in 0% because there were only 17 samples at 160k.

Increasing the range to 160,000-165,000 bumps it up to 124 samples and 3.51%. Up to 175k is 358 samples and 3.33%

Elderwood17

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #11 on: October 01, 2014, 12:32:00 PM »
15%.  Guess I have some work to do!

Beric01

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #12 on: October 01, 2014, 12:34:42 PM »
Interesting to see how much the size of the from/to income ranges impact the sample size which in turn impacts the final %.

First I put in from 160,000 to 160,000 with expenses of 2500. This resulted in 0% because there were only 17 samples at 160k.

Increasing the range to 160,000-165,000 bumps it up to 124 samples and 3.51%. Up to 175k is 358 samples and 3.33%

Yeah, I did a +/- 2K income range to get enough of a sample size.

arebelspy

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #13 on: October 01, 2014, 01:00:15 PM »
I think it was pretty clear that taxes don't count as an expense - I don't think most people even know their what their taxes are on a monthly basis.

What did it say to you that made that clear?  I must have missed it.

And I don't think most people know their expenses, period. But if they do, they're likely (or at least should be) using annual and dividing by 12 so as to take into account irregular expenses (auto insurance paid annually, for example).

One of those expenses is a big check I write every April to the IRS.  That's why I was wondering.
I am a former teacher who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and am now settled with three kids.
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Beric01

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #14 on: October 01, 2014, 01:09:15 PM »
I think it was pretty clear that taxes don't count as an expense - I don't think most people even know their what their taxes are on a monthly basis.

What did it say to you that made that clear?  I must have missed it.

And I don't think most people know their expenses, period. But if they do, they're likely (or at least should be) using annual and dividing by 12 so as to take into account irregular expenses (auto insurance paid annually, for example).

One of those expenses is a big check I write every April to the IRS.  That's why I was wondering.

Well, I just went straight to the BLS data. From this report, it looks pretty clear that taxes are not included. I agree, though, that the calculator could make that clearer.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2014, 02:07:19 PM by Beric01 »

Workinghard

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #15 on: October 01, 2014, 01:27:55 PM »
Well, we're at 14% if I count charitable contributions as expenses otherwise it's  4%.

boarder42

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #16 on: October 01, 2014, 01:29:51 PM »
i'm 18-25% i'll take that.  i know i'm a bit spendier than the rest but i can still retire comfortably at 35-40

tarheeldan

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #17 on: October 01, 2014, 01:46:22 PM »
Cool! Thanks for sharing. 2.79% - "Winning!" it says.

arebelspy

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #18 on: October 01, 2014, 01:56:15 PM »
Well, I just went straight to the BLS date. From this report, it looks pretty clear that taxes are not included. I agree, though, that the calculator could make that clearer.

Gotcha.  I didn't dig that far, was just looking at the calculator instructions, which were pretty clear on everything else except taxes.

Thanks for finding that and clarifying!  :)
I am a former teacher who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and am now settled with three kids.
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dandarc

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #19 on: October 01, 2014, 02:03:21 PM »
Wow - we suck apparently at 25%.  One more metric to add to the 'are we doing ok?' analysis pack.

I like the retirement savings percentile calculator - apparently we are 1%'ers there.

Timmmy

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #20 on: October 01, 2014, 02:05:31 PM »
0% - Winning!

Pooperman

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #21 on: October 01, 2014, 02:06:53 PM »
0% - Winning!

It also tells you that you are 'Winning!' when you are at 98%+ too...

Eric

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #22 on: October 01, 2014, 02:07:20 PM »
This calc is biased against those of us in high COL areas.  We need one that excludes housing.  You know, so I can feel good about myself, which is what's important here.  :)

Beric01

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #23 on: October 01, 2014, 02:08:44 PM »
0% - Winning!

It also tells you that you are 'Winning!' when you are at 98%+ too...

Yeah, I accidentally put in an extra zero on my expenses the first time I ran it and got the same result.

I guess if losing counts as winning...

This calc is biased against those of us in high COL areas.  We need one that excludes housing.  You know, so I can feel good about myself, which is what's important here.  :)

I got my result IN a high COL area. I guess I can really pat myself on the back now. ;-)
« Last Edit: October 01, 2014, 02:11:09 PM by Beric01 »

Pooperman

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #24 on: October 01, 2014, 02:20:10 PM »
This calc is biased against those of us in high COL areas.  We need one that excludes housing.  You know, so I can feel good about myself, which is what's important here.  :)

I got my result IN a high COL area. I guess I can really pat myself on the back now. ;-)

I think income matters the most. I'm at about 14% given my 'low' income (for these forums). I'm also 24, so it's kinda expected. Income ~65k. Spending ~2250. HCOLA makes spending under that pretty difficult. If I went the Spartan way, it could be about 1900, but that doesn't touch the low numbers some of you are posting. That would take bringing in about double.

BonBon

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #25 on: October 01, 2014, 02:32:31 PM »
 0.38% Although I find that really hard to believe as I have a close to $300/month discretion spending budget on a low income.
« Last Edit: October 01, 2014, 02:35:27 PM by BonMc »

arebelspy

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #26 on: October 01, 2014, 02:35:29 PM »
This calc is biased against those of us in high COL areas.  We need one that excludes housing.  You know, so I can feel good about myself, which is what's important here.  :)

If you're in a high COL area though, you're likely up in the higher income.  And in the higher income, if you spend less relative to them...

In other words, I'd bet that high COL and high income are correlated.
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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #27 on: October 01, 2014, 03:26:41 PM »
It tells me I should take my savings and pay off the mortgage.  :)  Then I would be Winning! but now I am not.

Beric01

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #28 on: October 01, 2014, 03:45:57 PM »
I think income matters the most. I'm at about 14% given my 'low' income (for these forums). I'm also 24, so it's kinda expected. Income ~65k. Spending ~2250. HCOLA makes spending under that pretty difficult. If I went the Spartan way, it could be about 1900, but that doesn't touch the low numbers some of you are posting. That would take bringing in about double.

I'm currently living in San Jose (the most expensive metro in the US) for $1600/month, and I'm looking at a couple options to pull that down to $1200/month. If I were to go Spartan I could pull that down to sub $1K. It's all a matter of keeping your mind open to options.

I want to be a 1-percenter! ;-)

Pooperman

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #29 on: October 01, 2014, 04:01:56 PM »
I think income matters the most. I'm at about 14% given my 'low' income (for these forums). I'm also 24, so it's kinda expected. Income ~65k. Spending ~2250. HCOLA makes spending under that pretty difficult. If I went the Spartan way, it could be about 1900, but that doesn't touch the low numbers some of you are posting. That would take bringing in about double.

I'm currently living in San Jose (the most expensive metro in the US) for $1600/month, and I'm looking at a couple options to pull that down to $1200/month. If I were to go Spartan I could pull that down to sub $1K. It's all a matter of keeping your mind open to options.

I want to be a 1-percenter! ;-)

I am not just one person. My figures are actually for 2 people. That means my share of expenses would be 1300/mo (mine higher than hers). I live just outside of New York City.

Elderwood17

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #30 on: October 01, 2014, 07:14:25 PM »
I redid it and just entered the with holdings for health and dental insurance at work, plus our property tax, home tax and car insurance - in other words those fixed costs I am currently locked in at.  That alone put me at over 2%!

Paul der Krake

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #31 on: October 01, 2014, 07:23:40 PM »
This is great. I clock in a 0.27% alone, or 1.69% for the two of us.

Now where do I get a "I am the 1%" sticker for my bike?

shuffler

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #32 on: October 01, 2014, 07:59:40 PM »
The data doesn't make much sense to me.
It's telling me that 90% of people who make $200k-$300k spend $15k yearly or less.

Somehow I doubt that $200k-$300k income earners are all a super-breed of mustachians.

Beric01

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #33 on: October 01, 2014, 08:01:10 PM »
The data doesn't make much sense to me.
It's telling me that 90% of people who make $200k-$300k spend $15k yearly or less.

Somehow I doubt that $200k-$300k income earners are all a super-breed of mustachians.

This data is based on monthly, not yearly expenses. Input your monthly spending and it should make a lot more sense.

shuffler

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #34 on: October 01, 2014, 08:17:59 PM »
This data is based on monthly, not yearly expenses. Input your monthly spending and it should make a lot more sense.
Ah, that is better.

Shifting between annual incomes and monthly expenses seems weird to me, but I suppose other people think of things that way?

Beric01

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #35 on: October 01, 2014, 08:21:13 PM »
This data is based on monthly, not yearly expenses. Input your monthly spending and it should make a lot more sense.
Ah, that is better.

Shifting between annual incomes and monthly expenses seems weird to me, but I suppose other people think of things that way?

Yeah, people tend to know their annual salary and their monthly spending. Just the way it is, I guess.

h2ogal

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #36 on: October 01, 2014, 08:22:35 PM »
What about Medical insurance that comes out of your pay before taxes, are you supposed to count that as expense or not? 

arebelspy

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #37 on: October 01, 2014, 08:47:29 PM »
This data is based on monthly, not yearly expenses. Input your monthly spending and it should make a lot more sense.
Ah, that is better.

Shifting between annual incomes and monthly expenses seems weird to me, but I suppose other people think of things that way?

Yeah, people tend to know their annual salary and their monthly spending. Just the way it is, I guess.

Yeah, and I bet due to this they underestimate their spending by missing large one-off irregularly occurring items (whereas on the earnings side, they'd probably add in a bonus, if they had one, to their annual income, as that's easier, versus dividing by 12 and adding it to the monthly).
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Malaysia41

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #38 on: October 01, 2014, 09:01:04 PM »
Does this seem right: put in $360-370k income and $10k/month expenses.  I would think that's pretty badass for a family, but the result is 58%.  Really?  58 of 100 people spend less? 
 
Is this due to low sample size or is this reality?  I'd think this income level would be plagued with lifestyle-inflated data points.

... not ... feeling ... so ... smug.

Beric01

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #39 on: October 01, 2014, 09:28:48 PM »
Does this seem right: put in $360-370k income and $10k/month expenses.  I would think that's pretty badass for a family, but the result is 58%.  Really?  58 of 100 people spend less? 
 
Is this due to low sample size or is this reality?  I'd think this income level would be plagued with lifestyle-inflated data points.

... not ... feeling ... so ... smug.

First of all, the sample size is very small, and you could have some reporting issues at that income level. I agree though that the spending level does seem a bit lower than one would expect at first glance.

Other things to think about are how much taxes are eating up that income, that people with higher incomes tend to save more, etc.

MsRichLife

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #40 on: October 01, 2014, 09:31:38 PM »
I'm in Australia, so it's unlikely to be a fair comparison because it's much cheaper to live in the US.

Based on my current expenses (incl rent and childcare) I get 34%. Based on post-FIRE expenses (no rent or childcare) I get 4.5%.

terrier56

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #41 on: October 01, 2014, 09:39:13 PM »
Also in australia and im in the 1% woooooooooooooop!!

The key to this is that I work away for 20 days every month (all expense covered). Still I feel the frugality muscles flexing.

a.g

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #42 on: October 01, 2014, 09:52:16 PM »
3.7% if I use net earnings, 4.1% gross. I'm thinking about selling my car though, so I entered what my figure would be with that scenario, and got a big fat 0. Pretty cool

expatartist

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #43 on: October 01, 2014, 10:05:15 PM »
0.51%. But my job pays for our housing & my health ins, taxes are a bit lower, and where I live the COL is generally quite a bit lower than in major US cities.

Rural

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #44 on: October 02, 2014, 03:38:31 AM »
We come in at 1.4, but I'm suspicious of this calculator. It allows for several spending levels above the monthly gross salary??

arebelspy

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #45 on: October 02, 2014, 08:19:37 AM »
We come in at 1.4, but I'm suspicious of this calculator. It allows for several spending levels above the monthly gross salary??

Why does that surprise you? 

Many people spend more than they make.  It's called "living above your means" or "going into debt."

People who end the year with more debt than they started (and no growth on the savings side).

Thought it seems unfathomable to a Mustachian, now that I put it that way, does it make sense why the calculator allows that?  ;)
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Dr. Doom

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #46 on: October 02, 2014, 08:32:20 AM »
Neat tool.
2.32%
Included taxes as spending.
Reminds me of this mmm article for some reason.

Heart of Tin

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #47 on: October 02, 2014, 08:40:07 AM »
Hmmm. $12,000 annual income with $1,000 monthly spending results in 16.6 percent. $18,000 and $1,500 results in 39.2 percent. On the other hand, $120,000 and $10,000 results in 90.8 percent. Lots of people living in debt or off of savings.

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #48 on: October 02, 2014, 12:48:58 PM »
Does the income side include passive income?  Paper gains?  Anyway, doing a quick check I get about 15%, but I'm not payin' off my mortgage to lower monthly expense!  Ironically, just yesterday I was on Early-Retirement.org and they had linked to the Net Worth Percentile part of the calculator.  I'd rather be in the top 1% on that calculator than 1% on this one...

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Re: Frugal Meter: compare your expenses to others with similar income
« Reply #49 on: October 02, 2014, 12:58:49 PM »
Ironically, just yesterday I was on Early-Retirement.org and they had linked to the Net Worth Percentile part of the calculator.  I'd rather be in the top 1% on that calculator than 1% on this one...

Actually, I saw that calculator linked on another site, but found this one way more interesting. Perhaps it's because I do so much better on this one than that one. :P

I got 8-10 years left building my 'stache, but my savings rate should get my net worth up there quickly.