Author Topic: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014  (Read 44972 times)

Herbert Derp

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 547
  • Location: United States
Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« on: January 15, 2014, 09:31:43 PM »
So in 2013, my total spending was a little over $11,300. For reference, that's slightly less than the poverty line in the USA for someone in my situation ($11,490). But I know I can do much better than that--if I maintain my current level of spending I could spend somewhere around $8,000 for the year. That's almost a 30% difference YOY, wow!

I'll be tracking my progress in this thread over the next year, let's see what happens. Anyone want to join me and keep a running tally of their spending for the year?

Insanity

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1025
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #1 on: January 15, 2014, 09:35:25 PM »
So in 2013, my total spending was a little over $11,300. For reference, that's slightly less than the poverty line in the USA for someone in my situation ($11,490). But I know I can do much better than that--if I maintain my current level of spending I could spend somewhere around $8,000 for the year. That's almost a 30% difference YOY, wow!

I'll be tracking my progress in this thread over the next year, let's see what happens. Anyone want to join me and keep a running tally of their spending for the year?

I would have to sell my house, my kids, my cars, and my wife -- err, no that wouldn't work either..

Good luck.

HappierAtHome

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8156
  • Location: Australia
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #2 on: January 15, 2014, 09:59:55 PM »
According to the OECD comparative price levels (halfway down this wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purchasing_power_parity, though I'm sure you could find the full info on the OECD site itself) it would take $145 US dollars to buy the same goods and services in Australia that would cost $100 in the US. Aussie dollar is at 88c right now, so that $145 US is $164.50 AUS.

Which means that $10,000 or less in the US effectively equals $16,450 in Australia when you take into account the exchange rate and a basic purchasing power parity calculation.

So if I can interpret this challenge as "spend less than $16,450 total in 2014" for Aussies, then not only am I planning to come in under that (hopefully at $12,000 Aus for 2014, depending on medical costs) but there's at least one other Aussie who is planning to do this too.

Great challenge.

sol

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8474
  • Age: 43
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #3 on: January 15, 2014, 10:19:30 PM »
If that's 10k per person in the household, I'm in.

Oooh, I like that version. 

My first reaction to $10k annual spending was "no way" because our mortgage is more than double that, but we're a family of five and I'm pretty sure we can spend less than $50k all in.  We have the past two years in a row, and that includes some pretty major purchases on top of our lavish lifestyle.

Anatidae V

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7627
  • Age: 31
  • Location: Fourecks
  • Nullus Anxietas
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #4 on: January 15, 2014, 10:35:10 PM »
If that's 10k per person in the household, I'm in.

Oooh, I like that version. 

My first reaction to $10k annual spending was "no way" because our mortgage is more than double that, but we're a family of five and I'm pretty sure we can spend less than $50k all in.  We have the past two years in a row, and that includes some pretty major purchases on top of our lavish lifestyle.

Even accounting for being in Australia, we spent about 2.5x that last year per person. Good luck with it!

Nudelkopf

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 900
  • Age: 29
  • Location: Australia
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #5 on: January 15, 2014, 11:10:36 PM »
According to the OECD comparative price levels (halfway down this wikipedia page http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Purchasing_power_parity, though I'm sure you could find the full info on the OECD site itself) it would take $145 US dollars to buy the same goods and services in Australia that would cost $100 in the US. Aussie dollar is at 88c right now, so that $145 US is $164.50 AUS.

Which means that $10,000 or less in the US effectively equals $16,450 in Australia when you take into account the exchange rate and a basic purchasing power parity calculation.

So if I can interpret this challenge as "spend less than $16,450 total in 2014" for Aussies, then not only am I planning to come in under that (hopefully at $12,000 Aus for 2014, depending on medical costs) but there's at least one other Aussie who is planning to do this too.
Cool maths, that makes me feel pretty good :) So, yes, I'll join your challenge! :D

sol

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8474
  • Age: 43
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #6 on: January 15, 2014, 11:19:09 PM »
Even accounting for being in Australia, we spent about 2.5x that last year per person. Good luck with it!

Meh, these numbers can be gamed a bit.

We spend about $10k per person if I just add up our monthly outlays (mortgage, total credit and cash spending).  I just realized that this method does not include our paycheck deductions for things like healthcare, or our employer contributions to same.  And we own our car outright so we don't have a car payment, which artificially deflates our spending in the same way that MMM owning his home outright deflates his family's spending.  In both cases we've already incurred the up front cost, depleting the stash to keep ongoing expenses low.

It's also a little easier for family with three kids to live on $50k than it is for a single dude to live on $10k.  Kids don't cost nearly as much to keep alive as does a working adult, and they're tax deductions to boot.

sol

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8474
  • Age: 43
  • Location: Pacific Northwest
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #7 on: January 15, 2014, 11:24:21 PM »
Which means that $10,000 or less in the US effectively equals $16,450 in Australia when you take into account the exchange rate and a basic purchasing power parity calculation.

Your math is a little suspect.  Why would you price adjust for CPI and then do a currency exchange?  One or the other, mate, take your pick.

Besides, the same trickery could be used in the US, too.  I think it violates the spirit of the challenge to say "well I live in Beverly Hills and everything costs twice as much here, so I will meet the challenge by spending $20k instead!"  Lame. 

If you live somewhere that's expensive as hell (and I kind of do) then you are not badass enough to accept the thrown gauntlet.  Meet him at $10k or stfu.

HappierAtHome

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8156
  • Location: Australia
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #8 on: January 16, 2014, 12:12:16 AM »
Which means that $10,000 or less in the US effectively equals $16,450 in Australia when you take into account the exchange rate and a basic purchasing power parity calculation.

Your math is a little suspect.  Why would you price adjust for CPI and then do a currency exchange?  One or the other, mate, take your pick.

Besides, the same trickery could be used in the US, too.  I think it violates the spirit of the challenge to say "well I live in Beverly Hills and everything costs twice as much here, so I will meet the challenge by spending $20k instead!"  Lame. 

If you live somewhere that's expensive as hell (and I kind of do) then you are not badass enough to accept the thrown gauntlet.  Meet him at $10k or stfu.

I'll interpret that as an attempt to inspire me to greater badassity, in the hope that that's the spirit in which it was offered. But I think I'll stick to my original choice of making this very cool challenge relevant to my location and keep participating. My conversion of the $10K limit to the same 'buying power' in Australia is an attempt to fully engage with the spirit and intent of the challenge instead of deciding that it's unrealistic for my location and not even trying because I can't comply with the strictest interpretation of the stated gauntlet, so I'm sad that you saw it as not being in the spirit of the challenge. How about you decide your parameters for this challenge, and I'll decide mine, and everyone can be happy?

From a more academic standpoint because your argument re: COL interests me, if you're honestly stating that you don't think COL adjustments country to country are acceptable, does that mean that anyone living in a developing nation with super low COL can live like a king, spend everything they earn (or more!) and still have technically met the challenge requirements if they've spent less than $10k US? Pretty sure there's a guy on the forum who mentioned his annual expenditure when he lived in Tanzania being something like $200 US... hot damn he would kill this challenge ;-)

And I'm honestly curious about why you wouldn't apply both COL AND an exchange rate if translating an amount across from the US, in US dollars, to Aus... Unless the COL conversion you were using already included a currency conversion? The OECD one didn't, and related the COL in the US in US $ to the COL in Aus in US $. Hence my addition of a currency conversion. So if you set aside your objection to COL conversion, why when translating COL would you not also convert the currency?

marty998

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 7007
  • Location: Sydney, Oz
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #9 on: January 16, 2014, 12:32:27 AM »
@ Herbert Derp you really do slam down the gauntlet sometimes.

If I go over by $7k but increase my income by $7k does that count?

Herbert Derp

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 547
  • Location: United States
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #10 on: January 16, 2014, 12:38:08 AM »
@ Herbert Derp you really do slam down the gauntlet sometimes.

If I go over by $7k but increase my income by $7k does that count?

Nah, for this one I want to focus purely on spending, not cash flow.

kt

  • Guest
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #11 on: January 16, 2014, 12:55:34 AM »
ouch. i really cannot imagine managing the equivalent (£6,100) here in the uk. anyone in the uk going to manage that?!

i'm feeling very unbass because i just cannot see that as feasible. my current bare-bones budget is £8,400 including all rent, bills, food and going out (i spend more to allow for visiting family, holidays and a bit of christmas spending). The only way I could get below would be no socialising, no travel to visit family or friends and live in a tiny box room (this is doubly unappealing as I work from home). I just don't feel the need to do that. It would be miserable.
however, if i have a mortgage with my fiancé by the end of the year we could certainly manage $20k if we wanted.

best of luck to all you mad, amazing people!

Ian

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 364
  • Location: South Korea
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #12 on: January 16, 2014, 01:13:25 AM »
Since rent is covered by my employer, I should definitely be able to manage this, but since I haven't been tracking my expenses for very long, I can't be sure. So I'll take this as a benchmark challenge.

30to40

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 16
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #13 on: January 16, 2014, 03:56:48 AM »
Count me in :) I will add a bit based on higher cost of living in my country, but the general idea is on par with my goal of trying to cut spending from 32.000 dollars to 13.000 in 2014.

Two zero spending days in a row now, and 100 dollars since 1st of january.

Good luck.

Herbert Derp

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 547
  • Location: United States
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #14 on: January 16, 2014, 04:20:29 AM »
Hmm, somehow I just spent $10 on a t-shirt. Perhaps posting this thread has inspired me to spend more; I'm still experimenting with frugality vs fun. Nevertheless, I don't anticipate going over budget this month.

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 28295
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #15 on: January 16, 2014, 06:21:07 AM »
In the debate of "Meet his challenge or go make your own" versus "Modify the challenge for myself," I personally see both sides, but would lean towards the former.

If you can't make the badassity gauntlet thrown down (for whatever reason - expensive COL area, kids, medical issues, whatever), it is what it is. 

You should certainly set your own gauntlet, but why clutter up someone else's - that you can't meet, but hopefully others can - to whine or complain talk about how it isn't feasible for you?

A currency conversion makes sense to me, but other shenanigans (increase due to XYZ excuses) don't.

The thing I find the most lame though is those modifying the challenge to something you've already accomplished or are already on track for.

So I'm gonna administer some face punches, but don't take it personally.  ;)

Two examples (not to specifically call these out, so names omitted, though obviously you could just scroll up, but just to point out these examples)..

Example 1:
Quote
Oooh, I like that version. 

My first reaction to $10k annual spending was "no way" because our mortgage is more than double that, but we're a family of five and I'm pretty sure we can spend less than $50k all in.  We have the past two years in a row, and that includes some pretty major purchases on top of our lavish lifestyle.

You're "pretty sure" you can, when you've already done it two years in a row?  And that's WITH major purchases and lavish spending in those two years?  And that's your gauntlet?  Come on, that isn't a challenge!

Example 2:
Quote
So if I can interpret this challenge as "spend less than $16,450 total in 2014" for Aussies, then not only am I planning to come in under that (hopefully at $12,000 Aus for 2014, depending on medical costs) but there's at least one other Aussie who is planning to do this too.

Great challenge.

Wait, wtf? So you adjust the number up from 10k to 16k, then admit you're already planning on coming in 25% below that?  How is it a challenge then to spend less than 16k if 16k is 25% over your budget?  A challenge would be going from the 12k you're planning to the original 10k gauntlet thrown, not saying "look at this higher challenge I'm already easily meeting"!

WTF?  How are these examples of badassity?

/facepunches administered

(No need to defend yourselves, I'm sure you have unique scenarios, etc. etc.. just pointing out how silly those posts are.)


 
@ Herbert Derp you really do slam down the gauntlet sometimes.

If I go over by $7k but increase my income by $7k does that count?

Nah, for this one I want to focus purely on spending, not cash flow.

Good call.  Otherwise can't I just increase my spending by 50k and income by 50k and call it having met the challenge?  That's - again - not badass or a challenge (spending-wise; it may be a challenge income-wise).

It's a tough gauntlet, to be sure.

I won't make it.  I won't even make it at the 10k/person level (the wife and I spend about 25k between us).

I'd guess mostly younger people who have a roommate (or in another "nontraditional" living situation - living at home, living in an RV, etc.), so housing costs are super low, could make it.  It's a very ERE-esque challenge - I'm sure multiple people on their forums can, and will, make that 10k spending.

It won't be most people that can meet it. 

By all means, make your own challenges.  But I tip my hat to those who can make this as-is (or with a currency conversion).
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

HappierAtHome

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8156
  • Location: Australia
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #16 on: January 16, 2014, 07:09:27 AM »
Hmmm. I see your points, arebelspy (though I'm honestly really interested in understanding why COL adjustments are so distasteful when comparing different countries - because I find that really interesting and potentially hugely problematic or at least challenging!). Your point about it not being a challenge if you're already doing it is something for me to ponder some more. You really do have a way of facepunching without being offensive, a rare skill.

I guess I'm used to gauntlets where posters are welcome to join in the challenge with their own flavor/modifications, and I certainly prefer them (to the point where I assumed that this would be 'that' sort of thread, whoops). I've been privy to some really inspiring discussions on those threads which probably wouldn't have happened if it was do x, only x, and if you do y you're not welcome here.

Can't wait to see how you go, herbert derp, because it really is an awesome goal.

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 28295
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #17 on: January 16, 2014, 07:56:26 AM »
I guess I'm used to gauntlets where posters are welcome to join in the challenge with their own flavor/modifications, and I certainly prefer them (to the point where I assumed that this would be 'that' sort of thread, whoops). I've been privy to some really inspiring discussions on those threads which probably wouldn't have happened if it was do x, only x, and if you do y you're not welcome here.

Yeah, like I said, I see both sides of it.  I guess to me what you're describing is more of a personal goal.  And a gauntlet is a specific challenge to do something.

Some gauntlets are more open-ended (e.g. "reduce your electric bill"), and can be tweaked similar to a personal goal and fit everyone, some are more specific (e.g. hit this number).

If it was a "reduce your electric bill by X%" everyone could do that.   If it was "reduce your electric bill to an average of $20/mo," most couldn't, but that's okay, it's a challenge for those who can attempt it.

If someone threw down a gauntlet to run a marathon, for example.  That's a specific goal.  One that may not be feasible for some (or too easy for others - I know people who are going to spend way less than 10k this year).  It'd be great for them to make their own goal (say, running a 5k).  But it's disingenuous to then say they met the gauntlet (which they modified for themselves).  They met a goal, not the gauntlet thrown down.

So some more narrow ones you just have to shrug, say "I can't do that, but I tip my hat to those of you that can" and set your own goal, hopefully inspired by them.

Hope that all made sense explaining what I meant.  :)
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

JohnGalt

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 484
  • Age: 35
  • Location: TX
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #18 on: January 16, 2014, 08:44:45 AM »
Hmmm. I see your points, arebelspy (though I'm honestly really interested in understanding why COL adjustments are so distasteful when comparing different countries - because I find that really interesting and potentially hugely problematic or at least challenging!).

The COL adjustment is an issue because COL isn't so much country dependent as it is geographically dependent.  Essentially everyone could invoke the COL adjustment, making the $10,000 part of the challenge pointless.

CommonCents

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2385
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #19 on: January 16, 2014, 01:40:05 PM »
Interesting points.  For me, I think key is that the OP referenced the spending as being near the poverty line for a household of one.  So I would suggest, for those households seeking to join in that have more than one person in the household, to keep to the spirit of the challenge by spending 87% or less of your applicable household size below (adjusted by US, Hawaii and Alaska already).  Trickier is other countries...do you go by your own countries poverty line as defined by that country or just a currency equivalency?... 

http://www.irp.wisc.edu/faqs/faq1.htm

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines, 2013
Persons in Family/Household Annual Income:
48 Contiguous States and D.C. Annual Income:
1 $11,490
2  15,510
3  19,530
4  23,550
5  27,570
6  31,590
7  35,610
8  39,630
>8 persons  Add $4,020 for each additional person  Add $5,030 for each additional person Add $4,620 for each additional person

Our household of 2 will not be meeting this challenge ($13,499, ETA: 87% of $15,510), however I'll enjoy watching everyone else do so.  A family of 5 would need to spend below $23,995 by this interpretation.

ETA: Note, for simplicity sake, folks might consider aspiring to simply spending below the applicable poverty line.
« Last Edit: January 16, 2014, 02:12:42 PM by CommonCents »

Herbert Derp

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 547
  • Location: United States
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #20 on: January 16, 2014, 01:50:15 PM »
Interesting points.  For me, I think key is that the OP referenced the spending as being near the poverty line for a household of one.  So I would suggest, for those households seeking to join in that have more than one person in the household, to keep to the spirit of the challenge by spending 87% or less of your applicable household size below (adjusted by US, Hawaii and Alaska already).  Trickier is other countries...do you go by your own countries poverty line as defined by that country or just a currency equivalency?... 

I like this interpretation, it is much better than the 10K per person interpretation. As sol pointed out,

It's also a little easier for family with three kids to live on $50k than it is for a single dude to live on $10k.  Kids don't cost nearly as much to keep alive as does a working adult, and they're tax deductions to boot.

I think this interpretation keeps with the spirit of the challenge.

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 28295
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #21 on: January 16, 2014, 02:00:36 PM »
I like that CommonCents.

Where did you get the 13499 number?

Quote
Our household of 2 will not be meeting this challenge ($13,499), however I'll enjoy watching everyone else do so.  A family of 5 would need to spend below $23,995 by this interpretation.

I'm seeing (for 2 people): 15,510 (lower 48) 19,380 (Alaska) 17,850 (Hawaii)

Here's what I found for Australia (already in AUD, naturally): http://melbourneinstitute.com/downloads/publications/Poverty%20Lines/Poverty-lines-Australia-June2013.pdf

You can use the chart to look up what the line is for you depending on your circumstance (how many people in your house, how many working, etc.)
« Last Edit: January 16, 2014, 02:02:45 PM by arebelspy »
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

CommonCents

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2385
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #22 on: January 16, 2014, 02:09:24 PM »
I like that CommonCents.

Where did you get the 13499 number?

Quote
Our household of 2 will not be meeting this challenge ($13,499), however I'll enjoy watching everyone else do so.  A family of 5 would need to spend below $23,995 by this interpretation.

I'm seeing (for 2 people): 15,510 (lower 48) 19,380 (Alaska) 17,850 (Hawaii)

Here's what I found for Australia (already in AUD, naturally): http://melbourneinstitute.com/downloads/publications/Poverty%20Lines/Poverty-lines-Australia-June2013.pdf

You can use the chart to look up what the line is for you depending on your circumstance (how many people in your house, how many working, etc.)

OP posted he'd spend $10,000, which I calculated was 87% of the poverty line for his household.  ($10,000/$11,490)  $13,499 is 87% of $15,510.  But if you wish to keep it simple, simply spend under the poverty line.

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 28295
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #23 on: January 16, 2014, 02:44:06 PM »
Ahh, got it.  I figure he picked 10k because it's a nice round number, rather than because it was 87% of the poverty line.  So maybe the gauntlet should be "the next nice round number below your poverty line."  So maybe 15,000 for the family of two (15,510 poverty line for a family of two)?
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

HappierAtHome

  • Walrus Stache
  • *******
  • Posts: 8156
  • Location: Australia
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #24 on: January 16, 2014, 05:03:37 PM »
The thing is, if nobody posted here who wasn't adapting the quantlet, and/or stating that they already meet the requirements, and/or saying "gee, I can't do that"... would we even have one reply so far? I like discussion (even debate!) and if gauntlets were going to be restricted that much then we wouldn't get to see nearly as many interesting discussions on this site.

I like the poverty line idea, though given that I live with a partner and keep separate finances I'm not sure which category I really fit in. Single not including housing (which I think is the best description of my financial situation) is $330 a week, or $17,160 a year (very close to my $16k calculation from the COL adjustment)... I spent something around $20k last year and as stated, I'm hoping to spend $12k this year, which is a significant push for me.

CommonCents

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2385
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #25 on: January 16, 2014, 05:43:39 PM »
Ahh, got it.  I figure he picked 10k because it's a nice round number, rather than because it was 87% of the poverty line.  So maybe the gauntlet should be "the next nice round number below your poverty line."  So maybe 15,000 for the family of two (15,510 poverty line for a family of two)?

I'm sure he did, I was just trying to equate it because it seemed above in the thread there were some concerns about drifting too far from the original challenge.  But "next nice round figure below your poverty line" sounds good to me.

secondcor521

  • Magnum Stache
  • ******
  • Posts: 3045
  • Age: 51
  • Location: Boise, Idaho
  • Big cattle, no hat.
    • Age of Eon - Overwatch player videos
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #26 on: January 16, 2014, 05:59:10 PM »
How many people are in my household?  There's me, plus two kids who are with me 1/3 of the time, plus a kid who's away at college but I pay his expenses.

Do we include all expenses, or just after tax?  Child support?

Enquiring minds...

Shor

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 480
  • Location: Orange County, CA, USA
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #27 on: January 16, 2014, 06:03:31 PM »
I... don't even meet the basic requirements to tackle this gauntlet: $12k purely on renting the apartment, and that's not going away any time this year.. If I included my roommate in the equation, his unmustachian habits would up the expenses by at least $40k, so yeah, I can't even loophole my way through this one..

To anyone tackling this gauntlet, you are awe-inspiring!

If only I could throw away my stuff and live in a van down by the river...

VuwylkOnlezzyen

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 32
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #28 on: January 16, 2014, 06:04:14 PM »
Interesting points.  For me, I think key is that the OP referenced the spending as being near the poverty line for a household of one.  So I would suggest, for those households seeking to join in that have more than one person in the household, to keep to the spirit of the challenge by spending 87% or less of your applicable household size below (adjusted by US, Hawaii and Alaska already).  Trickier is other countries...do you go by your own countries poverty line as defined by that country or just a currency equivalency?... 

http://www.irp.wisc.edu/faqs/faq1.htm

U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Poverty Guidelines, 2013
Persons in Family/Household Annual Income:
48 Contiguous States and D.C. Annual Income:
1 $11,490
2  15,510
3  19,530
4  23,550
5  27,570
6  31,590
7  35,610
8  39,630
>8 persons  Add $4,020 for each additional person  Add $5,030 for each additional person Add $4,620 for each additional person

Our household of 2 will not be meeting this challenge ($13,499, ETA: 87% of $15,510), however I'll enjoy watching everyone else do so.  A family of 5 would need to spend below $23,995 by this interpretation.

ETA: Note, for simplicity sake, folks might consider aspiring to simply spending below the applicable poverty line.
I would like to try that.  Family of six = $27483.30 (87% of poverty line)

Not sure we'll make it, but it would be interesting to try.

Herbert Derp

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 547
  • Location: United States
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #29 on: February 01, 2014, 03:58:05 AM »
One month down! January was a month where I was somewhat free with my spending, and it shows in how close I got to hitting my budget.

January
Rent: $500.00 (includes electricity/water/sewage/trash/internet)
Other: $161.28
Total: $661.28

Total spent so far for 2014: $661.28
Average monthly spending for 2014: $661.28
Extrapolated 2014 spending: $7,935.36

Let's see if I can keep that last number under $8,000!

pedostache

  • 5 O'Clock Shadow
  • *
  • Posts: 18
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #30 on: February 02, 2014, 09:22:27 AM »
I hit 10,600 last year so I'm going to try and join you.  My life situation is drastically different than last year but I at least know that it is possible.

kolorado

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 368
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #31 on: February 02, 2014, 10:16:30 AM »
 CommonCents, your comments are exactly what I got out the OP's challenge as well.

 I won't be joining this challenge, but our family has spent at or below the poverty level(apart from medical insurance premiums) for 10 of the last 13 years.  It's a great spending strategy to get ahead financially.

 This year, we(family of five) are budgeted at 20% over the poverty guidelines and will most likely spend less. That extra 20% is almost all in the vacation budget. After all these years of just visits to relatives, we are finally buying a pop-up camper this year and seeing the country on "real" vacations. It's going to be a big part of our homeschooling education plan. :)

Good luck OP!

theSchmett

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 215
  • Location: New Jersey
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #32 on: February 06, 2014, 10:45:19 AM »
My only note/question on this awesome challenge is this: aren't people and families around the poverty line eligible for several kinds of financial assistance (like with buying food, and often subsidized housing), and then this doesn't get counted into the challenge?

*I am in no way advocating taking money away or giving more to any socioeconomic group.

But doesn't this make the challenge EVEN MORE difficult?

I'd like to try doing 200% of the poverty level, but still it is still considerably a large percentage of mortgage payments.


windawake

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 435
  • Age: 32
  • Location: Minneapolis, MN
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #33 on: February 06, 2014, 11:01:10 AM »
One month down! January was a month where I was somewhat free with my spending, and it shows in how close I got to hitting my budget.

January
Rent: $500.00 (includes electricity/water/sewage/trash/internet)
Other: $161.28
Total: $661.28

Total spent so far for 2014: $661.28
Average monthly spending for 2014: $661.28
Extrapolated 2014 spending: $7,935.36

Let's see if I can keep that last number under $8,000!

Wow I'm really impressed! My rent is $480 and I was thinking there's no way I could meet this challenge. Can you elucidate your expenses/living situation for us? How do you only spend $160/month, ie. how do you eat and pay utilities and get around and clothe yourself?

CommonCents

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2385
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #34 on: February 06, 2014, 11:01:43 AM »
My only note/question on this awesome challenge is this: aren't people and families around the poverty line eligible for several kinds of financial assistance (like with buying food, and often subsidized housing), and then this doesn't get counted into the challenge?

*I am in no way advocating taking money away or giving more to any socioeconomic group.

But doesn't this make the challenge EVEN MORE difficult?

I'd like to try doing 200% of the poverty level, but still it is still considerably a large percentage of mortgage payments.

Sure, but 1) not everyone qualifies (e.g. a pregnant woman in my state qualifies for health care that a man wouldn't qualify for), 2) people may not know about those programs, 3) the programs can be hard to get into/navigate (housing I think is particularly difficult to obtain) 4) due to pride/self-sufficiency desires, even qualified and knowledgable families may not apply and 5) this is a benchmark, so you can set your own goals, as you have done.

sheepstache

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 2419
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #35 on: February 06, 2014, 11:19:24 AM »
My only note/question on this awesome challenge is this: aren't people and families around the poverty line eligible for several kinds of financial assistance (like with buying food, and often subsidized housing), and then this doesn't get counted into the challenge?

*I am in no way advocating taking money away or giving more to any socioeconomic group.

But doesn't this make the challenge EVEN MORE difficult?

I'd like to try doing 200% of the poverty level, but still it is still considerably a large percentage of mortgage payments.

In addition to CommonCent's points, there's also the difference between spending at poverty level and making poverty level.  Those making poverty level money aren't just in need of subsidies because they might not have enough to buy food but also because otherwise they have nothing extra to put towards emergency savings and retirement. 
And in your case, you have a mortgage and someone at that income level definitely wouldn't be able to get together the downpayment or be approved for the loan, so you could consider that a subsidy if it helps?


edited for attribution error
« Last Edit: February 06, 2014, 11:45:00 AM by sheepstache »

4alpacas

  • Handlebar Stache
  • *****
  • Posts: 1898
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #36 on: February 06, 2014, 11:29:27 AM »
While I spend more than $10k on rent/year, I'm following this thread carefully.  I'm looking forward to everyone's progress...and please post tips for those of us with spending 'problems.'  :)

theSchmett

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 215
  • Location: New Jersey
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #37 on: February 08, 2014, 03:07:10 AM »
Well for what its worth I'm inspired. I've got no chance at 10k, or 100%US poverty level for family size, but the idea of a hard cap is inspiring.

nikki

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 644
  • Age: 34
  • Location: South Korea
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #38 on: February 08, 2014, 03:16:09 AM »
Since rent is covered by my employer, I should definitely be able to manage this, but since I haven't been tracking my expenses for very long, I can't be sure. So I'll take this as a benchmark challenge.

You can easily, Ian. Last year I spent ~$7842.09 (by today's rate; $8,015.64 USD when I converted back in December), and that includes over $1250 for my and my boyfriend's tickets to Texas. Your spending is even lower than mine!

I'm in, fully aware that I'm cheating by having no rent anyway. :-p

Edited for more accurate exchange rate!

Edited again: I just realized that the exchange rates might make this almost impossible for me to keep track of. Hrmm... I'll still keep an eye on things for a rough estimate. I'd actually like to spend less this year than I did last year...
« Last Edit: February 08, 2014, 03:25:33 AM by nikki »

nikki

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 644
  • Age: 34
  • Location: South Korea
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #39 on: February 12, 2014, 04:57:03 AM »
Alright, assuming that employer-provided housing in Korea costs about 400,000w per month (~$375 USD), that's something like $4,500 a year.

I spent $8,000 last year, and if we pretended I had paid for rent as well, I'm at $12,500.

This challenge can actually be a major challenge for me if I push myself to spend less than $5,500 (+ $4,500 magic-free-housing = $10,000).

Over a year, that would give me about $460 per month, which is on par with my average months in 2013. However, not all months are average, and I'm already off to a rough start.

January 2014: $898.51 (international trip, which required a catsitter)
February 2014: already higher than average because of $587 owed in taxes and upcoming move

Can I spend ~$380.15 every other month for the rest of this year to meet Herbert Derp's challenge? It's certainly worth a shot! I'll try to remember to pop in here once a month to track progress.

I think a more interesting question will be: how long until I pass $5,500? :-p

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 28295
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #40 on: February 12, 2014, 07:31:41 AM »
Wow, only 8,000 spending (not counting the free housing)?!  That's pretty awesome. How much is your annual pay there?
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

nikki

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 644
  • Age: 34
  • Location: South Korea
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #41 on: February 12, 2014, 04:56:27 PM »
Wow, only 8,000 spending (not counting the free housing)?!  That's pretty awesome. How much is your annual pay there?

Low :-p

Annual gross base pay at the job I'm transitioning out of (last day was yesterday!) comes to ~$25,971.60 USD. My net income last year ONLY from teaching (I had other side gigs), at today's exchange rate, is ~$27,683.34.

I have maybe $4,500 in a pension scheme (4.5%, fully matched by employer) that will be cashed out and given to me when I leave the country, no matter what age I am. My new job will be under a difference pension scheme which has even higher matches, but not until I've been in it 5 years. If I leave before my contributions are doubled at the 5 year mark, I only get back what I put in. And this month I'll be receiving severance pay, equal to one month's pay per year worked (2) at the rate of the average of my last three month's pay, or about $4,328.60.

But to consider that I only made $22,000 gross teaching at an American public university full-time before I moved to Korea, I've certainly put myself in a much better situation to save money!

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 28295
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #42 on: February 12, 2014, 05:37:32 PM »
Oh bummer, I thought the pay in South Korea was pretty decent. 

Guess not.  =/

It is something the wife and I are considering doing as a transition to FIRE in two years or so.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

nikki

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 644
  • Age: 34
  • Location: South Korea
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #43 on: February 12, 2014, 06:01:57 PM »
Oh bummer, I thought the pay in South Korea was pretty decent. 

Guess not.  =/

It is something the wife and I are considering doing as a transition to FIRE in two years or so.

Well it's the most I've ever made! :-p  And compared to other places in Asia for teaching English, it pays well. The Middle East pays even better, but the lifestyle leaves a lot of people unhappy.

I've been thinking about perhaps making the scary jump to a new career. I have an M.A. in English, so I've just stuck to teaching. I don't even know what else I could do, and I have a tendency to be complacent. Buuuutttt... boyfriend lives in California and doesn't want to live in Korea. Hrmm.

Sorry for derailing this thread! 

Ian

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 364
  • Location: South Korea
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #44 on: February 12, 2014, 07:00:45 PM »
Oh bummer, I thought the pay in South Korea was pretty decent. 

Guess not.  =/

It is something the wife and I are considering doing as a transition to FIRE in two years or so.
I think it gets that reputation at least partially because of the lower cost of living, which means people who aren't very conscious of their spending feel like they have more. For example, I've seen people talk about saving 10k in a year like that's an astonishing amount (and it is compared to the margin on their lifestyles elsewhere). For this forum, the low gross salary is generally going to be the bigger factor.

If you get the right position, it can be a comfortable semi-retired position, though. And right now, it does seem to be the best paying ESL job you can get without substantial experience.

This challenge can actually be a major challenge for me if I push myself to spend less than $5,500 (+ $4,500 magic-free-housing = $10,000).
Good thought; I'll make this my new benchmark. Looking at January, my standard spending could meet this goal, but I don't have the numbers to predict unusual months.

arebelspy

  • Administrator
  • Senior Mustachian
  • *****
  • Posts: 28295
  • Age: -999
  • Location: Seattle, WA
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #45 on: February 12, 2014, 07:42:14 PM »
Oh bummer, I thought the pay in South Korea was pretty decent. 

Guess not.  =/

It is something the wife and I are considering doing as a transition to FIRE in two years or so.
I think it gets that reputation at least partially because of the lower cost of living, which means people who aren't very conscious of their spending feel like they have more. For example, I've seen people talk about saving 10k in a year like that's an astonishing amount (and it is compared to the margin on their lifestyles elsewhere). For this forum, the low gross salary is generally going to be the bigger factor.

If you get the right position, it can be a comfortable semi-retired position, though. And right now, it does seem to be the best paying ESL job you can get without substantial experience.

That makes sense.  Middle East is another option we looked at, and that pays more around 60k gross from what we've seen.  25 is pretty low.
We are two former teachers who accumulated a bunch of real estate, retired at 29, spent some time traveling the world full time and are now settled with three kids.
If you want to know more about us, or how we did that, or see lots of pictures, this Business Insider profile tells our story pretty well.
We (rarely) blog at AdventuringAlong.com. Check out our Now page to see what we're up to currently.

mikecorayer

  • Guest
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #46 on: February 12, 2014, 09:55:21 PM »
I teach at an international high school here in Shanghai, China and can say that I've had three important benefits from teaching abroad (besides enjoying the work!):

Living rent-free (employer-provided housing)
Not paying US taxes (My employer handles my Chinese taxes but I don't earn enough to also owe US taxes). 
Lower cost of living - Shanghai can be extravagantly expensive (with $15 cocktails, $200 steaks, etc.) if you aim to impress, or, if you do things right, it can be a very cheap place to live.

So while my salary wouldn't sound too impressive to those back home, the amount I'm able to save more than makes up for it (and I also have some side gigs). Basically my only expenses are food and entertainment/travel. Cooking at home and having cheap hobbies means that building my stache here has been relatively easy and I still find myself living what I would consider an incredibly luxurious lifestyle (especially compared to many of Shanghai's residents). That said, I see many of my colleagues who spend just about every penny earned eating out every night, drinking at trendy bars, taking taxis everywhere, and buying loads of "stuff". These are usually younger teachers who suddenly have "disposable" income for the first time and lifestyle inflation just takes over. Many even further inflate their lifestyle by tutoring afterschool and then spending that money too! I don't keep really careful track of yearly totals, but it's probably somewhere in the ballpark of $10,000/year and that includes a decent amount of travel for holidays/summer vacation. I could certainly get it lower if I eliminated travel, alcohol, and some imported food items, but I see no need to be that strict. 

nikki

  • Pencil Stache
  • ****
  • Posts: 644
  • Age: 34
  • Location: South Korea
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #47 on: February 12, 2014, 10:03:07 PM »
Oh--piggybacking Ian's use of the term "semi-retired", I should also mention that at my new job (university--requires M.A. and experience), I'll have 20 weeks vacation. Camps taught during vacation = overtime.

It's a good gig. My only problem is that my current boyfriend doesn't want to live in Korea... He's got me thinking about career changes just to live in America and continue my path toward ER.

Ian

  • Bristles
  • ***
  • Posts: 364
  • Location: South Korea
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #48 on: February 13, 2014, 01:23:07 AM »
That makes sense.  Middle East is another option we looked at, and that pays more around 60k gross from what we've seen.  25 is pretty low.
I've had my eye on the Middle East as well, but I'm hoping to get several years with a single school and a solid recommendation before I move (and I'm pretty happy with the amount of free time). 60k is on the higher end of what I've seen, but maybe you're doing better research than I am. If you pursue this more, make a thread.

spider1204

  • Stubble
  • **
  • Posts: 244
  • Location: Lexington, KY
Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2014
« Reply #49 on: February 13, 2014, 02:07:51 AM »
I'm in, although I won't be counting expenses that are a result of being a freelancer and are tax deductible.

Rent - $100 / month (I stay in my car, campgrounds, and with friends/family)
Food - $200 / month
Gas - $200 / month
Car Insurance - $80 / month
Misc - $20 / month
Health Insurance - ???, I really need to get on this and get myself coverage, not sure what it'll cost yet.
Car Maintenance - ???, This could ruin me, hopefully I have time to DIY anything

Climbing Shoes + Rope - $300

$600 * 12 = $7200 + $300 = $7500

So, if health insurance doesn't end up costing too much, and my car doesn't have any major issues I should be all set.