Author Topic: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015  (Read 18595 times)

Hey It's Me

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Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« on: December 28, 2014, 08:21:38 AM »
I just saw the "Spend less than $10,000 in 2014" threat, and was inspired by its badassity - anyone up to repeat this year?

This one is going to be a little tough, as $10k may be just rent/mortgage alone for many of you. If that is the case (i.e. mortgage/rent is over $10k), you may drop that expense for the purposes of this challenge under the following circumstances:
  • You reduce your monthly mortgage/rent cost from what it is in January of 2015 (i.e. refinance, or end up moving to a lower rent apartment.)
  • You're willing to accept $7.5k total spending expenditures for the year, minus rent

My total spending projection was roughly $15k this year, down from $20k last year. This includes planning two trips (which you can read about on my journal - link in sig), but I'm sure I can still take these in a more mustachian way.

Good luck, peeps. The gauntlet has been thrown!

Zamboni

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #1 on: December 28, 2014, 08:31:52 AM »
Pretty impressive numbers for NY, NY.

I can only do it if it is per person in my household.  :-)
And even then it will be quite a stretch.

amyable

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #2 on: December 28, 2014, 08:35:07 AM »
I think we could make it, if it's per person.

Hey It's Me

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #3 on: December 28, 2014, 08:53:28 AM »
Pretty impressive numbers for NY, NY.

I can only do it if it is per person in my household.  :-)
And even then it will be quite a stretch.

Pretty impressive numbers for NY, NY.

I can only do it if it is per person in my household.  :-)
And even then it will be quite a stretch.

The one thing I worry about is if I open it up to per person, it might be too easy a gauntlet... A five person family living on 50k, is close to the median American family - not exactly mustachian! Thoughts?

sieben

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #4 on: December 28, 2014, 10:51:16 AM »
I'm very interested in this challenge, although I fear my mustache growing skills may not be quite there yet ;)

EDSMedS

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #5 on: December 28, 2014, 11:03:17 AM »
Pretty impressive numbers for NY, NY.

I can only do it if it is per person in my household.  :-)
And even then it will be quite a stretch.

Pretty impressive numbers for NY, NY.

I can only do it if it is per person in my household.  :-)
And even then it will be quite a stretch.

The one thing I worry about is if I open it up to per person, it might be too easy a gauntlet... A five person family living on 50k, is close to the median American family - not exactly mustachian! Thoughts?

This challenge seems thrilling, but I am posting here mostly to track the progress.  I don't believe that Mustachianism is purely about spending less; instead, it is about examining your spending to ensure that it supports health and happiness vice sloth and hyperconsumption.  I spend ~$1,500/yr on continuing education, which would be 15% of this challenge, and both DW and I need new glasses next year, which will run ~$600 (6% of challenge) total!  I understand that there are free resources for education, which I use as well, but I believe it would decrease my happiness (and income potential) if I were not investing in my knowledge; there are also cheaper glasses, though we certainly do not buy high-end, but I am incredibly active and have found that cheap glasses can not survive my lifestyle and her "vision" requires specialized futuristic lenses to not be considered legally blind, lol.

I look forward to reading about the ways that this challenge increases happiness for the participants!

Herbert Derp

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #6 on: December 28, 2014, 10:24:04 PM »
I'm in, of course, but this year is going to be a little trickier for me. I have an upcoming special assessment of about $3,300 for repairs to my building. My current estimate for 2015 expenses is around $9,000, we'll see what happens.

marty998

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #7 on: December 29, 2014, 09:34:05 PM »
I could try a $15k gauntlet but once again $10k is a real stretch!

My bare bones budget would be about $15k. I spend $1-2k extra a year towards things that make life bearable. No use spending minimally and being totally miserable.

dilinger

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #8 on: December 29, 2014, 10:45:11 PM »
Pretty impressive numbers for NY, NY.

I can only do it if it is per person in my household.  :-)
And even then it will be quite a stretch.

Pretty impressive numbers for NY, NY.

I can only do it if it is per person in my household.  :-)
And even then it will be quite a stretch.

The one thing I worry about is if I open it up to per person, it might be too easy a gauntlet... A five person family living on 50k, is close to the median American family - not exactly mustachian! Thoughts?

This challenge seems thrilling, but I am posting here mostly to track the progress.  I don't believe that Mustachianism is purely about spending less; instead, it is about examining your spending to ensure that it supports health and happiness vice sloth and hyperconsumption.  I spend ~$1,500/yr on continuing education, which would be 15% of this challenge, and both DW and I need new glasses next year, which will run ~$600 (6% of challenge) total!  I understand that there are free resources for education, which I use as well, but I believe it would decrease my happiness (and income potential) if I were not investing in my knowledge; there are also cheaper glasses, though we certainly do not buy high-end, but I am incredibly active and have found that cheap glasses can not survive my lifestyle and her "vision" requires specialized futuristic lenses to not be considered legally blind, lol.

I look forward to reading about the ways that this challenge increases happiness for the participants!

Can you do Zenni Optical?  http://www.zennioptical.com/

I used to get the $200 eyeglasses from my optometrist.  Breaking them was always a disaster, as I'm terribly near-sided.  And I *would* break them every once in a while.  Now I pay $10 for Zenni glasses.  At that price point, I keep a few backup pairs around as well.  The more expensive, more sturdy pairs would only last me 2-3 years or so.  The Zenni frames last me 6 months.  But the math totally works out, and I love having the backups.

EDSMedS

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #9 on: December 30, 2014, 04:46:17 AM »
Can you do Zenni Optical?  http://www.zennioptical.com/

I used to get the $200 eyeglasses from my optometrist.  Breaking them was always a disaster, as I'm terribly near-sided.  And I *would* break them every once in a while.  Now I pay $10 for Zenni glasses.  At that price point, I keep a few backup pairs around as well.  The more expensive, more sturdy pairs would only last me 2-3 years or so.  The Zenni frames last me 6 months.  But the math totally works out, and I love having the backups.

Thanks for the recommendation!  This will be my first adult purchase of glasses (previously my folks or the military paid for them).

Cheers!

Nudelkopf

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #10 on: December 30, 2014, 06:39:48 AM »
I could try a $15k gauntlet but once again $10k is a real stretch!

My bare bones budget would be about $15k. I spend $1-2k extra a year towards things that make life bearable. No use spending minimally and being totally miserable.
Someone (happy? Happierathome?) wrote in the other thread (the 2014 one) comparing spending power in the US vs Australia, and the number came out to be around $16k or something. I'd find the post, but I'm on my phone. Go read it, and see if the maths agrees with you :)

JLee

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #11 on: December 30, 2014, 08:47:38 AM »
Mortgage/utilities alone will surpass that for me. :(

Dicey

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #12 on: December 30, 2014, 09:49:08 AM »
Mortgage/utilities alone will surpass that for me. :(
Hell, my property taxes alone are more than that! I guess I'll have to stand on the sidewalk and clap as you go by, to paraphrase Will Rogers.

trailrated

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #13 on: December 30, 2014, 10:04:06 AM »
Even though I am a long ways off from reaching anywhere close to this right now (child support payments alone are more than that, rent alone is more than that) It is inspiring to see you guys (and girls) kick ass and take names.

Jack

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #14 on: December 30, 2014, 10:18:08 AM »
The one thing I worry about is if I open it up to per person, it might be too easy a gauntlet... A five person family living on 50k, is close to the median American family - not exactly mustachian! Thoughts?

What we need is a non-linear formula. Maybe something like $10,000 * [# of people in household] ^ (1/2) ?

# of peopleAllowed Spending
1$10,000
2$14,142
3$17,320
4$20,000
5$22,360

(If that's still not right, we could always adjust the power: instead of ^(1/2), we could do ^(1/3) or something. Or we could add lower-order terms in order to treat the adults (persons 1 and 2) and the children (persons 3+) differently.)

For my household, $10,000 total is not possible. But $14,142 not including mortgage (or maybe, not including mortgage or student loan payments) would be a good challenge.

BriarRose111

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #15 on: December 30, 2014, 02:49:57 PM »
Holy crap!  I just looked at my spreadsheet, and subtracting what I save, I think it would be tough for me to make my goal less than $30,000.   And here I thought I was frugal...

Dyk

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #16 on: December 30, 2014, 03:02:25 PM »
Herbert Derp started the first post, and through his original post and a discussion it became a percentage of the poverty level $10,000/$11,490 = 87%.

This sounded like a good idea, and a way a guy with a family of 7 like me could participate.  This level was tough, but I did get close, it seemed like a good level for me.

Here are the updated (2014) poverty levels, and I think, even though it looks like I will miss 2014, I will try again in 2015.  I have learned a lot from the trying.
1   $11,670
2   15,730
3   19,790
4   23,850
5   27,910
6   31,970
7   36,030
8   40,090

So, for me with a family of 7, $36,030 * 87% = $31,346/yr. or $2,612.18/month.  I include everything in this except principle on my house payment and investments.

Bob W

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #17 on: December 30, 2014, 10:37:54 PM »
Pretty impressive numbers for NY, NY.

I can only do it if it is per person in my household.  :-)
And even then it will be quite a stretch.

Pretty impressive numbers for NY, NY.

I can only do it if it is per person in my household.  :-)
And even then it will be quite a stretch.

The one thing I worry about is if I open it up to per person, it might be too easy a gauntlet... A five person family living on 50k, is close to the median American family - not exactly mustachian! Thoughts?

This challenge seems thrilling, but I am posting here mostly to track the progress.  I don't believe that Mustachianism is purely about spending less; instead, it is about examining your spending to ensure that it supports health and happiness vice sloth and hyperconsumption.  I spend ~$1,500/yr on continuing education, which would be 15% of this challenge, and both DW and I need new glasses next year, which will run ~$600 (6% of challenge) total!  I understand that there are free resources for education, which I use as well, but I believe it would decrease my happiness (and income potential) if I were not investing in my knowledge; there are also cheaper glasses, though we certainly do not buy high-end, but I am incredibly active and have found that cheap glasses can not survive my lifestyle and her "vision" requires specialized futuristic lenses to not be considered legally blind, lol.

I look forward to reading about the ways that this challenge increases happiness for the participants!
happiness vice sloth and hyperconsumerism ---- love it!

APowers

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #18 on: January 04, 2015, 05:54:48 PM »
Herbert Derp started the first post, and through his original post and a discussion it became a percentage of the poverty level $10,000/$11,490 = 87%.

This sounded like a good idea, and a way a guy with a family of 7 like me could participate.  This level was tough, but I did get close, it seemed like a good level for me.

Here are the updated (2014) poverty levels, and I think, even though it looks like I will miss 2014, I will try again in 2015.  I have learned a lot from the trying.
1   $11,670
2   15,730
3   19,790
4   23,850
5   27,910
6   31,970
7   36,030
8   40,090

So, for me with a family of 7, $36,030 * 87% = $31,346/yr. or $2,612.18/month.  I include everything in this except principle on my house payment and investments.

Family of 4 here. If I don't count money spent on home improvement (I would consider it investment, since we're intending to rent out this property), and I don't count extra principal paid toward the mortgage (I'd consider investment), then last year we spent $16,894. Following the 87% rubric, that puts us well below our threshold of $23,850*87%=$20,750.

We'll come a lot closer to the $10k challenge level in 2015, if we don't count everything we'll put towards the mortgage to get it paid off in a month or two. I'm forecasting a monthly budget of $900-1000, which will put us at about $12k. We could probably hit under $10k if we tried, but we have more grandiose plans for this year that may preclude that.

J

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #19 on: January 10, 2015, 04:38:18 PM »
I just saw the "Spend less than $10,000 in 2014" threat, and was inspired by its badassity - anyone up to repeat this year?

This one is going to be a little tough, as $10k may be just rent/mortgage alone for many of you. If that is the case (i.e. mortgage/rent is over $10k), you may drop that expense for the purposes of this challenge under the following circumstances:
  • You reduce your monthly mortgage/rent cost from what it is in January of 2015 (i.e. refinance, or end up moving to a lower rent apartment.)
  • You're willing to accept $7.5k total spending expenditures for the year, minus rent

My total spending projection was roughly $15k this year, down from $20k last year. This includes planning two trips (which you can read about on my journal - link in sig), but I'm sure I can still take these in a more mustachian way.

Good luck, peeps. The gauntlet has been thrown!

I'd suggest an alternative criteria for mortgages: you can omit counting a fraction of your mortgage payment in the $10k if you match that same amount as an extra payment to the principal.  So, if you have a $1000 payment, and you pay an extra $800/month to the principal, count $200/month as part of your $10k (leaving you $7.6k)

GoldenGrove

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #20 on: January 11, 2015, 07:41:12 PM »
Long-time lurker coming forth to say I'm in! (And including rent/utilities)

Davids

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #21 on: January 11, 2015, 08:42:49 PM »
Even if I was FI with no mortgage I can't see any way I could ever get a budget under $10K, Property taxes, Medical Insurance and Auto Insurance alone would pretty much take up almost all of it. 

PerpetualWanderlust

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #22 on: January 11, 2015, 10:03:25 PM »
I was at around $30,000 (including rent and two big trips) last year. I will aim for 10k not including rent (since, in my area, rent is at least $1,000/month.

morning owl

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #23 on: January 12, 2015, 08:11:32 AM »
You guys are amazing and inspiring. I'm also posting to follow the thread. I'm trying to get my spending down to $12000/year, but this doesn't even include housing. Maybe I can try for 10k next year, but this year it would be too big of a leap.

netskyblue

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #24 on: January 12, 2015, 09:33:06 AM »
Darn, I won't QUITE make this one.  My expected budget is about $10,500 not including rent.  And I don't want to move, I like where I'm at :(


Dyk

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #25 on: January 13, 2015, 06:32:59 AM »
apowers, tyour budget seems absolutely amazing!  When you update if you would be so kind as to do a rough break out of the numbers, I would be most appreciative.  I have knocked off most of the low hanging fruit, and now I am always looking for help/motivation on the next level.  Thanks!

Thegoblinchief

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #26 on: January 13, 2015, 09:09:16 AM »
Our primary goal this year is to be healthier and more sustainable. Many changes mean saving $, a few will cost some $. Not sure where our expenses will end up, but I'm definitely trying to continue reducing.

If you include mortgage and our SL debt payments, for a family of 5, I'm looking at $40K. If you take out debt payments but leave in property taxes and insurance, we're at $22K based on last year.

Good luck everyone :)

Grid

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #27 on: January 13, 2015, 11:22:20 AM »
In!  If I move, I'm screwed, but if I stay, I'm golden.  I'm really pushing to move though... Haha.

BonBon

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #28 on: January 14, 2015, 10:20:56 AM »
Totally In. Following Rule #2 though so slight cheating. My Rent is $550/month so $6600/year but I think 7.5K otherwise is totally doable. This will hopefully also include a two week trip to Italy for a friends wedding in a few months so it might make it tight but doable I think.

APowers

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #29 on: January 15, 2015, 01:31:37 PM »
apowers, tyour budget seems absolutely amazing!  When you update if you would be so kind as to do a rough break out of the numbers, I would be most appreciative.  I have knocked off most of the low hanging fruit, and now I am always looking for help/motivation on the next level.  Thanks!

I'm pretty sure I've posted this elsewhere, but here it is. Family of four, two toddlers (ages 2 & 3), in the Pacific NW (rural WA)

Mortgage            800*
Property Tax        106
House Insurance   46
Household           70*
Utilities                245**
Internet              22
Phone                 10
Food                     175***
Gasoline              175****
Auto Insurance   58
Auto Maintenance   30
Auto license        8
Clothes               42
Personal Care      76*****
Activity                20
Life Insurance      17
Education            15
---------------------------------
TOTAL                  1915


*This will be going away by the end of this month, leaving $1,115/mo.

**We recently took advantage of our city's energy-efficiency rebates and had a ductless heat pump installed, replacing our electric baseboard heaters. I'm pretty sure our electric bill will reflect some significant savings, but it hasn't been long enough to tell if we should reduce our budget. Once we get through the coldest of winter, we'll look at our averages and see how much more efficient it is. TL;DR-- this Utilities budget assumes electric baseboard heating.

***We get a lot of our food for free, and normally budget $60/mo for extras. If we were to buy all our food, we could pretty easily stay under $175/mo.

****Gas and insurance and maintenance are for TWO cars (older Honda Civics), one of which I drive for my pizza delivery job. If I drove 400mi per MONTH instead of 400mi per WEEK, we could easily cut $100 out of the gasoline budget.

*****Personal Care includes (disposable) diapers for two toddlers. The older one is mostly potty-trained, except for nights and long trips, so our diaper expenses have been slowly decreasing, but $75/mo was enough to keep them both in diapers. If we did cloth diapers, we'd save a LOT, but I don't do the laundry or stay home to change most of the diapers, so we chose an easier, spendier path here.

Herbert Derp

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #30 on: February 02, 2015, 05:29:59 PM »
My results for January are in, and I'm not all that thrilled since my these are the highest monthly expenses I've posted since moving into my condo. I guess I can blame it on my high electricity bill due to heating and the double water bill since my water billing company is still playing catch-up. They are only two months behind now, so hopefully that should be smoothed out soon.

January 2015
Housing: $204.75 (HOA dues)
Living: $102.32
Utilities: $37.09 (electricity/water/sewer)
Total: $344.16

sieben

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #31 on: February 02, 2015, 07:19:04 PM »
That's amazing Herbert, great work!

So far I'm still in the game. I'm using the $7500 with rent deducted for this year.

My expenses for January: $624.50

I'll need to bring it down if I'm going to be able to afford my car insurance in a few months and still stay in the game. I'll be leaving my cell plan in a few months when my contract is up, and this month also had almost $70.00 for gifts which shouldn't happen every month.

How's everyone else doing?

GoldenGrove

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #32 on: February 05, 2015, 04:36:42 PM »
I went waaaaaay over my goal. Whoops. Here are the ugly numbers:

Rent/utilities/internet: $405.46 (Split w/ roommate)
Groceries/Restaurants/Coffee Shops: $385.06
Everything else: $496.21 (Lots of one-time things like tax software and shipping expenses for selling books on Amazon)
Total: $1286.73

I'm aiming for the $10,000 for the year including housing, so this is way over my monthly goal of $830. This has been hugely eye-opening, as it's the first time I've really tracked *every single* expense. Lots and lots of fat that needs to be cut. Time to get serious for February and March to make up the difference. I'm not declaring defeat yet!

Anomalous

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #33 on: February 05, 2015, 07:53:45 PM »
This thread, and the one from last year, are really inspiring!

There's no way I could spend less than $10k total in a year, but this encouraged me to create a low-spending challenge for myself this year. My personal challenge has cut my expenses way down for January, so I can see that having a specific goal makes a big difference.

I just re-read this thread and the one from last year, and I see that some people are excluding the principal portion of a mortgage payment from the expense figure. Is that considered a valid variant for this gauntlet? If so, I might be able to hang in here for a couple months until a periodic expense expense hits. Excluding principal, I have $694.24 in expenses for January (compared to $2723/month in 2013 and $1908/month in 2014.)

kathrynd

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #34 on: February 05, 2015, 08:49:13 PM »
Pretty impressive numbers for NY, NY.

I can only do it if it is per person in my household.  :-)
And even then it will be quite a stretch.

Pretty impressive numbers for NY, NY.

I can only do it if it is per person in my household.  :-)
And even then it will be quite a stretch.

The one thing I worry about is if I open it up to per person, it might be too easy a gauntlet... A five person family living on 50k, is close to the median American family - not exactly mustachian! Thoughts?

This challenge seems thrilling, but I am posting here mostly to track the progress.  I don't believe that Mustachianism is purely about spending less; instead, it is about examining your spending to ensure that it supports health and happiness vice sloth and hyperconsumption.  I spend ~$1,500/yr on continuing education, which would be 15% of this challenge, and both DW and I need new glasses next year, which will run ~$600 (6% of challenge) total!  I understand that there are free resources for education, which I use as well, but I believe it would decrease my happiness (and income potential) if I were not investing in my knowledge; there are also cheaper glasses, though we certainly do not buy high-end, but I am incredibly active and have found that cheap glasses can not survive my lifestyle and her "vision" requires specialized futuristic lenses to not be considered legally blind, lol.

I look forward to reading about the ways that this challenge increases happiness for the participants!

I have the same frames for the past 8 years. Just replaced the lenses.
Might be something to consider?

johnny847

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #35 on: February 05, 2015, 09:16:59 PM »
I will take on this challenge, with one condition: I spend $7500 or less this year, excluding rent and my mandatory school fees of $3417 (I'm a graduate student. For some reason it is apparently not logical to just pay us $3417 less).

EDIT: Last year, I spent $8884, but $1271 was startup costs for my bicycle, so I should be able to make it if I keep my spending more or less in line with last year.

As for my January expenditures, I spent $691
Food: 233
Health insurance (only paid in January and August): 229
Gifts: 62
Misc: 168 (IEEE membership fees of $72, kitchen supplies, etc)

EDIT 2: Hmm....excluding rent might be a bit problematic in making comparisons with other people because my rent is inclusive of all utilities......
« Last Edit: February 05, 2015, 09:46:53 PM by johnny847 »

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #36 on: February 05, 2015, 09:29:22 PM »
I will take on this challenge, with one condition: I spend $7500 or less this year, excluding rent and my mandatory school fees of $3417 (I'm a graduate student. For some reason it is apparently not logical to just pay us $3417 less).

EDIT: Last year, I spent $8884, but $1271 was startup costs for my bicycle, so I should be able to make it if I keep my spending more or less in line with last year.

Whoa.  Stop copying me, man!  It's bad enough that you're also a grad student getting paid to work at your school, but matching my yearly spending to within $100?  Crazy.

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #37 on: February 05, 2015, 09:38:40 PM »
I will take on this challenge, with one condition: I spend $7500 or less this year, excluding rent and my mandatory school fees of $3417 (I'm a graduate student. For some reason it is apparently not logical to just pay us $3417 less).

EDIT: Last year, I spent $8884, but $1271 was startup costs for my bicycle, so I should be able to make it if I keep my spending more or less in line with last year.

Whoa.  Stop copying me, man!  It's bad enough that you're also a grad student getting paid to work at your school, but matching my yearly spending to within $100?  Crazy.
Hahahaha. We're almost spending twins!

EDIT: Reading your journal....that's not exactly true actually haha. That $8884 figure of mine is last year's spending excluding rent and school fees. But I guess you own your place so it's comparable enough?
« Last Edit: February 05, 2015, 09:45:18 PM by johnny847 »

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #38 on: February 05, 2015, 09:51:37 PM »
I will take on this challenge, with one condition: I spend $7500 or less this year, excluding rent and my mandatory school fees of $3417 (I'm a graduate student. For some reason it is apparently not logical to just pay us $3417 less).

EDIT: Last year, I spent $8884, but $1271 was startup costs for my bicycle, so I should be able to make it if I keep my spending more or less in line with last year.

Whoa.  Stop copying me, man!  It's bad enough that you're also a grad student getting paid to work at your school, but matching my yearly spending to within $100?  Crazy.
Hahahaha. We're almost spending twins!

EDIT: Reading your journal....that's not exactly true actually haha. That $8884 figure of mine is last year's spending excluding rent and school fees. But I guess you own your place so it's comparable enough?

Lol.  My $8808 figure is excluding about $1000 in tuition and $2000 in home improvements.  I think we're doing similar amounts of handwaving.  Either way, I still found it entertaining the "final" numbers we used were so similar.

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #39 on: February 05, 2015, 09:55:54 PM »
I will take on this challenge, with one condition: I spend $7500 or less this year, excluding rent and my mandatory school fees of $3417 (I'm a graduate student. For some reason it is apparently not logical to just pay us $3417 less).

EDIT: Last year, I spent $8884, but $1271 was startup costs for my bicycle, so I should be able to make it if I keep my spending more or less in line with last year.

Whoa.  Stop copying me, man!  It's bad enough that you're also a grad student getting paid to work at your school, but matching my yearly spending to within $100?  Crazy.
Hahahaha. We're almost spending twins!

EDIT: Reading your journal....that's not exactly true actually haha. That $8884 figure of mine is last year's spending excluding rent and school fees. But I guess you own your place so it's comparable enough?

Lol.  My $8808 figure is excluding about $1000 in tuition and $2000 in home improvements.  I think we're doing similar amounts of handwaving.  Either way, I still found it entertaining the "final" numbers we used were so similar.
=P. Me too, especially considering we probably live in different places (Atlanta for me).

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #40 on: February 06, 2015, 10:32:03 AM »
Goal:  with a family of 7, $36,030 * 87% = $31,346/yr. or $2,612.18/month.  I include everything in this except principle on my house payment and investments.

January - $2,614 - So very, very close .....

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #41 on: February 06, 2015, 10:43:23 AM »
Goal:  with a family of 7, $36,030 * 87% = $31,346/yr. or $2,612.18/month.  I include everything in this except principle on my house payment and investments.

January - $2,614 - So very, very close .....
Where does the $36,030 come from? Is that last year's spending?

But damn that is a nice goal!

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #42 on: February 06, 2015, 03:47:53 PM »
If I continue to live where I live now (renting part of family house w/ all utilities included), I'll have the following fixed expenses. I posted this in my journal as well but I thought I'd share here as it's more relevant.

Just sat down to do a monthly budget sheet of our average expenses:

Rent:       $400/mo (won't change)
Food:       $300/mo (2 adults, not likely to change)
Car Ins:   $60.45/mo (soon to be under $50)
Cell:        $60/mo (2 x Republic Wireless 3g plan, will be 1x$30 + 1x$10)
Fuel:       $100-$125/mo (sometimes ZERO if working all the time)
Loans:    $156.73/mo (Kristi's student loans, first on chopping block, could be $78 if used cash to pay off partial balance)
Fun:       $250/mo  (Often much less)

Total current monthly expenses: ~$1350.

Expenses break down:

Rent: We pay $450/mo to rent part of my parents house. Our room is 270 sq/ft.  All utilities included.

Food: Could be less if we wanted to, we don't want to.

Cell Phone: We've got 2 phones on the Republic Wireless 3g plan. $29.98/ea ($60/mo).  Recently took a new job though, and now work from home with a phone provided, so will drop to the $10/mo plan and save $240. :)

Fuel/Car Insurance: Varies greatly depending on climate and percentage of mileage ridden on scooter versus driven in car. 80mpg vs 20mpg... Work from home now, fuel use will decrease as well. Going to sell my wife's car as well as we have 2 scooters (primary transport) and a car for when we need it. No use for second car, especially as I work from home now.

Loans: Wife's loans are at 3.7% on average so does make sense to pay them off. Have cash to eliminate half of them so could reduce payment by half if needed.

Fun: This is a variable cost as well, as it was less than that this month, and more than that in December. We aren't frivolous though, and $250 represents ~18% of our monthly expenses. Room for improvement.

Given the cost reductions that I should be able to implement, our monthly budget should drop from ~$1,350/mo to around $1,250/mo.

So that will put us at around $15k for the year for two of us with rent/utilities included. Or roughly $7500/year per person.

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #43 on: February 06, 2015, 05:13:17 PM »
WOW, so many kickass stories above.


Here's an update of my spending for January, also located in my journal:

Expenses:
Rent: $430
Phone: $180.50
Fees/Subscriptions: $2.50
Food/Coffee: $158.44
Haircut: $17
Transportation: $47.45
Total: $805.98

My phone expenses where ridiculous this month. I pay for my entire family's phone bill.

 I took advantage of a promotion that FreedomPop was running to purchase two phones at $25 each. We're dropping the family plan which was costing me $130/month, and will now be using FreedomPop and RepublicWireless for cell service. This should save me roughly $100/month on this expense in the future!

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #44 on: February 06, 2015, 07:47:03 PM »
My results for January are in, and I'm not all that thrilled since my these are the highest monthly expenses I've posted since moving into my condo. I guess I can blame it on my high electricity bill due to heating and the double water bill since my water billing company is still playing catch-up. They are only two months behind now, so hopefully that should be smoothed out soon.

January 2015
Housing: $204.75 (HOA dues)
Living: $102.32
Utilities: $37.09 (electricity/water/sewer)
Total: $344.16

Herp, you're a legend dude. Where do you live?

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #45 on: February 11, 2015, 07:16:36 AM »
Quote
Where does the $36,030 come from? Is that last year's spending?

That started in the 2014 challenge.  Trying to stay with the intent of Herbert Derp's challenge, the group decided that taking 87% of the poverty line would let people of different family sizes adjust to the challenge.  The more I think about it, the more I think each person really needs to think through this and set a goal that is a stretch for them and not a 'gimme'.  This isn't even close to a one size fits all challenge.  Someone may have an employer pay for their housing, lodging and food, and make a small income.  They obviously need a different goal than the person who is paid a larger income and responsible for their own housing, lodging and food.  Even though both people may end up 'netting' the same dollar amount in the end, they really aren't living much differently, but could be 'spending' way differently according to the numbers.  It really comes down to book keeping in this example, which the challenge is not about.

I will update every month or two, my goal is a stretch, and will keep me thinking about my expenditures and if they are really necessary, or is there another option?  I think that keeps with idea of the challenge.

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #46 on: February 12, 2015, 09:41:55 AM »
Quote
Where does the $36,030 come from? Is that last year's spending?

That started in the 2014 challenge.  Trying to stay with the intent of Herbert Derp's challenge, the group decided that taking 87% of the poverty line would let people of different family sizes adjust to the challenge.  The more I think about it, the more I think each person really needs to think through this and set a goal that is a stretch for them and not a 'gimme'.  This isn't even close to a one size fits all challenge.  Someone may have an employer pay for their housing, lodging and food, and make a small income.  They obviously need a different goal than the person who is paid a larger income and responsible for their own housing, lodging and food.  Even though both people may end up 'netting' the same dollar amount in the end, they really aren't living much differently, but could be 'spending' way differently according to the numbers.  It really comes down to book keeping in this example, which the challenge is not about.

I will update every month or two, my goal is a stretch, and will keep me thinking about my expenditures and if they are really necessary, or is there another option?  I think that keeps with idea of the challenge.

You're right, this challenge is more about optimizing spending, which is different for each person. I decided to keep the title at "Spend $10k" in the spirit of the gauntlet, but ideally everyone can look to customize the challenge to something that is a stretch, but not impossible. (For example, living under $10k as a family of 4 in NYC is obviously not going to be realistic, but cutting spending to a % of the poverty level might be.)

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #47 on: February 17, 2015, 05:14:34 PM »
Just wanted to add some extra motivation for the people taking this challenge:

In 2013, the worldwide GDP per capita was about $13k (USD PPP).  If we took all the world's economic production and split it evenly among all the population, that's how big your slice of the pie would be.  I don't want to get too political and derail this awesome challenge, so for now I'll just say - I think anyone living below this level is truly amazing.  I try to use it myself as a ceiling for lifestyle choices.

Currently, our 2-person household spends about $19k a year - so we'd have pretty far still to go if we wanted to spend 87% of the poverty line ($13.6k a year)!

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #48 on: February 17, 2015, 11:38:00 PM »
Yikes I thought I was frugal but my property taxes, mortgage, utility bill, and homeowner's insurance alone are $10,342. I could pay off my mortgage, but I do like the idea of investing money instead.

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Re: Spend less than $10,000 in 2015
« Reply #49 on: February 18, 2015, 08:09:50 AM »

The one thing I worry about is if I open it up to per person, it might be too easy a gauntlet... A five person family living on 50k, is close to the median American family - not exactly mustachian! Thoughts?

The median US family might live on 50k, but the median US family isn't 5 person.