Monthly Budget Comparisons

Non-investing personal finance issues including insurance, credit, real estate, taxes, employment and legal issues such as trusts and wills
Topic Author
rshocka
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2019 12:54 pm

Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by rshocka »

Hi all,

I'm looking at our family's current spending and feeling like we should be spending significantly less each month. My wife and I aren't the type that go out and buy a bunch of expensive clothes or items for us; however, we do spend above average on food.

We have a 5 and 3 year old girls, and we live in Alabama.

Out of curiosity, can you all share what your monthly expenses are (minus mortgages and car loans)? Since we don't currently carry a mortgage, I'm looking for your living expenses which would include things like food, entertainment, automotive expenses, etc.

Thanks for your help!
Tingting1013
Posts: 485
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2020 5:44 pm

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by Tingting1013 »

SF Bay Area, two kids

Mortgage $2,600
Property tax $1,900
Insurance $200
Electric / gas / water / trash / cable $300
Daycare $4,400
House cleaners / yard / tree / plumber $400
Other monthly bills $200
Medical $600
Charity $1,300
Food $1,500
Travel $1,000

Total: $14,400
Last edited by Tingting1013 on Tue Oct 06, 2020 9:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
oldfort
Posts: 1914
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:45 pm

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by oldfort »

rshocka wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 9:21 pm Hi all,

I'm looking at our family's current spending and feeling like we should be spending significantly less each month. My wife and I aren't the type that go out and buy a bunch of expensive clothes or items for us; however, we do spend above average on food.

We have a 5 and 3 year old girls, and we live in Alabama.

Out of curiosity, can you all share what your monthly expenses are (minus mortgages and car loans)? Since we don't currently carry a mortgage, I'm looking for your living expenses which would include things like food, entertainment, automotive expenses, etc.

Thanks for your help!
Comparing budgets with random people is going to be a meaningless exercise unless they have the same income you do. Tingting1013's mortgage+property tax is more than my entire monthly budget. Entertainment is lower than normal due to COVID.
Topic Author
rshocka
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2019 12:54 pm

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by rshocka »

Thanks Tingting.

As for comparing budgets, I recognize they could be wildly different but what does income have to do with it? Some people may spend 80% of their income per month and some may save 80% of their income. I don’t think that income necessarily drives your budget and monthly expenses. That’s more driven around lifestyle choices.
jyoung
Posts: 111
Joined: Mon Jan 21, 2019 1:26 pm
Location: Houston, TX

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by jyoung »

~ $4,648/month not including mortgage, retirement savings of 20%, or items deducted from my paycheck by my employer (health, dental, vision, GUL). Married with two kids (8 & 6) stay-at-home spouse in Houston, TX area. I only track things at a "spending type" level, but here's my average for the last 24 months.
UTILITIES: $469.00
GASOLINE: $199.00
ESCROW SAVINGS: $1,184.00 (insurances, taxes, hoa dues, etc)
DISCRETIONARY SAVINGS: $967 (vacation, auto/home repairs, xmas gifts, etc)
EVERDAY SPENDING: $1,829 (mostly groceries and all the other random "stuff")
Last edited by jyoung on Tue Oct 06, 2020 9:55 pm, edited 2 times in total.
oldfort
Posts: 1914
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:45 pm

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by oldfort »

rshocka wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 9:46 pm Thanks Tingting.

As for comparing budgets, I recognize they could be wildly different but what does income have to do with it? Some people may spend 80% of their income per month and some may save 80% of their income. I don’t think that income necessarily drives your budget and monthly expenses. That’s more driven around lifestyle choices.
How could income not be relevant? If I tried to replicate Tingting's budget, it would be mathematically impossible, even saving 0% of my income, as his spending is more than my gross income. If you took my net income(gross income less income taxes), it wouldn't even cover what Ting spends on housing. In what universe is spending a lifestyle choice, unconstrained by income.
Tingting1013
Posts: 485
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2020 5:44 pm

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by Tingting1013 »

oldfort wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 9:50 pm
rshocka wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 9:46 pm Thanks Tingting.

As for comparing budgets, I recognize they could be wildly different but what does income have to do with it? Some people may spend 80% of their income per month and some may save 80% of their income. I don’t think that income necessarily drives your budget and monthly expenses. That’s more driven around lifestyle choices.
How could income not be relevant? If I tried to replicate Tingting's budget, it would be mathematically impossible, even saving 0% of my income, as his spending is more than my gross income. If you took my net income(gross income less income taxes), it wouldn't even cover what Ting spends on housing. In what universe is spending a lifestyle choice, unconstrained by income.
OP did not ask for the critical number which is gross monthly income, which can then be compared against one’s expenses.
runner3081
Posts: 3673
Joined: Mon Aug 22, 2016 3:22 pm

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by runner3081 »

We are frugal minimalists, me, wife and elementary school child. (FYI, we don't have a mortgage or car payment).

These are monthly costs...

Grand Total: $2,035.17

HOUSING:
Natural Gas $35.00
Water/Sewer/Gbg $70.00
Electric $150.00
Property Tax $168.90
HOA $70.00

NON-AUTO INSURANCE
Me Life Insurance $36.25
Wife Life Insurance $17.92
Homeowners $49.25
Flood $22.25
Umbrella $19.17

SERVICES/MEMBERSHIPS
Professional Association $4.17
Cell Phones (3 Phones) $9.00
Internet $44.99
AAA $11.83

AUTOMOTIVE
Gasoline $150.00
Auto Insurance $80.58
Vehicle Licensing/Emissions $13.86
Auto Maintenance $120.00

MISCELLANEOUS
Gifts $55.00
Clothes $35.00
Misc/All Other $607.00 (truly everything else you could think of goes in this bucket)
Food $265.00

100% of remaining funds go to maxing out retirement/HSA, etc.
Topic Author
rshocka
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2019 12:54 pm

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by rshocka »

That’s really impressively low runner!

Oldfort - obviously income does play a factor in that you can’t spend more than you make so valid point there. However, I don’t think it necessarily impacts it the other way. Eg if salary is $500k, I could be spending 150k of that or 75k of that in expenses. My interest is not in what % of income is being spent but more raw data on where people are spending it and what the grand totals are. That gives me some perspective on where we are higher in some areas (eg if spending 1k on groceries and others are on average significant less that is a good call out to further take a look at).

I appreciate those that have been contributing. I find it fascinating to know what ranges people are spending and where.
oldfort
Posts: 1914
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:45 pm

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by oldfort »

rshocka wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 10:21 pm That’s really impressively low runner!

Oldfort - obviously income does play a factor in that you can’t spend more than you make so valid point there. However, I don’t think it necessarily impacts it the other way. Eg if salary is $500k, I could be spending 150k of that or 75k of that in expenses. My interest is not in what % of income is being spent but more raw data on where people are spending it and what the grand totals are. That gives me some perspective on where we are higher in some areas (eg if spending 1k on groceries and others are on average significant less that is a good call out to further take a look at).

I appreciate those that have been contributing. I find it fascinating to know what ranges people are spending and where.
Not including housing, I spend under $3k/month. So try to keep your total spending under $36k a year.
Ron Ronnerson
Posts: 1774
Joined: Sat Oct 26, 2013 6:53 pm
Location: Bay Area

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by Ron Ronnerson »

We're in the Bay Area. I'm a public school teacher and my wife is a stay-at-home parent. We have a six-year-old child.

Mortgage Payment: $1445 (on a townhouse valued around $875k)
Property Taxes: $870
HOA: $290
House Cleaning: $120
House Repairs/Maintenance: $100 (a good friend helps me with repairs if I buy him lunch)
Cable/Internet: $130 (AT&T U-Verse 200 package with HBO and 100mbps)
Electric/Gas Bill: $175
Cell Phones: $40 (Mint Mobile for two phones)
Water bill: $40
Garbage: $30
Health Insurance: $4 (subsidized)
Auto/Homeowner’s/Umbrella Insurance: $152 (2 Corollas)
Life Insurance: $150 (super preferred rates, 30 year terms policies for $1M for each spouse)
Gas for cars: $120
Car Maintenance/Repairs/Registration: $80
Groceries/Household Items: $1,000
Vacations: $100 (paid primarily by churning credit cards for points)
Restaurants: $300
Clothing/Shoes/Hair/Nails: $50
Medical/Vision/Dental: $50
Entertainment: $50
Union Dues: $110
Long Term Disability Taken from Paycheck: $30
Medicare: $140
Federal Income Taxes: $125 (about $1500 for the year)
California State Income Taxes: $0 (we don’t owe any income tax to the state due to itemizing and exemptions)
Misc. (donations, pets, furniture, gifts, gadgets, etc.): $500
Car and Appliance Replacement: $250
TOTAL: $6450/month
tashnewbie
Posts: 946
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2020 12:44 pm

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by tashnewbie »

I think studies have shown people’s biggest expenses are housing, transportation, and food.

OP: check your spending in those areas and see what you can cut. You say you think your spending on food is too high. What is it? What do you think you could reduce it to?

Are you meeting your savings goals? If you are, why are you worried about the budget?
User avatar
22twain
Posts: 2590
Joined: Thu May 10, 2012 5:42 pm

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by 22twain »

rshocka wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 9:21 pm Out of curiosity, can you all share what your monthly expenses are (minus mortgages and car loans)?
I'm tempted to say, "you share yours and I'll share mine", but what the heck, I'll do it anyway.
rshocka wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 9:21 pm we live in Alabama.
Beware that this forum skews towards high-earning people in high-cost, high-lifestyle areas such as BosWash and SanSanSea.

We're recently retired, living in a small town in a state not far from yours. No kids. I've previously posted our expenses pre-Covid, let me see if I can find it... ah, here it is. This is a late 2019 update on a previous post from 2018.
22twain wrote: Tue Dec 24, 2019 11:27 pm
22twain wrote: Fri Apr 06, 2018 7:39 pm Married couple, mid-late 60s, retired, no kids, house paid off, small town in the South.

Housing $600 - utilities, property tax, home insurance, appliance replacement;
Transportation $450 - two small cars, pro-rated capital cost over 10 years, gasoline, insurance, maintenance
Food $500 - both groceries and occasional "eat out"
Medical $450 - Medicare premiums for one, employer retiree healthcare for the other, some co-pays
Phone+internet $120 - no pay TV
Income tax $150 - all-time low because of small taxable income; not collecting SS or RMDs yet
Total $2,270 per month or $27,240 per year

Charitable contributions and some travel brought the total up to about $37,000 for the year.
Some major changes last year...

Housing $600 - no change here
Transportation $500 - tweaked my estimate a bit
Food $500 - no change
Normal medical $800 - both of us now on Medicare; added routine dental
Extra medical $600 - new hearing aids and some dental work, total $7200 for year
Phone+internet $120
Income tax $900 - one of us started SS and RMDs at 70
Total $4020 per month or $48,240 per year.

Charitable contributions and travel brought it up to about $58,000.
Overall, about $21,000 more than last year because of increased medical and taxes.

Next year should be about the same. No new hearing aids, but I need to replace my 12-year-old desktop Macintosh, and we need to re-do one of the bathrooms, so those will probably come out a wash. Maybe a few thousand more for travel, too.
This year, we've spent less than expected because of the pandemic. No eating out since early March. September's grocery bill was about $250 for the two of us. No travel except for a weekend trip in January before everything shut down. No bathroom remodel. I did replace my Macintosh! And we've probably spent about 50% more on charitable and other donations.
Last edited by 22twain on Wed Oct 07, 2020 12:07 am, edited 1 time in total.
Help save endangered words! When you write "princiPLE", make sure you don't really mean "princiPAL"!
jsapiandante
Posts: 152
Joined: Thu Jul 30, 2015 5:58 pm

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by jsapiandante »

Living in SoCal - Family of 3

Fixed monthly expenses:
Mortgage: $2357 (home worth ~900k)
Property tax: $775
Health Insurance: $300 (through wife’s job)
Pre-k: $400
Homeowners Insurance: $80
Home Care: $10 (cleaning products)
Home repair/maintenance: $100 (quite handy with electrical, plumbing, and hvac issues-can fix most issues)
Landscape: $10 (I do all landscaping)
Car insurance: $100 (2 vehicles)
Car Registration: $50
Car Repair/maintenance: $40 (I do most repair and maintenance)
Car gas: $120
Cell phone: $80
Electric: $60
Gas: $15
Trash: $20
Water: $35
Internet: $65 (200mbps)
Netflix/amazon prime/YouTube tv: $30 (share with 2 siblings)
Groceries: $300 (meal prepping has helped tremendously)
Personal care: $50 (haircuts, toiletries, etc.)
Life insurance: $40

Discretionary

Restaurants: $300
Clothing/shoes: $200
Gifts/donations: $200
Travel: $500 (non existent this year due to Covid)
Entertainment: $100
Golf/hobbies: $200

This has been tracked as closely as possible the last 5 years through Excel.
MikeG62
Posts: 3254
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2016 3:20 pm
Location: New Jersey

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by MikeG62 »

rshocka wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 9:21 pm Hi all,

I'm looking at our family's current spending and feeling like we should be spending significantly less each month. My wife and I aren't the type that go out and buy a bunch of expensive clothes or items for us; however, we do spend above average on food.

We have a 5 and 3 year old girls, and we live in Alabama.

Out of curiosity, can you all share what your monthly expenses are (minus mortgages and car loans)? Since we don't currently carry a mortgage, I'm looking for your living expenses which would include things like food, entertainment, automotive expenses, etc.

Thanks for your help!
OP, you are asking others to share what they spend each month, but you aren't willing to (or haven't) shared similar data for yourself.
Real Knowledge Comes Only From Experience
7eight9
Posts: 1545
Joined: Fri May 17, 2019 7:11 pm

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by 7eight9 »

deleted
Last edited by 7eight9 on Thu Oct 08, 2020 10:06 am, edited 1 time in total.
I guess it all could be much worse. | They could be warming up my hearse.
Bogle_Bro
Posts: 179
Joined: Sat Mar 31, 2018 11:43 am
Location: Frisco Texas, Mortgage Banker & Attorney

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by Bogle_Bro »

Family of four, SAHM so no daycare. Off the top of my head...

TOTAL HOUSING: 3400
1700 mortgage
1200 tax + insurance + HOA
500 "utilities" (electric, water, internet, lanscaping, subscriptions)

TOTAL OTHER: 1500
500 food (400/mo grocery, about 25/WK takeout)
200 auto (tolls, gas, insurance... No car payments, work from home)
300 student loan
500 discretionary spending (250/mo per spouse, so my wife and I can spend on frivolous guilty pleasures without me obsessing over every penny)

TOTAL: 4900... About 60k a year. Obviously there's some additional misc spending here and there, but it's pretty minimal. Need to buy term life insurance.

Everything else besides income tax, FICA, & health insurance goes toward maxing tax advantage space and then toward taxable brokerage account
Admiral
Posts: 3089
Joined: Mon Oct 27, 2014 12:35 pm

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by Admiral »

rshocka wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 10:21 pm That’s really impressively low runner!

Oldfort - obviously income does play a factor in that you can’t spend more than you make so valid point there. However, I don’t think it necessarily impacts it the other way. Eg if salary is $500k, I could be spending 150k of that or 75k of that in expenses. My interest is not in what % of income is being spent but more raw data on where people are spending it and what the grand totals are. That gives me some perspective on where we are higher in some areas (eg if spending 1k on groceries and others are on average significant less that is a good call out to further take a look at).

I appreciate those that have been contributing. I find it fascinating to know what ranges people are spending and where.
You live in Alabama. Your cost of living is not going to be anywhere near what is spent by someone who lives in Manhattan or SF (even if you make a lot of money).

Not sure how John spending $100k per month or Jane spending $1k per month are going to be helpful data points for you.

More relevant is your savings rate. Save 15% or more and you will likely be fine, regardless of how much you spend each month.

ETA: I spend $6,000/mo on private school tuition. Is that helpful for you to know?
User avatar
MillennialFinance19
Posts: 294
Joined: Sat Feb 09, 2019 11:06 am

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by MillennialFinance19 »

Gross Monthly Income: $16,000

401(k), 457(b), and 403(b) -$3,550
Roth IRAs -$1,000
HSA -$400
Health Premiums -$320
Pensions, tax, FICA, STD, LTD, etc. -$2000
Taxable Brokerage -$1000
Mortgage -$1902
Childcare -$1405
Cell, Ins, Internet, etc -$400
Electric -$200
Groceries -$500
Gas -$150
Entertainment -$500

Excess $2,673
This covers clothing (2 kids under 4), random spending, etc. If there is a sizable amount left it’ll go to taxable. Also - we live in a LCOL.
For the love of God, stick to your plan!!!
User avatar
JoeRetire
Posts: 6001
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:44 pm

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by JoeRetire »

rshocka wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 9:21 pm I'm looking at our family's current spending and feeling like we should be spending significantly less each month.

Out of curiosity, can you all share what your monthly expenses are (minus mortgages and car loans)?
Wouldn't it make more sense for you to post your expenses? Then others could point out items that seem high compared to their own.
It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | And I feel fine.
L82GAME
Posts: 364
Joined: Sat Dec 07, 2019 9:29 am

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by L82GAME »

JoeRetire wrote: Wed Oct 07, 2020 6:23 pm
rshocka wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 9:21 pm I'm looking at our family's current spending and feeling like we should be spending significantly less each month.

Out of curiosity, can you all share what your monthly expenses are (minus mortgages and car loans)?
Wouldn't it make more sense for you to post your expenses? Then others could point out items that seem high compared to their own.
^^^This
“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” - Lao Tzu
Topic Author
rshocka
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2019 12:54 pm

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by rshocka »

Hi all,

Thank you for everyone that's been posting. This has been really helpful getting a sense of grocery expenses, etc. for different families.

@MikeG62 and Twain22 - my goal wasn't to keep anything back or not share. Admittedly, this is an area I have not had a specific handle on all of the expenses other than to know that I feel like our monthly expenses are way too high. So that's why I didn't initially share is I've been working to get a better sense of those areas.

Immediate thoughts/opportunities are to lower overall food expenses (grocery and eating out). We do enjoy food so that's been something we spend on (as opposed to nice clothing, etc. but I pack my lunch every day for work, etc. to help us be able to enjoy some nicer meals.

Unlike some others I have not been tracking it in Excel or other systems over last couple years (recognize here in lies the problem in that you can't get results on things you don't measure). However, I'm going to share what it's looking like down below:

Monthly Spending looks to be about $9,100 (of which $3,333 is charitable giving FYI). Re: income, expenses are totaling about 30% of income so able to save close to 70% of expenses towards IRA and Taxable Account.

Spending
Transportation
Auto Loan/Lease 589.00
Car Insurance 135.00
Petrol,Gas,Oil & Lub. 175.00
Maintenance 30.00
Registration/Inspection/Tag 60.00

Home
Mortgage $0.00
Maintenance 100.00
Homeowner’s Insurance 115.00
Groceries/Household supplies 1050.00
Real Estate Tax 290.00
Arlo 9.99

Utilities
TV (YouTube TV) 65.00
Phone - Cell (Both) 185.00
Gas 35.00
Water 170.00
Electricity (AL Power) 215.00
Internet 50.00
Home Security 49.99


Health
Dental 25.00
Medical 100.00
Medicines 25.00
Vision/contacts (Semi-Annually) 200.00
Life Insurance 43.00
Disability Insurance 148.00
Other / Cosmetics 95.00

Entertainment
Memberships - Private Club 40.00
Dining out 1000.00
Music / Spotify 16.19
Travel/ Vacation 250.00
Audible 16.15

Miscellaneous
New Clothes 125.00
Donations - Charity (Annually) 40,000.00
Babysitter 100.00
Dawson Mothers Day Out (Annually) 2205.00
Car Wash Services 30.00
Gifts 100.00
Her Hair Cuts 80.00
His Hair Cuts 30.00
stoptothink
Posts: 8491
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:53 am

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by stoptothink »

rshocka wrote: Wed Oct 07, 2020 8:05 pm Hi all,

Thank you for everyone that's been posting. This has been really helpful getting a sense of grocery expenses, etc. for different families.

@MikeG62 and Twain22 - my goal wasn't to keep anything back or not share. Admittedly, this is an area I have not had a specific handle on all of the expenses other than to know that I feel like our monthly expenses are way too high. So that's why I didn't initially share is I've been working to get a better sense of those areas.

Immediate thoughts/opportunities are to lower overall food expenses (grocery and eating out). We do enjoy food so that's been something we spend on (as opposed to nice clothing, etc. but I pack my lunch every day for work, etc. to help us be able to enjoy some nicer meals.

Unlike some others I have not been tracking it in Excel or other systems over last couple years (recognize here in lies the problem in that you can't get results on things you don't measure). However, I'm going to share what it's looking like down below:

Monthly Spending looks to be about $9,100 (of which $3,333 is charitable giving FYI). Re: income, expenses are totaling about 30% of income so able to save close to 70% of expenses towards IRA and Taxable Account.

Spending
Transportation
Auto Loan/Lease 589.00
Car Insurance 135.00
Petrol,Gas,Oil & Lub. 175.00
Maintenance 30.00
Registration/Inspection/Tag 60.00

Home
Mortgage $0.00
Maintenance 100.00
Homeowner’s Insurance 115.00
Groceries/Household supplies 1050.00
Real Estate Tax 290.00
Arlo 9.99

Utilities
TV (YouTube TV) 65.00
Phone - Cell (Both) 185.00
Gas 35.00
Water 170.00
Electricity (AL Power) 215.00
Internet 50.00
Home Security 49.99


Health
Dental 25.00
Medical 100.00
Medicines 25.00
Vision/contacts (Semi-Annually) 200.00
Life Insurance 43.00
Disability Insurance 148.00
Other / Cosmetics 95.00

Entertainment
Memberships - Private Club 40.00
Dining out 1000.00
Music / Spotify 16.19
Travel/ Vacation 250.00
Audible 16.15

Miscellaneous
New Clothes 125.00
Donations - Charity (Annually) 40,000.00
Babysitter 100.00
Dawson Mothers Day Out (Annually) 2205.00
Car Wash Services 30.00
Gifts 100.00
Her Hair Cuts 80.00
His Hair Cuts 30.00
Similar age and same size family, our kids are 8 and 5. Your total monthly expenditures are ~3x ours (but we're "special" in this regard); in fact with out mortgage done in May, closer to 4x. You know there is plenty of fat in there ($1k/month on eating out), but if you are meeting your financial goals, what's the point of comparing to others?
kfindley79
Posts: 26
Joined: Thu Apr 08, 2010 10:17 am

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by kfindley79 »

rshocka wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 9:21 pm Hi all,

I'm looking at our family's current spending and feeling like we should be spending significantly less each month. My wife and I aren't the type that go out and buy a bunch of expensive clothes or items for us; however, we do spend above average on food.

We have a 5 and 3 year old girls, and we live in Alabama.

Out of curiosity, can you all share what your monthly expenses are (minus mortgages and car loans)? Since we don't currently carry a mortgage, I'm looking for your living expenses which would include things like food, entertainment, automotive expenses, etc.

Thanks for your help!
Also in Alabama....

Mortgage $1,835
Property tax $100
Insurance $110
Electric / gas / water / trash / cable $380
Other monthly bills $500
Medical $500
Food $450
User avatar
abuss368
Posts: 22151
Joined: Mon Aug 03, 2009 2:33 pm
Location: Where the water is warm, the drinks are cold, and I don't know the names of the players!
Contact:

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by abuss368 »

rshocka wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 9:21 pm Hi all,

I'm looking at our family's current spending and feeling like we should be spending significantly less each month. My wife and I aren't the type that go out and buy a bunch of expensive clothes or items for us; however, we do spend above average on food.

We have a 5 and 3 year old girls, and we live in Alabama.

Out of curiosity, can you all share what your monthly expenses are (minus mortgages and car loans)? Since we don't currently carry a mortgage, I'm looking for your living expenses which would include things like food, entertainment, automotive expenses, etc.

Thanks for your help!
We tracked our finances and budget for a decade in Quicken. Over 12 years ago we stopped cold and no longer use it. I felt our finances were for the most part predicatable and I no longer saw any value. I instead shifted our focus on simplifying so much that budgeted expenses were easy.
John C. Bogle: “Simplicity is the master key to financial success."
oldfort
Posts: 1914
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:45 pm

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by oldfort »

rshocka wrote: Wed Oct 07, 2020 8:05 pm Hi all,

Thank you for everyone that's been posting. This has been really helpful getting a sense of grocery expenses, etc. for different families.

@MikeG62 and Twain22 - my goal wasn't to keep anything back or not share. Admittedly, this is an area I have not had a specific handle on all of the expenses other than to know that I feel like our monthly expenses are way too high. So that's why I didn't initially share is I've been working to get a better sense of those areas.

Immediate thoughts/opportunities are to lower overall food expenses (grocery and eating out). We do enjoy food so that's been something we spend on (as opposed to nice clothing, etc. but I pack my lunch every day for work, etc. to help us be able to enjoy some nicer meals.

Unlike some others I have not been tracking it in Excel or other systems over last couple years (recognize here in lies the problem in that you can't get results on things you don't measure). However, I'm going to share what it's looking like down below:

Monthly Spending looks to be about $9,100 (of which $3,333 is charitable giving FYI). Re: income, expenses are totaling about 30% of income so able to save close to 70% of expenses towards IRA and Taxable Account.

Spending
Transportation
Auto Loan/Lease 589.00
Car Insurance 135.00
Petrol,Gas,Oil & Lub. 175.00
Maintenance 30.00
Registration/Inspection/Tag 60.00

Home
Mortgage $0.00
Maintenance 100.00
Homeowner’s Insurance 115.00
Groceries/Household supplies 1050.00
Real Estate Tax 290.00
Arlo 9.99

Utilities
TV (YouTube TV) 65.00
Phone - Cell (Both) 185.00
Gas 35.00
Water 170.00
Electricity (AL Power) 215.00
Internet 50.00
Home Security 49.99


Health
Dental 25.00
Medical 100.00
Medicines 25.00
Vision/contacts (Semi-Annually) 200.00
Life Insurance 43.00
Disability Insurance 148.00
Other / Cosmetics 95.00

Entertainment
Memberships - Private Club 40.00
Dining out 1000.00
Music / Spotify 16.19
Travel/ Vacation 250.00
Audible 16.15

Miscellaneous
New Clothes 125.00
Donations - Charity (Annually) 40,000.00
Babysitter 100.00
Dawson Mothers Day Out (Annually) 2205.00
Car Wash Services 30.00
Gifts 100.00
Her Hair Cuts 80.00
His Hair Cuts 30.00
How are you spending ~$2050/month on food? Do you need to spend $2205 on Mother's Day ? Can you get cheaper vehicles? How bad is your commute or mpg if you're spending $175/month on gas? Can you get a cheaper cell plan? Then, obviously your largest expense is charity.
tashnewbie
Posts: 946
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2020 12:44 pm

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by tashnewbie »

stoptothink wrote: Wed Oct 07, 2020 8:20 pm
if you are meeting your financial goals, what's the point of comparing to others?
Exactly. This is what I asked above. If you’re meeting your savings target, why do you care what you’re spending the rest on, as long as you’re taking care of necessities and living the life you want to live.
Tingting1013
Posts: 485
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2020 5:44 pm

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by Tingting1013 »

oldfort wrote: Wed Oct 07, 2020 9:42 pm
rshocka wrote: Wed Oct 07, 2020 8:05 pm Hi all,

Thank you for everyone that's been posting. This has been really helpful getting a sense of grocery expenses, etc. for different families.

@MikeG62 and Twain22 - my goal wasn't to keep anything back or not share. Admittedly, this is an area I have not had a specific handle on all of the expenses other than to know that I feel like our monthly expenses are way too high. So that's why I didn't initially share is I've been working to get a better sense of those areas.

Immediate thoughts/opportunities are to lower overall food expenses (grocery and eating out). We do enjoy food so that's been something we spend on (as opposed to nice clothing, etc. but I pack my lunch every day for work, etc. to help us be able to enjoy some nicer meals.

Unlike some others I have not been tracking it in Excel or other systems over last couple years (recognize here in lies the problem in that you can't get results on things you don't measure). However, I'm going to share what it's looking like down below:

Monthly Spending looks to be about $9,100 (of which $3,333 is charitable giving FYI). Re: income, expenses are totaling about 30% of income so able to save close to 70% of expenses towards IRA and Taxable Account.

Spending
Transportation
Auto Loan/Lease 589.00
Car Insurance 135.00
Petrol,Gas,Oil & Lub. 175.00
Maintenance 30.00
Registration/Inspection/Tag 60.00

Home
Mortgage $0.00
Maintenance 100.00
Homeowner’s Insurance 115.00
Groceries/Household supplies 1050.00
Real Estate Tax 290.00
Arlo 9.99

Utilities
TV (YouTube TV) 65.00
Phone - Cell (Both) 185.00
Gas 35.00
Water 170.00
Electricity (AL Power) 215.00
Internet 50.00
Home Security 49.99


Health
Dental 25.00
Medical 100.00
Medicines 25.00
Vision/contacts (Semi-Annually) 200.00
Life Insurance 43.00
Disability Insurance 148.00
Other / Cosmetics 95.00

Entertainment
Memberships - Private Club 40.00
Dining out 1000.00
Music / Spotify 16.19
Travel/ Vacation 250.00
Audible 16.15

Miscellaneous
New Clothes 125.00
Donations - Charity (Annually) 40,000.00
Babysitter 100.00
Dawson Mothers Day Out (Annually) 2205.00
Car Wash Services 30.00
Gifts 100.00
Her Hair Cuts 80.00
His Hair Cuts 30.00
How are you spending ~$2050/month on food? Do you need to spend $2205 on Mother's Day ? Can you get cheaper vehicles? How bad is your commute or mpg if you're spending $175/month on gas? Can you get a cheaper cell plan? Then, obviously your largest expense is charity.
And here comes the judgment...

No wonder OP didn’t want to post his numbers
oldfort
Posts: 1914
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:45 pm

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by oldfort »

Tingting1013 wrote: Wed Oct 07, 2020 9:46 pm
oldfort wrote: Wed Oct 07, 2020 9:42 pm
rshocka wrote: Wed Oct 07, 2020 8:05 pm Hi all,

Thank you for everyone that's been posting. This has been really helpful getting a sense of grocery expenses, etc. for different families.

@MikeG62 and Twain22 - my goal wasn't to keep anything back or not share. Admittedly, this is an area I have not had a specific handle on all of the expenses other than to know that I feel like our monthly expenses are way too high. So that's why I didn't initially share is I've been working to get a better sense of those areas.

Immediate thoughts/opportunities are to lower overall food expenses (grocery and eating out). We do enjoy food so that's been something we spend on (as opposed to nice clothing, etc. but I pack my lunch every day for work, etc. to help us be able to enjoy some nicer meals.

Unlike some others I have not been tracking it in Excel or other systems over last couple years (recognize here in lies the problem in that you can't get results on things you don't measure). However, I'm going to share what it's looking like down below:

Monthly Spending looks to be about $9,100 (of which $3,333 is charitable giving FYI). Re: income, expenses are totaling about 30% of income so able to save close to 70% of expenses towards IRA and Taxable Account.

Spending
Transportation
Auto Loan/Lease 589.00
Car Insurance 135.00
Petrol,Gas,Oil & Lub. 175.00
Maintenance 30.00
Registration/Inspection/Tag 60.00

Home
Mortgage $0.00
Maintenance 100.00
Homeowner’s Insurance 115.00
Groceries/Household supplies 1050.00
Real Estate Tax 290.00
Arlo 9.99

Utilities
TV (YouTube TV) 65.00
Phone - Cell (Both) 185.00
Gas 35.00
Water 170.00
Electricity (AL Power) 215.00
Internet 50.00
Home Security 49.99


Health
Dental 25.00
Medical 100.00
Medicines 25.00
Vision/contacts (Semi-Annually) 200.00
Life Insurance 43.00
Disability Insurance 148.00
Other / Cosmetics 95.00

Entertainment
Memberships - Private Club 40.00
Dining out 1000.00
Music / Spotify 16.19
Travel/ Vacation 250.00
Audible 16.15

Miscellaneous
New Clothes 125.00
Donations - Charity (Annually) 40,000.00
Babysitter 100.00
Dawson Mothers Day Out (Annually) 2205.00
Car Wash Services 30.00
Gifts 100.00
Her Hair Cuts 80.00
His Hair Cuts 30.00
How are you spending ~$2050/month on food? Do you need to spend $2205 on Mother's Day ? Can you get cheaper vehicles? How bad is your commute or mpg if you're spending $175/month on gas? Can you get a cheaper cell plan? Then, obviously your largest expense is charity.
And here comes the judgment...

No wonder OP didn’t want to post his numbers
Threads are supposed to be personal and actionable. If the OP didn't want advice on his personal spending, he shouldn't have started the thread at all.
From the sub-forum rules:
2) Is it personal? In other words, is it about you (or on behalf of someone specific).

3) Is it actionable? Can you do something with the replies that will make a difference in your financial life or the products or services you buy.
Tingting1013
Posts: 485
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2020 5:44 pm

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by Tingting1013 »

oldfort wrote: Wed Oct 07, 2020 9:49 pm
Tingting1013 wrote: Wed Oct 07, 2020 9:46 pm
oldfort wrote: Wed Oct 07, 2020 9:42 pm
rshocka wrote: Wed Oct 07, 2020 8:05 pm Hi all,

Thank you for everyone that's been posting. This has been really helpful getting a sense of grocery expenses, etc. for different families.

@MikeG62 and Twain22 - my goal wasn't to keep anything back or not share. Admittedly, this is an area I have not had a specific handle on all of the expenses other than to know that I feel like our monthly expenses are way too high. So that's why I didn't initially share is I've been working to get a better sense of those areas.

Immediate thoughts/opportunities are to lower overall food expenses (grocery and eating out). We do enjoy food so that's been something we spend on (as opposed to nice clothing, etc. but I pack my lunch every day for work, etc. to help us be able to enjoy some nicer meals.

Unlike some others I have not been tracking it in Excel or other systems over last couple years (recognize here in lies the problem in that you can't get results on things you don't measure). However, I'm going to share what it's looking like down below:

Monthly Spending looks to be about $9,100 (of which $3,333 is charitable giving FYI). Re: income, expenses are totaling about 30% of income so able to save close to 70% of expenses towards IRA and Taxable Account.

Spending
Transportation
Auto Loan/Lease 589.00
Car Insurance 135.00
Petrol,Gas,Oil & Lub. 175.00
Maintenance 30.00
Registration/Inspection/Tag 60.00

Home
Mortgage $0.00
Maintenance 100.00
Homeowner’s Insurance 115.00
Groceries/Household supplies 1050.00
Real Estate Tax 290.00
Arlo 9.99

Utilities
TV (YouTube TV) 65.00
Phone - Cell (Both) 185.00
Gas 35.00
Water 170.00
Electricity (AL Power) 215.00
Internet 50.00
Home Security 49.99


Health
Dental 25.00
Medical 100.00
Medicines 25.00
Vision/contacts (Semi-Annually) 200.00
Life Insurance 43.00
Disability Insurance 148.00
Other / Cosmetics 95.00

Entertainment
Memberships - Private Club 40.00
Dining out 1000.00
Music / Spotify 16.19
Travel/ Vacation 250.00
Audible 16.15

Miscellaneous
New Clothes 125.00
Donations - Charity (Annually) 40,000.00
Babysitter 100.00
Dawson Mothers Day Out (Annually) 2205.00
Car Wash Services 30.00
Gifts 100.00
Her Hair Cuts 80.00
His Hair Cuts 30.00
How are you spending ~$2050/month on food? Do you need to spend $2205 on Mother's Day ? Can you get cheaper vehicles? How bad is your commute or mpg if you're spending $175/month on gas? Can you get a cheaper cell plan? Then, obviously your largest expense is charity.
And here comes the judgment...

No wonder OP didn’t want to post his numbers
Threads are supposed to be personal and actionable. If the OP didn't want advice on his personal spending, he shouldn't have started the thread at all.
From the sub-forum rules:
2) Is it personal? In other words, is it about you (or on behalf of someone specific).

3) Is it actionable? Can you do something with the replies that will make a difference in your financial life or the products or services you buy.
OP makes $360k/yr living in Alabama.

He might have issues, but spending is not one of them.
oldfort
Posts: 1914
Joined: Mon Mar 02, 2020 8:45 pm

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by oldfort »

Tingting1013 wrote: Wed Oct 07, 2020 10:03 pm
oldfort wrote: Wed Oct 07, 2020 9:49 pm
Tingting1013 wrote: Wed Oct 07, 2020 9:46 pm
oldfort wrote: Wed Oct 07, 2020 9:42 pm
rshocka wrote: Wed Oct 07, 2020 8:05 pm Hi all,

Thank you for everyone that's been posting. This has been really helpful getting a sense of grocery expenses, etc. for different families.

@MikeG62 and Twain22 - my goal wasn't to keep anything back or not share. Admittedly, this is an area I have not had a specific handle on all of the expenses other than to know that I feel like our monthly expenses are way too high. So that's why I didn't initially share is I've been working to get a better sense of those areas.

Immediate thoughts/opportunities are to lower overall food expenses (grocery and eating out). We do enjoy food so that's been something we spend on (as opposed to nice clothing, etc. but I pack my lunch every day for work, etc. to help us be able to enjoy some nicer meals.

Unlike some others I have not been tracking it in Excel or other systems over last couple years (recognize here in lies the problem in that you can't get results on things you don't measure). However, I'm going to share what it's looking like down below:

Monthly Spending looks to be about $9,100 (of which $3,333 is charitable giving FYI). Re: income, expenses are totaling about 30% of income so able to save close to 70% of expenses towards IRA and Taxable Account.

Spending
Transportation
Auto Loan/Lease 589.00
Car Insurance 135.00
Petrol,Gas,Oil & Lub. 175.00
Maintenance 30.00
Registration/Inspection/Tag 60.00

Home
Mortgage $0.00
Maintenance 100.00
Homeowner’s Insurance 115.00
Groceries/Household supplies 1050.00
Real Estate Tax 290.00
Arlo 9.99

Utilities
TV (YouTube TV) 65.00
Phone - Cell (Both) 185.00
Gas 35.00
Water 170.00
Electricity (AL Power) 215.00
Internet 50.00
Home Security 49.99


Health
Dental 25.00
Medical 100.00
Medicines 25.00
Vision/contacts (Semi-Annually) 200.00
Life Insurance 43.00
Disability Insurance 148.00
Other / Cosmetics 95.00

Entertainment
Memberships - Private Club 40.00
Dining out 1000.00
Music / Spotify 16.19
Travel/ Vacation 250.00
Audible 16.15

Miscellaneous
New Clothes 125.00
Donations - Charity (Annually) 40,000.00
Babysitter 100.00
Dawson Mothers Day Out (Annually) 2205.00
Car Wash Services 30.00
Gifts 100.00
Her Hair Cuts 80.00
His Hair Cuts 30.00
How are you spending ~$2050/month on food? Do you need to spend $2205 on Mother's Day ? Can you get cheaper vehicles? How bad is your commute or mpg if you're spending $175/month on gas? Can you get a cheaper cell plan? Then, obviously your largest expense is charity.
And here comes the judgment...

No wonder OP didn’t want to post his numbers
Threads are supposed to be personal and actionable. If the OP didn't want advice on his personal spending, he shouldn't have started the thread at all.
From the sub-forum rules:
2) Is it personal? In other words, is it about you (or on behalf of someone specific).

3) Is it actionable? Can you do something with the replies that will make a difference in your financial life or the products or services you buy.
OP makes $360k/yr living in Alabama.

He might have issues, but spending is not one of them.
Nonetheless, I assume he started this thread because he wanted advice on how to cut his spending. General comment threads to satisfy curiosity would be against the site's TOS.
Topic Author
rshocka
Posts: 21
Joined: Thu Oct 24, 2019 12:54 pm

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by rshocka »

Lots of valid points in here. I've got plenty to learn on our finances tbh. I've also read enough forum posts to know how to filter through the comments. That said, yes, I am looking at areas to reduce spending. We're saving at a high rate, but I also feel like our expenditures are higher than necessary which means we're leaving additional savings on the table. It's hard to benchmark that without hearing from others' spending and knowing where to look to cut. The food and groceries alone are really good benchmarks if the family situation is similar (e.g. 2 younger kids).

To answer some of the questions that were included. I'm going to go back and double check the fuel spending - that actually seems higher than I would have imagined. I don't drive much. Wife shuttles kids around, but # still seems high. (Using Mint for most of the budget estimates based off credit card spending). Meant to generalize most of these items when I shared from the spreadsheet I was working off, but "Mother's Day Out" is essentially daycare for our 3 year old (not Mother's Day presents like one person referenced).

I am interested in actionable feedback. The exercise in itself has provided some good action items for me. Seeing what others are doing as well (i.e. phone plans) are helpful.

Also, I didn't see anyone else listing Disability Insurance on there. I got that many years back, but does that figure seem high?
goos_news
Posts: 57
Joined: Mon Jun 10, 2019 7:14 pm

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by goos_news »

Other than the cell phone plans, I don't have any suggestions for savings that are not based on personal choices, like dining out or your charitable actions.

I actually only have feedback on where you may be light in your budget:
Maintenance budgets -- make sure you have a reserve for periodic renovations and maintenance. That seems light.
Your travel or discretionary budget for the kids seems light: activities, sports, camps, cultural and educational enrichment.
stoptothink
Posts: 8491
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:53 am

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by stoptothink »

rshocka wrote: Wed Oct 07, 2020 10:19 pm Lots of valid points in here. I've got plenty to learn on our finances tbh. I've also read enough forum posts to know how to filter through the comments. That said, yes, I am looking at areas to reduce spending. We're saving at a high rate, but I also feel like our expenditures are higher than necessary which means we're leaving additional savings on the table. It's hard to benchmark that without hearing from others' spending and knowing where to look to cut. The food and groceries alone are really good benchmarks if the family situation is similar (e.g. 2 younger kids).

To answer some of the questions that were included. I'm going to go back and double check the fuel spending - that actually seems higher than I would have imagined. I don't drive much. Wife shuttles kids around, but # still seems high. (Using Mint for most of the budget estimates based off credit card spending). Meant to generalize most of these items when I shared from the spreadsheet I was working off, but "Mother's Day Out" is essentially daycare for our 3 year old (not Mother's Day presents like one person referenced).

I am interested in actionable feedback. The exercise in itself has provided some good action items for me. Seeing what others are doing as well (i.e. phone plans) are helpful.

Also, I didn't see anyone else listing Disability Insurance on there. I got that many years back, but does that figure seem high?
You are living well below your means, so this seems all kind of pointless. BUT, you spend $2k+/month on food for 4 (FWIW, we're <$400/month, but again, we're "special") and you are concerned about the $175/month you spend on gas?
MikeG62
Posts: 3254
Joined: Tue Nov 15, 2016 3:20 pm
Location: New Jersey

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by MikeG62 »

rshocka wrote: Wed Oct 07, 2020 8:05 pm
...Monthly Spending looks to be about $9,100 (of which $3,333 is charitable giving FYI). Re: income, expenses are totaling about 30% of income so able to save close to 70% of expenses towards IRA and Taxable Account.

Spending
Transportation
Auto Loan/Lease 589.00
Car Insurance 135.00
Petrol,Gas,Oil & Lub. 175.00
Maintenance 30.00
Registration/Inspection/Tag 60.00

Home
Mortgage $0.00
Maintenance 100.00
Homeowner’s Insurance 115.00
Groceries/Household supplies 1050.00
Real Estate Tax 290.00
Arlo 9.99

Utilities
TV (YouTube TV) 65.00
Phone - Cell (Both) 185.00
Gas 35.00
Water 170.00
Electricity (AL Power) 215.00
Internet 50.00
Home Security 49.99


Health
Dental 25.00
Medical 100.00
Medicines 25.00
Vision/contacts (Semi-Annually) 200.00
Life Insurance 43.00
Disability Insurance 148.00
Other / Cosmetics 95.00

Entertainment
Memberships - Private Club 40.00
Dining out 1000.00
Music / Spotify 16.19
Travel/ Vacation 250.00
Audible 16.15

Miscellaneous
New Clothes 125.00
Donations - Charity (Annually) 40,000.00
Babysitter 100.00
Dawson Mothers Day Out (Annually) 2205.00
Car Wash Services 30.00
Gifts 100.00
Her Hair Cuts 80.00
His Hair Cuts 30.00
IMHO, I think you are doing great. Yeah, dining out could be a bit lower, but you also should live along the way. Savings rate is great. Enjoy your life.
Real Knowledge Comes Only From Experience
knowledge
Posts: 287
Joined: Wed Mar 02, 2011 5:44 pm

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by knowledge »

Even within the subset of the population that is bogleheads, any budget info is going to be skewed by selection bias. Let me try to fight that by sharing mine, which feels very high, but at the same time we have saved, and continue to save at ~33%.

Here's my TTM average, in a suburb of NYC, family of 4 (elementary school aged):

Mortgage: 3,700
Mortgage prepayment: 1,000
Property Tax: 2,500
Other Home & Maintenance: 1,200 (high due to home projects)
Food in & out: 2,400 (have been overspending due to covid)
School & kid-related: 2,000
Insurance: 300
Transportation: 450
Utilities & Telecom: 500
Health (out of pocket): 125
Gifts, family support, charities: 1,900
Travel: 600 (Normally higher, see home & food categories)
Clothing, Gym, other adult personal related: 450
Entertainment/misc: 650
Other: 800
-------------
Total: 18,575
tashnewbie
Posts: 946
Joined: Thu Apr 23, 2020 12:44 pm

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by tashnewbie »

If you're saving 70% of your after-tax income (or even pretax), you're well above average in that regard. If spending 30% gets you the lifestyle you want, I say go for it.

Why do you think you need to save more? Do you have specific goals that you want to attain that you think your current savings rate will not allow you to achieve?

I'm learning the concept of "enough."
veindoc
Posts: 734
Joined: Sun Aug 14, 2016 9:04 pm

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by veindoc »

I am in awe of households that maintain spending in the 3-4K month range. I consider us frugal. We keep our cars for 8-10 years and pay cash. We don’t buy designer digs and spend almost zero on personal care. We have no country club memberships or really memberships of any kind. We have no expensive hobbies. The kids go to public school. We eat 99% of our meals at home.

Yet we spend 5 digits monthly.

Did we buy too much house, have too many kids, live too far from family? Not DIY enough.

I suspect it is all those things. But it is irritating, as someone who values frugality and minimalism, I feel like we are walking hypocrites.
User avatar
JoeRetire
Posts: 6001
Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2018 2:44 pm

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by JoeRetire »

rshocka wrote: Wed Oct 07, 2020 8:05 pm Monthly Spending looks to be about $9,100

Groceries/Household supplies 1050.00
Phone - Cell (Both) 185.00
Other / Cosmetics 95.00
Dining out 1000.00
New Clothes 125.00
These monthly expenses seem high to me. Some of them have pretty obvious reduction solutions.
It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | It's the end of the world as we know it. | And I feel fine.
User avatar
anon_investor
Posts: 3744
Joined: Mon Jun 03, 2019 1:43 pm

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by anon_investor »

JoeRetire wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 9:55 am
rshocka wrote: Wed Oct 07, 2020 8:05 pm Monthly Spending looks to be about $9,100

Groceries/Household supplies 1050.00
Phone - Cell (Both) 185.00
Other / Cosmetics 95.00
Dining out 1000.00
New Clothes 125.00
These monthly expenses seem high to me. Some of them have pretty obvious reduction solutions.
+1. $1k a month in dinning out??? New cloths monthly???
delamer
Posts: 10590
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:13 pm

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by delamer »

JoeRetire wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 9:55 am
rshocka wrote: Wed Oct 07, 2020 8:05 pm Monthly Spending looks to be about $9,100

Groceries/Household supplies 1050.00
Phone - Cell (Both) 185.00
Other / Cosmetics 95.00
Dining out 1000.00
New Clothes 125.00
These monthly expenses seem high to me. Some of them have pretty obvious reduction solutions.
Also, $175 on gas and $589 on a lease loan.

None of these expenses are unaffordable for you, just taking you at your word that you want to cut back. All of the above are much more than we spend (for 3 adults) in a higher cost-of-living area.
User avatar
Toons
Posts: 13826
Joined: Fri Nov 21, 2008 10:20 am
Location: Hills of Tennessee

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by Toons »

runner3081 wrote: Tue Oct 06, 2020 10:10 pm We are frugal minimalists, me, wife and elementary school child. (FYI, we don't have a mortgage or car payment).

These are monthly costs...

Grand Total: $2,035.17

HOUSING:
Natural Gas $35.00
Water/Sewer/Gbg $70.00
Electric $150.00
Property Tax $168.90
HOA $70.00

NON-AUTO INSURANCE
Me Life Insurance $36.25
Wife Life Insurance $17.92
Homeowners $49.25
Flood $22.25
Umbrella $19.17

SERVICES/MEMBERSHIPS
Professional Association $4.17
Cell Phones (3 Phones) $9.00
Internet $44.99
AAA $11.83

AUTOMOTIVE
Gasoline $150.00
Auto Insurance $80.58
Vehicle Licensing/Emissions $13.86
Auto Maintenance $120.00

MISCELLANEOUS
Gifts $55.00
Clothes $35.00
Misc/All Other $607.00 (truly everything else you could think of goes in this bucket)
Food $265.00

100% of remaining funds go to maxing out retirement/HSA, etc.

Superb :happy
"One does not accumulate but eliminate. It is not daily increase but daily decrease. The height of cultivation always runs to simplicity" –Bruce Lee
stoptothink
Posts: 8491
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:53 am

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by stoptothink »

veindoc wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 9:48 am I am in awe of households that maintain spending in the 3-4K month range. I consider us frugal. We keep our cars for 8-10 years and pay cash. We don’t buy designer digs and spend almost zero on personal care. We have no country club memberships or really memberships of any kind. We have no expensive hobbies. The kids go to public school. We eat 99% of our meals at home.

Yet we spend 5 digits monthly.

Did we buy too much house, have too many kids, live too far from family? Not DIY enough.

I suspect it is all those things. But it is irritating, as someone who values frugality and minimalism, I feel like we are walking hypocrites.
As someone who is spending <$3k/month with a family of 4, it is just second nature. For most of my life it was a necessity, now that we have more resources we've just gotten comfortable with that similar standard of living. So many things that you likely take for granted as just needs for life, simply are not even a consideration for us because we've never had them. "You don't have X :shock: " is something that we get a lot from peers when we get to know them, and we're just as confused because this is our way of life. This is the (one) upside to being raised in poverty.
delamer
Posts: 10590
Joined: Tue Feb 08, 2011 6:13 pm

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by delamer »

veindoc wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 9:48 am I am in awe of households that maintain spending in the 3-4K month range. I consider us frugal. We keep our cars for 8-10 years and pay cash. We don’t buy designer digs and spend almost zero on personal care. We have no country club memberships or really memberships of any kind. We have no expensive hobbies. The kids go to public school. We eat 99% of our meals at home.

Yet we spend 5 digits monthly.

Did we buy too much house, have too many kids, live too far from family? Not DIY enough.

I suspect it is all those things. But it is irritating, as someone who values frugality and minimalism, I feel like we are walking hypocrites.
If your house was expensive to purchase and maintain, that puts you in a hole (as far as minimalism goes) that’s hard to get out of. That isn’t to say you can’t afford it, just that it is a large fixed cost.

And kids are an expensive hobby. :wink:

We pay more than we really need to for some conveniences — mostly with regard to food. I put a high value on my time and don’t enjoy cooking. We don’t eat out or get carryout a lot, but we buy a lot of frozen “stick it in the oven for 30 minutes” food.

Everyone draws their line differently, but time versus money is the classic tradeoff.
MathWizard
Posts: 4394
Joined: Tue Jul 26, 2011 1:35 pm

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by MathWizard »

Current monthly spend is under $3,300.

We recently bought fairly new cars, so we don't have maintenance costs on them,
we don't travel much at all in 2020, and don't spend much on gasoline.

We do order takeout more than usual, to support the eating establishments
that we like.

In my retirement budgeting, I do add $5K/year for auto replacement and
$5K/year for house repair. We don't spend that much on repairs now, since
we do the labor ourselves, but I don't expect to do that in our 80's.
Tingting1013
Posts: 485
Joined: Mon Aug 24, 2020 5:44 pm

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by Tingting1013 »

Just one nitpick.

For cars that are fully paid off you should still have an expense line for annual depreciation. The other way to think about it is a “new car replacement fund” that you need to replenish yearly. Same concept.
smitcat
Posts: 6629
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:51 am

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by smitcat »

stoptothink wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 10:23 am
veindoc wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 9:48 am I am in awe of households that maintain spending in the 3-4K month range. I consider us frugal. We keep our cars for 8-10 years and pay cash. We don’t buy designer digs and spend almost zero on personal care. We have no country club memberships or really memberships of any kind. We have no expensive hobbies. The kids go to public school. We eat 99% of our meals at home.

Yet we spend 5 digits monthly.

Did we buy too much house, have too many kids, live too far from family? Not DIY enough.

I suspect it is all those things. But it is irritating, as someone who values frugality and minimalism, I feel like we are walking hypocrites.
As someone who is spending <$3k/month with a family of 4, it is just second nature. For most of my life it was a necessity, now that we have more resources we've just gotten comfortable with that similar standard of living. So many things that you likely take for granted as just needs for life, simply are not even a consideration for us because we've never had them. "You don't have X :shock: " is something that we get a lot from peers when we get to know them, and we're just as confused because this is our way of life. This is the (one) upside to being raised in poverty.
If you continue to live like you did while in poverty you have never really left poverty.
One of the rewards of leaving poverty is that it is no longer a necessity to live in the same way.
stoptothink
Posts: 8491
Joined: Fri Dec 31, 2010 9:53 am

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by stoptothink »

smitcat wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 11:44 am
stoptothink wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 10:23 am
veindoc wrote: Thu Oct 08, 2020 9:48 am I am in awe of households that maintain spending in the 3-4K month range. I consider us frugal. We keep our cars for 8-10 years and pay cash. We don’t buy designer digs and spend almost zero on personal care. We have no country club memberships or really memberships of any kind. We have no expensive hobbies. The kids go to public school. We eat 99% of our meals at home.

Yet we spend 5 digits monthly.

Did we buy too much house, have too many kids, live too far from family? Not DIY enough.

I suspect it is all those things. But it is irritating, as someone who values frugality and minimalism, I feel like we are walking hypocrites.
As someone who is spending <$3k/month with a family of 4, it is just second nature. For most of my life it was a necessity, now that we have more resources we've just gotten comfortable with that similar standard of living. So many things that you likely take for granted as just needs for life, simply are not even a consideration for us because we've never had them. "You don't have X :shock: " is something that we get a lot from peers when we get to know them, and we're just as confused because this is our way of life. This is the (one) upside to being raised in poverty.
If you continue to live like you did while in poverty you have never really left poverty.
One of the rewards of leaving poverty is that it is no longer a necessity to live in the same way.
I grew up sharing a single bedroom with 4 siblings, never had a bed until I left for college, food was a constant issue. My kids have their own room, a closet full of clothes, don't have the faintest clue what it's like to be hungry, participate in wrestling/jiu jitsu/muy thai classes and competitions, have their college already paid for, and go on several vacations a year...oh, and they have two parents. My children have a charmed life, my family is by no stretch of the imagination currently living in poverty, and your judgement of our chosen lifestyle (on countless posts over the years) isn't appreciated. I can assure you, we are quite happy and would increase our spending if it influenced our enjoyment of life. As I've responded to you several times, maybe keep your comments to yourself.

FWIW, our current <$3k/month budget includes a paid off home, no more childcare, paid wife's final tuition bill, and one paid off 2017 vehicle (that barely gets driven now). We've knocked out many of the bills that are reoccuring for most families.
User avatar
SmileyFace
Posts: 6002
Joined: Wed Feb 19, 2014 10:11 am

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by SmileyFace »

Your Dining-Out number is the obvious one that could be cut back in my opinion. But depending upon how much you are saving and what your income is - your expenses look reasonable to me. (Congratulations on your generosity towards charities).
Clothing for a family of 4 looks low from my perspective. Wait until the girls get older ;)
airborne
Posts: 73
Joined: Mon Jan 15, 2018 12:04 pm

Re: Monthly Budget Comparisons

Post by airborne »

Avg. monthly gross: $19,300

Rent: $2800
Utilities/phone: $250
Food/dining out: $1700 (2020 monthly average)
Transportation: $100 max (no car, walkable neighborhood)
Student loans: $400
Entertainment: $100
Work expenses: $600
Clothing: $100
Personal care: $100
Misc.: $150

Total: ~$6300/mo

As you can see, my food spend is quite high as well. I could drop that significantly, but as a single person most of my socializing comes in the form of food and drinks out with friends and coworkers. It has value to me well beyond the utility of physical sustenance, which I suspect it does for you as well. If you can afford it while achieving your financial goals there is no reason to cut back. If you absolutely need to cut back on that, start slowly and gradually. 2020 is depressing enough without taking away the remaining joys in life.
Post Reply