Critique my expenses and help me save money.

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Topic Author
yosemite_mountain
Posts: 391
Joined: Tue Oct 02, 2018 8:44 pm

Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by yosemite_mountain »

My expenses are through the roof this year, mostly due to inflation. I have not been able to meet my target savings amount this year; my savings are down 37% this year.

Question: Please critique my expenses and help me save money.

Stats:
Age 34
Single, no kids
Employed full time
Debt: $13,700 car loan
No house
AA 80% stocks 20% bonds
San Francisco Bay Area

Monthly income after taxes and maxing out 401k: $6468

Monthly expenses (*Updated for 2023):
-Rent: 2835
-Food (groceries, restaurants, work lunch): =480+200+200 = 880
-Contribution to parent’s expenses: 600
-Insurance (auto+umbrella+renters, Long Term Disability): 148 + 344 = 492
-Utilities (water, electricity, PG&E, internet): 122+30+235+68 = 456
-Transportation (gas, car payment): 100+ 287= 387
-Vacation fund: 280
-Facial care for acne (I had severe acne for 2.5 years and this is the only routine that got rid of the acne; it includes dermatologists prescription) = 215
-Body care (deodrant, body lotion, toothpaste+toothbrush, lip balm, other): 3 + 40 +14+0+9 =66
-Cleaning/household supplies (body wash, hand soap, laundry detergent, dishwasher soap, toilet bowl cleaner, swiffer wipes, toilet paperx2, paper towels, trash bags, alcohol wipes, clorox wipes) =5+5+5+5+5+5+14x2+4+0+0+0 = 62
-Recreation (amazon prime, skype): 15+30 =45
-Haircare (Shampoo, conditioner, hair moisturizer): =32
-Online payments (amazon prime, skype): 14+20+0+0+0+0 =34
-Healthcare (medications, doctor co-pays + out of pocket expenses): = 10

**Vacation fund is annualized for flights, hotels, visa fees, meals, transportation and includes $1k for one trip in the summer, $2.5k for one international trip in December to see family; $500 for a minor getaway in Apr, $500 for a minor getaway in Oct.

Total monthly expenses: $6357

Total annual expenses: $76,284


Actionable items from responses so far:
1.Increase income by improving skillsets, getting second job
2.Reduce expenses by: i). Get a roommate ii). Buy in bulk (toilet paper, etc), use sales, Costco. Buy generic store brands iii). Reduce eating out and instead prepare your own meals; this is better for my health too
Last edited by yosemite_mountain on Tue Jan 24, 2023 2:22 am, edited 18 times in total.
chris319
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by chris319 »

What is your monthly net (take-home) income?

May I ask which bay area city?

Why so high on facial care?

Can you pay off the car loan anytime soon?
Financial decisions based on emotion often turn out to be bad decisions.
HarryBosch
Posts: 11
Joined: Sat Feb 05, 2022 12:26 am

Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by HarryBosch »

Would recommend using a budgeting tool like Mint. It’s free and will easily connect to most of your financial accounts to help you automatically categorize your expenses so that you can determine where you have wiggle room and where you don’t after a couple months. I also find the monthly expense tracker keeps me on pace to live below my means as I competitively try to make my excess saving as big as I can each month.

Only you know your true budget because you know where you’re splurging and living at the bare minimum. At first glance, your vacation budget is high and would be the first place to start but I think you know that.
chris319
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by chris319 »

OP: please break down your vacation expenses. You can't be putting aside $2,000 per month for your summer vacation and $3,000 per month for your December vacation.

You can do all this with a spreadsheet program such as Excel or (free) Libre Office.

Let's get a handle on your monthly cash flow (income - expenses) which is why I asked for your take-home pay.
Financial decisions based on emotion often turn out to be bad decisions.
sailaway
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by sailaway »

Obviously you could do something about the travel expenses, but groceries, water and the gas utility also seem very high and are areas that it is very easy to find tips to cut back. (Although, 489 + some other numbers is not equal to $400, so perhaps the food budget has typos?)

If you like travelling that much and are not meeting your savings goal, have you considered getting a roommate?

Your breakdown also suggests you are spending $40/mo on toilet paper and even more per month on hygiene and skin care than groceries? Re evaluate those routines. If the quantity of facial care is acne related, cutting back can actually help some people, but it can be very scary to try once you have built up a routine.

One glaring cost that is missing is car maintenance. You don't want that car to break down the same month you pay it off. With only $50/mo gas, it is very low mileage, but I would still be budgeting for maintenance.
Topic Author
yosemite_mountain
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by yosemite_mountain »

chris319 wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 2:46 am
Why so high on facial care?
Wearing masks during the pandemic gave me the worst acne of my life. So now I'm on prescription acne medicine to get rid of the acne plus other actives to get rid of scarring.
chris319
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by chris319 »

Income, please?

Vacation expenses?

You don't have a proper budget yet. We'll get there.
Financial decisions based on emotion often turn out to be bad decisions.
CaptainT
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by CaptainT »

I recommend YNAB it is a budget tool that is also a phone app so you can track everything and see the trade offs.

How much money do you get per month after taxes?

You are not considering all true expenses. True expenses are non monthly things that still need to get paid. Think every 3 year car registration renewal or other expenses you can reasonably assume will happen but may or may not happen this month.

Your groceries are very high for a single person who eats out several meals a week.
Your household items is also absurdly high. 40 dollars a month in toilet paper!! Buy in bulk. Fyi I just looked on Amazon at Charmin ultrasoft 40 dollars buys 120 rolls of TP. No single person should be going thru 120 rolls of tp a month that is 4 rolls a day!! (If you are go se a GI doctor)This makes me think you don't actually know what you actually spend and reinforces the recommended of ynab
Robdac
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by Robdac »

It's pretty hard to, "help you save money" without an idea of income or savings rate. They are the two sides of the savings coin.

You spend a lot of money on your face, hair and household supplies which are mostly just additional toiletries. But, those expenses may be fine based on what's important to you. Or not.
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galawdawg
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by galawdawg »

yosemite_mountain wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 2:14 am My expense
-Cleaning supplies (body wash, liquid hand soap, laundry detergent, dishwasher soap, toilet bowl cleaner, swiffer wipes) =50

-Household items (toilet paper, trash bags, paper towels, deodrant, body lotion, toothpaste+toothbrush, lip balms): 40+5+10+10+40+20+10+10 =145

-Haircare (Shampoo, conditioner, hair moisturizer): 23+0+0+0+9 =32
You can't seriously be spending:
$40 a month for toilet paper
$5 a month for trash bags
$10 a month for paper towels
$10 a month for deodorant
$40 a month for body lotion
$40 a month for toothpaste, toothbrush and lip balm
$23 a month for shampoo

Since you are paying for an Amazon Prime subscription, do you order these things from Amazon? If so, look at our order history. Something isn't right.

Why are you contributing $600/mo towards your parent's expenses? Another $540+ is going towards vacations. So add all of that together (household supplies, parental allowance, vacation spending) and it totals over $1350/mo or twenty (20%) percent of your annual spending. As a single person, you also spend a lot for groceries considering you are also spending $350/mo eating out. And you mention you have "no debt" but have a car payment listed. If you have a loan, you have debt.

But you haven't told us what you earn and why you haven't met your savings goals. If you are spending $77,000/yr and only making $80,000/yr, then you have a problem. If you are making $200k but only spending $77,000/yr, what is the issue?
HomeStretch
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by HomeStretch »

1. Your annual expenses are $77k.
2. What are your annual income and payroll taxes?
3. What are your annual retirement and other contributions?

The total of 1-3 should be your household income from all sources.
stoptothink
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by stoptothink »

Robdac wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 4:41 am It's pretty hard to, "help you save money" without an idea of income or savings rate. They are the two sides of the savings coin.

You spend a lot of money on your face, hair and household supplies which are mostly just additional toiletries. But, those expenses may be fine based on what's important to you. Or not.
Many of those expenses seem outrageous for my family of 4 and total expenses are more than twice ours, but my opinion is pointless if they are meeting their financial/savings goals. This thread does OP no good without context.
Jack FFR1846
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by Jack FFR1846 »

Cleaning supplies (body wash, liquid hand soap, laundry detergent, dishwasher soap, toilet bowl cleaner, swiffer wipes) =50
-Facial care (squalane oil, cotton rounds, cleanser, curology, facial moisturizer, hydrating mask, sunscreen, vitamin C serum): 55+5+25+45+0+0+11+7+0+90+0 =238
-Household items (toilet paper, trash bags, paper towels, deodrant, body lotion, toothpaste+toothbrush, lip balms): 40+5+10+10+40+20+10+10 =145
-Haircare (Shampoo, conditioner, hair moisturizer): 23+0+0+0+9 =32
I'm sure this stuff is going to be a huge target. My total for our family of 4 for all this is $8.
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Outer Marker
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by Outer Marker »

Switch to bar soaps for shampoo, conditioner and body wash. Much less wasteful and better for the planet too, since you're not creating as much plastic waste. My significant other is a top stylist at a high end salon and orders these for our house. She favors Korean brands.https://www.amazon.com/Donggubat-Shampo ... B09SP1C8QQ
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Harry Livermore
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by Harry Livermore »

OP,
I struggle with budgeting too, so take my suggestions in the spirit of a fellow...
And perhaps a bit more detail about income, savings rate, and long term goals will aid the group here. What is your desired savings rate in percentage, and what are you able to do without cutting back on spending?
So.
Groceries, household items, and cleaning supplies/ toiletries seem awfully high. That's usually an easy area to cut back on. Use generic store versions wherever possible. Use less. Take a careful look at your dinner planning. That's probably an easy $200 per month.
Stop. Eating. Out. I know it's not "frugleheads", and many posters here (rightly) take the stance that money is a tool to make life better, but you are almost in fiscal austerity territory if you are overspending and not meeting your savings goal. That's an easy/hard lifestyle change. That could be $200 per month.
You don't give details regarding your disability insurance but that too seems high. Being self-employed, I always carried disability. But I considered it a last-resort backstop, like if I was severely injured and could not work for many years, and kept it at a subsistence level of benefit. It was pretty cheap, like 1/12th your monthly premium. Maybe you should take a hard look at what you could get by on if the horrible happened. Perhaps you could change the policy or get one with a smaller benefit or longer elimination period (self-insure the gap) and save $100-$200 per month.
Did the dermatologist (you are seeing a real MD, not a "skincare professional"?) recommend all of those lotions and extras? When I had severe acne as a teen, the dermatologist put me on Accutane, which is a serious drug requiring careful monitoring, but completely cleared up the acne for a couple of decades. In the end, that route might be more effective and perhaps cheaper, since it would likely be covered under your health insurance. ***I am not a doctor, please consult yours.***
If your long-term goal is to be financially independent you might consider giving up the car. That eliminates a car payment, insurance, gas, etc. Your umbrella might go down (then again, without auto you might not qualify for umbrella coverage, I don't really know) But it's a big expense, and while you don't specify where in the Bay Area you live, it might be possible to survive for now without a car. I live in the NYC metro area, and it amazes me how many people in the five boroughs own cars, deal with street parking and vandalism, when we have one of the most efficient (though dirty and smelly) mass transit systems on planet earth. It's such an easy give-up in New York. Your system in SanFran is pretty great too, so it might be possible... and put it on the back burner as an aspirational item later. That could be over $500 per month in your pocket.
I'd keep the vacations in the budget. They can be the reward for being frugal on other aspects.
Your rent seems good too, perhaps even cheap in the Bay Area. Good there. But... get in the habit of looking around, all the time. Maybe you do this already. Since you're single, maybe there is a roommate situation to be had? That probably has gotten old by the time you're 34, so I get it. But maybe keep your eyes peeled for cheaper rent. I doubt you'll find it...
Anyway, not to pat myself on the back, but if you give serious consideration to my suggestions you might free up $1K per month in addition to whatever you are already doing. My compliments for even considering some of these measures. You can take control of your finances!
Cheers
Jags4186
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by Jags4186 »

Stop giving money to your parents and stop going on vacation. Boom, you saved +-$14k.

You don’t need us to tell you what to cut. Nothing in there is crazy. You’ll just need to adjust how much you spend on everything—store brand vs national brand, less glammy vacations, etc.
Robdac
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by Robdac »

stoptothink wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 6:55 am
Many of those expenses seem outrageous for my family of 4 and total expenses are more than twice ours, but my opinion is pointless if they are meeting their financial/savings goals. This thread does OP no good without context.
Agreed. If the OP has a 50% savings rate then it really doesn't matter what they spend the rest on. Now, if it's -10% that's another story...
knowledge
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by knowledge »

Your rent is almost half of your annual expenses. I know the Bay area is expensive, but is there anything you can do to free up even $500/mo? Nothing else is going to have such an impact.

Also, your insurance bill seems quite high, is $500/mo accurate?
MtnTravel
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by MtnTravel »

How much do you make a year? If it's 400k, then I think you're fine. If it's 100k, then you're probably not fine.

On another note, how are you tracking your spending on such a granular level that you know how much you spend on toilet bowl cleaner and cotton balls each month? That definitely jumps out to me. Unless you clean yourself and your house multiple times per day, I don't know how you run out of that stuff so quickly that you are spending that much per month, especially as a single person. A bottle of shampoo and conditioner can easily last a couple of months. Same with all of the lotions and things you list there.
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CyclingDuo
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by CyclingDuo »

yosemite_mountain wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 2:14 am
Total monthly expenses: $6400
Total annual expenses: $77,000
Without knowing your income, it's hard to say if everything is or is not in line - especially when talking about a HCOL area such as the San Francisco Bay Area.

When doing a budget to help one successfully set themselves up to LBYM, it always starts with the big three to get it right: housing, transportation, food.

One thing that jumps out at me is your funding of expenses for your parents. Without knowing the backstory, it's hard for any of us to judge critique (suggested edit by chris319). However, that $600 per month expense jumps out.

The other amount that jumps out to us is the amount you are saving and spending for vacation due to the "big trip" in summer + international family visit in December. Do you really need to do both each and every year? Could you not do a staycation in the Bay Area for your big summer trip every other year to unwind, refresh and save money? Could you not cut back and visit family internationally every other year?

Do you have savings that you could tap into and dump the car loan? Do you have a roommate?

Without knowing your income, we have no idea if your expenses are well within reason and you are able to save/invest without any financial stress.

CyclingDuo
Last edited by CyclingDuo on Fri Nov 18, 2022 11:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
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chris319
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by chris319 »

Why are you contributing $600/mo towards your parent's expenses?
I figure OP has a legitimate family-related reason for this and the expense is justified in the context of his family relations. The underlying reason for it may be NONE OF OUR BUSINESS. OP will tell us what he wants to about this, if he feels like discussing it publicly at all. I don't like to nose into people's private affairs.

Take into account that the S.F. bay area is a VHCOL area. That's why his rent is what it is.

According to the figures he provided, he is spending $541.67 per month on travel which, along with dining out, falls into the category of discretionary expenses, IOW they are not absolutely necessary to his survival.

We don't need to know his pre-tax wages and his income-tax withholding. All that matters are his take-home pay and expenses. First things first. Let's get a proper budget made up, then y'all can advise him on how to save pennies on toilet paper.
Last edited by chris319 on Fri Nov 18, 2022 9:48 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Colorado14
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by Colorado14 »

I agree that expense management has to include an understanding of income. Since we don't know your income, I recommend reviewing your largest expenses: rent and food. Tinkering with expenses by purchasing cheaper toilet paper (for example) isn't going to have a substantial impact relative to your high expense categories.

Yes, food has become crazy expensive, so consider examining grocery/pickup/restaurant expenses to determine what could be cut there. Take your lunch to work/don't eat out as often. You definitely seem to be overspending in the food category.

As others have suggested, consider a roommate. Can you parents move in with you, resulting in $600/month savings in lieu of the support you are providing? Just an idea...

Good luck.
chris319
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by chris319 »

One thing that jumps out at me is your funding of expenses for your parents. Without knowing the backstory, it's hard for any of us to judge.
OP asked us to critique his spending, not to pass judgement on his obligation to his parents.

Keep in mind that California is in a severe drought. This affects the cost of produce and everything else. OP hasn't told us how frequently he dines out nor has he told us his take-home pay, so it is premature to pass judgement on his grocery bill and dining expenses.

It's the discretionary travel expenses that I would drill down on.
Financial decisions based on emotion often turn out to be bad decisions.
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Sandtrap
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by Sandtrap »

Concepts to put into action:
1 reduce debt
2 reduce expenses
3 focus on need vs want for all spending
4 increase income
5 diversify income streams snd increase
6 improve skillsets etc for higher income streams
7 move to lower cost of living if possible while retaining income
8 make big changes for big results
9 focus on the big number changes vs counting pennies
10 read: "Millionaire Next Door", "Think and Grow Rich", Life Strategy, and Life Code by Dr Phil McGraw.

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chris319
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by chris319 »

Here is a line-item budget for his monthly expenses based on figures provided by OP.

Missing are his income and any monthly savings/investment contributions.

OP didn't say whether he has an emergency fund.

Code: Select all

Monthly Budget			
Rent	2835.00		
Parents	600.00		
Insurance	493.00		
Food	830.00		
Transportation	303.00		
Utilities	305.00		
Cleaning	50.00		
Facial	238.00		
Household	145.00		
Hair	32.00		
Online	34.00		
Healthcare	32.00		
Summer vacation	166.67		
December vacation	250.00		
Feb vacation	41.67		
Apr vacation	41.67		
Oct vacation	41.67	Total Travel	541.67
			
Total Monthly	6438.67		
Financial decisions based on emotion often turn out to be bad decisions.
chris319
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by chris319 »

4 increase income
5 diversify income streams snd increase
6 improve skillsets etc for higher income streams
7 move to lower cost of living if possible while retaining income
8 make big changes for big results
Your suggestions are quite naive. OP hasn't told us his income, his education or his employment situation. For all we know he may work for a silicon-valley megacorp, be well educated, well compensated and valued by his employer, in which case your suggestions have little bearing. Bottom line: WE DON'T KNOW.
Financial decisions based on emotion often turn out to be bad decisions.
protagonist
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by protagonist »

You didn't mention your income.
If your income is high enough there is no reason to cut down on your expenses.
Your main expense is rent, so the first thing to ask is what percentage of your income are you spending on rent? That said I imagine rents in the SF area don't go a lot lower than what you are paying.
As for incidental expenses, this may seem petty, but you could certainly save by using cheaper hair products and household products and substitute soap for all that "facial care" that may be of dubious value anyway.
And if the interest on your car loan is high you might consider paying it off.
Other than that, your expenses seem quite reasonable. I can't comment on your commitment to your parents' expenses without knowing the circumstances.
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yosemite_mountain
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by yosemite_mountain »

Jack FFR1846 wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 7:05 am
I'm sure this stuff is going to be a huge target. My total for our family of 4 for all this is $8.
Where do you buy your household items for really cheap?
stoptothink
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by stoptothink »

yosemite_mountain wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 12:59 pm
Jack FFR1846 wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 7:05 am
I'm sure this stuff is going to be a huge target. My total for our family of 4 for all this is $8.
Where do you buy your household items for really cheap?
Where do you buy yours for so much? We might spend $50/month on ours and we're a family of 4.
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yosemite_mountain
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by yosemite_mountain »

stoptothink wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 1:02 pm
Where do you buy yours for so much? We might spend $50/month on ours and we're a family of 4.
I buy mine at Target
homebuyer6426
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by homebuyer6426 »

yosemite_mountain wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 2:14 am My expenses are through the roof this year, mostly due to inflation. I have not been able to meet my savings goals this year.

Question: Please critique my expenses and help me save money.

Stats:
Age 34
Single, no kids
Employed full time
Debt: $13,700 car loan
No house
AA 80% stocks 20% bonds
San Francisco Bay Area

Monthly expenses:
-Rent: 2835
-Contribution to parent’s expenses: 600
-Insurance (auto,umbrella,renters, Long Term Disability): 149 + 344 = 493
-Food (groceries, restaurants, work lunch): =480+200+150 = 830
-Transportation (gas, car payment): 50+250 =303
-Utilities (water, electricity, gas, internet): (100+25+120+60) = 305
-Cleaning supplies (body wash, liquid hand soap, laundry detergent, dishwasher soap, toilet bowl cleaner, swiffer wipes) =50
-Facial care (squalane oil, cotton rounds, cleanser, curology, facial moisturizer, hydrating mask, sunscreen, vitamin C serum): 55+5+25+45+0+0+11+7+0+90+0 =238
-Household items (toilet paper, trash bags, paper towels, deodrant, body lotion, toothpaste+toothbrush, lip balms): 40+5+10+10+40+20+10+10 =145
-Haircare (Shampoo, conditioner, hair moisturizer): 23+0+0+0+9 =32
-Online payments (amazon prime, skype): 14+20+0+0+0+0 =34
-Healthcare (medications, doctor co-pays + out of pocket expenses): 0+(10+7+15)+0+0 = 32
-Vacation fund: 541

**Vacation fund is annualized for flights, hotels, visa fees, meals, transportation and includes $2k for one big trip in the summer, $3k for one international trip in December to see family; $500 for a minor getaway in Feb, $500 for a minor getaway in Apr, $500 for a minor getaway in Oct.

Total monthly expenses: $6400
Total annual expenses: $77,000
I lived in the Bay Area 2012-2014. I spent $1050 per month to rent a 1 bedroom apartment with parking space. $100 per month on bridge tolls. $300 per month on food. $150 per month on utilities and internet. Overall I was living on approximately $20,000 per year.

I know prices have gone up a bit since then, but I'm still confident I could make it there on $35,000 per year as a single person.

Your food spending is high. Consider getting less expensive groceries and preparing more of your own meals. If you are having groceries delivered you could resume making the trip yourself.

Your rent is high - you should be able to save around $1000 if you are willing to move to a less upscale area or increase your commute length.

Your facial care routine could likely be simplified and done with less expensive products. Salicyclic acid 2% scrub worked well for me.

You have a lot more insurance than I did.
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Topic Author
yosemite_mountain
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by yosemite_mountain »

stoptothink wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 6:55 am
Many of those expenses seem outrageous for my family of 4 and total expenses are more than twice ours, but my opinion is pointless if they are meeting their financial/savings goals. This thread does OP no good without context.
- I have a target amount I save each year; this amount is down 37% this year, which is why I'm not meeting my savings target.
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yosemite_mountain
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by yosemite_mountain »

homebuyer6426 wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 1:22 pm
I lived in the Bay Area 2012-2014. I spent $1050 per month to rent a 1 bedroom apartment with parking space. $100 per month on bridge tolls. $300 per month on food. $150 per month on utilities and internet. Overall I was living on approximately $20,000 per year.
Where in the Bay Area were you able to rent a 1 bedroom apartment for $1050 a month?
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by stoptothink »

yosemite_mountain wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 1:23 pm
stoptothink wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 6:55 am
Many of those expenses seem outrageous for my family of 4 and total expenses are more than twice ours, but my opinion is pointless if they are meeting their financial/savings goals. This thread does OP no good without context.
- I have a target amount I save each year; this amount is down 37% this year, which is why I'm not meeting my savings target.
If it is down 37% for the year, it should be very easy to determine where the extra spending has come from. You know that you spend a lot on personal care, household goods, and food; there is a lot of fat you could cut there. If it is that important to you, start cutting - this isn't rocket science.
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by homebuyer6426 »

yosemite_mountain wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 1:43 pm
homebuyer6426 wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 1:22 pm
I lived in the Bay Area 2012-2014. I spent $1050 per month to rent a 1 bedroom apartment with parking space. $100 per month on bridge tolls. $300 per month on food. $150 per month on utilities and internet. Overall I was living on approximately $20,000 per year.
Where in the Bay Area were you able to rent a 1 bedroom apartment for $1050 a month?
Berkeley. I think Oakland would have also been an option. I commuted to San Rafael.
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strummer6969
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by strummer6969 »

stoptothink wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 6:55 am
Robdac wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 4:41 am It's pretty hard to, "help you save money" without an idea of income or savings rate. They are the two sides of the savings coin.

You spend a lot of money on your face, hair and household supplies which are mostly just additional toiletries. But, those expenses may be fine based on what's important to you. Or not.
Many of those expenses seem outrageous for my family of 4 and total expenses are more than twice ours, but my opinion is pointless if they are meeting their financial/savings goals. This thread does OP no good without context.
I don't think it's too comparable. There's obviously some scalability the more people you can share expenses with, such as a family of 4. Plus he's in the bay area. One way to reduce expenses for OP would be to have a roommate(s).
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

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strummer6969 wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 1:53 pm
stoptothink wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 6:55 am
Robdac wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 4:41 am It's pretty hard to, "help you save money" without an idea of income or savings rate. They are the two sides of the savings coin.

You spend a lot of money on your face, hair and household supplies which are mostly just additional toiletries. But, those expenses may be fine based on what's important to you. Or not.
Many of those expenses seem outrageous for my family of 4 and total expenses are more than twice ours, but my opinion is pointless if they are meeting their financial/savings goals. This thread does OP no good without context.
I don't think it's too comparable. There's obviously some scalability the more people you can share expenses with, such as a family of 4. Plus he's in the bay area. One way to reduce expenses for OP would be to have a roommate(s).
Toilet paper, shampoo, soap, food, etc. have scalability? That statement makes sense for a home or utilities, not for most of consumer products that are being discussed.

OP spends a lot in some of those categories regardless of the situation, many of these things clearly are wants and not needs. That may or may not matter, we all spend on things we don't need. OP is well aware that they are spending a lot on wants; if they want to save more, cut. I have no idea what they are expecting to get from this conversation.
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by yosemite_mountain »

protagonist wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 10:30 am
And if the interest on your car loan is high you might consider paying it off.
My car loan interest is 2.5%
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by CyclingDuo »

yosemite_mountain wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 1:23 pm
stoptothink wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 6:55 am
Many of those expenses seem outrageous for my family of 4 and total expenses are more than twice ours, but my opinion is pointless if they are meeting their financial/savings goals. This thread does OP no good without context.
- I have a target amount I save each year; this amount is down 37% this year, which is why I'm not meeting my savings target.
Having read some of your previous posts, one which included a salary of $200K in 2018 with a high rate of savings, and one post where you mentioned you had left a $300K position a few years later - have you found similar replacement income?

In dollar amounts with your previous posts about your employment and level of savings, what would being down 37% this year be in $$ terms? Dealing with the expenses you listed above and based on your prior income levels, it doesn't sound like you're going to achieve closing the 37% shortfall gap via toothpaste, facial products, and toilet paper. 8-)
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by Outer Marker »

yosemite_mountain wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 2:14 am My expenses are through the roof this year, mostly due to inflation. I have not been able to meet my target savings amount this year; my savings are down 37% this year.

Question: Please critique my expenses and help me save money.
Have you gotten a raise or asked for one? Your question posits the answer -- it's simply that things cost more -- so if you're not cutting back, and haven't gotten a raise, there's going to be less left over to meet your savings goals. My personal indicator is the "fajita index" at my favorite local Mexican restaurant. The same delicious plate that used to cost $16 now costs $24, and if you want shredded cheese that once came "standard" it's now a $1.50 upcharge. That's more than a 50% increase, plus you're paying tip on it too. I'd work on the income side of the equation. It's not unreasonable to ask for a raise. You're not going to find your savings in toothpaste or toilet paper by shopping at Aldi instead of Target.
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by yosemite_mountain »

Outer Marker wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 3:12 pm
yosemite_mountain wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 2:14 am My expenses are through the roof this year, mostly due to inflation. I have not been able to meet my target savings amount this year; my savings are down 37% this year.

Question: Please critique my expenses and help me save money.
Have you gotten a raise or asked for one? Your question posits the answer -- it's simply that things cost more -- so if you're not cutting back, and haven't gotten a raise, there's going to be less left over to meet your savings goals. My personal indicator is the "fajita index" at my favorite local Mexican restaurant. The same delicious plate that used to cost $16 now costs $24, and if you want shredded cheese that once came "standard" it's now a $1.50 upcharge. That's more than a 50% increase, plus you're paying tip on it too. I'd work on the income side of the equation. It's not unreasonable to ask for a raise. You're not going to find your savings in toothpaste or toilet paper by shopping at Aldi instead of Target.
You're right. I should also focus on increasing compensation.
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by Robdac »

yosemite_mountain wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 1:23 pm
- I have a target amount I save each year; this amount is down 37% this year, which is why I'm not meeting my savings target.
Your answers on income and savings rate are quite evasive. That's fine. But, because of it, the best we can say is that you need to cut spending or increase income until your savings increase to your target amount, whatever that hidden number is. But, if a 37% decrease in savings represents say $50,000+ dollars then no amount of spending side budgeting advice will be useful.
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by AnnetteLouisan »

What’s up with all the vacation? Is that customary among your peers? Maybe an age thing. Or maybe your job is really stressful. I feel you on the toiletries. Could be a gender thing. For some of us our faces are our fortunes haha.
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by yosemite_mountain »

Robdac wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 4:48 pm
But, if a 37% decrease in savings represents say $50,000+ dollars then no amount of spending side budgeting advice will be useful.
Sorry, not sure I understand what you mean by this.
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by DesertGator »

chris319 wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 10:22 am
4 increase income
5 diversify income streams snd increase
6 improve skillsets etc for higher income streams
7 move to lower cost of living if possible while retaining income
8 make big changes for big results
Your suggestions are quite naive. OP hasn't told us his income, his education or his employment situation. For all we know he may work for a silicon-valley megacorp, be well educated, well compensated and valued by his employer, in which case your suggestions have little bearing. Bottom line: WE DON'T KNOW.
Naïve? This is a formula or recipe, and very useful guidance. Since the OP provided only one side of the income statement and none of the balance sheet, its easier and more actionable to provide a recipe to optimize the other variables these suggest that are unknown to us.
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by cchrissyy »

yosemite_mountain wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 5:06 pm
Robdac wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 4:48 pm
But, if a 37% decrease in savings represents say $50,000+ dollars then no amount of spending side budgeting advice will be useful.
Sorry, not sure I understand what you mean by this.
OP, i think i understand the question because i have the same one.

if you did save your target 37% this year, how many dollars is that?

the reason to ask is to know whether we in a scenario where "buy generic shampoo" will move the needle, or do we need dollar amounts on the scale of "sell your car and get a roommate". or maybe change your thinking about is 37% a good goal or is 20% enough.
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by Triple digit golfer »

Parent expenses and vacations can be eliminated if you choose. At least the "getaway" trips and potentially the summer trip.

Work lunch can be eliminated.

Groceries seem extremely high for one person considering that's just food since you have all of the below as well...

Facial care, household items, cleaning supplies, hair care are all extremely high. $40 on toilet paper?!
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by chris319 »

Your answers on income and savings rate are quite evasive.
OP has evaded several direct questions about his situation. We don't know his income so we can't establish whether he has a positive cash flow. Sorry, OP, we've helped you as much as we can, given that you are withholding critical information.

I will say that your travel expenses look pretty extravagant at first blush, considering they are discretionary "wants", not "needs".

You're going to have a rough time in retirement if this is any indication of how you manage your finances, which is frankly quite poor.

Best of luck to you.
Financial decisions based on emotion often turn out to be bad decisions.
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by yosemite_mountain »

cchrissyy wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 5:47 pm
if you did save your target 37% this year, how many dollars is that?

the reason to ask is to know whether we in a scenario where "buy generic shampoo" will move the needle, or do we need dollar amounts on the scale of "sell your car and get a roommate". or maybe change your thinking about is 37% a good goal or is 20% enough.
37% is $50k
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Re: Critique my expenses and help me save money.

Post by Triple digit golfer »

yosemite_mountain wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 6:12 pm
cchrissyy wrote: Fri Nov 18, 2022 5:47 pm
if you did save your target 37% this year, how many dollars is that?

the reason to ask is to know whether we in a scenario where "buy generic shampoo" will move the needle, or do we need dollar amounts on the scale of "sell your car and get a roommate". or maybe change your thinking about is 37% a good goal or is 20% enough.
37% is $50k
Your savings are down 37%, which is $50k?

You were saving $135k and it's down to $85k?

This doesn't make any sense. Either be totally forthcoming or don't bother.
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