Singles/DINKs in HCOL/VHCOL areas, can you please share your budget?

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Plz
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Joined: Tue Oct 09, 2018 10:26 pm

Singles/DINKs in HCOL/VHCOL areas, can you please share your budget?

Post by Plz » Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:58 pm

I’m trying to do the math for a move and see if it would be worthwhile and would love to get some budget data from single people or DINKs (double income no kids) who live in high cost of living or very high cost of living areas. If you wouldn’t mind sharing ballpark numbers, I would really appreciate it.

My monthly cost estimates:
Rent: $1500-2000
Utilities: $100-150
Internet/cable: $100
Cellphone: $50
Transportation: $250-350
Grocery: $200-300
Eating out: $300-500
Entertainment: $0-500

surfstar
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Joined: Fri Sep 13, 2013 12:17 pm
Location: Santa Barbara, CA

Re: Singles/DINKs in HCOL/VHCOL areas, can you please share your budget?

Post by surfstar » Sat Nov 09, 2019 12:11 am

I'll ballpark it, for Santa Barbara, CA, 2 person household:

Rent: $2800-3500 (pretty basic 2br at that price, actually) Our actual # for a 2/2 condo is ~$3800 mo, includes HOA, mortgage, taxes and 1% towards maint.
Utilities: $170
Internet: $70
Cellphone: $50
Transportation: $750-900 (own 2 newer cars - this is all in TCO, ins, fuel, depr. etc etc)
Grocery: $300-350
Eating out: $50-100 (we don't each out much)
Entertainment: $0-200

J295
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Re: Singles/DINKs in HCOL/VHCOL areas, can you please share your budget?

Post by J295 » Sat Nov 09, 2019 12:23 am

San Francisco daughter and son-in-law pay $4000 per month for unfurnished one bedroom. Renewal/new rents are now going for around $4500 per month.

South of San Francisco son is back on temporary assignment in a furnished unit for a few months, and I believe those two bedroom units rent for around $5500 per month.

HEDGEFUNDIE
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Re: Singles/DINKs in HCOL/VHCOL areas, can you please share your budget?

Post by HEDGEFUNDIE » Sat Nov 09, 2019 12:49 am

Unless you are sharing an apartment, that is very low rent for VHOCL

Grt2bOutdoors
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Re: Singles/DINKs in HCOL/VHCOL areas, can you please share your budget?

Post by Grt2bOutdoors » Sat Nov 09, 2019 1:04 am

Cellphone, Groceries, Entertainment and Eating Out - all too low. Your rent number? I guess if you are leasing space in a closet or will have multiple roommates. A 3 bedroom in a walk up, no elevator, no doorman building in NYC could cost about $4K. Groceries are not inexpensive, everything you buy in NYC has a huge markup to cover the cost of rent and city taxes. You might get a Metrocard for $200, take one taxi or Uber and you just blew your budget. Entertainment can be cheap but go to a few shows and there goes the budget.
"One should invest based on their need, ability and willingness to take risk - Larry Swedroe" Asking Portfolio Questions

muffins14
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Re: Singles/DINKs in HCOL/VHCOL areas, can you please share your budget?

Post by muffins14 » Sat Nov 09, 2019 2:46 am

In NYC:
Rent a nice one bedroom: $4000 Total, split between us
My expenses roughly:
Dinner/brunch/drinks out: $700-800
Travel: average to $6000 per year or $500/ mo
Groceries: $200-300
Entertainment: $200
Transportation: $100
Utilities (gas,internet,cable): $100-$150
Phone: $100
Other misc for household: $100

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simplesimon
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Location: Boston, MA

Re: Singles/DINKs in HCOL/VHCOL areas, can you please share your budget?

Post by simplesimon » Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:03 am

Plz wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:58 pm
I’m trying to do the math for a move and see if it would be worthwhile and would love to get some budget data from single people or DINKs (double income no kids) who live in high cost of living or very high cost of living areas. If you wouldn’t mind sharing ballpark numbers, I would really appreciate it.

My monthly cost estimates:
Rent: $1500-2000
Utilities: $100-150
Internet/cable: $100
Cellphone: $50
Transportation: $250-350
Grocery: $200-300
Eating out: $300-500
Entertainment: $0-500
This looks like a budget for a single person who has a roommate or two. Not a DINK budget.

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LiveSimple
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Re: Singles/DINKs in HCOL/VHCOL areas, can you please share your budget?

Post by LiveSimple » Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:06 am

simplesimon wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:03 am
Plz wrote:
Fri Nov 08, 2019 11:58 pm
I’m trying to do the math for a move and see if it would be worthwhile and would love to get some budget data from single people or DINKs (double income no kids) who live in high cost of living or very high cost of living areas. If you wouldn’t mind sharing ballpark numbers, I would really appreciate it.

My monthly cost estimates:
Rent: $1500-2000
Utilities: $100-150
Internet/cable: $100
Cellphone: $50
Transportation: $250-350
Grocery: $200-300
Eating out: $300-500
Entertainment: $0-500
This looks like a budget for a single person who has a roommate or two. Not a DINK budget.
Missing is the taxable investment line item :sharebeer

arf30
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Re: Singles/DINKs in HCOL/VHCOL areas, can you please share your budget?

Post by arf30 » Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:47 am

NYC suburb:

Mortgage + taxes: 3000
HOA: 300
Utilities: 200
Services (phone, internet, streaming, security etc): 200
Groceries (Whole Foods): 500
Eating Out/Social: 600
Transportation (2 cars, 1 paid off, gas, tolls, insurance, lease): 700
Travel: 500 averaged out
Misc household (furniture, appliances, electronics, decoration, repairs, renovations): 1000 averaged out
Clothes, hair, nails etc: Probably 500


Seems high when I type it all out, but we've got plenty of breathing room and in case of job loss we could probably make some deep cuts.

fasteddie911
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Re: Singles/DINKs in HCOL/VHCOL areas, can you please share your budget?

Post by fasteddie911 » Sat Nov 09, 2019 9:07 am

Between the MCOL and HCOL areas I've lived in, most notable differences were in housing and transportation. HCOL public transit was better and utilized more, at some points we didn't own a car, so transportation costs were lower. Rent for a 1br were in the $2k range, but of course can vary greatly depending on neighborhood and quality of housing.

SDLinguist
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Re: Singles/DINKs in HCOL/VHCOL areas, can you please share your budget?

Post by SDLinguist » Sat Nov 09, 2019 9:08 am

Looking at mint, this year we average $5500-6000 spend a month including rent. That leaves us with about $1,500-2,000 left over ever month from our yearly ~90k take home. Like the terrible everything killing millennials we are, we consiously avoid buying stuff and instead spend money on experiences, which is why our entertainment budget is so high and 'shopping' is lumped into the bits and bobs. We don't track spending too closely but in San Diego:

Rent: 1975 <- killer deal, like 6-700 under current market for large almost 900sqft 1 bedroom in the northern part of the city of SD itself.
Utilities: $225, internet included. I count internet as a utility nowadays
Groceries: $500
Eating out/Entertainment/Travel: $1500
Cars: $550 (loan, insurance, gas, maintenance) though this will go up soon. We decided we are allowed one bad financial decision in our 20's so while my wife is still 29 we are replacing one of our cars with a Laguna Beach Blue M2 - one off lease so we let someone else eat the first 35% of depreciation but still objectively not a smart financial decision. Thankfully my wife is a gear head and it will end up being her DD probably.
Phones: $125
Personal trainer: $500
Random bits and bobs: $250-500 <-medical, shopping, etc

Fortunately we are very lucky for a couple who both just turned or will still turn 30 this year in that we started with very little student loan debt (only ~15k from my wife) and large savings. I had about $5k to my name when I finished my masters but my wife had saved up close to $50k from working since she was 16. We have also doubled our combined gross income in the last 4 years from about 90k to close to 200k. This is also why I am a preacher of 'pay yourself first'. If we didn't save a bunch of money right out of our paychecks into 401k, HSA, ESPP etc we would probably be saving much much less and spending much much more!

stan1
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Re: Singles/DINKs in HCOL/VHCOL areas, can you please share your budget?

Post by stan1 » Sat Nov 09, 2019 9:33 am

Here's some thoughts. You need to separate out whether your budget is for one person or two people.

Rent - likely very low if you want a covered parking spot, in unit washer/dryer, and safer neighborhood. Sometimes you can get lucky and find a small landlord who highly values a stable tenant. You might find something that low in a 50-70 year old building with street parking, no air conditioning, and no w/d or in an APU in the owner's back yard. In my coastal area you can get a newer studio with on-site parking and washer/dryer in the $2300/month range. Two bedrooms would be in the $3500-4000 range. More still if you want an assigned parking space.

Mobile phone - keep your current plans in most cases so use actuals.

Utilities - varies by location, but could be over $200 in areas with high electric and water rates (e.g. Southern CA)

Transportation - gas prices are easy to find on the internet as are transit pass prices.

Grocery - what is your current monthly spend? $300/person may be doable if you are focused on low cost food and have a car and time to drive around to multiple stores to pick it up.

Eating out - It is very possible to get a large portion of tasty Chinese, Thai or Lebanese food in my area for $15 that can be turned into 2 or 3 meals (pickup yourself, not delivery). A few years ago could be done for $10 but much harder to do that now.

Overall I think your numbers are on the low side, especially if you are looking at two people not one person.

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9-5 Suited
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Re: Singles/DINKs in HCOL/VHCOL areas, can you please share your budget?

Post by 9-5 Suited » Sat Nov 09, 2019 9:39 am

arf30 wrote:
Sat Nov 09, 2019 7:47 am
NYC suburb:

Mortgage + taxes: 3000
HOA: 300
Utilities: 200
Services (phone, internet, streaming, security etc): 200
Groceries (Whole Foods): 500
Eating Out/Social: 600
Transportation (2 cars, 1 paid off, gas, tolls, insurance, lease): 700
Travel: 500 averaged out
Misc household (furniture, appliances, electronics, decoration, repairs, renovations): 1000 averaged out
Clothes, hair, nails etc: Probably 500


Seems high when I type it all out, but we've got plenty of breathing room and in case of job loss we could probably make some deep cuts.
As usual it’s all relative. I don’t think there’s any reason to feel sorry or like it’s too high. You make a great living and spend accordingly. The budget of a struggling lower income American would seem extravagant to a large percentage of the global population.

Our budget in overall dollars and category allocation is very similar to yours in downtown Chicago. All in housing outflow is about the same but with more in HOA and less in the PITI. We’ve got an older paid off car and public transit, so that transportation budget shifts into vacation/clothes.

cncm
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Re: Singles/DINKs in HCOL/VHCOL areas, can you please share your budget?

Post by cncm » Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:06 am

In NYC, it depends on whether you want to live in Manhattan or the hip parts of Brooklyn (if so, expect to pay ~$4k in rent per month for a 1br), or you’re okay living in other, by no means bad, boroughs or neighborhoods. For example, it’s totally doable to get a 1br in Astoria, Sunnyside, or further out parts of Brooklyn/Queens for ~$2k. I’m not too familiar with the Bronx but would imagine it’s even cheaper.

For transportation, a subway card costs you $130/month which can take you anywhere you want to go, often faster than by cab/Uber.

Groceries/utilities/ other costs may be marginally higher but nothing like rent. Just factor in 20% premium to whatever you’re currently spending.

Topic Author
Plz
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Re: Singles/DINKs in HCOL/VHCOL areas, can you please share your budget?

Post by Plz » Mon Nov 11, 2019 8:28 am

Thanks all for the replies, will adjust the budget accordingly.

Sandi_k
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Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Singles/DINKs in HCOL/VHCOL areas, can you please share your budget?

Post by Sandi_k » Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:16 pm

Ours, for the outer SF Bay area:

Mortgage (P&I) $2,355
Taxes & Insurance: $850
Comcast $125
Gas & Electric $125
Water $14
Garbage $30
Cell phones: $105, 3 lines (2 phones, 1 iPad)
Auto Insurance: $320
Housekeeper $150
Gardener $65
Groceries $350
Costco $225
Eating Out $300
Entertainment $50
Pet and Vet $50
Gas $300
Hardware $100
Personal: haircuts, manicures, massages, etc: $100
Medical: $400 premium, $110 FSA
Savings for vacations, emergency fund, car repairs: $1000
Taxes: $2100 Fed, $800 state
Retirement savings: $3200

All retirement savings and health insurance premiums are paid pre-tax, as is a pre-tax FSA of $1400 annually.

MathIsMyWayr
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Location: CA

Re: Singles/DINKs in HCOL/VHCOL areas, can you please share your budget?

Post by MathIsMyWayr » Wed Nov 13, 2019 1:05 am

Sandi_k wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:16 pm
Ours, for the outer SF Bay area:

Mortgage (P&I) $2,355
Taxes & Insurance: $850
Comcast $125
Gas & Electric $125
Water $14
Garbage $30
Cell phones: $105, 3 lines (2 phones, 1 iPad)
Auto Insurance: $320
Housekeeper $150
Gardener $65
Groceries $350
Costco $225
Eating Out $300
Entertainment $50
Pet and Vet $50
Gas $300
Hardware $100
Personal: haircuts, manicures, massages, etc: $100
Medical: $400 premium, $110 FSA
Savings for vacations, emergency fund, car repairs: $1000
Taxes: $2100 Fed, $800 state
Retirement savings: $3200

All retirement savings and health insurance premiums are paid pre-tax, as is a pre-tax FSA of $1400 annually.
How can you keep water bill as low as $14/mon in the Bay area? Mine is many times yours.

zrk
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Re: Singles/DINKs in HCOL/VHCOL areas, can you please share your budget?

Post by zrk » Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:37 am

Background (Single):

Rent costs explained: Living in "luxury" apartments in Seattle in a 2b2b with a roommate, splitting rents. Soon I'll have my own Studio or 1b1b that will be 1300-1700/mo, but wont be a "luxury" apartment.

Travel costs explained: Do not own a car. Work offers a free public transport pass that I use often. I think it's more economical (and liberating) to live walking-distance from work and have no car. Parking in an apartment space is $300/mo around where I am. Registration can be $800/yr. Gas is more than $4/gal. Parking around the city is regularly $10+/hr. Ubers can be $7-8 to get anywhere I need, or I can take a bus for "free". I take a lot of domestic flights per year, and might start sneaking in an international flight as well.

Food: I spend too much on eating out. I have no excuse but laziness and it being a common date event. I live close enough to work to walk home for lunch, so I save some money there.

Overall my best advice for living in a HCOL or VHCOL city would be to avoid owning a car if you can. A car is a huge liability. It's preferable to rent close to work and not own a car. Usually buying a home takes a long time to pay off since the price-to-rent ratio tends to be high, so renting is favorable if doable for you. https://www.nerdwallet.com/mortgages/re ... calculator

Someone could get by spending half of what I do on rent (roommates in a house in a nearby neighborhood), travel, and food, but they would have to commute, not eat out often, and only take ~5-6 domestic flights per year instead of the ~12 I do. I feel like I live an extremely luxurious life on these expenses. I think if someone wanted to live a more moderate life, they could cut down to ~$30,000 per year. Of course, this all applies to a Single earner, no debt, with no responsibilities but themselves. These expenses don't include my savings.

==========================================
Annual
==========================================
$19,430.16 Home(Rent)
$10,534.70 Food & Dining(Groceries and Restaurants)
$5,528.31 Travel(Planes and Uber)
$2,953.95 Shopping(Clothes, shoes, electronics)
$1,093.27 Gifts & Donations
$1,091.15 Health & Fitness(Doctor and Dentist deductibles)
$721.53 Entertainment(Games, theaters, dates)
$580.00 Uncategorized(ATM Withdrawals for Bars, Travel Expenses, and walking around money)
$504.99 Bills & Utilities(Most utilities included with rent)
$451.39 Misc(Haircuts, office supplies)
$409.50 Auto & Transport(Car rentals for leaving city)
$239.10 Personal Care
$24.50 Fees & Charges(Took Bar money out of wrong ATM)
=================================
$43,571.36 Total

==========================================
Monthly amortized and rounded
==========================================
$1,619.18 Home(Rent)
$877.89 Food & Dining(Groceries and Restaurants)
$460.69 Travel(Planes and Uber)
$246.16 Shopping(Clothes, shoes, electronics)
$91.10 Gifts & Donations
$90.93 Health & Fitness(Doctor and Dentist deductibles)
$60.13 Entertainment(Games, theaters, dates)
$48.33 Uncategorized(ATM Withdrawals for Bars and Travel Expenses)
$42.08 Bills & Utilities(Most utilities included with rent)
$37.62 Misc(Haircuts, office supplies)
$34.13 Auto & Transport(Car rentals for leaving city)
$19.93 Personal Care
$2.04 Fees & Charges(Took Bar money out of wrong ATM)
==========================================
$3,630.95 Total

desafinado
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Re: Singles/DINKs in HCOL/VHCOL areas, can you please share your budget?

Post by desafinado » Wed Nov 13, 2019 7:35 am

Me, in NYC (GF and I live separately, don't really share expenses)

Rent: $2500 for a small but well-appointed 1br a 15 minute subway ride to work.
Utilities: $40
Internet/cable: $50 for internet
Cellphone: $50
Transportation: $200 (mostly pretax)
Grocery: $300
Eating out: $800
Entertainment: $0-2000 (counting travel, etc)
Amortized lumpy expenses: $300

Big thing for me is similarly no car, just no need for it in my life right now. I don't get out of the city too much but when I do it's on an airplane. To be honest I don't track spending very carefully since I have a good income and everything is pretty well covered, so these are just best guesses.

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Elsebet
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Location: Washington state

Re: Singles/DINKs in HCOL/VHCOL areas, can you please share your budget?

Post by Elsebet » Wed Nov 13, 2019 5:20 pm

My husband and I just have 2 dogs (no kids) and we live east of Seattle.

Mortgage/Insurance: $1400
Property Tax: $600
Auto/Umbrella Insurance: $150
Utilities: $250 (oil heat & electric)
Internet, streaming services: $175
Cellphone: $100 (2)
Transportation: $300 (we have short commutes and paid-off vehicles so I consider most of this savings for maintenance & future vehicle purchase)
Grocery: $600 (we cook/bake at home)
Eating out: $0-$50 (we rarely eat out)
Entertainment: $50-$200 (we have cheap hobbies)
Medical: $150-? (we have an HSA and cashflow our deductible)
"...the man who adapts himself to his slender means and makes himself wealthy on a little sum, is the truly rich man..." ~Seneca

Sandi_k
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Location: SF Bay Area

Re: Singles/DINKs in HCOL/VHCOL areas, can you please share your budget?

Post by Sandi_k » Wed Nov 13, 2019 6:04 pm

Sandi_k wrote:
Tue Nov 12, 2019 11:16 pm

Ours, for the outer SF Bay area:

Water $14
MathIsMyWayr wrote:
Wed Nov 13, 2019 1:05 am
How can you keep water bill as low as $14/mon in the Bay area? Mine is many times yours.
We are primarily on well water in our community.

StoopieHippo
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Location: Seattle, WA

Re: Singles/DINKs in HCOL/VHCOL areas, can you please share your budget?

Post by StoopieHippo » Thu Nov 14, 2019 12:05 am

Seattle (inner city condo)
Mortgage/Ins/Taxes: $2350
HOA: $440
Food (including eating out): $1200
Gas/Transport: $150, including insurance (we mostly walk and take the bus so we have insurance by the mile. Public transport is mostly paid for by our jobs as we both work downtown)
Electricity: $25-80/mo, depending on season (w/s/g included in HOA)
Internet: $65 (gig internet, no cable :D)
Entertainment: $50 (netflix, hulu, and various fun activities)
Sinking fund for lumpy expenses: $250
Vacation fund: $250

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