Personal Finance

Lots of Talk on Saving and Income, let's chat Spending

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  • Jan 25th, 2023 10:36 am
[OP]
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Dec 11, 2008
11406 posts
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Lots of Talk on Saving and Income, let's chat Spending

I'm always intrigued on people's spending habits as income is on perspective and savings is another data point. What about spending? Outside of some small things like "location" or large things like "children"; spending in general shouldn't vary a huge amount unless you have a ton of subscriptions, commute a lot etc. Interested to see how much people spend money on.

I'vbe always assumed we spent very little but am interested in seeing what others do.

Background info: 2 people in home, no children or pets.

Categories:

Housing/Utilities: $1300/month. No mortgage, just maintenance fees, property tax, home insurance and utilities. Maintenance fees take up 50% of this. I think our utilities of $300 is decent for 2 person household.

Travel/Commute: Gas/Public Transit/Parking/Car Insurance = $200/month. We don't drive too much except for visiting relatives, grocery shopping and some other activities. We also don't commute as much since we are WFH most days.

Food: $350 groceries and $200 eating out per month. This includes all food (not including vacation food). THis also includes meals we pay for others for their bday (family bdays) etc.

Telecom: $240/month. This includes paying for in-laws Telecom as well. We only have 2 cell phones and home internet ourselves.

Clothes: $0/month. I budget some but we mainly get it reimbursed under my husband's "wellness" account at work. But if we were to actually track it, maybe like $50/month?

Gifts: $45/month.

Misc: Basically all the junk and other things we buy like small housing stuff (repairs) or haircuts etc. This fluctutate sooooo much because we include vacation and that changes annually. in 2022 we spend $1675/month in this category and $1263 out of that was on vacation in 2022 and some pre-paying for 2023 vacation. So we spend about $412/month on actual misc stuff. In 2022 we bought a new dishwasher and iMac etc

So in total for 2022 we spent on avg: $4034/month. For fun in 2021 we spend $2500/month when we didn't travel lol.

So share, what do you spend?
33 replies
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Dec 12, 2009
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That is pretty frugal. My budget is a little more generous that that. The miscellaneous category is wide in scope purposely for simplicity and compliance. The following are per month numbers.

Housing (utilities, telecom services, insurance, taxes, repairs): $2500
Food (groceries and restaurant meals): $1500
Transportation (gas, maintenance, insurance, replacement): $1500
Leisure and travel: emergency fund
Miscellaneous (anything not in the above categories): $1500

The housing and transportation file can have lumpy expenses if repair/replacement bill rears its ugly head. Otherwise funds not spent are allocated to the emergency fund which rises and falls over time. The emergency fund is heavily resourced because the PLC is included as a second level defense in depth. If there is too much cash reserve, it gets invested to improve future cashflow.
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[OP]
Deal Guru
Dec 11, 2008
11406 posts
2347 upvotes
will888 wrote: That is pretty frugal. My budget is a little more generous that that. The miscellaneous category is wide in scope purposely for simplicity and compliance. The following are per month numbers.

Housing (utilities, telecom services, insurance, taxes, repairs): $2500
Food (groceries and restaurant meals): $1500
Transportation (gas, maintenance, insurance, replacement): $1500
Leisure and travel: emergency fund
Miscellaneous (anything not in the above categories): $1500

The housing and transportation file can have lumpy expenses if repair/replacement bill rears its ugly head. Otherwise funds not spent are allocated to the emergency fund which rises and falls over time. The emergency fund is heavily resourced because the PLC is included as a second level defense in depth. If there is too much cash reserve, it gets invested to improve future cashflow.
How is food so high? I personally don't think we eat cheap but we do buy stuff on sale and stock up (we have a chest freezer). Would would you consider to be a high expense in food category for your food habits? Eating out or certain cuts of meat? Organic?

I may have forgotten to share we have 1 car only.

My transport of course doesnt budget long term things like a replacement car and things of "emergency" too like a new appliance if something breaks etc.

So can you imagine us trying to go from $4k a month to $10k when we retire? LOL
Jr. Member
Oct 9, 2011
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Housing 2000
Car payment gas insurance (2 cars) 1100
Groceries 600
Internet,tv,subscriptions,cell phone 330
Daycare 450
Deal Expert
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Dec 12, 2009
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speedyforme wrote: How is food so high? I personally don't think we eat cheap but we do buy stuff on sale and stock up (we have a chest freezer). Would would you consider to be a high expense in food category for your food habits? Eating out or certain cuts of meat? Organic?

I may have forgotten to share we have 1 car only.

My transport of course doesnt budget long term things like a replacement car and things of "emergency" too like a new appliance if something breaks etc.

So can you imagine us trying to go from $4k a month to $10k when we retire? LOL
There are no organic vegans here. Food is not cheap. Ever price something as basic as a head of lettuce? It is the most expensive cup of water ever! With the exceptions of McDonald's, it is pretty hard to keep a restaurant meal within $40-50 a head all in these days. As for cars, the replacement cycle is near so I have to mindful of a big expense soon. I have supposedly much of the funding in the emergency fund, let me go look for it now.
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Deal Addict
May 31, 2018
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Here's our current budget. Retired early(ish), no kids, no pets, living on the farm/acreage in the middle of nowhere. Might be some overlap between food and Costco after seeing you all discussing food prices, otherwise I think everything I pretty close.

Image
Deal Guru
Dec 5, 2006
13440 posts
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Markham
will888 wrote: That is pretty frugal. My budget is a little more generous that that. The miscellaneous category is wide in scope purposely for simplicity and compliance. The following are per month numbers.

Housing (utilities, telecom services, insurance, taxes, repairs): $2500
Food (groceries and restaurant meals): $1500
Transportation (gas, maintenance, insurance, replacement): $1500
Leisure and travel: emergency fund
Miscellaneous (anything not in the above categories): $1500

The housing and transportation file can have lumpy expenses if repair/replacement bill rears its ugly head. Otherwise funds not spent are allocated to the emergency fund which rises and falls over time. The emergency fund is heavily resourced because the PLC is included as a second level defense in depth. If there is too much cash reserve, it gets invested to improve future cashflow.
Are those your budget numbers or actual numbers? If it's budget numbers, what's your average spending actually

Also, thanks OP, great topic
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Dec 5, 2006
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FarmerHarv wrote: Here's our current budget. Retired early(ish), no kids, no pets, living on the farm/acreage in the middle of nowhere. Might be some overlap between food and Costco after seeing you all discussing food prices, otherwise I think everything I pretty close.
I am always fascinated by farmers life, just wondering do you still need hire temporary workers to maintain your farm? How do you plan to deal with farm when it's too big for you to maintain?

Thanks
[OP]
Deal Guru
Dec 11, 2008
11406 posts
2347 upvotes
FarmerHarv wrote: Here's our current budget. Retired early(ish), no kids, no pets, living on the farm/acreage in the middle of nowhere. Might be some overlap between food and Costco after seeing you all discussing food prices, otherwise I think everything I pretty close.

Image
Wow clothes and personal seem high. Thanks
Deal Addict
May 31, 2018
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speedyforme wrote: Wow clothes and personal seem high. Thanks
Clothes finally, after a decade or so, needed some rejuvenation. Theoretically we're good for a while again, but I hate surprises so left it up there.

Personal is...well, I just blame Amazon's simplicity and Milwaukee Tool's marketing efforts. Or my own complete lack of discipline and self control. Nah, couldn't be that. ;-)
Deal Addict
May 31, 2018
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smartie wrote: I am always fascinated by farmers life, just wondering do you still need hire temporary workers to maintain your farm? How do you plan to deal with farm when it's too big for you to maintain?

Thanks
We never did get very large, only 1800 acres of crop so it was easy to manage and operate with myself and Farmerette, and father would come out for a few hours a day during seeding and harvest. The bigger operations (10-20,000 acres and up) look for help during those times, lots of Australian, Danish and some other assorted European accents can be heard in the local pubs in the spring and fall. The hundred thousand acre plus farmers have year round staff though to keep things going.
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Dec 5, 2006
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Markham
FarmerHarv wrote: We never did get very large, only 1800 acres of crop so it was easy to manage and operate with myself and Farmerette, and father would come out for a few hours a day during seeding and harvest. The bigger operations (10-20,000 acres and up) look for help during those times, lots of Australian, Danish and some other assorted European accents can be heard in the local pubs in the spring and fall. The hundred thousand acre plus farmers have year round staff though to keep things going.
Thanks

So this farming lifestyle really just one generation pass to next generations?

I have been wondering this for awhile. Because for new generations, there are so many choices and temptation. Not sure how many of them want to continue to be farmers
Deal Guru
Dec 5, 2006
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A good article in G&M

"The art of spending money - and what it reveals about who you really are"

"Former General Electric CEO Jack Welch once nearly died of a heart attack. Years later he was asked what went through his mind while he was being rushed to the hospital in what could have been his last moments alive.


“Damn it, I didn’t spend enough money,” was Welch’s response."

https://www.theglobeandmail.com/investi ... eally-are/
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Dec 12, 2009
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smartie wrote: Are those your budget numbers or actual numbers? If it's budget numbers, what's your average spending actually

Also, thanks OP, great topic
The food item is quite accurate. Housing, transportation and miscellaneous is all over the map due to lumpy spending and the fact that spending has unplanned elements. I don't really concern myself with exactness when that can only be determined accurately after the fact. How do you plan an appliance or car breakdown? Long story short, I compare the budget to long term expected returns on investments. In any given year, the number is probably totally out to lunch. In the long run, it's about right.
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Deal Guru
Dec 5, 2006
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will888 wrote: The food item is quite accurate. Housing, transportation and miscellaneous is all over the map due to lumpy spending and the fact that spending has unplanned elements. I don't really concern myself with exactness when that can only be determined accurately after the fact. How do you plan an appliance or car breakdown? Long story short, I compare the budget to long term expected returns on investments. In any given year, the number is probably totally out to lunch. In the long run, it's about right.
So it's your actual spending with emergency fund built in?
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smartie wrote: So it's your actual spending with emergency fund built in?
Yes, the emergency fund does have cash. The target net income is designed to supply roughly the budget. It's the allocation for the lumpy spending items that allow the more predictable days to day spending to also be lumpy without impact. I don't think it's feasible or practical to have a budget with supposedly exact amounts in each and every category. That's a set up for failure.
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Deal Guru
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will888 wrote: Yes, the emergency fund does have cash. The target net income is designed to supply roughly the budget. It's the allocation for the lumpy spending items that allow the more predictable days to day spending to also be lumpy without impact. I don't think it's feasible or practical to have a budget with supposedly exact amounts in each and every category. That's a set up for failure.
I agree

This is more responsible way to deal with finance

How do you plan to deal with your principal balance? Pass to next generation or just use it(or use at least most of it)?
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Jul 30, 2012
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I originally posted in the Inflation & Interest Rate Thread last week but seems also appropriate here...
DealRNothing wrote: Noted Dec Headline Inflation today... What's yours?

It's actually an interesting exercise for "Personal Inflation Calculations". Consumers, investors are bombarded with inflation data of various types (Core, CPI, PCE, etc) that may or may not reflect personal spending / effects. How many actually know "their" baseline Personal Inflation Rate?

If you go to StatsCan, there is a Personal Inflation Calculator (CPI compare base) to enter personal expenses and come up with "your" Inflation Rate. This might give you a better idea of how Inflation is personally affecting you. For example, inflation was led down by gasoline prices recently but if one takes public transit, did one's inflation rate go down?

The calculator is a useful tool in drilling down to personal inflation / spending categories and whether personal budget changes could mitigate.
Personal Inflation Calculator_StatsCanada

Likely some surprises (up or down) against headline reads.
[OP]
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Dec 11, 2008
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will888 wrote: Yes, the emergency fund does have cash. The target net income is designed to supply roughly the budget. It's the allocation for the lumpy spending items that allow the more predictable days to day spending to also be lumpy without impact. I don't think it's feasible or practical to have a budget with supposedly exact amounts in each and every category. That's a set up for failure.
100% agree with you. My annual "budget" is basically a copy of the previous year spending with some "known" changes if I expect them like vacation costs or other things. Otherwise all we do is track spending as info.
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speedyforme wrote: 100% agree with you. My annual "budget" is basically a copy of the previous year spending with some "known" changes if I expect them like vacation costs or other things. Otherwise all we do is track spending as info.
Those who truly have budget issues have no clue of their actual spending. If they are lucky the income exceeds budget. However, they would not know what operating margins are.
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