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  • #31
    It really varies by what you count. Do taxes count? How about charity? How about contributions to retirement accounts, college accounts, colleges themselves, "one time items" like a remodel, contributions to "sinking fund" accounts? If you all want to tell me what you want to count as spending, I can do a poll.
    Helping those who wear the white coat get a fair shake on Wall Street since 2011

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    • #32
      In my retirement preparation (or should I say semi since I still work 3 days per week) I have tracked expenses that would continue into retirement only.  Of course you have to add in expenses that will continue that are currently paid through your business ie health insurance. I have included some one time items in my totals like a new sub zero and gutters. To me the purpose of expense tracking is to figure out when financial independence occurs so you can drop disability and life insurance. You can also figure out your 25X (30X) expense number to know you can walk away if you want to. I usually do not include taxes because they will drop so much when the earned income stops. This all really hit home to me when I realized my spending was less than the amount of dividends and interest that my taxable account was generating.  I decided to quit ob and sleep!

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      • #33
        Since I'm not financially independent and I'm trying to get started with savings towards retirement, expense tracking for my wife and me initially served as a way of avoiding credit card debt and more recently as we have had more money it's been a good way of having targets for savings and expenses.

        I haven't counted taxes separately as spending. My income is W2 so payroll/income taxes just come out of my paycheck. Anything due in taxes in April just goes into the tax category, not spending. However at this point taxes are my largest cost/expense. Property taxes are added into our spending in the housing category. Sales taxes are just included in our expense tracking.

        This year I counted the following as savings: lump sum student loan payments and contributions to retirement and 529 accounts. I will count future college expenses as an expense, so maybe I should count the $10k/yr 529 contribution as spending, but it sort of feels like savings, even though I can't use it for retirement.

        I have included charitable giving and one-time expenses in the spending category.

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        • #34




          It really varies by what you count. Do taxes count? How about charity? How about contributions to retirement accounts, college accounts, colleges themselves, “one time items” like a remodel, contributions to “sinking fund” accounts? If you all want to tell me what you want to count as spending, I can do a poll.
          Click to expand...


          I attached what I counted as spending. Some line items are debatable, but I'm tracking to determine what a "typical year" (as if there is such a thing) might look like.

          Expenses I don't count: income taxes, investments, college savings or any other money set aside for a future purchase, giving from a donor advised fund or directly.*

          Expenses I do count (or would count if I had them): property taxes, all purchases, home renovation, term life & disability insurance.

          I have paid off student loans and mortgage debt, so those expenses don't show up anymore for me. If I did have those payments, I would count them as "spending" knowing that those expenses would eventually disappear.

          We could nitpick and debate, but tracking that way works for my family. *I did have some small donations count as "gifts" as tracked by Mint. Most of our charitable giving is via our DAF, and I don't track giving to and from it as spending.

          It's also a fun exercise to determine how much you are spending, and how much (less) you anticipate spending once you have loans paid off, no more disability insurance, kids graduated, etc...

           

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          • #35
            Pro tip on the cable/Internet bill: you don't actually have to switch companies every time the promotion is up. Just call and threaten to and they'll keep it going. We've done this for years with Comcast and only pay $50/month for Internet. We've never had cable but I'm sure it would work for that too. Honestly with Netflix, amazon prime, free shows online from major networks and now sling, I really don't know why anyone is still paying for cable.

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            • #36
              I would love to get rid of cable, but everyone else in the household wants it. When I looked into Sling I need the orange + blue level of service to be able to appease everyone (ESPN and food network) plus being able to watch on up to two devices. At that point it's $40/month, but still cheaper than cable. Thanks for the tip on threatening to quit and getting the discount. That was actually my plan before actually going through with switching. I was able to pull that in residency when I lived in a place where there were multiple options for high speed internet.

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              • #37
                Every year I go down to the local office to speak with a real person.  At first, I would go with my cable box in hand, but now I just go with my account number and ask them for a new promotion to cut my bill.  I had less success over the phone with somebody in India(na) than a face-to-face and a smile.  I figure the 20 minutes of my time is worth $3-400/yr in savings.

                RR: Consider making "everyone" pay the difference for their portion of the luxury XYZ cable channel.  Could lead to some interesting dinner conversation, at least.

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                • #38




                  Pro tip on the cable/Internet bill: you don’t actually have to switch companies every time the promotion is up. Just call and threaten to and they’ll keep it going. We’ve done this for years with Comcast and only pay $50/month for Internet. We’ve never had cable but I’m sure it would work for that too. Honestly with Netflix, amazon prime, free shows online from major networks and now sling, I really don’t know why anyone is still paying for cable.
                  Click to expand...


                  Primarily for live sports. And some of us don't get networks OTA, unfortunately.

                  I did call Dish when my contract was about to expire and got a hefty discount. Wrote all about it in today's post.

                  Best,

                  -PoF

                   

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                  • #39
                    Antenna cost $15 on amazon (live in NYC so antenna service is good), netflix and amazon prime. Can stream almost anything these days, even sports. No actual cable. Never had cable.

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                    • #40
                      14 K rent
                      12 K living

                      1.5 k vacation
                      4 K Health Insurance

                      50K Tuition

                      Being on the family cell phone plan. Priceless.

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                      • #41
                        Who the ************************ knows.

                        As said above, depends on what counts as spending.  Most of our outflow is stuff that's already been spent by far and away home loan and student loans, and then car notes.  I'd say about half of the car notes would qualify as spending, accounting for depreciation.  Health insurance, tax?  I spend a lot of FICA each month and so does my employer...

                        As far as actual consumption, it's very little.  $150 electric bill, $35 gas.  Car insurance & personal riders $300.  Internet $45.  No cable.  Maybe a few hundred on groceries and household supplies, four or five hundred at restaurants depending on the month.  Gifts?

                        Both of us are on parent's cellphone plans, plan to ride that out indefinitely

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                        • #42
                          And re TV:  It was so incredibly easy to not get cable when I bought my first house.  It's shocking to me how many of my friends spend $200, $300 a month on their cable bills "because sports and HBO."  Heck, many of my friends don't even watch that much TV, but they pay it out religiously simply because that's what they're accustomed to, like it's one of the utilities that you just have to pay for.  The older people still even have home phone lines in their "bundle" that nobody calls except telemarketers.

                          There's nothing that I want to watch that badly that I will spend hundreds of dollars a month for.  I do have to go out of my way to find certain programming, but it beats having to suffer through 3 hours of tv to watch an hour and a half movie.

                          I have to admit, I've become pretty apathetic towards sports, and that really helps.  Sports come in over the air, and I can go to a friends or to a bar etc. to watch a big game that doesn't.  But in general I don't have to watch (and don't have the time to watch) hours of various games every night and all day on Saturday and Sunday.  However if you're a sports junkie and that's the big hobby that you enjoy then hey there's worse ways to spend $200/mo.  I personally just don't have the time and thankfully have found a great way to save a few grand a year.

                           

                           

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                          • #43
                            For a family of five we spend 100,000 per year with $26,000 going to mortgage. That only includes the minimum on my student loan not the extra I'm putting on it as that is highly variable (based on extra shifts and bonuses). Charity is included because that is pretty standard per month. Spending at this point is about 1/3 of gross income. The rest goes toward pre-tax items ( health/dental etc.), retirement (403b, 457) and saving/investments/student loan payoff...and of course taxes!

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                            • #44
                              This is somewhat embarrassing for me to say, but I truly have no idea and am not that interested to know. We have no debt and always exceed my quarterly saving and investment targets, and the nest egg continues to grow. We have ample income to cover our expenses with leftover and not have to worry about things too much.

                              When our income shrinks, our nest egg shrinks, or the checking account balance starts to drop, I will start looking at things more closely, but at this point, there is no reason for me to add that mind clutter to my list.

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                              • #45
                                PoF wrote: "You didn’t go and spend three months’ salary on that rock, did you?  I bought mine (hers) in the last few months of residency, for about 2 weeks’ of my resident salary."

                                I got you beat. My Aunt (who was like a grandmother to me) gave me her old ring, and I had it reset. The rock was free.

                                (Unfortunately, there was an upgrade down the road... )

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