Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Crunching Numbes to See Where We Stand

Since Hubs has said he wants to retire in about 2 years from now, I've gotten keen on looking at how much of the income we actually have been spending to "live" and where/how we can reduce these expenses before he actually leaves his work.

For the last few years(2011)I've kept a handwritten monthly accounting(plus a breakdown of food/toiletries spending in a notebook)of our money and where it all goes. 

I look back at the beginning of each new year to see how we did compared to the previous years and then we think on how we can reduce some of the expenses/spending.

Yes, it's "Numbers Nirvana" for geeks like me! ;-)

I am taking a DEEP BREATH and bravely posting a rundown of our yearly spending on the essential bills we paid plus some significant non-essential categories of spending.  You will note that we don't have a mortgage because the house is paid off. 8-)))

Not included are spending on the kids(except for food where I can't separate it out), pet care(since we don't have those bills any longer), clothing for us and "frivolous" spending(Vera Bradley handbags anyone?).  Also not included are any category that we have automatically deducted from the paychecks(all retirement account funding, medical/dental/eye/long term care/life insurance premiums, charitable contributions and federal/state/local taxes withheld).

I'll come back to these lists at another time/post and get into the nitty-gritty of them.


Long Distance Phone    $87.16
Dental Bills                    $88.20
Eye Care                       $172.05
Cell Phone                    $216.39
Home Maintenance   $2767.76
Landline Phone           $292.19
Garbage                       $336.00
Sewage                         $407.40
Water                           $610.93
Insurance Home          $634.00
Cable/Internet            $1269.66
Car Maintenance       $1563.21
Insurance Cars          $1890.51
Electric                       $2890.02
Local Taxes                $3272.12
Gasoline                      $4393.81
Medical Bills  OOP    $4652.97
Food/HBA                   $4989.49

Non-essential categories-
Car Rentals                 895.79
Eating Out                $1890.99
Lodging                     $1923.20
Alcohol                      $2284.81

GRAND TOTAL......$37,528.66

And here are the same categories we spent on in 2013.


Long Distance phone      $91.30
Dental bills                  $1071.00
Eye care                         $135.00
Cell phones                    $214.12
Home Maintenance  $19452.51
Landline phone            $284.58
Garbage                        $336.00
Sewage                          $407.40
Water                            $780.52
Home Insurance          $612.00
Cable/Internet            $1293.84
Car Maintenance       $1726.53
Car Insurance            $3080.17
Electricity                   $2437.36
Local Taxes                $3148.24
Gasoline                      $3197.15
Medical Bills OOP    $2442.99
Food/HBA                  $4560.82

Non-essential Categories-
Car Rentals                $392.17
Eating Out                $2182.54
Lodging                     $1158.07
Alcohol                      $1129.98

GRAND TOTAL....$50,134.29




  1. The first list is 2014? This is a very thorough examination of your spending!

  2. Despite your increase in alcohol you've managed to lower your expenses considerably from the previous year. Congratulations. Do you think the increased drinking helped? Because if so, I'm all for it!
    You did very well, sluggy. Kudos to you.
    We've gone from $56,000+ a year, down to about $30,000 a year in retirement. It CAN be done. But we don't drink at all. Occasionally I'll buy a bottle of wine for $18 bucks but that's about it.
    Great work! Love it!

    1. Thanks Cindi.

      Yes, drinking helps in all kinds of ways. lolz
      We don't spend on alcohol eating out, we buy and consume at home so that $ spent goes a lot further, right?
      And since we stockpiled the booze we won't need to spend nearly as much in 2015.
      As long as I don't hang out with my oldest son or Sonya Ann too long, my alcohol consumption takes a nose dive. lolz

  3. Wow - great information to have. A couple of things - when you take out the unusual Home Maintenance in 2013 - it looks like a little lifestyle increase - but really comes down to the increase in Medical Bill OOP - which just points to making sure you understand the medical insurance available in retirement and perhaps creating a dedicated Medical OOP savings (or increase budget line)? You might also consider how much more traveling you will do in retirement - especially to see kids - which is going to drive up the non-essentials. Looks very doable - of course the next part is income - which might increase over time if social security can't be started right away or is delayed - or if you can avoid 401k/IRA withdrawals until required. I'm fascinated to see how this plays out!

    1. Yes, we had a little lifestyle inflation in 2014 but we can afford it easily. ;-)
      We have a fund through Hubs work for retiree medical which will probably bridge us to Medicare.
      We plan on moving close to our Daughter so traveling will be to see our sons, one of which will be in western PA, no clue where the other one will land yet.
      According to all the calculations Hubs has done on our retirement model, we'll use an annuity(we are grandfathered into a much better rate of return as employees of his company)and withdrawing earnings on the other pool of retirement monies to live on until we take SS. Savings I have secured away will be used for emergencies(if we have any). Once SS kicks in we won't need to use the non-annuity funds at all.

      We probably have this all covered but I feel it's best that once we do retire, that I do all I can to lower expenses. I'd rather be too low w/expenses and have the "fun" chore of increasing spending after we get there. 8-)

  4. At first I thought your "electric" was HUGE but then I realized that must also be your source of heat? Being AWARE of your expenses is key AND having NO debt - you are certainly aware and always looking for ways to reduce. And I see NO payments for debt so you are right on track!! I think you'll be just fine in retirement. I went from living on $94,000 per year to a pension of $33,000 and I'm still able to put $$ into savings every month. But then, I never spent the full $94,000 - at least half of it went into savings.

    1. Haven't had debt for years or a mortgage since 2007 so those won't figure into our retirement budget. The one thing I am worried about after Hubs leaves work is the medical. I'll still be 7 years from Medicare age(well we still have to pay something toward Medicare, it's not free). Luckily though we have retirees medical with Hubs company so there will be a pool of cash to pull for health insurance expenses those 7 years, as long as we have no catastrophic health issues, which would drain it.

      We save a good portion of our income each year(between retirement accounts and what I save from the income we see).
      I have to keep reminding myself that if we aren't putting money away for retirement we don't need nearly the income we have now. It's hard to change an ingrained mindset. lolz

  5. I'm laughing really hard about the increase in the alcohol spending. You are a lush! Welcome to the club. Oh and not to pee on your parade but I bet once hubs retires that bill will go even higher!
    You did really well on the car repairs. We hit almost $2400 last year but that was for 4 older cars so I'm not too upset. I would think about dropping the cable though. All that money could go to alcohol.

  6. I don't know cousin....once Hubs retires he won't NEED to drink as much!lolz

    We did drop cable in Sept of 2014....that bill would have been about $280 Higher if we hadn't. I should change the cable/internet category to just internet now.


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