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Expenses & Jobs - Tell Us!

post #1 of 56
Thread Starter 
So I was just having a conversation with my Mom about expenses and the pay of average jobs today in America and the cost of day-to-day living. So I thought I would post a topic here about it.

What are your expenses for day to day living? i.e. rent, insurance, car payments, shopping (we're talking laundry soap & bananas here), electricity, phone, computer, TV, critters, etc.

What do you/your husband/your boyfriend do for a living? Tell us what you dof or a living and if you want to, you can tell us how much it makes, I'd really appreciate it, but if you're not comfortable, no worries. Also, if you live with your boyfriend or if you are married, what do they do? With your own salary/combined costs, are you able to live pretty decent or are you just barely scraping by?

My Daddy manages horse & cattle ranches, we have lived on this one for 2.5 years, it's what he's always done and it's all I know. I'm considering going into veterinary medicine, possibly equine physical therapist? I don't know... But we are able to live well, we've never ever been in debt, we can pay cash for stuff like a really nice dining room table and furniture and such. They have retirement funds for them and college funds for me and my brother set up, wouldn't like another life for anything in the world.
post #2 of 56
That's an interesting question. It's something I've been trying to sort out myself recently, and just figured out a new budget for myself. This is the first year I've lived on my own, so I'm trying to spend reasonably and save a little bit every month too.

So right now my monthly budget is:

Rent: $458 (1 bedroom apartment, including heat & water)
Cable/Internet: $52
Electricity: $20
Phone: $35
Groceries: $200
Car: $100 (gas & repairs)
Cats: $30 (yes, they do get their own portion of the budget)
Clothes: $30
Misc. Expenses: $210
Apartment: $150 (things like paint, furniture, etc. I like to decorate my apartment, okay!)

That means my total expenses per month are $1285. I get paid about $1565 per month, leaving about $280 to save. Of this $280, I contribute $25 to my retirement plan (yeah, I know not a lot, but I figure I've got lots of years for that!) and put the rest in my savings.

The savings are meant to be used for things like my car/apartment insurance that come up once a year, any other emergencies that may come up, and (hopefully) at some point, to buy a house.

I feel I live comfortably. I know my parents say it's "impossible" to live on what I'm paid, but honestly I don't find it that difficult. I do need to pay attention and not be wasteful, but I wouldn't say I'm scraping by. The really big benefit I have, though, is that I have no debts to pay, which makes everything so much easier.
post #3 of 56
We have about $3143 a month for bills right now that includes:

$1163 + 331 for Mortage
$283 for Car
$153 for Oil
$70+ on average for Electric
$70 Average for Phone
$57 for DirecTV
$200 for Food
$200 for Gas

and a few other things like waste disposal and water bills that are averaged out over 3 months or so..I'm probably forgetting some things.

Right now I'm unemployed, and waiting to get approved for Social Security Disability. My wife is an OT in a school system and she's off for the summer so right now we're living off savings. She literally makes just enough for us to pay bills when she's working...I think right now she takes home $3043, so it's about $100 off although she just started some early intervention work (about 5 hours a week) which will bring in about an extra $500-$600 a month and she may be getting a pay raise once school starts again. So for the moment that extra work is helping to pay some bills, but once she starts working in the fall again she'll be making enough on her primary job to pay bills, and the extra money she gets from the early intervention job will give us something to go into savings. We won't be living paycheck to paycheck and we won't be loaded, but we'd still be able to live fairly comfortably. When I was working, and once I hopefully get SSA, we will be able to live very comfortably I feel with enough money to pay bills, put some into savings, and have enough stretching room should unexpected things come up.
post #4 of 56
Thread Starter 
A huge thank-you for your response! Exactly what I wanted to know... What is your job? What do you do for a living? And by the way, your budget sounds fantastic, it's awesome your able to put away money for savings and retirement already, every penny helps. Does the cat fund include litter & food?

Oh, and Reeses: I hope ya'll can make it work! It's amazing how much the expenses stack up...
post #5 of 56
I'm a legal secretary (at least until I murder my manager) at an International Labor Union. I love the work we do. My starting salary was $48,950, and I'm currently up around $50,000 a year. I live in the DC Metro area, which I believe was counted last year as one of *the* highest cost of living areas in the US. If I remember correctly, it was higher than NYC, although I don't see it myself.

Rent: $1650 a month
Car: $400 (plus we send a little extra), $300 a year in taxes for the car, $120-$200 a month in gasoline.
Insurance: $140 a month
Parking in DC: $240 a month (which, believe it or not, combined with the gas, is still cheaper than metroing for the two of us)
Heating/Cooling (gas/electric) runs about $300-$400 a month, between the two, throughout the year.
Cable internet/tv: $140 a month
Phone (Vonage) $25
Cats health plans: $90 a month
Cats food: $60 -70 a month
Cats litter, probably $20 or thereabouts.
water is about $30 a month

I really have no idea on household products, including food.. toilet paper and paper towels are about $10 - $12 for a large package here, if that helps to give an idea.
post #6 of 56
Originally Posted by KuntryKitty View Post
A huge thank-you for your response! Exactly what I wanted to know... What is your job? What do you do for a living? And by the way, your budget sounds fantastic, it's awesome your able to put away money for savings and retirement already, every penny helps. Does the cat fund include litter & food?
I currently work in the research & development department for a furniture manufacturer, mainly drafting new products for production. I studied architecture/interior design in school, and am actually in the process of looking for a new job, ideally as an interior designer. With any luck the pay will be better, too!

My cat fund actually only accounts for food- my Mom buys a massive bag of litter for super cheap (something like 40lbs for $20 or something) so she actually lets me come and steal a bit whenever I need.
post #7 of 56
I am a merchandiser and live with Mom ( help her since she cant do all stuff do to COPD)

Rent: 300
Cable/Internet: included in rent
Electricity: included in rent
Phone: cell 35 something a month
Groceries: $200
Car: 317 for payment ... 50 for insurence ... gas 200 ish
Animals : dog about 100 cat about 25 fish about 5
Clothes: varies
Student loans : 175
Health insurence:100
Misc. Expenses: 200

My income varies so I try to keep reg expenses low( some months pay for others) ... rent is flexible and many insidentals on the credit cards that get paid off within a few months
post #8 of 56
I currently work as a physical therapy aide (working on a nursing degree) and my husband owns a restaurant. We bring home approximately $3500/mo (that does not include the money that comes out of my check which goes towards medical insurance for both of us, my retirement fund, and we both have the maximum amount in taxes taken out of our checks).

Our expenses are about $2300/month. Neither one of us is very high maintenance so our expenses are pretty basic: cable tv, utilities, mortgage, food, internet, cell phone, landline phone, my student loan, a couple of credit card payments, car insurance, gas, life/disability insurance for my husband. Every year we splurge on season passes at the local ski resort because we both are avid snowboarders.

We put some money into a "periodic expense account" every month and that money goes towards things that don't happen every month such as oil changes, vet visits, hair cuts, household repairs, trips to Costco, etc.. Some money goes into savings. We've also been paying out of pocket for my classes at the local community college.

We both feel that we live decently. We're definately not rich by any means (we still watch what we spend), but we don't live paycheck to paycheck either. When we first were married, we lived paycheck to paycheck, but with a lot of hard work and advancements in our jobs, we've managed to get out of that.
post #9 of 56
Originally Posted by sharky View Post
I am a merchandiser and live with Mom ( help her since she cant do all stuff do to COPD)
What kind of merchandising do you do? I've been thinking of applying at a few furniture stores to do their merchandising (I figure I do the set-up and propping of the showroom at my work already...) but am not really sure about all that merchandising involves.
post #10 of 56
I'm an office worker / assistant to the accountant.
(but I'm Canadian... so maybe that wont help your survey of average Americans)

rent: $471
heat/electricity: $40 I guess. I don't remember. (varies a lot with seasons)
phone/internet: $50
cats: $40
food: $150
misc spending: $200
charity: $25 (actually $10 right now, until I can get around to changing it)
transit: $65

so total: $891
actually, it's closer to $1000 a month... maybe I underestimated a few things.

I make $1800 a month.
what I don't spend goes into saving for traveling next summer and then go to grad school (hopefully )
post #11 of 56
well, i'd tell you... but then i'd have to kill you! no, really, all i know is i almost always run out of money before i run out of month. i'm planning to go to a credit card counseling service in august or september [once Firefox is out of the woods, so to speak] & get all my CC paid off, since that's what the problem is. i have to wait, because once you do that, all of your accounts are unusable. [i've done it once before.]
but i don't make a great deal, even though i've been in this profession for 12 years... teaching generally doesn't pay well, considering it's a 4 year degree. my take home is a bit over $2000 a month i'm getting a small raise, starting with the september check, tho. not a great deal, but still something!
post #12 of 56
My mum and dad run their own business. Our income varies lots. Some months we make a few thousand pounds more or less than the months before.
We pay, roughly per month,
£200 mortgage
£15 phone bills
£20 broadband (or whatever we use to get internet)
£250 food
£35 extras (that book I really wanted)
£20 Pickle cats food
£100 gas for the car
I think that's it. Looking at this now, I realise why my parents are stressed a lot!
post #13 of 56
£100 electricity
£50 heating
Roughly, I'm not 100% sure though.
post #14 of 56
DH and I both work in the Information Technology field. I'm the pointy haired boss and DH develops web pages. Here's our average monthly spend:

Mortgage: $1000
Utilities: $425 (electric, phones and DSL)
Pets: $600-$1000 depending on health needs that month
Insurance: $500 (car & homeowners)
Gas: $200
Car payment: $250 (my car is paid off)
Food & going out dinners: $500

We both put the maximum amount in our 401K's and I put 8% of my salary into company stock purchases. We make enough to pay the bills and travel when we want to.

Yeah - we spend a lot on our critters.
post #15 of 56
Rent: $700
Phone and Internet $100
Cell Phone: $60
Both Truck Payments: $500
Pets: $75 (depending if they go to the vet or not that month)
Grocery and household stuff :$500 (2 growing boys in the house)
Child Support for my step daughter: $457
Child Care: $200
Insurance: $450 (work and personal vehicles)
Misc. :$200

Grand Total of: $3485

We own our own roofing company and I am partners with a pest control company. I also recieve child support. After taxes we make around $8k a month... before bills
post #16 of 56
Well I am a stay at home mom for the moment and hubby works at Wal-Mart. Pay rate is around 10.34 but he just got 2 raises unsure of the new rate.

lights: 150-200.00 on average
car insurance: 62.00 a month
grocery store: 100.00 every 2 weeks
meat market: 60.00 every 2 weeks
wet cat food: 16.00-20.00 a month (roughly)
dry cat food: 33.00 every 2 months (give or take)
litter: 18-24.00 a month
gas for 2 cars: 60.00 every 2 weeks
phone: 30.00
cell phone: 20.00 or so whenever we need minutes

I am almost sure there's more but my brain is fuzzy right now. About to go to bed.
post #17 of 56
My parents are self emloyed, so our life revolves around dad's marketing skills.

Mom works PT to bring in a little more $$.

I work retail & make like $7.25/hour. 12-22 hours a week. I pay any & all animal related bills & my gas...down to nothing left of my check. Mom & dad pay all other bills for me as I still live at home.
post #18 of 56
I'm a research and design engineer for a car company.

I live a pretty spartan life and I'm single, so my expenses per month are pretty low.

Rent: $450
Utilities (electricity, water, sewage, etc): $100
Broadband: $35
College Loans: $450
Food/Supplies for me and the cat: $200
Gas: $60
Phone: Free (on a family plan with parents and I hardly use anything so they don't ask for anything).
Car: Free (Always test driving some car or another that the company gives me. I drive my own car just for fun most of the time.)
Clothes: Negligible. Company gives me a new set of uniforms every year, and when I'm home I still fit into my 7 year old jeans and shirts so it's all good.

Grand total: $1295/mo., or roughly $16,000/yr. Once I pay off my college loans it will drop down to sub $1000/mo.

I make enough to make a net savings of ~$40,000/yr (that's after tax, 401k, insurance, etc), so if I wanted I could live a very grandiose life, but I just choose not to, or err... don't know how to. I think it's an old habit from my college + peanut wage days.
post #19 of 56
I'm in the UK, but basically getting worse off every year as neither my nor my husband's pay increases keeps up with the rising cost of living.

I have the same sort of committments now as I did 10 years ago (mortgage on a flat in London, utility bills, public transport to get to/from work, pets etc) but back then used to be able to go to the cinema & eat out 3 or 4 times a week, buy books and clothes and whatever else I fancied, take holidays abroad once a year and a couple of weekend breaks away within the UK, days out etc...

...but can't afford to do most of that now. Went to the cinema once in the last 12 months, had one short break away (our honeymoon in the UK) and that was the first time I'd been on holiday at all in 4 years, and had a meal out for the first time since our honeymoon last night. I have recently got a slightly better paid job (hence the meal out) but also yesterday got a lovely letter from the mortgage company saying that interest rates were going up again so looks like that increase in pay is now gone. *sigh*

I work in finance and administration, temping at the moment.
post #20 of 56
I work part time (about 15-20 hours) as a cashier and my boyfriend works full time at Bell World. We don't pay for the mortgage at all (used to and might have to start again soon which is $400 a month..because its just helping out with it), tv, internet, phone...etc.

Gas: $200
Car Insurance: $140
Food: $300
Cell Phone: $60
Credit Cards: $40 (if minimum payment is made, I usually pay more if I can)
Cats: $20 (I don't buy all the food and stuff, I just pay for their toys, treats, and an extra bag of food that I always have for them)

Total: $760
Together we make about $1400 a month, which leaves us with $640. That usually gets spent on clothes, going out, other stuff we need/want. We don't save anything right now. We need to start though.
post #21 of 56
Alright, I work in Retirement Plans, and my fiance is a Grinder.

I pay the bulk of the bills (even though I make less) and basically, his responsibility is the car payments and insurance, and the phone/internet.

So here's my breakdown:

Due middle of the month:
Credit Cards (2 of them) = $78
College Loan = $50
House Gas bill = $101
Retirement Fund = $25
Netflix = $17
Cell Phone = $45
Electric = $30
Gas for cars = $100
Food = $100

Total = $486, leaves me with about $109, which then gets applied to the end of the month bills:

Due end of the month:
House payment = $250
Lot Rent = $188
Retirement Fund = $25
Gas for cars = $100
Food = $100

Total = $663, which means the total left over money is about $160, but somehow, that seems to be spent along the way on misc things like clothes, shoes, emergency rushes to the store, pet food, etc.

Now for the Fiance:

This is a monthly thing, he usually does his bills weekly.
My car payment = $240
His car payment = $409
My insurance payment = $190
His insurance payment = $240
Phone/Internet = $72

Total for him: $1,151, which leaves him with $767.78 left over every month.

This leftover savings is getting saved for our wedding and honeymoon, and he wants to pay off my car early.

All in all, we live comfortably, but not extravagently. We both commute to work, about 45 minutes each way, but that's what we do to live in the country.
post #22 of 56
DH is a controller for a mfg company and I am self employed. Since I am seasonal with my business and only my second year I'm not sure what I will be making for the year as of yet!!
Since we've been married we have been (ok maybe not me) big savers so
we have no mrtge as we paid it off in 14.5 years instead of the 30 yrs.


Home equity line of credit about $22k or 600/month for our farm property
Phone: $40 (my cell phone get paid by my business)
Electric:$60-$90/month depending on time of year
Internet: $10
Credit card:s we pay it in full every month so range is $400-$1000. This will include gas0/week easily depending on where I am working) (which can run us $8 and all sorts of misc stuff!!
Groceries: $300-$400 including toiletries
Home owners insurance $50/month
Garbage: $15/month
Newspapers/magazine subscriptions $15/month

Auto and health insurance deducted from DH's paycheck automatically

Our income dropped about 20% after my downsizing. But we still try to save $2500-$3000/month. We aren't real extravagant with our lifestyle and pay cash for large purchases. No plans for new vehicles in the short term (car is 18 months old and truck is five years old)
post #23 of 56
I am underpaid and a recent college graduate so am hoping to have a better paying job soon. For now, this is how things stack up:

Rent: $481
Electric: $25
Natural gas: $15
Cat food/litter $45 or so
Transit pass $66
Food: $200 apprx
Internet: $50
Cell: $55

Take home: $1,020.00
Whatever is left has lately gone to the vet - usually goes to the three sponsorships I have.

Know I'm forgetting something. I have no savings/retirement, have no health insurance and haven't yet started paying on student loans. I'm in trouble I fantasize about making $35K a year
post #24 of 56
My expenses are equal to or greater than my income, depending on the month/year.

As my income has risen over the years, so have my expenses. And please forgive me for wanting to keep my financial information private, as it really is only my business and no one else's.

I work in sales and marketing for a living, 45+ hours a week.
post #25 of 56
Rent: $500 (2 bedroom apartment, includes everything)
Phone: $30
Groceries: $200
Car: $100 (gas & repairs)
Cats: $50
Ari things: $200
Misc. Expenses: $100

So total around $1,180 a month

I work at a local petstore mostly doing their paperwork and sometimes cashier. I make 1,213 a month. So I was pushing it close. But now Im getting $550 a month in Child support.
post #26 of 56
My bf was a machinist at a factory, now he is in the parts department (at the same company of course)... He works for the union so he gets overtime, time-and-a-half, double time, and triple time... He makes almost $10 an hour more than I do... They get merit raises all the time. Of course it has some downfalls, alot of employees bump other employees off 1st shift (if they have higher senority) which is a bummer because in the past I hardly ever saw my bf because he got bumped to second shift.

As for me I am a receptionist at a printing company unfortunately... I do NOT get paid near enough to live (totally taken advantage of and for granted). I pay almost $300 in gas each month just to get 2 and from work (I live an hour away), my boss hasnt givin me a raise in almost 2 years (when I started) he more or less stated he doesnt care if I have the means to live (money-wise) he is a real bleep! The only reason I stay here is for health insurance (I have many health issues), it is not physically demanding, and because hours are flexible (if I need to go to a doc appointment it is no issue)...

My monthly expenses are: Car Payment ($235), Car Insurance ($90), Renters Insurance (varies), Cell Phone Bill ($90), Rent (if I have enough left to give to the bf... Rent is $810), Cat Supplies (food, water, litter, toys, etc), Hair Supplies for the bf and I (because I am a licensed Barber/Cosmetologist I get things at wholesale... meaning only I can get it, and pay for it), Body Wash, Shaving Cream, Percriptions, Doc Bills, Groceries (if I have enough to help), Credit Card, etc....

My bf on the other hand has no car payment (he has a gsxr 750 crotch rocket, and no car... my car is our community vehicle till he gets a car... arrrrr)... But he pays: Usually the full rent, Motorcycle/Car Insurance, Cable/Roadrunner, Cell Phone bill, Electric bill, Groceries (if I cannot help), Gas, and Fish Food/Supplies....

I live paycheck to paycheck.... and I am only paid once every 2 weeks... by the time payday comes around I usually only have maybe $30 to my name!

Im barely getting by, without the bf I would be screwed... We are getting by but barely, that is how it always is for me. I dont have a mommy/daddy who can bail me out if I get in a financial jam, so I gotta try to be as organized and responsible as possible.

I dont want to say how much I make because it is insulting to myself and embarrassing! It wouldnt be so bad if I claimed different on my taxes and wasnt in a 401k plan... Rapes me!
post #27 of 56
I'm really surprised at how many people are willing to share such deeply personal information such as their detailed finances on a discussion forum on the internet.

I'm leary of giving out that kind of information because there is no such thing as annonymity on the internet. If you have the tools and the know how it's not hard to find out someone's IP address and track them right to their computer and steal credit card and bank information, or even to their front door and rob them blind.

I saw on one of those crime shows that there are some people who make it their living to comb the net looking for victims I'd hate to see anyone here, or anywhere for that matter, become a victim because they felt safe sharing deeply, seemingly harmless, information about themselves.

I'll give you a bit of an example of what happened to me not all that long ago.

I ended up with a stalker that I had "met" on the internet. I say "met" because that is how we came into each others' lives. Years ago I used to play an online computer game. Through game play you get to know a number of people through their characters in the game. Sometimes you even carry those friendships out of the game into a chat program like ICQ or MSN. This is what happened with me.

As part of my game play I had an in game "business" where I made in game items or acquired in game resources and sold them in game to other players. As a result I got to know many people (actually their game characters) on the server I played on. I also got to know a number of people enough that we added each other to ICQ so that we could contact each other if we just wanted to hang out in the game or go monster hunting.

One guy became fixated on me in the game and in ICQ. I won't go into detail because the story is long and the details not really relevant, but let's just say that with a few bits of basic information (ISP email address, first name, unlisted telephone number, city I lived in which has over 700,000 people, and the type of work that I did) that he used the tools that he had available to him as a US Marine working in communications, to find out not only my full name, but my Social Insurance Number, Driver's License Number, where I worked and my home address.

That guy stalked me on the net and in my life for almost 5 months. The police couldn't do anything because he never "did anything" specific. All he did was make veiled threats or comments with meanings that he knew I would pick up on. Oh, and he even had is ex girl friend join in on his stalking venture.

I ended up having to change my email address, ICQ number and telephone number. In the computer game I changed servers and created brand new characters with new names, made a ruse of advertising my game account for sale and having a friend "bid" on it. All in an attempt to lose myself. I almost moved because for months I was afraid to leave my home and everyone that I saw on the street that remotely looked like him sent me into a panic.

So you see, it's not just something that happens to other people. It can happen to anyone, and with very little information given out.
post #28 of 56
That's very true Natalie. Most of the common criminals (i.e. bank robbers and such) are finding that the Internet is a very handy tool for obtaining a lot of money without doing too much.

Remember, we don't really know each other...most of us are who we say we are, but its very easy to be someone else on forums. Plus with all the meetups that normally occur during the summertime, do you really know who you're meeting with (especially those of us that are single).

This is more or less like reciting your credit card number and expiration date over the phone in a public place. You don't know who is listening or watching
post #29 of 56
Well they can try to take my money if they want because I dont have any... Ha... Good luck moochin off this girl! Besides i didnt list the cost of all my bills... Mainly the car stuff, which Ill tell the cost if anyone asks... Oh and I shared my rent... All the other stuff is personal, I wont share my hourly or my bf's... Or my medical expenses... Im not really worried about it, tho it is a good point being made!
post #30 of 56
Well, I just moved so we haven't got all the bills figured out... I'll just give a guess at some of them. I am a receptionist for a locksmith company. Right now my boyfriend and our room mate are looking for jobs... they were working as telemarketers but got laid off. Nice timing as we JUST got a 3 bedroom house! Anyways...

$1100 a month rent 3 bedroom house
$300 electricity(when winter comes this price will go down)
$250 food (for the humans )
$40 PHX's food, litter, toys,etc
$150 gas for my car (they don't have cars)
$106 a month for car insurance
$50 student loan for me
$200 misc. items
$?? water/trash (I have no clue how much this will be)
TOTAL: Around $2300 a month in bills

I make about $2400 a month BEFORE taxes are taken out.... so as you see we probably don't even make enough to pay bills. We struggle... we live paycheck to paycheck. But hey, we have food, shelter, and other necassay things to live! It will get better... (I hope!)

Once my boyfriend and our roommate get jobs... we will take the bills and everyone will have to pay 1\\3 of the bills... so instead of me paying the whole $2300 a month- I will only have to pay around $775

On my list of things I will need is cable, buy a computer, internet, etc so we will eventually have more bills...
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