Cost of living 2019
Now first quarter is over..
Things you have to pay all the time
— Mortgage, $1427/mo because we have a small condo and pay the minimum
— HOA, $189/mo, also on the lower side
— Car loan, $211/mo; gas is about $40/mo ($2.9/gallon) because we drive so little (but everyday), insurance is $106/mo. So far the car did not require maintenance. Maybe we'd be better off using Uber, but nobody bothered to calculate it.
— Utilities, $220/mo, electricity is around $40, remaining is gas, too much for a too small room :( we use Nest (and 3 extra sensors) to keep the room at ~71F
— RCN internet, $46/mo, I used Google Fi and had to pay for device, $70/mo; wife uses T-mobile $35/mo. We are not on speaking terms so she does not need even the included 100min talk time.
Things you cannot really miss
— Charitable givings, $200/mo and not recurring. This year I had to skip CSO season tickets due to tight budget, so sorry no more donations from me..
— Healthcare, $900/mo, but it is a one time event. I can only see one or two similar events coming up, not in a hurry
— Groceries, $600/mo
— Education, $500/mo, and it is including skating for both JY and me ($101/season), his Ukulele enrichment class ($35/30min), his after school programs (chess and piano for this term), other CPD programs like swimming and drumming
— Restaurant, $260/mo, include coffee shops, since only I eat lunch out, and the cost of lunch has increased to around $11/meal
Things that are flexible
— Electronics, $120/mo, got a pair of AirPods recently
— Clothing, $100/mo. Isn't that most people have a larger budget here?
— Travel, $160/mo for CTA, both of us have transit benefit, so with our marginal tax rate, it is a lot of savings!
— Entertainment, $30/mo since we only watched one movie (Wandering Earth), bought a few books, etc. Digital property, $20/mo for ebooks or magazine like LWN. I got a few good dictionaries in iTunes but they did not show up in bills yet.
— Personal care, $25/mo, since Supercuts only charges $13 for kid and wife never set foot there or any "personal care" place
— misc, $20/mo
So how much do I have accumulated in the first quarter for the upcoming spring break, any plan for vacation? Or for the summer break, which summer camp? Or any plan to go back to China to visit parents? Is there a plan to everything, upgrade the house or the car? Or at least fix the missing tooth? Where is your plan for a higher degree? (yes, yes!) Are you really in the line of business?
— my cash income is $5.4k. I cannot really spend wife's money, right? so that gives a little balance, for which she would help to cover.
Compared to 2018
— my cash income was $4.5k. Cash income always changes because benefit package reserves different amount, so are the retirement countributions
— Mortgage payment was $1500/mo
— did not have to pay for health care, but did pay for flights to China for $2200
— JY took more after school programs back then
— We went to real restaurants
— Bought new skating shoes for $175. But this year I am looking forward to buy another one for double that amount
— wife spent more on personal care
So it would feel last year was a bit easier. Why? Because last year there was a tax refund of $1500, while this year I owe about a hundred of tax to IRS. Survived each month, good planning indeed!
Goal: within the budget, buy the new skating shoes, also some CSO tickets. Don't worry about the rest.