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StarDrifter

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budgets budgets budgets!
« on: January 03, 2012, 08:21:56 AM »
Hi! Something I stumbled across was in another folder, about $60USD being not that high for a pair of kids shoes, I believe the poster who said this was in Norway.

Anyway- it got me thinking. The Big Mac index aside, what is cost-of-living like in your part of the world?

The USD is probably the easiest to put things into perspective with, so I will start.

I live in Australia, about two hours drive from my nearest capital city, being Melbourne. I work part-time and my husband works full-time. We have a 3 bedroom house that is approximately 2100sqft. We both drive, and have two cars (well, one car and one ute... a small pickup truck). We also have two cats.

At the moment the Australian dollar is about at parity/a little higher than the US dollar, so the amounts are rounded a little.

Our monthly mortgage repayment is about $1100, and out current interest rate on our mortgage is 6.6%p.a, which is tied to the rates set by the Reserve Bank of Australia. It went down by .25% last month and is expected to go down again at the end of January
Monthly repayments on my car (will end in May) are about $440 and the interest rate on that is about 12%p.a - the loan initially was for $15,000 and will have taken me 4 years and eight months to pay back when it ends
We spend about $70-$80 a week, up to about $350 a month on groceries
We pay about $25/month for natural gas into the house in summer (connection fees) and about $90/month in winter (gas ducted heating)
It costs us about $110/month for our electricity all year round, because thankfully our A/C is rarely needed, and very efficient.
We pay about $5.63/gallon ($1.49/litre) for unleaded petrol (gasoline), and about 10% more for diesel fuel

I work in a ladies' clothing boutique and get an hourly rate, no commission (thank goodness) and get paid around $15 an hour (after tax)

The average interest rate on a credit card is between 15% and 24%, depending on the credit limit and the issuing bank

A new release Blu-Ray (i.e., Cowboys and Aliens) is about $28-$32 depending on the retailer - add about $4-$8 if it's in 3D
A movie ticket for an adult is $14 at my local cinema - $18 if the movie is 3D but you get $2 of that back if you return the glasses at the end
Good quality shoes, that I would wear to work for a 7 or 8 hour shift on my feet are about $80-$120 depending on the brand and if they're on sale
I paid $689 for my iPad2 32gb wi-fi only, and $149 for my current generation iPod Nano 8gb

ETA- Books! Australia is notorious for books being hugely expensive and it's true!

A brand new top-50 hardback can go for as high as $45 depending on where you get it (at say Dymocks, a specialty book-shop) but at somewhere like BigW (Australian equivalent to Wal-Mart, basically) it will be under $30, but not by much. I actually did some research - the reason books are so expensive here is that Australia has weird import laws about books and most publishers have to manufacture books here to sell them here, which jacks up the prices.
And also explains why a *lot* of people are going to Amazon and Book Depository rather than Dymocks!



These are things most of us buy, or can buy, and I think it would be really interesting to find out how expensive/cheap things are in other parts of the world.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2012, 08:35:00 PM by StarDrifter »
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baritone108

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Re: budgets budgets budgets!
« Reply #1 on: January 03, 2012, 01:16:44 PM »
This is difficult for the USA, the cost of living varies widely.  I am in the midwest.  I live in a medium size city with high unemployment and we were hit hard by the housing bust of a few years ago.  In the nicer parts of the city you can rent a 3 bedroom, 2 bath house (approx. 1800 sq. ft.) for $600 - $700.  It would be MUCH cheaper to buy a similar sized house in the same parts of the city ($55K purchase price) but it's a lot harder to get a mortgage now.  In the suburbs of this city the cost would be higher, e.g. rent $1100, purchase $125K.

My daughter lives near the nations capital.  Rent on a 3 bedroom, 2 bath townhouse is $1400 - $1700 a month.  A 2100 sq. foot house would go for around $345K.  Food is slightly more expensive there and the quality of meat is often not as good as what I can get so we send "CARE " packages of meat to them.

Back to costs where I live.  Right now gasoline bounces between $3.15 and $3.49/gallon ($.87/litre) for standard unleaded.
My DH and I spend about $60/week on groceries (food and other things like soaps and paper products).
Gas to heat the house and electricity average about $49/mo. and $90/mo. respectively with air in the summer balancing out heat in the winter.

The interest rate on a credit card can range from 7% to 22% depending on the issuing bank.  The interest rate on a mortgage is about 4%.
A movie ticket for an adult is $8 during matinee hours and $12 during prime hours, 
Good quality shoes are about $60.  You can pay much more, if you choose, and you can get good deals on sale if you watch.  During Christmas week my other daughter (who lives near me) got a pair of $99 winter boots for $2.14 by combining a sale and store credits. [During certain times of year some stores give you credits which can be used like cash for future purchases at their store.]
An iPad 2 32gb wi-fi-only is about $499, and an 8gb iPod Nano is about $124.

College tuition is terrible in my area and much less money in other parts of the country.  A 4 yr. (Bachelor's) degree at a state college will cost
$9331/yr. tuition, $11,031 room and board, and $1000 for books.

SiotehCat

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Re: budgets budgets budgets!
« Reply #2 on: January 03, 2012, 03:12:05 PM »
I live in Northern Va(5 minutes from DC). Rent for a 2 bedroom- 1 1/2 bath is close to $1600.

lesserspotted

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Re: budgets budgets budgets!
« Reply #3 on: January 03, 2012, 03:26:49 PM »
I'm in the UK, about an hour's drive from London. Housing costs vary quite a bit depending on the part of the country but I'm not sure that everything else is that different (I'm sure people from elsewhere in the UK will chime in!)

Google tells me that there are currently 1.5654 US dollars to the GBP.

Housing costs where I live are about $1,260 per month for a 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom apartment (mortgage or rent), or around $260,000 to buy outright. Petrol / gasoline was $2.05 per litre ($7.75 per US gallon) last time I filled up my car, a medium-sized hatchback which cost me $17,000.

I spend around $200 per month on food / other grocery items and around $50 per month on gas and electricity.

Interest rates on mortgages / credit cards vary - my mortgage rate is currently 5.69%. There are quite a few 0% credit card offers around at the moment but I think the average is around 15.9%.

It's difficult to get good quality shoes for much under $80 unless you're lucky in the sales (or can wear children's sizes). An iPad 2 32Gb wi-fi is $750 and 8Gb iPod Nano is $170 (source for both: Amazon.co.uk).

I was lucky enough not to have to pay university tuition, but it's going up to a maximum of $14,000 per year (courses are generally 3 years but 4 is becoming more common and medicine etc is longer). Room & board depends on the university, but probably budget at least $6,000 per year.

Outdoor Girl

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Re: budgets budgets budgets!
« Reply #4 on: January 03, 2012, 03:38:48 PM »
StarDrifter, the things you list are almost dead on for my area of Ontario.  Our interest rates on mortgages and car loans are a little less - sometimes, the manufacturer's offer 0% interest on vehicles for a 2 year loan, 0.9% on 3 years, 1.9% on 4 years and so on.  Our dollar is pretty close to being on par with USD, too.  We were a bit above but I think we are a bit below now.

I pay a bit more for gas than you do because I also have a gas hot water heater.  My bill is the same every month, averaged for the year.  July is catch-up month.  I pay more if I owe them, they credit me if they owe me.  It isn't usually more than about $30 either way.

I think the biggest difference between Canada and Australia is the cost of books.  Most paperback novels are $10ish here, less for romance, more for more high brow stuff.  I buy mine at Costco (a warehouse store) for more in the $6-7 range or I wait for a buy 3 get one free sale at my regular bookstore.
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katycoo

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Re: budgets budgets budgets!
« Reply #5 on: January 03, 2012, 08:46:37 PM »
Sydney, Australia.

I'm about 40 mins our of the city CBD, firmly in suburbia, but about that far again from the city limits.  Sydney is enormous.

My monthly mortgage repayment is closer to (but under) $2,000, on a roughly $350,000 mortgage (cheap cheap for a 3brd, 1 bath, 1 garage house in Sydney).

Dh's ute was purchased maybe 2 years ago for about $25K (I think).  Monthly repayments on it are $650.  My car is a clunker, and fully paid for.
For the 2 of us, we spend around $120 per week on groceres (incl cleaning products).

Private Health Insurance is around $80 each p/m.

Other bills are comparable to Stardrifter.

kareng57

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Re: budgets budgets budgets!
« Reply #6 on: January 03, 2012, 08:47:47 PM »
The main thing that I've noticed is your wage, working retail.  I'm in Canada and IME this is very high; most retail workers barely make above minimum wage which tends to be in the $ 8 to $ 10 range, depending on the province.

For all the other expenses, I will agree that, as in most other countries, it's very regional.

CakeBeret

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Re: budgets budgets budgets!
« Reply #7 on: January 03, 2012, 09:54:07 PM »
I live in the midwest USA in a suburb of a major city. Things are pretty good here. Unemployment isn't too bad, cost of living is lower than in big cities, real estate is comparatively inexpensive but has not bottomed out.

I have a 4 year degree and make $13/hr before taxes working in an office. When I worked retail I made less than $8/hr.

A 3-bedroom, 2-bathroom, 2-car garage home, about 10 years old, goes for between $100-140,000, depending on how many upgrades and options you have. Ours was at the lower end of the price range, but we have average grade appliances and countertops, no walk-in closets, only about 1000sq ft, etc. Because I have good credit, we got a very good interest rate, around 5.2%. It works out to about $800 a month, which includes property taxes and homeowner's insurance.

Rent on a decent 1-bedroom apartment (nothing fancy but not scary either) is $350-500 a month and at that price range you can usually get a dishwasher in the unit, and a complex pool. 2-bedroom apartments run $450-600, and you can rent a 2-bedroom house for $500-700, or a 3-bedroom for around $550-900.

Husband's car is about 13 years old; we purchased it last year for cash. My car is a compact sedan with lots of features, was 1 year old when we bought it, and cost around $12,000. I qualified for 2.5% interest; interest on used cars usually runs 5-12%, or higher of you have terrible credit. If you buy a car brand new and have good credit, you can usually get 0-3% interest.

Health insurance costs about $400/mo for three of us. We spend about $45 a week on groceries; I shop at a discount grocery (Aldi) and make primarily low-cost meals. Gas (for the car) is hovering around $3/gal.

University tuition is IMO ridiculously expensive, anywhere from $8,000-15,000 a semester in-state; if you go out of state, it can cost up to $30,000 a semester. I was very lucky to get a full scholarship to a local university, so all I paid was room and board (about $4k a semester, if I remember correctly).

I was at an outlet store a few weeks ago and good quality shoes were $40-60 a pair if you weren't too picky about looks. I wear athletic/running shoes on a daily basis, and found several brand name pairs for $30-40 in reasonably appealing styles.

Movie tickets Mon-Thurs are $5 before 6pm and $7.50 after 6pm; Friday thru Sunday they are $10 a ticket. There is an extra $3 per ticket charge for 3D movies.
« Last Edit: January 03, 2012, 10:32:41 PM by CakeBeret »
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Alida

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Re: budgets budgets budgets!
« Reply #8 on: January 03, 2012, 10:18:31 PM »
Working retail, making $ 15/hr *after * tax?

I'm in PA, my expenses run roughly along what you have, only gas (petrol) is $ 3.49/gallon here - and I work 25 miles from home, driving a car that gets 19 miles to the gallon. There are no close jobs, unfortunately.

ETA:
2 bedroom, 1.5 bath house: approximately 1100 sq. ft: $ 750/month mortgage (taken out 20 years ago)
electric:  $212/month - there is no gas line to the house, it is all electric
food: $220/month

I am what would be considered an office supervisor (I have 9 people who report to me at my office). After taxes and insurance, my take home is just over $ 12/ hr. Less if you consider that I am salaried, so I am paid for a 40 hour week, even though I normally work approximately 45 - 50 hours each week.

Ouch - that just made me sad!
« Last Edit: January 03, 2012, 10:22:32 PM by Alida »

Dindrane

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Re: budgets budgets budgets!
« Reply #9 on: January 03, 2012, 10:50:50 PM »
I live in a small city (around 150-200K) on the west coast.  It's a college town, which I know affects the cost of living.  I work full time, and my husband is a graduate student.  We live in a 1 bed/1 bath apartment (it's about 725 square feet) in a relatively large complex.  We own one car (a Honda Civic), and I am usually the one to drive it.  My husband frequently takes the bus when he needs to go places during weekdays.

I have a Bachelor of Arts degree, and I would guess that it cost about $80K-$100K in total for 8 semesters (including tuition, room and board, fees, and things like books).  I went to a private university that used to be quite a good deal (comparatively), but now costs quite a bit more than I paid.  If I had gone to my state's public university, I probably would have paid about 2/3 of what the private school cost (tuition would have been substantially less, but the cost of living would have been higher because of where it's located).

Currently, I am earning about $13/hour before taxes and other deductions.  My take-home pay is more like $10/hour.  Taxes include federal and state income taxes and payroll taxes.  Deductions include my health insurance premium (it used to be free, now I pay about $30 per month after a subsidy my union negotiated for), my parking ($285 for the year, deducted monthly), and my union dues.

My husband is currently earning nothing, since he's run out of funding.  Before that, he was getting around $10,000/year after taxes as his stipend, and did not have to pay tuition.  Fortunately, we're able to get a deal on his tuition, so it's about $500/term for the bare minimum of credit hours.

Our rent is $675/month.  It's absurdly cheap for this area, and is one reason why I will likely not move.  If I were to rent the exact same apartment in this exact same complex as a new tenant, I think it would be more like $750-$800.  A two bedroom apartment is at least $700/month, and probably more like $800 or $900 if you want one that isn't run down and/or in a sketchy neighborhood.  It is not possible to rent any type of house for less than about $1,000/month.

Electricity is just about the only thing here that's cheap -- I pay around $60/month.  Everything in my apartment runs on electricity, but I don't have an air conditioner.  My apartment is also well-insulated, so we don't have to run the heat all that often.  Water and trash pickup are included in my rent, so I don't pay those separately.

I pay about $90/month for my landline, internet, and unlimited long distance (none of my family is local and I call home a lot).  I pay another $65/month for my husband's and my cell phones (we have a family plan -- this gets us 700 minutes, no texts, and no data).  Other cell phone providers are probably a little cheaper, but the one we use is the only one that consistently works in less populated areas of this state.

I don't know what interest rates are like for me.  I own my car outright (because my parents are awesome and bought it for me when I was in college), and since I rent, I don't pay a mortgage.  I probably should pay attention to the interest rate on my credit card, but I pay it off each month so I've never owed interest on it.

My Honda Civic would have cost about $17,000 new in 2003.  When my parents bought it in 2004, it was very gently used and cost about $12,000.  Gas here is somewhere in the neighborhood of $3.80/gallon right now.

We spend about $400/month on groceries.  No matter how good we are about not impulse buying and making lists and buying generic when we can, we haven't been able to cut it down.  Food here is just expensive.

Similarly, if we want to eat in a restaurant that is not McDonald's, we can expect to pay at least $20, and $30-$40 (once you account for the tip) is more usual.  And that's without sales tax, too, because my state doesn't have it.

I think a new release Blu-Ray would be around $20 at a store like Target, or maybe as much as $30.  We're still living with a DVD player, and haven't even bought many DVDs lately, so I'm not sure. :)

Going to the movies is at least $10 per person unless you get a discount.  I think it's a couple dollars less for my husband, since he's still a student.

I would expect a good pair of shoes to be around $80-$100, unless I was getting them on sale.  I can find acceptable shoes at places like Target or DSW for $20 or so, but I wouldn't want to spend all day on my feet in them.

New books cost somewhere between $8-$15 for paperback, and more like $20-$30 for hardback.  I prefer to buy books used, and so rarely spend more than $4 per book.


jmarvellous

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Re: budgets budgets budgets!
« Reply #10 on: January 03, 2012, 11:09:06 PM »
I am in a sort of limbo where half my friends are married professionals with young kids and newish houses and the other half are singles barely scraping by with roommates in dumps (aka huge salary and lifestyle range), so I don't feel like any one of us is representative of the region.

I'm single but I live on my own in a nice place (somewhere between 500-600 sq. ft., 1 year old, $775/mo. plus another $200+ in various utilities). Midsize Texas city.

My 4-door sedan with full upgrade package was about $14,000, less than a year old, payments about $200/month after a significant down payment (and good credit).

I pay about $40 for an average pair of shoes (often less, often more, not often exactly that). I buy cheap shoes compared to some people I know, most often not leather. BF's shoes are approx $70 and he wears them into the ground, replacing them every 8 months or so.

We went to an Imax movie this week that was $13 (and chose not to buy a $5 small popcorn), but the theater we go to more often is about $9. Of course, it also has a full menu, so we usually spend another $20-$30 on top of that for dinner.

My grocery budget varies pretty widely, but cooking for myself for most meals and BF for 5+ meals a week, I spend about $200/month.

katycoo

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Re: budgets budgets budgets!
« Reply #11 on: January 03, 2012, 11:44:29 PM »
Rent on a decent 1-bedroom apartment (nothing fancy but not scary either) is $350-500 a month and at that price range you can usually get a dishwasher in the unit, and a complex pool. 2-bedroom apartments run $450-600, and you can rent a 2-bedroom house for $500-700, or a 3-bedroom for around $550-900.

Wow.  Rent on a 2 BR apartment in Sydney would cost you between $300-400 per WEEK.

Going to the movies is at least $10 per person unless you get a discount.  I think it's a couple dollars less for my husband, since he's still a student.

An adult ticket to the movies in Australia is $18.  They're rolling out VMax to all cinemas - those which have it now charge $22.  Gold Class is $39.

Plus food and drinks of course.

jmarvellous

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Re: budgets budgets budgets!
« Reply #12 on: January 03, 2012, 11:51:01 PM »
Rent on a decent 1-bedroom apartment (nothing fancy but not scary either) is $350-500 a month and at that price range you can usually get a dishwasher in the unit, and a complex pool. 2-bedroom apartments run $450-600, and you can rent a 2-bedroom house for $500-700, or a 3-bedroom for around $550-900.

Wow.  Rent on a 2 BR apartment in Sydney would cost you between $300-400 per WEEK.

Going to the movies is at least $10 per person unless you get a discount.  I think it's a couple dollars less for my husband, since he's still a student.

An adult ticket to the movies in Australia is $18.  They're rolling out VMax to all cinemas - those which have it now charge $22.  Gold Class is $39.

Plus food and drinks of course.

Gold Class used my town as one of their 3 U.S. debut markets with prices like those. To say it went over poorly is an understatement (dunno about the other cities). They've been bought out here by a slightly less outrageous (by local standards) business within a year or so ($19 tickets, plus a full menu).

Information_queen

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Re: budgets budgets budgets!
« Reply #13 on: January 04, 2012, 12:29:16 AM »
Memphis, TN here.

Let's see....

We're paying $660 a month for a 2bd/1bath apartment in a decent-ish area of town. Any cheaper and I've found I wouldn't want to live there. That cost includes $15 pet rent and $15 washer/dryer rent, as well (and well worth it if you ask me!). Pet deposit was $250. We didn't have a security deposit because they were running a special at the time.

Food....yeah let's not talk about what I spend on 2 people >.< I'd guess I average about $400 a month depending on what I cook. I can't say for sure because I shop at Walmart and often get things that aren't strictly groceries. Aldi's runs me about $30 for the things that I can buy there, though.

I think movie tickets were $10 last time we went. Eating out is probably $35-40 including tip.

Vet visits cost about $30 for the dog's annual checkup. The smallest dose of Heartguard is $20~ for 6 months and the Frontline is something like $90 at the vet. An 8lb bag of Purina Small Bites is $10, the next size up (can't remember how big that is) is $18, I think. It takes us a couple of months to go through that size so I can't remember any more ;D

Shoes - $60 for a good pair? I dunno, I usually buy cheap shoes. New Balance runs about $40 in the mall, though.

Cable internet is about $55. Our phones (family plan, lowest minutes available, unlimited text and generous data) run about $14-150 after taxes. Our water and electric is one bill that runs up to $150 with the A/C on all summer, and as low as $85 in the winter with the thermostat at 60F (I've turned into my dad, lol - I saw that bill after the first month I turned it down and declared that we had plenty of sweatshirts and blankets, we'll be fine!).


We should start a thread just for groceries. I know I've tried and tried to get my grocery bill down but it just doesn't happen. It would be interesting to see how that changes from place to place. I'd start it, but I can't remember right now :P Maybe after my shopping trip tomorrow.

MummyPumpkin83

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Re: budgets budgets budgets!
« Reply #14 on: January 04, 2012, 01:16:25 AM »
in terms of university tuition, The Australian government provides "loans" called "HELP" (Higher Education Loan Program). This defers what you pay for your uni degree until you reach a certain threshold of income (Below $47,196 = nil repayment, $47,196-$52,572 = 4%HRI (HRI = Taxable income plus any total net investment loss (which includes net rental losses), total reportable fringe benefits amounts, reportable super contributions and exempt foreign employment income.) the percentage increases as your earnings increase up to 8%HRI) This is from the Australian tax office Website.

These loans are not subject to an interest rate as such, but they are "indexed" each year at tax time (financial year runs 1st July to 30th June), and you can pay the whole amount (and get a "discount") or not pay it and it gets taken out of your pay as tax.

I'm trying to find out what the "average" HELP debt is. I know my husbands was about $20,000 for a 3 year teaching degree. I have about $6,000 for 3 semesters of a Bachelor of science degree that I never finished.

Australia has recently introduced a period of paid parental leave /(you have to be eligible) which is equivalent to the minimum wage for 18 weeks (currently $589.40 a week before tax). Minimum wage is federally mandated.
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