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Old Oct 6th 2017, 10:20 pm   #16
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Default Re: Moving to Raleigh or RTP

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Originally Posted by Rete View Post
Personally, I believe $150,000 is more than enough to have a very comfortable life in most of the US for a family of 4.

I've lived just 25 miles from mid-town Manhattan and these were my household expenses:

Electricity: $88.00 a month with use of A/C in the summer for an apartment of 1,000 sq. ft. Car Ins. $2200 a year. Groceries for a family of 2 was $100 a month with a budget of more for holidays or family celebrations where I was feeding 8 to 10 people at a family/friend dinner.

Down here in Mississippi for a 1900 sq ft house the costs are:

Water: $28 a month; electric: a/c 24/7 $150 a month; gas: $20.00 a month (gas stove and gas bbq and water heater). Car Ins. 2 cars $1600 a year. Gas for 2 cars: $120 a month. Groceries about the same as in NY but fresh vegs and fruits jack it up to around $450 a month. Of course, we don't pay real estate taxes or state taxes because we are retired and one person is over age 70. A nice dinner out (not white gloved country club dining) with a bottle of wine and an after dinner brandy is about $100. Fast food for lunch: $6.00 per person at MacDonalds or $15.00 at Panera's or Logan's steak house.

Depends on what you want from life. We're comfortable being middle middle class people and live well on just social security benefits without touching our savings.
Sorry, I'm not sure how any of this is relevant to a young family living in NC in 2017-18. I admire your success in raising your children in an expensive part of the US on a single income. Many people in the UK manage similar miracles in adverse circumstances and very limited income, but that isn't a life many would choose - it is invariably what you end up having to do when life deals you a §4!tty hand. BUT that doesn't mean that people in well paid jobs with good income shouldn't aspire to a more comfortable life.

Would you have turned down the chance to live in a single family home, to have eaten out more frequently, owned a nicer/newer car, and had family vacations in a resort? Maybe you would have turned down those things, but most people wouldn't, and I am sorry but I don't see how your story of how little you can survive on helps someone looking for a comfortable life and to enjoy a few luxuries.
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Old Oct 6th 2017, 10:47 pm   #17
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Default Re: Moving to Raleigh or RTP

It is relevant because your numbers are highly inflated. Water bills are not $100 per month anywhere in the US unless you have a large in-ground pool. Who goes out for fast food and spends $720 a month? Or needs to go to super fancy restaurants once a month and have a tab of $250 for a couple or have cell phone plans of $200 a month. Your figures are out of portion for normal people.

It is relevant because posters continue to say that you can't live well for a family of 4 for under $120-150K annually. Bull.

My post has nothing whatsoever to do with what salary he should ask for or is entitled to. If the position warrants a salary of $200K, go for it. Your education and experience makes this possible.

My post was stating that your list of expenses are exorbitant and far from the norm for the average American and/or foreign worker and home owner.

So am I to assume that every foreigner who enters the US on a work visa should be told that they will have to pay $100 a month for a water bill or $1000 a month for groceries, not including incidentals? Do you honestly live like that or is it all a matter of hiding behind a screen.

I was pointing out that your list of outgoing expenses are not realistic.



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Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
Sorry, not sure how any of this is relevant to a young family living in NC in 2017-18. I admire your success in raising your children in an expensive part of the US on a single income. Many people in the UK manage similar miracles in adverse circumstances on very limited income. BUT that doesn't mean that people in well paid jobs with good income shouldn't aspire to a more comfortable life.

Would you have turned down the chance to live in a single family home, to have eaten out more frequently, owned a nicer/newer car, and had family vacations in a resort? Maybe you would have turned down those things, but most people wouldn't, and I am sorry but I don't see how your story of how little you can survive on helps someone looking for a comfortable life and to enjoy a few luxuries.
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Old Oct 7th 2017, 2:21 am   #18
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Default Re: Moving to Raleigh or RTP

A $100 dollar a month water bill would be considered cheap in my area. Thankfully I’m on a well so don’t have those concearns.
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Old Oct 7th 2017, 2:42 am   #19
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Default Re: Moving to Raleigh or RTP

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A $100 dollar a month water bill would be considered cheap in my area. Thankfully I’m on a well so don’t have those concearns.
Our county charges $103/month for 10,000 gallons (whatever that might be, possibly fairly high usage?), $73/month for 6,000 gallons for which the water quality is fairly grim, typical for most of FL. We, too, are on a well so just get a higher whack on the leccy bill. (takes a stretch of the imagination to accept having a septic in one corner of small plot and a well at the other!!!)
Presumably OP can do a quick check on his prospective county and see whether they are likely to hit him for 10 bucks a month or a 100?
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Old Oct 7th 2017, 2:42 am   #20
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Default Re: Moving to Raleigh or RTP

Our city water is about $60 p/m. If we had kids that bathed or even a dog I can see that reaching $100 quickly.

Yes we have a very large pool, but typically I don't use any water on it. The only times I have is when I drained it for deep cleaning or giving it a top off in summer when we had little rain.
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Old Oct 7th 2017, 2:47 am   #21
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Default Re: Moving to Raleigh or RTP

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Originally Posted by Pulaski View Post
Here you go. I live in NC myself and would consider these numbers as a fair starting point for monthly costs for a family of four living in a detached house:

$400 for heating and electric (heating in winter, AC in the summer), $100 for water, $200 for cell phones, $100 for basic cable/internet, $250/person/mth for food and household consumables, $500/mth/vehicle for two cars, $200/mth for car insurance, $300/mth for petrol (it seems cheap, but you will drive a lot further. $500/mth (minimum, average) for clothing for the family. Family meals out (cheaper chain restaurant), two per week @$80/meal - $720/mth. Expensive meal one per month, just you and the Mrs, $250. (I have included health insurance and PP/401k in your basic salary deductions).

So, so far we have $800 for utilities, phones and cable, $1,000 for household consumables + $1,500 for vehicles + $500 basic clothing + $970 for meals. That comes to $4,770. What about holidays and travel? Gym and discretionary leisure spending?

To have net income (after after tax, SS, and health ins) of $4,800 you would need gross income of about $8,000, or $96,000/yr. .... See my comment above about spending all your income if your salary is $100k.
And then rent or mortgage as well on top of this?
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Old Oct 7th 2017, 2:56 am   #22
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Default Re: Moving to Raleigh or RTP

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And then rent or mortgage as well on top of this?
Er, yes. .... I plagarized another of my own posts, and that had discussed rent separately, and forgot to add that back here. I would expect a decent home in the burbs in the RTP area would run around $1,500-$1,800/mth.

In fairness I would add that the heating and AC may be lower, but that depends on your tolerance for cold and heat. Our house (I'm NC) is a 2,750 sqft 4/ 5 bed home, and our heating and AC (electric) bills top out at around $230-$250 in July and August and January and February, but we only usually heat to around 65°F (18°C), and that is only when we are home. Then at night we let the temperature fall, and the heat comes on about half an hour before we wake, and goes off again half an hour before we leave - so the heat is only really on for about 5-6 hours/day.

We manage our AC similarly in the summer, using our timer thermostat to cool mostly when we are at home and only down to around 75°F (24°C), but a little cooler immediately before bed. And with this approach we end up with a few weeks, and as much as a couple of months in the spring and autumn when we neither heat nor cool, and our aggregate electric and gas bill is barely $100. I would guess our year-round average is about $150/mth.

Conversely I here some people heat and cool aggressively, ... bizarrely heating to a higher temperature in the winter than they set their AC to in the summer, and have bills in the $600-$800 range! I've heard of someone who had $500/mth heating bills for a house half the size of ours! So you can beat the $400/mth figure I gave, but you'd have to be proactive, and reach for a sweater before you think about turning the heat on.
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Old Oct 7th 2017, 10:22 am   #23
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Default Re: Moving to Raleigh or RTP

I'm in the area the OP wants to move.

Utilities (gas, electric, water, trash collection) average for last year for me

$223 per month.

This is for a 2000 sqft house with a single AC unit, summer temp set to 75f and winter set to 66f.

I would say about $1600-$2000 a month for renting a house in the 2000-2500 sqft range.

I'm paying $2784 a year for car insurance for 4 cars / 4 drivers however OP will have to pay significantly more as they won't have a driving history.
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Old Oct 7th 2017, 12:23 pm   #24
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Default Re: Moving to Raleigh or RTP

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I'm in the area the OP wants to move.

Utilities (gas, electric, water, trash collection) average for last year for me

$223 per month.

This is for a 2000 sqft house with a single AC unit, summer temp set to 75f and winter set to 66f.

I would say about $1600-$2000 a month for renting a house in the 2000-2500 sqft range.

I'm paying $2784 a year for car insurance for 4 cars / 4 drivers however OP will have to pay significantly more as they won't have a driving history.
I've been paying more than that in just electric, but then again I have the house at 68f.
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Old Oct 7th 2017, 1:26 pm   #25
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Default Re: Moving to Raleigh or RTP

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It is relevant because your numbers are highly inflated. Water bills are not $100 per month anywhere in the US unless you have a large in-ground pool. Who goes out for fast food and spends $720 a month? Or needs to go to super fancy restaurants once a month and have a tab of $250 for a couple or have cell phone plans of $200 a month. Your figures are out of portion for normal people.

It is relevant because posters continue to say that you can't live well for a family of 4 for under $120-150K annually. Bull.

My post has nothing whatsoever to do with what salary he should ask for or is entitled to. If the position warrants a salary of $200K, go for it. Your education and experience makes this possible.

My post was stating that your list of expenses are exorbitant and far from the norm for the average American and/or foreign worker and home owner.

So am I to assume that every foreigner who enters the US on a work visa should be told that they will have to pay $100 a month for a water bill or $1000 a month for groceries, not including incidentals? Do you honestly live like that or is it all a matter of hiding behind a screen.

I was pointing out that your list of outgoing expenses are not realistic.
Except that you are the only person here who substantially disagrees with me! Several people have reported higher figures than some of my budget figures, including higher water bills, and higher utility bills. And my budget car costs are relatively modest - many Americans spend considerably more on cars than my budget figures!

The numbers I have cited, repeatedly are related to my own experience and what I know others pay and spend. Mrs P and I are both reasonably well paid, but neither of us are fat-cat exectives, and we don't live extravagantly. Mrs P and I typically go to the grocery three or four times a week, and spend an average of $30-$50 each time, sometimes as little as $10, other times $100 or more - steak or a piece of salmon, or fresh shrimp typically costs $20 alone, and we only usually buy steak or seafood when it is on sale. I am sure we could survive without having a steak every couple of weeks, or fresh seafood, but you only live once and you can't take it with you! Anyway, so that makes around $140-$150ish a week, or $700/mth .... for three of us, hence "$250/person/mth". Others have frequently agreed with this estimate. And BTW, I think your "incidentals" is my "household consumables", meaning toiletries, paper goods, and cleaning supplies.

We are on a well, but the water bill for a small house in the town nearest me, with likely modest usage - no irrigation, no pool, is around $60, so more is very easily possible.

We like to eat out, rarely extravagantly, but a meal at Applebees, Olive Garden, Ruby Tuesday, etc typically has entrees around $15, and the are three of us, then add an appetizer, and drinks, and the bill is soon at $60, then add tax, and a tip, and these days the bill for the three of us is very soon around $80. And we're not in a high cost area, add another person and you'd be lucky to pay less than $100 - a meal for us in a nicer chain steakhouse or non-chain restaurant is now consistently hitting $100. When Mrs P and I go out alone, meals at a posh restaurant run $200-$350, and that doesn't include a bottle of wine - Mrs P has a glass of wine and I typically have a couple of craft beers, so three drinks for around $30. And to your point about "who does this?" ... lots of people do - the restaurants are always busy and fully booked on Friday and Saturday nights, and it looks to me like a good mix of young professionals, parents on "date night", and empty nesters.

You don't think my figures are realistic, but they are my direct experience - you are just surprised as you have lived a different life under different circumstances. ..... That's not to say I don't know of families who live in the town near me who survive on a lot less, but as I have said before, it is one thing to struggle and scrimp to get by on limited income in your own country and a whole other matter to travel across the world to another country and then struggle to make ends meet!

If it makes you feel any better, I tried discussing income and budgets with my mother once, and she was utterly flabbergasted at what we spend.
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Old Oct 7th 2017, 1:53 pm   #26
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Default Re: Moving to Raleigh or RTP

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Originally Posted by Rete View Post
It is relevant because your numbers are highly inflated. Water bills are not $100 per month anywhere in the US unless you have a large in-ground pool. Who goes out for fast food and spends $720 a month? Or needs to go to super fancy restaurants once a month and have a tab of $250 for a couple or have cell phone plans of $200 a month. Your figures are out of portion for normal people.

It is relevant because posters continue to say that you can't live well for a family of 4 for under $120-150K annually. Bull.

My post has nothing whatsoever to do with what salary he should ask for or is entitled to. If the position warrants a salary of $200K, go for it. Your education and experience makes this possible.

My post was stating that your list of expenses are exorbitant and far from the norm for the average American and/or foreign worker and home owner.

So am I to assume that every foreigner who enters the US on a work visa should be told that they will have to pay $100 a month for a water bill or $1000 a month for groceries, not including incidentals? Do you honestly live like that or is it all a matter of hiding behind a screen.

I was pointing out that your list of outgoing expenses are not realistic.
So far there have been 3 people who are currently living in NC (Charlotte area and Raleigh area) giving a range above $120k based on their own personal experiences on what they would consider a "good" standard of living. It's not "bull".
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Old Oct 7th 2017, 5:04 pm   #27
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Default Re: Moving to Raleigh or RTP

Although I do agree that sometimes the salaries that people mention here are not in line with how most people survive in society, it does make sense, as people are moving to another country from another first world country, so they should be pickier than the average person. If you're from the UK, there's no need to come to the US to struggle. If you're from a different country, it's probably better to struggle here.


I'd also like to add that sometimes older people (and I really don't mean that to be rude) don't realize just how much the cost of living has changed. $150K doesn't easily give you a VERY comfortable life in most of NJ/NY, especially if you didn't start from a VERY comfortable background, thus you possibly have student loans, no down payment help from your parents, amongst other things. I feel like sometimes older people think the younger ones are exaggerating that salaries have not kept up to pace with the cost of living.


Anyway, that's just my rant!

Last edited by fbf2006; Oct 7th 2017 at 5:38 pm.
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