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Monthly Expenses - what have I forgot?

Monthly Expenses - what have I forgot?

Old Nov 18th 2017, 4:42 pm
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Default Monthly Expenses - what have I forgot?

Hi all,

I'm sitting here scribbling down numbers for what it'll cost us per month when we move to Houston, so I can decide what we've got left and what kind of rental property we can afford.

I've got
Car insurance
Contents insurance
Food
Mobile phones & internet
TV
Electricity, gas, water, sewage & trash
Fuel
Car maintenance

That lot I've worked out as approx $1400p.m.

We'll be renting so no property tax.

Don't know the medical coverage cost per month yet until I've started work and chosen which bits we want, but have a rough idea ($450pm upwards)

Anything else (non trivial) that I've forgotten?



Cheers,
Richard
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Old Nov 18th 2017, 5:15 pm
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Default Re: Monthly Expenses - what have I forgot?

Monthly car payments (unless buying outright).
Entertainment/going out
I'm guessing you don't have kids - or you'd need to add after school activities, sports etc
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Old Nov 18th 2017, 5:21 pm
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Default Re: Monthly Expenses - what have I forgot?

I'm guessing you'll both want to return to the Uk within your first year here, so better factor in savings/costs for flights/visit.
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Old Nov 18th 2017, 6:04 pm
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Default Re: Monthly Expenses - what have I forgot?

Costs are generally higher in the US then we are used to paying in the UK, maybe worth double checking the figures you are budgeting unless you have lived out here before.
There are some sample budgets on other recent threads or feel free to ask, if that is useful to you.
Apart from what has already been mentioned, l think you have it all.
Lots of set up costs initially that are worth budgeting for, if you haven't already.
Good luck with your move.
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Old Nov 18th 2017, 6:36 pm
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Default Re: Monthly Expenses - what have I forgot?

Thread went through it all, at length - be warned! The OP came back at the end and gave an update
http://britishexpats.com/forum/usa-5...lorida-899554/
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Old Nov 18th 2017, 10:55 pm
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Default Re: Monthly Expenses - what have I forgot?

Thanks for the replies.

As we will be new there with no credit history, nothing will be on any sort of credit for 6 months or so (AFAIK we don't get any choice in this)

To answer some questions:-
* Car will be purchased outright, around $5 to $10k.
* Entertainment / going out - I'm working out all expenses apart from these, so I'll know how much "disposable" income we have per month.
* No kids
* Visiting home - good point, will lump that in to come out of the disposable.

The figures I've arrived at so far are

* Car insurance $200
* Household insurance $125
* Food $250
* 2 x mobiles on PAYG with 10GB data $200
* TV $50
* Electricity, Gas, Water, Garbage $300
* Fuel $100
* Car maintenance and other expenses $150
* Medical $500

Rent I'm budgeting between $2500 and $3000.

Income is $80kpa plus $13750pa from rent of our UK house plus $2000pa other income. After taxes $80k becomes $63472 (other two aren't taxed, just the profits we make on them, which is zero as the rent is half what we could get - family, heh! )

So income per month is $6600, leaving us with between $2219 to $1719 disposable depending on where we find to rent.

In a year (if we haven't run back to the UK) the plan is to sell the UK house which will allow us to buy somewhere nice outright, reducing the $3000 rent down to whatever the property tax is on a $550k home (~$1300).

Salary should be heading up to $120kpa within 3 or 4 years, but nothing written down so I'll do a happy dance if any of that actually happens, I'm not counting on it.

We don't go out lots and aren't looking for an extravagant lifestyle, but do want a lovely home with plenty of room for the relatives to come visit and chill out in the back with the BBQ.
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Old Nov 19th 2017, 4:04 am
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Default Re: Monthly Expenses - what have I forgot?

I don't see medical expenses listed. The premiums will come out of your paycheck. Then you have co pays or out of pocket payments depending on the kind of insurance plan, plus prescriptions.

Rene
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Old Nov 19th 2017, 7:18 am
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Default Re: Monthly Expenses - what have I forgot?

Originally Posted by Noorah101 View Post
I don't see medical expenses listed. The premiums will come out of your paycheck. Then you have co pays or out of pocket payments depending on the kind of insurance plan, plus prescriptions.
Rene
Originally Posted by richard42 View Post
Don't know the medical coverage cost per month yet until I've started work and chosen which bits we want, but have a rough idea ($450pm upwards)
^^^
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Old Nov 19th 2017, 11:07 am
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Default Re: Monthly Expenses - what have I forgot?

Retirement? Term life insurance?
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Old Nov 19th 2017, 12:13 pm
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Default Re: Monthly Expenses - what have I forgot?

I don't know where you are living to but here if you're going to spend only between $5k and $10k on a car you're not going to get much for your money. You'll be constantly maintaining it. It'll be ok as a run-around to get you to work and the supermarket but not good for the long drives.

Tom is right about retirement - I don't see anything being set aside for that.

Medical - you've estimated a reasonable amount for the premium but you need a contingency for co-pays, deductibles and prescriptions. Does the medical premium cover dental and vision also?

$250 a month on groceries seems low to me. There are two of us and with food, toiletries, cleaning products, consumables such as paper products, foil, etc, detergents, we are over $250 a month by a good amount. Good food here is more expensive than home. Bad food is cheaper.

I think you'll need two cars.

Was cable TV included in your list?
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Old Nov 19th 2017, 12:22 pm
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Default Re: Monthly Expenses - what have I forgot?

Originally Posted by Twinkle0927 View Post
I don't know where you are living to but here if you're going to spend only between $5k and $10k on a car you're not going to get much for your money. You'll be constantly maintaining it. It'll be ok as a run-around to get you to work and the supermarket but not good for the long drives.

Tom is right about retirement - I don't see anything being set aside for that.

Medical - you've estimated a reasonable amount for the premium but you need a contingency for co-pays, deductibles and prescriptions. Does the medical premium cover dental and vision also?

$250 a month on groceries seems low to me. There are two of us and with food, toiletries, cleaning products, consumables such as paper products, foil, etc, detergents, we are over $250 a month by a good amount. Good food here is more expensive than home. Bad food is cheaper.

I think you'll need two cars.

Was cable TV included in your list?
!

I agree with all of this. $250 is low. I can see Florida being somewhat slightly expensive than NC and we blow through $250 easily. This is even with a wife who hunts for deals and a freezer loaded with good meat deals.

One other thing I've noticed (and partake in) is office culture tends to go out for lunch a lot more. This can easily run $20 when you factor in tipping.

Any animals you're bringing over? I recently got a dog from a rescue and vet bills aren't cheap - I got him a full physical and shots and it was about $400.

Last edited by tom169; Nov 19th 2017 at 12:44 pm.
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Old Nov 19th 2017, 12:37 pm
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Default Re: Monthly Expenses - what have I forgot?

Looking at OP's other posts, looks like they are going to Texas.

I wanted to add about the car... remember that a 10-year-old car here will likely be in a lot worse shape than a 10-year-old car in the U.K. (unless the one here has been owned by grandma who uses it once a week to go to church and once a week to go to the Piggly Wiggly and the one in the U.K. has been owned by Baz, the boy racer). My husband has a 10-year-old car and it has more miles on the clock than the 17-year-old car I had in the U.K. Weather conditions are different - although you won't have to contend with the snow and ice that we do here in the Cascades, and you won't need snow chains like we do, your car will still be more exposed to more extreme elements whilst you're driving around than any car in the U.K. ever will.

With your plan to only spend $5-$10k on a vehicle you'll probably spend a good chunk of that again in maintenance alone. And you will need to set aside some money each month for its replacement, which will happen very soon. Things are not built to last here and things are not looked after like they need to last like they are in the U.K.

In the same vein, I didn't see any mention of clothing in your monthly budget. Again, it's hard to find the quality that you can find in Europe for the same price. I have been here since December last year and I noticed recently that my colleagues are all wearing different winter coats than when I arrived. Each winter they get a new coat. Not because they are overly fashion conscious but because things don't last. I had a very nice winter coat in the U.K. from Marks and Sparks that I bought just before I married my first husband. The coat lasted longer than the 12-year marriage.

There are things that last but they cost a lot more than at home. In order to get bedsheets that would last longer than a season we spent $80 per sheet (and that was in a sale) to get a good quality. Back in the U.K. I had a whole set from Debenhams that cost less than one of my sheets here and lasted many years.

Last edited by Twinkle0927; Nov 19th 2017 at 12:40 pm.
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Old Nov 19th 2017, 1:03 pm
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Default Re: Monthly Expenses - what have I forgot?

Originally Posted by Twinkle0927 View Post
I don't know where you are living to but here if you're going to spend only between $5k and $10k on a car you're not going to get much for your money. You'll be constantly maintaining it. It'll be ok as a run-around to get you to work and the supermarket but not good for the long drives.

Tom is right about retirement - I don't see anything being set aside for that.

Medical - you've estimated a reasonable amount for the premium but you need a contingency for co-pays, deductibles and prescriptions. Does the medical premium cover dental and vision also?

$250 a month on groceries seems low to me. There are two of us and with food, toiletries, cleaning products, consumables such as paper products, foil, etc, detergents, we are over $250 a month by a good amount. Good food here is more expensive than home. Bad food is cheaper.

I think you'll need two cars.

Was cable TV included in your list?
Thanks for your help!

The car will be with us for a year, sold and then replaced with a leased car - I've leased cars in the UK for the past 8 years or so and like how it works. One good thing I noticed is that in the US you can lease used cars unto a couple of years old I think. As the lease costs is essentially depreciation plus a bit, on a used car the depreciation should be less which suits me. Prior to that I've flipped between old bangers (and their associated maintenance costs and breakdowns), and a few year old nice cars. One option is an old but simple truck and a nice motorbike.

Retirement, yes, we need to put a lot aside for retirement, once the first year is out of the way (and this budget is for just the first year alone, it will change a lot once we buy our home in year two) we will need to save $1k pm (I mean save it into the company pension scheme). This first year it will be 5%, so $400 a month.

Medical, I need to dig out the documents again. I recall the basic plan was sort of basic, and everything else was an "add on" extra, so decent dental, vision, etc, will add on.

Food, thanks. Will increase the food budget as we like good quality meat and veg. (well, I'm quite happy with low quality food but the missus keeps me straight!)

The wife does not drive so we only need one car. She does intend to pass the driving test at some point though, and her idea is to get a little scooter to get to the local shopping centre and friends.


Clothes - Thank you for the heads up that quality clothes cost more. We've bought a few bits and pieces whilst we have been over looking around and they all seem good quality but were not cheap. I favour spending more and getting a decent lifetime out of clothes and white goods.


I know the startup costs will be a lot, the realtor has told us we will need 3 x monthly rental as a deposit, so upto $9k, plus the $5 - $10k for the car, plus deposits for the utilities, plus initial stocking up on food and buying kitchen equipment. That will come out of our savings.

Luckily most of our equipment is happy to operate on 110V 60Hz mains power, and for the bits that do not I've bought a huge 7.5KW 110V to 240V inverter. I know that motorised equipment will be unhappy working on 60Hz frequency and will die after a few months of use, but that is nearly all workshop stuff and I accept it'll need replacing when it dies.


We do have a cat who is of course coming with us - 5 year old bengal. No idea how expensive vets are. In the UK vets are sort of expensive - £25 for a visit plus costs for drugs and anything done during the visit, so a checkup with a couple of injections will be £100. I have never bothered to take out a medical insurance plan for any of my pets as I've always had enough savings to cover whatever they have needed. I will have to revisit this decision based on how expensive Houston vets are.


I'll edit my post above with revised figures and forgotten bits!
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Old Nov 19th 2017, 1:27 pm
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Default Re: Monthly Expenses - what have I forgot?

Don't appear to be able to edit, so:-

$80k salary - medical ($6000pa) - pension ($4800pa) = $69200
- Federal $7708
- FICA $5294
= $56198
+ $13750
+ $2000
= $71946
Per month = $5996

* Car insurance $200
* Household insurance $125
* Food $350
* 2 x mobiles on PAYG with 10GB data $200 <- hopefully this will be less if we can get fixed internet & TV package as we won't need all that data.
* TV $50
* Electricity, Gas, Water, Garbage $300
* Fuel $100
* Car maintenance and other expenses $150 <- I'm hoping this will be a lot less as I'm not hard on cars but can spot a clunker so hope to buy something in good condition, even if it's something from the 60s!
* Pet insurance $25

= $1500

- Rent $3000

Total $4500

Disposable ~$1500pm

So for the first year we'll be on approximately the same disposable as we are in the UK. After we stop renting and buy somewhere, the disposable will double.

The two areas we are looking to move to are either Sugarland, Houston; or Katy, Houston.
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Old Nov 19th 2017, 2:13 pm
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Default Re: Monthly Expenses - what have I forgot?

Originally Posted by Twinkle0927 View Post
In the same vein, I didn't see any mention of clothing in your monthly budget. Again, it's hard to find the quality that you can find in Europe for the same price. I have been here since December last year and I noticed recently that my colleagues are all wearing different winter coats than when I arrived. Each winter they get a new coat. Not because they are overly fashion conscious but because things don't last. I had a very nice winter coat in the U.K. from Marks and Sparks that I bought just before I married my first husband. The coat lasted longer than the 12-year marriage.

There are things that last but they cost a lot more than at home. In order to get bedsheets that would last longer than a season we spent $80 per sheet (and that was in a sale) to get a good quality. Back in the U.K. I had a whole set from Debenhams that cost less than one of my sheets here and lasted many years.
Yes, he did not mention clothing. Personally, I don't consider that expenditure as part of my monthly costs as I don't shop monthly for new clothes.

When I lived in New York and traveled to NYC daily for work, I owned at least 2 long coats and 2 short jackets, one mink and one lamb's skin jacket and one snow jacket. The lamb's skin jacket was an inherited item from my German aunt and was purchased by her in the 1930's. The cloth outer wear have lasted me several years without having to buy a new one unless I wanted a different style and/or color.

I'm sure there is a huge discrepancy between quality of clothing in Europe as opposed to the US but if you buy quality (even at a higher cost which is why salaries here are higher due to cost of living), they will last you for years.
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