Let's See How Much on a Budget I Can Live On!

Discussion in 'Teacher Time Out' started by Ms. I, Apr 29, 2012.

  1. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    So, I'm moving into my new apt in a month & I want to keep as much $ in my pocket as possible, especially at 1st to get settled & furnish/decorate the whole place & get kitchen stuff. I'd love to have a few hundred bucks left over after the rent & all bills are paid & I'm trying to see how I can cut down.

    No more clothes/shoe/beauty products shopping & eating out much less for a while...I need to downsize & donate clothes/shoes I don't wear as it is. I was able to sell some pieces.

    Food - What's the CHEAPEST amount that ONE person can spend on food a week or month & still eat pretty healthy? Time to start clipping coupons & grocery shop more at Food for Less, 99 Cent store, & Winco Foods.

    Auto Ins - I pay $100 for 8 mos of the year w/ my good driver discount, but also for a multiple car discount since others in my current household have it too. Which company tends to have cheaper prices?

    Gas (car) - I mainly get Costco gas & fill up the tank once a week for about $40-45 ea week. But I tend to fill it up when I just have a bit under 1/2 a tank still, so I can wait a bit longer to fill up.

    Phone - I pay $20 for a basic landline through Verizon, which I'd like to keep. For the cell, it's $64/mo, which is the cheapest unlimited talk & text T-Mobile has. I already removed the internet/email usage.

    Internet & Cable TV - I NEED it...really. I'm an online grad student & need internet. I'd like to try Verion FIOS, but they seem pretty high, especially after the initial promo's over.

    I could bundle my internet & cable. I don't know if I want to bundle internet, cable, phone, but we'll see. At least I could for the 1st 1-2 yr promo price.
     
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  3. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I cook almost all of the time, and when I do eat out I've always got a coupon. I never buy clothes unless they are on sale, but I shop often to keep current with what they have and when their sales happen. Lots of stores offer coupons for clothing/shoes as well. I rarely eat meat, which cuts a lot from my grocery bill. I think ahead, too, so I'm never out of anything and have to pick it up somewhere that I have to pay whatever price they're asking for it.

    The car insurance may be your glitch. When I lived at home, I got a multi-car discount and homeowner's discount because I was living with my parents, who had the house and two other vehicles insured with them. When I moved into my own place, I was no longer included with their discounts. I got my own homeowner's discount, and that's it.

    Do you need a landline? I'm in a rural area without enhanced 911 service for cell phones and can't get reliable cell service in my house either. Some of my friends who live in other areas (larger cities, usually) have gone to cell only service. One of my friends has only cell phones (four in the family) and 3G service for their internet. Since I have to have a landline, I get a prepaid cell. I rarely use my cell anyway, so it did not make sense to get a plan at all.
     
  4. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    I think that you should budget about $100-150 per month for food. That amount could fluctuate quite a bit in either direction depending on the types and brands of foods you enjoy. Be careful about food shopping at the dollar store. Sometimes you end up paying more there because items that are sold there for $1 only cost 69 cents or something at the regular grocery store.

    Can you clarify what you currently pay for auto insurance? I'm confused about what you mean. In any case, insurance rates vary a lot according to geography and type of vehicle. You will certainly be better off if you combine your renter's insurance and your car insurance on a multi-policy plan. I currently pay around $150/month, which is for two cars and homeowner's coverage.

    Gas expenses will depend entirely on how much you drive. I hardly ever drive and only fill my tank once every two months or so.

    Why do you need a landline? If you're intent upon getting a landline, try to get a combo pack with your internet and TV. It will probably be a lot less expensive that way. I have Century Link for my internet, and they have a partnership with Dish Network, so I get both services on a single bill. It's MUCH less expensive this way than what I used to pay to Cox for digital cable and internet.

    To be honest, I'm a little surprised that you haven't already planned a budget for yourself. I followed your apartment hunting posts on here, and you were exceedingly thorough with that process. Why wouldn't you already have a plan in place for your budget? Just curious.
     
  5. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Apr 29, 2012

    To answer your questions guys...

    Monthly Bills

    Car Ins 100 (except for 4 mos of the yr in summer & winter)
    Auto Gas 125
    Cell 64
    Groceries 120
    3 credit cards
    cable TV unknown which company yet
    internet unknown

    Monthly Living & Utilities Expenses (as told by leasing agent)

    rent 1135
    renter's ins 10.75 (Assurant)
    gas 16
    electricity 35
    water/sewer/trash 55
    pet rent (not food/supplies) 45

    I'd like a landline, but I'm willing to try living without it at first. But the 911 thing is a concern. I never have to call out of state really.

    Caesar, I've had the above rough draft typed up for a couple of mos! ;) I just want to find out what other people do...remember, I don't have friends to talk to about this kind of thing really.

    As far as the car insurance, yes I pay $100/month except for 2 months in the summer & in winter beause 21st Century lets us skip it.
     
  6. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I wouldn't shop for food at the dollar store...most of it tends to be highly processed, not so healthy kinds of choices. Check the major chains' food ads each week, shop with a list and coupons. If there's a great deal on something, buy several. For instance, most grocery store have a sale on some cut/variety of meat each week...so when chicken breast is on sale, I'll buy several packs, make packets of several breasts in Saran and freeze. My ShopRite has 'can can' sales when you can buy canned food at great prices...at that time I buy lots of chicken and veg broth, tuna, beans and keep in pantry..rice and pasta are cheap...you can add some veg and some of the chicken that you bought on sale and make a casserole that will be good for a few dinners and lunches during the week. Buy fruits and veg in season and on sale.
     
  7. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Right, I'd never buy certain things at the 99 Cent store. Other types of things, I would. Yes, for things on a good sale, I'll stock up on it a little. My parents have their certain stores they go to & they know all the best prices on everything. Soon, I'll start typing up a list of the things I should get from where since I don't have time to check it out myself until the summer.
     
  8. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    I am working on cutting down some spending too, since I am moving soon and would like to get some new items for my new apartment. Based on what you said:

    I've never had one, but just based on what you said here, I agree with the others on the landline. Especially if you have unlimited talk and text, what do you need a landline for? I have never once wished I had one. That's an easy way to save some money right there.

    Gas is relative to area and how much you drive. I currently spend about $100 a month on gas because I rarely drive more than 15 minutes away.

    Can't help too much with the car insurance, except to say that I have Nationwide and it's ungodly expensive. It's what my parents have, so it was the first place I thought of to get a quote. I called for a quote and the guy literally kept me on the phone for almost 2 hours (I am not exaggerating- kept saying "just a few more minutes" the whole time) asking question after question to get my "quote." That was when I got my first job and I had a week and a half's notice to move across the country, so at the time I couldn't fool with it and after all that didn't want to call anyone else and ended up taking the insurance.

    For internet/cable, I have comcast which I like because of the xfinity/on demand feature. I like that you can catch up with shows through that and watch them on the actual tv (rather than on the computer) and not have to pay for DVR.



    Some ideas I've had to save more:

    1. Plan menus for the week based on a few of the same ingredients. I tend to spend a ton when I go to the store and think, "oh it would be nice to make..." Since I live alone, I often end up throwing out food because I didn't use it fast enough. I need to plan better with what I'm actually going to cook and what I need to buy, and then of course sticking to it rather than going out!

    2. Something I'm thinking about is getting a certain amount of cash out from my monthly paycheck and keeping that as "fun money"- money for things that aren't necessities like happy hours, eating out, entertainment, etc. Whatever I don't spend I'll save for a bigger shopping trip or something like that. I find when I use my debit card everywhere I just don't even pay attention to how much I spend like I used to when I only had cash. It seems kind of "backwards" to go back to cash but I think it would really help.

    3.I'm torn on cable. I feel it's SO expensive- by far my biggest bill aside from rent of course. I like having it, but as for the shows I keep up with, I often end up watching them later anyway because I'm not available right when the show is on. I like my ondemand feature like I said, but I know hulu can supposedly play on wii now, and if that really worked, I would much rather pay 8 bucks a month for that, to watch the shows whenever I want! It's nice to be able to just turn on something when I'm bored sometimes, but I'm not convinced it's nice enough to keep paying what I am. Of course they have deals so that your first year is really cheap, but then they jack it way up the 2nd year. That's not how I feel about internet though- that's the one thing I wouldn't compromise on! I currently bundle cable and internet, so I'm not sure how much it would cost for just internet. I'm going to have to look into it.
     
  9. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    I know you are excited for a furnished and decorated place that looks great, but now might not be the time to overdo in the area of decor or kitchen stuff.


    That depends on what you consider healthy eating and what are your tastes. It also depends on food prices in your area. You are looking at 4.00/gal for milk here unless you shop at Costco.

    If you eat healthy coupons won't help much because you will be buying fresh produce.

    Learing how to cook and freeze can help reduce the cost but it requires organization and planning. A rather large undertaking. For example, I can make a meat and cheese lasagne that will make 12 portions for about 12 dollars buying on sale for cheese, tomato sauce, ground meat, etc.

    Rice and beans are inexpensive and can go far. Buying bread and freezing portions for later use will make sure your bread doesn't go bad before you use it.

    Large pots of chili or soups put in containers and frozen will provide inexpensive meals.

    Look for good sales and extra off at the meat department - use or freeze that day. They are still good, but at the end of their expiration. Do not buy if it looks funny and take it back if you open it and it is spoiled.

    Gas used is gas used. It doesn't matter that much if when you fill up as long as you budget for the right amount every month and DON'T SPEND IT if you don't use it. So, filling up 4 times a month when the tank is at 1/2 or 2 times a month when the tank is empty doesn't save you any money or lose any unless the price is fluxuating drastically.
     
  10. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Check my math, but outside of your rent you have $590 in bills without the credit cards, cable and Internet...when you add those in, do you still have the $300-350 extra cushion each month that you were planning on in your initial apartment hunting thread?
     
  11. Linguist92021

    Linguist92021 Phenom

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    Food:
    I almost never eat out. It's only me and my daughter, and I'd say we eat out less than 6 times / year.
    I never EVER go to Starbucks or other coffee shops.

    I'm a firm believer of the philosophy: if you can do it yourself, don't pay someone else to do it. :)

    I see that you live in Southern Cali. I'm not sure if we have the same grocery stores (I'm in San Diego) but this is what I do:
    - Food 4 Less: most of the things I'm getting here.
    - Vons is generally much more expensive, but since there is one behind my house I have discovered that some items are much cheaper than at Food 4 Less (yoghurt, coffee creamer, etc)
    - Henry's / Sprouts / whatever they're called these days: their produce is usually the cheapest while still great quality. Other things I find very expensive so I don't buy them here.
    - Local ethnic stores (Arabic, or you might only have Mexican shops where you are) - produce is much cheaper, while still fresh.
    - Dollar stores: some things like crackers, cookies, household cleaning items are cheaper, but I wouldn't buy groceries there.

    The key is to really know what costs how much and where, and plan your shopping accordingly.

    don't forget, you can also freeze a lot of things (even bread), so you can buy more for less (or at least lessen the trips to the store)
     
  12. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    That's not necessarily the case. I always have coupons on fresh fruit and veggies from Kroger and Meijer. I also frequently receive "generic" coupons that are good for money off the entire purchase, no matter what it is.
     
  13. Kat53

    Kat53 Devotee

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    I've NEVER had a $35 electricity bill. My cheapest electricity bill was probably around $60 a month, in the winter when I don't turn on the A/C.
     
  14. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Thanks for the info. We don't have those stores where I live. Our chains never offer coupons for produce. They do have sale prices, but never coupons for produce.
     
  15. MrsC

    MrsC Multitudinous

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    $120/month for groceries is only $30/week. It's been many, many years since I've shopped only for myself; that seems low to me, but I could be wrong.

    My son spends next to nothing on groceries, but he could happily live on cereal for breakfast, a bagel with cream cheese for lunch and rice or pasta with a little protein (sausage or fish) thrown in for dinner. Even though you aren't shopping for yourself yet, start to watch the grocery flyers and make a mock list--what can't you live without and what things will you buy only when they are on sale? Remember that stocking a kitchen for the first time is expensive--all those staples that are just in the pantry, aren't there to start off with.
     
  16. a2z

    a2z Maven

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    Oh, yeah. I just bought a bottle of dried basil (small one) for 6 bucks.

    The other thing is frozen veggies are a good alternative to fresh. You can portion out small amounts and a bag isn't all that expensive considering there is no waste.
     
  17. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    That is some PRICEY basil...just checked the prices online for my local chain...I could pay fom 99 cents to $4 for a bottle.:eek:

    Just goes to show, ms I, the value of knowing where to shop.
     
  18. TennisPlayer

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    cooking at home can save money and you can eat healthier depending on what you make. If your schedule gets busy at your new place Look into crockpot cooking...I have made maybe 10 meals that way so far and it smells good and makes the food taste good since it is cooking for several hours!

    Are there dog friendly areas so yoshi can go on walks there?
     
  19. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    You have gas and electricity...what is your electronic responsible for? Thirty-five dollars seems a little low.

    Our house is around 2700 square feet and our bill is from $75 to $130...but my husband is very, very focused on energy efficiency. At our apartment closer the size of your place, it was the seventy dollar figure (but again, after my husband caulked things and did this and that). My mom's tiny little house is $200 in the winter. So it clearly varies greatly, but that number you were quoted seems off.
     
  20. swansong1

    swansong1 Virtuoso

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    I also think you are underestimating some of your bills. Maybe you could ask some of the neighbors what the utility bills generally run?
    I'm also wondering if the amount you have left over is after you put some in savings? Otherwise, that's cutting it real tight.
    I try to live off one paycheck each month and use the other for savings, large purchases, unexpected expenses, etc. Even at that, I'm cutting it close some months.
     
  21. waterfall

    waterfall Maven

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    My electricity is never more than 30 dollars a month, because heat is part of the gas bill. I don't have AC (never gets hot enough- even really nice places around here don't have it!)

    I would second that groceries are going to be more than 30 a week. I can occasionally get around 30-40 if I'm just getting food. It's non-food things like cleaning supplies and toiletries that really drive up the price.

    Really though Ms. I, you've posted your salary before and it's really generous. Of course it's a good idea to track what you're spending, but I don't think you need to worry about scrimping and saving and cutting corners. I literally make almost half what you do and I get by just fine!
     
  22. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Okay...I've never had gas but that would certainly explain things. :)
     
  23. Ima Teacher

    Ima Teacher Maven

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    I'm not sure how much variety of weather you have. If it's not much, you shouldn't get surprised by bills. In summer my gas bill is $14. In winter it can jump to $150. Many people use the budget plan which estimates your usage and gives you the same bill every month. At the end of the year you settle up the difference. That's nice if you're not into surprises.
     
  24. MissCeliaB

    MissCeliaB Aficionado

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    I was thinking this, too. In the winter, my gas bill is almost $100 a month, even though we keep the thermostat at around 65. In the summer, our gas bill drops to under $10, but our electricity bill can sometimes run as high as $170 and we keep the thermostat on 78 or 79 and turn off lights obsessively.

    My husband and I spend probably $30 a week on groceries, but we also eat out a lot. I think you'd probably better budget more like $50, especially if you eat produce and meat often. That said, I have no clue about the cost of living there, but I'm assuming it's higher than it is here.
     
  25. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Thanks for the comments.

    Fresh & Easy grocery stores have coupons quite often, so that's good.

    TennisPlayer, there are places to walk Yoshi. If I don't walk him within the grounds of the complex, the surrounding streets are quite busy, but I can go to the nearest park or the same outdoor mall I've always walked him at.

    JustMe, I'll need to call my electric & gas company soon, so I'll find out more.

    True that gas used is gas used, but I've usually filled up the tank when it's just a little under 1/2, but if I wait longer, each of those 3x's earlier in the month that I already filled up when it's only 1/2 full will be enough to probably save me a 4th trip for the month, thus saving me another $30 & I can space out the gas station trips to 3x/wk.

    I sure hope so regarding getting by just fine. I think so! And good reminders in your other previous post too! Your point #2 about having money put aside in your paycheck, I've planned to do that before I got hired, but didn't want to set it up yet, but I will.

    Also everyone, in late September, I'll be getting a raise (or SHOULD BE), so that will of course help! :)
     
  26. GoldenPoppy

    GoldenPoppy Habitué

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    I, too, would be concerned about the lowness of the utilities. Our house is about 1,400 square feet and all electric. Our electricity bill is about $350 a month. Just like in Southern California, we could not live without air conditioning here during the summer.
     
  27. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    I might not be reading this paragraph right, but I don't understand what you're saying...
     
  28. smalltowngal

    smalltowngal Multitudinous

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    I think she's saying that right now she only has to fill up her car 3 times a month. If she lets it go lower, then she'll have to fill up 4 times a month.
     
  29. Caesar753

    Caesar753 Multitudinous

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    That doesn't make sense. If she goes through 40 gallons of gas in a month, she'll be paying for 40 gallons of gas. Even if she buys it 10 gallons at a time (i.e., 4 times per month) or 13 gallons at a time (i.e., 3 times per month), she's still buying all of it.

    I do not understand the logic here. :confused:
     
  30. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    No just the opposite. :) I've said how nowadays, I fill up the tank when it's a little lower than 1/2 a tank. Most people probably wait longer until it's more towards empty. I go every week to get gas, so there's 4 weeks in month, meaning I go 4x's a month now. BUT, if I wait longer & drive around more (to work & all, I don't mean aimlessly of course) & don't get gas until it's more towards empty, I could go a few more days, in which I may be able to get gas 3x's a month, rather than 4. Well, each time I go NOW, I pay a good $35-40, so if I can stretch it out & go 3x's a month rather than 4, that means I'm saving $35-40 (which is how much I normally pay for EACH gas station visit).

    Anyway, I'm not meaning to get all technical, but just like people try to sasve money by not getting the fancy coffee at Starbucks, I can not get gas quite a often probably. Currently, I just have always gotten gas when it's not even that empty.
     
  31. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    But you're putting in more gas by letting it go lower...so you would pay more less often..it all adds up to the same amount of gallons you're using per month...I'm not seeing the 'savings':confused:
     
  32. Jayneorama

    Jayneorama Rookie

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    I know that Bountiful Baskets isn't in SoCal, due to produce import regulations, but for those of us who are trying to live on less and stay healthy in other areas, I highly recommend Bountiful Baskets. It's a produce co-op that began in AZ and has rapidly spread (still is, in fact) to other parts of the country. Here in my area, I pad $16.50 (15.00 + 1.50 handling fee) on Monday, when I participated on their website (www.bountifulbaskets.org). On Saturday, I chose to volunteer, so I was there early, but otherwise, I just had to show up within a twenty minute window with my confirmation number, either on my smart phone or a printed copy of the one they emailed me, and I picked up a huge amount of produce. This week I got 6 crowns of broccoli, 4 large beets with greens, 3 large heirloom tomatoes, 1 pineapple, 1 5lb bag of apples, 1 Tuscan (personal sized, but my family of 4 shared it just fine) watermelon, 1 quart of strawberries, 2 softball sized mangos, 8 good sized bananas, and about 1 lb of green beans. There could have been one or two more types of things, but this is what I can recall right now. Huge value, all very fresh, high quality, and not GMO produce. Organic is also available for an additional fee.

    I know I sound like a commercial, but I know how hard wel all work, and how much quality food costs. I want to help my fellow teachers find this great deal that my family so benefits from. We generally plan our menu around our produce, and have begun to eat much more simply and cheaply than we had before, with higher quality and healthier meals.

    Again, the website is www.bountifulbaskets.org. It's a nonprofit co-op, so I'm not benefitting in any way from putting this out there. Participation is from noon on Mondays through early evening on Tuesdays (I can't recall an exact time, since our area has been selling out in 20 minutes or less for a few months now). Pickup is during a predetermined twenty minute window on either Saturday morning or early afternoon, depending on your site's times. Check the website to see if you have one in your area, if you are looking to save money. You can also check out their page on Facebook (Bountiful Baskets Food Co-op) to see what participants are saying about it.
     
  33. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    czacza, not unless I don't fill it up completely sometimes from now on, but this gas thing's a vicious circle. :) I need to start seeing if there's any brand of gas that's cheaper than Costso, without it of course being the really cheapo, watered down gas.

    I've personally never checked the amt of gas in my life. I'd just go to Unocal, sometimes Chevron, & more recently Costco a lot more often & just fill it up every time. All along, I've never ever gotten gas & just spend a certain amount. I just fill up the tank no matter what it costs.
     
  34. Ms. I

    Ms. I Maven

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    Jayneorama, never heard of them, but thanks. I just checked their site & they're not in my state yet.
     
  35. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    good that you're thinking of these things ahead of time...you're going to want to start checking food prices, gas prices, you've already mentioned exchanging your shopping habits...it's a lot to think about, but still very exciting!
     
  36. kcjo13

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    Apr 29, 2012

    Ms. I, don't forget things like licenses (dog and car), oil changes, car maintenance, taxes, gifts, doctor's fees, medications, etc. Those things can really add up, and eat into that few hundred dollars' cushion.
     
  37. JustMe

    JustMe Virtuoso

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    Apr 29, 2012

    Bountiful Baskets has been mentioned here before...no worries. Neat concept!
     
  38. czacza

    czacza Multitudinous

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    Apr 29, 2012

    Many states have CSA farms which have a similar program :

    http://www.localharvest.org/csa/

    Near me it's $600 per year...
     
  39. yellowdaisies

    yellowdaisies Fanatic

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    Apr 29, 2012

    Ms. I, I don't think $35 for your electric bill is too low of an estimate. We pay about $30 for ours, and we are in a 780ish square foot 1 bedroom apartment in SoCal. We do not have central AC - we have a wall unit. So that would make the costs lower for us. But some of the prices people are quoting are electricity costs for HOUSES, which is very different and much more expensive than for an apartment.

    I wish we were in driving distance of a Winco...I know Winco well because my mom lives near one in NorCal, and they have GREAT prices on produce! She is a VERY healthy eater and gets a lot of her food from Winco. Sprouts is also a good choice - we go there a lot in the summer for fruit. :) I am personally a big fan of Trader Joe's - I know everyone says it's expensive, but it really depends what you're getting. Some things there are cheaper than in the regular grocery store. And I have never encountered something that is their store brand that I don't like.

    That said, I think $120 a month is too low for food. I know I live with two people, but that seems low for one person...

    As for car insurance, we have State Farm and are very happy with it. The price for a married couple is very reasonable, and the service is excellent. I'm not sure about how much it would be for a single person. Our renter's insurance is actually free with our car insurance.

    We don't have a landline - it seemed like an unnecessary cost. We don't miss it.

    We have cable internet, but no cable TV. We bought a digital antenna for I think $40, and we get the major network channels as well as some other random channels like Ion. So we have that for free and we pay $8 for Netflix streaming and $8 for Hulu streaming, both of which we watch through the Wii. It's way cheaper than cable, and we didn't really want cable anyway. Just another option. :)
     
  40. Blue

    Blue Aficionado

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    Apr 30, 2012

    All these posts show how much prices vary from area to area. I am in Oregon, in a 2800 sq. ft. house, and our electricity bill is over $100 per month. We don't use it to heat our house. We use pellets which cost us $150 per month. We don't pay sewer or water because we have our own.

    But, $4 for a gallon of milk is high. We usually pay around $2.50 to $3. We must eat very well, because my food bill is about $100 plus per month. I do keep a full pantry and freezer. I could not go to the store for a month and have plenty to eat--except for milk.
     
  41. TeacherGroupie

    TeacherGroupie Moderator

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    Apr 30, 2012

    Costco gas tends to be very good value for money - there are just two grades, but the regular grade substitutes very nicely for midgrade unless I'm going to be driving in the mountains - though, where I am, prices are less at the inland Costcos than at the coastal ones. Costco's good for imperishables. For eggs and milk and pasta, and rice in the quantities in which you're likeliest to use it, Trader Joe's is likely to work better for you, though.

    For fresh produce, check out the ethnic markets - and, Linguist, if you use plain yogurt you'll probably get it cheaper at Trader Joe's. Middle Eastern stores may carry larger containers for even less.

    Sprouts is a good choice for a single for dried herbs and spices because Sprouts sells 'em in bulk: you just need containers, or you could even keep the spices in their plastic bags in a box.

    I've shopped the four Food 4 Less stores nearest where I live, plus a Vons or two and very occasionally a Ralphs. (For the record: both Food 4 Less (lower prices) and Ralphs (higher prices) are owned by Kroger. Vons is owned by Safeway, or the other way around.) I would trade them all in a heartbeat for a single Winco within 15 miles.
     

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