Left-over money

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Income left after you've paid your bills, food, and other non-essential expenses?

0%
7
12%
10%
13
22%
20%
9
16%
30%
7
12%
40%
5
9%
50%
9
16%
60%
4
7%
70%
4
7%
80%
0
No votes
90%
0
No votes
95%
0
No votes
> 99%
0
No votes
 
Total votes: 58

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Left-over money

Postby You, sir, name? » Fri Sep 28, 2012 9:50 pm UTC

I tried to make a cost-of-living agnostic measure of this. That is, what portion of your paycheck do you have left after you've paid your bills, bought your food, fueled your car, and sorted all other day-to-day expenses?
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Re: Left-over money

Postby apricity » Sat Sep 29, 2012 12:27 am UTC

I'm in grad school and only work ~20 hours a week. So, nada.
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Re: Left-over money

Postby Jesse » Sat Sep 29, 2012 1:40 am UTC

I work 30 hours a week, have maybe 5-8% left after bills.

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Re: Left-over money

Postby Thesh » Sat Sep 29, 2012 1:55 am UTC

I would say about 10%-15%. Then I get another 10% back when I get my tax returns back, which I generally find something to spend on (next year, I will put half on my car and mortgage, and the other half on home improvements).
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Re: Left-over money

Postby PatrickRsGhost » Sat Sep 29, 2012 2:33 am UTC

I work a full 40 hours a week, get paid bi-weekly, but have a 70-mile one-way commute. After fueling my car, making a payment on said car, making payments on car insurance, paying rent to my parents, and stocking up on usual personal hygiene supplies and cat food and cat litter, I usually have about 15-20% left over.
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Re: Left-over money

Postby Hawknc » Sat Sep 29, 2012 4:08 am UTC

About 20% could be considered disposable income, but it's rare that there is much left at the end of each month because I'm fairly terrible with money.

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Re: Left-over money

Postby stevey_frac » Sat Sep 29, 2012 4:29 pm UTC

is 100% before, or after taxes, and other paycheck type deductions?

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Re: Left-over money

Postby You, sir, name? » Sat Sep 29, 2012 9:59 pm UTC

stevey_frac wrote:is 100% before, or after taxes, and other paycheck type deductions?


After taxes.
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Re: Left-over money

Postby tendays » Sun Sep 30, 2012 5:32 pm UTC

This poll should have permitted negative values! I know people who spend more than they can afford (and either burn through savings or drown in debts or have generous friends who keep on lending).

(I am fortunate enough to not be in that case. I am single, have no children, but share a small-ish flat. I don't smoke, I don't drink alcoholic drinks, I don't own a car, and have a well-paid job. I voted 40%.)
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Re: Left-over money

Postby natraj » Sun Sep 30, 2012 5:45 pm UTC

i selected 10% because there is no <10% option. bad poll choices are bad. some months it is more towards zero but some months more towards 5%.
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Re: Left-over money

Postby jasc15 » Mon Oct 01, 2012 2:44 pm UTC

Are you talking percentage of gross, or net income?

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Re: Left-over money

Postby firechicago » Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:08 pm UTC

10% of net income, after taxes, health insurance and other payroll deductions, and using a fairly expansive definition of "day to day expenses" to include both irregular necessities like clothing and regular unnecessary expenditures like eating out, booze, theater tickets, etc.

Used to be 20% until we moved into a nicer apartment.

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Re: Left-over money

Postby natraj » Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:14 pm UTC

firechicago wrote:10% of net income, after taxes, health insurance and other payroll deductions, and using a fairly expansive definition of "day to day expenses" to include both irregular necessities like clothing and regular unnecessary expenditures like eating out, booze, theater tickets, etc.


oh, see, i totally did not count that kind of thing as day to day expenses, i counted that kind of thing as the sort of thing i would buy with my left over money. if i count Stuff I Like To Have rather than Stuff I Need For Living then it is totally zero.
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Re: Left-over money

Postby philsov » Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:33 pm UTC

Around 30% here. About 20% of that is towards investments and saving, so I give myself <10% as a play budget.
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Re: Left-over money

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Oct 01, 2012 3:52 pm UTC

natraj wrote:
firechicago wrote:10% of net income, after taxes, health insurance and other payroll deductions, and using a fairly expansive definition of "day to day expenses" to include both irregular necessities like clothing and regular unnecessary expenditures like eating out, booze, theater tickets, etc.


oh, see, i totally did not count that kind of thing as day to day expenses, i counted that kind of thing as the sort of thing i would buy with my left over money. if i count Stuff I Like To Have rather than Stuff I Need For Living then it is totally zero.

I guess I consider my hobbies 'necessary expenses'. I view things like all these fucking weddings I have to fly around the country for 'unnecessary'. 3 grand this summer.
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Re: Left-over money

Postby natraj » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:12 pm UTC

that is definitely an interesting difference of perspective. having spent a chunk of life homeless and then always teetering on the brink of homeless, "neccessary" is pretty narrow to my mind. it is nice that now i can afford some of the unneccessary every month, but that doesn't make it neccessary, just pretty sweet.
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Re: Left-over money

Postby Adam H » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:29 pm UTC

The question above the poll is "Income left after you've paid your bills, food, and other non-essential expenses?" Should that instead be "essential expenses?" Regardless, it might be a good idea to define (non-)essential expenses. I budget everything and the only categories that I wouldn't consider essential are giving (10%), saving (20%), and discretionary spending (3-5%). But I suppose I could argue that giving and saving are essential to me.

Also:
-Vacations/presents? (It is essential and expected that I take a couple trips a year to see my family)
-Clothing?
-Insurance?
-Restarants (as opposed to groceries)?
-Cell phone?
-Pet food/meds?
-Gym membership?
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Re: Left-over money

Postby tms » Mon Oct 01, 2012 4:41 pm UTC

I don't know how much I spend on food, because it isn't essential information. I tend to donate the extra, though.
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Re: Left-over money

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:21 pm UTC

natraj wrote:that is definitely an interesting difference of perspective. having spent a chunk of life homeless and then always teetering on the brink of homeless, "neccessary" is pretty narrow to my mind. it is nice that now i can afford some of the unneccessary every month, but that doesn't make it neccessary, just pretty sweet.

Yeah, I remember you writing about that in the past, and to be honest, makes me reflect a bit on how I handle my own spending. I typically look at my checking balance and treat any excess over two months rent as 'safely within my budget for enjoying hobbies', and justify most 'reasonably priced hobbies' as 'requirements for maintaining my sanity'.

I put quotes around those because of how very subjective they are. I'm presently supporting my girlfriend, but we live rather cheaply, and even within the realm of living somewhat cheaply, we are fairly fiscally irresponsible, insofar as how frequently we eat out/order in. But that said, I view delicious food as a luxury I'm willing to budget for, and would rather spend 60-80 bucks a week on sushi and chicken tikka masala than, say, an expensive clothing habit and weekend club entrance fee. I don't say this to indicate that clothes or clubbing are 'bad' hobbies, just different hobbies than what I choose to spend my money on. I've had friends in my graduate program give me shit for paying for videogames a sentence after talking about how much fun they had in NYC last weekend, for the third weekend in a row, at some ritzy club buying over priced drinks.

I'm also kind of a homebody, and have lived in a couple very tiny and shitty apartments in the past; now, I don't feel unreasonable spending ~40-50% of my monthly income on my rent and utilities.
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Re: Left-over money

Postby natraj » Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:30 pm UTC

yeah, no, sorry if that came off wrong i didn't say that to be like "your hobbies are frivolous and bad!" it is just a different way of thinking about things. now that i have a job wherein i can afford rent and food and clothing and have a little left over i definitely have different priorities in life (mostly centered around things like rock climbing and travelling to see friends and also way too much delicious tea) and those things also help me keep my sanity! ... but somehow that still doesn't click as necessary, maybe i just got too used to being insane. :mrgreen: actually i'm still pretty insane, now i'm just sane with delicious tea.
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Re: Left-over money

Postby Izawwlgood » Mon Oct 01, 2012 5:37 pm UTC

Nono, it didn't sound like you were suggesting that, but it does selfishly serve me by forcing me to put things into an different context, insofar as I'm simply not exposed to anyone who has actually been homeless for a period of time. Justifying to myself a second take out dinner of the week as 'maintaining my sanity' makes me appreciate what I have and all the happier that I can take some of my hungrier friends out for dinner.

But yeah, also on the topic of 'expenditures for maintaining sanity', I put rockclimbing. It comes out to about 40 a month, for something I enjoy for about 8-12 hrs a month, but the increase in fitness, the break for socializing with friends and a handful of gym strangers alike, and the 'breaking up the routine of walking to and from campus' is more than worth it to me.

But hey, if this is a thread for discussing money and expenditure; I could totes be saving more.
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Re: Left-over money

Postby Xeio » Mon Oct 01, 2012 8:10 pm UTC

Do we count the amount the loans minimum monthly amount, or do we include extra amounts paid so I don't bleed to student loan interest forever?

Eh, I'm just going to estimate 50%, kinda hard to say exactly though as I am loathe to do math on that stuff (plus taking into account ESPP and the minor extras that entails). But basically I use most of that remaining % to pay extra on my student loans. And magic cards and video games, but those... might not be required... at least not both... <_<

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Re: Left-over money

Postby Kaden » Tue Oct 02, 2012 4:18 pm UTC

10% on a good month... :oops: I wish that amount could be higher...

For my husband and I, having leftover money at the end of the month means it goes straight into savings. We're generally pretty frugal and practical and refuse to spend beyond our means (because we've seen others spiral into massive debt), so we're actually pretty financially stable at the moment. We plan carefully for higher expenses (going to the fair, taking a trip, buying a new video game), so it softens the blow on our budget.
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Re: Left-over money

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:07 pm UTC

I hit 70%. This is mostly due to a fairly strict determination of what exactly essential is. I *could* wear clothes from goodwill, bike to work instead of driving(thus not paying for a car), etc, etc. So, some things that others may classify as essential, I consider optional.

This is also not including taxation, which would crush that pretty hard.

That said, I also live fairly moderately for my income, so that helps. I don't need anything beyond a reasonable apartment with a roomie and a civic, so, why blow the cash?

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Re: Left-over money

Postby You, sir, name? » Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:11 pm UTC

Tyndmyr wrote:I hit 70%. This is mostly due to a fairly strict determination of what exactly essential is. I *could* wear clothes from goodwill, bike to work instead of driving(thus not paying for a car), etc, etc. So, some things that others may classify as essential, I consider optional.

This is also not including taxation, which would crush that pretty hard.

That said, I also live fairly moderately for my income, so that helps. I don't need anything beyond a reasonable apartment with a roomie and a civic, so, why blow the cash?



... yeah, taxes are included in essential, unless you want a shoot out with the ATF.
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Re: Left-over money

Postby Izawwlgood » Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:16 pm UTC

I could fast half the month, so, yeah, eating isn't essential. And I don't need heat in the winter, afterall, I do own blankets.
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Re: Left-over money

Postby Tyndmyr » Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:28 pm UTC

You, sir, name? wrote:
Tyndmyr wrote:I hit 70%. This is mostly due to a fairly strict determination of what exactly essential is. I *could* wear clothes from goodwill, bike to work instead of driving(thus not paying for a car), etc, etc. So, some things that others may classify as essential, I consider optional.

This is also not including taxation, which would crush that pretty hard.

That said, I also live fairly moderately for my income, so that helps. I don't need anything beyond a reasonable apartment with a roomie and a civic, so, why blow the cash?



... yeah, taxes are included in essential, unless you want a shoot out with the ATF.


Well crap, that probably drops me to 40% left over. Quite possibly less.

I have actually done the no-car thing before. It sucks periodically, but it IS possible. In the same vein, I eat at better places than I used to when I was in college. That doesn't mean all the food is actually essential. I could reasonably feed myself on less if I had to. Otherwise...you can classify almost anything as essential. I do have a notable amount of flexible/disposable income, but that's specifically because I keep it that way. Most people seem to have expenses track income, regardless of what the income levels actually are.

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Re: Left-over money

Postby Ashlah » Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:33 pm UTC

Otherwise...you can classify almost anything as essential.

Well, yeah. You can classify almost anything as non-essential too. I look at "essential expenses" as being those bills that I am obligated to pay each month, given the lifestyle I have chosen. I choose to have a smart phone, so paying my data plan is "essential." The type of food I choose to eat determines the amount of my "essential" grocery bill.

Counting rent, groceries, car payment and insurance, student loan payment (including what I pay over minimum), utilities, phone bill, and IRA contributions (debated on that one), it comes to about 30% left of my net pay. That seems impossible though, given the amount of money I end up with at the end of the month. After all my spending, I end up with somewhere around 7% to save/pad my bank account. "Miscellaneous" apparently makes a large dent in my budget. I tend to feel pretty financially responsible, but I think I need to re-examine my spending habits...

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Re: Left-over money

Postby DaveInsurgent » Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:15 pm UTC

10% net after everything.
10% of my gross goes towards retirement savings and a yearly bonus between 5% and 15% usually pays for big ticket items.

What use is your analysis when it lumps people who live at home and possibly pay no rent, with those that have a mortgage, property taxes, etc?

Not to mention someone may make minimum wage and work part time, but live at home and eat for free. So they have 70% of their income available. That 70% can still be less than my 10% and they can't even try to rent a place, let alone buy.

I think to really compare, you need to ask questions such as what percentage of your income do you spend on transportation? On housing? On food? For example, we spend 20% to feed our family. About 32% on mortgage, property taxes and utilities, and 15% on transportation.

Then I get another 10% back when I get my tax returns back


Why not just fix how much tax you're paying throughout the year, and invest the difference?

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Re: Left-over money

Postby Thesh » Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:19 pm UTC

DaveInsurgent wrote:
Then I get another 10% back when I get my tax returns back


Why not just fix how much tax you're paying throughout the year, and invest the difference?


Most of it's from mortgage interest deduction, which goes down every year in dollar value and percentage-wise as my salary goes up.
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Re: Left-over money

Postby Diemo » Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:25 pm UTC

natraj wrote:
firechicago wrote:10% of net income, after taxes, health insurance and other payroll deductions, and using a fairly expansive definition of "day to day expenses" to include both irregular necessities like clothing and regular unnecessary expenditures like eating out, booze, theater tickets, etc.


oh, see, i totally did not count that kind of thing as day to day expenses, i counted that kind of thing as the sort of thing i would buy with my left over money. if i count Stuff I Like To Have rather than Stuff I Need For Living then it is totally zero.
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Re: Left-over money

Postby You, sir, name? » Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:28 pm UTC

DaveInsurgent wrote:What use is your analysis when it lumps people who live at home and possibly pay no rent, with those that have a mortgage, property taxes, etc?

Not to mention someone may make minimum wage and work part time, but live at home and eat for free. So they have 70% of their income available. That 70% can still be less than my 10% and they can't even try to rent a place, let alone buy.


The analysis is designed to be cost-of-living independent. All those things are cost-of-living (or well, standard-of-living x cost-of-living).

It would be interesting to see scatter plot including standard-of-living on a separate axis, but that's hard as hell to quantify.
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Re: Left-over money

Postby DaveInsurgent » Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:45 pm UTC

Why do you want it to be cost of living independent?

I also mistook what you meant by independent -- e.g., I have $500 left a month... but someone who has $400 left a month may still be able to afford "more" than me because they have a lower cost of living in their area. I thought that's why you were using percentages... salaries should be somewhat relative to the cost of living (big city 120k can be medium city 80k which is small city 60k), so that if you go back to percentages you can get an idea for what people spend their money on.. I don't get what useful information, at all, you can get from saying "Well, on average people have 10% left." That 10% could be $10k, it could be $100... and a single family home could cost 150k, or it could cost 500k..

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Re: Left-over money

Postby You, sir, name? » Tue Oct 02, 2012 9:55 pm UTC

DaveInsurgent wrote:Why do you want it to be cost of living independent?

I also mistook what you meant by independent -- e.g., I have $500 left a month... but someone who has $400 left a month may still be able to afford "more" than me because they have a lower cost of living in their area. I thought that's why you were using percentages... salaries should be somewhat relative to the cost of living (big city 120k can be medium city 80k which is small city 60k), so that if you go back to percentages you can get an idea for what people spend their money on.. I don't get what useful information, at all, you can get from saying "Well, on average people have 10% left." That 10% could be $10k, it could be $10... and a single family home could cost 150k, or it could cost 500k..


The original idea was to figure out average left over money independent of cost of living. Didn't really care too much about standard of living, figuring it would average out given a sufficiently large sample size.

I tried to make it independent of cost of living because it varies a fucking lot. Pocket cash for western middle management may be a month's salary for a south-east Asian factory worker. It's an extreme, but even within the same country, the differences (from commute distances, house prices, what have you) can be pretty huge.
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Re: Left-over money

Postby DaveInsurgent » Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:17 am UTC

Pocket cash for western middle management may be a month's salary for a south-east Asian factory worker.


Well, that's an absolute comparison instead of a percentage one - which may be your point, but my point is that you're "gaining" some form of statistical boon by looking at a percentage of residual income, but you're losing another by assuming all income/expense reports are equal, and they're not.

So while you have an absolute dispairity between the residual income of middle management and a developing nations working-class citizen on one hand, on the other you have a relative dispairity between someone who claims to have 20% or 30% of their income left over, but doesn't incur any of the expenses that the person who says they only have 10% left. Not to mention someone that doesn't understand saving for retirement can have suddenly an extra 15% left, but someone who deems it a necessity claims to have much less: So what conclusion can you draw?

I am unsure if I used the correct terms here, but I hope you get the idea... I don't think you can do any real, useful analysis of this problem in one dimension.

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Re: Left-over money

Postby Eseell » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:23 am UTC

I voted around 40%. That's what I have left after all the things that get paid automatically leave my account and I pay for food. I could cut some services and stop overpaying my mortgage and get over 60% if I needed to, but I like my creature comforts.
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Re: Left-over money

Postby Brace » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:53 am UTC

Between 0-10% Sometimes less than 0% if you include credit spending.
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Re: Left-over money

Postby jawdisorder » Wed Oct 03, 2012 3:38 am UTC

I went with 50% but that's considering the fact that tuition is covered by a combo of loans and scholarships, and rent is covered by the parents so I need only pay for food currently.

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Re: Left-over money

Postby Obby » Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:16 pm UTC

Approximately 50% right now after rent, bills, car stuff, food, and my fun expenses (video games, eating out, movies, etc.). But that number will drop precariously close to zero once my loan payments start up in December. Right now I'm throwing all of that into savings to give myself an emergency cushion for when I won't have much opportunity to save, so I essentially have zero right now as well, I suppose...
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This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move.

Chen
Posts: 5580
Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 6:53 pm UTC
Location: Montreal

Re: Left-over money

Postby Chen » Wed Oct 03, 2012 12:29 pm UTC

I'm at around 60% if I include all my bills that get automatically paid (cable, internet, hydro, gas, phone) and included rent and food and transport. I didn't include things like clothes, going out for meals and whatnot though. I share pretty much all the bills and the rent/food costs with my GF so that does cut down considerably on the cost.


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