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Old 10-26-2010, 07:03 PM
119 posts, read 415,792 times
Reputation: 31


Hi, we're moving from overseas to Katy and I'm trying to estimate the monthly living cost for our family. We have two adults and two young children. I know it is different for every family but hopefully you can tell me from your experience what the TOTAL monthly living cost will be for a family of four that covers the following expenses:

Health Insurance
Car Insurance
Electric bill
Water bill
House Gas bill
Telephone bill
Internet bill
Cable bill
Car Wash
Food (both grocery and eating out)
Car gas
Entertainment (like movies, zoo, etc)
Medical (see doctor, dentist, etc)
Personal necessities

Pls don't include mortgage, property tax, and home insurance because this can vary a lot for each family.

Our family is pretty modest, practical, and frugal. I don't think we are big spenders. We don't like to buy things that are not necessities. Do you think $2000/month will be enough to cover the above expenses? Or is $2000 too tight of a budget.

Thanks for your help to give me some ideas of the living cost.
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:43 PM
222 posts, read 494,410 times
Reputation: 123
I was going to say $2000 before I even read your last paragraph.

That's what we spend on everything outside of housing (and we have no car payment).

Last edited by phaedra_p; 10-26-2010 at 07:43 PM.. Reason: Oh and we're a family of 5
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Old 10-26-2010, 07:43 PM
Location: Cinco Dinero
857 posts, read 2,042,218 times
Reputation: 1110
Not counting mortgage, *or health insurance*, $2000 seems possible to me.

Car insurance... $100/mo (one car liability only, one car full coverage)
Electric $80-$200/mo (summer is more expensive)
House gas $20-$80/mo (winter is more expensive)
Water/Sewer/Trash $40/mo (same bill)
Phone/Internet $40/mo same bill

Will you have cell phones? Cable/Satellite TV? $40+ for TV. Cell plan could be as cheap as $10 (pay as you go) to $100 (smart phone/data plan/lotso minutes)

Car wash? I dunno, $8 for the machine at the gas station. Up to $100+ if you want it detailed. 50 cents to do it in the driveway with a hose and soap. What we talkin' here?

Grocery/Eating out will vary, for my family $500 combined, but that may be low

Clothing? I dunno. I don't buy monthly, I just buy when I need. But we have anything from department stores/boutiques/target/walmart/second hand stores.

Gas... how far(in what) are you traveling? My minivan stays in Katy and I pay $20. My husband drives a hybrid Prius into town and also spends $20/week. Turn that Prius into an SUV and call it $60. Will you be using toll roads? Can be up to $4 (one way!) depending on where you are going. That adds up. My husband spends nearly $100/mo on the toll road, so thank goodness he's cheap on the gas!

Entertainment varies. Taking the family to the movies will set you back $50.

***I don't count Health insurance because it is taken out of my paycheck. Health insurance is going to vary WIDELY. Your company may be bigger or smaller than mine, have healthier or sicker people in the "pool" than mine. May only subsidize the employee, or may subsidize the whole family. You might have a $20 copay for a Dr visit, (HMO/PPO) or pay the full $80 per Dr visit but have $$ set aside by your employer in a Health Savings Account.

You have a better shot gauging how much your property taxes/house payment is going to be, than you do gauging how expensive your health insurance is. It is not one sized-fits all.
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Old 10-26-2010, 09:13 PM
Location: The Greater Houston Metro Area
8,925 posts, read 13,778,337 times
Reputation: 14667
The biggest variable is health insurance. You can go online and get some quotes, if it is not employer provided.

Entertainment is another variable. Once you discover Netflix, it's easy to never step foot into a movie theater again (except for the 3-D versions - and once that option becomes available for home theaters - bye-bye forever, movie theaters). Museums and the zoo are low cost options.
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Old 10-26-2010, 10:26 PM
221 posts, read 519,174 times
Reputation: 137
you dont even need netflix, if youre computer proficient you can get everything for free
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Old 10-27-2010, 02:34 AM
119 posts, read 415,792 times
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So, not counting house payment and car payment, would you say $2000/month will be comfortable living?

About the health insurance, we will have to buy one for our family.
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Old 10-27-2010, 05:57 AM
Location: Charleston Sc and Western NC
9,274 posts, read 22,402,197 times
Reputation: 4674
Comfortable is all relative.

Family of 4 ( if the kids are older) can run almost $850 for grocery and food if you aren't on a strict budget.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Texas Health insurance is 525.00+/- a month for a family of 4 very healthy people. I'm sure there are cheaper plans, but this is that is the most comprehensive one.

Last edited by EasilyAmused; 10-27-2010 at 07:15 AM..
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Old 10-27-2010, 06:24 AM
119 posts, read 415,792 times
Reputation: 31
I know comfortable is all relative. What I mean is: Is it easy to live within $2000/month budget? Or is $2000/month a really tight budget that we have to work hard to not go over every month?

If the Health Insurance costs around $520/month, that is already 26% of $2000. That means we're left with about $1500 for everything else. Seems like $2000/month may be a tight budget!
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Old 10-27-2010, 06:58 AM
Location: Houston, TX (Oak Forest)
4,454 posts, read 11,090,646 times
Reputation: 3490
Depends on your lifestyle. My cellphone bill alone is $250 month which is an eighth of your proposed budget. Also we spend around $450 a month on groceries for 3 of us. Eating out is obviously a very controllable expense. Cable plus internet is around $90.
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Old 10-27-2010, 07:00 AM
Location: Texas
430 posts, read 1,030,486 times
Reputation: 447
I agree with EasilyAmused. In my opinion, $2,000/month would be very tight, but it really depends on what your priorities are and how frugal you are. Our electricity bill in the summer averages about $750/month (large house), groceries for a family of 5 and all their teenage friends who congregate here average about $850/month, $300/month on gas for three cars, etc. etc.
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