The monetary cost of living a middle-class existence in a middle-class world is high. There are expectations, temptations and unavoidable facts. In this post I shall share with you what it costs me to live in This World and what I have budgeted it will cost in my Desired World. As I live with one other person some of the This World costs, such as rent, are listed as my half of the overall cost. All costs unless otherwise stated as per month.
Cost of Living: This World
Rent – I live in an inner-suburb apartment. The area is safe and quiet and comprises mostly middle-class families – with the odd couch-out-the-front-along-with-hundreds-empty-beer bottles share house for good measure. The building is old but the inside has been recently renovated to a high standard and there is a small courtyard with a neat patch of lawn out back. Cost: $600 per month.
Food – I do two shops per week. One at the supermarket for the sort of things that you can really only buy at a supermarket. And one at the farmers market for fresh produce. I eat a mostly vegetarian diet. Cost: $300 per month.
Water – Fortunately, I don’t pay for the water in this building. Cost: Nil.
Electricity – I am mindful of electricity consumption and try to be as efficient as possible. However, when it is freezing cold or boiling hot, the split-system air conditioner gets a work our. Cost: $50 per month.
Gas – This house isn’t hooked up to mains gas. Everything, including the power-hungry oversized hot water service use electricity. Cost: Nil.
Internet – ADSL. I am on a 150GB plan with Internode. Cost: $30 per month.
Phone – Telstra mobile plan with a large data pack. It is used mostly for business so I deduct the majority of the cost as a business expense. Cost: $100 per month.
Debts – Thankfully I have finally gotten myself together and have almost paid down the debt I accumulated as a financially irresponsible 20-something. I’m about $7k short and that should take me another 3 or so months to pay down. Then I am debt free! Cost: $700 per month (which will soon increase in order to reduce interest and pay it off).
Entertainment – Most of my hobbies are free – reading, writing, cycling, hiking; that sort of thing. I occasionally go and see a movie or go rock climbing. Cost: $200 per month.
Medical – I’m pretty healthy and rarely need to buy medicine. Occasionally I will buy a packet of aspirin or penicillin if I am unlucky enough to come down with sinusitis. Cost: $5 per month.
Booze – Due to the sort of people I mix with I find myself spending too much on wine. I am happy with a good, 2 litre cask but that’s a social faux pas. I tend to spend around $15-$20 on a bottle – of which I can taste the different, to be sure – when around these people. Cost: $300 per month. (Yeah, I know.)
Eating Out – I may eat out for dinner one a week – usually Asian or a pub meal. I buy my work lunch and I get takeout once a week. (Not good, I know.) Cost: $400 per month.
Transportation – I catch public transport maybe twice per week and the odd cab. Cost: $50 per month.
Emergencies – I don’t really have an emergency slush fund but do maintain a healthy savings account which can be accessed in an emergency necessary. I try to keep a couple of thousand in my accessible savings at all times. Cost: Nil.
Gifts – I’m not much of a gifter. Cost: $10 per month.
Holidays – Again, I don’t save for the purpose of holidays. If I wish to take one – which I haven’t for a long time – I will dip into savings. All my loose change goes into a jar for this purpose too. Cost: Nil.
Total – Approximately $33,000
Stay tuned for Part 2 which will be published in the next couple of days.