Retirement Journey, Spending

A question for my readers.

Photo by Olya Kobruseva on

What is the average amount you spend per month on variable expenses which include the following categories?

  • gas
  • food (includes eating out)
  • clothes
  • household (batteries, cleaning supplies, laundry detergent, etc.)
  • personal care
  • spending
  • pets
  • misc.

I’m working on a savings challenge for July and I would love to compare my expenses with yours. I know we are all in different financial situations, but I’m curious to know where we stand in comparison. Especially all you retired folk….

Thanks for your help!!!

12 thoughts on “A question for my readers.”

  1. Maybe $1500? I know food is about 900- including take out and house keeping supplies. Gas maybe 240? We are both retired so not a lot of driving. Personal is low maybe 75? I’ve been coloring my hair at home since COVID and just started having haircuts at $40. My husband cuts his own hair.
    The dog costs more for grooming than we do! We have a mobile truck come to our house every 5-6 weeks so that’s about $145 with tip.
    We don’t really spend a lot on ourselves- just gifts etc. my husband is a retired physician and we get a large pension each month that enables us to not touch our savings/investments. Do we are living on that with money left over. We have no mortgage or other debt.


    1. Hi Ellen, thank you! Yes, dog expenses can be ridiculous — Auggie gets ‘groomed’ by us, where we spend money on him as far as grooming is a good vacuum. 😉


  2. Hi Sharon, this is Chris. Here are some numbers from me, I hope they help. I am trying to include some of the inflation prices:

    Gas: fill up every 3-4 weeks: $50, hubby has company car.
    Groceries: recently upped to $120/week
    Eating out: $100/mo, more for our anniversary month
    Clothes: $100/ mo but don’t always use, so I do have extra in case we need shoes, bras, etc
    Household: haven’t bought a lot of this this year, b/c I have a good stockpile of those things.
    Personal care: $20/ haircut, $30/ mo. medicines, still have a pretty good stockpile of h/ba stuff.
    Spending: $50-100, depending on the month
    Cat expenses: ~$400/year for vet, we usually buy her food, kitty litter and meds in bulk a few times a year, so it is about $35/ mo.
    Misc: just renewed our Y membership $680 for the year. We are continuing to tithe our income. I am saving $150/mo in a sinking fund so I will have money for Christmas. Other gifts:~$35/mo.

    We live in a lower cost of living area than you do. I know the Washington, DC area is expensive. We lived there for 12 years before moving back to the Midwest.


  3. Hi Sharon, Highest monthly Gas will probably be $280 . I budget $150 for groceries and $60 for eating out and this includes cleaning , laundry supplies, batteries , vitamins, and personal care items., I have a $795 surplus on these categories due to using rewards and gift cards through Today. Typical clothing budget $400. Haven’t spent any yet this year, but last year I spent the whole amount because of change in my size. I pull $200 cash in spending money and replace when needed. No pets., Not sure what you include in Misc. Does it include Charitable giving,, gardening, lawn care, hobbies, grandkids, gifts, subscriptions, entertainment? Sincerely, Lara


    1. Gifts, grandkids, entertainment, hobbies are all included in variable spending. So, yes. include. And thank you for participating! 🙂


      1. Misc items-$2400 Gifts including cards, $180 yearly Mystic membership for grandparents and six Grandkids , $10.62 monthly kindle subscription for myself and GS over sixty books and three magazine subscriptions a month. A real bargain- no gas to shop or go to the library. No Covid exposure me or GS. ,Budget Yearly Art and craft supplies – $100, (spent nothing so far this year because my kids gifted me items and Michael’s gift cards.) Gardening-$31.00 , all fertilizer and pest control- $100, lawn service $40 a cut, $600 total, and leaf removal $160, snow plowing $35 times 4=$140, vacations so far $400 -three days at Mystic, Ct., and Cape Cod and fall trip will be really reasonable because of Hilton Honors ( free rooms and full breakfast) and Bank of America travel card rewards. $48 CVS CarePass yearly – another great membership I get free delivery, $10 monthly CarePass and combined with Manufacturers coupon and Extra Care rewards online saves me 90% on products purchased. Most of my entertainment besides vacations is free although I am going to take advantage of AMEX blue offer for four movies at AMC theater 50% off.. I no longer budget out of my fixed income (pensions and SS) for any maintenance as my original bucket for this is invested In high yield options that well surpass the needs.

        Liked by 1 person

          1. I downloaded the CVS mobile app and entered my ExtraCare number and then a Home Screen with all kinds of options came up including the CarePass membership information. I joined October 20, 2020 at $45 and second year $48. It gives you a $10 monthly CarePass-$120 value. On the 20 of each month it’s loaded and you have the month to use it. You get a link top right to the weekly ad and a sneak peek of the next week of your chosen store ad. I always buy needed items that are on sale. You get 20% off CVS brand products, 2% of total spend to use on future purchases and I use a credit card that gives you 3% back at drugstores , although I am thinking of switching to Hilton Honors credit card . You get a list of ExtraCare coupons and manufacturers coupons.
            Which both can be used. This month with all the discounts I paid $1.71 for $20.97 retail for the three PKgs. of Gold Emblem nuts. 8 oz Walnuts, 8 oz pistachio and almonds, 8 oz can deluxe unsalted mixed nuts. Usually at my door in Two day – free delivery because they are CarePass products. Sincerely, Lara


  4. Hi Sharon, Chris again. Just read this morning that Liz at Frugalwoods dot com is having her Uber Frugal Month in July also, so you might want to check her blog about it.


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