How much do you cost per day?

daily cost

If you’re like me, you know how much your household costs to operate monthly. According to the Ninja budget we are looking at roughly $3,400 in relatively fixed expenses. This works out to about $40k each year.

I’ve always looked at my expenses on a monthly or annual basis, but I thought we could change things up a little bit on this beautiful (at least beautiful here in San Deezy) Monday morning and see what our daily operating cost is.

Here’s what expenses I’m considering in my initial calculation…

Rent: $1,500/mo
Tithe $600/mo
Food: $500/mo (we like good food!)
Cell Phone: $180/mo (don’t pay this bill yet, but will begin in February)
Car Insurance: $140/mo
Gas: $200/mo
Health/Dental/Vision: $300/mo (pre-tax)
Debt payments: $0/mo
Utilities: $0/mo (our landlord pays em all)

There ya have it. $3,400 in relatively fixed expenses. Now on to the uber technical formula I used to figure out our daily cost….

daily cost equation

Boom. I gotta come up with $111/day to make sure the wife and I are taken care of. If we added all the variable expenses in to the equation (entertainment, household. clothing, etc) we’d be at about $124/day and if we get all realistic up in hurr by adding the (Roth, 401K, and taxes), we are looking at $204/day.

It’s important to remember these number are DAILY. Like 365 days in a year daily. You know why that’s important? Well, because most of us full-timers, are only getting paid for 260 days of work. That means there’s 100 days a year we cost money, but make nothing. Crazy!

I think the ultimate goal for most of us would be to maximize our daily income and minimize our fixed costs. This allows flexibility and freedom, and last time I checked, most people like freedom (no offense to those of you in communist countries).

So, reader, how much do you cost a day? What’s your daily ‘fixed’ cost (expenses you can’t really avoid or flex much)? And If you’re feeling really math-letic, what’s your ‘all in’ cost per day (taxes, savings, and anything else you spend money on)?

25 thoughts on “How much do you cost per day?”

  1. My family of 5, 3 adults, 2 kids, 2 houses cost about what your expenses are. Roughly $40K/year. I may have crappy weather 8 months a year, but it sure is a lot cheaper. I do include daycare, even though it’s not fixed and don’t include charitable giving because I have a fixed and a flexible component to that. To be fair, I only have 1 mortgage left, so they were about $52K/year last year.

    What was eye opening to me is how many days I could go without a credit card expense. In my head, I only made major expenses on the weekend. In reality, I make purchases through the week too.

    • Oops. I forgot to say, this doesn’t include 401K. My goal is to be able to live on $20K/year + daycare. I like the idea of being able to get by on a low paying job if push came to shove. Plus, when I retire, I don’t want to be in a huge house and have to deal with $1000/mo property tax bills. Even if I could afford a bigger house and be able to pay for it with cash someday, the taxes are a major turnoff.

  2. I’m currently in a bit of a weird situation where I live in Canada 6 months/live in Australia 6 months with a government exchange program. Likely it evens itself out as I make more while in Canada (am able to take on higher-paying positions in an acting capacity) but pay very little in housing while in Australia ($20/week). In a daily expense calculation, however, my expenses currently appear very low.

    So, apparently my fixed expenses (which include housing, food, cell phone, internet, car insurance, gas, road tolls and debt repayment) cost me $47/day. The shocking part for me is that I could lower this substantially if I didn’t buy so much food ($600/mth!), and if I didn’t throw so much money at gas. My boyfriend lives 60km away- apparently far enough to rack up huge fuel costs but not far enough that we don’t spend 5 days/week together. I need to tighten up my relationship budget!

    Been reading the blog for awhile Ninja- love it!

  3. I figured out it costs my husband and I $126/day to live. That includes all of the essentials but not savings or taxes. That figure would be too depressing!
    For example, I am a career teacher in Canada – very close to the top of the pay grid. I only work 80% of full time though. Every day I teach, I earn $416. Every day I teach I take home $256. That is how much money I am paying in taxes, benefits, pensions etc.

  4. …and this is why people say it’s not nearly as expensive to travel for 6 months or a year at a time. So many of these costs disappear.

    We’re about the same as you, with different categories. Most notably, since we don’t have the health insurance cost or the car/gas cost, our secular tithe amount goes up.

  5. 2 adult/2 cat household costs us approx. $110/day; our mortgage is about 1/2 of what Ninja pays in a month, but we score high with the grocery bill (approx. $800/month, but that includes the 1 take-out dinner a week we allow ourselves, and also covers all boxed lunches during the week). I didn’t factor in retirement and emergency savings (combined, that’s $460/month) because my cell phone battery needs recharding, and I can’t find our other calculator!

    As fellow CDN Kate, we don’t have health care costs, but I switched up the Utilities category for Condo Fees and HD cable bundle pack. Quite the eye-opening exercise, Ninja!

  6. If I include only after-tax expenses, I cost $75.62 a day. I can’t be sure about pre-tax expenses because I don’t have a pay stub handy, and in any case it would be impossible to know your real tax bill for 2010 until the year is over and you’ve filed your return. I think though that combined after+pre-tax, I cost $98.63 a day. And $98.36 in leap years.

  7. Here’s a fun thought. Take your annual cost and divide by your 260 days a year of work. This will tell you how much of your work day is paying for expenses. For example:
    Sally has 30K a year of expenses or about $155.38 per working day.
    Sally makes 50K a year after taxes or about $192.31 per working day.
    Thus, if Sally works 8 hours a day, then the first 6.37 work hours of her day pay for her expenses. =)

    • Less than 260, really. 260 is 52×5. But subtract vacation time (let’s say two weeks) and holidays (let’s say at least 6 – New Year’s, Memorial, July 4, Labor, T’giving, and Xmas, possibly President’s Day, MLK, Columbus, Veteran’s, Diwali, and my birthday) – and you may actually be working between 240-50 days in the year.

      • True, but you still are getting paid for those days, so even though you might be working 245 days, you’re still bringing in the bacon for 260.

  8. Family of 5 (2 adults, 3 children)
    Fixed Expenses: $120/day
    Fixed and Variable Expenses: $200/day
    Fixed and Variable and All Savings: $280/day

    If we split it up 50% for adults – 50% for 3 children, fixed expenses and variable expenses for hubby and I would cost about $100/day (for comparison to other couples)

  9. This is so hard to know – I have mandatory expenses; preferred expenses (i.e. someone else does my laundry); running savings accounts for both savings and misc expenses over the year.

    So, for a 1 person with her own apartment, several cat household in Brooklyn:

    $ 120.83/day if I include all
    $ 85.50/day if I include just my expenses I plan to use within the month
    +$ 35.33/day if I include the savings accounts for me, for cats’ vetting, for donations, for hair salon/clothing, for vacation

    My apartment is on the expensive side since I insist on living alone and I tend to buy expensive stuff for the cats supply-wise (including 2 outdoor feral cats), insist on having it delivered AND pay someone to come and brush the indoor cats once a week because I hate having to worry about it/like that they get extra attention so that jacks it up. (Plus the $$ I save for their vetting/month…but that would just be going into basic savings anyway so it’d still be reflected in these numbers.) I could probably have a kid for that amount of money but I like my trade-off better.

  10. I’m right around $80/day. Which is really sad when you compare it to all those World Vision pamphlets where you can sponsor a child for like $2/day.

  11. Wow, this is scary..
    Daily Fixed Expenses (2 adults, 1 cat)
    mortgage & prop tax: $66.20
    food:$20.00 (includes dining out)
    utilities & phone: $6.50
    life insurance: $10.00
    house insurance: $6.00 (we had 3 claims in the last 3 years)
    car insurance: $4.50 (we have 1 car)
    car gas: $30.00
    pensions (gov’t and employer): $30.00
    medical (even Canadians have medical expenses): $5.00
    rrsp (think 401K) payback (withdrawn to use as down payment): $4.00
    union dues and employer mandatory charity contribution: $2.00
    debt payment (minimum payments): $30.00
    Total = $214.00 per month and this is not including all the non fixed expenses like cable, internet, house, car and personal maintenance, gifts, savings, vacation. AAAAACK!
    That’s it. We are moving to the bush!

  12. Right about $30 a day when it’s just the bills I NEED to pay… but before you go and get excited, I only make about $41 when calculating using this system. 🙁

  13. By this formulation, the hubs and I run just under $200 per day on our fixed expenses. Looking at my Quicken report, however, we spend quite a bit more than that fixed amount. But we certainly enjoy what we get for the money!

  14. Sneaky question! I don’t think I’m comfortable telling what our E-fund is, however I will say our monthly expenses are relatively low in general.

  15. We cost about $80 a day for fixed expenses, $25 a day for fun, and $135 a day for taxes and savings ($63 for savings and $72 for taxes).

    That’s a little depressing to think about…we’re paying about $26,000 a year in taxes, $23,000 for savings, $30,000 in fixed expenses, and $9000 for fun…sheesh…

  16. According to my budgeted expenses I cost about $80 per day. I pull in $110 per day net (over 365 days). My net worth has increased the estimated $900/month only one of the two months I’ve had the budget, but I’m learning and adjusting.

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