About $125/week for 2 adults and 1 cat, including household stuff. That certainly feels like a lot, but we hardly ever eat out and bring our own lunches to work. So it's actually 3 meals a day times two people times 7 days, or approximately $3.00/meal. EDIT: Oh, and this is in central Washington DC, which is very expensive, new Costco notwithstanding.
My husband and I pay 20% gross/33.7% takehome on PITI (principal, interest, taxes, insurance). We own an old rowhouse in NE Washington DC. That number surprised me, because it sounds like a lot, but it doesn't feel like a squeeze. We have modest expenses otherwise, bike or Metro to work, and our only other debt is my law school loans, which have a low monthly payment under IBR. Even though it means we have less discretionary income, I think it's the right choice. You can't buy more time, and around here, buying in the city or close suburbs is investing in NOT having to own a car and sit in traffic for 1.5 hours a day. (We do own one car, but it's not be reliable enough to commute in.)
I generally just make a dorky joke out of it - "I'm suffering from temporary liquidity issues" or "We're implementing some austerity measures this week."
@Sorbee Ugh, that is the worst... Honestly even in equitable distribution jurisdictions like the one I live in, my husband and I regularly contemplate divorcing for the tax breaks. We are only 95% joking. Seriously it's absurd how the tax code screws you if you aren't in a 1950s (one spouse non-working) marriage.
@BornSecular I tend to disagree with that where law school is concerned. T14 for $250k is STILL worth more than Northwest South Nowhere College of Law for free, because with a J.D. from NSNCL you probably won't get a job and will end up exactly where you started except 3 years older.
@ladybug If you're married, you can avoid having your spouse's income count for IBR calculation purposes by being "married filing separately." Yes, you lose a bunch of useful deductions (EIC, child care, tuition, student loan interest) and you get utterly SCREWED on Roth IRA contributions, but depending on your spouse's income, it can even out.
I'm a big fan of running a quick CPW (Cost-Per-Wear) Analysis. Spending $300 on a tiny tie-dye sequined cross-body is VERY different than spending $300 on a classic black leather satchel. Case in point - I splurged and bought a Cole Haan bag (specifically the Taylor Drawstring Heritage Weave in brown leather) a few years ago. I use that thing almost every day, so the CPW has been less than a dollar. Also, more upscale companies tend to stand behind their products. The handle of said Cole Haan splurgebag (yuk) broke after I had it for almost three years. I was gutted. But I called anyway, and a very nice man was like, "No problem, send it back and we'll fix it for free."
@mlle.gateau IBR is income-based repayment. You consolidate all of your government loans (Perkins, Stafford subsidized & unsubsidized, and GradPlus) into one master loan when you graduate, and then select "IBR" as your payment option. Your monthly payment is calculated by taking 15% (soon to be 10%, I think) of your AGI, and then dividing that by 12. It's re-calculated every year to take into account changes in your income, and you pay that for 25 years. If you don't pay off the entire balance.... it's forgiven. Unfortunately, you cannot consolidate commercial ("private") loans, so the best advice is just to suck it up and make big (as big as you can afford) payments towards those as soon as you can, and just get them paid down. Figuring out the intricacies of the program is not the most intuitive thing ever, and the Dept of Ed is really screwing the pooch on the consolidations, but IBR is a wonderful thing.