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Financial Literacy

Financial Literacy

Home Finance Home Economics The Cost Of Living in Your Home

The Cost Of Living in Your Home

Micro Cost of Living

Want to own your own house one day? If you're thinking you can buy a nice place for $300,000, you're in for a big surprise.

Owning a house or paying rent—and taking care of all the day-to-day stuff—costs way more than you think. In fact, it costs so much that most people don't want to think about it or talk about it…which is why they watch CNN or read up about the NASDAQ rather than looking at the numbers.

But, you're brave, right? You watch Wes Craven movies alone. At night. With the lights off. How bad could a few numbers be?

Let's take a look.

If your parents' combined incomes leave them pretty well off, they "gross" (meaning total earnings before taxes and all the other savings stuff) a hundred grand or so a year. How much they pay in taxes will depend on where they live, how much they earn, and how many kids they have (you and your siblings are a deduction: a few hundred bucks each, which doesn't even pay for your jeans).

Let's say they have 75 grand after taxes in net income. What needs to be covered with that? Oh, just a couple things:

  • Food (about a sixth of your income or $1000/month for a typical 2.3-kid American family)
  • Car payments
  • Car repairs
  • Insurance, including health, life, house, car, boat, and any other insurance coverage
  • House repairs (Remembering the swearing when the water heater broke? Yeah, house repairs aren't cheap.)
  • Furniture, appliances, duvets, towels…all the stuff you trip over in the bathroom and hallway
  • Clothes and shoes for everyone
  • Memberships and subscriptions
  • Haircuts
  • Medical stuff (Band-Aids, that gross white stuff your little sister had to take when she had the flu)
  • Pets and vet bills

If you've ever wondered why adults go on about the bills, it's because everything in their life is a bill. Take a stroll in any room of your house and imagine price tags on everything. Now imagine having to pay for all that with your own job.

You'd be a little cranky, too.

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