Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Cost of Living Day

It's been almost four years since I last calculated how much it costs to be me. Many things have changed since then, most notably the fact that female roommates take longer showers, driving up the water bill. Here is a look at my 2010 expenses (at least, the ones based upon regular bills).

2006 2007 2010
Car Tax $0.24/day, $90/year $0.30/day, $109/year $0.29/day, $107/year
My trusty 2001 Honda Accord just flipped over the 91,000 mile mark, thanks to a combined diet of "working in Reston" and "permanently parking in Tallahassee for two years except for trips to Walmart and Applebees". As such, my car taxes have gone down slightly each year, even as the tax rate goes up.
HOA Fees $0.40/day, $147/year $0.41/day, $150/year $0.48/day, $177/year
The street lights are still on, and the board of concerned citizens still has more gaps than the smiles of the privileged kids raised on fluoride-less bottled water. A worthy expense.
Popeyes $0.65/day, $240/year $0.62/day, $226/year $0.16/day, $60/year
The career-driven cashiers who have served me for nearly six years now still have my order ready when I walk to the counter ($3.72 for a two piece meal, dark meat, mild, with fries), but I only make it to Popeyes about once or twice a month now. I'm going to live past 50 in spite of my best efforts.
Water $0.71/day, $260/year $0.61/day, $222/year $0.88/day, $322/year
At least one resident in this house actually showers now, and I think Loudoun Water recently blew a bunch of money on renaming themselves from "Loudoun County Sanitation Authority".
House Insurance $0.91/day, $333/year $1.13/day, $414/year $1.51/day, $550/year
For every five years that go by without any claims, you should get all the money back.
Phone Service $1.41/day, $514/year $1.40/day, $512/year $1.53/day, $560/year
Last year marked the beginning of the great social experiment known as "owning a cell phone". Although it looks higher than 2007, my costs for staying on a land line would have been $600/year.
Cable $1.47/day, $537/year $0/day, $0/year $0/day, $0/year
Cable is lame.
Internet $1.57/day, $576/year $1.30/day, $475/year $1.97/day, $719/year
Comcast finally realized that they were underbilling me by $20 a month when they rebranded my crap Internet service as XFinity.
Trash Pickup $0.88/day, $324/year $0.98/day, $357/year $1.37/day, $503/year
I think AAA Trash has put their "because of environmental costs, we are adding gas fees to your bill" mailer on an automatic schedule. This is a huge, huge waste of money, especially since little people result in little waste, but it's still the cheapest provider in the neighbourhood.
Car Insurance $2.53/day, $924/year $2.35/day, $858/year $1.84/day, $670/year
Married guys cause fewer accidents.
Electricity $2.63/day, $960/year $2.83/day, $1036/year $3.12/day, $1139/year
My electric bill went up a very modest amount, probably because I painted the entire house green.
House Tax $8.54/day, $3120/year $11.06/day, $4040/year $7.71/day, $2814/year
An oft-overlooked positive from the housing explosion is the reduction in property taxes.
Mortgage $46.02/day, $16,800/year $46.02/day, $16,800/year $46.02/day, $16,800/year
My monthly mortgage is actually $1395.40, and I overpay because I'm lazy. It's faster to write "Fourteen hundred" on a check than "Thirteen hundred ninety-five".

Summary:

2006 2007 2010
$68.01/day, $24,825/year $69.03/day, $25,199/year $66.91/day, $24,421/year

At $2.78 per hour (even when I'm sleeping), my fixed cost of living has actually declined in three years, but this is no doubt offset by the exorbitant number of trips to Red Robin and Amazon.com purchases not reflected in these numbers.

Voodoo sex candles blamed for fatal fire
Man pays $200,000 to save fake girlfriend in online scam
Penis graffiti points skyward when bridge is raised

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