Sunday, August 9, 2009

Staycation - What does your house cost you each night to sleep in? And should you "staycation" more often??

A man builds a fine house; and now he has a master, and a task for life is to furnish, watch, show it, and keep it in repair the rest of his life.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson

I get antsy to get out of my house...often. I have a lovely home, a large garden, and televisions in each room, but still wanderlust hits me most days.

I think this is because my house makes demands on me that Panera Bread does not. Here at home, the dishes sitting in the sink, the dry, cracking deck that has not been stained in four years, and the spots on the white carpet all sitting about whispering of my neglect while I attempt to read a book or work on my computer.

And yet, I like most people pay or did pay, close to $70 a day for the privilege of living here. And with rent rates like that, I really feel I ought to be here more.

At the most basic, to live here, I pay electric, gas, taxes, insurance and until recently, a mortgage. In order of costs, it breaks down like this.

$200,000 mortgage at 6%, is roughly $1200 per month. That breaks down to about $40.00 per day.

Our real estate taxes in Dane County, WI are $6000 a year, or a bit over $16.00 per day (you better believe our kids are going to public school;-).

Our electric bill averages $162 per month or $5.42 a day.

Our gas bill, averaged over the year is $4.50 per day.

Our house insurance is about $2.77 per day. At least that's the number that came up on CompuQuotes as I couldn't find a record of our house insurance bill in our Money Program and hope to heaven we have in fact paid this the last two years or so.....

This comes to about $69.00 per day. And that excludes cable t.v., our new roof costs, the costs of the new refrigerator and washing machine.

As I mentioned, we are lucky to have paid off our mortgage, but still, that leaves almost $30 a day to be here. So what are the options?

I recently had dinner with a friend who was showing me pictures from her trip to India, her homeland. Some photos showed squatter villages and I expressed dismay at the apparent poverty. She had an interesting response. Many of those people, she said, have satellite t.v. and go out to dinner. This is because they don't have to pay taxes and if they did, there would be no money for the t.v. and going out to dinner.

And from my college days, I loosely remember Thoreau suggesting we would be better to model ourselves after the Native Americans, who set up what he called a warm and comfortable shelter of a tee pee without the mortgage, furnishings, and taxes of a farm to pay each day.

As there is no available squatter land as far as I know in Dane County, and my husband won't even tent camp, leaving out the option of a tee pee life, my last option seems the best, which is to better appreciate the home I have.

At $30 a day, divided into six main rooms, we spend $5 per day, per room to live here. So tomorrow, before I hit the open road for some coffee house to settle into for a few hours of work or reading, I will see if my own home may suit me as well. And I will simply ignore those rude whispers coming from my carpet; the dirty floors at Panera never have such an attitude!

Knowledge + Action = Financial Independence!

Now You

Take fifteen minutes and add up the costs of your monthly mortgage, real estate taxes, electric, gas, and insurance and divide by 30. Now you know what your digs cost you each day. Maybe it's time to downsize, or simply stay in a bit more and enjoy those accommodations.


  1. This post was really interesting. I just did some estimates and it costs us about $94/day to live in this house. We are looking to downsize and I'll use this same thought process when we do.
    (I found your blog on the SLN. I love that site!)

    Take care,

  2. Daryl, It really is eye opening to realize what it costs a day to live in your home. Good wishes on downsizing. And I'm a HUGE fan of the Simple Living discussions too - I've learned a lot there and also enjoy just recharging my frugal batteries by reading what others are doing.

  3. Ours costs $14.48 per day. We are now mortgage free and live in a low tax rate area, and our insurance isn't too bad and we average $313 a month for all of our utilities - trash, phone, water, gas, electric, cable, internet.

    I'm hoping for solar in the future, a wood-burning stove and a water well! I'd like to cut those costs further!!