11 Oct 2011, 10:59pm
personal finance simple living:
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  • How much do Mr and Mrs Ermine need to live on?

    Commenter TNT was intrigued to know what The Number is – how much do Mr and Mrs Ermine need to run their Nest.

    We’re anomalous in many ways, so you can’t extrapolate from this a general ‘what does it cost to live in an average paid off three bed semi in Suffolk’. There is a wider and more consensual summary in the post What is your Number. For instance we don’t have any children. That is obviously a big difference from most folks, and from a financial POV it is probably to our advantage. We also, unusually for Westerners, have control of some of the means of production of our everyday needs, in the form of The Oak Tree Low-Carbon Farm. This massively distorts our food bill, most people buy their veg from Tesco, we get most of ours from the ground.

    Chris with the squash harvest. There are no Clubcard points on this lot...

    We also get firewood, both directly from the farm, from wood that is given us which we have enough land to air dry, and in a year or so from some biomass willow planted nearby. This distorts our heating bill, though not so much as yet. The plan is to nuke that gas usage in winter.

    So here it is – the running costs for our household. Two things of note are excluded – I’ve only shown my car. Mrs Ermine’s car is a lot younger than mine so the servicing costs are probably less, and her mileage is probably about the same as mine. Depreciation (original capital cost/years of ownership) is higher. There again we save up for our cars and pay cash, so I could take the line we eat the depreciation upfront in one hit.

    The second is some sort of sinking fund for depreciation/house repair, which is somewhere between £500 and £1000 p.a. for an average semi. I have a general emergency fund allocation to that, for instance there’s a flat roof that is past its service life and I have a fund allocated to replace it. Since DIY repairs every couple of years seem to work well I leave well be, knowing that I could replace it at any time should the need arise.

    So, given all those caveats and hedges, what gives? What does it cost to run the basics for an Ermine’s nest?

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