Cost of living is a major component of personal finance. Especially with inflation these days. In fact, its one of the most important items you can analyze when trying to maximize your human capital.
If your cost of living was $2,000 lower and you invested that money over 35 years, you’d have $275,000!
Unfortunately, most cost of living calculators aren’t very good because they don’t personalize the expenses to your situation.
You need a cost of living calculator that runs the numbers by zip code. You also need to factor income and family size into the equation.
Below I detail how to calculate cost of living.
Also, I detail how to use FitBUX’s cost of living calculator that is available for free to our Members. The calculator incorporates all the items you need to get a good estimate based on your personal situation.
What Is Cost Of Living?
Cost of living is the amount of money you need to maintain your style of living.
This is important because most calculators don’t incorporate your style or standard of living. Instead, they based their results on an average in the area.
How Do You Calculate Cost Of Living?
A good cost of living calculator:
- Incorporates YOUR day-to-day living expenses such as shelter, food, water, etc.;
- The zip code;
- Your income; and
- Incorporates your family size.
Your Standard Of Living
As mentioned earlier, most cost of living calculators base their analysis on an average. However, we all have our own standard of living.
One of the cool parts of FitBUX’s cost of living calculator is it adjust the expected expenses based on the current expenses you have included in your FitBUX profile.
For example, if you typically spend less on food each month, the calculator adjust the expected food cost if you moved down relative to the average.
Your Income & Family Size
Individuals with greater incomes tend to spend more money. Therefore, using averages would underestimate your cost of living.
Same thing with family. However, its more than just family size. You also need to factor in the age of your family.
For example, a family with young children tend to spend more than the average. A family with teenagers tend to spend less overall. However, their food bill tends to be higher.
How To Use FitBUX’s Cost Of Living Calculator
FitBUX’s cost of living calculator is available via our free membership and incorporates all the items above.
To use it, take the following steps:
- Become a FitBUX member and build your free profile here;
- On the dashboard click Tools & Products from the left hand menu;
- Choose Misc. from the drop down menu; and
- Choose the calculator named ‘What Would My Cost Of Living Be?”
From there, enter the gross income for the two locations you are contemplating as well as the zip codes.
All the other information we need is customized from your profile. Therefore, all you have to do is hit calculate and analyze the results.
By Joseph Reinke, CFA