Sunday, April 29, 2012

American household monthly budget in Chinese and Taiwan currencies

I've been doing some calculations in preparation for going to China.  I leave next week, and I am preparing some lectures that I will eventually share on this blog, I think.

I know some people in China might be interested in the sort of lifestyle we have in the United States, how much things cost and that sort of thing.  Here is our monthly household budget in RMB (Chinese currency) and NTD (Taiwan's currency):

My monthly salary
RMB 28,481
NT$ 131,579
Tax on our house (property tax)
RMB 1,912
NT$ 8,833
Illinois State Taxes on sales and income
RMB 1,653
NT$ 7,639
Federal Income Tax
RMB 2,289
NT$ 10,573
Medicare Tax
RMB 278
NT$ 1,287
House Payment for Mortgage
RMB 4,462
NT$ 20,614
House Insurance
RMB 646
NT$ 2,982
Electricity and water and sewer services
RMB 1,684
NT$ 7,778
Health insurances for family
RMB 1,335
NT$ 6,170
Car Payment or Savings to buy a car
RMB 2,532
NT$ 11,696
Gas for the car
RMB 759
NT$ 3,509
Save for car maintenance and repairs
RMB 570
NT$ 2,632
Car Insurance
RMB 1,829
NT$ 8,450
Retirement Pension Contribution
RMB 2,025
NT$ 9,357
Internet Service
RMB 297
NT$ 1,374
Phone Service
RMB 139
NT$ 643
Donations to charities, schools, and causes
RMB 392
NT$ 1,813
Education fund for sons (college savings)
RMB 1,424
NT$ 6,579
Savings for travel or paying off costs of travel
RMB 1,582
NT$ 7,310
RMB 1,785
NT$ 8,246
All other expenses
RMB 886
NT$ 4,094

My wife earns money as well, and she helps pay for food and all the other expenses, so our household income and spending are actually about 115% more than what I have listed here, but I keep track of my own income and spending, and I haven't added in my wife's income or spending here.  If we add her spending, I think our monthly food expenses are probably close to 4,000 Ren Min Bi or 18,600 New Taiwan Dollars. 

  Our transportation costs (owning a car, driving it, maintaining it, insuring it) are about 20% of our expenditure, and our housing expenses (mortgage, home-owners insurance, utilities, saving money for home repairs, etc.) is close to 25% of our spending. I think Americans enjoy some of the lowest food costs relative to their incomes.  If our total household income is about 32,700 RMB per month (when you include my wife's income) and our spending on food is about 4,000 RMB (when you include my wife's spending), we're only putting about 12.2% of our income toward food. I believe in many societies households spend about 30% or more of their income on food.