How does your spending compare to the alternatives? Rather than starting from abstract costs for any category, look at the actual options available. Every city is unique, so you may have different examples, but the cost differences should be similar. I have kept the example to 4 broad, but representative, groupings:
From there, I could estimate the annual costs:
Most people wouldn’t fit cleanly in any one group, but we would find ourselves split between 2, while sampling one of the others. I’m almost perfectly split between base and economy spending, as I choose DIY options, but also want to maximize quality and flexibility. For example, I own a car, but perform most maintenance and many repairs (thank YouTube :D).
Years to Financial Independence (FI)
Using the retirement requirements above, we can calculate how long it would take to reach FI in each group. I am using “retirement requirement” and “FI” interchangeably, as your ability to retire depends on how reliably you can afford your lifestyle.
Assuming people maximize compounding, no one will consistently save at any single rate, but it can help to see if you’re remotely close to your goal. However, some track their capital gains, choosing to save more when the returns fall short of expectations. Most importantly, If you save less than $10,000/year, even a base lifestyle could require some government assistance to survive without employment.
The Daily View
I’ll end with a crude conversion to daily spending. While the extravagant options may seem as ridiculous as before, it’s easier to see how one could stumble into too many luxurious days.