Real Cost of Living

Atlantic magazine’s Web site has a story which tipped me off to this calculator, which purports to note, in 600 metro areas around the US, “the income a family needs in order to attain a secure yet modest living standard” based on local prices for food, housing and etc. For a family like mine (two parents, one child) living where I do (Dayton, OH metro area) the amount comes to $54,610, broken down like so:

Item Cost
Monthly Housing $738
Monthly Food $598
Monthly Child Care $581
Monthly Transportation $607
Monthly Health Care $1304
Monthly Other Necessities $342
Monthly Taxes $214
Monthly Total $4384
Annual Total $52610

Interesting. And it also seems about right to me. One of the mental games I play from time to time is what we would need make to get along if everything went screwy — that is, what’s the minimum our family would need to live in a way that didn’t have us eyeing the pets for the nutritive value. Running the numbers usually gets to me between $50k and $60k. The individual data points are slightly different (we pay more for housing, and rather less for child care) but in the end it tallies up.

Incidentally, the estimated median household income around these parts is a shade under $45k, and the average household size is 2.7 people. On average people around me are living at or near “securely yet modestly.” It could be worse.

Go On a Quest With Me, Patrick Rothfuss, Jim C. Hines and Mary Robinette Kowal

Yes! A quest! You’ve always wanted to go on a quest, right? 

Short form: It’s a charity auction to come wander through a True Dungeon campaign with the four of us (and a few others) at Gen Con, this August 17. Included in the auction: A three-day pass to Gen Con.

Here are the details. (Note: the auction listing currently has the date lasted as the 7th, not the 17th. It is the 17th.) Having done the True Dungeon thing at Gen Con last year, I can assure you: This is will be a hell of a  lot of fun.

Also, uh, yes, I will be at Gen Con this year. For one day, namely, August 17. No, I have no other events planned other than running through the dungeon with Pat, Jim and Mary. So if you really want to make sure you see me there, this is the way to do it.