For the past year I have focused on my debt and to some degree my life. In the process of focusing on my debt I started thinking about something else. I started thinking about how low I could go with my monthly expenses? I wanted to make more money of course-but, I didn’t want to spend money just to spend it.
The more I thought about though I realized that most of us spend money just because it feels like we can. That’s dumb. I was dumb because I needed to be saving and invested the money what little money I had. As I cleaned up my debt and increased my income I also actively decreased my monthly expenses. That was an unintended outcome of my get out of debt process. I just got fed up spending too much on services that I didn’t have to. Let’s be clear-I’m am not cheap by any means but there are a number of items I refuse to pay too much for. Here is the current list:
- Television-why are people paying for this when you can watch shows via live streaming? I won’t even pay for HULU. Instead, I just check out shows on DVD from the library=free!!!
- Movies-I very rarely pay for movies. Last year I went to The Hunger Games and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. I may have seen another but I don’t remember it. The point is most movies suck and I would rather wait and check out the movie from the library for free. Also, you don’t get distracted by all of the people talking, standing up to go to the bathroom, and looking at their freaking phones during the best part of the movie. I totally understand why people have home theaters. Instead I watch DVD’s on my new flat screen t.v.
- Transportation-I walk, bike or take public transportation. This cost will go up because I plan on buying an inexpensive car. Also, I will lose my free pass once I start freelancing.
- Clothes-I am in the last few weeks of a year long No (Fashion) Shopping Challenge. I haven’t purchased: shoes, socks, coats-anything that adorns the body. I’ve learned that I can go without shopping for a year and still look normal.
- Eating out-I basically don’t. I’m a foodie (food snob) I totally admit this. I only want to buy really good food. So, I don’t eat fast food. I’m talking maybe 5 times a year.
- Phone Service-I just side hustled my way out of my Verizon phone contract. I was paying $105 a month on average. That’s about $900 too much. I now have a Republic Wireless telephone and pay only $25 a month and yes, I have a smart phone.
- Product-I love, love, love body product. I have also spent a year using up all of my stockpile. I won’t be buying as much product in the future. It was I was preparing for the Zombie Apocalypse.
- Housing-My place is cheap. It’s small, and it’s cheap. It has quirks. Like it’s a ground level unit, there is no bathtub, and it’s a non-confirming bedroom (no doors). Despite the quirks I love, love, love my place! It has sheltered me from the storm of life.
So, right now my monthly expenses including retirement savings is around $2500-$2700. I do have to add taxes to that so I’m looking at $3700 (expenses, retirement, and taxes). I think that’s pretty good. That’s also including extra payments on my debt. So, if I make $5640 a month freelancing I would be able to really make some head way with my debt repayment and savings.
Clearly my goal is to make more than $5640 but that is as low as I would like to go. I am continuing to work on cutting my monthly expenses even deeper with a specific focus on food. I’m hoping to save an additional $100 on groceries. I have no idea how I’m going to do it. Luckily I will be begin working on my Community Garden soon and will learn how to: pickle, can, and preserve the food that I grow over the summer.
How low are your monthly expenses? Have you been working to cut your monthly expenses? What’s your sticking point?