Tag Archives: money

Why I Live on $16.67 a Day

psychovilleAs a stay at home single mother things can get pretty scary. Unlike with married folks or those in relationships, I’m all alone when it comes to paying the bills and supporting my daughter.

I take this responsibility very seriously; I watch my income and expenses like a hawk and get busy if I even suspect that there is going to be a dip in my income.

One of the most important things I do to ensure my success is to keep my bills as low as possible. I rent a small house on the cheap side of a small town, own an older paid-for van and make things do double or triple duty whenever I can.

To make things simple I have set a hard limit on my expenses of $500 a month. This breaks down to $16.67 a day.

While it doesn’t seem like a lot, $16.67 a day is enough to pay all of my bills and give me money to spare. Of course, any money I earn over this amount is saved or used to provide us with the little extras that make life more comfortable, but that’s another story!

It isn’t hard to earn $16.67 a day in a pinch. One can mow lawns, clean houses, do odd jobs or pick up cans alongside the road to make this small amount of cash.

Even better, you can go online and make that much easy enough too!

For instance, when I realized that my book royalties were not going to be enough to suit my comfort zone for this winter’s increased expenses (I’ve some repairs to do on my van, among other things), I took to Bubbling again to pick up the slack. To my delight, I’ve not only managed to supplement my income there, I’m on my way to being able to cover the full amount!

I wouldn’t be able to live this life if I had a lot of expenses so keeping the bills as low as they can go gives me the freedom to live life on MY terms. Instead of slaving away at some boring job or selling my soul to a man I don’t love I can hold my head up high and keep walking – I get to make my OWN path in this crazy world!

How much money do you need to make every day to survive? Please share your stories in the comments below.

To support my work please buy a
book or make a donation today. Thank you.

Is This Debt Ceiling Video For Real?

I stumbled upon this video explaining the debt ceiling and it has left me scratching my head. I’m not sure whether to take it seriously or whether it is just misinformation.

Does anyone know enough about this subject to educate me?

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six reasons to be frugal and save your money

I talk a lot about saving money. I save it with the choices I make every day. Sometimes I conserve just a few pennies but on other occasions I save considerably more than that.

But why bother? Since you can’t take it with you, why bother to be frugal? Here are six reasons:

  1. To take control of your finances. Few things are more frightening than having too much month at the end of your money. Disconnection notices, past due bills, phone calls at all hours of the day and night – these can change a person and scar them forever. I know people who make several times the income I do that constantly field eviction notices, have their vehicles repossessed and their utilities disconnected for nonpayment. They make too much money to qualify for assistance so they complain that the world is out to get them. The application of frugality can help people in this situation regain control of their financial lives and make them feel better about themselves as a result.

  2. To achieve a goal. I had to work public jobs during the formative years of my oldest two children. After that experience I am determined to stay at home and raise my youngest daughter. Frugality makes this goal much easier to accomplish. You may want to have a parent stay home with the kids, take care of an old or ill family member, start a business, retire or whatever – frugality can help you achieve it.

  3. To reduce the amount you have to work. Why give your best to the taskmasters? If you can live on less, you don’t have to work as long or as hard. You can actually take back your life and spend more of it doing what you want to do, instead of slaving away at a job you hate.

  4. To reduce your tax burden. The more money you earn, the greater percentage you are forced to pay in taxes. The self-employed are especially hit hard with this. However, if you don’t need as much you don’t have to earn as much, effectively reducing your tax burden (and the pain of Tax Day) as well.

  5. To save for something. You may want to save for a home, a vehicle, a special vacation or even retirement. Every penny you can trim from your living expenses can be added to your savings.

  6. For fun. After a while it becomes a game to see “how low you can go” on your expenses. It is a challenge to explore new money saving options and to watch the pennies you save add up. While at first I resented being forced to live on less, I now consider it a mental puzzle – an enjoyable hobby, I guess you could say.

Why are you frugal? Please share your stories in the comments below.

To support my work please buy a
book or make a donation today. Thank you.

expense analysis

Once a year I like to analyze my expenses to see what I can trim.

There isn’t much fat left in my budget these days but sometimes I do get a treat!

This time I managed to eliminate $30 a year from my annual budget by eliminating my MagicJack subscription and using free apps on my iPad instead.

After that I called my Internet provider and discussed my options with their customer service rep. Since my current promotion was being phased out (and my bill would be slowly rising in the process), I managed to lock in my current payment by switching to a new promotion which gives me 5x faster internet for twelve months, for four cents more than I’m paying now. This means that my bill won’t be going up any for the next twelve months (which it was starting to do) and we get much faster internet.

Then I walked down to my local auto insurance agent and asked her to transfer my account to her office. I had left it in Western Kentucky because I was unsure about how long I would stay here. Since I now plan to be in the area at least until Katie turns 18 it now makes sense to switch agents.

While discussing my policy with the agent I discovered a way I can have my van and save money too. My insurance company now allows single vehicle owners to suspend their insurance policy if they don’t plan to drive their vehicles for a length of time. She was unable to give me exact numbers at that moment but she said that it would save me a considerable amount on my insurance during the months when I didn’t use the van at all.

She also said that the suspension means that I would not have to pay a deposit (or higher rates) as opposed to canceling my policy outright, which gave me a really good idea.

If I were to locate a small (under 50cc) scooter, I could suspend the insurance on the van and just park it. That would allow me to save money but still have the van in the event of an emergency, out of town trip or a move.

I plan to discuss this more in-depth with my insurance agent once my policy has been transferred to her office but this option has renewed my interest in acquiring a scooter. Katie and I would save fuel and insurance expense but have the ability to zip around town in the summer yet still have the van to use in the winter or during emergencies.

As for my other expenses, I can’t lower my rent but I may be able to lower my energy usage a bit. We have yet to install the air conditioners and I’m hoping we can avoid using them for all but the very hottest parts of summer. We have already trimmed our electric usage another tad by eliminating the MagicJack and washing in cold water when I can. On our water, septic and trash, we already pay the minimum so there’s nothing to trim.

As for food, the Minimalist Eating Method has definitely reduced the amount of food we eat but we’ve not had to go shopping yet so I’ve no way to calculate the savings.

Do you evaluate your bills annually? If so, did you manage to save any money this year? Please share your stories in the comments below.

To support my work please buy a
book or make a donation today. Thank you.

400 Ways to Save a Fortune

To celebrate the arrival of summer I have placed my book 400 Ways to Save a Fortune on sale for 99 cents.

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The sale price of 99 cents price is live on Amazon and Smashwords right now, so grab your copy while it’s on sale.

Enjoy!
Annie

To support my work please buy a
book or make a donation today. Thank you.

Earn some writing cash

Hello!

For those who are interested in earning some money I’ve found an interesting little site that really pays. A friend of mine has made over $600 on this site and he recommended it to me. They pay a dollar just for signing up.

I’ve been playing around on the site since last night and I’ve already earned over three bucks. Considering how little I’ve done there I am very pleased. I intend to write some articles there to earn spare cash so that I can replace my laptop.

While this is not a get rich quick site it is a legitimate one and they provide a nice rate of pay to users. For instance, I only receive $1.75 per thousand page views on Yahoo, but on this site I earn $10.00. That is a big difference!

If you would like to sign up please use my affiliate link here. I receive twenty cents for each referral and every single penny brings me closer to replacing my laptop. Thank you.

To support my work please buy a
book or make a donation today. Thank you.

minimalist finances

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The subscription ran out on my MagicJack the other day. I knew it was going to happen; Katie needed money for her field trips so I used the budgeted amount on her instead.

That is the beauty of applying minimalism to money; you take care of the important stuff and don’t worry about the rest.

how to apply minimalism to finances

One of the main ways to become minimalist in your finances is by reducing your recurring expenses to cover your basics and little more. Essentially, you eliminate all of the nonessential bills that you may have.

After you accomplish that you can pare them down more by focusing on the individual items. For instance, examine your car insurance bill to see if you can’t get your provider to lower the rate or find another provider at a better price. You can do this with phone service, cable service and other similar items.

See if you can reduce things like rent and car payments – or eliminate them entirely. If you make it a game to see how low you can go this becomes an interesting challenge you play with your pocketbook.

I did this when I chose to rent a tiny one bedroom house instead of a larger two-bedroom, saving several hundred dollars a month in rent. I also did this when I chose to pay cash for my old van several years ago – a vehicle that I’m still driving, even though it is around 15 years old.

You can save a lot of money when you think out of the box like that.

what if you don’t have enough money?

Occasionally there will come a time when you run out of money before you run out of month. When that happens, rank your bills by priority, take care of the most important ones and let the rest go. For credit cards or other nonsecured debt, divvy up what is left in your budget to send them all a little bit. That will keep them from squalling too loudly.

Sometimes you will have to make a bit of a sacrifice though, like I am doing with my MagicJack. Just be thankful you had as much as you did and move on. If it weren’t for the occasional challenge life would be boring indeed.

As for my MagicJack, it still allows me to receive phone calls, though I’m not allowed to dial out. That’s okay – I don’t make very many phone calls anyway. Until I renew the subscription I can use Google Voice if I need to call someone.

For more information about living with less, you may be interested in my book The Shoestring Girl: How I Live on Practically Nothing and You Can Too, available in both print and digital formats. Your purchase helps support my work and I really appreciate your support – thank you.

To support my work please buy a
book or make a donation today. Thank you.

You Know You’re a Success When:

…Total strangers contact you just to hit you up for money.

I had that happen recently on Facebook. Some dude hit me up to cover a $3,000 cold check he apparently wrote.

I told him to give back whatever he bought, fix whatever caused the check to bounce and have a nice life.. right before I blocked him.

That was a total first. I’ve been asked for money by family and friends many times over the years but never by complete and total strangers.

Life is so interesting sometimes….

To support my work please buy a
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The Freedom of Simple Bills

I paid my bills today. All $473 dollars worth. For this money I receive:

● A snug home to live in.
● Electric to heat with, keep the lights on, use the computer, etc.
● Water to wash with and septic to flush it away.
● Trash collection (mostly used by my neighbor).
● Internet for work, play and communication.

My bills are higher in the winter than in the summer because of the necessity of keeping warm. On some summer months I’ve managed to get my electric bill down to $13 though I’ve yet to manage it with this place. However, even with using the air conditioner in the summer I’ve never had a bill over $50 here for the summer months, a considerable change from the days I lived in a trailer.

Even with the electric heat I’m happy to announce that my usage went down over this same period last year. I’m not sure what caused the difference especially since I now have a washing machine but the electric company says I used 5 kwh less per day this year over last despite the fact that this year is colder.

Now that my bills are paid I can relax for another month; there is gas in the van, money in the bank and nowhere in particular I need to go because I did all of my shopping today while I was out.

Back in the days when I worked a public job things weren’t so easy. I was paid every two weeks so twice a month I looked at what was due and figured out what paycheck it would come out of.

When I got paid once a week the effort doubled because sometimes I had to save up just to pay a single bill.

Now I can pay them all in one fell swoop from money that comes in automagically. This means that I am free to spend my time doing much more enjoyable things like read a book or write this blog post.

Since my bills are so simple and low it means that I can easily pay them even if my income takes a dip. It means that I am able to put a few dollars away every month toward my goal of owning a home of my own again.  I’m not sure of my next step after my epiphany. For now I’m putting home ownership on hold while I think these sensations through.

It means that instead of working for someone else at a public job I can stay at home and write instead.

If you have a moment, take a slip of paper and write down all of your bills. Put down your mortgage, utilities, storage fees, credit cards, car payments and the student loans. Include the Fingerhut payment and the big screen TV you’re renting to own. Add these numbers together. If you’re honest with yourself that number may surprise you.

Now calculate how many hours you have to work in order to pay everything on that list. This is how much of your life you will lose in exchange.

Close your eyes and imagine your life with less bills. Imagine you have my bills if you need a number. How much of your life would you regain with this simple change?

What would you do with your time if you suddenly didn’t have so many bills to pay?

If you have a moment please share this post on Facebook or Twitter. Perhaps you could leave a comment about how your life would change if your bills were drastically reduced. Thank you. Your shares and comments may be just the thing needed by someone out there searching for answers and I deeply appreciate your effort.

 

To support my work please buy a
book or make a donation today. Thank you.

Light Bulbs

Tonight was the first of several after school rehearsals for the chorus concert next month. Rather than drop Katie off I took my laptop so that I could work while she practiced to save on gas.

As they rehearsed I opened my latest project and continued from where I had left off—or tried to, anyway. I ended up just pretending to work as I watched the instructor demonstrate how she wanted the students to move and to act.

I took especial notice when she had to change their routine because some of the stage lights had blown. The students asked my question: "Why don’t you just replace the bulbs?” 

“Because we don’t have any money.” The instructor explained that the bulbs were rather expensive. I’m not sure if all of the bulbs cost $140 or that was their cost apiece; she lowered her voice so I could not overhear without being too obvious.

Hearing the news I finally got serious and turned to my laptop. I would love to have so much money that I could walk up to that teacher and write her a check for the bulbs in question but right now I don’t.

The day will come though, when my book sales are large enough, that I can do just that and more.

Just wait.

All I have to do is keep writing.

 

If you would like to learn about my game plan check out the book How to Write Ebooks for a Living, available on Amazon and Smashwords.

To support my work please buy a
book or make a donation today. Thank you.