Finances,  Frugality

Rock Bottom

I do believe I have now officially hit rock bottom as far as expenses go. With my daughter as my official roommate, she splits half of the household expenses with me. Here is a breakdown:

Rent: $250 a month
Electric: $50 avg. in summer
Water/Sewage/Trash: $39.88
Internet: $30.59

Total: $370.47

My Half: $185.24

As usual, I am not including the amount we spend on food. We buy in bulk during sales and stock-up periods and then don’t purchase much of anything for quite some time until we use up what we have. On top of that my daughter now takes turns with the grocery expense; I have no idea how much she spends when she pays for groceries on her own.

I’m not going to calculate how much our bills go up in winter at the moment because, let’s face it; they are half of what I was paying previously. Even worse, I know that they will go up once the kid moves out.

I still don’t own a car. I walk to work, the store, and order online when it makes financial and physical sense. I currently use Google Voice for my phone, though my daughter has a cell phone that she pays for herself. If I went with her route I would pay $50 a month for phone service.

I know of no one else on the Internet who lives on less than I do unless they happen to be homeless. I rent a home, I have basic utilities, I never go hungry and I have money left for small extras every month. I am able to live comfortably on the $600 a month I earn in my public job, which now allows me to save every penny of my book royalties to invest in my future.

Let’s face it: there’s only so low you can go on your monthly expenses before you negatively affect your quality of living. I have no desire to go any lower than I already have. That said, I’ve no intention of going on a spending spree and buying everything in sight. I am taking advantage of my current situation to put money away to regain my financial freedom.

Out of curiosity, if you happen to know of another frugality writer who lives on less than I do, please point me in their direction. I’d love to learn their secrets.

10 Comments

  • EcoCatLady

    Wow. I don’t think you can rent a storage locker in Denver for $250/month! Even a room in a basement would cost well over $500. Anyhow, thanks for the inspiration.

  • Cam Coogan

    There is only one person I know of that may live more cheaply is Dan Suelo- but he resides in a cave (usually) and has zero money. I am happy that you are able to live as cheaply as you do. I am also envious. I have too many ‘dependents’ in my life to live on such a small amount. I enjoy reading about how you manage because that gives me some great ideas for that future time in my life when I can do what I want to do and when I am responsible for no one but myself.

  • sam

    Great numbers Annie, live as inexpensively as possible without depriving oneself the basic of a good life. I love how you equate $100 invested as 1 hour of pay.

    I use percentages: $100 invested @ 12% = $1 a month for life, $100 invested @ 9% = $.75 a month for life. Small steps make the big picture come into focus. Good luck with your journey.

  • EcoCatLady

    OK. Come to think of it, I actually do know someone who lives on less money than that. His lifestyle is pretty extreme though. He’s an old friend of CatMan’s, so I haven’t actually quizzed him on his monthly expenses, but here’s what I do know. He lives in a home (some might call it a hovel) that he owns outright. He’s in his 70s, so he’s exempt from property taxes, and I sincerely doubt he has homeowner’s insurance, so his housing costs are basically nill. He has 2 roommates with whom he shares the cost of electricity and a simple landline phone – no bells & whistles like voicemail or caller id – they have an answering machine – and I don’t think they have a television. He mooches (some might say steals) internet from his neighbor’s wifi – or he goes to the library to use the computers there. He heats his home and water with a wood stove, and scrounges all of the wood from the alleys etc. He drives a truck made in the 1950s, which he maintains himself. He grows most of his own food, and what he can’t grow he buys from a salvage store. So…. I guess it can be done, but it takes a willingness to live in a way that most folks wouldn’t be willing to do.

  • Carla

    I have seen those salvage stores on reality type shows that are filmed in the UsA. I must say that they do look mighty interesting to the frugalista in me.

    Here in Ontario, there are regular grocery stores, box type grocery store and then high end grocery stores. Other than that, there are dollar stores, which do carry canned and other non perishable foods. But for some reason, there is no real place that i know of in Ontario that sells “salvage” food of factor seconds.Hmmm maybe one of your readers knows why?

    • Annie

      Salvage food stores are wonderful! There was one near my home in Western Kentucky that I visited frequently. I saved a small fortune! That is one store I miss terribly since I’ve yet to locate one here.

      Perhaps there are legal restrictions on selling salvage food in your area? Considering that other nations seem to have more restrictions concerning food quality, it seems to be a logical assumption. Does anyone know how to find out?