Live Beneath Your Means

The other day an acquaintance approached me for a loan to pay their overdue water bill. They knew that the bill had been due on the 10th of the previous month; instead of paying it then they decided to do some other things with the funds since their water wouldn’t be shut off until the first of this month and the city only charges a five dollar late fee.

I was approached for the money the night before their water was due to be disconnected.

This is a common occurrence in my life. I watch people spend money eating out, buying gadgets, ripping and running from sale to sale only to approach me when their bills are due because I am notorious for living beneath my means.

Seriously, folks–it is time to grow up.

Bills Come FIRST

If you know that you have a bill coming due, reserve the money from your paycheck to cover it. Period. If you don’t have enough money coming in to cover all of your bills, you need to either reduce your expenses or increase your income because if you can’t afford to pay your bills now, borrowing money is going to make it even harder to pay your bills next month and the months after that.

It is simple math. You cannot spend more than you earn. It doesn’t work that way, no matter how you juggle it. It’s not fun to go without when all of your friends are buying like crazy but tough! That’s life. Suck it up and move on. Yelling at the friends who refuse to support your profligacy is not going to help you one bit. We live beneath our means to best provide for ourselves, not to help people who refuse to control their own spending.

As for the person I referred to earlier I have no idea if they sorted the issue. I’m tired of being cussed out by idiots.

Have you ever been attacked because you refused to enable someone’s spendthriftiness? Please share your stories in the comments below.


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.