No spend month was easy.
I went out once and didn’t order a drink. I had friends over or went to their houses. I ripped a pair of jeans, and instead of replacing them I wore skirts.
There were things I thought of buying: pants, sneakers, duct tape, a slip, bike lights, get my Birkenstocks fixed. My roommate asked, “what’s the point of no spending if you’ll just spend more the next month?” I explained that it’s to establish your living expenses baseline, not to avoid spending forever.
Yesterday I read You’ll Never Believe How Much the MMM Family Spent This Year… which made me rethink my goal to live on less than $20,000. The Mustachian Family of three spent $25,330 on living. That’s it. It makes $20k seem out of control for one person (although that does not include mortgage/rent because their house is paid off).
Many people cannot believe that the Mustachian Family lives on so little without feeling like their lives are one huge sacrifice. Read the article – he categorizes their expenses – and then read the rest of the blog, too. It can be done.
January didn’t turn out to be the baseline I expected, because I lost my subway card and spent more cash on transportation than usual. My EZ Pass (used by my brother) was charged, which happens every quarter. I was annoyed that transportation cost more than usual during the month I wanted to spend less. But, it’s realistic that unexpected expenses come up, even while avoiding purchases.
Public transit: $55.21
EZ pass: $25
3.17% of $20,000
Remainder to spend: $19,365.65
My savings rate was 71.22%, which is less than 76.06% in January 2014. I made more and had lower living expenses then, so it’s not surprising. Oh, well.
How was your January financially?