Recently I have hit a snag in my quest for a Tiny House, recently I have had to take a small hit in income and at the same time, I have decided to get more aggressive with goal setting in my financials. The ultimate goal for me is to have all of my student loan and my car loan paid off, save to pay cash for my next car and build my house without taking a loan if I can help it. A tall order for anyone, but for a single income worker just beginning their career in a shaky economy, it is especially hard.
At this point I have significantly cut my spending. I dropped my cable tv, I have arranged to work at home for part of the time to save gas, and the biggest change is I am now house sitting long term (hoping to continue) which saves me $900 a month.
My student loan has 7 more years left on it, but I am working to double pay by the end of next year and then triple pay after that, this will cut the time to about 2.5-3 years. But this timeline was longer than I had initially hoped.
In the end it will be worth it, I will have a home and a car that I own outright, no debt hanging over my head, this coupled with a lean lifestyle and all my income going to the bank. I can’t wait for this journey that I started 3 years ago to finally be realized. So for those of you on a similar journey, know you don’t tread this path alone, good luck.
I found this great article on living frugally and thought it was a good read.
Do you avoid a lot of the expenses that many of your peers spend money on, such as technology and meals out?
For the most part, yes. I have a lower-end Android phone because I needed a new phone. I went as cheap as possible. I don’t own a car, I rely on public transportation, and sometimes biking. I have a laptop, because I need it for writing. I do have Internet access because it’s pretty important to get online. My only extra bill is Netflix, and I’m considering getting rid of that. I don’t go out to eat, or just for special occasions. I cook for every meal. I don’t drink coffee. I try to stick with water. I do go out to bars, but not every night. That’s my best way to meet people and experience cities.
What’s your typical meal?
I usually buy a pound of beef and a package of chicken and make easy Mexican dishes. I get some vegetables and mix it all together and throw it on a tortilla. I do a lot of pasta dishes. When I’m working, I usually pack a lunch, I make a sandwich plus chips or cookies to get me through the day. Then I get home and cook a fuller meal. I try to have a good mix [of food] so I don’t get sick. My brother taught me little tricks to take different ingredients around the house, like seasonings, to make a sauce that’s different and more unique, to give yourself different tastes.
What about clothes?
Once or twice a year, I might get a few new things, like an extra pair of jeans or pants, or a couple shirts, but I still have shirts I wore to college, so they’re six or seven years old or older. If a job requires certain clothes, then I’ll buy clothes for that. I maybe get one new pair of shoes a year and make them last as long as possible. I mostly shop at cheaper places, like thrift stores or Salvation Army or Goodwill. Those are good places to hit up.
One of my favorite new websites is called Mint.com. Basically it is a financial website that allows you to manage your money, but it also has this amazing blog. I have now vowed to never rent if can avoid it. I have been there, done that and found it that the outcome was less than desirable especially compared to that of living in a Tiny House.
The bloggers over at Mint have put out an interesting article about renting, they propose that they are in fact better off renting. The big assertion they make is that if you are modest renter, who can manage your budget, that it is actually better at building equity. By paying less than a mortgage, saving the difference and not assuming the risks, you can do better.
Tammy and Logan have long since been, for me, “the poster child” for how living in tiny houses as a couple can work. They recently were featured on peak moment and I really loved their interview. As I watched this video I couldn’t stop agreeing. One of the big things I admire them for is ditching their cars. Every time I talk to Tammy she makes me feel guilty (in a good way) about my car. Here is the video.