T Nation

Living on Less?

Are any here doing it?

A little reason for the questions:

I make decent money, but I will be getting married shortly. I don’t want my wife to have to work much (if at all) and to do that I need to live simpler. Anyone have any tips on how to do this that they are using with success?

Also, I can’t imagine the economy is going to get back to anything “prosperous” any time soon, and I need to make adjustments for that.

Thanks.

I hear “Milk and Squats” work for everything.

In all seriousness make sure to pay yourself a minimum of 10% toward savings. Then live off the rest. I personally do 15-20% in savings and then I give away another 10% to charity. That means I live off of 75% of my income. When I lost my job 2 years ago my wife and I were able to live off her income. I bought 7 rental properties and replaced my income before getting another job. I now save 25-30% of my income, and give away 15%.

Maybe too extreme but an excellent site none the less.

http://earlyretirementextreme.com/

One big thing that is very simple, learn to enjoy the little things.

Avoid having kids (or more kids) for the time being

Only carry good debt (short student loans, mortage, etc. No revolving credit.)

And one other thing, envy is a bitch. Just because someone looks rich, doesn’t mean they are. I can poit out no less than a dozen people right now that you would guess are worth 7 or 8 figures, and they don’t have two pennies to rub together. Debt to the hilt and only flashy “stuff” to show for it. SO in short, don’t waste your time carrying about anyone but you and yours as far as being concerned with how much they have.

(I seem to remember you being a man of faith, which leads me to believe you have all this in check already.)

I could easily live on less than $20,000 a year (Canadian). As long as my fixed expenses are covered I;m happy. I’m only 23 at the moment but do have a student loan to pay off. Like Beans said people get caught up into loans through buying things they cannot initially afford such as a car (house being different).

More and more I think about money I do think about retirement and need to start saving for myself. I live a simple life and am happy about it.

first thing I’d get rid of is cable tv . huge waste of money . I dumped mine almost 10 years ago . same goes for cell plans with all the data bullshit ( unless it’s absolutely necessary for employment ) . that savings alone is your retirement plan .

buy cars in the 10 to 15K range versus brand new , and drive them until the wheels fall off …then learn how to put the wheels back on . learn basic body-work for vehicles that are mechanically sound but are beginning to rust . 3 year loans max . there’s your wife’s retirement plan . my best vehicle ever , dollar for dollar , was auction bought for $1500 , and drove it for 7 years .

Learn the difference between want and need, then only buy what you need.

Open a Roth IRA, sit back and enjoy compound interest

[quote]relentless2120 wrote:
Open a Roth IRA, sit back and enjoy compound interest[/quote]

LOL. Compound interest is a thing of the past and the value dollar is being sacrificed to create the illusion of a business as usual economy.

Roth is scary because X years down the line, when the government realizes its broke, there will be tons of your money sitting out there for the skimming.

[quote]theuofh wrote:

[quote]relentless2120 wrote:
Open a Roth IRA, sit back and enjoy compound interest[/quote]

LOL. Compound interest is a thing of the past and the value dollar is being sacrificed to create the illusion of a business as usual economy. [/quote]

HIGH FIVE!

[quote]Roth is scary because X years down the line, when the government realizes its broke, there will be tons of your money sitting out there for the skimming.
[/quote]

While I’ve seen some scumbag moves by the gubment, I cannot see them turning around and taxing the earnings on these. (They can’t touch the principle, else double taxation, etc). I just can’t, for the life of me, see them setting this up so they can take away SS from these people, and then turn around and shaft them like that…

[quote]relentless2120 wrote:
Open a Roth IRA, sit back and enjoy compound interest[/quote]

Depends on what the inflation rate is versus your interest rate. Your money could be losing value over time just because you are not actually using it. Money now is technically worth more than money in the future.

Obvi gonna want to put you Roth Funds in something other than a money market account.

[quote]countingbeans wrote:
I just can’t, for the life of me, see them setting this up so they can take away SS from these people…
[/quote]

You mean us?

What’s the deal with double taxation? Is it currently illegal?

I was thinking they would end up taxing it twice. If it is illegal, laws are easy change.

[quote]theuofh wrote:

You mean us? [/quote]

Yes, lol.

Whether or not legal is a matter of when and why it happens.

Roth contributions are nondeductable, therefore you must make them with post-tax earnings. Thsi means you’ve already paid the government the tax on those earnings, and it becomes your principle in the IRA. (In today’s world most regular IRA contributions are nondeductable as just about everyone with more than a handful of employees offer a 401(k).)

So, for them to tax you on principle withdrawls once you are of age they would be taking blood from the same stone. Currently the IRS doesn’t really do this. (They do with dividends, but that is two entities, blah blah blah.) I’m not a lawyer, so I can’t give a certain answer if it is written in the consitituion or not.

But seeing as we are a country founded by tax evaders and smugglers, and those roots live on strong in our generation, I don’t see any bill doing this getting passed.

It helps to make a budget with the costs of your actual expenses, look over bank statements for last year. Then better document new purchases, even basic things like toilet paper although food is probably the most important in this category. From there you can look at where your money is going and ways to cut costs by cutting items / replace with something cheaper / or finding ways to get the same thing cheaper. Best thing to do is revisit this list every few months as you won’t come up with the best ideas in 1 sitting.

[quote]honest_lifter wrote:
I don’t want my wife to have to work much (if at all) and to do that I need to live simpler. [/quote]

Why in Gods name, Why?

If my wife ever thought of not going out and earning a decent wage I’d go nuclear. If she earned way more than me, I’d be totally stoked, no problems. And if I told her I’d prefer her not to work and earn a wage…she’d geld me.

Thank you guys very much! Some of these ideas were brand new; things I will discuss with my fiancee. Others are great reminders to give serious thought to (the car thing comes to mind, because she is moving up from Texas to Chicago with her 205,000 mile car that will give up the ghost anytime now).

I just upped the payment on my house to knock a total of 9 years off of the payments, with only a modest increase in monthly payment. This will cut down on “wasted money”.

She is from Ecuador (moved her at 17) and I love her way of cooking (meat, rice, veggies; every meal) so I was planning on making food in bulk and freezing it (I have an extra freezer). This will help save money.

Once again, appreciate all the help guys. Any other ideas would be great; I am actively listening.

Pay for weekly expenses in cash. For example, I set a 50$ a week entertainment budget, which I carry in cash. That helps keep me to it.

DO cancel cable, TV is worthless for the most part. If theres a show you want to watch,go hangout at a friends house and watch it, or download it.

Agree about the cell phone thing. Seriously, data plans are a huge expense and more of a creature comfort than anything. I am sure you can go a few hours without tweeting.

Dont Buy or Rent too expensive because of the image of it. McMansions will not appreciate in value.

Buy a car that you can pay for all of, or most of with cash. If you do have a payment, pay it off as soon as possible. Once I finished my car payments (early, mind you) I started seeing a nice increase in my bank account.

I agree with the save 20%+ rule. I have auto transfers from checking to saving for this. Easy.

Ride a bike if you can, or walk places.

Ditch the fancy gym membership.

Pay off student loans ASAP.

Get a second job moonlighting.

[quote]MartyMonster wrote:

[quote]honest_lifter wrote:
I don’t want my wife to have to work much (if at all) and to do that I need to live simpler. [/quote]

Why in Gods name, Why?

If my wife ever thought of not going out and earning a decent wage I’d go nuclear. If she earned way more than me, I’d be totally stoked, no problems. And if I told her I’d prefer her not to work and earn a wage…she’d geld me.
[/quote]

Good question.

I know that I can handle stress much more efficiently than most and if I can take more of a burden on me (specifically at the beginning) I know it will make her transition easier. She is uprooting her life to move in with me; meaning she will be away from her family and friends. That stress alone is enough, and I don’t want to burden her with more, until/unless she feels she can handle it.

Plus, we both do volunteer work in excess of 70 hours a month so I want her to focus her efforts on that to prevent her from getting burned out, which would only cause harm to our first year(s) of marriage; those being especially difficult (transition and such).

You might look into if any one in your area is putting on one of Dave Ramsey’s “Financial Peace University” classes. I wish my wife and I had gone thru it when we were first getting married. The topics he discusses can relate to so much more of you life than just your finances.