Saturday, October 22, 2011

Goats, see?

I recently read this article on living well for $11,000 a year. Most of you guys already read Glenn's blog, To Simplify.

There's a budding discussion about the plausibility of living on less than $1000 a month over here;  what do you guys think?  Do you mind saying what you spend to live?  I know, your mom told you never to talk about money, but money is a big part of why people think they can't live this life.

We're very bad at budgeting and accounting.  I don't mean that we're unskilled,  I mean that we don't do it. Do you?  If Annie says Do you want to go out to eat tonight?  I count the singles in my pocket and say 'yes' or 'no.'  How are you at budgeting?  Do you even bother?  Can I borrow $20?

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Cyndi and Stumpy said...

I was amazed (and mostly not in a good way) by the comments.

I'm not on the road, yet. I try to be frugal. I retirement gives me about 13,000/year to live on. I do ok and manage to save some. I don't expect that to change, out on the road as my housing expenses will translate to vehicle expenses. Depending on how little I can move around I may even save money!

The Good Luck Duck said...

Yeah, I know. I think this kind of story gives people cognitive dissonance, and you know how uncomfortable that can get. Why does he get to live on less than $1000 a month, and I HAVE TO work all the time to pay my loans and credit cards? Of course, it's easier to get mad at someone for doing something different than to decipher one's own inner conflict.

Teresa Evangeline said...

When I first read this article I just nodded in agreement. It's basically what I'm doing. I have the good fortune to have been able to pay cash for my place, so that helps immensely, makes all the difference, actually, but I have had to make some tough budgeting decisions in order to make this work. Like Glen, I used to make groceries a priority, but I've found that with rising costs, I've even made other decisions around food-buying. You have to have some sort of roof over your head, even a movable one works, as you know, and then you have to make choices around food and gas, entertainment and such, all of which I've cut back on. I still feel good about life and my choices and I even feel liberated from any notion of accumulation. Sometimes, I miss the ready to eat salmon with mango salsa at Whole Foods, but as we used to say when we were kids, "Tough titty said the kitty but the milk tastes good." Does that fit? I think it fits. Oh, and keep a sense of humor, most essential.:) You guys will do fine.

Carolyn said...

love goats...

AND... when I was on the road. I boondock for the most part. My fun stuff is going to various places to eat and soak in local flavors and folk.

I allowed myself $100/week for food. Some days... I enjoyed just going to McD's or Whataburger... they have wonderful Senior coffees and breakfasts ... then when I saw a restaurant I wanted to splurge on, I did.

Gas -- since I am in a van - ol Homer - he gets about 23-26 mpg and I spent -- well, now it keeps getting more expensive! dammit

Gas was dependent on how far I would want to travel. I kept pretty good records of my fillups and the price. interesting too to see the difference in prices in various areas.

I figured a tank a week regardless for budget purposes - $200/month thereabout.

That's about $600 for food and gas. THEN ... I don't like to do touristy things and I don't like to shop to buy stuff because I don't have the room and don't need a damn thing --- sold and got rid of stuff through FIVE downsizings.

I like to go to the nature stuff... like Sea World and the Dolphin Rescue type places ---

The rest of whatever I spent was for entertainment which, again, to me was going to various places to eat... I love going to local libraries - used their wifi and read magazines, local newspapers and watched the local crowds.

I like walking and sight seeing and talking to anyone who would talk to me. ;)

I can travel quite well on $1000/month. I don't boogie any longer... maybe I should... I do like hearing music and sometimes will pay for a concert of sorts.

I love festivals... like jazz festivals and such - really any kind of music festivals --- you can spend as little or as much as you want. I just enjoy the atmosphere.

Lots of free stuff --- I enjoy just hanging in different places. It's amazing how - no matter where I go - we are all basically the same.

Maintenance is another thing - I take Homer in for his maintenance --- about $50 or so every 3000 miles... had to have new tires... but since he was brand new when I bought him ... I have taken really good care of him and have little problems.

Got hit by a deer ! jeeeeez that was traumatic but the insurance covered that ... I still shudder when I 'see' that image... sniff

$1000 or less a month is quite sufficient for me. I no longer buy expensive clothing or shoes. I buy a new package of cotton britches every year or so... ;) 'bout it

As far as my iPhone and Homer's insurance and medical insurance - that stuff --- it's all on a family plan and well? haven't thought about that for those who don't have that covered by a husband... hmmmm

I pay Homer's Insurance by the year... it's $600? I forget ... but it's not that much. That would be $50/month? the iPhone is $190 for all three of our phones... mine alone would probably be $80 or so. We have unlimited whatevers. We've had this plan forever. Me and husband and son. Got to have that... cheaper than wifi I think.

I just use my iPhone to connect to the internet wherever I am and if I want to use my laptop I'll do that at all the free wifi places.

And... anybody still there? ... lol... that should still add up to no more than $1000 or $12,000/yr

I'm retired and get my little SS stipend... it's really enough. But I don't need or want much these days. Don't even get m'hair or nails done any longer.

I'm done. ;)

Soaring Sun said...

Great topic. I'm moving back out of my apartment in a few days and will be staying in one primitive campground most of the winter, but also taking some trips to various towns to replenish my eBay inventory and do some exploring.

I anticipate my expenses will be around $1200 per month.

My biggest expense is health insurance ($450/mo)--I'm on an expensive COBRA plan right now and am seeking replacement coverage, but it will probably still be expensive because of a pre-existing condition. My expenses will definitely go down when I'm old enough for Medicare.

Other expenses are cell phone ($70/mo), Internet ($50/mo), motorhome insurance ($35/mo), life insurance ($40/mo, in order to leave something to my kid), gas ($100/mo), food ($200/mo)and entertainment/miscellaneous ($50/mo).

I also have business expenses (eBay inventory, shipping supplies, art supplies, etc.) but I deal with those separately, since they are income-producing.

This discussion is a good reminder to start tracking my personal expenses again...haven't done that in a while.

Sherry said...

I don't really see how he does it IF he really does do it or why since he clearly makes more than $1000 a month doing music for TV shows.

I could definitely live on $1000 a month if it weren't for insurance costs. For RV and for me. $80 a month with a huge deductible is fine until you need it. Like I did when I broke my ankle hiking this year. Then you find that they pay nothing ZERO" NADA until you've spent that $5K or $10K in deductible and after that they still send bills for "your part". Having spent your deductible for one year, what do you do after Jan 1st of the next.
savings extra monthly $$$ to rebuild. I think folks who are expecting things to change a lot in terms of insurance with Medicare are going to be surprised. Medicare isn't free and you have to have a plan B which is less free. If you're paying $450 a month now you won't be paying less when you hit 65.

Because my income is limited, I have always kept meticulous to the penny records of my expenses. (I like numbers) so I know exactly what I spend and how much I need. Don't think I could do this if I didn't.

Saves $$ on campgrounds to stay at least a week or more in one place.
Stay longer, drive less is what I do when I get to the end of the month and the monies are growing thin. But I couldn't move at all if my gas was only $100 a month. It's $200 a fill up for my 34' Winnebago.

Eat out means having an ice cream cone. Entertainment is hiking, and kayaking pretty much free once you have the gear.

I wouldn't trade it for permanence anywhere but at present I can't do it on much less than $1700 a month.

Bob said...

I'm not entirely sure why I do it, but since living abroad, I tend to track all our expenses. It wouldn't matter one iota in the grand scheme of things, but when asked, I always have an answer to what something costs.
Of course, then we travel back home and the whole "cost concious" thing sort of gets left at the front door for a couple weeks.
And yes, I'm always amazed at the ignorant and uninformed comments that appear on a site such as Yahoo.
Oh wait, is that why it's called "yahoo"?? As in, "If you are a 'yahoo', then by all means, speak your (simple) mind"?

Geez, I might be on to something.

Apparently, having an internet connection and a keyboard isn't really a measure of a person's intelligence.

Sad, really. But not surprising.

I could just go on and on, but it's just such a slippery slope.

The Good Luck Duck said...

It makes sense inside my head, Bob. There's an (apparently) cushion of security when you're at home base that you may not feel while you're abroad. It's even true for me right now, moochdocking in my mother's driveway. Electricity pours in like water (also pouring in), and if I spent my last quarter on a sad phone call I could just open my mouth like a baby bird and vegetarian food would drop in.

You and I should meet for coffee and we could tumble down that slippery slope together. Venting about (lack of) common sense is so much fun! I try to console myself by thinking that anonymous internet venues give intellectually-constrained people the chance to spout off so they don't have to do it at their kids' open house or a church supper.

The Good Luck Duck said...

Cyndi, Teresa, Carolyn, Sue, Sherry, and Bob: thank you for taking the time to talk about finances - such a sensitive topic. I appreciate hearing how you blend money constraints with what you like to do with your life. I guess that's what money is for, to live the way you want to live for the longest time you can live it.

Please, don't stop commenting; the topic is not closed!

Gaelyn said...

Living the RV life is very affordable. Just don't tell too many people or the roads will get even more crowded.

Cherie of Technomadia said...

I think it's great that other RVers share their costs, it really does help others plan.

We too share our costs each month at:

However, that said - everyone is different, has different priorities, tastes, styles and income levels. We could be far more frugal if we needed to, and know how to adjust to that. But we could also be far more extravagant. Between the two of us, it's not uncommon to spend $2000-2500/month combined. But in reality, our spending varies so much by what we're up to.

The Good Luck Duck said...

Gaelyn, luckily I've secretly coded this post as "living on less than $1000 a month," so no one is going to be interested.

Cherie, thanks for commenting and linking to your budget! I get sad when I read veterans on forums telling newbies that they couldn't possibly fulltime on less than $50,000 a year. Frugal dreamers need to seek out others who manage to do it for less.

Pat said...

I didn't know about Glenn. Thanks for sharing. He's living the kind of life I'd like to live.

ain't for city gals said...

The amount of money people spend amazes me sometimes....not that I haven't spent my share in the past! But nowadays?? way! I agree with Teresa..and love her little quote. I'm that way with food...we eat mostly organic and my husband is a hunter for our meat but I have stopped buying so many little extra things at the grocery store...just do without it. I always think of my parents...they raised us 9 dad NEVER made more than $15,000 a mom would go to work a couple of months when they really needed money....but all in all they had a pretty good life. I think you can still do it today if you want...

Wanderoke said...

It is amazing how the cost of/lack of insurance holds so many of us back from many different endeavors. And the media indicates the "Average American" is against universal healthcare for all?

stillhowlyn said...

Thanks for referencing Glenn's blog. Our insurances, motorhome, jeep, and health are $500 a month. A half a tank of diesel fuel is $200 (50 gals.) but we can control how much we drive and stay longer in one place. Our MH roof is covered with 4 110 watt solar panels so we do a lot of boondocking, especially in the desert during the winter. Phone and internet is $100, DirectTV satellite $75...and these are just the basics without food. We mostly do our own cooking, just because we like a healthy diet (most times!) So, bottom line, we could not live on $1000 a month. But we do live cheaply as full-time RVers.