Can You Make More Money By Spending Less?

In a word: yes. In the beginning, that is. After a while however, the law of diminishing returns reaches a roadblock. You’ve downsized all you can. You cut. You eliminated. You sold. You have gone without. Eventually, you’ll have to face the music and realize that the only way you are going to make more money is to earn it.

But what if you don’t want to work? What if the thought of working for a living, for even an hour repulses you so much you would rather stick needles in your eyes than work for ‘the man’. Such is the case with me. I despise working for a living so much so that I have become the Master Queen of living well on as little money as possible. The problem, however, is that I am guilty of all of the above. I’m facing a $106 a month budget deficit and I have cut so much of my life to the bone that I just don’t have the energy, the desire or the wherewithal to do much about it. I’d like to just go with the flow, live as lean as I can and see what happens at the end of the month.

I may be in for a nice surprise, as in “I made it through!”

the envelope system.jpg
Using the cash envelope system really makes you aware of what you are spending. When you walk into a grocery store with $60, guess what? You spend $60. Can’t do that with a credit card!

I’m in a series of self induced cutbacks that I haven’t even noticed a change in lifestyle. I’m seriously asking myself with each and every dollar that passes through my fingers “Is that a need? Is that a want? Do you really need it NOW or can it wait? For like forever?” I’m getting seriously involved in setting up priorities. I’m asking myself if what I want is really necessary. Most of my answers have been negative so I’ve been putting items back on shelves, cancelling orders, cancelling appointments (I just canceled a pedicure this morning after I cancelled a manicure last week) Do I really need to have these beauty treatments done for me? Can’t I do them myself?

I’m not cutting my cable anymore. I’ve already reduced a $105 monthly bill down to $38 and the only thing left to get that bill down further is to discontinue the service. I’ve been looking over my TV viewing lately and in reality, I don’t want to eliminate my basic cable service. I’m not cutting my food bill anymore either. I got it down to $450 from $600. I cook most everything from scratch at home. I’ve eliminated mostly all meals out (we only go to restaurants now on special occasions and we only order appetizers. Or we do McDonald’s but even that is becoming few and far between).

our electric usage.png
This has been the hottest July on record yet I managed to get our electric usage down substantially. How’d we do that?

We put in window air conditioners this year at 6000BTUs rather than the older 8000BTUs models we had. Amazingly, our home stayed nice and cool. Both units have the new Econ setting which works like central a/c. The unit turns on and off to keep the temperature you set steady. At night we shut the living room unit and just keep the bedroom unit on. We have ceiling fans in every single room despite what interior decorators decry (they despise ceiling fans!)

We’ve been driving less and staying home more. We’ve stopped most day trips too. If it’s not a local event, we’re not going anymore. This has cut our gas expense down to $100 a month from $165. Easy peasy. Didn’t notice the change much at all.

We have a whole new set of priorities now that we have a newer RV. We’ve re-thunk our values. Our new main goal is to spend three winter months in Florida from here on in and two months at our fave Newport Beach, in RI that we have come to love and miss. One road trip down. One road trip back from only two yearly destinations, plus a change in rental sites have lowered our costs substantially. But there is still that $106 deficit.

We’ve added a dental plan to our budget. We’ve added a 10 month propane budget plan to our expenses (so we never have to worry about running out of propane nor being hit with a super large bill, like $800!!!!!). We’ve increased insurance coverage on a larger RV as well as a higher monthly payment (it’s only a few more dollars a month more but includes an extended, much-needed, five year warranty program. The warranty originally cost $1,345, but we got it for $900 which the bank loves, because they know the unit will be properly maintained, which in turn got us a lower borrowing rate 3.99% vs 6% thus saving us thousands and thousands of dollars over the life of the loan).

It’s taken a lot of work for us to get to this point, but that was the idea all along. I don’t want to work more at a job to get more of the things I want or need. Instead, we’ve focused on creating passive income streams to support this lifestyle. Making more money will not make the concept of spending less any easier. I understand more what truly brings meaning into my life. Working for ‘the man’ was not one of them.

Live well and prosper, my friend. Live well and prosper.

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10 comments

  1. I like how practical you are being now. Buying the new RV made your budget change. Change calls for changes. You get an upgraded RV, but to pay for it your life style choices need to change. Hurrah that you are willing to make the changes. When the RV is paid off you will be able to have some things you are now choosing to give up. You are a good example for all of us.

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    • Thanks Sue. These changes are only temporary. When my husband receives his Social Security in 2.5 years, the added income will allow us to ease up a bit and go back to the lifestyle we had before. However, we are liking these new changes, so our lifestyle won’t be going up as much. It’s all good. We’ll be able to save more money and perhaps take a few trips inbetween.
      Thanks again Sue for your kind comment.

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  2. So will Nick work a few days each month you are not in Florida or Newport to set aside money for the monthly deficits? Or is he retired officially?Lara

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