If you read my blog, you probably know that I shared my budget (and secret formula for my high savings rate) for the first time earlier this week. And it was pretty anti-climactic. After all, I only have ten real budget categories and they’re all super boring. In the comments, some of my readers and fellow bloggers asked some serious questions about my budget. Like, why don’t I budget for clothes? And, where is my budget for personal care? Don’t I shower, shave my legs, and moisturize? Am I secretly disgusting?
Don’t despair, my friends. Even though I quit my job and work from home, I still shower. I still shave my legs. Sometimes. I always brush my teeth. You can believe that. I even wear deodorant most of the time. But, even though I do take care of my body and my home, I don’t excessively budget for every single category. But, I am able to keep my expenses extremely low. How do I do it? I’m happy to share my secret formula.
We have a 2007 periwinkle dodge Caravan and a 2009 red Toyota Prius. Both cars are paid for….and awesome! And since I work from home, I rarely get gas. Hell, I rarely drive at all. I actually drive so little that I forget how to drive sometimes. In fact, one of my favorite pastimes is pretending to be lost and freaking my four-year-old daughter out. I try to take it to the verge of sincere frustration and tears before magically figuring out where I am and finding my way home. It’s hilarious! (she doesn’t think so)
Greg drives more now that he’s started his new career, but he still gets 40-50 mpg since he has a hybrid. Between the two us, our transportation costs are very minimal. We have car insurance with Allstate Auto insurance which costs about $450 every six months.
We don’t have cable television or a home phone. Instead of cable, we pay $8 per month for Hulu and Netflix to stream to our Roku Box. Our home phone only got collection calls for someone named Alan Smith so we cancelled it years ago. I also absolutely hate the sound of a home phone ringing. PET PEEVE OF THE UNIVERSE. Since we don’t have a home phone, Greg has a cell phone through Page Plus Cellular and his monthly bill is $55. I have a cell phone through Republic Wireless and I shouldn’t have a bill for at least the rest of this year due to a promotion I signed up for. Fingers crossed!
Do people really budget for clothes? If I budgeted for clothes, I would be tempted to…..buy clothes. If no one needs clothing, I’m not going to budget for it. Thanks to garage sales, my kids are set on clothes for at least the next few years. I don’t know when we’ll need new clothes again. But when we do, I’ll budget for them!
My daycare costs are one of the reasons that I love living in a low cost area. I only pay $125 per week for full-time care for two children. Not only is my daycare affordable, but it’s conveniently located and I absolutely love my daycare lady! And let’s face it; daycare is the reason I’m sane.
Listen, I used to coupon. I will never run out of floss. I REPEAT: I WILL NEVER RUN OUT OF FLOSS. I also have an infinite amount of shaving cream, soap, shampoo, razors, toothpaste, lotion, and things like that. I haven’t bought laundry detergent in over a year. I don’t budget for these things because I’ve still got a stockpile from my crazy days of extreme couponing. I’m not proud of it, but I’m not ashamed to reap the benefits either.
I Don’t Owe Anyone Money
Except for my mortgage with Amerisave, of course. My mortgage could also be a lot lower if we chose to go with a longer term (ours is a 15 year loan). Since we’ve paid off all of our debts, we don’t owe anyone anything. Therefore, we don’t need to make monthly payments anymore. It’s a great feeling and part of the reason that my expenses are so low. In fact, I would say that becoming debt free is definitely part of the secret formula for a high savings rate in the first place.
Are your expenses low? If so, how do you keep them low? Are there some categories where you could improve?