Living Well on a Low Budget
How one guy gets by while earning peanuts
Oct 28, 2011 | WRITTEN BY Chris RussellWhen we hear the figure $11,000 being thrown around, we usually think of buying a car or maybe getting a big bonus check.
For 42-year-old Glenn Morrissette, it's his yearly budget. Yearly, we said.
Morrissette isn't a beach bum or someone who lives in his parents' basement. He is a professional musician who currently lives in New Jersey and drives an RV. He has a reasonable wardrobe, eats well, and even has health insurance. He is able to pull this off because he lives simply.
"I had a garage full of stuff I never used, my closets were full, and I started to see that it was costing me money to have an apartment big enough to hold all the stuff I never use," he said of his time living in a Los Angeles apartment.
His first thought was to scale back, but the more he looked at the situation, the more he realized he "didn't need too much to be happy." The practicality of owning an RV, which he could buy free and clear with no payments, was too good an opportunity to pass up.
Now he wears jeans and T-shirts. The food budget is $250 a month, which he spends on meats, fruits and vegetables. He enjoys writing music (calling it both a profession and a hobby) and thus doesn't need a lot of entertainment money. Even with all that, he's an "avid investor." Again, with $11,000 a year to work with.
We don't need nearly as much in life as we think we do. Too many times, we classify needs as wants, and wants usually come with a cost. Many of us can cut a few wants out of our lives and replace them with something less expensive. That means more money to put toward your debt snowball or emergency fund.
With some discipline, Morrissette is doing it. Can you?
Don't worry, I'm not going to tell you that you should live on $11,000 a year, but this story definitely makes me think on how little I can live on and what I truly need.
I think we all tend to get caught up on today's culture of more, more, more...and when is enough enough? This doesn't mean that if you own a boat or have nice clothes that you are a self-indulgent, frivolous spender. It is just a question to ask yourself, especially when you are still on baby step #1 or #2.
If you are serious about getting on the road to financial freedom and living with no debt, then the wise thing is to take a look at your budget and really analyze whether your spending in a certain category is a need or a want.
I am a firm believer that there are certain wants that are necessary in keeping your sanity and that it is a completely personal decision. Some may be able to live like Glenn with no issues, where others would end up in the nut house:-)
I just hope this series is making you think a little more about where your money is going and if it is the best decision for you at this time.