Updated: Jun 28, 2018
Everybody ask me how I am able to save 50% of my income. With a little bit of creativity, you can do it too. Let’s look at my numbers first,
Salary net $3,000
$200 Student loan
$ 100 Car expenses
$0 mortgage or rent
$300 Groceries (including toiletries and buying lunch sometimes)
$60 eating out
Total = $903
I have a very low cost of living and able to save most of my salary. What I have done to keep my cost so low was all planned out.
First: I paid out of pocket most of my graduate studies and it took me 3 years to complete a master’s degree. I worked the first two years of graduate school and paid for most of the tuition myself. I took a student loan the last year for 20K and that is why I am paying a low amount. Soon I will apply for a loan forgiveness. I also increase my salary by over 20k per year with my master degree.
Second: I pay the minimum that you can pay for a gym and I make sure that I go and exercise.
Third: Instead of buying several books every month I have audible and I download a book every month and I have tricks that I can get books for free.
Fourth: I keep my gas bill low by working 3 miles from my house and sometimes I take my coworker to work, she lives two blocks from me and help me with gas money. It is a win-win situation. She saves the money on avoiding cab fares and I get money for gas. Most of the car repairs are done and paid by my husband but I always budget repairs just in case something happens. At my job instead of paying for a parking lot, I park on the street. By doing that I save a $120 per month.
Fifth: $0 for mortgage or rent. How in the world??. I own my home and besides living with my husband we have 2 roommates and we rent an apartment downstairs. That leaves of with $0 to pay for mortgage and cover some of the utilities. I don’t pay for utilities in the home. Read how to live for free in NYC.
Sixth: I shop for my groceries at Aldis or Trader’s Joes or in a local fruit store that is very affordable. I buy some toiletries at Walmart in bulk or the Dollar store and I save that way. I don’t eat a lot a meat and my budget stays low. Anyways a lot of meat is not good for you. I also budget for eating out twice a month and sometimes my husband pay for the dinner since is so affordable. You can definitely lower your grocery bill to almost for free read how to eat for free in NYC
Seventh: My cellphone bill is low because I have a prepaid plan and I paid upfront for my phone (well the phone was a gift). I have my phone for over 3 years now. I will get a new phone soon, but is not the time yet.
Eight: Metro card and entertainment. Sometime I don’t want to drive and I ride the train. I also go out sometimes with friends and spend some money, but I am so lucky that I have friends that are considerate and sometimes they pay for dinner or always offer money for gas.
Having a low budget took me time, planning and looking ahead for the future. I also have passive income besides my salary and that is another way I survive during grad school and not working for a year. I save some money but must of my money is invested to generate passive income. I decided to invest my money in real estate but there are several ways to make your money work.
Remember don’t let money control you, be in control of money.