You spend how much?
When I first started reading about financial independence, I came across this post from Mr Money Mustache from 2011 entitled: Exposed! The MMM Family’s Actual Spending.
This was the bottom line:
Total of Everything: $30,500
Total excluding Mortgage: $26,885
How does my family compare, I wonder? (family of 4 vs 3). Holy crap, I nearly fell off my chair when I discovered that from 2012 – 2015 we spent over $100k per year. WHAT!? Why?! I mean sure we moved, we got 2 cars for the first time ever ($16k total, cash), got kids on private school (no more as of next year as they are older and can attend public school), furniture for our new house, and some fancy pants vacations without caring for miles or points usage for the most part, etc. Still what the heck were we doing?!
Our incomes (here) at that point were not even CLOSE to sustaining this lifestyle. Thank goodness I found that blog and re-focused myself (to be fair, I was having some serious post partum depression and was getting my act together, so I had other things on my mind. Now I am totally ready, no excuses!).
After picking my jaw from the floor, I started reading every possible financial independence blog (these ones my favorites) and sat down with my husband to make a plan. We immediately cut out things that were not essential (cable, for example), starting making most of our meals at home vs eating or ordering out and called our insurance company to negotiate a better rate, which we got.
We created a path that would allow us to live more frugally. Much like when running, we did not want to go from 5 miles to a marathon in a day, so we set out to do a plan that would allow us to cut expenses gradually so that we could adjust to our new (hopefully sustainable) habits without that much pain.
We have a pretty solid plan for saving and investments, but now we needed a goal for ourselves for the next 5 years in terms of spending. Here is where we landed (as of Summer 2016). We pledge to spend (ignoring inflation):
$80k in 2016– We beat this! We came in a little under $75k!
75k in 2017 –Barely, but achieved! $70k in 2018– Failed! $75,575. $75k seems our ideal expense range!
- $65k in 2019
- $60k in 2020
I will update our progress as we go, where we cut, what hurt and what was easy. I am fairly confident we can hit $80k and $75k this year and next – but I am seriously questioning our ability to go lower than that. I know this is very doable when reading other blogs out there, but you know, I like my traveling and first world privileges.
Will we make it? Will we totally fail or quit? Let’s see how far we can go! Check our our progress reports here.
For further inspiration, I keep checking Justin’s Root of Good amazing posts like these which put my expenses to shame….
How about you, what is your goal?!