Author Topic: Advice for those of us not living the "American Dream"?  (Read 4899 times)

DenverKat

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Advice for those of us not living the "American Dream"?
« on: November 23, 2014, 08:24:51 PM »
This might be incredibly silly, or maybe I'm just in the wrong place, but...I was really, really excited to learn about this blog, thinking I could find ways to save money and perhaps even manage while I pay down my (admittedly absurdly expensive) graduate loans for my MSW.  However, I was sad to find that most of the advice is geared toward people who were living a life of $80 dinners, new cars, weekly Starbucks trips, and vacations to Disneyland.  What about those of us who have already eschewed these things??  I thought this would be the real down and dirty frugal living tips, not the common sense of not partaking in the fallacy of the "American Dream"!  Perhaps I should just take this blog for what it is (advice for people mired in the imaginary "dream"), which is great, but then...any advice on where I can go for even more frugal, I'm-already-poor-and-I-already-bike-and-take-the-bus-and-don't-buy-shiny-new-things-but-I-want/need-to-save-more blogs?

Thanks friends!

kendallf

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Re: Advice for those of us not living the "American Dream"?
« Reply #1 on: November 23, 2014, 08:37:04 PM »
You might enjoy reading some of what Jacob Fisker has written at Early Retirement Extreme.  More analytical than MMM, not as fun and readable, but he retired and lived on something like $7k a year.

http://earlyretirementextreme.com/

If you're already living an efficient life and don't feel like you're reaching your goals fast enough, can you work toward making more money?

DenverKat

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Re: Advice for those of us not living the "American Dream"?
« Reply #2 on: November 23, 2014, 08:54:44 PM »
Thank you!  Well, I'm currently in the last year of my grad program, so I can't work as much as I did in my first year because I'm at an unpaid internship most days a week (and let's not even get started on how terrible - and possibly illegal - unpaid internships are).  The thing is, I'm going to be a social worker, aka never making much more than I was without my master's degree, so I need to learn to live on basically what I've had for the past several years...while paying down more money in government loans (especially Grad PLUS loans) than I'll probably ever make in salary in a year... In short, frugality is necessary, making more is probably not possible.

act01

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Re: Advice for those of us not living the "American Dream"?
« Reply #3 on: November 23, 2014, 09:00:04 PM »
I'd suggest reading more... I don't think the majority of regular users are trying to spend less on Starbucks. People on the forum vary from homeless to early-retirement millionaires. There's threads that have been going on for years with thousands of responses on various money saving topics, DIY, etc.

I've learned a ton just by reading case studies (regardless the income or situation). Some are about the Starbucks costs and Disneyland trips, but that tends to be people who are new to saving, vs Senior Mustacians, some who have been very frugal for years... Their responses are where the value is, IMO. I'll bet if you search here for social workers, government workers, or budgets of public school teachers you may find some ideas.

Dicey

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Re: Advice for those of us not living the "American Dream"?
« Reply #4 on: November 23, 2014, 09:03:41 PM »
I love this blog, but for frugality, I love The Frugal Girl and The Non-Consumer Advocate. Lots of the information you're looking for. I started reading them before this blog began. Love all three of them. A distant fourth, but also recommended is Get Rich Slowly. Best of luck to you! Also, if you haven't read the Complete Tightwad Gazette (blue book), request it from your library. I get new inspiration every time I read it.

Goldielocks

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Re: Advice for those of us not living the "American Dream"?
« Reply #5 on: November 23, 2014, 09:33:17 PM »
Years ago, I read " Your money or your life".

The advice on using a price book for grocery planning has saved me thousands.  Coupled with calculating the cost per meal of our top 20 go to meals, was a real eye opener.

I also read tightwad gazette...  This was written before bblogs, and there are some grewat blogs out there, but I love the touch and feel of books, so this opened my mind to so many ways to minimize and reduce costs.

Recently the ERE blog mentioned above is pretty inspirational.

Here, I have gained tremendous info, previously unknown, on tax situations, how to draw income in early retirement without a bond ladder, getting SO on board, a community of like minded individuals, and the amazingly simple math, and a vision that retirement before 60 is possible AND a good thing.  I also like being a facepunch jerk from time to time in the anonymous forum.  Each time I do, it is like giving myself a kick in the pants about what is important.  After all, I am far, far from perfect.

Also know that many of those with higher incomes spent years on a family income under $75k.  I know I did.  You are in a like !minded group as those high income earners are looking to FIRE.  Maybe you are not, but we are all trying to live on similar expenses- a person only needs a certain amount yo have a quality life.  MMM puts it at less than $27k per year.

Oh, and the items you mentioned only appear in the shame and comedy areas.

DenverKat

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Re: Advice for those of us not living the "American Dream"?
« Reply #6 on: November 23, 2014, 10:07:40 PM »
You guys are awesome, thanks so much!  I'll start looking deeper here and at the sites/resources you suggested!

mxt0133

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Re: Advice for those of us not living the "American Dream"?
« Reply #7 on: November 24, 2014, 12:19:47 AM »
Welcome to the forum!  Based on your OP it seems like you are already pretty close to a frugal lifestyle, while I won't argue that you could probably optimize more in some areas at some point it will be like trying to squeeze water from a rock, your RIO will just be too low.  I would also look at increasing your income via side jobs to get rid of your debt ASAP, every time you look in the mirror just remember your hair is on FIRE!!!

Good luck.

Rural

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Re: Advice for those of us not living the "American Dream"?
« Reply #8 on: November 24, 2014, 04:45:05 AM »
I've been frugal all my life, starting from poverty. What I've gotten here is a common-sense approach to investment, which I didn't understand at all and was frankly afraid of (there's a lingering Depression-style distrust of banks deep in my psyche). Time and reading on that helped me get to the point where I could put much of the money I've been saving all my life to work.


Also, it does help to have a community that doesn't think of my lifestyle as weird. I have that in family but didn't have that with anyone else previously. It makes a real difference.


So for me it's not about the frugality. I've got that, have had for decades. This community, unlike several other frugal communities, gives me something more profound than more "tips" on how to save on one thing so I have money to blow on something else.

Louisville

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Re: Advice for those of us not living the "American Dream"?
« Reply #9 on: November 24, 2014, 06:10:41 AM »
This community, unlike several other frugal communities, gives me something more profound than more "tips" on how to save on one thing so I have money to blow on something else.
+1
MMM, at it's core, is a mind set thing, not a tactical thing. Get your head right and open your eyes to what money can really do for you, then the tactics will follow.

NewbieFrugalUK

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Re: Advice for those of us not living the "American Dream"?
« Reply #10 on: November 24, 2014, 06:25:22 AM »
Another lowish income over here. Wish I had found this website a few years ago when my husband and I were DINK s in Singapore, earning silly money.  Hey Ho.  At the moment, I am really benefitting from the wisdom on these forums, so that we can adjust to our (much!)lower earnings here in the UK, and not eat into our savings. Right now a 5%savings rate would be a massive achievement for us! However as we took a 75%pay cut (once tax and bonuses are factored in) to return to the UK, I think we're doing ok!
I find the 'what small thing did you do TODAY to save money' thread especially inspiring.
I also second the point about it being a mindset. We are both enjoying a higher quality of life now (close friends, family, enjoying the 'best' things in life) despite no longer being able to afford the mad nights out, crazy beach weekends etc.

 

Wow, a phone plan for fifteen bucks!