Author Topic: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian & Case Study  (Read 8806 times)

P938LVR

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I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian & Case Study
« on: July 12, 2014, 09:11:43 AM »
I make considerably less that most of the other people here it seems. It seems next to impossible to pay of debt. My husband and I do not have college educations and we are very frugal by nature. I work a full time and we own a small business together. However, we just cannot seem to get ahead. We live in a tiny house that is uncomfortably small for our needs because we were trying to save money. We were robbed last year so now our home owners insurance has jumped $150. Our business equipment needed repairs and it depleted our emergency fund and savings which wasnt much to begin with.

It just feels like we keep getting knocked down the moment that we get ahead. Any suggestions, tips or advice?

Update:

Here is my case study...

I make 30K before taxes and our business profits around 40K.

Monthly expenses:
 
Mortgage (including home owners insurance and property taxes): $687 (we owe $69K)

Loans & Credit Cards: $1500 monthly (Not sure of the total amounts these are business and personal). These include student loans. We have two cc's that are completely paid off.

Car payments: $300 on one and $334 on the other. One of which will be paid off in about 5 months.

Cable, Internet and Home Phone: $150 Internet and Home Phone and a business necessity. The cable stops us from going out to movies, etc.

Car Insurance: $170

Food & Gas: $1100/mo

Clothing: $100/month estimate - not every month only when it is necessary...

Cell Phone: $200 - business necessity

Savings: At the moment we don't have any and it is scary. We just spent it on a business emergency. I do put some back each week for taxes and savings on a regular basis.

I think that is everything... I will post more if I can think of something... Thanks everyone!


« Last Edit: July 12, 2014, 03:44:41 PM by P938LVR »

Michread

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian
« Reply #1 on: July 12, 2014, 09:19:59 AM »
It's hard to give you tips and advice without more details.  It takes years for many people to get into the groove of saving because when you're just starting out it takes a lot of money to get basic living needs met and build on that foundation (house, car, job, etc). 

Have you read The Tightwad Gazette? If not, get it from the library.  Have you read the blog Early Retirement Extreme?  He has lots of suggestions for living well below your means. 

Amanda

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian
« Reply #2 on: July 12, 2014, 09:23:55 AM »
Specifics will help you get better advice. Posting your income and expenses will allow people to help you find places to optimize.

The helpless feeling is the real problem though. When you feel helpless changes seem to be impossible and changes are necessary. Read through some of the MMM blog and see if you can "catch" the Mustachian mood. Changes are hard. However! Those difficult changes will strengthen you and not deplete you if you can start to see them as opportunities to build your muscles rather than chores to slog through.

Christiana

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian
« Reply #3 on: July 12, 2014, 09:36:36 AM »
"All discouragement is of the devil." 

G-dog

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian
« Reply #4 on: July 12, 2014, 09:37:40 AM »
Stop comparing yourselves to others (in a judgmental way)
You can only do what fits your circumstances, I.e., it isn't feasible to have a 90% savings rate if you only make $10K a year
Don't waste a lot of time feeling sorry for yourselves about what you can't do and shift that energy to what you can do and what you are already doing that supports your goals (keeping grocery costs low, etc.)
Take a hard look at your small business if it is not providing enough income/cash flow to support you, figure out the criteria to close vs. continue (when you are not in a crisis mode scenario).
Remember that small changes and efforts do have an impact, but usually small impacts that add up over time (sorry no real immediate gratification)

Rebecca Stapler

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian
« Reply #5 on: July 12, 2014, 09:39:42 AM »
I understand where you're coming from, because I felt pretty defeated before I posted my budget and got a few facepunches about where we were spending our money.

Go ahead and lay it all out there for the MMM community, and they will help you find ways to optimize your income. After I did, I swear I found money I didn't think I had. And honestly, I'm happier now.

I'm curious how your house is uncomfortably small for your needs. Without knowing anything else about you, I wonder if the problem is not that your house is too small but that you have too much stuff in there? My parents think that their house is too small, but it's just because they keep accumulating stuff and don't ever purge. But cleaning out things you don't need anymore is a great way to make some extra $$ AND feel better about your housing situation at the same time.

socaso

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian
« Reply #6 on: July 12, 2014, 12:05:50 PM »
I want to say something to encourage you because it seems like you need a pat on the back. Everything that springs to mind sounds trite but I will say that I have been there and felt like I just couldn't get ahead of the bills and debt but I did and you will too. Try posting your monthly expenses and see if anyone has any useful suggestions. Try a couple of months of no spending except absolute essentials to start building a cash cushion. I have done that before and it was quite rewarding. I feel a lot worse off that others on the forum sometimes and I take a break from reading for a couple of days. The forum is no good if it's making you feel down. I second the poster who suggested The Tightwad Gazette. That was a very empowering book for me.

Chrissy

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian
« Reply #7 on: July 12, 2014, 12:57:51 PM »
Post a case study.  Let the Mustachians try to help.

P938LVR

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian
« Reply #8 on: July 12, 2014, 02:31:43 PM »
Where should I post a case study? Should I attach it to this thread or start a new one? I'm new here...

palebluedot

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian
« Reply #9 on: July 12, 2014, 03:05:58 PM »
You can post it here since you already shared some of the details. I think you can rename the subject title.

Snow White

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian
« Reply #10 on: July 12, 2014, 03:20:12 PM »
P38LVR...I noticed that you posted recently about not being able to get a raise from your boss (your dad) so I understand that your income is limited in your current situation.  The reality is that you can only squeeze a dollar so far and your efforts might be better spent trying to find a job that pays a decent salary.

You commented about your lack of a college education and that does close some doors to you. But there are a ton of "certificate programs" at community colleges that could offer you an opportunity to prepare for a new career. If that isn't appealing or isn't an option, try defining exactly what your skills and talents are and seek help (career counselor or even post them here) to see what else you might do that would pay better. 

scrubbyfish

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian & Case Study
« Reply #11 on: July 12, 2014, 04:07:15 PM »
I think all the previous replies were posted before you edited to include your numbers. When I look at that income ($30,000 + $40,000), I think you and your hubby are quite wealthy, certainly very well off. Am I reading your income wrong? If I'm reading it correctly, you're in an excellent position to become Mustachian, and way better off financially than a good number of people on the forum. This is good!

SDREMNGR

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian & Case Study
« Reply #12 on: July 12, 2014, 04:26:34 PM »
You seem to have a defeatist starting attitude.  That's not going to help.  You make plenty of money from your budget.  You defend certain expenditures as necessities but they are CHOICES.  If you don't accept that, then you are tying your own hands.  You accept your cable, phone, gas, food, and business costs as fixed costs but they are not.  It is possible to both reduce your expenses and increase your business income. 

lizzigee

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian & Case Study
« Reply #13 on: July 12, 2014, 04:31:38 PM »
Don't be discouraged, by seeking advice here you've set yourself on the path to building a financially secure future. In a few months one of the vehicle payments will be gone, freeing up several hundred a month. Use the time before then to identify the best use of those extra dollars. Target another debt to pay off, or rebuild your emergency fund (and don't kick yourself for clearing it out to pay for a business emergency, that's what it's for. You're way ahead of the game by even having an emergency fund).

Take baby steps consistently, support each-other and don't lose track of whatever is truly important to you in life. You'll get a vast amount of financial and life advice on this forum, take what suits your situation and run with it. Best wishes.

Snow White

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian & Case Study
« Reply #14 on: July 12, 2014, 04:51:06 PM »
I am a bit confused by your case study numbers. Your previous post about requesting a raise from your boss (your father) left me with the impression that you got a salary from HIS business and nothing else but now I see a lot of business expenses listed for YOU? Are you paying the bills for the business in addition to only getting a salary of about $500 a week (from other thread)? 

The case study also lists business profits of $40,000 but again your previous thread left me with the impression that your father didn't share the profits with you.  Is this perhaps a different business?  I apologize if I have muddled the story beyond recognition but I can't quite figure this scenario out given your previous thread.  I'd insert that thread here for clarity but I don't know how!

Catbert

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian & Case Study
« Reply #15 on: July 12, 2014, 04:57:28 PM »
One thing you need to do is track your expenses (every penny) for at least a month and get a handle on what you are really spending and on what.  That can be as simple as a pen and small notebook. For example,  $1100 for food and gas a/ seems insanely high and b/an odd combination.   

You also need to separate business expenses from personal expenses.   Not just for budget purposes but also for income tax time.

scrubbyfish

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian & Case Study
« Reply #16 on: July 12, 2014, 05:15:08 PM »
One thing you need to do is track your expenses (every penny) for at least a month and get a handle on what you are really spending and on what.  That can be as simple as a pen and small notebook. For example,  $1100 for food and gas a/ seems insanely high and b/an odd combination.

+1 to this as the absolute best starting point, in my opinion. (If you feel like you can't cope yet with this new step plus separating business and personal, just write everything down together for the first while.)

If you want something fancier than pen and paper, I recommend the software You Need A Budget. It gets referred to on this forum a lot, because it's awesome. It did heaps to turn my business and personal finances around! (My business is tiny and simple, so I record it as just one more category within my YNAB.) However, for the life-changing, consciousness-raising aspect of this exercise, pen and paper totally works, as does a simple Excel spreadsheet.

For what it's worth, I support my son and I on just over $20,000/yr, and we live (very comfortably) in a suite of about 400-450 sq feet.

Chrissy

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian & Case Study
« Reply #17 on: July 12, 2014, 05:19:47 PM »
Is the cellphone bill for one phone or two?  Are you currently under contract?  Which provider?

Please break down food and gas separately. 

Please break down food into Grocery and Other.

Please list the interest rates on all your debt including mortgage.

What kind of cars?

Electric?
Trash?
Water?
Natural Gas?

Do you have children?  Are there daycare bills?

Preliminarily, I'd say look into consolidating/refinancing the student loans at a lower interest rate.  Call the internet/phone/cable company and threaten to cancel; see if they will put you on a promotional rate.  You're spending too much in the Food/Gas category, so you need to make some changes there, but it's hard to make suggestions without further information.  You should look into switching your cell phone provider to an MNVO.  I'm pretty sure you could maintain your current level of phone service for $90 or less per month for 2 phones.

Student loans tell me one or both of you went to college, but didn't get a degree.  How far did y'all get?

I know it's scary not to have savings, but you have access to credit cards with $0 balance right now, so if something happened, you have a fallback.  Really, your situation doesn't seem so bad to me, and could be improved immediately and fairly easily, starting with some small changes, and making plans for bigger ones!
« Last Edit: July 12, 2014, 05:32:52 PM by Chrissy »

Latwell

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian & Case Study
« Reply #18 on: July 12, 2014, 05:22:51 PM »
Definitely wondering about the food/gas $1100. Are you driving monster SUVs and eating trucks of food?

You mentioned you feel like you can't get ahead, but your one car loan is about to be done, so now you'll have an additional $300 a month that can be out towards getting rid of another debt which in turn makes you getting ahead faster.

NinetyFour

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian & Case Study
« Reply #19 on: July 12, 2014, 05:57:35 PM »
Cable is not a necessity.  For anyone.

Neither is $100 on clothes each month.  If you are brave, join the No Clothes Shopping in 2014 challenge!

http://forum.mrmoneymustache.com/throw-down-the-gauntlet/no-clothes-shopping-in-2014/msg332048/#msg332048

Thegoblinchief

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian & Case Study
« Reply #20 on: July 12, 2014, 06:59:30 PM »
I'll pile on the grocery and gas budget. That's a lot, unless you have 5-7 kids.

And 70k of income between salary and profit share is quite a bit. That's more than DW and I make combined, with three kids, and we're on track to FIRE in 10 years.

warped

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian & Case Study
« Reply #21 on: July 12, 2014, 09:26:49 PM »
OK; let's look at this from a more standard approach.

Income - 30K + 40K = 70K/year = 5800/month.

Housing: recommended 25 - 30% - you spend $687 = 12% - doing great!

Auto: recommended 15%

One question would be how much are the two cars worth?

A common recommendation is cars should be less than half your annual income; so in your case value of autos should be less than 35K.

If you've got two auto's that were both purchased for 30K then that is a big a drain for your income.

Have to guess a little for auto; feel free to correct assumptions.

Car payments = 634. One is going away; that will help.

So; car = 334 + 170 (insurance) + 400 (gas guess??) = 904.

So after one car payment gone; auto = $904(?) = 15.6%.

That's probably a big reason why you're struggling; the extra $300 payment leaves you with current spending >20% of your income on auto's.

You may need one nice car for business; but perhaps your other car could be downsized.

Others have talked about your phones - good place to find some money there.

I'm also a big fan of internet/hulu/netflix/no cable - lots to see.

Plenty of ways to help yourself. In my case, it's a marathon, but we're moving in the right direction.

Best of luck!

darkadams00

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian & Case Study
« Reply #22 on: July 12, 2014, 09:49:52 PM »
At a high level, be encouraged! You've come to a place that can give you sound information to help you move forward! Knowledge is an enabler. It gives you a clear picture of your situation and control over your future decisions.

Other folks have already begun to chime in on expense minimizing, so I'll skip that. This forum can certainly help you minimize your expenses until the Lincolns on your pennies are crying.

You also need to separate business expenses from personal expenses.   Not just for budget purposes but also for income tax time.

Imperative move. Small businesses fail every day because of money mis-management issues. Frame your thinking as "How are WE doing?" (Personal hat) and "How is the BUSINESS doing?" (Business hat). The income and expenditures related to those two should be separate. If you have to have the internet for Business, you should pay for it out of Business funds as a Business expense if possible, and always refer to it as a Business expense. You just happen to get it for free with respect to the Personal side. If you have business equipment failure, that expense should be paid out of Business funds, not the Personal emergency fund and savings. This separation allows you to determine at any time if you're actually making any money from the Business and whether even keeping the Business or working in that Business makes sense. If the Business didn't have enough funds to handle its own operations, then the Personal side should be getting a little upset about that and begin to consider better options. Saving tens of dollars in monthly Personal expense categories might be dwarfed in your situation if the Personal side is faced with the expectation to shovel out hundreds or thousands of dollars to the Business when called upon.

After this split, you can then determine exactly where you stand on the Personal side (the purpose of this thread, I believe) and begin to make changes to maximize Personal income, minimize Personal expenses, and work towards Personal goals.

And then the fun of the trimming a shaggy beard into a fine mustache begins...

okashira

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian & Case Study
« Reply #23 on: July 12, 2014, 11:09:03 PM »
I make considerably less that most of the other people here it seems. It seems next to impossible to pay of debt. My husband and I do not have college educations and we are very frugal by nature. I work a full time and we own a small business together. However, we just cannot seem to get ahead. We live in a tiny house that is uncomfortably small for our needs because we were trying to save money. We were robbed last year so now our home owners insurance has jumped $150. Our business equipment needed repairs and it depleted our emergency fund and savings which wasnt much to begin with.

It just feels like we keep getting knocked down the moment that we get ahead. Any suggestions, tips or advice?

Update:

Here is my case study...

I make 30K before taxes and our business profits around 40K.

Monthly expenses:
 
Mortgage (including home owners insurance and property taxes): $687 (we owe $69K)

Loans & Credit Cards: $1500 monthly (Not sure of the total amounts these are business and personal). These include student loans. We have two cc's that are completely paid off.

Car payments: $300 on one and $334 on the other. One of which will be paid off in about 5 months.

Cable, Internet and Home Phone: $150 Internet and Home Phone and a business necessity. The cable stops us from going out to movies, etc.

Car Insurance: $170

Food & Gas: $1100/mo

Clothing: $100/month estimate - not every month only when it is necessary...

Cell Phone: $200 - business necessity

Savings: At the moment we don't have any and it is scary. We just spent it on a business emergency. I do put some back each week for taxes and savings on a regular basis.

I think that is everything... I will post more if I can think of something... Thanks everyone!

You spend too much on your vehicles,  and phone, simple as that.

You have way too new cars, that are perhaps gas guzzlers (I hope the vast majority of the 1100/mo is on food...)

I can't think of any business purpose for $200/mo for a cell phone. Even if you're on it 24/7 you don't need to spend that much.

Being mustachain is about thinking on your feet, and being open to alternatives.

Post more information about your debts and dig into more on your food/gas spending.

You need to separate your business and personal spending. Get another CC if you need to.

randymarsh

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian & Case Study
« Reply #24 on: July 12, 2014, 11:34:16 PM »
You spend too much on transportation.

You have student loans but no degrees? Explain this more.

"1500 loans and and CCs". This isn't specific enough. I use CCs for 90% of my spending, but I don't think of having a CC payment. I spend money on gas, food, clothes, etc and use my CC to purchase those things. Business spending must be kept separate from personal. Don't even use the same cards if you can avoid it.

$200 phone is not a business necessity. AT&T offers a plan with unlimited minutes/text and 5GB data for around $110.

Is it really necessary for 2 adults to spend $1,200 on clothes every single year.

You spend a lot on food and gas. 


Melody

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian & Case Study
« Reply #25 on: July 13, 2014, 12:49:42 AM »
$1100 a month for food and gas seems very high for two people. I spend about $350 (and both of these items cost more in Australia than in the USA), so even if you assumed no economies of scale (i.e. sharing rides and bulk buying) you'd get to $700 a month. Is the majority of this amount fuel or food? Where is the problem? try tracking your spending more closely so you can find it.

As your salary is higher than the business income could you look into salary packaging some items (like the phones and car) to reduce your tax bringing down the after tax cost of these items (does this concept exist in the US tax system? Where some non cash benefits are taxed at a lower rate than ordinary employment income?) You also don't sound like you're financially organised regarding the business (i.e. don't know what debt is personal debt and what debt is business debt) so you're probably missing a tonne of deductions here. Educate yourself and find a good CPA so you can legally minimise your tax obligations. (A good CPA is not an excuse for not educating yourself though - you need to do both.)

Loans and credit cards - how much of this is interest. Have you balance transferred to lower interest cards, shopped for better rates etc? If not, do so now. Your mortgage payment is low (but not sure if this means you have loads of equity or a cheap house), if you have loads of equity consider a refi to get rid of the high interest debt.

Drop cable. The internet is filled with TV shows and movies. Plus you can get netflix for a lot less than cable if what you can find online isn't enough.

As others have pointed out, you have too much car. I'm assuming you need something decent for the business, but how about a motorcycle or scooter for you as the worker, supplemented by the bus/train or a lift from SO if the weather is bad? 1 car and 1 motorbike have way better running costs than 2 cars. Often if you put the bike on the same insurance policy as the car it is nearly free to insure it. It's petrol is less as are it's running costs. 


avongil

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian & Case Study
« Reply #26 on: July 13, 2014, 07:40:34 AM »
You are spending too much on food, cable and phones.

Phones:  Should be $70 - $90 for two lines.  50 for the business and 12 or 30 for the other one. 
https://www.pagepluscellular.com/plans/

Food:
Way too much. we spend half that.  Try to make more stuff at home without buying convenience foods.  Seriously - try to eat different things. People are too stuck on stuff they "like".  Trying stuff over and over again will get you to like it and expand your tastes.  The im not going to eat it because I dont like it attitude makes most people  spend too much and eat poorly.  This is a hard one for most people and takes time.
This should be $400 - $600

Cable Internet.
Should be around 60 or so dollars. You don't generaly need super high speed.  1 Mbit upload is good for at least one voip phone line.

Cable TV:  Dump it.
You don't need it. Use the extra time to cook and do other fun stuff. It's passive entertainment that is not desirable in life. You will be much happier once you kick the habit. The extra time will be used to better yourself.  Keeping it to not go out and spend money on high dollar movies is like saying I'm just going to do crack to not do something silly like Heroin.  I know this is hard for most people, but just try it for a few months. After the initial withdrawal symptoms are done with, you will be happier.

Home Phone:
http://www.vestalink.com/
Comes out to 3$ per month. I pay for two years at a clip. Works awesome.  Already had one of these I re-cycled when google voice went XMMP cold. http://www.obitalk.com/info/products

Hope that helps.

RetiredAt63

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian & Case Study
« Reply #27 on: July 13, 2014, 08:23:26 AM »
I agree about separating business and personal.  Your personal finances should not be subsidizing the business (is this yours/your spouse's or your father's?) but until your financial tracking improves, you don't know if you are doing this or not.  Also, if you need cell phone or internet for the business, they should be business expenses, not personal expenses.

A few years ago, on 'Til Debt Do Us Part, Gail Vaz Oxlade had a couple who also had business and personal expenses all mixed together.  It would help if you could find this show online (HGTV), since she showed them an easy way to separate these for their accounting.  At the end of the exercise this was the change that helped them the most.  Gail's web site is also helpful.

tariskat

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian & Case Study
« Reply #28 on: July 13, 2014, 09:07:50 AM »
I recommend using Mint.com for tracking expenses. Ynab is cool, I've tried to use it because people here love it so much, but mint grabs all your transactions from any plastic and lumps it into categories, which you can fix if needed. It will not help you budget for the future as well as ynab, but it really tells you what you've been doing. You just need to remember to enter cash purchases. It's a very fast, easy way to stay automatic tracking of expenditures.

lifejoy

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian & Case Study
« Reply #29 on: July 13, 2014, 09:31:39 AM »
Your food and gas seem huge. More details, please! :)


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Goldielocks

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian & Case Study
« Reply #30 on: July 13, 2014, 09:32:14 AM »
Great responses so far..

I think that the mixing of business and personal likely means that you are not claiming everything you can as a tax deduction before income on your business.  Clear separation is the way to go.  Consider not using work resources for personal use, too.

I would get the  expensive phone and one car dedicated for business use only, and track any minor personal use, to get the best deduction...   then, sharing one car for personal use, you can aggressively review what your cheapest soln is. One phone for personal should look no more than $42, for full text, talk, web wifi here... other MMM say it is under$20 for USA.

Note, you will only need one phone between you, as you have the work one for emergency use.  I dont have a cellphone, and keep the home phone, because I want to call my kids at home, who dont have cellphones, so need emergency phone at home, and I carry a work phone when at work. So I understand that keeping a home phone is needed.needed sometimes.


Like the others, I am a little surprised at your food and gas use..  hoping that you drive a ton for work....  and $600+ for car payments is what made me vow to never have car payments again.  It is such a sucking hole of money extraction from your budget. Can you hear the wind as the money flies out through the car?

If you separate expenses, then your business may not be making $40k anymore, and you can evaluate what activites are bringi g in the most nert profit, and work to get your business income up.   Eg. Long distance driving for client should pay for travel costs.  Some clients will need to be cut or asked for more $d$..  you may even decide to reduce time at that business and add time to paid employment, if your business is one that requires a longterm build up of recognition, like some sales, consulting, service, art, writing businesses.

Good luck!   The great news is that you are not far off.  If you can get on top of the car expenses, in one year, you will wonder why you were ever worried.

Unless your utilities are crazy high, you living arrangement is awesome!  Too bad it is funding a car habit.  :-)

aj_yooper

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian & Case Study
« Reply #31 on: July 13, 2014, 10:02:56 AM »
P938LVR, you've come to the right place for budget ideas!  Do you see any small steps you could make, out of all the suggestions given, that would start turning your budget ship to the right direction? 

As it is now, your cost of living is $70k/year so your stash would be in the neighborhood of $1,750,000 (25*$70k). 
« Last Edit: July 13, 2014, 03:40:30 PM by aj_yooper »

ChicagoGirl

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian & Case Study
« Reply #32 on: July 13, 2014, 11:07:14 AM »
OP - when I first came to the forums/MMM I didn't think there was anymore ways to trim my budget down.  But, once I started reading more of the forum I realized there were LOTS of ways without much sacrifice to quality of life. Once you start to make changes and see some results, it becomes a fun challenge...

Outline more details in your budget. Break things down more...track your utilities, how much you pay for health insurance and other health expenses, household repairs and maintenance, etc. You might be leaking money somewhere and don't realize it.

You yourself said it was 'scary' you didn't have any savings...I think kicking cable to the curb is a good start at least for a while.  I live to tell the tale that you will survive without it. I have been cable free for 2 years and still find ways to watch my favorite shows/movies to little to no cost.

Keep reading the forum there are great threads on saving on car insurance, communications, utilities, etc. 


okashira

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian & Case Study
« Reply #33 on: July 13, 2014, 11:48:08 AM »
You are spending too much on food, cable and phones.

Phones:  Should be $70 - $90 for two lines.  50 for the business and 12 or 30 for the other one. 
https://www.pagepluscellular.com/plans/

Food:
Way too much. we spend half that.  Try to make more stuff at home without buying convenience foods.  Seriously - try to eat different things. People are too stuck on stuff they "like".  Trying stuff over and over again will get you to like it and expand your tastes.  The im not going to eat it because I dont like it attitude makes most people  spend too much and eat poorly.  This is a hard one for most people and takes time.
This should be $400 - $600

Cable Internet.
Should be around 60 or so dollars. You don't generaly need super high speed.  1 Mbit upload is good for at least one voip phone line.

Cable TV:  Dump it.
You don't need it. Use the extra time to cook and do other fun stuff. It's passive entertainment that is not desirable in life. You will be much happier once you kick the habit. The extra time will be used to better yourself.  Keeping it to not go out and spend money on high dollar movies is like saying I'm just going to do crack to not do something silly like Heroin.  I know this is hard for most people, but just try it for a few months. After the initial withdrawal symptoms are done with, you will be happier.

Home Phone:
http://www.vestalink.com/
Comes out to 3$ per month. I pay for two years at a clip. Works awesome.  Already had one of these I re-cycled when google voice went XMMP cold. http://www.obitalk.com/info/products

Hope that helps.

Why ignore the elephant in the room??
Cars:
$300
$334
$170
~$1100/2 = ~$550
$100 maintenance, tires, etc, not mentioned by OP

These folks are spending $1350/mo on their vehicles.
That's more then my ENTIRE base budget (single person.)
They say it's impossible to be mustachian.
I see a silver bullet.

avongil

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian & Case Study
« Reply #34 on: July 13, 2014, 12:32:15 PM »
Oops, forgot about the elephant.  Yes, between the cars and food, the 30K paycheck vanishes. 

Cinder

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Re: I feel like its impossible to be a Mustachian & Case Study
« Reply #35 on: July 13, 2014, 04:02:25 PM »
Oops, forgot about the elephant.  Yes, between the cars and food, the 30K paycheck vanishes. 

QFT.  It's amazing to me the number of people with a decent chunk of their monthly money flying out to car payments.