Sharing my personal expenses is not usual to me. I am the shyest person in any room that you see me in. But, this is slowly becoming one of those topics I am slowly opening upon. Mostly, because a lot of you have been asking me about it.
Very recently, I declared my passive income strategy - you can read about it here. And now, everyone wants to know how much of that I actually spend.
This post is going to reveal my darkest secrets and guilty pleasures. More importantly, this post is much more than that - it is packed with a lot of tips and tricks on budgeting, managing finances, and frugality. So don’t miss a single line below this one.
Tip # Zero
First things first. How much money I spend does not depend on how much money I make. It has been and will be fixed for years. And, I strive hard to keep it that way.
So, any salary hike I get or any passive income stream I create does not affect my spending habits. All the extra income that I get is invested.
The extra money I make is not spent. It is in fact used to make me more money.
The Mentality Shift
I have talked about this a lot in the past.
You need to be mentally healthy to be able to control your mind not to spend money that you have. And invest it instead.
Strive hard to not buy fancy stuff just to show-off. So, no branded clothes, watches, or iPhones.
I love saving money. I am crazy passionate about that hobby of mine.
Let’s dive into the nitty-gritty of my expenses.
Rent/Mortgage - $0
Yes, I spend $0 on my mortgage.
In my How to make passive income? post, I mentioned about the rental property. That rental property covers up for my mortgage completely.
So no mortgage, no home insurance, and no home maintenance cost.
This is called house hacking. I can make a new post if you are interested to learn more about it.
Internet and Utilities - $200
I spend $40 and internet and $160 on average on utilities. It covers water, sewage, trash, and electricity.
Auto - $350
I spend a total of $350 on my auto expenses. It includes my car insurance, gas, and any miscellaneous expenses.
My car is completely paid off. My insurance has decent coverage — almost the minimum required in Washington state.
Tip #445 - that is the perk of owning an old car.
I commute to work via public transport which my company pays for. So, my gas expenses are close to the bare minimum. My car is ten years old - so yes, she needs regular maintenance. But, she’s still acting like a lady-hulk!
Health Insurance - $0
My company covers my 100% health insurance. I literally have to pay nothing, and I am genuinely grateful for that. It also includes my dental and vision coverage.
Plus there’s life insurance provided for my family and me. So, if anything ever happens to me while I work there, my family will get $150K.
Gym and Health - $80
I consider myself lucky enough for finding a fantastic gym just downstairs at my work location. It is super reasonable - I pay $40, plus it gets me to work out more than ever because it is so close.
My gym has all the fun goodies. I regularly do Yoga, Pilates, HIIT, CrossFit, and so much more. I will be doing bungee-workout for the first time this weekend. I am super excited!
Rest of the $40 goes towards protein and supplements. It is a part of my healthy routine and keeps me fit. Currently, I take two scoops of protein, one tablet of D-3, B-12, and fish oil each day.
I would recommend you to get your blood test done before trying out any supplemental tablets. They are toxic if taken unnecessarily.
Phone - $35
I have a pretty fantastic phone plan. Basically, everything is unlimited - calls, data, hotspots. I can also use data for free when flying internationally. Very convenient when I visit my hometown in India.
Do note that I am in a family plan. That is why the cost is so cheap.
Groceries - $150
Pretty basic stuff here. Yeah, I know most of you are shocked looking at that low price. But no - I don’t just eat rice and beans.
Although nothing fancy, but I eat a healthy diet for the most days of the week.
I do meal prep each weekend. So, I ship in bulk and prep in bulk. To be honest, I rarely eat outside - in fact I’m not particularly eager to eat outside that much.
Restaurants - $100
Like mentioned above, I don’t like to eat out that much. I do love to cook, so I cook in bulk every Sunday - almost for the entire week.
Not eating outside is a fantastic life-hack if you want to save money and stay healthy at the same time. Trust me!
Try it out for a month; you will genuinely love this process.
Vacation - $300
This is the amount I budget out each month. That doesn’t mean I go on a vacation and spend all $300 every month. I keep saving it so that I can use it for the big vacations - like the Maldives trip I am planning next year.
I use M1 Finance to save up for my big vacations. I have created a short-term goals pie on M1 Finance that I fund every week. The cake is made up of super safe stocks and some bonds. Basically, it is designed to give me a return of at least 3-4% before I take out the money.
If you are just getting started with investing and savings - you should definitely read my reviews on M1 Finance here.
Getting back to my vacations - I usually do 2-4 such big holidays each year.
Miscellaneous - $200
Well, I am a human being, and naturally, I like to pamper myself. So, I have set aside a small budget to enjoy life.
I use it for movies, parlour, fun shopping, and buying a lot of tech gadgets.
I am a big fan of tech gadgets, and I like to try out all the latest and the greatest apple and google tech. My next big purchase is going to be Apple Watch Series 5.
You should be mindful about spending on buying fun things. I am still using my iPhone 6s, which I purchased four years back.
So, you should know how to maintain a balance of saving and spending on your passion. And, when it comes to parlours - I do it out of necessity because I have to meet clients and I need to look decent. 😎
All in all, I spend about $1500 each month. I do understand that is super low for some of you and most of it is because I don’t have any rent to pay.
But, moving along the trick is to cut down on personal expenses as much as you can and go all-in on those expenses that will make you more money like buying a course, booking a seminar to attend, getting 1:1 mentorship from someone you adore.
Plus, this is not constant every single month. I am a human being too. Even I feel like going on an extra vacation or eat out in a fine-dine restaurant once in a while.
But, you should gauge yourself at every step and pamper yourself for every deserving accomplishment of yours.
This is the whole idea of an FI-Life. A Financially Independent Life.
You cut down on unnecessary expenses. And go all-in on the things that you value the most.
Having fewer expenses also means a stress-free life. There are fewer things to worry about and enjoy the little things that you have to the fullest. The perfect minimalist lifestyle that I preach about all the time.
I hope you got an in-depth understanding of how much I spend and what I spend my money on. The main takeaway from this is that your expenses should not depend on how much money you make. It should only depend on those things you value the most in your life. Stop buying things to show them off.
If money remains after all your expenses - pat your back. That is the best situation to be in. Now go ahead and invest the remainder. That is the only trick you will need to build your wealth quickly.
And, if you want to put this money-making machine on auto-pilot do read our blog article on How to create wealth with no money in hands.