My Frugal Journey

A young mans journey to financial independence through frugality

I’m not proud of March

This month sucked and it’s my own fault. I didn’t have any big emergency or unexpected expenses, I was just an idiot. This month was the first month of moving out and in my own place again and while I came out ahead it could of been a lot better. The goals this month were to put some money back which I accomplished but it could of been over $800 instead of only $540 and this is where I just feel really bad about it. So my March spending and left over looks like this:

Total bring home Income – $2,162
Total spent – $1,622
Total leftover – $540

The $540 has to last me until the 10th and I have a couple bills due which should total about $75, so we’ll call the leftovers for March $465 which still is better than nothing. A couple things I’ve done to decrease my monthly bills include moving to the $60 a year for XBox Live, I cancelled Hulu and Netflix and instead went with Amazon Student Prime for the streaming video and free two day shipping. I’m also going to try and cut down on the grocery bill by getting as much stuff as possible that I cook myself instead of boxed dinner. I think for the first month or so of trying this it might be a little over my budget while I get what I need but over the next few months it should even out. The biggest thing I’m looking forward to is homemade bread, I absolutely love the smell of bread and working from home I’ll typically just eat a sandwich for lunch since it’s simple and allows me to make better use of that hour.

An event coming up that may hinder the savings plan is my birthday is in May and one half of my family always goes camping Memorial Day weekend so going to being saving some extra for that trip. My girlfriend, her son and myself are going to be renting a small cabin for $45 a night so not to bad for 3 nights and then the days will be spent with family. I’m really looking forward to it but still am in the mindset that I hate spending money and don’t want to. I’m ready for a vacation though and it’ll be nice to cut loose a little bit.

Time to get started on this again

Hello,

It’s been a while since I’ve logged in and made a post and I fell off the band wagon a bit, quite a bit actually but I have a renewed vigor. As of now, I’m working one job, was brought on full time about a month ago and loving it. It’s still from home which is awesome but it was a pay cut by a couple hundred a month which isn’t to bad. So below is my updated income and expense report and I’m open to any and all suggestions on making this work and better use of my money.

Total after tax and benefits income – $2,000
Rent – $525(Have thought about a roommate but undecided)
Electric – $100
Internet – $40
Cell – $55
Car – $200
Insurance – $130
Hulu – $8
Netflix – $9
Dates – $150
Gas – $75
Groceries – $200
Credit Cards – $150(Going to use the left over funds to pay off all CC debt and then use the CC in the event of any emergencies until a real Emergency Fund is built up with the left over and the additional $150.)
Total Expenses – $1,642
Total Leftover – $358

I really really dislike that left over number. I’m looking at getting OT when able, cutting down on groceries by doing a small bucket garden in the back, and cooking all my meals 100%, nothing boxed or pre-made. I work 12pm-9pm Mon-Fri so this will hopefully be pretty easy. I’m hoping to get back in this mindset easily, no blowing money on stupid things, locking up the CC and deleting it from online shopping outlets. I’ve been thinking of getting some furniture for the new place and maybe a washer/dryer but honestly I don’t think I need them at this point and should focus any additional funds towards getting closer to the goals I put in place a few months ago.

I’m really hoping to update this more but that’s usually what happens with I try to write my stuff down, I’m with it for a couple months or so and then forget about it. This article from Mr. Money Mustache helped me decide to start back up and recommend check him out if you have a moment. Alright, let’s go!

Update on No Spend September

Hey everyone, sorry for not getting to post last week, it’s been really busy with everything at work. So as post my last post, I was considering moving and finally decided to go to Springfield, MO. I found a great 2bed/1.5bath for $515 a month. It’s quite a bit more than I pay now but Ill be fine, just have to cut down my savings to only $500 a month. With this my monthly spending is a little over $1500 and with work this time of year they always offer a ton of OT which will help.

My plan is to maybe look at a roommate in the future to help with costs but for now I’m just going to be my myself. I don’t have to put down a lot of money this month since rent will be prorated and any deposits won’t be due until my first bills are due sometime in November. A couple things that I will be looking at are a washer and dryer and I really do not want to go to the ┬álaundromat. Frugal means different things to people and I try to be frugal with my money and time so feel my own washer and dryer would be a time saver.

The furnace in the townhome uses gas and its an upstairs and downstairs home. I would love some tips and advice on saving on heating costs for the winter. I honestly enjoy a cold apartment so I probably won’t use it for awhile. But anyways that’s a brief update of everything going on with my life and adventure. Any tips, advice or cool places to check out in Springfield, MO, leave a comment and let me know.

As far as spending this month, I did have to put in a couple application fees totaling $60, a $100 reservation fee, and will be heading up there Sunday to sign everything and get everything turned on so gas will probably be $60 or so.

August income and spending summary

Hello everyone, so going in to this No Spend September thing is a welcomed activity after August. I didn’t spend a lot, but with birthdays and unexpected bills I’m still where I should be but not where I want to be. For August, my spending vs income looks like this:

Total after-tax income – $2,821.53
Rent – 0 (My brother owed me some money so he is paying full rent for August and September)
Utilities – $140
Internet – $75
Mobile – $55
Groceries – $136
Auto – $210
Savings – $1,000
Brothers truck repair – $770
Gifts – $200
Entertainment – $156

Total Spending – $2,742

So as you can see, this month kind of sucked. I want to be able to try and get to save over $1,000 a month and I was on track to this until my brothers truck broke down. I’m faced with a dilemma because my brother will be leaving to join the Army and I will either need to stay where I’m at or find a new place to live. If I find a new place and have to move that kind of shoots down my No Spend September so I’m still debating. Right now though I’m looking t Springfield, MO which the average rent seems to be around $450-$600 which is going to suck.

Goals for September:
1. Only spend on the absolute necessities: bills, food, etc. No music, movies, alcohol.
2. With new product and services launches at both jobs I will be working lots of hours so going to try get as many as I can comfortably do.
3. Move my savings contribution to $1,500-$1,800 for the month. If I move in September this will probably not be met.
4. Do a weekly post here, probably on Sundays nights, with brief summaries of the week.

No Spend September

Hello everyone, this is going to be a short post but here it goes. The last few months have been filled with events, birthdays and such that I couldn’t really give the no spending thing a serious try. I probably could of but I just didn’t so I’m going to commit to it in September since I don’t have anything planned.

So for the month of September, Im only going to buy groceries once a week and completely plan my meals and make one trip to the store. I’ll of course use whatever I have in my cupboards but if I forget something I’ll have to do without until the next week. No eating out, no little gifts or iTunes or App purchases for my devices. I’m keeping it at just mandantory bills and food, a little gas, etc.

Even though I keep a pretty tight lid on my spending already doing this every so often will help me reach those savings goals I put in my last post. Anyways, if you’ve been thinking of trying to save money then I urge you to do this and see how much you can save.

Hello, Im Seth. – An Introduction

Hello everyone, I’m not sure how many people will be reading this but I’ve decided to put it out here as a way to track my journey. I’ll let you know a couple things ahead of time and the first is I was never good in English class. My sentence structure at times may be lacking so I’ll apologize for that now and hope it doesn’t deter others. My purpose in this blog and the frugal lifestyle is to become financially independent. I do not plan on going into debt to buy a car or house and I would like to be able to retire early off my savings and investment withdrawals.

So a little about me, for starters my name is Seth Hall. I’m 24 years old, male, currently living in Arkansas where I was born and raised. I work in the IT industry and have been lucky in the fact my current jobs, yes I work two, have been able to be from home and so I save more money then I would normally be able to. Below I have provided my bills and basic monthly bills and savings goals. I’ve put in place a minimum savings goal each month of $1,000 but sometimes will put in a couple extra hundred or two.

I will say I’ve only been more conscious of my spending since around April or May and only recently started using Mint.com to track my transactions, income, savings goals, etc. Mint has been great and I definitely recommend it to everyone since it can connect to your bank account to download those transaction and you can link a goal with a particular account. In short, Mint is great, use it.

Monthly Income – $2,000 at a minimum, it’s usually more but I’ve been taking a day off every week from one of my jobs and that job also provided a weekly bonus which is usually between $60-$110 but I chose not to include it because it’s not guaranteed. This is after taxes and a 44 hour week, although with the extra day it’ll put me up to 50 if I actually work it. It may not seem like much but you have to think, this is from home where I can work in my underwear if I wanted to, although I don’t. I don’t have to pay a lot of gas to go back and forth to work, vehicle maintenance is very minimal and I’m not tempted to go eat lunch with co-workers and spend $8 a day on that.

Monthly Bills:
Rent – $175.00 (My brother and I live together so it’s pretty cheap)
Electric – $50
Water – $20
Internet – $50
Cell – $55
Auto Insurance – $130
Groceries – $100
Bills Total – $580
Savings – $1,000

As you can see from my income vs bills, I still have a little over $400 a month of fun money. Typically, I’ll eat out once a week but I’ll usually just throw it in a backup checking or savings account.

Goals to reach:
1. I want to become as self sufficient as possible. I’m currently saving to buy at least 5 acres to have a decent garden, greenhouse, chickens, maybe a couple pigs and a couple goats. I expect this to be between $10,000-$15,000.
2. I do not want to buy a large house because honestly I don’t need that much space and do not want to go in to debt or have a 15-30 year mortgage. In my opinion that’s dumb and want to pay cash for everything I do. I plan on buying a pre-made building and then building the rest myself. I anticipate this to be $20,000 but may be lower on what type of building I go with.

This is something new to me and as I mentioned at first, not a good writer or blogger. I’m hoping maybe this will inspire others to not feel like going in to debt to get what they want in life is needed. I’m interested in thoughts, opinions, your own advice and personal experiences so leave me some comments and follow my Twitter and Facebook and my posts will be published there as well.

Thank you,
– Seth Hall