Sunday, August 21, 2011

Oh Hai

OK, I did it again.  I ignored The Blog while life intervened.

In the meanwhile, though, some Stuff happened.

1.  We got moved.
2.  We had visitors - my husband's oldest 2 kids, their mom, and their younger sister visited.
3.  We went to go see my husband's family for their annual family vacation.
4.  We got rid of internet at home.
5.  We had a few weeks of breathlessly hoping that we could afford to make it through August.
6.  We found out that yes, we can make it through August.
7.  We found out that we can totally survive pretty comfortably on my salary alone.

Remember my old post about wanting to research and find out about 1950s cost of living and today's cost of living?  Yeah, we're living that research.

Check out item #4.  "We got rid of internet at home."

$75 per month gone.  At least for now.  Netflix?  Cable?  Gone, too...although the cable was gone long before the Netflix.

One of the bigger shocks to me during the little bit of internet research I did (pardon me for not citing my sources - limited connection time, you know), was that in 1950, 26% of the household budget went toward food, while today Americans spend about half that (US Census Bureau - you can check it yourself.  Google is your friend).  Most of the other budgetary percentages were at least officially the same, which means that in theory the savings we get in food costs go toward our more modern expenses.

This makes no sense to me at all, whatsoever.

With cell service, we spend almost twice what we would on simply a landline.  Quadruple the landline cost if we had smartphones with data plans.  If we had an iPad, cable television, Netflix, a second car, used air conditioning in the summer and propane heat in the winter, bought flatscreen TVs, BluRay discs, made credit card payments, took vacations besides fairly local camping trips, ate out in restaurants, drank Starbucks, went to the movies, etc. etc., we could easily add $1,000 to our monthly budget.  That's a lot more than the modern day savings in food.

Here's our current budget:
1.  Rent + water (combined)
2.  Car payment (which will end in December.  YESSSSSSSSSSS)
3.  Car insurance
4.  Cell phone service
5.  Electricity
6.  Savings (necessities + emergency)
7.  Student loan
8.  Food
9.  Gasoline for the car

Once things get evened out from moving, we can cover our basic expenses on my salary alone, with enough left over to save for $1500 yearly car expenses, $600 for Christmas gifts, modest vacation funds, clothing funds, and emergency savings.  Payable in cash, not credit.

No, we don't have cable, we don't eat out, we don't take spectacular vacations, we don't have the latest gadgets or the most fashionable clothes and accessories, we don't go to the movies or go shopping for fun, we don't buy stuff just because we want it.

We do shop at the discount grocery store, we get most of our clothes at the local thrift shops, we get most of our kid's toys from garage sales or as hand-me-downs, we visit the library (or download public domain e-books for free), we have our kid run around outside in order to PLAY, we give away the things we don't want or need to friends and neighbors and they return the favor whenever applicable to us (BARTERING - it's an ancient concept that works).

In short, we buy or trade for what we need, and forgo what we don't.  And in the end, we have a little left over for a few things we want.

Would it be super awesome to take a trip to the Bahamas or Europe?  Heck yes.  Would I like a new gadget like an iPad, or a service like cable?  Would it be nice to go out for a nice restaurant dinner sometimes?  Of course it would.  But as it turns out, when we can't afford those things and don't buy or use them I don't miss them as much as one might think.  Amazingly, one can survive and even thrive without gourmet coffee and 3G.

We win.

Suck it, Capitalism.

1 comment:

Heather said...

I cannot express in words how awesome I think this post is. But I will try...