The holidays approach and I am beginning to settle into my new apartment. I am ready to look at some new numbers: the cost of my new life.
As with other things in life, I only realized how good I had it looking back on the situation. My costs were low and I had someone to share both chores and adventures with.
The biggest choice I made in this transition was to live alone. A truely hard-core personal-finance blogger probably would’ve found a roommate (or two or six!) but, to be honest, I’m not in the frame of mind to do that. I know that I write like I’m fine with all these changes but it’s really quite difficult at times. I joked in an e-mail to a friend about needing the option to cry while baking and not wanting to subject a roommate to that. Sure enough, my totally made-up example of everyday personal difficulty actually happened the other night. I made the right decision to live alone, but I’m going to pay for it.
I’ve come up with a new budget for the same income that I’ve had all long, factoring in my new cost-of-living. You may remember from this summer the fact that I use very simple rules in budgeting. The book “All Your Worth” says (and I live by) 50% needs, 30% wants, 20% savings.
$500 rent (includes heat, gas for stove, and electricity) (Change: +$150)
$100 gas for car (Change: +$25)
$100 food (Change: -$150)
$55 car and renters insurance (-$10)
$30 car repairs (no change)
$5 laundry (+$5, had a washer-dryer)
$790 needs (51% of my income)
$50 cell phone (+$50, I didn’t have a cell phone before)
$35 internet (+35 but after this past month sans internet, non-negotiable!)
$75 Sadie ($-25, but she’s getting old)
$100 gifts (-$50 from before)
$50 clothes/personal care (-$50)
$33 Y membership (no change)
$110 entertainment (no change)
$453 (30% of my income)
The Rest: Savings and retirement accounts
Like I did upon moving to Ellsworth, I’m keeping careful track of what I’m spending money on for the next few months. Sure, I had to buy a few things when I moved out of necessity but that’s what my savings are for and it’s not like I went on a crazy shopping spree. (In moving from 1500 ft.² to 220 ft.², there is more of a getting rid of than acquiring of possessions.)
I’m also looking for other ways I can save some money and has made a few good choices in the last month:
-I canceled the data plan and a few other extras on the cell phone. My bill may actually end up being less than $50 a month when all is said and done.
-I didn’t get cable, which saves me $30 a month but also keeps me from becoming a blob on the couch.
-I shopped around for car insurance and my current agent actually found me the best deal and it’s saving me $10 a month.
-I’m looking at some options to save money on my commute including the possibility of working locally when the week and/or sharing my commute with somebody.
-since I’m within walking distance of a lot of services, I’ve been walking locally everywhere I can.
-My little apartment makes me think twice about buying anything. (I was saying on Twitter the other day how fitting everything into this place is sort of like doing a puzzle that has one answer that I haven’t quite found it yet… it’s kind of true!)
On the surface, my life is costing more but I think it can make this work. Because investing in myself seems like pretty much the safest thing to invest in, matter what is going on in the stock market.