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Happily Living off of 30% of our income

September 6, 2012
Barcelona, Park Guell by Antonio Gaudi

The not-so-Frugal-Nurse, before she got on a budget, in Barcelona.

Sounds miserable doesn’t it? 30% of our income?!?!?!?!?  It’s one of the best decisions my husband and I ever made.  But what about fancy vacations and big monster TV’s and dining out luxuriously? Not anymore. We are finding out how to have more fun while on a budget and that happiness doesn’t equate having more “stuff.”  According to this article half of Americans spend more than they earn and don’t even realize it…..yikes!!! Or as my mother would say “uy Dios mio.”

I was looking at our recent spending report this morning and was shocked that it got down to 30%!  It used to be 40%.  This 30% includes our mortgage, utilities, food, water, and all other expenses we use to live off of (clothing, spending money, insurance, 401 savings.) The other 70% comprises of 10% that we donate and 60% that we use for our mortgage debt reduction.

I used to think that as soon as we are done paying off our mortgage (hopefully by september of next year) that we would go back to our regular excessive spending habits and live a “normal” life.  Hell no!  It has now become our way of life. Want to go to the movies? Let’s use one of our gift cards first. Want to dine out tonight? Let’s see if there is a coupon.

We were a normal American married couple from that article: spending more then we earned!  We have converted from the dark side over to the frugal side and so can you.  The key thing is getting on a budget that works for you and your partner.  What has worked for us is the program called YNAB (you need a budget.)

Getting on a budget has helped us to become a “team” and get on the same page with our spending and goals.

Questions for you: What is the percentage of your income that you are living off of? Do you feel the need to spend less then you are already?  Is the American Dream to spend more then you earn and be happy doing it?

Disclaimer: YNAB does not pay me to promote them, I choose to because they have worked so well for us and many of our friends. They mainly advertise by word-of-mouth because their product is so awesome. If you click on the link you can get $6 off the software and I will also get $6 😉

31 Comments leave one →
  1. September 6, 2012 12:27 pm

    Good for you! As you know as of this month we officially have enough money to pay off our mortgage 3 years into our first 5 year term if we want to. We are holding off so we can build up our emergency savings for the next couple of months. We could not have done this without using a budget, one which we easily created in excel. Like the both of you we find frugal ways to have fun and enjoy life. The best feeling hasn’t hit us yet but I’m sure once we have the paperwork that says our house is ours we will be hosting a frugal party haha.. Keep at it… you are both doing awesome!! Waiting for you at the finish line…. Cheers Mr.CBB

    • September 8, 2012 2:05 pm

      That is awesome!!!! It’s amazing what a budget can do for your financial “fitness”. I want to know your ideas for your frugal party…will you announce it as a debt free party?

      • September 8, 2012 2:12 pm

        To be honest we don’t really tell our friends and family about our finances. The reason is that people start asking for money etc because they think we have lots and we don’t. We don’t want to give people that option. We are quite happy having people know we are still paying our mortgage and struggling just like the next person. We don’t want to run with the high rollers but we also don’t want people asking us because they think we have money. I know they should understand blah blah but reality is.. we just don’t care to be put in that situation. Maybe we will celebrate on our own. Do you ever have friends and family asking you for money or help because they think you are both well ahead of the game and you should be able to help when they ask?

      • September 10, 2012 4:30 pm

        We have never had friends or family ask us for money, and everyone knows what we are doing. If they ever asked us….we would say “no.” We don’t want to enable…..the only exception is if we felt like we could just give them some money without expecting repayment in a dire circumstance. I don’t think people think we are rich because of what we are doing either, they see how much and hard we work.

  2. September 6, 2012 12:58 pm

    Good for you! I am a very good saver, but lately I seem to be splurging a little more than normal, so I need to get that under control!

    xo Jennifer

  3. September 6, 2012 2:06 pm

    Oh my goodness, this is exactly the change I need to make!! I seriously need to make a budget and stick to it! Actually the word budget gives makes me cringe, so sad but true. Every paycheck I tell myself I am going to “save” next thing I know I am spending on the most random ridiculous things… I need to make a change! Can you tell us how to begin? What’s step one? Actually step two, because I am admiting I have a problem – step one.

    Thank you for visiting my blog.

    • September 8, 2012 2:31 pm

      ha ha!!! Yes, “I’m Catcristy and I have a spending problem” is the first step so great job 😉 The second step is to save $1,000 as your emergency fund if you don’t have one already. I learned everything I know from Dave Ramsey, so I would definitely recommend checking out his radio show or website 😉 Other big things to do: get on a budget, stop living paycheck to paycheck, pay off all debts: smallest to largest and save for a bigger emergency fund of 3-6 months expenses.

      • September 10, 2012 9:21 am

        Thank you very much for this information! I will definitely do some research on Dave Ramsey.
        Thank you, Cat.

  4. September 6, 2012 5:12 pm

    Hey- I linked you on my latest post if you’d like to check it out.

    • September 7, 2012 9:17 am

      Hey J-bo! I’m about to check it out right now….you rock 😉 Thanks!!!!

  5. September 6, 2012 6:15 pm

    That’s impressive! We used to be at 40% but then we had kids (and stopped getting cost of living increases), and they’ve added another 20 percentage points so we’re at around 60%.

    Next year, when DH leaves his job, we’ll be just under 100% of take-home pay, not counting the 12% that goes to retirement. We’d love suggestions on what to do with DH’s pay this year while we still have it.

    • September 8, 2012 2:35 pm

      It really depends what your goals are. Are you guys trying to retire early? Pay off debts? When DH leaves his job is he going to be generating any other income? Possibilities include: paying off any debt, saving it, and investing it in retirement.

      • September 8, 2012 2:54 pm

        Our only debt is mortgage. We don’t have any idea whether he’ll be generating any income, and if so, when.

  6. September 7, 2012 12:20 am

    I’m almost afraid to think of what % of my income I live on; it goes in waves; during back to school season it’s ridiculous… then there are birthdays and holidays and all the other excuses I could imagine.

    I really need to sit down and just pound this out so I can say something as phenomenal as 30% lol, a lot depends on what consultant job I’m doing at the time.

    • September 10, 2012 3:13 pm

      I never ever thought I would say that we are living off of 30%……and I liked to spend A LOT OF MONEY 🙂 So if I can do it……anyone can do it!!!!

    • September 10, 2012 3:15 pm

      Also, I have tried to click on your webpage multiple times and my browser doesn’t let me for some reason…..any ideas?

  7. sensaatio permalink
    September 7, 2012 1:53 am

    It’s really awesome you can do that, I’m a hopeless spender… perhaps I should learn to save up some money too 😀

  8. September 7, 2012 9:19 am

    That is so great!!!! Congrats! We’re not quite that low, but working on it for sure.

  9. Swoozie permalink
    September 7, 2012 4:21 pm

    I’m with ya, sister! We are just like you guys – saving more, living simply, and not sweating bullets on how to pay the bills! We have ZERO debt, and $20K coming in a month in retirement income. (we were able to retire early since we were such great savers). We don’t even spend HALF of that!!! If I could tell young people one thing – it would be DO NOT try to keep up with the Joneses! You are forfeiting future freedom (retirement) for all the crap you think you need today!

    • September 10, 2012 4:15 pm

      Wow…..that’s so awesome!!!!! I want to be like you someday!!! How old were you when you retired? What did was your professions? That is so inspiring! Love that 😉

  10. September 7, 2012 7:08 pm

    You guys are PF rockstars. That is all.

  11. September 7, 2012 7:15 pm

    This is awesome. I recommend 20%. If you can do that just for 7-8 years after you pay off your mortgage, you can retire. Then you can focus on growing your nest egg and enjoying simple pleasures.

    • September 10, 2012 4:18 pm

      That would be awesome……there is almost nowhere to cut in our expenses anymore. All of our categories are pretty bare-bones. WE still plan on retiring early, it will just take us a little bit longer.

  12. September 8, 2012 8:15 am

    I can’t live off 30% because it’d only be $700ish dollars, but live off of a bit over $1000 and I am okay with that for now!! Once my income increases further it will decrease the % that I live off of. Good for you two for being so great at being frugal !

  13. September 14, 2012 6:55 am

    Wow, 30% of income is so inspirational, Nurse Frugal. You guys -are- rocking it!

  14. September 20, 2012 5:53 pm

    Wow ur so inspirational! I am one of those persons who often overspend and currently having problem to spend less but spending 30% of your income is so inspirational! I need to try to do that as well ! Soon!


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