Have you ever thought about how much it costs to just live? Your apartment or house, car payments, food, utilities, etc. ?

I have long thought that the only reason to even have a job is to just get by. After all isn’t JOB an acronym for Just Over Broke?

Let’s see:

Rent 700$

Food 500$

Utilities 200$

Misc 100$

Car insurance 60$

Yup that about takes my monthly pay. I have become what I supposed to be. A drone. Aa cog in the machine. Just going through the motions of existence. This is what we are “trained” to do from a very young age. Go to school, go to university, get a job, be in debt. 

Our parents, who of course are working in jobs that they hate and in are in debt, tell us to do this. Teachers sing the praises of university. Get a student loan, they say. You NEED a degree! What they don’t tell you is the jobless rate of recent graduates. And no one explains debt to high schoolers.

And all the while we are supposed to be happy and enjoy life(which we can do if we plan for it). Oh yes we are also expected to save for our retirement.

When I was younger there was a huge push from the financial planning industry for people to plan for retirement at age 55. And this was probably a realistic goal for some folks.. That age is nowhere to be found now. It is 60 is your are lucky. My own financial advisor keeps saying to me, “Now just look at how much more money you will have if you work until 65”. 

65!! Wow. How lucky for me! 

A repport came out last week here in Canada that 59% of retirees are more in debt now than when they were working. They took on huge debt just before retirement and they still are using credit cards and have lines of credit. Good grief.

I just don’t get it. It says to me that we are just not that bright as a species. How about curbing spending and paying off consumer debt BEFORE retirement? Not always easy I know. 

I am now of the mind set that there has to be more to life than working and sleeping. A person could live on much less if they were to completely rethink the way they live. 

A good start would be to look around and see if there is anything that can be sold or hell just given away. 

What can be done to lower your monthly expenses?

Put every extra cent toward consumer debt to get it gone ASAP. 

Yes it takes serious discipline to do this. The lure of marketers and advertisers is everywhere trying to tempt you to buy shit you do not need.

Is it possible to live for “free”? Or close to it? Could I live in An RV or motorhome? I think I could. People do it. We think of them as eccentric, but maybe they are the smart ones.


Your thoughts? Please comment.








10 thoughts on “The Cost Of Your Life

  1. “No one teaches debt to high schoolers”. I think that about sums it up. We indoctrinate our kids very early in the religion of “plastic”. Kids don’t understand the value of money. They understand the value of a credit card with it’s seemingly never-ending pit of spending power. If we taught our kids about responsible spending earlier not only would it save an entire future generation, but it would force us to live out that example for them.

    I personally fell into the same trap. In college, ton of student loans, fat stack of credit cards, the works. Now, ton of debt that will never be paid off. Currently I have no credit cards and I prefer it that way. I spend what I have or I simply don’t spend. When you have to balance a checkbook and justify every dollar spent against that balance every month, it becomes much easier to focus your time, talent and treasure on things that are meaningful.

    Great post!

  2. Yes, take up a roommate, sell your car and bike or use public transportation (easier said than done in some places, I understand), and $500 on food?? Is it just food for one person? That seems very high, I think I usually get by on about half that, but eating out is out of the question. 🙂 You can do this!

    1. Ha! Yes, $500 on food every month is a lot for one person. Our family of 4 has a grocery budget of $600-700 per month and we eat almost 100% organic and about 80% vegetarian. Food is one area you can save a ton of money every month if you’re diligent. 🙂

  3. I’ll be 49 in October. My goal is “retirement” at 55. I’m a government employee. If I retire from my government job at that age, I’ll be set for an annual pension of approximately $70,000. At that age, my youngest will be done with college, my own student loans from law school will finally be paid off. Between now and then, my principal objective is to downsize and minimize so that I can live on that pension, with a little bit of added revenue from writing or some other thing that I enjoy doing. I actually hope that I will have come up with a way to live on much less than that. After living my life in search of things and working the grind, that target six years from now is all about minimalism.

    1. You have the right idea downsizing and doing with less. Most expect to live with the same standard and go into debt in retirement because they feel they deserve the best of everything.

      It is so liberating to be free of debt and live with what you need. Years ago I asked myself, do I need this or do I want it? When I was honest about wanting and not needing whatever, I let the urge pass.

      I know it is possible to retire early and live comfortably. Financial planners get us worrying about the future if we don’t have millions stashed away. I invested wisely the $70K inherited from my dad and lived on it for ten years. I bought an apartment in Buenos Aires with the $23K from my mother’s estate. Now I live on $800 in social security. Life isn’t about work for me. I retired at 50 and have no need to work. I have time to give back. I write and enjoy every moment.

      1. Wow. Very interesting insight into retirement and what smart planning can do. And you are so right about financial planners instilling fear into us if we do not hundreds of thousands of dollars put away. Thanks so much for commenting.

  4. @kingmidget Sorry to tell you this but you better plan on living on 10% or so of that pension, governments are not going to be able to pay those kinds of sums long term, think Detroit or even Social Security.

    @minimalistlifestyle Yes, you can live in an RV long term. It does take awhile to get used to it, I had to adapt after becoming disabled about 5 years ago. And to this day my Social Security is still in the Appeal process, so I live on maybe $300 a month up to $500 on a good month, it can be done! Here is the part that really surprises me the most, I am no LESS BROKE now than I was working 100 hour weeks!

    And when it comes to bill collectors I have learned a real simple truth, and I have a million dollars worth of medical bills, WHAT CAN’T BE PAID WON’T BE PAID!!! Sadly, that is going to apply to retiree’s as there is No MONEY to pay them, it has been just smoke and mirrors. Right or Wrong, don’t “COUNT” on a pension or Social Security as even IF it still exist YOU may not receive the benefits “promised”.

    Your odds of building and living a decent life are directly tied to HOW Simple you can live!

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