Saturday, January 21, 2017

Welcome to 2017: New Horizons

It's been a while since I wrote about my frugal ways, and I wanted to assure readers that I'm still cheap. What's more: I survived Christmas and actually gave gifts this year.

Let me remind everyone here of certain conditions: For all of 2016, I made $12/hr, working full time. I took off 6 weeks between jobs, and still earned just over $17k last year. I've lived in my own one-bedroom apartment and currently pay rent of just under $800, plus power and internet. Financial vices: I order pizza or go out to eat once a week (I still give tips!), I spend about $20 per month on coffee beans, and there are some video game releases that I just can't wait for.

So with no packaging, and the
console store directly selling it
...why isn't it 25% cheaper?
I still make impulse purchases and have a sweet tooth just like everyone else. However, (my girlfriend and) I cook, I don't own a car, my phone plan is $2.50 per month, I don't order coffee, I shop at thrift stores to furnish my apartment, and I look at investing and frugality as exciting challenges, a little like trophy hunting in video games. I also don't have children, and my partner doesn't expect lavish gifts (poor girl, hang in there :) ) Almost all of my friends drive, so I still get a social life. Also, we all have PS4s, which means we don't have to individually buy every single hot title. Side note, don't buy digital game releases! No one can borrow them, and they're still stupidly priced the same (or more expensive) than a disc that took material to produce. For the most part, Amazon sells hard copies of new releases for $48 + tax, where the digital versions will cost $60 + tax. Why?

Again, my 2016 income was $17,000, which is certainly above the federal poverty level, but also 1/3rd of the US median income. I have managed to sock away $3000, or 17% of it. I'm bragging about this because I think it was hard-earned, but it's also a reminder of all of my readers and their friends to go over their finances every once in a while, and really think about where your income is going. I even made a spreadsheet of all my paychecks and investments (into Vanguard ETFs), and subtracted stock bought with money I already had invested. Just imagine how well I could do when minimum wage jumps to $15/hr, or if I land a better-paying job!?

If you stopped reading and saying, "I can't do this!" or "He's full of shit!" at me having no children, or you just can't give up your daily coffee trip, that's fine. But don't quit before you start! You can still get on the path to being financially fit by reducing some of your vices rather than cutting them altogether. Maybe some of the other suggestions can help you create savings to invest, or limit your spending. Either way, next time you hear someone who makes $40k or more griping about their finances, you send em on over to this here blog post.

Why is this such a big deal? Post your thoughts, or chat me up next time you see me. I'll let you know in a future post why I'm sold on saving.

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