Originally Posted by dancebaraka
My sense is that being debt free is the key here and waiting to get things until you can get them outright. Of course, things always come up and this simply is not possible for everyone.
DH had the great fortune to inherit some stocks. We sold those and strategically downsized, and this is the core reason we can live the way we do. I understand that most folks are not so fortunate.
However, my thinking is, what *can* you do to get closer to debt free living asap? Having had the experience of being dirt poor in the past and being relatively free right now, I just know that everything is set up easier for folks without tons of expenses. I would do almost anything in my power at this point to maintain my level of financial freedom.
Not everyone thinks this way, though, and that is ok. My sister's family for example inherited enough $ to pay off their house. A few years later, they have moved to a better neighborhood with better schools and traded in their low car payments for a new minivan payment. I went over there the other day, and they had a new flat screen tv! They are back in debt. They aren't struggling though, they work their behinds off and are basically married to a life of 40hr work weeks until they retire. They are doing great, though, and I don't share this to judge their choices at all. I am just saying that I value my financial freedom more than "moving up" in the world. If we came into some kind of windfall right now, I'd pay the rest of the student loan off, and save most of the rest, maybe blowing a bit of it on some amazing experience. I won't ever have a car payment again. I am cool to drive whatever car I won't need to have a payment on. I won't ever use a credit card again in my life except in the case of a major emergency. But we plan for emergency too.
I can totally see myself being a millionaire in this life.. seriously! But no one will likely ever know it when it happens, cuz I'll still be driving a middle class car and coupoing
The key is living debt free. Even if it takes 30 years to get there, you will grow wildly and exponentially wealthy thereafter.
I like the way you think Dancebaraka!
That's the same way I feel about financial stuff.
I was unable to work for several years because of medical reasons, but was able to get by on about $5,000 a year or less. Just me though, and I was able to live in an unrented townhouse that my friend had available, so I didn't have housing payments. If I wasn't fortunate to have that option, I probably would have either moved in with the folks or just rented an inexpensive room from someone looking for a roomate, or something. Not ideal, but sometimes you have to do what you have to do, you know?
Still, I think $14,000 for a small family can be doable, but you'd have to be creative and make tough decisions about what you really need. Those three years with no income really made me reassess what was truly a necessity.
I haven't had cable tv for many years and to tell you the truth, I don't miss it at all.
I have a cell phone that I keep in my car only for emergencies, and it is on my friend's business plan because he ends up using all the minutes I don't use, so it costs me nothing, but makes me feel more secure when I'm driving my 1995 Toyota Corolla. (No car payments, super cheap insurance.)
My home phone is the awesome Ooma system which cost around $200 to buy, but now I never have to pay anything else for free US local and long distance phone service and the quality is outstanding. (You have to have high speed internet service to use it though.) http://www.amazon.com/ooma-Phone-Sys...2123151&sr=8-1
No monthly phone bills = awesome!
The only paper products I buy is one 12-pack double roll toilet paper package per year. (I use it for #2, and other than that I use cut up organic cotton fleece.) I use cloth napkins, pads, paper towel replacements, tissue replacements etc. It really saves a lot of money each year.
I minimize my car use and only fill my 10 gallon tank every 2-3 months, so I only spend about $100-$150 a year on gasoline.
I try to buy mostly organic food, but I tend to eat a smaller amount of higher quality food. I feel full pretty easily, and stop as soon as I feel full, saving what's left for another meal.
For most people in a HCofL area with expensive housing like California, I'm sure it would be incredibly difficult for a family to live on so little. They would probably have to get creative and either co-house with friends and family, or barter to lower the cost or something.
Craigslist and Freecycle can be good resources to pick up things you need cheaply or for free.