Monday, October 24, 2011

Living Well on What You Make

I'm jumping on Serendipity's bandwagon with ee musings!

Do you avoid a lot of the expenses that many of your peers spend money on, such as technology and meals out?
Kind of - Peanut and I have two great desktop computers plus a laptop, and we each have a smart phone. However, Peanut builds all of our computers from scratch, so we're saving about half of what they would cost otherwise. I bring my lunch to work every day - EVERY.DAY. (It helps that there's really nowhere to go for lunch around my office.) Probably where we save the most is with entertainment and clothing - Peanut's tastes are very simple, and I just don't do a lot of shopping. I'd bet we've spent less than $1,000 for the two of us for the past several years. We also share a car instead of each having our own.

What's your typical meal?
We make things like tacos (we love tacos!), crockpot chili, pasta, homemade pizza, fried rice, buffalo chicken salads - pretty simple stuff. We like eggs and toast or oatmeal for breakfast, and I like salads or PB&J for lunch.

What about clothes?
Oh, see above! Peanut wears jeans and t-shirts and a hoodie every single day. He looks like a perpetual teenager (an ADORABLE one). We liked living in New York, where he could get plain t-shirts for $4 each at Uniqlo. I like a lot more variety in my wardrobe, but I'm still allergic to paying a lot of money for stuff. I probably need to do a decluttering and another shopping trip for winter - I don't even have any work appropriate shoes that aren't summer flats!

What about going on dates?
We usually hang out with friends rather than going on one-on-one dates now that we're married. We eat out about once a week as a date, whether it's solo or with the group.

Do you indulge in any luxuries?
Oh, sure. Peanut eats out about half the week with his coworkers. We do like our technology. I've always had semi-expensive hobbies, like dance or yoga classes, and I'm now getting into quilting and sewing. Much of our life is luxurious compared to the rest of the world - we live downtown, have lots of space, own a car, go to the movies, buy whatever we want for groceries.

Do you have health insurance?
Yes - I have spent WAY too much time in the last week digging into our health insurance to figure out which coverage is better (we can get it from either of our employers). I've got a post to come on this!

Do you have any savings for emergencies?
Yes. We have an emergency fund that is eight to ten months of our current standard of living, and a year if we tightened our belts. It won't get touched for anything other than a catastrophe - job loss, car wreck, medical emergency.

Do you anticipate or look forward to having a higher salary one day?
Probably. I took a pretty serious pay cut with our move (40%) so I know that I can command a higher salary - I'm just not sure if I can do it outside of New York. I'm mostly looking for a nice work-life balance and a job I enjoy rather than a higher salary at this point.

What about retirement--do you plan on ever saving enough to retire?
Boy, I hope so. We've maxed out our Roths for a few years running, and in the past we contributed to 401Ks up to the match (we're currently not eligible because we're both so new at our jobs, but as soon we're eligible, we'll do the same). Right now we're putting away a little more than 13% of our pre-tax income. It still feels like it's not enough, but then, I feel like it's going to be really hard to predict what we'll actually need to retire. I'd like to get to the point of contributing 15-20%, then paying off a mortgage, then starting to max out both a Roth and a 401k for each of us each year. And I'd like the market to stop fluctuating so I can actually see some growth!

1 comment:

  1. This is very similar to my husband and I, we are on the same track with financial goals. We also love tacos and had them for dinner last night.

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