A few months ago I shared our $1700 monthly budget. I broke down each of our bills and categories for spending and what we usually bought for the budgeted amount each month. It is one of my most popular blog posts to date. (That and my $25 a month budget post!)
I talk about minimal budgeting a lot here no the blog and I actually have a course coming out at the beginning of June where I teach how to create your own minimal budget that is personal to you! I believe that there is no one size fits all budgeting plan and reject that everything has to be done by percentages. So I teach how exactly to find your minimal budget. Part of that has to do with your income, but a lot of it has to do with what your values are, what your situation is, and what your goals or dreams are for the future.
Which brings me to today’s post. My budget has changed since that last post because our situation has changed. The thing is, our goals haven’t. So in order to keep what is important to us (our values) and chase after our dreams/goals, while still working with our situation we had to reassess and minimize our budget even more! So today I’m breaking down my even more extremely minimal budget.
Let’s do it!
My Extremely Minimal Budget (Under $1300)
This hasn’t changed but we have continued to grow more and more thankful for our little home we’ve found in this one bedroom apartment. We are dreaming of houses but if I had to choose one place to live while we dream, it would be here.
Note: A lot of people in my other post have said that they could never find an apartment for $625 and therefore this budget is “unrealistic for most people”. While I 100% agree finding cheap rent is like searching for a specific book in a thrift store, it’s not impossible. It’s going to take time, patience, sacrifice (the cheaper ones aren’t always as nice as the more expensive ones), and a lot of open mindedness to find a home you can afford and that works for your situation. I’d just encourage you to not see that number and think, “Oh, well she can live minimally because her rent is low.” That is just one of the ways I’ve been able to live minimally, not the only way. If you really want this life you can find your own “low” or “minimal” and make your situation work! :)
Cell Phone $100
We didn’t make any changes to our phone plan but our plan decided to give us an extra 1MB of data every month without any extra cost so that was a nice surprise!
We actually just called into Century Link to see if they had any promotions going on and were able to get our bill down to less than half! We also were able to up our speed to the maximum they have and the price didn’t change! It never hurts to ask guys! Always see if there are promotions going on, any sales you don’t know about, or reward programs you can be apart of! It’s always worth just asking!
Car Insurance $74.15
We haven’t had an accident so our bill has actually lowered without us even doing anything. (Well besides not getting in an accident.) It isn’t a huge difference by any means (a couple bucks maybe), but by now you should realize living minimally means every little bit helps!
It’s summer so that means are bill is going down. (Can I get an Amen!?) But we still budget $100 every month for this bill just to always be on the safe side. Plus it makes up for the months that go over $100 come winter.
Groceries/Eating Out $200
One big change we’ve made is to make our groceries and eating out budget one amount and that amount lower! We decided in order to really minimize our spending we’d try and bring our food amount down. It actually has gone better than expected and at the end of April we had $6 left over! We’ve cut out a lot of bulk buying and instead buy only what we need. We still go out to eat but keep it to a minimal. (If you want to read how we go out to eat for under $20 I wrote about it here!)
Household Items $30
I’ve kept the budgeted amount of $30 for household supplies but I’m essentially not buying something if we really don’t need it! I’ve had money left over because of this almost every month.
We still have gas “budgeted” the same, but truth is we are under every month. One of the reasons we are doing this majorly minimal budget is because Greg and I are both pursuing work from home/flexible schedule jobs. This means we really don’t drive nearly as much as we did. We each fill up maybe twice a month on our cars and we get really good gas milage which helps keep this amount low!
$25 is our base amount but we also talked and knew that gifts wouldn’t be under that amount in the months coming up. We are both in weddings coming up and have a lot of showers, parties, and birthdays that we have had to buy gifts for. So we mostly just focus on finding a great gift for someone at a cheap price we can afford. I do a lot of homemade gifts, or home decor signs for $10 or $5. Things like that are really nice to receive but don’t break the giver’s bank!
Dates, Entertainment, Lydia’s whatever fund, & Greg’s whatever fund $0
We made the decision that while we are pursuing these other things that are important to us, we would cut out what wasn’t when compared. So we cut any extra spending money which for us was the entertainment fund, date fund, and each of our $25 amount budgets. All of that together cut us almost $100 which was worth it to us at this season of life. I’m now using up all those gift cards I save for “a rainy day” if I want to get something for myself!
Giving 10% of whatever income we make
We base our giving at 10% of our income for the month. So at the end of every month we calculate our total income and take 10% out. We also sponsor a child for about $30 but that just comes out of our savings usually and isn’t part of the 10% or our budget itself really. We believe giving back is really an investment in our future and placing faith that God will provide as long as we are 100% trusting in Him with our money. I share this not to toot my own horn but to show you that even if you are living minimally you always have a little something to give back to people with. :)
That total comes to $1,278.09 cost of living.
It’s definitely more minimally than the way we were living but really I don’t feel too much of a difference. The most I notice is that I really want to go thrifting and I don’t have any giftcards to thrift stores. I do however have a little coin jar that is labeled my “Goodwill Fund” so I’ve definitely dug into that a few times over the weeks.
My point is, even though it may seem crazy, undoable, or just not fun, really it’s not bad at all. We spend our days together, hanging out with friends, and working on our dreams and goals. Right now that is what is most important to us, so really we feel like we are living the life!
I hope this encourages you in some way to know it’s not impossible to live minimally and it doesn’t make your life any “less” than others or boring! I wish you the best of luck in your finances! :)