Set your priorities as everyone is different. Something that works for me may not work for you. The tips below are based on my experience and my personal preference. Hopefully, using a few of these can help you save money for investment, traveling, retiring early, or help your mom out on paying off that mortgage.
Reduce your housing cost
I don’t mind living with others, actually prefer it. You may or may not be able to do this, so I would encourage you to think first before doing it. Of course, your sanity is a priority. But I was able to use the trick below to help me travel the world in 2018 and every other weekend while I lived in London.
I was able to reduce my living cost by always sharing a home with others in a roommate (housemate) setup. Although I do have to give up a lot of personal space, the upside is well worth it. My lowest housing expense was in Melbourne, Australia as I kept it to about 12% of my after-tax income. Even in London, I tried to keep it under 20% of my income. I was also living in the most central areas in both Melbourne and London. You will have to kiss a few frogs before you find a good place, but they are out there, and don’t give up.
Rent is consuming a large part of Californians’ earnings. Rent accounts for at least 30% of a typical family’s income in more than two-thirds of California zip codes. In San Francisco, one of the most expensive places in California, rents are high. Residents are spending around 25% of their income on it. Residents in a few zip codes on the south side, such as the area around Lake Merced, pay about 38% of their income on rent. A similar mismatch between income and rent can be found in other sections of the Bay Area. Residents in East Oakland pay between 30 and 38 percent of their income on rent in several zip areas.
While in the US, rent is where almost everyone overspends. The biggest piece on the average American’s budget goes to their housing expenses, which cost them 37% of their take-home pay. A lot of people even spend more than this. Spending a lot of money on rent cannot be avoided. It is one of the essential things that we need, and spending on housing expenses can lead to a more comfortable future.
Theoretical savings from shared living. If you’re single and live by yourself, your total cost of housing maybe $2,000 per month. This is according to the rental data from Abodo.com. We can find the average rents for one, two, and three-bedroom rentals in four major metro areas around the US: Austin, San Francisco, Atlanta, and New York City.
- Get one roommate, save 29%. Your cost goes down to √2/2 = 1.414/2 = 71% of living alone, or down to $1,420 per month and a savings of $580.
- Get two roommates, save 42%. Your cost goes down to √3/3 = 1.73/3 = 58% of living alone, or $1,160 per month and a savings of $840.
- Get three roommates, save 50%. Your cost goes down to √4/4 = 2/4 = 50% of living alone, or $1,000 per month and a savings of $1000.
As housing expenses are usually one of the largest expenses someone could have, reducing it as much as I can reduce the majority of my living overheads.
Cut out alcohol
I realized how much money I was spending by casually drinking a few drinks with friends every time we went out. Having a handful of drinks a week when dining out, or having a night out, really adds up. Especially when I was living in Australia from 2011 – 2016, a cocktail is $18-22! My lowest rent was only $500/month!
Set your priorities as everyone is different. Something that works for me may not work for you.
Have you cut out alcohol in your life for “Dry July” or “Ocsober?” How did it work out? Share your experience with us!