We are not rich. We earn the average salary in our area and dread the student loan bills every month. This is in addition to living in one of the most expensive cities of the US, paying for lodging, utilities and many other expenses. We can afford travel and activities we love doing by being smart with our finances. Living expenses are unavoidable but paying little money for them is optional. That’s where our monetary freedom is born.
I am sharing our journey to liberation with the hopes it can get someone in the right path to their dream goals, whether these goals are traveling the world, spending more family time or starting a business.
We Stopped Paying For Rent
Even though home prices fluctuate with the economy, rent prices do not. Rent costs keep rising every passing day. Renting is not an investment but a liability because it will never generate money for you. With this thought, we bought a home. It wasn’t new or big, nor did it have new appliances but it had what we needed, ‘room for improvement’. We divided the house and a month later we earned the title of landlord. Our monthly payments dropped from 1500 to 680. If buying a home is not an option, renting a place and splitting the costs with a roommate is the smart choice. For example a two bedroom apartment in Miami would cost around $1300 with electricity. Splitting the costs would result in a $650 bill each month, a price which is rare to find anywhere. This strategy works just as well in a less populous area.
Our Meals Cost Us $2.30 – Cooked In Less than 20 Minutes
My fiancé and I are slim, in both weight and food expenditures. We eat everything and anything and our meals are varied. Our hidden secret is a pressure cooker. A pressure cooker will cook anything in a matter of minutes, rice, beans, meat poultry etc., just add seasonings! Another great appliance to have is an air fryer. Air fryers are just a smarter oven that can mimic fried foods in a healthier and fast manner. We find great prices in small, local shops when it comes to fish and produce. Meat is best bought in larger retailers such as Wal-Mart as they can offer better prices. Fish is not an option for large corporations as they have been frozen for too long and prices tend to be higher because of import rates, an issue not found in most local shops that can acquire fish from near-by fishermen. Our biggest cost goes on the main groceries (meat, rice, produce etc.) and tends to be around the $68 range ($13 in chicken breasts from Walmart, $20 in fish, $20 in red meats and the rest in produce).
I Got Rid of My Car Debt
I owned a new car which set me back around $550 a month, including insurance. Worst of all I still had 5 years of payment to go. The solution was simple, get a car dealer to acquire my debt. This meant I could get money back from my car (in the event it was worth more than I owed) or pay the difference and be debt free. Two wrongs don’t make a right, so never keep the car even if it means paying the devaluation difference. It’s better to pay 2k now and save 15k later. For more details on how I accomplished this read: here.
Student Loan Payments Were Cut In Half
There is no way to get rid of student loan payments in the U.S. but there are ways to pay little for them. We each owe a considerable amount in student loans so reducing their impact on our monthly expenses was vital. There are two main types of loans, federal and private. Federal allows payments to be dependent on earnings. Private loans are set and cannot be adjusted based on yearly wages. Both charge a certain interest amount which can be refinanced. If federal loans are refinanced, they become private and the ability of these loans to be adjusted based on earnings is lost. The strategy we used was to only refinance private loans. We checked our current interest rates and called three banks and chose one based on their interest rate and terms. The three banks we used were: SoFi, Earnest and CommonBond.
Paying For Cable Is a Thing Of The Past
Cable is expensive and gives you nothing but commercials and overplayed movies from a decade ago, in the best cases! Using a combination of streaming services and a Fire Stick from Amazon, we have all the television we can watch. Netflix is good for movies and documentaries, while HBO and Hulu can satisfy the hungriest television series craving. The bottom line is, a combination of streaming services will cost less than cable and provide ‘more for your buck’.
Though the specifics of this writing are targeted for people in first-world countries there is nothing that cannot be applied anywhere else. The premise behind our journey was being smart with our resources in order to accomplish our goals, an asset that can be utilized by anyone, anywhere. Only imagination can be an impediment towards the things one can do in order to achieve goals and dreams. I am lucky to have a great partner that has been very helpful in our research towards financial freedom and our immediate goals but, being single does have its many benefits. Just bend your current resources to your will and not the other way around!
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