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Living on $2000 a Month – My Friend’s New Budget

I’ve mentioned my friend, Dee, before.  She is the kind of person that will pelt you with perkiness when you are having a bad day.  She just ignores most grumpy moments and waits for you to be normal again.  She also pouts in the cutest way I’ve ever seen, and her soul animal would be a kitten (she already pounces on people when she thinks you are being too lazy or when she is bored).  Overall, she is a hoot to be around and even though we’ve only become friends this year, I hope I still know her when I am old and gray.  I think any nursing home would be lucky to have us two in it at the same time…

Dee’s Goal

Anyway, Dee has a new financial goal.  She would like to buy a good-sized travel trailer and rent some land so that she can own her own place as soon as possible.  And yes, a travel trailer is way more compact and cheaper than an actual house, and that is exactly what she wants.  She is more of a minimalist than me, but it has taken her a while to break some semi-hoarding tendencies that annoyed her.  In fact, she just started her own blog about this – Losing Stuff Gaining Freedom!

Her current apartment lease isn’t up for renewal until August 2014, so she would like to use this next year to save up what she needs, find the trailer, find the land, and then move on with her life.

She came over to my place for her first step, a little help creating a new budget that will allow her to save at least $1000 per month towards her goal.  The trailers that she is looking at range from $4500-$6500 and land around here for that sort of living will cost $250-$450 a month (which is way better than the $855 a month in rent that she pays now).  She wants to save enough to buy the trailer in cash and have a small emergency fund left for anything that pops up.

So to summarize, Dee is aiming to save at least $10,000 by July 31, 2014.

Dee’s New Budget

To reach this goal, she knew she would need to make some big cuts.  She also used a referral link from me (https://r.capitalone360.com/yZwqNpAxXx) to open a CapitalOne360 Savings Account to keep her goal fund separate from the rest of her money.  That link can be used to earn a free $25 for a savings account or $50 for a checking account.

She is a public school art teacher and brings in about $3200 a month after taxes, benefits like health insurance, and a $200 a month contribution to a 403b.  That is separate from the teacher pension plan that is building up for her too.  There are some benefits to being a teacher.  :-)

She also recently bought a little car for cash that has become a money pit, so she has to budget in for maintenance there too.  All of that said, here is the budget that we came up with that she agrees is realistic:

  • Goal Savings Account (she’s paying herself first) – $1000
  • Car Maintenance Savings – $200
  • Rent – $855
  • Car Insurance – $70
  • Gasoline – $160
  • Electricity – $80
  • Internet (DSL) – $50
  • Cell Phone – $45
  • Restaurants (also uses as entertainment with friends) – $300
  • Groceries – $200
  • Teaching – $50
  • Clothing (she’s one of the friends that got me into thrift stores) – $25
  • Entertainment – $25
  • Cash – $20
  • Miscellaneous (to be used for savings too if untouched) – $120
  • TOTAL – $3200 – $2000 for Living Expenses and $1200 for Different Savings Goals

Using Us As Accountability Partners

Dee said she would like to update us regularly with how she is doing to help herself stay on track.  She is the friend of mine that threw herself into weight loss like 3 months ago and is now working out 3-5 times a week in the gym and pushes me to stay on Weight Watchers.  When she sets her mind to something, it happens.  So I am really excited to see how this works out for her!

Do you need some accountability partners for anything?  Just comment below and we can try to keep each other on track.  :-)

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8 comments to Living on $2000 a Month – My Friend’s New Budget

  • I have my husband to keep me accountable for everything money related and I keep him grounded too, when needed.

    Keeping our fingers crossed for your friend, she can surely make it ;)

  • Best of luck, Dee. I hear teachers complain all the time about not being able to save any money, so I hope you prove them wrong.

  • I think it’s great she’s working on minimizing her lifestyle!

  • Reading this could not have come at a better time because I’m in a very similar situation. My husband and I are saving for a down payment for a home that we’re planning on purchasing, so we can stop paying the over-priced rent on our apartment in May 2014. I would love to save 5k in that time period, but I don’t think it’s possible on our salaries. I have great discipline and have vowed not to buy anything that is not a necessity. I’ll even live on top ramen noodles if I have to. I am scared that I won’t be able to make my goal, but I’m going to put my all into it, and come from a place of yes! Best of luck, Dee! We’re in the same boat!

  • @dojo, spouses do help usually. :-)

    @Kim, I hope she does too!

    @Savvy, me too – she’s inspiring me to do some late Spring cleaning while I decorate for Halloween.

    @Lindsey, good luck to you too, Lindsey! Feel free to send over your updates too if you’d like some more accountability partners!

  • It seems like an achievable budget, I’ll be watching with interest to see if Dee manages to stick with it. I’d advise budgeting in an emergency saving fund too though.

  • It’s really important to keep ourselves accountable but it’s great to have people to “report to” as well. I find it helps build confidence and that person is a perfect guide to make sure we follow through with the budget.

  • Thanks all for the luck sent this way!
    @Kim I was fortunate enough that my parents paid for my college so I started off completely out of debt as an adult. I would never have paid for college to become a teacher.
    @ Kostas Two weeks, and you’ll see!
    @Lindsey I put a tiny picture of a trailer in my wallet.. Keeping those dreams in mind everytime I pull out that wallet. =)
    @BFS Thanks for all the help! Can’t wait to update ya!