Hump Day Headlines: Financial Sneak-A-Peek

money voyeur 3The holiday shopping season is upon us, and here at Mad Money Monster we’re trying to figure out how to save MORE money this month.  Craziness.  We’ve been going over our expenses with a fine-tooth-comb and feel as if there isn’t much more fat to trim.  Having one foot firmly planted in the Spend Less Camp and the other in the Earn More Camp, we are kind of at a stand still.  We’re exposing our financial selves (hehe) to you (our readers 🙂 in hopes that Saint Nick soon will be here…Oops, wrong thought process!  Let’s try it again…in hopes that you can help us with money saving tips and tricks.  We also want to know:  How Low Can You Go?

Making A List And Checking It Twice

fine-tooth-comb

Visual Interest

We’ve been going over our expenses with a fine-tooth-comb and we are having difficulty finding more fat.  That’s not to say it’s not there.  We just need your help to sniff it out.  The Mad Money Pups are too far removed from their canine selves to do any sniffing, unless it involves bacon at breakfast.  Sad.  Below is a peek at our monthly expenses.  We mainly live on my income because Mr. MMM has a Variable and Unpredictable income.  As a Scientist (by day) and Frugal Blogger (by night), this drives me I.N.S.A.N.E.  And, it’s not a long drive, by the way. 😉  Our FIRE goals mostly hinge on using my income for monthly expenses and using Mr. MMM’s V&U income to pay down our debt.

Financial Sneak-A-Peek

Without further ado…feast your eyes on THIS:

NOVEMBER
Bill Amount
Rental Mortgage 956.62
Deficit – Not covered with Rental Income 50.00
Water – Not covered with Rental Income 42.26
Sewer – Not covered with Rental Income 58.00
Trash – Not covered with Rental Income 30.00
Primary Mortgage 1642.00
Water – Primary 26.90
Sewer -Primary 30.00
Trash -Primary 15.00
Discover (CC) 7.95
Visa (CC) – Paid in full each month 300.00
MC (CC) 0.00
Car Insurance 90.00
Student Loan – Paid extra $300 on top of $100 monthly bill 400.00
Internet – We cut the cord! 76.21
Electric 91.26
Natural Gas 10.00
Mobile Phone 198.92
Car Payment 199.26
Gas – Two trips to visit family.  Typically around $100 150.00
Groceries – Included Thanksgiving! 300.00
Clothing – Yep! 0.00
Funny Money – We need to live a little 🙂 50.00
Savings – Put all towards Student Loan Payment 300.00
Niece & Nephew Birthday – These things happen 40.00
Pet Food – Good stuff.  MMM Cat has IBD 🙁 100.00
Dentist 7.00
Doctor 25.00

How Low Can You Really Go?

As you can see, even though we don’t do a real budget, we are not spending exorbitant amounts of cash on silly stuff like eating out (my biggest downfall) or the 500-channel cable package.  And, we’re still considering selling one of our vehicles to pay the other one off.  However, since we have Mini Monster, we’re thinking we shouldn’t be a one-car family, for safety reasons.  Please debate me on this.  I’m all ears.  Also, before you yell at us for our Visa, know that we pay it in full each month and only put value-added (very few) or necessary items on it.  Some months it is zero.  This was a bigger month.

The big question is:  How Low Can You Really Go?  At what point do you hit the frugal bottom and need to focus your energy on earning potential?  How little is enough to cover basic monthly living expenses without selling a kidney or putting your kids on the Black Friday market (Joke.  Very much a joke.)?  We, too, pride ourselves on living a life of Frugal Luxury just like The Frugalwoods!  I mean let’s face it, we only go around one time in this world.  To us, living a miserly life without any satisfaction isn’t worth the price.

So, tell us Frugal Friends…How Low Can You Go? 

Mad money pup

Mad Money Pup LOVING His Photo Opp!

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Lisa is the creator and resident writer at Mad Money Monster. She's a mother, scientist, and financial guru on a mission to save Generation X from working until they die!

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12 comments… add one
  • effiemakeup Dec 14, 2015, 6:59 pm

    Was bouncing around your blog and found this post, have you looked into google fiber internet? There must be something cheaper out there for you. At the moment I can’t add internet to our expenses, but that’s what I plan on going for when I can. (At the moment I’m a single income for two adults and one baby wee, so it’s TIGHT. But her Papa is trying to start a business that he can do sitting, and he might qualify for some disability! whoo. Money) Is the electric for both places or just yours?

    • Mad Money Monster Dec 14, 2015, 7:10 pm

      Electric is just for our place. Yikes. I know. But, Mr. MMM works from home so he’s home all day, every day. I will definitely look into Google Fiber Internet. I’ve been thinking we’re paying too much for internet. Thanks for the tip!

      • effiemakeup Dec 14, 2015, 9:21 pm

        My squeeze is home with the tiny human, but they don’t have many lights on during the day.

  • Taylor Dec 2, 2015, 4:43 pm

    Woohoo! Congratulations on a great month. Honestly, it looks like you’re pretty much at the lowest your budget can go. I do agree with the suggestions about trying to get your renter to pay for at least some of the extra expenses from the rental property, but I also understand if that truly isn’t possible. I’m in a similar boat as you with my budget. It could go lower, but I’m not interested in the sacrifices it would entail or the psychological burden. I give myself $200/month of “fun” money for whatever I want (it also includes toiletries, beauty products, clothes, etc) but I think that at a certain point it’s not worth it to cut anymore out. You’ve got to still enjoy life 🙂 Great work on the budget. You should be super proud! It’s an impressive feat to cut as much as you have.

    At this point, I think it’s time to leave the budget alone and start earning extra income with side hustles 😉

    • Mad Money Monster Dec 3, 2015, 6:45 am

      Thank you so much! It’s nice to hear that we’re doing a good job from people in the frugal know. I agree that it’s side hustle time; I’m just not sure what that could be. Suggestions welcome 🙂

  • our next life Dec 2, 2015, 1:25 pm

    Your budget seems pretty reined in, so I’m only suggesting this stuff because you asked. 🙂 Biggest thing that jumps out is cell phone bills. Those seem like traditional carrier plans, and you could probably save more than $100 a month by switching to Republic or similar. On cable, I assume that includes internet, but you could cut the cord and switch to Hulu or Netflix (we did that a few years back, and do not miss “regular” TV). I don’t know if your utilities are flat fee or based on usage, but you could possibly trim those, especially electricity, by consciously using less. And on the rental, could you have your tenant pay some of their bills, like the water, so they have an incentive to use less? Good luck!

    • Mad Money Monster Dec 2, 2015, 3:24 pm

      We are on one of the big carriers, but my mother is also on our plan. She gives us $50/mo towards our bill, which cuts it down quite a bit. I failed to mention that we already cut our cord and our “cable bill” is only internet. Although, I feel like that is a bit high for internet. We really tried to use almost no electricity the month of October and still ended up with a $90 bill. It is baffling. The month before it was well over $100; so I guess we’re on the right path. Rental is a tough one. It’s in a working class neighborhood and the rent is already in the top tier. The real issue is that I bought this home in 2007, at the top of the bubble. Ugh. My focus is just to pay it off as soon as possible. That will give us $500-700/mo of passive income. Thank you for the suggestions! BTW…we have been loving Netflix and don’t miss cable at all. In fact, Mini Monster hasn’t even noticed we don’t have it anymore. Ha!

  • Matt @ The Resume Gap Dec 2, 2015, 11:49 am

    You’re pretty lean already, but there are probably still places you could experiment. Would you consider putting the cable bill on hold? Your mobile phone bill is pretty large; have you looked at Google FI or other lower-cost options? How about cutting off your tenant’s trash service (no?)

    I’m at a similar point with my expenses; there’s surely room to go lower and cut more, but I’m not always willing to make the trade-offs. I think that’s fine, as long as it’s an intentional decision.

    • Mad Money Monster Dec 2, 2015, 3:20 pm

      I wasn’t clear in my post. Our cable bill is only internet. Our mobile bill also includes my mother’s phone, which she gives us $50/mo towards. But yes, we are on one of the big carriers and probably could cut this down. Thanks for the tips!

  • Maggie Dec 2, 2015, 11:25 am

    This is a process. Cutting everything at once doesn’t work. So live a few months on what you’ve cut already, and you’ll start seeing how your life has changed and how it could change more. We have two cars… but we have three kids… that’s a trade we’ve consciously decided (in fact, we didn’t have two cars until last year!). It’s worth experimenting with everything. Could you leave the car in the garage for two weeks and see how it goes? Make changes without being drastic. If you find the tradeoff is worth it, then you can move from there. We’ve realized it’s a slow and steady change. When we first started, I wanted to save ALL THE MONEY. I feel like we’ve found a good place of questioning everything, but mostly being conscious and mindful about what we do spend.

    • Mad Money Monster Dec 2, 2015, 3:19 pm

      Awe, thanks for the words of encouragement! My problem is being that all-or-nothing person. I need to learn to be satisfied taking each step, instead of trying to leap forward all at once.

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