How we live on 15% of our income

Ms 99to1percent

Blogging about Personal Finance along with a little touch of humor. Immigrant who started from the bottom and now I’m here…to tell my story, inspire and learn from others. Paid off $40K in student loans before graduating. CPA. Saved a $100K emergency fund in my 20’s. Hopping to pay off $500K+ mortgage within 5 years at 39. Hopping to become financially independent at 45. Happily married. Mom of 1.

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25 responses

  1. Zach says:

    Great read! How often are the two of you planning on posting an new article? I would love to see a post on how you guys made the jump from$160k/year to $400k/year. That is quite an impressive jump. Can’t wait to read the your next post!

  2. Maureen says:

    Interesting! Have you blogged about minimizing your taxes? That might be a good motivator!

    • Yes, you are right 🙂 It would be a good motivator, even though we do take advantage of all available deductibles. However, we don’t over do it and we don’t mind paying our fair share of taxes because we are moderates and we believe in free healthcare (we live in Canada after all), minimum wage increases (back in the days we did minimum wage jobs are we know how hard it is), free education especially for the underprivileged kids,…

  3. Alec says:

    What do you say to this: I think the single thing that makes you able to live on 15% of your income is that 15% is more than many people make altogether. They can live on that kind of money too but it means they live paycheck to paycheck even if they already do all the other frugal things you mention.

    • Hi Alec,

      Thanks for stopping by. I love seeing new faces/names 🙂 . You are partially correct. Yes, it would be hard for most people to live on 15%, however our recommendation was to try to live on less than 50%. With determination, most people can achieve that by cutting down their expenses and finding creative ways to increase their income.

      See for example an article I just posted about how I was able to pay off my $40K student loans before even graduating, buy a condo, save $100K in an emergency fund while doing an entry-level job:

      Keep following our blog, we will be sharing a lot of tips and tricks to help you achieve financial independence/freedom.

  4. I too live in a high cost of living area (Maryland just outside of DC). Interesting to see the breakdown of how you guys minimize your expenses. I also follow several of the tips you mentioned (pricing out stuff online before shopping, using credit card points). Now I just need to get my salary up to 400k and ill be set, haha!

  5. OMGF says:

    It’s cool to see how others have reduced their expenses. I was just going through mine for 2017 and came out with a rough estimate of spending about $90K per year. Of course this includes mortgage and student loan repayment. If you took those out then it brings me down to just under $60K. Considering that I’m single with no dependents I am definitely working to get that down in 2018.

    And I would have asked your friends with the new toys how they do it. My friends and I talk money all the time and it’s helped me learn so daggone much.

  6. Karl B. says:

    I don’t want to nitpick here, and you have certainly done a great job at controlling lifestyle inflation, but you have zero mortgage payments included in your 15%. That is people’s biggest expense. I’m in the same boat as you where I can live off of less than 15% (13% exlcuding mortgage to be exact) in a HCOL city with a high salary ($200k+, but I’m single). That being said, mortgage expenses in a HCOL city, and high taxes in Canada, eat up a lot of that 85% that’s left.

    • Hi Karl, our regular mortgage payment is $2k a month / $24k a year so only 6% of our income. However, we pay way more than that (90k-115k/year) since we want to pay off our mortgage within 5-8 years. So including it, would have skewed the numbers too much.

      We do agree that it would be hard for most people to live on 15%, that’s why our recommendation was to try to live on less than 50%. The key is to avoid keeping up with the Jones, avoid lifestyle inflation, and find ways to continually increase income.

      And it sounds like it’s the same strategies you are using, keep up the good work!

  7. Karl. B says:

    Personally. I think the advice should be to save 15-20% of post-tax income (with the right RRSP/TFSA allocation) and develop a budget based on that starting point, especially when it comes to purchasing a home. Too many times, people do the reverse (ie, buy a home, pay monthly bills, etc and then determine what they can save)

    • Hi Karl,

      Yes, pre-planning is key. These are some of the questions we had to ask ourselves before buying our house:
      -How much house do we need?
      -How much house can we afford?
      -Are we living in the city or suburbs?
      -How fast do we want to pay off the mortgage?
      -How fast do we want to achieve financial independence?
      -Do we want kids? How many? How many can we afford? How many can we afford on one income?
      -Can we live on one income and save the other ? (This was our starting point)

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