Living a Frugal Life

My wife and I have been married since 2004 and just like any new weds, we are trying to make it financially not only for the present but also for our future such as retirement, educational plan for the kids, buying our first home, etc. As of now, she is a stay-at-home wife because of our plans to have kids first: she just got here in the US in 2004.

However, she is currently working on her real estate license taking up classes at a Century 21 Real Estate franchise. So far she is doing good as she passed the first part of the real estate exam with flying colors! We are trying to live a frugal life so we can save more for our retirement and also save up for the down payment to buy our first home and here’s how we are doing it:

Driving a Used Car – Frugal experts say that you should buy used cars instead of the brand new ones because cars depreciate in value. Also, you should try to keep your cars for as long as it’s running. I have followed this advice as I am still driving a 1997 Toyota Camry, which has over 210,000 miles on it but still in good driving condition. It’s amazing how a regular oil change and scheduled tune-ups can do to prolong the life of the car. Keep in mind that the payment for a brand new car worth $17,000 would be around $370 per month (depending on the interest, this could be higher). In addition, there would be an increase of at least $60 on my insurance premium because of the comprehensive coverage. That’s at least $400 per month savings for us!!

Moving to an apartment close to work:  Recently, we moved to an apartment close to where I work. It may have been a little far from my families and friends but since I normally meet them during weekends, it’s much more cost effective to do it this way.  Living close to work reduces the wear and tear on my car that would allow me to prolong its life. Also, with the high cost of gas nowadays, the savings on the gas alone is around $250 per month. Moreover, I am saving an estimated $100 per month on maintenance work.

We are also saving on the rent. The rent on the new apartment is $200 less than the previous one . Moreoever, gas and water are paid for by the landlord. Our previous apartment used to pay for the water and thrash but started charging the tenants afterwards. Our previous apartment also did not have any gas connection so all the appliances are run by electric including the heater and gas stove. My wife loves to cook so our electric bills were pretty high on the previous home. Now, we are saving around 70% on our electric bill.

Of course there is always the added bonus of getting an extra hour of sleep because I don’t have to fight traffic anymore!

Entertainment.  We only watch movies in the theater once in a while. Most of the time, we are just waiting for the movies to come out in DVD since it only takes a few months for the release. We also limit eating out to restaurants.

Bring Lunch to Work – When I was single, I used to spend a lot on both breakfast and lunch during the workweek. When i got married, I started “brown bagging” so I can cut down expenses on this. On top of that, I’ve been eating healthier food because my wife prepares them. When we moved close to work, I do not have to pack my lunch anymore because I can just go home and eat lunch.

Shopping Habits – We don’t clip coupons as much as others do, but we do shop at Costco, a wholesale warehouse, and use some of the coupons that they offer. For the most part, we wait until an item is on sale if we are going to buy it on a retail store. We are normally on a budget for groceries per month. For the most part, we go to Filipino stores such as Seafood City and island Pacific to shop for meat, seafood, and other oriental food products.