Today’s post is back with the Time Rich, Cash Poor series. Here are the links for parts one, two and three. Today’s post is specifically about budgeting and you could also call this one “how to be a stingy c*nt.” I will get around to adding a fifth part to this series at some point with a review of Downshifting: The Ultimate Handbook; I have notes from my first read through but I want to read it again so it’s fresh in my mind.
As I mentioned, today’s post is centred around how I worked out whether I could afford to quit my 9-5. Well, the first thing I did was to give myself a timeline: my answer to the question “can I afford it?” changes depending on how long we are talking about. I’ve decided to start by giving myself a two year phase to reach the break-even point i.e. once the revenue generated from the coaching/books/e-product business surpasses my bare minimum expenditure.
Then the next obvious question is “what is my break even?” So I had to make a budget. I actually made three versions: one with bare essentials and minimal entertainment, one with more entertainment, and another with holidays included. The first one is the most important and represents my first aim with starting my own business: to ensure that the lifestyle is feasible. Note that I made my budget given that I intend to live in London; if I lived somewhere else then I could easily half my monthly expenditure.
Then I started to look at the budget and see where I could chip away at things. The first change was to swap from more expensive supermarkets to cheaper ones. Next I saw how much I was spending on takeaway coffee from specialist coffee shops and knew I’d need to reduce that: seeing that I was spending £2.5-3 on a coffee compared to £5-10 a day on food was quite a surprise! I also noticed how much I was spending at Myprotein and so I stopped buying extraneous items and focused on core ones which I knew had the most effect.
The simple act of seeing my list of monthly expenses has been really beneficial in changing my mindset. What I said about takeaway coffee also goes for things like a bottle of Coke Zero or plundering the reduced section at Waitrose at the end of the day. When I pick something up off the shelf I will nowadays ask myself “do I really need this?” That’s not to say that I don’t want to spend any money at all as if I’m allergic to it. Most of the time, it costs money to have fun, it’s just that I’m actually asking myself what I actually do and do not want.
One of the “hacks” I’ve employed to keep expenses down is having a daily expenses debit card which I have to regularly top up. Rather than using a single credit card then paying it off each month, I now have a physical reminder if I’m spending more than I’d like because I have to deposit more money into the account.
Another hack – and this is where I’ll come off as exceedingly cheap – is trying to exploit the Pret coffee subscription. I eat the same number of calories each day, so I figured I could swap out some of those calories for coffee/smoothie calories and save money that way. Then I could also drink their decaf white americanos with a low calorie sweetener to suppress my appetite.
After whittling down what I was spending my money on, I ended up with this split:
I hope from reading the above you understand just how important it is for this to work out for me! I’m willing to “suffer” monetarily for a few years to make this work because I really want it to. At the end of the day, though, it’s a business, which means taking a risk. But having that buffer of two years means I have a solid amount of time to make it work. In fact, I might even be able to save up three years worth of expenses at my current rate. I really hope I can make this work!
If you have any other hacks and suggestions then please comment down below.
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