Dr. Spudman44

Dr. Spudman44
Location
Tumbleweed, Washington,
Birthday
June 06
Title
Ditweed
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Dr. Spudman's 44 Ripples of Hope Creations
Bio
BANNER BY RICTRESA I live on the border of Eastern Washington and Idaho. I have been a teacher, coach, and mental health worker. I make books for people and write some myself. I tutor a few people. Come visit me at my website. It has some cool stuff. Scroll down to links and click on www.drspud44.net

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MARCH 10, 2010 6:37PM

How I Survived Losing Half My Salary

Rate: 55 Flag

daggers

 They tried to jab me but I slipped away

 

It is one year ago this week that I received the news that all my mental health clients were having their hours cut in half. I was devastated and livid and shared my story with you last year in a post entitled : Anyone Got a Dull Knife? I received an outpouring of sympathy and support from the OS community that was tender and very helpful. Here is my story and the changes I made.


  falling-money

 Give me half your money. I said give me half of your yearly earnings. No, I am not kidding. You and your business are going to need to make it on half your salary. There will be no negotiations. This was my dilemma. After just a few days of crying the blues and sucking my thumb, I got serious, very serious. The first thing I did was review my spending in great detail. I then made up a budget for the quarter, in this case it was April, May and June. Since this was a dramatic change, I figured I needed to come up with some dramatic counter moves. Here is what I did.

I could have jumped  out and tried to recruit a bunch of new clients and kept the ship sailing.  Instead, I said screw that and simply moved toward semi-retirement.  In order to do so, I figured I needed to cut expenses and see what happened.  Funny huh?  Lose half your money and decide to move toward retirement?  HA!  It worked!  

I had three cars. One was in pretty good shape so I immediately sold it and kept the other two near wrecks. I fixed them both and took one up to my main work town and left it there. I bought a bus pass and rode the bus each work day. No more driving, at all. I informed all my clients that I was coming Monday, Wednesday and Friday only. I sadly said goodbye to two of my clients who lived in extremely remote areas and hooked them up with another agency. I kept only one remote client but met with his family and told them they needed to transport him to Moscow, my main hub, if he still wanted services. This worked. I also cut my expenses in spending money on clients, which took some adjustment on their part as I was quite generous with my funds when I had been making good money. These immediate changes lost me even more hours by losing two clients but the result was a net savings of nearly $500 per month as my traveling costs were cut almost in half.

  1993

 Work car--Just keep running baby!  

I gave up my dream three bedroom condo on 3.5 acres and walked away from the lease to buy option I had so carefully crafted. This cost me thousands in  past money but cut my now housing costs  in half. I lucked out and hooked up with an old friend who had a small one bedroom duplex for rent that he had just completely remodeled. I bought a storage shed and put all my stuff in it. I took out my favorite items and decorated the little duplex. The living change was stark. My condo was huge and airy; the duplex was like moving onto a houseboat. I fixed up the one bedroom for my son and slept on the couch for the three months until he graduated and was off playing Legion baseball.

 


I made up a specific menu for the entire three month period. I went to Costco and filled my shelves with all the items needed. My kitchen was packed with food, paper towels and all the necessities. I felt like a survivalist preparing for a disaster. I swear I could have lived without spending any money for a month. I allowed myself one trip to Subway each week. No other outside eating of any kind was allowed that wasn't on the menu. I got serious about preventative health care and started taking massive doses of B-12, a B-complex, lots of Vitamin C and E and put myself on a smoking restriction program. I got two favorite pipes and learned to smoke them in replacing cigarettes. This had an added benefit as I spent more time looking for the pipe and something to light the tobacco with than I did smoking. I went from about five cartons a month to two cartons. I quit buying gourmet coffee drinks which was quite a savings, too. I became compulsive and cut every little thing I could.

  costco aisle

I make one big trip per quarter anymore and this is where I go.

I dropped all but liability insurance on one of my wrecks and kept the same policy in both cars, a risk I was willing to take as I rarely drove my home car now that I lived right in town near everything. I walked or rode a bike everywhere. I had always purchased full coverage on my one good vehicle but didn't need it when I sold it. I cut my Dish television package to the bare minimum after having the Cadillac service from them for years. Snip, snip, snip.

 

I had Avista put me on a monthly average plan so as not to be surprised with a big bill during the heat of summer, as it gets boiling hot here. I told Qwest that I was canceling everything but my platinum Internet service and got a simple Trac phone and hooked up to Skype. I dropped out of the banking system totally. I closed my account, cut up all my credit cards and closed them. I didn't care about future credit scores, fuck 'em. I got a pay as you go Visa card that has worked great. No annual fee, no late fees, nothing. Put on some money, spend it and then not use it until I had more money. No debit card fees, no overdrawn fees, no money to the banking system at all. Not one cent. I cashed my check by giving it to my landlord who would deposit it in his account and give me the cash. 'Bye, 'Bye system, Hello personal anarchy. Here is the final tally:

  aaaaasnip

Snip, snip, snip and goodbye banking system....

I was making a net $4200 per month after taxes and spending most of it each month. I was pissing much of it away which I am really good at doing. Actually, calling myself financially illiterate would have been accurate and proper.

 

Housing costs----$1100 with payment, insurance, and taxes. New rental living---$475, a lifetime rate my landlord promised me. SAVINGS= $625

 

Phone service, television and internet---old costs= $256. New costs= $101. SAVINGS $155.

 

Avista for heating and air conditioning---old cost $190. New cost $78. SAVINGS $112

 

Transportation costs--$195 old. $120 new. SAVINGS OF $75.

 

Insurance and vehicle maintenance-- $110 a month old; $35 new. SAVINGS $75.

 

Smoking and gourmet coffee---$270 a month old; $70 new. SAVINGS $200.    ( This was the most surprising of all things)

  smoking-picsmoking2222

 I was working seven hours a month for this stuff.  Don't need either one.

Food-- I have no idea how much I spent on food each month. I am single and ate out a whole bunch especially breakfasts. I have to guess here and say  about $300 a month as when traveling like I used to you eat while on the run. This added to a $150 a month for food at home and I think $450 may be correct or close. Probably on the low end really. I cut this to $200. SAVINGS $250. I relearned the pleasure of simple, good foods again and the fun of cooking fine meals which I can do.

 

Spending on clients each month--$640 old; $300 new. SAVINGS $340.

 

I wrote a very good letter to the state requesting that since I was now only part-time we should be allowed to close our Moscow office and have just one main one in my partner's home base, a hundred miles north. They agreed which saved me $235 a month for an office I rarely used anyway.

 

I told my youngest boy that I would pay his expenses but in one lump sum payment each month. I made him make up a budget. I gave my other boy two thousand bucks and told him don't call me, I'll call you. I say this alone saved me a minimum of $200 bucks a month; probably way more, as these two are both the holes in Daddy's arm where all the money goes. But no longer.

  EmptyWalletMartinGodwinBlog

Don't ask; don't tell- my style.  Daddy ain't the ATM any longer. 

Total savings per month came to nearly $2700 dollars. I found a loophole and got my clients covered for a few more hours in another program. Bingo! I did it. I don't drive as much; I eat better; I walk all the time as a part of the daily routine; I only work three days a week and my stress level is way down. I have learned to love my little place and being in town where I don't have to drive all the time like I had to when living out in the country. I have gotten rid of a bunch of stuff that I moved around with me but never used. My little place is tightly organized, easy to clean and a bachelor's paradise in many ways.

I have a great writing area, art all over and have Tuesdays to travel around which I can now afford to do. I never work any weekends except when on call once in a while. I found out I do not miss any of the things I cut out. None of them. Phone service? I could care less. Not so many television channels? I could care less about television. Eating out? I make meals that are unbelievable. Here is what I cooked last night. I unfroze a fillet of steelhead. (I have a freezer full that I caught this fall) I covered it in this mustard sauce, crushed pecans, and slices of lemon. I baked it and added green beans, that I grew in my garden, and froze and a rice dish. I canned pears, bought a couple cases of mandarin oranges that I use as a candy replacement and my freezer is stuffed with frozen corn, huckleberries, blueberries and raspberries. I eat an orange, a banana and an apple each day. I have worked up to massive walks. I take walks of seven miles  or more several times a week. I have nearly saved up enough money to get my blind eye fixed which will really be cool. I still have no healthcare which is the only downside of this most pleasant scenario. I realize that I could not have done this with a wife and family but I certainly was able to pull this off as a solo act.

 

I relish being a cheap son of a gun. I am an artist in simple living. This is my story about how I took a big blow, got up off the canvas and gave the world the finger. I have never been happier.

  jack_benny

 Jack Benny , famous penny pincher,  has nothing on me!  

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I was always broke anyway. This is more fun. Less work; more free time; less stress.
This is like one of those success stories you see on Oprah or Dr. Phil where there is some financial guru trying to teach a couple how to make ends meet or the like. But reading about it from someone we have come to know here makes it more "real". Good for you. This deserves to go viral.
You are inspiring, Dr. Spudman.

Mr. Froggy and I are trying to figure out how to pay off too much credit card debt (of which I am not proud) and go abroad next summer to visit family. I will be printing out your post!
A most useful, honest post. You give hope to many through your example and offer ways to succeed in a vicious economy. Kudos.
Kudos to your newfound frugalista ways :)
Great post because my guess is that we are all downsizing now. And great advice on how to, that we each can apply. R
Spud, welcome to my world! I can't walk, so thats out. But the rest, I have cut to the bone. I just turned in my car. Credit, smetic! I want to go to Mexico, and I'm saving money to get there. I'm glad you were able to cut back and still love life. lifes a bitch, ain't it!
Oh Tater......as I slowly kneel down on one knee and raise my head to gaze into your deep brown eyes, I'm lost in your soul, I'm quivering through my gills...I take your hand so gently in mine... I have but one question...just one question...all I need from you is one answer...just one....a simple yes...a no...a yes.....please ...please....please say yes.....omg omg omg...say yes.....


Could you please add me as a second user on your Costco card?

You did a great job!!! You're a keeper! R
I do this but not to this extreme. I love how you can see what you have saved just by tweaking small things. The girls at work still buy $5 coffee. I don't get it...I am happy for you that you are happy!
Oh, righteee... BarkingLot4--Smart and resourceful, well that is nice but desperate might be better. Not everyone could do this I realize but what value is free time? I think it very valuable.
Cartouche--well, I might do Oprah but Dr. Phil and I would have a fight on stage at some point, I am pretty certain. Big changes in one year, my dear.

Froggy--Hope it works; those credit cards are a total bitch to get out from under. Those thieving bastards.
Lea--I doubt many could copy me as I am just a single guy who doesn't much care about anything other than traveling, baseball and writing. I am amazed how little I miss those things I thought I needed.
Sueinaz--I like the word "frugalista" sounds like a religion I could start. Hmmmm....I feel an idea coming...
Well done my man! I bought and made my own paradise over the years. I had friends for years ask me why don't you get out more, why don't you move to the city, why don't you......etc. I don't need too, I own this and we're really happy, we have everything we want or need right here. A good portion of these friends are now in their 40's-50's lost their once big money jobs, have mortgages they should never been allowed to get (or are losing their homes) and were ill-prepared for when the roof caved in on them. My best to you, you made some wise and healthy choices, you can do the long run now. Be well my friend....o/e *****r*
You know, Elisaaka, it is true; less can be more. We convince ourselves we need this or that when it isn't really true.

Wendyo---This is a real depression and people need to adjust their thinking first off. We can live just fine with less.
Scanner---Credit is a trap anyway. Cash is the only way to go. Bummer about the car though, sorry. Hey, I am a Mexico expert, friend. WHere are you heading?
TME--You got it! Costco here we come. I have only one blue eye that works which may ruin the charm a little but hey....
Lunchlady--It all comes down to what do you want to work for now doesn't it? I have worked enough for banks, Starbucks, etc. They can't buy my free time anymore.
Older--I have lived much of my life in the country but this small town living with everything nearby is fine for the time being. I would like to be even more self-reliant and may make a move that direction in a year or two. We will see. What is really fun, is I have taught myself to go all over the Northwest without ever driving. Very fun....
The epitome of lemonade from lemons.

Ironically your former lifestyle and that well paying job likely put you at risk for serious illnesses that all the health "insurance" in the world won't cure. Keep up with the preventatives, I practice the same strategy, and say a silent prayer that a hidden monster won't pop up.
Ablonde--That is the unspoken fear but if it happens then, I will just have to be satisfied with what the amazing life I have been able to live.
I now know why I admire you ... (ok, I already did before now but this post just blows me away!). Thank you for being the inspiration that you are!! I have to say I LOVE THIS! rated
I retired at half salary. It ain't easy to make cuts. I applaud your decisions... now about the smoking...
I
t is amazing how you HOW ONE CAN LIVE ON LESS as you so well illustrated. R

After ll months I got a new job, and I am so blessed. We are doing okay, it can be done, and we have one in college.
Thanks RebelMom for the kind words. Chuck, tobacco is an herb isn't it? Just a joke...
i am truly happy for you, spud.
Great job and well done. You are a real trooper - and smart too. I'm only going to leave half a comment - saves power reading it.
I loved this! I can relate to all of the changes. Good for you Spud. Good for you!
Thanks Missing K8--A year ago, I thought I was screwed, blued and tattooed.
Grif--Thank you for getting into the spirit of the life of frugal. Your half comment was still quite good.
Scupper--- Thanks I have really gotten into living in a really small place. Every inch has a function and an average heat and air conditioning bill of $78 is pretty hard to beat.
Bernadine--You snuck in here and I almost missed you. I am glad you are doing okay. Eleven months, wow! You must know some of these steps well. The college deal is really tough....
Simplify. Isn't that what we all want to do? And sounds like, you my friend you have done it successfully. You should be proud.
I give you credit for being so open about your finances.

Something happened to me recently and to stop and take personal inventory. Mistakenly I left a notebook at my doctor's office. I rec'd a call from them saying I had left my it behind. I hadn't recalled writing my name or number in the book yet so I asked, How did you know who to call? The reply was some papers were there with my name and address on it. I said "Really, what kind of papers?" The reply - "your income tax papers".

I had a rush of fear go through me because it had my annual income on it. Like that should matter so much but I confess in that a second, it did. Then I got over it. ;)
Scarlett--I know that feeling. I left a briefcase in the post office and they cleared the building. I had to have a police interview afterward to get my stuff back. The simplification has been interesting because the stuff I gave up was nothing compared to the time I gained. I have been able to travel around more which has always been my first love. My little place is really fine; I have it fixed up; it is filled with art, most of it made from my photos. I have a little deck, it is private and I have a huge garden spot. Don't need much else.
My cousin just went through bankruptcy. I told her to get a pay as you go credit card. Which one do you use?

Great post.

{[R]}
Geez, did I have enough typos in that last comment?! Anyways I trust you got the gist.

Two years ago I left a well-paying job with (albeit business) travel and other perks for a variety of reasons, most ethical and some health reasons. I simplified all right. I went freelance. And as you - am bringing home 50% less.

But I'm healthier, happier and have to to write, among other things. And I don't seem to have that stressed vertical wrinkle between my eyebrows at my third eye anymore. Now that's an accomplishment!
This was inspirational. I wish this was available to all of the people in this country who are desperately trying to figure out how to survive the loss of a job. The best part of all is that you don't whine or bemoan what you lost; you embrace what you found.
Leepin Larry--Mine is an All-Access Visa card. It has never been turned down anywhere.
AnnNichols---That was very nice of you to stop by and leave such kind words. Thank you.
LuluPhoebe--I remember you! Hey, nice to see you again. I am glad you got something from this little deal.
Congratulations on your newfound frugality! It's liberating in the extreme, isn't it?

We should exchange tips some time.
Nice outlook on a new way of life--I wish everyone could read this.
Late again---It really is liberating and if someone had told me that last year I would have punched them. One really neat thing that I should have mentioned in the post is I have time for fishing which I am good at. I eat lots of fish. We have bass, steelhead, rainbows, and some big catfish. I have a contact out of Seattle where I buy halibut and sockeye salmon twice a year now. I eat great stuff for pennies...
Sophieh-- thanks for being such a friend here at OS. You visit me often and I look forward to your presence and comments.
I love this post. It's really important to get the message out there that we don't need a lot of crap in order to live and be happy. Well done!
Most "success" stories are all about how to get more. This is one of the most useful posts I've ever seen on OS. You are right about things being trickier for a family. When I say this can go, she says no, and vice-versa. But the day of reckoning is coming. We still have a lot of shit we don't need. Thanks for a great post and good on you, Spud.
Maureenow---Hi, there! We can all get fooled into what we want ; which is different for what we need. I found out that my life became fuller without some of the things I thought I wanted. Thanks for your comment.
JimmyMac---Yes, have to negotiate these changes would have made things much more complicated. Lucky for me, I was the one and only decision maker. I am surprised that my life got more enjoyable with less. I would have never believed it. Thanks for coming by again, Jimmy.
What a story of survival and grit!!!
I enjoyed your story and ideas. Given I've been "in transisiton" for 10 months I'm thinking 1/2 a salary looks pretty good.
There's truth to it: Less is more; and you just proved it. What I couldn't grasp is: as a single person what did you need three cars for?
This is an examplary post for many. Rated.
Thanks for the practical advice Dr. Spudman. Been there, done this -- but not as gracefully as you seem to have. Excellent post. R!
Your solution is far more stark than mine, which started 5 years ago when we moved up to Bellingham from the Bay Area. We came here to change our lives from the rat race of metropolitan life. We are living on half as much money and have a nicer home. Last year was even thinner because of the economy. Even so, we go to eat out a bit more than you do. My work is not as evenly spaced as yours so I can't count on a certain day of the week off all of the time. Summers can be crazy busy, but the other months I can sleep in if I want to sleep in and when I want to take a few days off from work I can.

I gave up manicures and professional hair color, which adds up to a hell of a lot of money and I found I can do the hair thing fairly well myself. We do most things ourselves around here except when it requires a licensed professional so that we don't void the warranty on something important.

I bought a canning outfit and everyone wants my jam, blackberry-mandarin pancake syrup and the pickle relish, pickles of various types, chili verde sauce. I cook from scratch, always have, but when I am canning stuff I try to do things that will glam it up a bit.

I don't use a lot of prepared foods, I use ingredients and prepare dishes myself from excellent quality foods. What we eat is better than what we can get at most restaurants.

Living within ones means is important to me. I did try to get credit for my new iMac, but they turned me down. It was a no interest if you pay in one year deal so I thought, what the heck. Apparently that is what they thought too. So I paid cash. Now here's the thing. We own our home and have about 40% equity in it. Our 2005 car is paid for too. When we moved up here we decided to sell our cars and get a all wheel drive Honda Element. I am still paying educational loans. I haven't made one late payment in eight years to anyone that I have to pay. Apparently the rules are now so tight that they aren't making loans to people who actually pay. Go figure.

We do many of the same things that you do Spud, such as the level payment plan on the gas bill. We discovered that if we shut off the radiant heat in April and leave it off until around October, it nearly halved our gas bill. Yay! I've come to love sweaters and warm slippers.

Anyone who has ever looked at the posts I write about our home and garden can see that we are in no way suffering. We feel like you, that we have found our way to a greater happiness.

I worry that you don't have health insurance though. Mine costs me $286 each month, but I am a nonsmoker and I know they charge more if you smoke. Sorry this was a bit long, but you and I have so much in common I had to tell you.
"Daddy ain't the ATM any longer."

Loved that line. I can't believe how much you were able to save. I need a second job just to cover the coffee alone.

Way to go. It scares me to think how much money I'm wasting everyday. No more!
JD--Just a simple guy really who was shaken awake by circumstances.

Bob--Oh, I do understand believe me I do. Yes, I was lucky to keep half of my income; I now see that. If not, I would be in a world of hurt like so many others. I understand how lucky I still am.

Fusuna--a couple of them barely ran but you are correct. I did not need them.
Patty Jane--thanks for dropping by again. I appreciate your kind words.
Spudster - I am not surprised to see this from you at all. You are a true problem solver and have such a logical, straight-forward way of thinking about things.

I bet you've never been on a diet, have you? haha!

This is excellent and gave me some good ideas - those things that ought to be common sense, but somehow get lost in the fray! Sorry about your salary though ... that totally blows. Maybe things will improve for you and the rest of us very soon! (fingers crossed)
Dr. Susanne--I have known about and admired your lifestyle as we have gotten to know each other. I can tell you are one of those who takes pride and the time to do the little things that make life more enjoyable. Thanks for sharing so much here with your comment. I enjoyed each and every word.
Eden---My boys don't much like it! HA! You know, much of the savings came from minor steps and were no sacrifice of anything that important.
Susanlivingkinky---I must say Wow back at you just for your name!
Can I just say "hell yes!" I am right there with you. I can't believe what we have been able to live off of the last two years. Amazing!!!
How wonderful, you removed the manacles from your ankles. I made a very smart move a long time ago. I married a wonderful man who owned a very expensive roping saddle and a junked Cougar someone gave him in exchange for some body work. We had so much fun and so little money.

Sadly life took a bad turn, now all I'm left with is joyful memories and an easy lifestyle. At one point in starting over someone suggested I get a second job. My only response was "what for, to fill my life with more crap I have to take care of?" This after it took 2 auctioneers 7 hours to unload all the crap and antiques I'd been dusting and cleaning my whole life. None of which ever dusted or cleaned me back.

The past 7 years I've been devoted to stocking up for the depression we're late going into. Gadgets and bling aren't going to help me. My thoughtful planning (Virgo mania) prepared me well. Today I can easily say "for me to be less interested in money, I'd have to be dead."

Enjoy the "fun life" without wage-slavery and don't forget to make meals you can cook and freeze in portions. Lasagna is perfect for the evenings where just relaxing is the only entertainment scheduled. It's a great way to live. Congratulations.
Watch out; someone will get you to write a book, it will be a hit, you'll go on television and you'll be rich. Excellent post.
Irritated Mom--- No problem here. I will never again make that much money but I really don't care. My lifestyle is one I am most comfortable with now and I have grown proud of it. I have had all the bullshit; new cars; United Airline charge card; two big old places. I can only be in one room at a time anyway. Frivolous bullshit.

Sparking--It isn't all that much of a change or hardship. I cannot go to a fast food restaurant like Taco Time and get a few nasty tacos because I know I can have a bunch of good tasty things for less money at home. McDonald's food compared to my barbequed burgers? No comparison.
l'Heure Bleue---Great quote on the interest you have in money! Freezing food plates of food is something I do each week at the group home.
McKenna--Then what? Oh, that would be a real test now wouldn't it? Would I revert back to my old self or stick to my new frugal guns? I really think I would stick to my guns; just travel more. But one never knows, I am a creator who could be seduced by comforts. Hmmm...I wonder
Great post Dr. Spud. It's so good to hear the positive side of downsizing and accepting reality rather than whining about it. Your Doing something about it. Good for you.
Great stuff here. A motto to live by. Did you get chased by the creditors when you cut up the credit cards?
Trilogy my friend you should have heard me whining, bitching and making death threats last year at this time! Now, things are good.
People talk about the high price of gasoline, but never stop to think about the per gallon cost of that Starbucks latte or that 16 oz soda at 7-11. The only good thing that will come out of this financial disaster is that people WILL start thinking about what has real value.
True story Tom. We are we really working for anyway? A bunch of channels of brainwashing bullshit from DIsh Network? or a fancy cellphone or new car? Not me, I am a dropout....
I found a GREAT expresso maker that was being discontinued. It is beautiful to look at the way that good tools always are and it steams milk like a champion. I have as many nonfat half-caffeinated lattes made with organic, fair traded French Roast as I want. It was worth the $$$ for all the pleasure we get out of it and sharing those coffee drinks with our guests. You can pay for a decent machine and recoup the difference before you know it. It's good to have some foo-foo stuff in your life, particularly when you don't pay through the nose for it!
I respect you, I truly do.

The art of simple living is the secret of a succesfull life but one which escapes so many of us.

We hanker after the expensive stuff while the simpler ones ( and in most cases ones that cannot be bought with money) are the ones that give true satisfaction.

Thanks for sharing.
Admirable. Inspiring. Really.
Smartest things I've heard in a long time.
Good for you. Lots of good tips here, too. Thanks for sharing.
Good job Dr. Spud. This is inspiring.
Hi 5, Spudman! We did the same thing. And when we encountered the infamous 'do nut hole' of health care. We began putting half of the money away for the monthly psychopharmaceuticals TG will need and which run a $1000 a month. It takes some ingenuity and committment but it can be done. Being single does make it work better but if you even trim somewhat. I sat down with my family doc and said: Here is the revised version of my meds. I have so many specialists on board you guys are walking all over each other. So I actually wound up being able to buy a third of my meds over the counter and switch from one brand of drug to another in the same family that had a generic equivalent..saved $40. Respiratory meds still kick my butt at donut time but at least now we plan for them for 3-4 months coverage for them. Stop smoking Spudman! I know I know...been there and done that but it truly is the gift that keeps on giving...hack hack.
Hi 5, Spudman! We did the same thing. And when we encountered the infamous 'do nut hole' of health care. We began putting half of the money away for the monthly psychopharmaceuticals TG will need and which run a $1000 a month. It takes some ingenuity and committment but it can be done. Being single does make it work better but if you even trim somewhat. I sat down with my family doc and said: Here is the revised version of my meds. I have so many specialists on board you guys are walking all over each other. So I actually wound up being able to buy a third of my meds over the counter and switch from one brand of drug to another in the same family that had a generic equivalent..saved $40. Respiratory meds still kick my butt at donut time but at least now we plan for them for 3-4 months coverage for them. Stop smoking Spudman! I know I know...been there and done that but it truly is the gift that keeps on giving...hack hack.
I think you made, not lemonade, but lemon wine--and a blue ribbon batch at that! Impressive story, and I enjoy the thorough and brisk way that you recount it. As cartouche said, you've got the makings of a bestseller here.
Good stuff and yeah, nothing wrong with pinching the penny.
Do you make house calls? Rated for true financial wizardry.
SUCH as a smart piece. I did the very same thing. Well, I'm still doing it, since its an ongoing process, isn't it? With that said, I realized I had cut so much out of my life, I was feeling exploited! I kept my Fri. night out to my local joint here where I get a tasty dinner and a few glasses of wine. It had to stay for sanity's sake.
Good work, Spud. It amazed me when I quit smoking finally, how much I had been spending. How much I had simply burned up over the course of my life. I could sure use that money now.

I don't think I could cut my expenses to the bone the way you did; as you note, when there's a family involved it complicates things. But there are sure ways to cut corners even for families - my wife is a champion couponer, and her rule is "never pay retail".

Rated.
I'm glad I read this . . . inspiring, to say the least!
I wish I could rate this even more than once! I took early retirement in December. Went from take-home pay close to yours to a budget of about $2,000/month. We, too, cut everything back. We're living on our savings for the next 10 years (we have always been frugal, relatively speaking), and loving every moment of our frugality...but more important...our freedom! You just have to decide that what you already have is all you need.

Well done, sir! My kudos and congratulations!
This is very inspiring. Well done, I am impressed!