During my career in the tech industry, I’ve talked with lots of high earning individuals who have simply said: “You can’t live off minimum wage.” I wholeheartedly disagree. In fact, my expenses have been 10k per year for the last 3 years and I’d like to share with you all how I do it.
Me and my partner have always been low spenders. I came from a family where my parents both earned minimum wage for all of their lives so I’ve learned to be happy with less. I’m fed up with being met with disbelief or responses insinuating that more or less I must have a rubbish life when I tell people at work how low my expenses are. Here’s a little break down of them (I split everything equally with my partner).
Food: £100 per month (MAX! per person). A lot of what we like to eat is generally cheap (Pho, Pasta dishes, Risotto, Curry) and we cook everything from scratch, we buy no ready-made sauces etc). This also includes nice rice, vegetable and chicken lunches. We also buy wine, beer and at least once per week nice steaks/lamb shanks. I’m genuinely quite shocked how people can manage to spend much more than this.
Mortgage: £638 split between me and my partner. We live in the South East of England, we just decided to live in a smaller 2 bedroom maisonette rather than a house (there are only 2 of us), it cost us £195k. *note – only £120 of this is actually disappearing with interest, the rest is going into house equity (effectively an alternative savings account!).
Council Tax: £980 per year (£480 each). Benefits of a lowish cost area again.
Gas/Electric/other bills: £50 per month each (MAX!). This is mainly our gas and electric, we pay no TV license as we just watch Netflix (which costs us £1.50 each, each month – as we share with family). We always find the best deals with Fiber internet each year using Quidco, so this doesn’t come to more than £5-£8 per person each month. And we both don’t have any phone contracts, this year we both took up a Three deal of £8 per month sim only but with the Amazon gift voucher they offered we ended up spending negative £5 per month each for 2GB Internet, unlimited texts and 200 minutes each month (yes we got paid to use this!).
I also bike to work, I don’t own a car, my partner leases a new Ford Fiesta which is costing her £120 per month. We will be getting rid of this when her contract ends as we both live close to work.
Now this covers all of my essentials, good food, mortgage, bills (Fiber internet and good TV). This comes to £6056 per year. We also dedicate £150 per month each on spending money (and we save up this if we want to buy something big e.g. fit a new kitchen). That brings the total to £7856. We also have a budget of £1500 each per year for holidays, this is MORE than enough. We went to New York last Christmas (flights were only £250 each, thank to Jack’s Flight Club). We plan to go to Japan for a month next year and Canada next Christmas. When you realize that spending lots of money on holidays won’t make them better (we found it to be more fun budgeting!) you can travel anywhere you want! Airbnb is your friend, and you have more fun :-] Remember; Spending Less Makes You Happier!.
So total spend for a very good life, lots of travel and good food for us comes to a total of £9356. We both save way over 75% of our income. Why do people look at me like I’m crazy or malnourished? Please if anyone else spends under minimum wage and is happy, let me know I’m not alone! It really annoys me when people simply say “You can’t live on minimum wage!”. My parents have done this for all of their lives and they’re extremely happy, they’ve paid off their house, and they go on holidays every year. If anyone has any questions about my spending, ask away!