How to Live Off 10k Per Year

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!


18 thoughts on “How to Live Off 10k Per Year

  1. Well impressed – you’ve got your expenses very under control there. You make me feel extravagant spending £22k!

    I love seeing how people live happy lives without spending all their income.

    I’m sure you’ll make it to FI in less than 5 years if you stick to the plan – once you’ve got the investments growing, they snowball fast.

    1. Hey! Yeah I’m looking forward to starting to see some investment snowballing soon 🙂 this was actually pasted from an old Reddit post I made so it’s a bit rugged 🙂 I think I’ve almost got an aversion to spending. Luckily, what I enjoy most seems to be free!

  2. I too have came from a family that lived off minimum wage so I know how to cope without spending lots of money. It’s a brilliant thing to be able to do. I’m not interested in buying the latest things that all my friends are buying, or getting that brand new car that’s ridiculously expensive. In fact, I’ve still got my cheap Ford Fiesta which was my 1st car purely because it allows me to save more money!

    Good to see you have your head screwed on the right way. I’m away to check out your other posts now cause this one definitely clicked with me!

    Also, I just signed up to Jack’s Flight Club yesterday after hearing lots of good things. Hoping to find a great deal to somewhere I’ve never been before for CHEAP – good to see someone else recommending him here.

    1. Awesome 😀 I love old cars, I wrote about buying a 1999 Skoda Fabia in one of my Philosophy posts, I ended up making some money from it after owning it for a year! Fords make them to last 🙂 My first car was a beautiful year 2000 Ford Focus.

      Jacks Flight Club is very good, Jack is awesome too; I had a free account and got an email stating ‘what you missed’ for the NYC flights, I subscribed and he kindly sent me those flights when I requested!

  3. Very very impressed with this! I don’t have anyone to share my bills at the moment so can’t split anything but as part of a couple (obvs with like-minded partner), I think I could easily be around the £10k mark too.

    As this seems to be no effort on your part spending so little, your funds will quickly grow with your high savings rate.

    I’ve signed up to Jacks Flight Club, here’s hoping to some cheap deals I can take advantage of!

    1. I’m hoping so 🙂 Yeah, it definitely allows your expenses to go down a lot lower if you share them with a like-minded individual. Not just because you can feed yourselves cheaper and pay less for living, but also because you don’t have to pay for as many social events as you can do things together for free!

      I hope Jack can find you as many good deals as he’s found me 🙂 As my partner is a teacher, we’re a lot more limited with the offers we can take up. There are some amazing ones which crop up outside of the school holidays!

  4. Just run my numbers a few times and I appear to living on just over 8500 pa. very comfortably. No kids, no mortgage and I share bills with my partner.

    I’ve learned to be pretty frugal over the past few years but have holidays abroad, eat out about once every couple of months and run a car with a 72 mile commute every work day.

    1. Awesome dude 😀 I knew there must be lots of other people living with similar expenses! Once you cut down on a lot of the biggest expenses like eating out, mortgage costs, car, everything else just falls into place. I can’t actually imagine spending much more than I currently do – unless I had a few kids maybe. Even so, I’m sure you can raise kids frugally as well.

      Thanks for commenting 🙂

      1. Thanks. You’re welcome. I think it’s been down to largely, “not buying stuff”. It’s made a big difference to my finances.

  5. I had to calculate to find out how much I earn in a year lol I used to live on £6000 a year, and it hasn’t improved much actually.
    I’m so used to my life style that I don’t think about it. Also, I’ve saved a lot of money selling the car, and relying on public transport. I also don’t take holidays abroad, but have a rich social life. I don’t have any debts, which is unusual nowadays, and I plan on working for as long as I can, because I want to.

  6. Buying and running a motor car seems to be the biggest culprit, and the prices on the new electric ones don’t look like they are designed to help either, Just have one small car when retired.
    Food is next, grow your own (if you can) learn to cook, and eat simply/healthily, fast food will shorten your life anyway!
    Change your supplier for all services regularly, get some basic IT skills if you don’t have them.
    Owning stuff wont make you happy, the best things in like truly are free 🙂

  7. Dude very impressive. I’m pretty happy that I maintain £20k per year spending. Slicing that to 10k seems nuts to me!

    We Spend £103.50 each on bills alone (Broadband, water, gas, electric, Netflix & spotify, house insurance)

    Included in that, we spend £24 each on our stupidly expensive (but also stupidly fast) broadband, so I know we could bring that down £15 each if we needed to.

    Anyway – congrats again. I know you’re in Sweden now, but even so very impressive how quickly you’re approaching FIRE.

  8. Hiya, this was an interesting read & I completely agree. Myself & my husband live in the SE of England too & have averaged £12k per yr over most recent years but it was more like £9k last year with the pandemic. I think moving forward we’ll be somewhere between £10-12k. I wasn’t brought up with good budgeting skills but thanks to my husband’s I’ve learnt how & I’m amazed at what a good life you can live on little money. It gives you more options for sure. I’ll look into some of your suggestions / links too.

  9. We have cut our groceries a lot over the last year, just by shopping online to cut impulse purchasing. As much as we can we get organic, and for three of us it is about 330£ so not far off you. Used to be about 200£ more just from seeing stuff in the shop. The current budget includes really good quality meals, and we make everything from scratch including bread. Our waste is very minimal but I have a compost bin in the garden for peel, scraps, etc. I sold my car and we share my partner’s company car, and I don’t miss mine at all. It is wonderful to be happy with what you have, I wish more people would wake up to this life! One thing I need to look at is travel. I don’t buy any fashion items any more because I’m not going into an office, but travel is quite high (easily 2-3k a year!) plus gifts for my niece and nephews. Always room to trim!

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