Saturday, March 21, 2009

Frugal Ideas - Your Money or Your Life Book


When I was still in college, I didn't understand frugal living ideas, "the balance of life." I thought the balance of life is getting good paying job, work hard, and making lot of money. The famous quote I hear from many hardworking people, "work hard and play hard." I learn that I need to keep working hard to preserve my lifestyle, and I realize I can't keep doing this forever. As I get older, I am getting more tire and less energy to keep working hard, and my balance of life is getting worst. I need to do something, and there has to be a way to bring balance back in life. The balance of life is the exact opposite of "work hard and play hard." The frugal living ideas of "balance of life" is to "work less and live simple." So, here is rest of the story on how I adjusted to achieve balance of life.

After my brother and his wife wedding in Oregon, and returned to Hawaii with his wife. Somehow he or his wife got a hold of a book called "Your Money or Your Life Book," left it on the table. I picked it up and like that idea of "financial freedom with enough money plus some." With notebook and pen, I spend a week or two reading the book, writing note and completing every exercises in the book. I did because I want to retire early and not keep working until I am 65 years old. I don't even know if Social Security is going to be here when I need it. The frugal living ideas I learn from the book discusses in term of free time and minutes of work to cover your expense - not how much your wages or salary should be. The goal is to get more free time, work fewer minutes, and enjoy better balance in life – I like frugal ideas of living, but sound difficult to do.

"Your Money or Your Life Book" author discuss ways to find more free times in your life by examining everything in you do from "the time you wake up" to "the time you go to bed." The book discuss breaking daily life into minutes; an example of frugal budgeting,

1. Shower - 10 minutes
2. Breakfast - 20 minutes
3. Driving to work 45 minutes
4. And so on, everything from wake up time to bedtime

Most important, break every expenses into minutes of work per day; for example, I spend about $120 a month for gas, so $120 divide by 30 days is equal to $4 worth of gas per day. My wages is about $10 per hour,

($4 of gas)/($10 per hour) X (60 minutes)/(1 hour) = 24 minutes

I will need to work 24 minutes each day to cover my daily commuting. Do the same for every monthly expenses, including cash expenses.

Next, tally up all the minutes, and from there to give me the overall picture of my daily life. I was able to pinpoint where you can find more free time. I use Excel spreadsheet, so I can do perform "what if" and instantly know your result.

The main focus on is my daily expenses; for example,

$10 per day eating out alone (cost me 60 minutes)
$ 2 per day beach with family (cost me 12 minutes)
$12 per day invite friends over for dinner (cost me 72 minutes)

Total: $24 each day and 144 minutes each day of work

I need to work 144 minutes each day or 2.4 hours each day to cover daily expenses. The term "each day" is horrible, that mean each day for rest of my life I have to work 2.4 hours to pay for my expenses – I didn't like that. I love spending time with family and is more important than other two, so I adjusted: 1) eat with more often family, 2) spend extra time at the beach, and 3) invite friends over the beach.

$ 0 per day eating out alone (cost me 0 minutes)
$ 5 per day on the beach with family & friends (cost me 30 minutes)
$ 0 per day invite friends over for dinner (cost me 0 minutes)

Total: $ 5 each day and 30 minutes each day of work

I love it, and I only need to work 30 minutes each day or 0.5 hours each day to cover my expenses. I have an extra 114 free minutes of cash, I can use it for smart saving and retirement plans. What I like about it, I work fewer hours and spend more time with I love, and less stressful – a step toward frugal simple living. I was able to keep up with my bills and credit cards payment, and still have some extra free minutes of cash.

The problem with the frugal living ideas and balance of life, it took me many years to believe in this idea and use it. I did everything exact opposite of frugal living ideas. I spends ton of money on:

1. Golfing - about 90 minutes per day

2. Expensive fishing and supplies - about 30 minutes per day

3. Table tennis and tournament - about 40 minutes per day

4. Use credit cards like crazy - this is the worst, it add up work minutes and drain free time

5. Plus many unnecessary expenses I can't keep track of – just as bad as credit cards

When the economy start getting bad, I am getting fewer work hours, and my paycheck is getting smaller. In frugal survival, I had to do something quickly, because I knew the recession is going to take at least a year or more to recover. I remember frugal living ideas from "Your Money or Your Life Book." I slowly start cutting back and look for cheap alternative, and made several changes in my personal lifestyle.

1) Close Dish Network account. Save $50 each month.

2) Close landline phone and internet account, share internet expense with neighbor. Save $35 each month.

3) Close $83 a month cell phone, open one year prepaid cell phone for $100. Save $75 each month.

4) Free entertainment on the way to work or after work; swimming, beach, bogey boarding, whale watching, snorkeling, shark watching, turtle watching, and hiking. On day off, just stay home , relax, and enjoy quality time. Save $200 or more each month.

5) With all that saving, paid off my hybrid car. Save $169 each month plus decrease in auto insurance premium.

6) Cut my own hair. Save $40 each month.

7) Fewer DVD rental and read more book; learning everything about internet marketing and website design. Investing for the future, be my own boss and not counting on Social Security or retirement account. Priceless knowledge.

8) Eat out less, eat healthy breakfast and good soup for dinner. Save $160 each month.

9) Lucky, I don't drink and smoke, plus I don't drink soda either. Save $200 to $400 each month.

Overall, I didn't have to work 8 hours each day, many time I left work early or refuse to work overtime. I was able to keep up with my bills and credit cards payment, and still enjoy extra free time learning internet marketing. I was able to make life changing adjustment by shifting to free quality time and free entertainments. I felt my life is less stressful, a step closer perfect frugal living ideas. I had to give credit to my brother for buying "Your Money or Your Life Book," and leaving the book on the table.

Unfortunely, I wasn't able to find the original "Your Money or Your Life Book," but I can still recommend the following books base on customer reviews.

Your Money or Your Life: 9 Steps to Transforming Your Relationship with Money and Achieving Financial Independence: Revised and Updated for the 21st Century

The Complete Tightwad Gazette

The Total Money Makeover: A Proven Plan for Financial Fitness

The Simple Living Guide: A Sourcebook for Less Stressful, More Joyful Living

Power of Less, The: The Fine Art of Limiting Yourself to the Business and in Life

Debt is Slavery: and 9 Other Things I Wish My Dad Had Taught Me About Money

How Much Is Enough? Harness the Power of Your Money Story--And Change Your Life

Following the wisdom of The Great Depression, "sacrifice and choose wisely,"


Wednesday, March 11, 2009


A True Story For Frugal Living

As we know, "A True Story For Frugal Living" can be much more interesting than just a list of frugal money saving tips. I believe the story should provide inspiration and motivation for everyone, whether it be heartwarming, rewarding, sad, or painful sacrifice . Of course, every simple living frugal story will not apply to everyone, because we know that no two story is the same. But most important, it should give insight on how to adapt, improvise, and overcome any financial difficulty. I believe that by mastering this frugal living ideas is the key to balance life and financial survival.

I think the current recession suffer from depletion of free money. In that said, we have max out beyond our spending limit in credit cards plus easy mortgage loan for new home. Then follow by soaring fuel cost that tips the budget of each home owner into negative cash flow. Thus, we have little or no money to spend, because bigger part of our budget is spend to cover the effect of rising fuel cost. The massive domino effect across the country, less revenue for every company, fewer hours for employee, follow by massive layoff and record foreclosure.

Would you believe a monthly electric bill have reached almost half the cost of monthly mortgage payment? Yes, it did happen, and that hurt. The is one of my true story you will read about.

If you have "A True Story For Frugal Living," and you want to share with other readers for inspiration and motivation. Please contact me and type in subject heading "A True Story For Frugal Living" - this is important so I know it is not a junk mail I am getting everyday.

The wisdom of The Great Depression, "sacrifice and choose wisely."

Frugal living,