Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Reality Check Anyone?

ISPF's blog led me to a Reality Check calculator, where I projected myself into a one bedroom apartment with internet, but no cable or landline. And aside from getting rid of my car and adopting public transportation, my projected lifestyle stayed pretty much the same: savings, minimal shopping, no movie dates, basic hygiene like shampoo & an occasional haircut, but no manicures, and reading online instead of print materials. Oh, and I optimistically projected myself into cooking at home - since that's only my biggest splurge right now.

The calculator says I should make at least $9.00/hour. I don't think this calculator has taken into consideration the cost of living in NYC. I've managed to save enough to increase my networth by 58% since May 2006, but I've done the math before: had I moved out once I had a full time job (and hence, started saving regularly), my entire savings account in ING Direct would have been called "Rent Fund" instead of "Savings." And I make quite a bit more than $9.00/hour.

Conclusion: Another reason to be satisfied with living at home!


Anonymous said...

The decision to live at home vs. on your own is a very personal decision that's compounded by many non-financial factors. The fact that you can is great...I didn't move out until I was past 25, and then it was me forcing myself out. It's too easy to get caught into the trap of living under the wing - there are many things you start to learn when you live on your own (in my opinion).

Just keep in mind that you're dealing with two currencies here - the hard, cold cash, which you'll make more and less of each year, and time, which is being depleted as we speak and will *never* come back.

I like to keep that relationship together in my head, so that I don't obsess too much on being miserly. Of course, saving now just means that you're hopefully buying freedom to do what you want with your time when you're older!

Ahh...complicated balances in life!

WH said...

WB Socal!

Somehow "miserly" brings images of Scrooge to mind, so I feel I should clarify...

I think our individual lifestyle choices which build up to our standards of living measure differently for each person. For example, I had a former apartment-mate who told me she couldn't live without cable tv, so when we moved in together, splitting the cable bill was fine with me. But only because she made it an absolute must. Since I don't have a habit of watching tv, I wouldn't have missed having cable at all.

But some other choices, like not going to $11 movies, are definitely conscious pennysaving decisions! That one's about individual priorities though: movies aren't that important to me. It's no biggie to me if I see it on opening night, or if I see it for $1.99 from Blockbuster in three months. One extravagance that I still haven't been able to surrender though is eating out. I know it's an extravagance, but oh, how I enjoy it! So I guess everyone's got their "thing"...what's yours? =)

Anonymous said...

I know exactly what you mean. I think when people run into financial trouble is because they make *everything* they purchase a must-have. Like you said, we all have to make choices.

I agree with you on the movies, though I do enjoy the movie-going experience at times. For me, it's hard to justify exravagant purchases on clothing. I think it's the fact that you can find the same clothing several months later for 50%-75% off. I still dress nicely...just not cutting edge fashion.

Food is very important to me also, and eating is one of the simple experiences I like to savor, by eating good food. Therefore, I try not to eat out with junk food or mindlessly purchasing any kind of food. Save it for the great meals...hopefully with great company!

I'm actually thinking of cutting my cable TV, at least expanded cable. I just don't watch a lot of it, and it's not really a priority...