Stumbled across this clip from an old guest post here, and thought it needed to be re-shared and contemplated again ;)
Have you ever ran your “survival number” before??
Your Survival Number
Try this: calculate how much money you need for a decent survival each day. Count all important expenses, but aim to come up with as low a figure as possible.
For me, this number is $26. That includes fancy things like an entire pot coffee every day, a nice apartment in frozen Alberta, and pretty damn good home cooked food. Your number may vary if you have kids, a spouse to support, soul crushing debt, etc.
Keep your survival number with you during your day. Write it on your hand if it helps. For most people, reducing expenses is about changing their day-to-day habits, not increasing their salary or saving a bunch of money on car insurance. Those small, easy-to-ignore expenses will seem much bigger when compared with your survival number.
For example, as I said my survival number is $26. That delicious ten dollar burger? That’s almost half of a day’s survival budget! Ouch!
You can get more granular with it too, play around a bit. My fairly overpriced internet costs $2/day – which provides for almost all my entertainment and education needs. For what I get out of it, I consider it money well spent. But would I spend an entire day’s internet on a single Starbucks coffee?
When this post was published back in 2013, I noted that MY survival number at the time was $183/day, followed by a “DAMN”, haha…
Though from looking at the number, I was probably being lazy and just calculating my *normal* monthly spending and dividing it by 30 instead of my “bare bones” one…. Doing that same thing again now – 3 kids later and living back in EXPENSIVE WORLD! (aka DC) – we’d actually be higher at $220/day.
DOUBLE DAMN! ;)
If we truly stripped it down though and cut it to the bare essentials, we’d be sitting a little prettier… Getting rid of the Netflixes and Hulus and charity donations, and beers, 529 contributions, babysitters, etc etc, we’d actually halve it down to around $122/day. Which is still not the *best*, especially for a finance blogger, haha…, but at least it’s moving in a better direction!
And honestly, kinda makes you realize just how much of our daily spending actually IS going toward the “fluff/comfort” stuff. Not that it’s necessarily a bad thing – you gotta enjoy the fruits of your labor! – but something to be aware of for sure…
Run the numbers this morning before the weekend hits, and see what you come up with… We all like to pretend there’s no room for cutting back, but exercises like this remind you we’re capable of a lot more if ever forced to… And some of us will be, unfortunately!
Would love to hear your thoughts and numbers in the comments below…
Just try not to whoop me too much, okay? ;)