I am excited to say that I am now all settled in and am living relatively frugally in my beautiful house in a community I love. I have a great life.
The move ended mortgage payments. Installing heat pumps negates the need for oil heating (which is expensive). Home owner’s insurance and property taxes are cheaper here.
My goal is to live on $15,000 a year. Now, I’ll be upfront that there are exceptions to the $15k/year rule. For example, I’m using some of the equity from my old house to pay for repairs and renovations to this one. Like I’ve said, I’ve installed heat pumps. I’ve also needed to replace the hot water heater. I need a new roof soonish, and I need to insulate the attic and the basement.
R has replaced the toilet and subfloor around the toilet in the apartment bathroom. I was pretty excited that that only wound up costing just over $200.
Also, outside of the $15k/year would be emergency vet bills and emergency dental work. Essentially it’s living on $15k with a substantial emergency fund.
So, what does the $15k/year include? All other living expenses (food, household purchases, utilities, entertainment, medications, pet care, transportation, vacations, donations, gifts, clothing etc). And right now I am paying my brother’s living expenses too. He found a job, but it doesn’t start until the first week of June. As soon as he has his first paycheque, he will pay for his own food and other expenses, and after that, he will start paying some “rent.” Really just his share of utilities and operating costs. I figured that paying his living expenses was the least I could do when I sold the home he lived in and moved us half-way across the country. He was unable to get a transfer through work, and so had to find a new job.
I plan to transfer $1250 on the first of each month to my chequing account and that is the money I have to live on for the rest of that month. If I run out of money…well, too bad. I will just have to make do. I’m good at that, so it shouldn’t be too bad. My grocery bill should decrease and the money I can put toward bills will increase once my brother is working too. I may decrease the $1250 a month stipend by the amount he pays me then. I can keep that money in the emergency fund.
There is a chance my son will move into the upstairs apartment at some point in time. That will increase my bills initially and decrease my share of them later when he starts paying his share of the utilities and for his own groceries.
And, if R moves in, there will be another person to share the cost of utilities, property tax, and insurance.
I realize that I am quite privileged that I can live this way. I am not poor. I don’t have a ton of money, but I live well. Part of that is funded by the commuted value of the pension I cashed out to retire at 47. Part of it is due to the disparity between what my house in Hamilton netted me and what my home here cost. Part of it is that I am pretty good at being frugal. I am so lucky to be mortgage-free before 50. I am so lucky to live in this beautiful, walkable place.
This was the life I dreamed of living when working was making me miserable.