Everybody knows our economy has changed and income is not what it was few a years back. In addition everybody knows many Americans are out of work. So how do you survive and maintain a decent life style in this new world of ours? This is the question many people are asking.
I will tell you my story and maybe that will help. My wife Anabelle and I are now retired in New Mexico and like many people we have seen it all. First we lost a small fortune in the stock market and then, for health reasons, were forced into retirement.
Today we live modestly in a mobile home (1200 square feet) and other than having what everybody calls ‘luxury’ are living the life of Riley. Granted we do have Social Security and Medicare for a security umbrella but SS income is not much as you know. It certainly cannot make house and car payments and then get you through the month.
The first key to our success is that we are bill free which means we owe absolutely nobody and only pay basic monthly bills like utilities, health and auto insurance, lot rent for our mobile home, property taxes, food and clothing. You can add to that about $400 a month in incidental expenses. This brings our total monthly expenses to less than $1400 per month or about $350 per week which is, as you know, fairly modest living. Many people pay more than $1400 per month in home/apartment rent alone.
Here is how our monthly expenses break down…
- Lot rent – $180
- Health Insurance – $500
- Auto Insurance – $50
- Taxes – $10
- Food – $125
- Clothing – $50
- Incidental Expenses $400
Granted there are many people living on less these days but what I am talking about here is a sustained living style, with a few amenities, for less money.
As you can see our ‘big savings’ come from owning a home rather than buying a home. As for our low taxes, New Mexico property taxes are not near what they are elsewhere and I get a Veteran’s exemption to boot. As for insurance that is a big expense anyway you cut it but if you go insurance shopping you will find a wide disparity in health and auto rates. In short it definitely pays to shop for these items.
When Anabelle and I took a licking in the stock market we thought the show was over. We were forced to sell a nice 3 bedroom home with a swimming pool. We also understood a $1500/month plus mortgage would never again be possible… that we had to take the money we did have and make do.
It was not easy to start a new life as it took a while for Anabelle and I to realize we needed to find a home for $30,000 rather than $300,000 or more. Of course we found one, as this story goes, in the form a mobile home and as I have already suggested things have worked out well.
The key to mobile home living, we have found, is first to find a mobile home park you can live with (not always an easy task) and then buy a mobile home and fix it up, inside and out. If you do all this well you quickly realize you can live as comfortable in a mobile home as you can in any house. Likewise if the interior of the mobile is made pleasant you will find you have had to sacrifice very little.
To close this short story if you find your bills dominating your life and you are killing yourself trying to keep up then you might want to take a look at mobile home living. Granted it is far from a glamorous and luxurious lifestyle but on the other side it is sustainable and will keep you from going to the poor house. It is also worth noting Anabelle and I have made many new friends in our mobile park and as a result no longer have any desire to live elsewhere.