How I Live Well On 1K€ A Month (My Complete Spending Plan)

How I Live Well On 1K€ A Month (My Complete Spending Plan)

It is now almost a year since I sat down and decided to „refactor my life“ and change a whole bunch of things that I was no longer content with:

  • Living pretty much hand-to-mouth despite my best efforts to change that, something always came up.
  • The expensive city apartment that I never enjoyed, I’m a country kid by heart.
  • I had an expensive truck for my magnetfishing hobby that I loved dearly, but that was on its last legs and frankly too expensive for a hobby purchase.
  • My job was getting increasingly annoying to the point where I spent more time dealing with background noise than actually working.

As I type this I’m not quite yet out of my current job (read my detailed plan to make a modest living in 2021) – but I just signed the contract that says I’ll be free next march, with a severance check that can sustain me for quite some time at my current spending.

And that spending is what I want to write about today: How I live more than well, better and happier even than I did a year ago.

I live in an afforable apartment now

I guess most people will agree that rent is the highest recurring cost each month – and I did not even like what my 800-900€ afforded me in the city. I barely ever slept through a full night, it was third-floor and I had to carry my bike up there each day and we had a burning car or accidents or people getting beat up at least once a month.

Now, however I have a cute little two-room apartment that costs me the stunningly low sum of 389€ each month – utilities included. This is affordable housing in a small town of course, the neighbours are all a little bit weird and such – but on the upside I have great internet, access to all necessary shops for groceries, electronics and clothes and I hardly ever have to talk to the neighbours at all.

The sheer luxury of waking up in the morning, opening the window and smelling fog, nature that is just five minutes by bicycle away all are hard to beat and I’m grateful that I have landed where I did.

This is where I belong and it’s just ten minutes away from my door.

I managed to cut down my food budget drastically

Food as the next big cost has always been a large one for me. Our company culture and the location in the middle of like fifty different restaurants saw us go out for lunch just about every day of the week – at roughly 6-10€ a day.

As you can tell that spirals out of control quickly, especially since that came on top of my regular food spending.

Now the crisis has put its own stop to that, but actually I had stopped going out for lunch so much even before the lockdown – and drastically cut down my costs that way. I grew up quite differently to how I spent the last few years where we always cooked our own food and maybe went out for a restaurant like once a month – and frankly I always enjoyed that.

I also always enjoyed cooking – on my own terms, that is – where I get to create fun, cheap meals that may or may not conform with what other people consider food. And then lastly I always enjoyed eating salad and that stuff has a real price difference between the 2€ or something that it costs to make one for yourself or the 7-10€ it costs to buy one.

Between all those I now spend maybe 300€ a month on food – total. Maybe I’ll write up an own post for that to showcase my usual diet that is honestly pretty good, diverse and also cheap.

I have a 125cc scooter for my main transport now and it’s amazing

To give you an idea of just how much this solution saves me now: The whole scooter cost me less than a year’s worth of insuring my truck. I paid 1200€ for the scooter and used to pay 1300€ for car insurance – insuring the scooter costs me a whopping 70 bucks a year(!). And that was a bottom-line cheap truck, I could have also bought a 30k car and pay it off like many of my friends and coworkers did.

I also save on gas, parking is a non-issue and I still get to transport all my tools, can do all my shopping and don’t even have issues buying a drillpress and transporting it home.

I always wanted a drillpress.

Since it is a 125cc it’s also more than adequate for me in terms of speed – it can do 100kph and that is the highest legal limit you encounter on German streets. That means I get everywhere I want to – quicker actually than I used to with the truck that had the same top speed, but a much longer way of getting there. And of course I save a lot of time and hassle with parking.

And that is only counting the financial aspect, you have no idea how much fun I have on the cute little spaceship on wheels – so much so that I even ended up part of a regular riding group full of people that are actually fun to be around.

And yeah, the whole transportation thing has become a non-issue after two years of barely managing the upkeep, but frankly always having to deal with the hassle of a big truck in the narrow city. Also I now pay half or a third maybe in gas money per mile traveled, which makes me actually go out and explore the backroads around here.

I spend very little on clothes

I usually overspend a little on shoes to get the really good kind – that makes all the sense in the world – but other than that I never wear more than a hundred bucks worth of clothing on me at any given point.

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I actually don’t know why this works so well, I’ve always been dressed in flea-market clothes ever since I can think back – and then by slapping some store-bought items into the mix I am actually fairly well dressed and feel great in my own skin.

A pair of jeans costs me 5€ tops this way and I can’t even think back to the last time I had to throw out a pair. My t-shirts are plain but in various colours and the 5€ ones that I buy in bulk are actually made of a far better fabric than the whole fashion-victim brands for ten times the price.

The one thing I spent good money on are jackets, but then again those last a long time and they don’t have to be outrageously expensive either.

As I type this I have made another realization: I have not bought a single piece of clothing this year, at least nothing that wasn’t motorcycle safety gear. I remember one t-shirt gave out that was then turned into face masks.

I changed my hobbies and lifestyle to a mix of coding, reading, renovating and outdoor exploration

My new spirit animal

You can probably already tell that all those hobbies have one thing in common: They are both fun and cheap. I mean, reading and coding don’t even cost me gas money – and for the other two that is pretty much the only cost.

I actually started reading again since I moved out here, my most beloved hobby during my childhood and then for the past few years I read less and less and could never quite focus on finishing a whole book. Well, now we have a used books library out here where a book costs a whopping 30 cents, with a great selection of German and English books and I have a whole stack of great books that I look forward to devouring over the winter.

Oh, and that thousand-dollar toolkit I mentioned earlier? That has already earned its stay like three times over this year as I repaired things for myself, helped friends and coworkers renovate and move. Plus it makes me feel useful which is never a bad thing.

Also these hobbies are quite down-to-earth, but also diverse so I hardly ever get bored unless I want to. Last Sunday it rained and it was beautiful so I went out and just hiked down a cool path by the river for a couple hours.

I always love the rainy autumn days and this was particularly beautiful.

Between those I have nature, sports, hobbies for rainy, cozy days on the couch and can also quench my thirst for productivity whenever I feel like it.

And the total cost for all of them is almost negligible, I pay like 50-100€ a month in gas and that includes a lot of exploration and backroads.

Granted, I have about 3k€ invested in the tools, the hardware and the scooter, but all those stretch over several years and that is still pretty cheap overall.

Soon I’ll get rid of the damn train ticket

This is how my mornings look (sometimes)

I really enjoy the train rides to work ever since I moved out of the city, it’s just incredibly beautiful to have a journey instead of a commute. I love to gaze out as the rain dribbles down the window, the world moves by and the thoughts run wild. Honestly, being on the train for an hour each way is ten times better than being on the subway for twenty minutes.

The bad thing though? That train ticket costs me 250€ each and every month which is just crazy, especially now that I only drive to work for a maximum of two days per week. Having the monthly ticket is still cheaper than buying single tickets though – and so I look quite forward to next march when I will be able to cut that cost out at least temporarily, quite likely completely now that homeoffice work is far more common in the tech world.

I will say this though: I’m going to miss the actual journeying part of that whole ordeal – even those days in the cold rain talking to strangers for hours when someone decided to throw furniture onto the tracks for the third time that month. The way you meet new people is unreal, I’ve never been one to talk to strangers and suddenly you find yourself leading actual, meaningful conversations over a long stretch of time.

Summary: adjusting my life made me save and enjoy it a lot more

So right now I’m still on the very edge of that magical 1k€ mark, depending on food and gas money I land at roughly the following numbers:

  • Rent: 389
  • Food: 300
  • Train: 250
  • Gas: 50-100

So as you can see I land at slightly above that number if you factor in clothes, random odd purchases and such but for recurring cost that is all I ever spend in a month. Even once you slap all those on top they still don’t add up to all that much, as I type this I have not made a single „stupid purchase“ in several months and the only larger purchase I did make has been the Microsoft Surface Pro 7 that has already earned me back the money I spent on it.

Once I get rid of that train ticket you’ll see me drop solidly below that line and that is where I hope to stay for a long time now that I have found my ideal setup and lifestyle that is sustainable for a long time.

I hope you found this post interesting to read and hopefully even a little inspirational to see just how drastically one can change their life in just a couple of months.

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