As you know, The Dizz and I are sharing a STUDIO apartment for $1800/month. Oh, and if we wanted to have a parking garage, it'd be an additional $250/month. We said thanks but no thanks, street parking will do just fine. Though, with our already 3 parking tickets we've received (in just 4 months of having the car) for a total of $275, I'm starting to reconsider.
This is an expensive city, yo. Very expensive. It seems like every month we're just barely coming up with what we need for bills and food and a tiny bit of entertainment so as to keep our sanity.
What with the car payment, insurance payment, credit card payments, rent, cell phones, yadda yadda, it really adds up. Quickly.
We've had to get a little creative with the money situation, especially since losing my job back in October. Here's how we've been "getting by" without digging ourselves deeper into the hole.
I'm sure you've all heard of Uber, yes? If you haven't, well, the gist of it is:
If you need a ride, you open your Uber app on either your iPhone or Android, click the button to request, and then the closest Uber driver gets a Ping! and accepts your requests, picks you up, starts the ride, drops you off, ends the ride, then badda bing, badda boom, your credit card on file gets charged, the driver gets paid electronically, no cash is exchanged, and you're on your merry way.
No hassle of having to call a cab, you can see exactly where your driver is and how many minutes away they are. You can even see their little picture so you know exactly who is coming to get you. In San Francisco, UberX is the cheapest ridesharing service out there and 30% cheaper than taxis!
Since we got our little Hamstermobile, and since San Francisco is huge on this ridesharing business, the deal was that we'd sign up for it. It was actually a blessing in disguise getting that car because when I lost my job, I was able to start driving more to make up for the lack of income!
It's been pretty great, actually. I can just hop in the car whenever I feel like it, make about $30-$50/hour, then turn off the app when I don't feel like driving anymore.
The flexibility is what I love. I can drive the hours I want until I make what I want to make for the day, then I have the rest of the day to do as I please. You know, like, train for that marathon I'm running.
(P.S. If you've never used Uber, I suggest giving it a try! If you use this code (uberMishLovinLife), you'll get your first $10 for FREE. Take note, Uber is usually only in major cities around the world, so check first if it's available!)
I think I've mentioned in a previous post about us hosting on AirBnb. We've had experience using AirBnb throughout our 6-months of travel, and we loved it! When we finally got our own place, we figured, hey, why not rent it out a few nights a month. It's cheaper than most hotels, plus you get a "home" feel, complete with kitchen if you're the type that wants to save a little extra on vacation and cook at home!
We're renting out our place this weekend for just 3 nights while we go stay at The Dizzle's sister's house and when we get back, that'll be $417 extra bucks in our pocket. Not too shabby. You can rent out even an extra spare room if you have it! It's a neat way to be a part of this bigger community and meet new people from all over the world. In fact, I think this coming June we're having some Germans come and stay for a few days!
(If you're first time AirBnb users, I looked up this referral code as well! You can get $25 off your first visit! Holler.)
3. The Dizzle's Sexiness
And what I mean by that is The Dizzle is a personal trainer at Crunch and hasn't had any trouble getting the neighborhood housewives in to train. I mean, if I was alone at home while the kids were at school, I'd certainly be motivated to go to the gym if this guy was my trainer. But, I mean, I could be biased.
But in all seriousness, his working at Crunch has been a great contributor to monthly income and without it, we'd be a lot more stressed!
4. Online Shenanigans
5. SAVING where you can
We've had to learn how and where we can save around here and we've had to adjust to a little more frugal of a lifestyle than what we used to have back in San Diego. But, I think we're managing a good balance that allows us to save as well as not feel deprived for any entertainment and fun! Here are a few ways we save a buck here and there:
A) Generic brands at the grocery store! I purposefully look for the Safeway brands now. Whereas before, I didn't look twice and would just grab the $6 pack of cheese instead of the $3 pack! They taste just the same in my opinion and if I can save money, then why the hell not! The other day, I decided to actually look at the "junk" mail before throwing it out like I usually do, and in it were several coupons that I used and saved like $10 at my next shopping trip! It was highly exciting ;) I'm not going to lie, I used to frown upon coupon use, thinking that if I used them people would think I was poor or something. Stupid mentality, I know. NOW? Oh hell yeah, give me that BOGO Free coupon and I'll use it 'till Kingdom come!
B) Movies - We love 'em. We love going to movies and we used to go almost every week! Now? We've toned it down to about once a month. With our schedules being more flexible, we're able to see matinees and save a few dollars. If I can, I'll sometimes bring my own candy from home, too, so I don't have to spend an arm and a leg at the concession stand!
C) We eat at home about 90% of the time. Which is great for our waistlines and our budget. I've never cooked so much in my life! But it's been fun thinking of new recipes and trying them out. Sometimes not so good in my opinion, but fortunately The Dizzle can pretty much eat anything and everything. Plus, with cooking at home, there are usually always leftovers and though I'M not a huge fan, The Dizzle is and will most always eat it for lunch the next day. It's amazing how much money it can save by eating at home! This may not be new news to anyone, but for someone like me, who up until maybe 2 years ago (aka Pre-Dizzle), would always eat out because I was too lazy to cook and quite frankly, didn't really know how to cook. My how the times have changed!
D) Drinking in. Now, I'm sure you know that I'm a very social person. I love going out. I love meeting friends. I love dinners out. I just love it all. But, it's also important for us to have some moderation in that department. We'll usually have 1 night a week that we can go out. Whether it's just us or with friends. But the other nights, we'll get a bottle of wine (fine, two bottles of wine) and stay in to drink. We save a heck of a lot more money and still have a good time.
E) Credit Cards! We have made a commitment to not use our credit cards. Our motto is: If we don't have the money, then we don't buy it. We are in "Operation Pay Down" right now, so we have also agreed to not just pay the monthly minimums. Whatever we make, we put 10% towards the credit card and hope to be debt free by June! It's exciting to see the balance go down. Growing up, I've never had credit card debt, but since moving to San Francisco, with just a suitcase each, things had to be bought, sooooo yeah. Now we're paying it off and quickly! It sometimes sucks when I really want to buy something new, like clothes or a purse, but then I just have to ask myself: Would it be more worth it to put that $200 towards the credit card or to spend $200 on something I'll probably get sick of in a few months anyway? The quicker we pay it down, the less interest will be paid. And let me tell you, those interest charges are no joke!
Anyway, the topic of money is something that is on my mind every. single. day. Maybe it's my Asian roots, who knows? ;) But I'm thankful for a partner that is willing to be supportive on this matter and is on the same page. We both have financial goals and we are both committed to working hard to make it happen. It can be stressful at times, some days more than others, but I think as long as we can see that little light at the end of the tunnel (that teeny, tiny light), we'll be able to appreciate the hard work that has to go in.
I always say, every couple goes through their "poor phase" so that they can appreciate their financial freedom phase later on. So this is just our poor phase together ;) However, in my opinion, if we're staying afloat in the 9th most expensive city in the world, then we must be doing something right, right?
I'll say it again: Here's to making 2014 a successful year!