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Expenses That Are Like Neverending Lifetime Debt

Currently, my Debt has been contained, but the expenses still march on…

Being debt free is great, but now I have to get ready for the 2nd great battle, and that’s the battle against necessary lifetime expenses (food, clothing, utilities, gasoline, taxes, etc).

In this post, I’m just going to talk about a subset of my expenses that I consider are debt-like in nature. 

The Expenses below have debt-like properties:

  • Taxes (Real Estate, Property, etc):  My biggest Debt-like tax expense is Real Estate Tax!  Unlike debt, this is an expense that will rise with the appreciation of your house, and any community levies that are passed.  Now I know, some of you will say, I can avoid this by Renting, but renting is even more expensive!  There isn’t any way to avoid this, so the best you can do is plan around it!  Like an oyster, you must build your wealth so that you can coat a smooth layer around this irritation! 
  • Utilities (Gas, Electric, Sewer, Water, Trash Collection):  These are also debt-like, but less so than Taxes.  The prices of utilites can do down sometimes, but mostly they go up.  Over years, the trend has been an upward slope!  You can control the cost of these expenses by conservation or going green.  Going Green (solar, wind, etc) may be an options in the future, but currently it’s too expensive.
  • Misc: Certain insurance costs, Driver’s licenses, and other little costs that the goverment requires that you pay.

 

Some lesser debt-like expenses can be reduced to a minimal cost:

  • Clothing: the cost associated with this lifetime expense can be minimized by buy cloths at garage sales, thrift shops, goodwill, etc…
  • Food:  this can be mimized by growing your own food, and possible a small bit of farming…
  • Gasoline prices: similar to utilities, the price of gas can go up and down, but over years, has an upward slope.  You can control the cost of gas by carpooling, driving less, implementing telecommunting at work, and using public transportation.  Walking is an option, but if the distance it too long, then the time factor may be too expensive (life is short).

Initially my plans were to build up investments that I would call “Dividend Funds” and have them pegged to help pay for certain debts and other expenses.  However with the threat of increasing taxes on the dividend yields of such financial instruments, I’m starting to re-think this approach.

Readers: Can you think of any addtional expenses that are debt like that I missed? 

-MR

17 Responses to Expenses That Are Like Neverending Lifetime Debt

  1. Personal vegetable/herb gardening is great, but you also need to learn how to harvest, dry, and can to preserve that harvest throughout the year.

    Good job with cutting back those expenses! I know they can be an expensive pain!

  2. @MoneyFunk
    Sounds like it would be a lot of work, but worth it once you got the routine down.

    The expenses seem like another huge mountain to climb…

  3. I’ve noticed my utilities have gone up and the city is now talking about a 10-25% hike! (yikes.) These last three months we’ve been trying to shut down our computer monitors and keep our usage under control, which saved us about $50 on our last bill. We’ve also been lucky that it’s been raining a little more than usual, cutting down on watering the lawn.

    One of my expenses that I’m hoping to reduce this year is rent! I’m planning on moving in the next few months and will hopefully save a buck or two!

  4. Utilities are a real pain, but you can find inexpensive ways to cut them without having to switch to solar power. Some inexpensive insulation can go a long way toward lowering your heating bill.

  5. @Little House
    Great efforts around reducing your utilities!!! I hate the way the Utilities keep rising like crazy…

    Good luck, on the move!!! It’s definitely a renters/buyers market 🙂

    @Saving Money Today
    Good point! Plus there may be a tax benefit by installing additional insulation?

  6. You’re right, property taxes are unavoidable. The best is to save for this or what you can do is pay it every month instead of all at once.

    That is what I do. Pay it in installments.

  7. @MoneyHoneySF
    Sounds like a wise way to do it. Where I live we have Real Estate Tax, but not Property Taxes. I think most states go with one or the other.

    We pay our Real Estate Tax quarterly

  8. If you think about it, taxes really are the biggest expense of all! Make more, pay more!

    All about now relocating to one of the 7 no state income tax states Don!

  9. @Samurai
    Ahhh, wise advice!

    That’s a good way to reduce the tax expense!

    Which are the “no personal state income tax” states?
    Alaska, Florida, Nevada, South Dakota, Texas, Washington and Wyoming.

    New Hampshire and Tennessee, tax only dividend and interest income.

  10. In reality this battle is bigger and longer than the battle to get out of debt. This one makes you stop and think!

    For the R.E. taxes, utilities and other living expenses you also have the option of trading down. Maybe its time to think like a minimalist?

    I’ll admit, Jacob at early retirement is also making me think the same way. Our dream retirement house has gone from a manageable 1,700 sq. ft. to a goal of going as small as possible. I’m not talking 100 sq ft but it will be very modest. The smaller it is the less it costs.

  11. @LeanLifeCoach
    I agree, and if it weren’t for my kids and wife, I probably would be a minimalist like Jacob too.

    Unfortunately, my wife, while very frugal, doesn’t share my housing viewpoint. We are still much more frugal that our neighbors though (I guess we are the anti-Jones Family (lol)…

    I’m floundering right now with a strategy for conquering these expenses, but hopefully once I get my tax return back, I’ll formulate some type of investing plan. As the saying goes “failing to plan is planning to fail“…