What! How do we live on €6000 per year? How is that possible? I know it’s a very small amount, but It’s honestly true. If you’ve read a few of my earlier posts then you’ll know that we believe that money can free you or trap you. Once we realised that, we set-off on the road to freedom. The road to freedom is a bit like our lane. It’s rutted and relentless, but the views ahead are breathtaking. Sometimes it’s a bumpy road, and the the sat-nav will try and recalculate your journey, but keep going, and remember to look up at the mountains.
“Keep going, and remember to look up at the mountains. “
Firstly, we’ve changed our mindset and lifestyle. As a result, we are able to live on €6000 per year. The key to success was saving a large amount of money to buy our properties out-right. You can find out how we saved our money to buy our properties without a mortgage and you can read about our top 10 saving tips.
Secondly, because we need very little to survive, we haven’t got to work very much to make ends meet. Consequently, we have lots of time to spend doing the things that we want to do. In contrast, a large proportion of our time used to be spent doing things we don’t want to do…like scraping ice off the windscreen at 6am in the morning or sitting in rush hour traffic.
This year we have worked part time hours through the summer, and in the winter we are free to do as we please. Well…we do have a cottage to renovate so it’s hardly likely to be a relaxing winter this year.
I know it probably sounds like it’s tough to live on €6000 per year, but I can assure you that we feel rich. Most importantly, we are rich in time rather than money, and to us, that is worth so much more. Every month that passes we manage to implement small changes that reduce our expenses. Whether that’s foraging food (such as grapes, carobs, firewood etc) growing food (such as vegetables, olives, walnuts, lemons etc) or by knitting Dora-dog’s fur into warm winter socks. Only kidding, I made that last bit up. we’re frugal but things haven’t got to that point yet.
“We are rich in time rather than money, and to us, that is worth so much more.”
Also, we have begun swapping skills and favours with friends. As I write this, a good friend is teaching Mr Sidestepping-normal how to build a wall out of blocks. We were quoted €2500 for the job, but thanks to our friend, we will be able to complete it for €700. In return we have looked after his dogs and will continue to lend a hand in any way we can. Similarly, this weekend we will be feeding another friends cats. We know that if we need to ask for help in return, they will happily assist us. This is an old fashioned approach, but why does everything have to revolve around money? Why does there always need to be a financial gain?
I have lots of questions for you…
Do you have large expenses every month? How would your life be different if you didn’t have any debt/ mortgage/ rent to pay? What would you do with the extra money? Would you reduce the hours you spend at work to gain more time? What would you do with your time?
The ultimate questions…What do you want? How will you achieve it?
This is the most important question we asked ourselves. Our answer was that we wanted freedom. We craved the most simple freedoms, like waking up naturally, eating when we are hungry and having more time. It didn’t seem like much to ask, but it was unattainable in our old life.
How we live on €6000 per year…
Here’s a breakdown of our annual expenses to give you (and us) an idea of how we live on €6000 per year.
| Expenses||Amount per month||Amount per year||Total €|
|Wood for the log burner||€11.60||€140||
|Mobile phone contract (UK)||€28||€336||
|Mobile contract (Greek)||€12||€144||
|Unforeseen expenses and maintenance.||€50||€600||
Expenses we’ve avoided or reduced in order to live on €6000 per year:
We don’t have the obvious expense of mortgage or rent, but we’ve avoided other expenses too. For example, we don’t have subscriptions for extra channels on the tv, and we don’t buy expensive gifts for friends and family (you can read my post about handmade gifts). Our clothing is bought second hand or given to us, and I cut my own hair, and Dora-dog’s too. Dora-dog looks like she’s had a run-in with a lawn mower, but she’s happy to take one for the team. It’s all in the name of frugality.
At home we eat vegetarian and vegan, which saves a lot of money (and animals!) Furthermore, we make our own compost and grow vegetables (learning and failing…should probably be the other way round). We have some olive trees, fruit trees and a big walnut tree, and the aim is to grow most of our fresh produce. However, it will take a few years before we are at that point. We are also beginning to make our own cleaning products and beauty products. Additionally, we wash our clothes with olive oil soap which is far cheaper than the standard laundry liquids. You can read all about our natural laundry soap.
“The aim is to grow most of our fresh produce, but it will take a few years before we are at that point.”
More about our frugal lifestyle…
Another area where we are frugal is in the kitchen; we cook food from scratch rather than buying expensive snacks.*** (Mr SN makes a mean rock cake and he’s a curry king too.) Lucky Dora-dog gets all of our food leftovers that aren’t worth saving for lunch the next day. She’s not fussy and will happily eat pasta or curry. Food waste isn’t a thing in our house! Meanwhile, we try to reduce our electricity consumption in many ways too. Our hot water is powered by solar, we cook lots of meals on our two solar ovens, we heat water for showering on our log burner during the winter, we heat our house with wood, and we turn lights out when we aren’t in the room. We don’t own lots of electric appliances and our fridge is energy rating A.
*** side note – This excludes Mr SN’s addiction to crisps. If Dora-dog and I are willing to look like we’ve had a tussle with a lawn mower instead of paying for a haircut, then Mr SN should really kick his carbohydrate fix. I’m just saying…
Water is precious, and this is an area where we want to implement some changes to improve our efficiency. We want to utilise our water from the shower and kitchen to use in the garden. Fortunately, because we are in a rural location, we are connected to agricultural water. Consequently, this means that our bill is a lot cheaper. Having said that, we are conscious of not wasting water.
We aren’t connected to the mains sewerage system, instead we have an underground soak-away. This means we eliminate the cost of processing our sewerage. On another note, we’ve read that urine is a great natural nutrient-rich plant drink, so we have thoughts of harvesting some for our garden…You think I’m joking, but I’m actually serious on this one, I’m not taking the pee!
“We want to utilise our water from the shower and kitchen sink to use in the garden.”
In the winter we prune our olive trees. We save the branches and cut them down in to small pieces for the log burner. Therefore, we are self sufficient in the small kindling needed to start the fire. Additionally, we forage wood when we are out walking Dora-dog, and we scavenge driftwood from the beach. Furthermore, we search and save pine cones (we have 4 bags in the wood store) and we keep the shells from the masses of walnuts harvested from our tree. Any unwanted paper is saved (such as the envelopes, freebie leaflets, old diaries etc) for lighting the fire.
“We forage wood when we are out walking Dora-dog, and driftwood from the beach.”
Mr Sidestepping-normal is an expert at getting a good deal. He compares all the phone companies and finds the best contract. We have an English number and a Greek number. The English number gives us a large amount of data, which means that we don’t have to pay for internet or a landline phone. The Greek phone contract is necessary, but it’s a bit of a con…kinda like taxes.
We run a little 125cc motorbike which is very cheap to insure. This was a consideration when purchasing the bike. It’s also very economical on fuel. It only costs €4.50 to fill up the tank. This was the reason we opted for a small motorbike. It’s great for small local journeys.
Our car is extremely fuel efficient thanks to the mountains of research from Mr SN. At the moment it’s sitting in the UK, waiting to be driven over Europe in January…ROAD TRIP HERE WE COME!!! We are undecided whether to re-register it and have it on Greek number plates, but either way it’s very economical.
Turning our hand to different jobs…
We try to accomplish as many jobs ourselves, as we can. Mr Sidestepping-normal is learning lots of DIY skills. He’s doing really well, but some things are harder to master than others. It turns out that plastering a ceiling isn’t as easy as first thought. There’s a lot of plaster on the floor to prove it. We don’t have a cleaner, we don’t have a dog walker, we wash our own car, we don’t buy unnecessary items, we don’t go to the gym, we fix things ourselves, Mr Sidestepping-normal services our bicycles himself, and we save seeds from the garden.
“We try to accomplish as many jobs ourselves, as we can.”
In summary, that’s how we live on €6,000 per year. Having said all that, we always set aside a contingency fund for the unforeseen expenses that occur, whether it’s a puncture on the car, or a broken chainsaw. It would be easy to omit this and be even more frugal, but we would run into problems if we didn’t have a reserve of money.
What do we allow ourselves?
There are lots of things we don’t have, so what do we allow ourselves? When we are out, we treat ourselves to coffee at the cafe and meals at the taverna. We view experiences as more important than possessions, so we visit places. We have plans for trips in Europe and bicycle tours around Crete. If we make more than €6,000 in a year, then we can spend it on travel and trips. We have over estimated our expenses a little, as we’d rather have a nice shock and have some unexpected money. I think that with a few more changes, and the fact that we have over estimated, we can probably survive on €5,000 per year.
So, in a nutshell, that’s how we live on €6000 per year. I’m not sure if I’ve made you fall in love with our lifestyle, or hate the frugality? I don’t want to gloat, but we love our new life. My objective is to inspire you to chase your dreams and rid yourself of the debt that is holding you back. You are just as capable as us, we don’t have any special skills or secrets, it’s just about creating a goal and making a plan to achieve it.
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