How I Live On 50% Of My Net Income

When I saw the light

New Year’s Eve, 2017. Uninspired, broke, living paycheck to paycheck. While trying to celebrate the coming of the new year, in my very first tuxedo, and at a very nice winery, I found myself miserable.

Most noteworthy, my amazing mother, who was visiting and I hadn’t seen in years due to living a few thousand miles from one another, is a VERY upbeat and positive ray of sunshine. As a result, she, AND my realization I was failing at ‘adulting’, were my catalyst for change. I decided that very night that 2018 was going to be VERY different.

And so it begins!

2018, Day One. My original resolution was to quit alcohol. I had tallied up what I spent a week on an unhealthy vice and multiplied it by 52. This number was staggering… I thought to myself, I could be SAVING that money! Subsequently, I ditched the vice and started doing some research on personal finance. I came across Dave Ramsey and the Baby Steps. I was interested and bought the book, The Total Money Makeover. That book lit me on FIRE! The budgeting began in earnest, for the first time in my life. I knew where my money was going and began to trim the fat. Firstly, I ditched cable, subscriptions to monthly emails on various topics. Secondly premium subscriptions to Hulu, Spotify, Pandora and more, had to GO! It was time to make this train into a bullet train!

Time passed and I got better at actually following the budget I set for myself and began to pay off my debts, one by one. Within 6 months, I was debt free. I was blown away by how much money I had left each month after all my bills were paid. It was time to build my 6 month emergency fund. As of this writing, it will be complete by March 2019.

Broadening my horizons

And here is where I left Mr. Ramsey behind. One day I literally Google’d ‘alternatives to Dave Ramsey’. Subsequently, I knew I needed to broaden my financial knowledge. Eggs and baskets and all that. My next groundbreaking discovery was the FIRE movement. Financial Independence/Retire Early. Mr. Money Mustache and his story, blew my mind! Consequently, I began to learn smarter ways to invest and have continued to learn more since.


After becoming debt free I started calling all of the services I pay for monthly. I reached out to them to negotiate lower prices. It turned out I was using hardly any of my data plan on my cell phone, so I dropped down a service tier and lopped off $15 dollars off my monthly bill. Additionally, as a military veteran, I was able to get a 15% discount as well. As winter rolled in early, I began wearing more around the house and setting the thermostat so the heat didn’t run as often. That saved money as well. And as I continued to tighten my budget and did an analysis of its impact, I realized I was living on 50% of my income! I get paid bi-weekly, and live off ONE paycheck a month! The other paycheck goes right into my Ally Savings account that earns 2% interest, with interest compounding daily, not quarterly or yearly.

I’ll continue to make deposits to that account until this coming March, at which time my 6 month emergency fund will be complete. Then, I will open a VTSAV Index fund account at Vanguard and begin investing using the second half of my income. Imagine putting half your salary every year into a mutual fund or market index fund!

If you haven’t read or purchases The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, you seriously should, as it provides a basic foundation for personal money management, debt pay off and budgeting focus.

You can do this! Because I have done this!

I’ve started a blog to showcase my journey thus far and hope you’ll check it out.


Best Wishes to you all!

Rob Loftus


Awesome journey! Thanks so much for sharing it with us.


What an interesting read. Thanks for sharing your journey!

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Great to see people like yourself who are taking control of finances! March is right around the corner. I look forward to hearing more of your journey!

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I have been trying to research ways to better my financial future on my own for a few years now. I’m not stupid but there is so much information out there that I’m overwhelmed. I was giving up hope and then by accident, I found PennyHoarder and your article. Your journey gives me hope that I can do this! Thank you for sharing.