Living Below My Means- Spending Below Average on Housing

New Orleans apartment

I am settling nicely into my new apartment in New Orleans. The furnishing and decorative details are slowly coming together while I am focused on reaching my debt repayment and savings goals for this year. I actively work to live beneath my means and spend much less then I earn, however there are times when this idea is easier said then done. I am planning to increase my savings goals substantially in 2014  and perhaps even challenge myself to live on half of my income. This has me reevaluating my sources of spending.

I think finding NOLA apartment was a stroke of good luck as it was the only apartment within the budget I set and also in a very nice area of the city. Yet with my added savings goals in 2014, I wanted to see if I am truly living below my means with the rent I am shelling out each month.

 Average Housing Costs:

According to a 2006 survey performed by the US Census Bureau as well as a “How To” guide on by the Wall Street Journal, suggested housing cost should not exceed 28% of your monthly income to allow for other variable spending. According to both sources this percentage is consistent for renters and homeowners alike. If I want to live on less than the average then my monthly rent should be well below this 28% number.

Living Below My Means:

My rent at NOLA apartment is 19.6% of my net monthly income. I’m satisfied with this as it is slightly over 2/3 of the “rule of thumb” percentage suggested.  In addition to rent, the utility costs in NOLA apartment are low as the apartment is small with only 800 sq ft.

I know that housing costs and other costs of living vary by city and region and I’m thankful that New Orleans rents are fairly reasonable for a major metropolitan.


-Have you thought about your housing expenses? What other ways you try to live below your means?

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