Hinder Me, or Help Me? My Budget…

Hello and Welcome to The Dividend Dudes Blog,

Like I said in my previous blog post, to take control of your financial freedom, you must list all of your expenses, then categorize each expense into “Hinder or Help” me expenses and eliminate the shitty “Hinder me” expenses. In today’s society, people are overburdened with debt and costs, making them slaves to their jobs. This is a vicious cycle that keeps the honest working person, in my case, “dude” in the corporate world dealing with all the bureaucracy and bullshit. These entitled, egotistical bastards want to keep the “underdog” slaving away so the “top-dogs” can sit back on their lazy asses while reaping the benefits of the underdogs. (merit, top-tiered pay scales, etc.)  

Luckily for the dividend dudes and dudettes out there globally, most recognize that financial freedom is at our fingertips, but it seems so distant due to societal pressures. Sometimes financial freedom may seem as remote as Mars or Jupiter on a cloudy night. Hopefully, after deciphering this post and applying some of these principles, you can control your financial destiny too! 

Remember, “It doesn’t matter how much you make; all that matters is how much you spend.” Achieving financial freedom is quite simple: spend less than you make and invest the difference.

Using this categorical approach to your expenses will allow you to see which “hinder me” expenses are not necessary to your life existence and may be eliminated or deviated. By deviated, I mean to depart from the usual expense (i.e. decrease/cut).

I recommend categorizing your expenses as shown below in the chart. I would recommend getting an average amount (over one year) on fluctuating bills (groceries, personal care, etc.) due to increased accuracy. You know, the costs that change monthly. Most understand that bills fluctuate depending on your purchases. My grocery expense is roughly $400 monthly over the last year. Groceries, I define as “Help me” expenses in this post (as long as the grocery expense is reasonably as low as possible) because food contributes to your health and well-being. Simply put, you cannot survive without food.  

By calculating annual averages, it gives a more actual representation of the expense. However, If I purchased caviar and fine wines, the expense would skyrocket. At this point, with my monthly budgeting “financial awareness,” I would understand that my grocery expense suddenly became a “Hinder me” expense, thus not making the same mistake again! Let’s dig into my expenses before selling my home, “the ole money pit.” which should be enjoyable for everyone!! We will take a look at the average monthly cost in each category over the last year.  

“Hinder Me Expenses” 

The chart represents all of my expenses before selling my home. Every cost highlighted in red is a “hinder me” expense. The values highlighted in blue represent a “help me” expense. Some people may say, how is a mortgage payment a “hinder me” expense? Well, for a full breakdown, I can tell you to read my previous blog posts “the ole money pit,” but to quickly determine if this expense is a “hinder me” expense, just ask yourself a simple question… “Can I cut/decrease (deviate) that expense”? If your answer is yes, then it’s a “hinder me” expense. My answer to that rhetorical question about my mortgage payment is “Hell yes”!! 

I am a single man, for starters, so all I need is a one-bedroom apartment (which I can easily rent in my area for $850 per month, including internet and cable). I proved I can easily “deviate/decrease” that mortgage expense. Another expense highlighted “red” is HOA or homeowner’s association fee. I eliminated this ridiculous bill by moving into an apartment. GONE! Moreover, my truck payment could be decreased by choosing another mode of transportation (bus, uber, taxi, cheaper car, etc.)

Recap of “Hinder Me” Expenses:

To determine if an expense is a “Hinder me” expense, ask yourself two questions…If your answer (yes) to either; more than likely, it’s a hindrance expense.

1.) Can I live without it?

2.) Can I eliminate, deviate, or decrease this expense?

“Help Me Expenses” 

My “Help me” expenses are highlighted in blue in the chart above. My student loan is classified as a “help me” cost because it’s allowing me to be a high-income earner and supercharge my journey to financial freedom. If my student loan payment was being paid and I was in a different non-related field that didn’t pertain to my degree, this would obviously be a “hinder me” expense. For instance, if you received a Communications Degree from Timbuktu University (joke) and worked a minimum wage job at Lowe’s Home Improvement with student loan debt. Don’t forget, folks; college is a business. They don’t care if you find a job or not; these rogue scholars want your money. 

Other items highlighted blue are required for my lifestyle, and I cannot lower, for example, car insurance, groceries, water, internet, etc. One may argue that I could consider groceries a “hinder me” expense since I spent $400 on average per month. My rebuttal to this argument is I’m already super frugal and don’t spend lavishly on crab legs etc. Therefore, I know for a fact that my grocery bill is as low as reasonably possible.

If my average monthly expenditure on groceries is $400, then a monthly increase “spike” to $500-600 or say $800 in one month, the grocery expense would be skewed toward a “hinder me” expense because it’s not as low as reasonably possible. As discussed above, this would be a “red flag” in financial awareness. 

Recap of “Help Me” Expenses:

To determine if an expense is a “Help me” expense, ask yourself two questions…If you answer yes to both questions, then more than likely, it’s a “Help me” expense.

1.) Do I need this expense to make money, survive, maintain a modest healthy lifestyle, or for my well-being?

2.) Is this expense as low as reasonably possible?

I posted a simple algorithm to help you decide before making those purchases! 

Take a-ways:

· It doesn’t matter how much you make; it matters how much you spend and invest!

· Categorize each expense you have

· Before making a purchase…Determine if it will “Help or Hinder” you

· Your “Help me” expenses should be higher than your “Hinder me” expenses

· If it’s a “Hinder me” expense…You don’t need it!

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