My Zombie Apocalypse Budget

November 12, 2012 Permalink

Three things happened to prompt me to write this post and make an emergency budget should there be a huge emergency, like a zombie apocalypse.

First, is that iHeartBudgets posted about creating an emergency budget which made me think of my own.

Second was this whole Sandy situation which is really, really scary.

And then, there was the fact that my partner had a couple of days off in between jobs and, staying true to my melodramatic roots, the worst possible scenarios of unemployment came rushing through my head.

So I was thinking about what my budget would be in an emergency, and it all comes down to my fixed expenses.

Now, assuming that I need to have an emergency, zombie apocalypse budget because I lose my income in the apocalypse (what? If zombies are trying to eat my brain I’m not showing up to my 9-5), my emergency budget is not including my income.

It’s a miserable way to live but it’s doable.

Here’s what I would do:

Phone, Internet and Cable

In an emergency situation, I would cut my phone bill down so I didn’t have data or any extras. This would allow me to still field job calls but I wouldn’t be able to do anything else.

My internet would stay the same. If I lost my job, I would need to look for jobs on the internet so I’d have to keep it.

We don’t have cable anyway so that would remain the same.

Savings: $80

Transportation

In a true emergency, I would sell my car and pay off my loan to make my car payment $0. Since I’ve already paid off quite a lot of my loan, I would come out ahead as my car is worth more than my loan.

If I didn’t have a car I wouldn’t have to pay gas or insurance.

I would buy a bus pass. I can’t get to work on the bus but assuming it’s an emergency because I don’t have a job, that’s not a concern.

I pay parking of about $44/month but it comes off of my paychecks and I don’t budget for it.

Savings: $664 (my $300/month insurance isn’t on my budget because I pay in lump sums).

Food

I only budget $160/month for groceries as of right now, but when I eat out I always have leftovers which makes up probably another $40/month worth of groceries. There would be no eating out during an emergency situation so I’d be looking at $200/month groceries.

Savings: n/a

Fun

I would not do anything but free activities in an emergency situation. meaning that I’d be looking at a fun budget of zero.

Savings: $200

Extras (Gym, Clothes, Travel, Savings, Gifts)

I would cancel my gym membership in an emergency budget, and stop buying clothes, saving for travel, and even contributing to my RRSP and TFSA.

As for gifts, they wouldn’t be happening either.

Savings: $248 (my gift fund in my above budget are much higher than that of a normal month, because of Christmas. I budget $50/month for gifts normally). 

Bottom Line

If I spent $795.00/month, and if I maintained my emergency fund of $10,000, I would get a little over 1 year of living.

This is clearly not realistic because in one year, I’d need to spend money on something other than what I’ve included in my budget (like fun) but if it came down to it, that’s what could happen.

Looking at it another way, if I was so inclined, with my $2,700 income from my job, if I still had my job and wanted to save a LOT of money, this would free up about $1,900/month for savings, or about 22,800/year. Not including my side income. 

Do I want to live this way? Heck no! I’m happy with my spending right now and my ability to save a big chunk of my take home pay. But it’s nice to know what could happen if I needed it to.

How much could you save if you went bare bones?

24 Comments
  • Liquid
    November 12, 2012

    That’s great you’ve looked into the financial side of planning for a zombie apocalypse. Many people don’t. Can’t fend them off if one’s too weak from starvation. According to the widely used 4% rule, living on less than $10,000 a year means all you need is a $250,000 investment portfolio of index funds to have a high probability of retiring forever :) Not very practical, but I think that’s interesting. My bare-bone budget would be somewhere around $1500 maybe. My mortgage alone is almost $1000 so unless I move out and rent, there’s not much I can do there.

  • John S @ Frugal Rules
    November 12, 2012

    Good for you for doing this! We had to do live this way for a couple of months and thankfully were able to come out of it. When you do face situations like this you think you’ll never be able to find a way to save money, but there are many things you can cut. Sure, it sucks, but it’s better to know going into it as opposed to the alternative.

  • Michelle
    November 12, 2012

    I think a bare bones budget is always good and interesting to look at! We could be saving a lot of money if anything happened still, such as if either one of us lost our jobs.

  • Pauline
    November 12, 2012

    I could go bare bones pretty easily, my spending is already low and all extras go to fixing my new house. I have no mortgage on it and life is cheap in Guatemala, so in a real emergency, I could probably live on $300 per month. Or buy a $500 ticket home and live with mum :)

  • Mrs. Pop @ Planting Our Pennies
    November 12, 2012

    If we had to go bare bones, we’d probably move out of our house, rent it out, and move somewhere teeny with equally teeny electric bills. Those moves would easily net $1000 or more from our monthly spending since someone else would be covering the mortgage and our utility bills would drop.

  • L Bee and the Money Tree
    November 12, 2012

    SO FUNNY. Love the idea of a zombie apocalypse. Although, you should save your bus pass money. Everyone knows to avoid public transit in the event of a zombie war.

  • Money Beagle
    November 12, 2012

    I know we could curb significant usage from food, gas, and regular shopping, though some of the essentials like diapers and such have to be accounted for :) It would definitely be tight, though. Good eye-opener, now let’s hope it never has to come down to testing this.

  • nicoleandmaggie
    November 12, 2012

    We’d probably have to sell the house. The escrow on it alone is equivalent to what some folks pay for rent on their smaller houses and apartments. There’s so much we spend on things like insurance these days. Life insurance, health insurance, car insurance, umbrella insurance. Then there’s daycare and school. The base of our life has gotten pretty expensive even without travel and food costs.

  • thestarvingartistcanada
    November 12, 2012

    I’ve been living in a zombie apocalypse already… I’ve had many months in a row where my working income was nil.

    Thankfully my investments are starting to produce a subsistence income.

  • Lance @ Money Life and More
    November 12, 2012

    If I went bare bones I’d save a lot more than I am now, but the only reason I’d do that is if both my girlfriend and I lost my job. A big chunk of my budget is saving and retirement right now so that’d obviously go away, along with a few other non essential expenses.

  • TB at BLueCollarWorkman
    November 12, 2012

    It’s neat to see hwo we can actually save so much money when we cut things out in emergencies. IN a zombie apocalypse, if you don’t go to to work, I bet others wont’ either, and so you probably wont need to pay your phone or cable bills since those services will probably go down without maintenance. And maybe we don’t know it, but zombies like to eat electrical cords. THat would really take out some of your expenses :-)

  • mycanuckbuck
    November 12, 2012

    Love the title. In the true case of a zombie apocalypse, I’d spend everything I had to survive! I’m very attached to my brains. :) But in just a regular bad case..hmmm..quit the gym, lose the cell phones, no transportation costs to work – that’s at least 500 bucks to start!

  • Jacob @ iheartbudgets
    November 12, 2012

    Glad to see you put together an Emergency Budget. We did this exercise when my wife got pregnant and we were looking at the possibility of her staying home. We are now living on that budget (kind of a hybrid version of it) and it has allowed her to be at home with our son.

    Here’s to hoping you NEVER have to use this budget! :)

  • Kurt @ Money Counselor
    November 12, 2012

    Great exercise that I think everyone do! I don’t believe we could get down to $795–that’s truly amazing–but I’d sure like to try. I’d like to think our bare bones spending would be no more than $1,000/month, but even that would be a challenge I fear.

  • Jason
    November 12, 2012

    Great exercise! I’ve never really sat down and figured out what our bare bones budget is. I’m guessing we could get down to about $2,000/month but I’m not sure we could cut off more than that. :/ $795 is really impressive and it would be comforting to know you could live a year off of your EF if you needed to.

  • The Asian Pear
    November 12, 2012

    I haven’t really calculated it before… It is certainly a valuable exercise though.

  • Canadian Budget Binder
    November 12, 2012

    We did this years ago and still update ours every year as anyone should as circumstances change. When we bought our first home it was important for us to do up 2 budgets so we could see where we would stand in the event of an emergency and you know what, something did happen only 3 months into the purchase of our home and thankfully we bought it on less than one income… smart, you bet! Good for you! Mr.CBB

  • Paula @ Afford Anything
    November 12, 2012

    Hmm, I should figure out my own zombie-apocalypse budget … how little COULD I live on, if I was absolutely forced to live on the smallest amount possible? That’s a great question ….

  • Savvy Scot
    November 12, 2012

    Love this idea.. think I could get down to a baseline low of £1800 a month

  • Jefferson @SeeDebtRun
    November 12, 2012

    i love the concept of an emergency budget, and it is something that we all should keep in mind.. beyond the mortgage, electricity, and food.. everything else is fair game for the chopping block

  • Greg@ClubThrifty
    November 13, 2012

    What a great idea to have an emergency budget. Our emergency budget would be somewhere around $1700 a month – mostly due to our mortgage. As soon as we get this house paid off, it will be much less.

  • Anne @ Unique Gifter
    November 13, 2012

    Nice! I call this my “sh*t hits the fan” scenario. I often hope the value would be lower, but we basically would need both of us to work full time at min wage, or close to full time. One thing that’s awesome is how low we can put the mortgage, because we’ve paid off so much of it. Without having to do a refinance or anything we can drop our mortgage to something like $500/month :-) Being from BC, I’m sure you can appreciate how little that really is.

  • DC @ Young Adult Money
    November 13, 2012

    This was a fun post to read! I do want to make an analysis like this and see what I have left. I don’t think it would be pretty and imagining a lifestyle with “bare bones” would be a bit depressing, but I am sure it’s doable if need be. Taking it a step further people could include how much food/water/etc. they have stockpiled and how long they would last (a real SHTF scenario). Fun post.

  • justin@thefrugalpath
    November 13, 2012

    This is a great idea. So many people create a basic budget, but no one ever says to create an emergency budget. Although, for many I am not sure if they would be willing to cut the fat. I’ve known several people in cases where the SHTF and their lifestyle seemed to go up.

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