About Me

Hi! My name is Josh and my life is boring and non-dramatic. You won’t find me on a reality tv show.

You probably didn’t expect to read these words, huh?

But I wear these words with a badge of honor. If you were to meet me on the street, I’d blend in with the crowd. And that’s just the way I like it. Straightforward, non-dramatic, yet practical.

Josh Patoka

My name is Josh and I share my life experience of how we live on a normal annual income.

These Things Make My Life Exciting

  • I have a beautiful and funny wife
  • Three young children
  • I’m self-employed
    • We took an 80% salary cut when I left Corporate after 7 years
      • I still get bad dreams from my this job
    • I’m in my young 30’s and (somewhat) debt-free
      • But I’ve had student loans, a car loan, and a mortgage
      • We’re currently making payments on a rental duplex we recently bought

What I Write About

Maybe, you’re intrigued by the blog’s tagline, “Live Happy on $35,000 a Year!”

I first started this blog in October 2015 when our annual income was closer to $20,000 a year. For 2016 and 2017, our annual income was right around $35,000 pre-tax. Now that my wife and I are both three years into our new self-employed careers, our 2018 annual income is closer to the $50,000 pre-tax.

I write this for full disclosure because our hustling efforts in 2018 are finally starting to pay off. Even with the pay bump, our monthly expenses are still around $1,500.

On Money Buffalo, I show how we live the middle class lifestyle on a $35,000 lifestyle.

Start Here

You will read about how we find ways to:

Even though our annual household income is still below the U.S. national average, we don’t live paycheck to paycheck.


No, we don’t take ritzy vacations each year or drive brand new vehicles. In many ways, we live “the simple life.” And we love it!

When I quit my $80,000 a year job, I thought the world was going to end. In a way, I was right. Except, the grass actually turned out being greener on the other side.

You don’t have to become self-employed to follow my advice. We all are on a different life journey. But our end goal is the same…to manage our money better so we stop worrying about it.

6 Comments on "About Me"

  1. The feeling of debt free is amazing!! Paying off your student loans and 27k worth of car loans is quite an achievement that not a lot of people can say that they have achieved. Looking forward to following more of your blog.

    • It’s an amazing feeling indeed! We just moved into our house this weekend that we have been building in our spare time. We will owe about $70k on that. We will be excited to get that paid off & be debt-free once more.

  2. I’m encouraged by your story. And I appreciate your vision. I’m looking forward to following your blog. Awesome stuff so far! Keep it coming. 🙂

  3. Im very inspired by your story. I just found your blog and its really good.Im living on less myself. Ive been employed by a City in Arizona for 7 years after working in the concrete trade my entire life. I’ll take the security of municipal employment and benefits over the bigger pay in the construction trades anyday. Keep up the great work sir.

    • That’s awesome to hear Bobby. I have a few friends and family who made similar moves. Self-employment was the answer for me but I definitely get benefit-envy at times. Thanks for visiting.

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