Sunday, October 23, 2011

How to Live Well on $15,000 a Year

I have seen a few articles about people who live on a small amount of income.  I too don't make lot of money, so I thought I would share my tips for how to live well on a low income.  I earn give or take around $15,000 a year, and here are some of the ways I manage my money.

For living, find a decent place near your work that is big enough for what you need.  I live alone, so I have a studio and it is perfect.  If you have a family, obviously you will need more space, but try to stick to only what you need.  I have a mortgage, but I made sure the payments, assessment, insurance, and taxes were very low before I decide to live there.

What about monthly bills?  For electric, make sure you limit your usage.  Only turn on lights when and where you need them.  Avoid running the air conditioning/heating when you can get by without it.  Unplug things you don't use very often.  Use the new kind of light bulbs that use less energy.

For internet, shop around for promotional rates from all available suppliers.  You should be able to get a good deal for a year.  If they raise your rates, call them up and haggle with them or switch to another company to get another promotion.  If you want to cut out internet expenses completely, see if there are any free wifi connections near your area.

For TV, use standard antennae to get the basic channels.  It is free and there is enough good programing on the main channels to get by.  If there is a show you really want to watch that is on cable, watch it on your computer using the internet.

For food, you should avoid going out to restaurants or even buying fast food.  Get most of your food from the grocery stores.  Compare all the stores near you to see which ones have the best prices for the items you want.  Get familiar with sale prices verses regular prices.  Try to buy things when they are on sale.  Do use coupons if you find them for the things you are going to buy.  Check discount stores such as Wal-Mart and Target for general grocery items as they tend to have good prices.

Avoid entertainment expenses.  There are plenty of free activities to do or ones that don't cost a lot of money.  Personally, I don't go out a lot, so most of my entertainment is from tv and computer.

Whenever you have to spend money on things, for example clothes or household items, research to find the best prices. If you know what you want, look online and order it.  Often the best prices can be found online and you can avoid taxes and shipping costs in some cases. 

Living like this, you won't get to eat at fancy restaurants, drive expensive cars, or travel the world, but you can have a nice life without having to earn a lot of money.  Always try to spend less than what you take in so you have a profit each month. Over time it will add up and you can start to buy nice things and live even better!


  1. I don't own a car, and only rarely do I miss it. I am so tight I squeak when I walk! I don't spend money on anything I don't "need" and have learned to ask myself when I see something "Do I need that?" If you do that on a regular basis, you will really spend a lot less.

  2. That is a good mind set to save money, but give your self a little treat now and then; maybe a little something that is not too expensive.

  3. the only way you can live this cheaply is with NO DEBT--cut up all credit cards--that's right ALL. I have a debit card where all my purchases come out of my bank account. I can use it on line to buy cheaper things as well as SELL cheap things--one affects the other. I no longer need to file my taxes and since I don't buy anything new except food (haven't figured out how to buy used food yet), I don't pay sales taxes for stadiums, etc., therefore, nothing to declare. of course, living this cheaply you can hardly own the dwelling you live in, therefore, I rent and do not have the luxury of raising a garden or raising live stock--that takes lots of overhead, maintenance, property tax, etc, etc, etc. Instead I sell junk at flea markets making just enough to buy fresh produce from farmers markets, buy fuel and pay car insurance. I have a pre-paid cell phone that costs about $50/year (free long distance calls at night)cable TV, what??? why pay when you can get FREE broadcast with the same amount of commercials or watch PBS--eating out? I sit on my balcony!

  4. Connected IsolationNovember 12, 2011 at 9:45 AM

    So do you make all of your income from selling things at the flea market? You are still supposed to report all income when you do your taxes.

    Credit cards are ok as long as you pay them off. Set up automatic payment from your bank and it works the same as a debit, except it gives you a little more security if your card gets stolen.