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LOL Our family could save so much money if the Honeybee and I spent 15 more minutes every other week, going through the coupons and looking for special one-day only food sales. Barb: Thanks, Barb! WorkingPoor: Yes, but if we are being honest with ourselves, most people in the US confuse real poverty with simply having a lack of discretionary spending. I hope your business gets up to speed real soon.

Here comes another rotten tomato! Never fear Len. Which is why we have a six footer merrily growing in our raspberry patch. Provocative post and so true. We cut back severely in and it was fun making it work. Olivia: Good for you! Chubbuni: I sent you the link showing the home, via email. Susan: The cable would be one of the first things to go at my house, Susan. Netflix is a terrific low-cost substitute.

Jenna: That would come out of what was left over! I know it, because I did for years taking into account I earned much more but saved it all and more! And that was in London, the sometimes top 3 most expensive city in the world though currently much cheaper due to currency effects. Len also has the benefit he can turn to catwalk modelling if he needs to make ends meet, remember.

Great post! Oh wait a minute. I should wake up before trying to think or post. Sorry, my bad. I definitely agree with this! We pay cash for everything, have virtually no debt, but our budget is increasingly tight with 3 growing children. We live in a modest sq ft 3 bedroom home, very large yard, and 3 dogs. It can be done. First we live in the SF Valley. I would love to know. BUT I am including our retirement savings as a need and giving as a need. I guess cheese sarnies are even more expensive in at least two other cities in the world.

I could retire tomorrow at 46 years old if I moved there! Momma: Good for you! Keep it up! The issue with this blanket statement is that everyone has varying financial situations. Some people have massive medical bills, student loans, car payments, etc. And, these debts are not a choice. Now, once most bills have been paid off, I can see a family of 4 living on such an income. I also want to know whether or not your children played sports, joined band, took dance lessons, or any other school-based activity?

How about daycare and after-school care for those who have no other option. Len, just remember that not everyone shares the same circumstance. I found the cheapest house I could find on the market foreclosure without having to go in and make major repairs. I purchased this last year not 13 years ago. Even my insurance company was impressed with this deal. I am a single separated mom with an ex that contributes at random.

Please Len, if you have the time, could you show us an itemized list of how you do it. I see that you are out of the woods for a lot of these debts, so you feel secure. But, most of us have to have these debts at some point until we can pay them off. For example, people can avoid car loans by saving their money to buy very modestly priced used cars. As for college, in California at least, people can go to community colleges and get all of their general ed classes out of the way for a fraction of the cost of big universities.

In the meantime, they can work and save up for a reasonably priced college. I got an electrical engineering degree exactly that way with no student loans. Even so, lets say I just graduated from college with student loans and a job in So. I could still make it on that salary — easily! For example, my office mate is currently renting three rooms in his house in Long Beach to three tenants for exactly that price.

But I showed you an itemized list of how I do it — including heating — with a family of four, no less! I also said it would be no frills — just the necessities, of course. You must not live in Southern California. It gets cold here too in the winter! Respectfully, the decision to have children is a choice. Therefore, child care is a a de facto choice. The most important message here for people just starting out, is that it CAN be done — as long as they make smart choices. Well said, Ani. We moved to a state with an astronomically high sales tax, which has eaten up a good chunk of what seems to be a huge difference, but the real deal-breaker for us has been health insurance.

Rent alone, but that way, eats up about a third of our take-home pay. I guess I was just bothered by your casual assumption that you could squeeze thousands of extra dollars a year out of a budget by simply reducing grocery and utility bills, etc. Thanks for your thoughtful post, Laura. I ramble. A lot. Like right now. Clearly, it is a no-frills lifestyle. I consider where we choose to live to also be one of those choices. And then on top of that running massive budget deficits because Republicans axe tax revenues while not making cuts in spending or increasing spending which is more typical in order to fight more useless wars and waste it on the pentagon.

No thanks to your Tea Party ideas. I do like your non-political advice though. A great article. I have lived on less for many years both in London and more easily in Devon rural S. On this topic you might like some of the ideas I have put forward in The Sirisuk Declaration. Thanks, Nick. I am categorically opposed to the premise behind the The Sirisuk Declaration. Following the side issue. What we fail to consider when we determine what type of government to have, is that someone will always want to be in control and have more than others.

Since our motives can never be perfect, every system will have flaws. The best governments take that into consideration and put checks and balances in place. How can that be determined, and who will enforce it on others, and how will the enforcer keep from becoming a dictator? I think the most difficult thing was moreso dealing with people who expected us to have more than we did, possibly simply because they had expectations for us to be at an average income level. It was more of an annoyance rather than an issue of survival.

However, with Social Security and low-income senior housing, she already has a plan to live frugally despite the small retirement savings. Interestingly, I have received some criticisms assuming the project is part of a centralising socialist agenda and some assuming the project is part of a right wing movement.

In fact it is neither. Polituical parties of all colours have to know how they are going to address the confluence of limited resources and expanding economies. For the one who was asking where to find such cheap housing… There are a lot of cheap places to live along the 15 south of Camp Pendleton.

Awww, thanks, Lessa! And thanks for the housing example too! Wowzer, great post! I completely agree. Go, Len Penzo! What about having a savings account? This is a season in your life. It will not last forever. You are learning. Meantime, you should be able to shave a little something off the food bill, even in Denver.

The Root of all Evil -- Lack of Money

And once your internet obligations are over, shop around. Is that the best cell phone plan out there? How does tracphone work in your area? Those ideas should help some. One thing that takes the ouch out of eating in is making ethnic foods. They can be quite cheap and a lot of fun. They often focus around low cost and healthy ingredients like beans and rice and can be fun. This is something my wife and I enjoy doing, and I think it really makes the meals fun. We just need to figure out how to do Ethiopian food now!

I know. It is a lot tougher when you have things like credit cards to pay off. What I would in your situation is sit down and list all of your expenses. I understand that pre-school is important. But I would use that money to pay off that credit card bill as fast as I could first. Once that was done, then I would build up some savings. Only after I had a sufficient emergency fund established would I send my daughter to pre-school.

I know a lot of people would probably disagree with me on that one, but that is just my opinion. I realize these are really tough decisions. It sounds like you are determined, so I know you can do it, Sabrina! Determination is half the battle. Hang in there. Hi, Len! If I read correctly, Sabrina is a full-time student. So I am guessing that her daughter is in pre-school while Sabrina goes to school. I think that the key to being able to live on as little as possible is to establish a very strong budget and prune down your spending. Well said, Will.

I like how you say that, as if we could go back in time and change the decisions we made. Hi Kaylen. The more correct decisions we make from here on out, the sooner we can start to undo any poor decisions we made in the past. My hope with this post was not to sound pretentious — although I completely understand that it does come off that way — but to help younger readers who are just starting out will see the impacts current decisions have on our futures.

Your post reminded me that NJ really is tops when it comes to auto insurance. And if you have a young adult male in your house — fuggedaboutit! Rates for this category of insured drivers are through the roof. NJ also leads the nation in property taxes. Our home is paid for. High property taxes here have forced many of our senior citizens to move from their homes.

My husband is an independent consultant so we pay for our own benefits. Oh how I wish we only spent what you are spending for medical and dental. Our rates have gone up every year despite the fact that we are healthy. Those who do not have to purchase medical benefits entirely on their own are fortunate indeed.

Good post. I agree that it can be done. We are a family of 5 and are currently in debt slowly digging our way out, though and we are doing it! She turns eleven today. What do other professional couples make? We identify ourselves as mid-Middle Class. The only time we get into a financial muddle are times when we act upper-Middle Class. We own a house that is worth more than we owe on it, and our retirement fund is poised to pass the amount we owe on our home.

The only thing I wish we had was a bigger emergency fund. We have been in our home for a while, so our mortgage payment is about half of what rent would be for a similar home now. Great job, Paul! And Santa Fe is a beautiful part of the country, to be sure! I agree with you. While insurance takes a big chunk out of our salary, we still manage to live well below our means and save. This definitely leads to peace of mind and we are a family of 4. I get by just fine, and I even have a little extra to go out to eat on special occasions.

My car is paid for, but I could easily get by without it if I had to, and inevitably I will have to if it breaks down, though in my former life I was smart enough to pick a car that you can pretty much drive until the tires fall off with very little maintenance costs. A year and a half ago, I was barely making ends meet, thinking it was impossible to live on my salary and still pay all my debts.

My brother was working full time at WalMart to pay his half of the bills, and was miserable. I nearly crashed and burned, and certainly trashed my credit report. Something had to give. So what did I do? Problem of eating solved, I started looking into what I could do to change my situation. I was poor, so I was going to have to live like I was poor.

I had to figure out a way to move, and how was I going to do that when I could barely make ends meet as it was? First, I called each and every one of the student loans, and told them the situation. All of them were willing to put me on some kind of hardship deferment, even if only for a few months while I fixed my situation. That meant more interest in the long run, but in the short run it created some cash flow that I could work with to get out of the jam I had created. I lived with a friend for about 3 weeks at one point, but I was able to pick up some extra hours at my job that way, which created a small extra boost of income.

All told, I think I missed one day of work in the process of moving. I was lucky in that I was working from home at the time, and was moving so to be closer to the home office. I loaded and unloaded the truck with the help of one person at the old apartment, and one person at the new, both of whom were volunteers. Let me tell you, you learn who your friends are when you are desperately in need of help to move and no one shows up. It was not easy, but I got it done.

Now, I live in a one-bedroom apartment of about sq ft, within biking distance of my job. I am by no means comfortable. But I am surviving, and I even have a little extra to spend on fun now and then. You just choose not to. So stop whining, put on your big-boy pants or big-girl panties, and take responsibility for your life choices. What a fantastic story! Great job, Misty! Thanks for sharing your experience and perspective on how and why it can be done! Well Len. You are an idiot, plain and simple. If you say so, Einstein. I came across your blog and very much enjoy reading it.

There by the grace of God go you. While we are blessed to be able to afford his care, most families cannot and struggle to provide care for their disabled children. They have to chose between financial stability, or depending on a public system that usually barely provides the minimum care needed for these children…which has been made worse by cutbacks due to the great recession. Thanks for sharing your story, Kerry.

Fortunately, most folks are blessed with relatively good health — especially those of us under That is why we need nationalized health care. Each person in this country that is middle class is there still a middle class left?! It all goes to benefit the rich, the chronies of the elected officials, and corporate USA corporations that do nothing more than ship out our jobs overseas, thus leaving us with no jobs, and as a result of not having a job, we have no employer-sponsored health insurance. Not to get off topic here, but since you brought it up, the government does nothing more efficiently than the private sector.

I think there is a valuable lesson there for everyone who thinks more government intervention in our healthcare system is the panacea. You need to check your number of uninsured. When you get into the lower age brackets, it jumps. According to a study done by Families USA in , some Oh, and before you decry the uninsured, let me remind you that quite a few would prefer to be insured. No major medical insurance would touch me. It was going to take a while, and for coverage of just me, that was severely limited 10, out of pocket max , had high copays 60 per visit , and a limit on how much they would spend on me , , the average major medical insurance option was going to want well over a month.

Glasses are expensive, especially if you want ones that will last, and need to be replaced every 2 years every year if you happen to be under 35, when eyes can be prone to dramatic shifts. Not having people have access to basic health care- including affordable dental and vision… FAR more expensive than getting everyone insured.

Your teeth are a big part of your health, and not getting them dealt with can lead to serious i. Eye strain can contribute to migraines- which put you at much higher risk for neuro problems, including stroke an expensive problem to have. The lack of basic health care in this country drives up costs through E. In addition, being dismissive of the increasing need for internet a basic requirement of job searches - especially in a time when libraries are severely limiting hours, and reducing access to the net. I disagree with your statement about health care. One driver of higher health care costs is caring for the uninsured and increased intervention at the end of life most health care is consumed during the last 12 months of life.

Plastic surgery and lasik eye surgery do not fit into either cost driver. Patients need to pay upfront for care and it has a defined end point. So yes, the costs are going down. The cost of standard procedures have remained constant; however, the overall cost for care goes up as there are more tests and treatments available. You may think some government bureaucrat can make smarter decisions concerning your personal healthcare and what procedures you need and when you can get them, if ever better than you and your doctor can, but I dont.

You seem to have a reflexive anti-government attitude that I think is unfortunately socially programmed into many Americans of a certain political persuasion. A rational person should just look at things on a case by case basis and decide whether public or private or public-private partnership is the best solution. In fact in all developed nation, their healthcare spending per capita is about half ours. The US system is catastrophically wasteful.

I was once on the right wing of the spectrum and opposed changing our health care system. But after extensively digging into the data and comparing our system to those around the world that are far more effective, no rational person could conclude that we should keep ours as is. My favorite system though is the Singapore system which uses a brilliant combination of government backed social safety net, free market and health savings accounts.

I really wish we could bring something like that here. Deficits would vanish. You seem to equate percentage spent on GDP to wastefulness, which is flat our wrong. Your assertions that the US healthcare system is inefficient is unfounded too; in fact it is so efficient that people come from all over the world to get services performed here that they would have to wait weeks or months for in England, Canada and other nations with government run healthcare.

And are you kidding me? The government does nothing more efficient than the private sector, other than running the military. We are a family of 4, with me leaving full time employment last year with the birth of our youngest. Because of the sporadic nature of his work it makes it hard to plan for me to work, etc. Below is a snapshot of what we have done over the last few years to combat low income:.

We certainly know a thing or two about wants and needs. Over the last two years we have cut back considerably. No cable TV, DSL Internet at the slowest speed available, not using the second vehicle nothing special and was a gift from a family member- but has required too much maintenance we now share the car and carpool with others as needed- yes it takes a little more planning.

We only buy new clothes when the old ones wear out. We are pretty much bare bones right now- rent, bills, food and gas. Is it ideal? Is it stressful? Whenever we get larger paychecks we end up playing catch up from the previous months. There is never an extra penny in our wallets. However, we might bump our Internet up one notch because it is dreadfully slow. Linda, as long as you commit to spending less than you earn, you will be fine.

It sounds like you have very little or no debt. Hang in there! It sounds like you are doing really really well despite your circumstances because you are very disciplined — so congratulations! That is something to be very proud of! Best of luck to you! When this was written, I found a home in Chino, California for that very price. It was in a decent neighborhood too.

I dont agree with your math. I make 38, per year. I live in a sq foot house with a tiny mortgage.

I spend slightly less than you on the items on your chart. Vet fees for the 2 dogs. Mortgage and home repair and diapers for two but me up around 30, per year. Oh yea Im also going to grad school yikes, more debt The way I cope is to work part time jobs, do construction jobs for folks, buy and sell a few cars. I probably work way to much. I could cut back a bit more, but we rent out the basement of our house and grow veggies, etc. Im starting to run out of places to cut. I pray everyday the cars dont break down, and I patch em together myself when they do.

I think you will find that after FICA, Medicare, fed, state and local income tax your numbers dont work. There are no errors in my math, Aaron. Actually, there is probably quite a bit of pad in my numbers for additional spending. Think about it. Clearly, you are on the right path and I commend you for working hard to make ends meet!

Great job! I think you need to look at where you can cut further.

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The issue I see is on the savings end, with a bit of confusion regarding wants versus needs. For example:. Where we live is up to us. So is a dog. So is owning your own home which obligates you to pay for home repairs instead of renting. Kids are a choice too although none of us can put that genie back in the bottle — I only bring it up here because other folks just starting out need to seriously understand the financial impacts of kids before having them. Not like a king, but you can live comfortably — and not in poverty, by any stretch.

So, my point is, it can be done — but it all depends on the choices we are willing to make. The only part of this I find shocking is the low housing costs you apparently were able to find. And it had roaches and mice. Yes, Eileen. That is the toughest part in an area with a higher cost of living — but it is by no means impossible.

In my case, it took me about 15 minutes to find the place I described. Sometimes, it may take days or months; it just takes patience and a nose for finding the right deals. I promise you, they are out there for those wanting to do the work required to turn up lots of stones. That place I found, by the way, was scooped up the very next day. Actually, even 20, For example, how else a college student do it when he or she is going to school full-time and working part-time; and still be able to live a comfortable lifestyle aside from using money from the school-loans!

The truth is there are so many unnecessary expenses that a person could cut such as TV cable, expensive monthly cell-phone plan, money on clothes, etc. I am a single mother of 3 children, 15, 9 my only son and 1. My Net pay is about annually and I receive approximately in child support. I have no car payment but I do have Ins. Then there are Birthday parties from Relatives and Friends and class mates. Celebrations at work were everyone brings a food item and sometimes you are assigned what to bring. Forget about vacations. The only luxury we have at home is cable TV. With my job I need to have internet so I can work from home if I need to, so I am now shopping around for that and might possibly have to get rid of cable in order to have internet for my job.

I would love to be coupon savvy like the people on TV, but quite honestly if I took the time to devote to that I would never have time with my kids. My point in all of this is my Gross pay is 40, Thank God we are Healthy for the most part, but even without all of the luxuries, and the car payment I am always behind. I wish I could find a place to cut monthly expenses.

Because I live in a state that is already considered a high Poverty state my income prevents me from qualifying for any kind of financial aid for my family. Thanks for the article and for all of the comments that I have read and have yet to read. Hopefully I can find some way of making it on less than 40, a year. I like this blog site and this article makes a decent theoretical argument. It is a bit oversimplified but give a good blueprint of frugal living.

Keep writing the good stuff. If there is also a way to cut auto related costs such as getting rid of one car if possible, it will help a lot. I I agree. I live in Southern California. We make less than 40k a year. I have a family of 6. We live very comfortably. The mortgage is almost payed off and our house is in a good neighborhood. It will all pay off in retirement. Worst case. Adjusted gross income would be less than that, resulting in even lower federal and state taxes for the wage earner — and even more money in his pocket.

I almost do it now, Lizzy. Believe me, it would be little trouble at all to do it if I wanted to. Rent in Austin for a 2 bedroom home or apartment can vary. Dental is free and vision, life, etc. He cannot be insured through my work without me being insured, thus, this cost is not something I can cut back on. In Texas we have horrifically long, hot summers. Last summer the entire summer was above degrees. My landlord is a total slumlord, and I had no AC, thus my bill was MUCH lower than the previous year I utilized 1 window unit that I purchased and am not including in this calculation, ceiling fans that came with the house, and 3 purchased fans..

This is NOT a realistic or normal bill. Once again, with rentals at near-capacity, finding a more electrically efficient and less slummy place to rent is a wish. Recycling is free, and as such I use the smallest trash bin. Trash service is required for rentals. Gas varies depending on season. Gas is only used for hot water and heat.

We are in Texas, so heat is rare. At this point, I have not addressed the fact that I must drive to work. This is WalMarts cost. One location stole items out of the car, another location left the plug out of my oil pan and I threw a rod. I do not trust them. But your mileage may vary. Obviously these are very inexpensive meals. We are vegetarian, so we are not buying meat or fish, or cows milk. For a long time, I nursed my son saved money as well. Not the healthiest way to eat. College helped get me here. These were not large loans or to big expensive schools.

No Birthday gifts. No Christmas gifts. We have no cable, no Internet, no home phone, no cell phone. In todays age, a cell phone is a necessity. I need it in order for daycare to tell me my son is sick or there is an emergency. I would not be paying daycare. I would not need to pay for car insurance, gas, oil changes, and inspections. I could sell my vehicle and use that money to pay rent and utilities. WHY do I not drop out of the work force? So I can set an example for my son. So I can be proud of myself and make my family proud. So I do not waste my brain.

Can you move across the river into Iowa or Missouri? Or Indiana? The examples you provided were outliers, which will NOT be available to the majority of people. You ignore the fact that many rental companies now require credit checks and background checks before renting. You claim to be targeting young people just starting out, yet those are the very people least likely to qualify for a lease agreement, because they have little or no credit history. There is no need to do a scientific study to prove my point.

If they refuse, whose fault is that? Gosh, Tara. I do it now. My finances are an open book, you can see for yourself on this blog. After all, that would be the responsible thing to do. Are you suggesting you would continue to stay where you were and then blame your financial difficulties on someone else? I found your blog this informative but I need some advice.

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I have 6, in credit card debt and 70, in school loans and I will soon start earning 47, a year. Any advice on how to make the best of this and the best way to erase the loan quickly? My parents raised 4 kids after losing everything in the soybean industry. We had no public assistance and even had to switch to a private school because of the violence in the only public school available. As a kid I did think we were missing out but now I know my parents did what was best.

Most of the friends I envied have parents who divorced because of the stresses caused by keeping up with the Joneses. My husband and I have been very fortunate but unfortunately are part of this younger generation who wanted things our parents worked thirty years for! I am a new reader and have spent way too much time on the Internet today reading old posts! I have been totally inspired to do much better with our finances. One commenter did mention school fees such as field trips, holiday parties, and school supplies. I love our public school in SW Miss but we get asked for money a lot!

I firmly believe in helping when we can because not everyone can afford all of the extras!! Thanks for such an inspiring post! For those who disagree with you I ask them to come to MS and join me for my treat of boiled crabs once or twice a month. As I wait for my order I see LOTS of customers pull up in brand new cars, wearing brand new clothes, fully manicured, fresh hairstyles, with enough jewelry to start a pawn store, come in and pay with their food stamp card!!! My mom had her first manicure at 45 when I treated her to one for Christmas!

Redefine what is really wants and needs in your life!!!! This is hokey. Come on. So in order to pay that kind of rent for that kind of place here, yes, you would need a German Shepherd and flak suit. State taxes bring that number down considerably. So now how are you going to do this? Not to mention car payment?

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Not in Southern California, pal. There are many nice neighborhoods in Chino. Chino Hills is definitely upscale; if that is your minimum standard, then you are being unrealistic.

I am typically frugal and I have pretty much everything I need so saving vs. I only tell you all of this in hopes that you may have written something about investing for retirement? I am under 50 and so far have concentrated more on making my current life secure and, I confess, not done enough for a secure future.

This concerns me. If you have posted something you think might help, I would love to read it. When it comes to kids, I rarely encounter a couple or single who understands that the overall expenses of children can, and will, push them into poverty! In this day and age, with all the other expenses that people have for even a basic, but decent, existence, it is very foolish to have more than 1 or 2 children at the most! Who do they think is going to pay for these kids and all the increased expenses that come with them!?? Stop romanticizing, and get real! Penzo bought his house 13 years ago.

Your mortgage amount is pre-boom levels of house pricing and due to Prop 13 your property tax is likely downright cheap versus home valuation. Even with the recent correction, most neighborhoods have returned to levels. Not like when Mr. Penzo bought his home. This is laughable. Penzo would probably never drive through fearing for his life. That being said, A4, I used SoCal as an extreme example to make my original point back in And I did. I used my actual expenses — and a housing price based upon a house I found for rent in a decent part of SoCal to boot.

Is it the exception? But it proves my point. Scoff all you want, but it can be done nevertheless. So with that caveat you may have something about anyone being able to support a family on 40K. I finished my M. Growing up, my parents had new cars, vacation money, cable TV and money for going out to eat. Next, I drive a 4-cyl car that is paid off, and I drive smart avoiding tickets, etc. Otherwise, I use a debit card for everything. I do not have cable, but instead use the internet and Netflix for entertainment. I also read which is one of the cheapest forms of entertainment!

I shop at Costco for my major groceries meat, cheese, toilet paper, pasta, etc. I can make one trip last a month if I supplement with small items from the grocery store. In short, I have budgeted my income very carefully, even down to dog food and haircuts. Otherwise, I would be in serious trouble. It takes discipline and careful recording of purchases. I tutor kids from time to time to help defray other costs Christmas presents, car maintenance, etc.

I may switch to another career in a few years because I have found that my expensive taste does not much up to my salary. What about when the cars die? It seems pretty straightforward to me. I had roommates to offset the cost of the rent. I even bought a cheap car because it is extremely expensive to pay for the train to work. The train is a few hundred dollars a month and then you have to pay the subway, and it depends on where you live, and then commuting time becomes a factor.

I do think that living within your means is important but there are some situations where that becomes impossible even if the person cuts every penny. How do you cut train costs? How do you cut insurance costs if you already have the highest deductible? How do you cut housing costs if you have two kids and already live in a one-bedroom?

And then people say, well, move somewhere cheaper! But then you increase your commuting time and costs, and who looks after the kids for that extra hour or two per day you have to commute? Sorry you feel that way, Jeannette. You sound like the type who expects others to pay your tab every time you go out! I just had to write you. I rolled on the floor laughing when I read it! Then I read I aught to be able ot make it on 40, and I was not so amused.

I live in DC. I do make more but not much more than 40, I am independent with no other sorce of income other than my one job. I am not making it and I am not under the delusion that I belong to the middle class financially. Therefore I will never be rent free. My rent eats one paycheck. I am not making it or middle class becuase I do not own a car….

I am not making it or middle class becase I will not be able to retire. While it looks like I will get almost all of my debts payed off by the end of the year, just like I do every year…. I am not middle class or making it because I have had event after event happen over the last 10 years all of my savings is now practically nonexistant. BTW Illness can happen to ANYONE and I can guarentee you between medical bills and loss of income you will be a lot poorer, if not outright poor by the time a protracted illness sucks your money away from you.

Really, I have finally thrown in the towel. Everything about living here is so very expensive. Oh and yes… I do know many of you out there have it so much worse than I do, so once again please exuse the rant. I agree and disagree with most choices people make about their living expenses. I do have a car note, cc debt and little saving. But I believe that if you save everything and do not spend money on something fun, it will leave you unsatisfied later in life. I am not talking about spending every penny, but planned events that make life worth it. Get a pizza for bucks and 2 movies from Red Box for less than 20 bucks.

Grab a free event somewhere, then go out to eat on a coupon special, or a 2 for 20 deal at placed like Applebees or OCharleys. Take in an early movie on the weekend before going grocery shopping. If you do something like this twice a month, the cost will not blow your budget. I was spending way too much, broke, and living paycheck to paycheck. The things I did to help were to get rid of my contract cell phone and switch to track phone. I hate it but it is all I really need. I cut out cable and switched to internet only, roku, netflix and hulu plus. I changed all the lightbulbs in my apt to cfs and I do not heat or cool my apt when I am not at home.

I am single and live in the south, I know you cannot do this up north. I remember how expensive it was to semi heat your home. Also I use coupons for food, only buy clothes on sale, and shop around for the best price on goods. Now I am saving a little each month, paying down debt, not living paycheck to paycheck, and I still have some fun to kept from going crazy from all work and no play.

I think we all need that balance. Can everyone live off of 40k a year? I saw a response that Len gave someone, he said that Illinois has very high taxes and that person should relocate to Iowa or Indiana. Not only are those two states not a choice for someone who lives in Illinois due to lack of jobs and quality of life. Anyone in the Midwest would tell u to get out of Iowa and Indiana. I have had the opportunity to live in several states and in my experience and all I know 50k is the magic number. Thats with using 10k of that for income tax deductions.

So living off of 40k is now the reality across the board, a month to wrk with. After reading most of the post this number is a friendly number. Some may feel how do u get 50k job thes days. Well hold on to your seats for this break down. I really feel that 50k is a across the country number that gets it done. Hi, I am from Northern Wisconsin and find myself soon to be going threw a simular situation.

The only problem is the company I work for does not pay living expences. I am pretty scared about this new life I am about to start, but realize that if my back is not broke I will find a way to be comfortable. Looking for your feedback! Try this in northern NJ and fail miserably. Property taxes alone make this futile. I have a BS in Information Technology, I worked full time while getting my degree, transfered to a cheaper school, and paid for books as well as several semesters out of my own pocket.

My wife has a Masters in Social Work, she started at a community college and transfered credits to a state college, she worked part time through most of her schooling. College is a big rip off these days, unless you plan on getting a science-based degree like engineering, or pre-med. This article is a joke. I live in NYC. What you are describing doesnt exist where you get a job that pays 40 after taxes. Then you missed the entire point of the article, Charles.

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