Living on 30000 or Less: Raising a Family of 6

27 responses

  1. melissa
    March 14, 2013

    These are great tips that ANYONE could use, thank you !!
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  2. Krystle(Baking Beauty)
    March 14, 2013

    Great ideas! I don’t eat any meat, and love shopping at thrift stores and discount places like TJ Maxx!
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  3. Jennifer Hall
    March 17, 2013

    That is awesome, now you are truly a super saver!!

  4. Kevin Martin
    January 11, 2014

    Great for you! But I can tell that there’s no way you live in an urban area. If you lived in a place like New York City, Las Vegas, San Francisco, New Orleans, Boston, or another relatively large city, you could barely raise a family of 4 on $60K, much less $30K for a family of 6. By the way, just pointing this out, I’m sorry, but you guys are nowhere close to middle class. You are actually living below the poverty line and are lower class. You are also eligible for welfare, Medicaid, food stamps, WIC, and various other forms of government assistance. There are too many poor and working class Americans who say they are “middle class” to feel better about themselves. The truth is people tell you the median HOUSEHOLD income to make people accept lower numbers, but look at the median FAMILY income instead. The median dual-income family of four makes about $68K-$72K a year combined income, not this mumbo-jumbo about a $50K HOUSEHOLD income. Households aren’t families, they include married couples, families of three, and even single people. So I’m super-duper glad that you could survive on such a low income, but there’s no way you live in an urban area without government aid.

    • I’m just re-stating what you said
      June 4, 2014

      As you pointed out Mr. Kevin, the area they live in determines HOW they live.
      And it also determines what the median income will be. Some areas have very high media incomes and some do not. Surely, if you are willing to go as far as saying they live in a SUBURBAN OR RURAL area, outside of a nearby larger urban area, you can agree that you made her point without trying.

    • Amee
      June 4, 2014

      You are correct living on 30,000 in a city would be difficult but possible. It really depends on what you need and how you live.

    • Mary SAHM to 8
      June 5, 2014

      Sorry ,but I have to disagree with you . We are a family of 10 living in Las Vegas ,NV on my husbands one income of $60,000 . It can be done . You just need to set priorities and know the difference between needs and wants .

    • Meg
      November 11, 2014

      I agree that you must be in a lower cost-of-living area. My property taxes alone are 11K (I live in South NJ), and utilities alone would take up more than half of the remaining income. Yes, you can thrift shop and free cycle and coupon to keep costs down, but my guess is that groceries are equally lower where you are – ie, a gallon of “regular” (non-organic etc) milk is upwards of $5-6 here.
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  5. Michelle
    May 4, 2014

    Love your post! It is not easy to live frugally all the time but I really get a kick out of trying new ways to save money. Rummage sales are my most enjoyable way to get a great deal.

  6. Kimberly Cox
    May 4, 2014

    Great post. We know exactly what it’s like because we have a family of 4, but only about a 18,000 income. It’s tight, but it can happen. Thanks for some great ideas :)
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  7. Kim
    June 3, 2014

    I agree with all your cost saving ideas, but have to agree with the other comment about this really only being possible depending on where you live. We live near the east coast, but not coastal and our mortgage, taxes, car payment, and utilities surpass the the $22,000 mark alone, and that doesn’t include regular living expenses like food, clothing, etc. We live in a modest 4 bedroom home (only 1,700 sq ft), so it’s not like we live extravagantly in a ridiculously large home. For us to rent a three bedroom apartment in a safe neighbor would only reduce our monthly expenses by a couple hundred dollars.. We don’t even have cable, haven’t had it for years now. I applaud what you have accomplished with what you have, but it just literally cannot be done everywhere.

  8. Angie
    June 4, 2014

    I love trying to saw money. For those who say you cannot love frugal in big cities or on the coast, that is just what you chose. If it’s too expensive then it’s time to look I to rural areas. We make about $30,000 and have 3 boys. I do get to stay home since both boys are on disability. But even when I work it comes out the same. I can say it’s not always easy, but we manage and yet I’m still able to save a little for the boys savings and our 401k. We look forwards to rummage sales on the weekends. And as much as I cannot afford, I still like to give, I just donated tons of mine, and my kids clothes! Another way to help is to use your tax return to pay off bills. We do that every year. But we also take out a little for fun. I also make money just promoting, using, and talking about pure organic essential oils and products. I cash out about $300-400 every 2 weeks!
    And also healthy coffee, other beverages and products that contain Ganoderma
    There are ways to help bring in a little extra income!

    • angel
      June 9, 2014

      When you say you make about 30K does that take into account the boys disability benefits..I have a friend whos son gets disablitlity and its enough to pay their rent every month so its a chunk?

  9. Heather
    June 4, 2014

    Agree with the person above who mentioned urban areas. I live in San Diego and my husband and I have a large income and still fantasize about prices in other areas of the country. There is no way two people here could survive on this here, let alone a family of six. I also wonder about your mortgage? Is it it paid off? With ‘cheap’ rent being $2000 a month in my area, we would sadly be homeless. My father is a veteran and my husband has less than a year left in the military. I’m grateful for their paths and saddened our country doesn’tdo a better of job of looking out for our vets. Does your husband plan to continue his education or go to trade school with his GI bill to better position your family? Good luck to you.
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  10. Lydia
    June 4, 2014

    This is awesome! Thanks for sharing some excellent ways to help keep living costs down. I’m really not sure why so many people are feeling like they need to say that this can’t be done in all areas of the country. I really don’t think that was your point! You are simply sharing things that have helped YOU live on a low income and they are things that EVERYONE can do. So maybe you do live in SanDiego or DC but if you do the things that the author mentioned you can still cut your costs significantly.

    I’ve also found that a lot about saving has to do with attitude. If you think you can’t save, then you likely won’t because you won’t even be open to new ideas on how to do so. Part of what helps people live comfortably on a low income is the simple fact that they choose to try find ways to save and they are willing to keep learning and finding more things that can help them live less expensively.

    Kudos to you for doing such a great job of living within your means!

    Ps. Our family of 5 also lives on roughly this amount and we live in what many people would consider a higher cost area. Not THE highest, but higher than most parts of the US.
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  11. Lara Clinton
    June 5, 2014

    While the cost of living in some areas makes this budget nearly impossible, those areas often tend to have higher paying jobs. Just as a generality. So I think one family’s $30,000 a year is equal to another’s $60,000 a year when the expenses are inflated, and the principles still apply well!

  12. Jaime D.
    June 7, 2014

    Here’s a great website for living life on the cheap:

  13. Lisa
    June 9, 2014

    What are these second-hand groups on Facebook (in the very first point?) Could you please post a link or an idea how to find them? Thank you.

    • Rachelle
      June 9, 2014

      You can search in the groups tab of Facebook for your area. (Example: Nashville yard sale) and groups should come up :)

  14. angel
    June 9, 2014

    While many of the ideas are good she mentions nothing about the amount of money her hubby gets in disabled vet benefits which for many of us would be substantial amounts/
    \ cash.

  15. anna
    June 28, 2014

    thanks!, you can try to search and sell some of your items thru a garage sale/yard sale. visit

  16. Karen
    June 30, 2014

    Where does your money go?

    From the $22k that you say is made yearly, what amount is paid towards housing, travel, food, clothing, etc, etc.

    • JulieK
      July 3, 2014

      I love these tips for saving money – I think that they can be used no matter WHERE you live, that is so true.
      I would be super curious to know the area this writer is coming from and also details about the cost of living there, to have a comparison for my own budget. For example, I am always stunned to hear people living on $18-25K b/c I am in New England where cost of living is much higher; we’re in a suburban home of 1,800 s.f. and our Mortgage/Prop tax/home ins/car ins/electric/natural gas = $22,430 per year. We still have groceries/gas/clothing/medical and other expenses. We’re pretty frugal and don’t have things like cable, etc. but as a family of 4 I’m doubtful we could live under $30K in our area (and be homeowners)… actually moving to rural areas as one reader suggested generally increases the cost of the home where we are – strange right.

      So every place has their unique set of factors, but again, these tips can be used to help you SAVE money no matter where! :)
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  17. robbie at going green mama
    July 2, 2014

    I applaud what you are trying to do. My husband was out of work three years during the recession and we are still trying to pay ofd the debts.
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  18. rachel in ny
    July 8, 2014

    i don’t understand…what about housing costs? how can you maintain a house and associated upkeep and still pay for everything else? just wondering,as it’s not mentioned here.

  19. Tammy
    November 9, 2014

    how much do you both get for disability…non-taxable income that you are not including in your annual salary. While the tips are ones everyone can likely use, you didn’t tell the whole story.

  20. Aimee
    December 11, 2014

    While the the tips are good, this is just a little misleading to the average working family. How do you pay for medical? Housing? Food? Vehicle? Life insurance and just insurance in general? Utilities? At 22000 there would be a lot of government assistance avaialable to you, which is what it is there for…but for families that make enough to not qualify for any of that and need to pay for everything from their working income, living off that much is just not possible.

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