Category Archives for "Living on $30000 or Less"

How thriftiness helps us live on $30,000 a year

These days it seems as though everything has gone up in cost but, wages haven’t seemed to follow that trend quite as quickly. That is where being thrifty comes in handy. There are many things you can do to try to make your paycheck go farther when it doesn’t seem to be quite enough.

With some planning and budgeting and thrifty work, you can live like you have a bigger income.

What exactly is being thrifty?

Being thrifty means that you are using your resources (in this case money) wisely and not wastefully. This means that you are carefully stretching your money as far as it can go instead of just spending without thinking.

How to be thrifty with your paychecks

Cooking meals at home– My biggest money eater can be eating out (or ordering in). We (just like everyone else) are a busy family. We homeschool and have extracurriculars five nights a week. By the end of the day, I don’t want to cook. Running through the drive-through or ordering a pizza is so easy. But, cooking at home 99% of the time will help stretch your household income a bit further. My favorite way to make sure that we have a decent meal come dinner time is using my crock pot. This doesn’t mean you absolutely cannot go out to eat or order that pizza. Just save these things for special occasions. If you need other ideas for quick meals to check out our Healthy and Quick Meals Facebook Group.

Rewards Cards/ Loyalty Cards– Signing up for the rewards cards can often help save money while shopping and/or offer rewards after a certain amount is saved. For example Our local grocery stores partner with gas stations and at certain “points” levels you get a set amount of money off your gas when you fill up. So, I get money off my groceries and my gas. I call that a win/win situation. As for other stores, many have cards you can get that can save you money but, are not a credit card.

Buy in Bulk– Whenever possible buy items in bulk. For things like paper towels and toiletpaper, this is easy enough. I also buy meat in bulk and separate it myself into meal-sized portions to freeze. Doing this can save lots of money as I only pay a few dollars more but, end up with two to three times the number of meals out of it.

Thrift Stores/ Yard Sales– When it comes to things like furniture and clothing new isn’t always best. Looking at yard sales or thrift stores for things doesn’t always mean that you need to sacrifice quality either. Many times you can find items you are looking for in almost new or new condition for less than half the price of full retail. Many times I find clothes for both my kids with tags still on them for $2 or $3 at thrift stores and even less at yard sales.

Actual stores or sales can be a great spot to look but, don’t forget about local buy/sell/trade groups on facebook as well. I find many great deals on these as well.

Coupons– These days you can find a coupon for almost anything. You can find them on the product’s website, contacting the company or searching online. Don’t forget to search for coupon codes when shopping online as well.

Price matching– Many stores will price match their competitors. I cannot say all of them will but, many do. If you are wondering if a specific store does this you can call them and they will be able to tell you their specific policy.

Many times I find that the product I am searching for is cheaper on the retailer’s website. Many stores are starting to be able to offer those prices in store; you just have to ask.

Reuse Items– Instead of throwing things out right away, see if you can find another use for them. For example: Instead of going and paying for a new storage container, I will take the empty diaper boxes and cover them in wrapping paper. I now have a box to store toys in.  

Putting all of these or even some of these to use will really help stretch your money further. If you are wise with how your income is spent you will not feel like you are missing out on anything. You can still live the “great life” on a limited budget if you put your mind to it!

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March 24, 2016

How to Use Your Tax Refund to Build Wealth

Using Tax Refund to Build Wealth

Find out the secret on How to Use Your Tax Refund to Build Wealth

How to use your tax refund to build wealth…

If you just got a tax refund and you have been living lean in an effort to get ahead (or simply stay afloat) your first instinct may be to splurge… But, remember when I mentioned the lottery and all of those financial talks? When people first get a large sum of money the first thing they want to do is SPEND. A smart person knows that the first thing you do is stop and THINK. How to build wealth? How can you maximize this money? How can you grow this money? How can you make this money work FOR you? Whether it is $100 or $10,000 the first thing you need to do is make sure that you know where the money that you owe that isn’t yours is at.Continue reading

March 24, 2016

How to Make Money Using your Tax Refund

How to Make Money Using your Tax Refund

using your tax refund

How to Make Money Using your Tax Refund

It is that time of year. The time of year that we fill out endless documents that verify how much we have paid into the system and how much if any we will owe or get back. I hear it all the time I can’t wait to get my tax refund. I am going to buy “insert item that isn’t needed here”. This is How to Make Money Using your Tax Refund.  

The first thing I need you to do is figure out what debt you have. Yes, you read right what do you owe and where? Then you need to figure out what you are paying on each debt that you owe.  Three things to look at:

  • the interest rate
  • the terms and conditions
  • what you can do to impact that debt

The truth is a tax return is evidence that you are giving too much to the government and they are returning your surplus. People act like this is free money. It isn’t! It is actually your savings. I would suggest saving it. It isn’t what you save, it is what you spend.

How to Make Money Using your Tax RefundContinue reading

March 18, 2016

How to Budget Your Money

Learn How to Budget Your Money with these tips.  Learn to thrive on lower income like we do on $30,000 or less per year!  A great budget tool!

Are you thinking about getting your finances under control and tightening up your belt to achieve some goals? Then first thing’s first, you need a budget! Goals are great, but you need to know where you are starting to know where you’re going to end up and how to get there.

There are two ways to on How to Budget Your Money. First, would be listing out all of the possible spending categories (payables) and plugging in your “take home” income (receivables). The other is the reverse. List out all of your monthly expenditures and then divide your monthly income up accordingly. Personally, I think there is no “right” or “wrong” way but only a matter of preference and what actually works for you.

How to Budget Your Money

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Family Home Budget Tips for Living on $30000 or Less

Family Home Budget

Family Home Budget

Raising a family is fun but can be full of challenges. As kids grow so are the family’s expenses, that’s why it’s important to stick with your family home budget. Below are some simple tips that you can do to save big and live on  $30,000 or less.

Family Home Budget – Tips for Living on $30000 or Less

save money

Savings tips for the home:

  • Of course the obvious: turn out lights, don’t let water run, don’t leave TV on.
  • First and foremost, we created a budget on which sends us an alert when we get close to our limit for each category
  • We keep our A/C at 80 in the summer and heater at 68 in the winter (turned down to 55 at night)
  • We got rid of cable because there’s nothing we NEED to watch, and if we want to watch something, usually it’s on Netflix or we can watch it online a day late.
  • Unplug anything not in use. Cell phone and laptop chargers drain power even if the device is not charging
  • We use coupons and take advantage of BOGO deals at our local grocery stores and always plan meals around the sale ads
  • We don’t eat out except for special occasions and even that is rare. I think it is more special to cook a special meal of someone’s favorite foods than to go out to eat. (Fast food/restaurants we are big chuck of where our money went before.)


  • We have a small garden in our yard which my kids LOVE to help with in order to offset produce costs
  • We have the lowest cell phone plan because I am usually at home and anyone who needs to get in touch with me can call the house phone, and same with data, I’m at home so I mainly use the wifi
  • We use a bank with interest checking (While it’s not much, it adds up)
  • I try to do all my running around for the week at once, so I am not constantly running around town wasting gas
  • I LOVE yard sales. I have found so many great deals on everything from furniture to clothes to dishes and everything in between
  • I check our local freecycle group once a week (a group where local people post things they have that they are willing to give away if someone comes to pick them up.)
  • I make big meals for my family of four so we always have leftovers which helps with the not eating out because there is always something in the fridge to heat up.
  • Allow 10-15 minutes between meal helpings, people usually overeat because they eat too fast and don’t give their food time to settle (esp my kids). If you give your food time to settle, you’ll usually find you’re full and don’t want seconds (of course you’re always welcome to them if you truly are still hungry)
  • Always buy generic if available (always check active ingredients first though)
  • I use gasbuddy to find the cheapest gas near me when I fill up (again, small difference, but it adds up)
  • Buy anything you know you’ll eventually use that won’t spoil in bulk. (trash bags, lightbulbs, paper towels, detergent, etc.) This also saves on gas by cutting out extra trips to the store


Saving tips for kids:

  • Matinee movies are usually half the price and we eat before going o they aren’t hungry for popcorn or candy
  • Check with parks and rec for local events. We live in a college town, so there are always free events and concerts going on and we make an effort to attend these
  • IF we decide to go out to eat, we base it on who has kids eat free nights (Frugal living website)
  • We homeschool, so we do a lot of field trips with out homeschool group which don’t cost anything
  • They have kids clothing consignment sale twice a year here, so I buy the kids new clothes and sell their old ones
  • My daughter begged me to teach her to sew, so I did. Now she loves to sew new clothes for her dolls and barbies from scrap cloth I pick up from freecycle or yard sales
  • Before planning an big money event always check for sales. My daughter wanted to go to Six Flags for her bday, so I checked around and found out that they were planning Homeschool Day for the day before her bday so we planned to go then because tickets were $37 cheaper than if we went on her actual bday


  • Anytime we plan an outing, we make sure to pack a cooler with snacks/lunch/drinks, so we are not tempted to purchase them
  • Teach kids to enjoy the outdoors. We save so much more than our friends because our kids don’t feel like they have to have the newest game system or ipad, they enjoy just going outside or to the ecology preserve near our home and playing outside using their imaginations.
  • Utilize free/cheap resources for vacations: road trips, campgrounds, etc.

More than anything be realistic about your situation, of course there are things I wouldn’t mind having, but I have to stop and ask myself if it’s something I really need and/or would even use. Usually the answer is no. :-/

Thanks to Alexis R. for sharing these tips!

For more Family Home Budget – Tips for Living on $30000 or Less also read these:

Living on 30000 or Less: Raising a Family of 6
Living on 30000 or Less: 10 Tips
Living on 30000 or Less: Raising a Large Family
5 Tips on Living on 30000 or Less

Also check out our money saving tips:

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Living on 30000 or Less: Raising a Family of 6

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Do you have Family Home Budget tips? Share it with us below.