Frugal Living Ideas
Frugal living ideas for Living On $30,000 a Year
Don’t think it’s possible, right? I mean, seriously, who can live on less than $30,000 a year in this day and age? Well, I’ll tell you. My husband and I…and our 6 kids do! Let me walk you through the process. It wasn’t easy, but if you are as determined as I was, it is possible!
First of all, you need to get rid of the feelings of entitlement that many Americans struggle with. We did this without food stamps or help from the government. With our large family, we would have qualified for assistance, but guess what? We owned our house and two cars and we would have had to give those up to qualify. We had a huge old farmhouse and our mortgage payments were $269 a month. To rent a house or apartment, you can be sure we wouldn’t have found anything that cheap! My husband was going back to school and needed to commute 2 hours each way daily. Not having a car would have made this impossible!
We lived on much less than $30,000 a year, but this was more than several years ago, so I am adjusting for inflation. Let me give you the frugal living ideas to make this happen. Most people will not want to be this diligent about saving money. Like I said before, we were determined, and it is possible with severe cutbacks in your spending.
My 9 Frugal living ideas
1. Cut your cable, internet, direct TV, netflix and cell phones
Contrary to popular belief, these are not essentials! The public library has free internet with computers for you to use, DVDs and books to borrow and much, much more! Check and see what they have to offer, you’ll be amazed. We functioned without cell phones, but if you must, get a no frills regular (not smart phone) cell at the dollar store for $10 and use it only for emergencies! We have lived and thrived for 27 years with no TV, our kids are happy, well adjusted and smart!
2. Do not get a pet, if you don’t already have one.
I love pets as much as the next person, but pets are expensive! That free kitty or puppy your kids are begging you for? They need shots, food, litter box, litter, surgery to be fixed and can rack up hundreds or thousands of dollars in vet bills if they get sick or injured.
3. Grow a garden
Seeds are cheap, grow your own vegetables in your backyard, front yard or in containers. I always have a pot by my back door with spinach and lettuce mixes growing during the spring, summer and fall. I never bought fertilizer or weed killer due to the cost and because I didn’t want chemicals in my kids food. We pull weeds by hand and pick off bugs or spray the plants with soapy water.
4. Stop going to the mall
If you go to the mall or out “shopping,” you are going to see things you think you need. You don’t need most of these! Just stop shopping except for essentials, break the habit of window shopping or shopping out of boredom!
5. Buy necessities at a discount store
Buy what you absolutely need at a discount store. We shopped at a place that sold overstock and out of date items. Just because something is a good deal, does not mean you need it. If it is a great deal and something you will use a lot of, then by all means, buy several. I actually found that I could buy large cans of tomatoes cheaper than I could grow them!
6. No one needs new clothes!
We stopped buying any clothes. Kids passed down clothes, relatives gave us their hand me downs and friends of mine held “swaps” where we all brought clothes our kids no longer needed and we passed them around.
7. Wash your own diapers and breastfeed your babies
I washed my own diapers, hung them out to dry and breastfed all 6 kids as long as they were interested. I totally understand that in rare cases, breastfeeding is not successful, but most people can breastfeed, especially with free advice from the hospital and LaLeche League. Your baby does not need any additional food, water or juice for at least 6 months, often longer! Research has shown that this is the best for your baby and babies who are exclusively breastfed are healthier. No judgement if you tried and couldn’t, just telling you what is cheapest and best.
8. There is no need for baby food-ever!
The creator of baby food was a marketing genius! For hundreds of years, babies were breastfed and gradually weaned to whole foods when they had sufficient teeth and could chew. Don’t drink the Kool-aid, your baby needs no special food! If you breastfeed your baby exclusively, they get everything they need. Breast milk changes as your child grows to give him exactly what his body requires. I breastfed one child exclusively until 9 months old, when I gradually added soft bites of what we ate to his diet. This is also assuming you are serving healthy, whole foods.
9. Live close to where you work and bike to work
If at all possible, do this step. You will save thousands in gas and car expenses. It would be worth it to move closer, if you or your spouse have a good job.
It takes a lot of effort and determination, but if you want to live on less than $30,000 a year, it is possible! Our kids think back on the 2 years their Daddy was in school fondly. They never complained that we didn’t have enough to eat or that our life was lacking in any way!
So, what do you think? Could you live on less than $30,000?
Thanks to Nurse Pam for sharing this frugal living ideas post!