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Living on 30000 or Less: 10 Frugal Living Ideas

Frugal Living Ideas for Living on 30000 or Less

Are you trying to save money for your family? We have easy Frugal Living Ideas for Living on 30000 or Less

As a full-time stay at home Mom and full-time college student, saving money is extremely important and beneficial to our family. Over the past several years I have learned different ways that our family can get all the bills paid, buy groceries for the month, have extra money for entertainment and put a little away in savings. Here are 10 Frugal Living Ideas to help your family live on an annual income of $30,000 or less and still find time to have fun and save for a rainy day:

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Frugal Living Ideas – Living On $30,000 a Year

Frugal Living Ideas

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.

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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.

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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!

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Living on 30000 or Less: Raising a Family of 6

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My husband is a disabled Vet, works for minimum wage, and I draw disability due to a heart condition. Until we filed our taxes I thought we were doing pretty well for ourselves. That was until I saw that our total yearly income was only $22,000. This made me think about all of the ways throughout the year we have saved money. I am more than happy to share with all of you some of those ways!Continue reading

How to Save Up Money: Tips for Living on $30000 or Less

How to Save Up Money

Tips for Living on $30000 or Less

How to Save Up Money

It can be hard at first to live on just a small amount of money, but when you end up making it a way of life, it gets a lot easier. It actually allows me the chance to volunteer with a nonprofit organization and lets me be able to send out letters and care packages to soldiers. I use free samples and coupons to get things for care packages. And since a lot of people don’t like to do the hard work part of volunteering, I ask for stamp donations from my friends and family who like to give, but just want to leave it at a simple act. 🙂 If you would ever like to promote a website that isn’t coupon related you can always promote our nonprofit. 🙂 If people want to put their coupons to use for a good cause, it’s a great way to do it!

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How to Save Up Money Tips for Living on $30000 or Less


  • Coupons – I only get 1 newspaper through a Sunday subscription and sometimes buy more if there are a lot of really good coups otherwise, the coupons I know I will use a lot of, I only buy those on Ebay to maximize my money
  • Groupon, Living Social, Restaurant.com, etc are all great ways to find local deals
  • Citypass.com is great to use when traveling to certain major cities.
  • Entertainment.com has the books that can be used in your local areas. If one is not available in you area though there, you may have a local one provided through a local school, etc.


  • Check websites once a month or more often to places you take your kids to see if they are running any deals or have any free events
    • NC has visitnc.com for events in the area and many are free or cheap
    • We have a lot of free concerts in parks and things like that when it is warm
    • Local farms sometimes have a grand opening with discounts when they open for the season
    • Our Greensboro Children’s Museum does a deal on Fridays from 5-8 PM where you can get admission for $4 a person instead of $8 and something called First Fridays for $2 from 5-8 PM instead of $8
    • Many places that offer year round passes offer about a half off discount on a family pass from Memorial to Labor Day. This is good if you would only mainly go in the summer time
    • An increasing number of places have drastically reduced rates for people that home school as well, don’t be afraid to ask. This oftentimes requires proof, but if you home school then it shouldn’t be an issue
    • Places like Lowes’ and Home Depot have kids days every so often and is something free for the kids!
  • Invest in co ops and such to get fresh vegetables throughout the summer. You can also Save on Fruits and Vegetables by knowing when they are in season.


  • Pick your own, May – strawberries, June /July – blueberries/blackberries, July/August – peaches/apples, etc. (Grapes, pumpkin, etc are also other pyo) Go pick your own at the farms and you know that you are getting only good pieces instead of getting a container mixed with good and bad. Pick a lot and freeze the rest in individual snack bags and then put them all in a big freezer bag. This cuts down on prices in the months when these items are out of season
  • You can freeze almost anything. So if you have something about to expire, look up online how to freeze it. We waste a lot of money each year on bad food.  I have found you can even freeze things like eggs, milk, and bread! Here are some Crockpot Freezer Meals that you should try.

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    • If you have fruit or yogurt that is about to expire, make some smoothies and freeze them for a quick snack for your children and yourself later. Tupperware cups with the flat lids are great for this.
    • Buy Tupperware! It may cost more upfront, but it lasts long, has a lifetime warranty on most things, and saves on constantly using baggies! Baggies, tinfoil, etc add up.
    • Buy a Brita water bottle or Camelback bottle with a filter. These are cheaper than buying lots of bottled water and you can fill them up at a water fountain, water faucet, etc.

  • Buy clothes off season, at yard sales, at Goodwills, or just swap with someone else to refresh your styles
    • Off season at Wal-Mart you can get clothes like $1-$3 most of the time
    • Don’t be afraid to talk people down at yard sales. Many will work with you to get rid of stuff. Or wait until closer to the end of the yard sale. Most people will make a deal instead of having to get rid of it themselves.
    • Swap with people you know, or create a local community swap to find lots of people to swap items with
  • Craiglist – find cheap deals and post your own.
    • Most of the time you can talk people down just a bit
    • Mark your asking price up a bit. If you want $10 for an item, ask 12-15 so that when someone asks if you will take $10, then you can say sure thing!


  • When it comes to food and other items, know when to buy them.
  • People in the military can also get special coupons, enter special contests, etc.
  • For children’s birthdays, request clothes and also request gift cards for fun places to visit such as movie theather, gift cards to the zoo, etc
  • Buy family passes to places like the zoo that offers a donation paper to file on your taxes!
  • Sign up to receive texts from places
    • Sonic gives good deals
    • Target gives good deals
    • 7-11 and other gas stations
    • Redbox randomly offers 1 free rental a month
    • Dollar General often sends $5 off a $25 purchase
  • Never pay for a magazine – you can always get them free
    • Erewards.com
    • Recyclebank.com
    • If you do pay only like $1-$2
  • Get gift cards free
    • Erewards.com
    • Swagbucks.com
    • Crowdtap.com


  • Buy holiday stuff for the next year when it goes on sale the day after.
  • For cheaper phone bill we have a family plan with my brother and sister in law  since it is only $10 extra a line. We can split the bill in half and cheaper for both
  • Buy gifts throughout the year to stock up for birthdays and holidays when you can find them really cheap. This includes cards. This way you are never caught off guard and have to pay full price for something!
  • Have a yard sale at least once a year. Take leftovers to somewhere like Goodwill and get a tax write off or if you don’t feel like hauling, leave it outside and post on Craiglist for first come first serve pick up.
  • When I get cards like birthday cards, etc, if no one wrote on the left side, I tear the back part off and reuse the top part. It is more like a postcard, but that is the best way to recycle it!
  • If you have a lot of canned food cans or soda cans, take them to a local recycling center for a little extra money
  • A lot of hospice care places actually collect the drink tabs to use to buy needed equipment just as schools use boxtops for education and campbell’s soup labels


  • When at the grocery store, do a quick once around before or during shopping to look for Peelie coupons. If it is something I’ll use, I buy it
  • We have a couple of grocery stores in our area that offer food at half price or less when they are very close to their expiration date. This includes a lot of veggies, breads, refrigeration section stuff, etc. We shop every few days and it is worth it since the stores are only a mile or two away. It’s a better way to eat healthier as well.
  • Sign up for as many freebies as possible. Even when companies are not offering freebies, you can still write them on their websites contact section and ask for either samples or coupons. Some companies offer them like twice a year. Some say no, but a lot do say yes, so it doesn’t hurt to ask!
  • Cook all of your food for one week on one night. This helps with energy bills and saves you time.  I do this with breakfast foods, too like eggs, sausage, bacon, etc. Even grits can be reheated by adding a small amount of water and reheating. If you have leftovers you don’t think you will be able to eat before it goes bad, freeze it for later. Freeze dishes to heat up later if you need to cook something before it goes bad. Having frozen food that can be quickly heated up also saves from wanting to go after fast food – and healthier.
  • Sign up for credit cards to places like JCPenny and Belk. Use them and then pay them right off. Most of the time you can get coupons for an extra 20% off just by using your card with the coupon. Also, places like this have quarterly sales that make items super cheap. Buy cheap, pay off the card before you get interest, and build your credit! During certain times you can stock up on linens and home goods this way.
  • Carpool when you can. Even with couponing go with friends. Help each other find deals.


  • Trade services. If you know how to cut hair, trade it with someone who knows how to fix cars. Cut their hair for free and they can give you a free oil change or something.
  • Kick cable. If you want to watch some shows, get Netflix or Hulu. If you want to save money split the Netflix bill. You can stream on 2 different devices at the same time, so each to share with another family. Rent movies for free at your local library if offered. Ask for movies for birthdays/holidays. Utilize Redbox and the deals you can get through text and email. A lot of shows you can watch over the internet on the websites or through things like http://projectfree.tv/
  • Don’t buy books new. Check them out at the library, hit up a used book store, or look at yard sales, thrift stores, and Goodwills. Even better, swap books with people or donate your old books to places like nursing homes, local shelters, etc.
  • Don’t buy video games new. Buy used at Game Stop, a local video game store, or online.
  • If you are low income, places like the YMCA will try to help give you a discount to use their facilities. There is no harm in asking for financial aid on something that would cost you way too much!
  • Find other families that have kids and swap babysitting nights. This allows you time with your significant other without having to pay for a sitter.
  • Be smart, be aware, and always compare!
  • Sign up for all of the birthday stuff! We always eat for free and make it a long day thing. With Jersey mikes doing a free sub  coupon through email and with Firehouse Subs you just go in and show them your license. It makes for a whole full meal! My hubs and I get both and split them! There are so many other ones as well, but those two are our favorites.  Here are some Birthday Freebies that you should check out.
  • Use the sites like savingstar.com, checkout51, and Ibotta to get money back for buying certain items.

Thanks to Amanda G. for these awesome How to Save Up Money tips!

For more How to Save Up Money Tips for Living on $30000 or Less also read these:

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Do you have How to Save Up Money tips? Share it with us below.

Frugal Living Ideas: 5 Tips on Living on 30000 or Less

Frugal Living Ideas

Living on 30000 or Less


5 Tips on living on 30000 or less

I have a larger than average family, there are 7 of us, and I like to pride myself in living a little differently than everyone else. We have one income, provided by my husband, and I like to think that part of my job is making the very most of his paycheck. Over the years, we have become expert and making a dollar stretch into more buying power than anyone thought possible.

Frugal Living Ideas

I’d like to share some of my most favorite simple tips and tricks so that you can make the most of your paychecks as well. With just a few changes you, too, can live the “Good Life” on less! Here are my 5 Frugal Living Ideas.

1. Eat 99% of your meals at home. Fast food and eating out suck away more of your precious resources than anything else. And, when you really think about it, the value for the money is not that great. Most fast food meals are between $4-6.00, when that is compounded between 2, 3, 4 or more people it suddenly becomes more than you would spend on several days’ worth of groceries to be prepared at home. Save up and go out for special occasions, it will be much more of a treat! Who doesn’t like a home cooked meal?

2. Switch from store bought cleaners to homemade cleaners. By switching out a LOT of chemical laden cleaners for a few simple items that mix and match to make many homemade cleaners, you can save yourself a bundle over the course of a year. Stock up on baking soda, washing soda, vinegar, borax, alcohol and peroxide instead. The internet is full of homemade cleaners, just type “homemade cleaners” into Pinterest and see how many recipes come up! Pick a few and try them out, I think you’ll find that they work just as well as the ones you are used to.

3. Ditch cable or satellite. I know this one may not be popular with everyone, but getting rid of cable or satellite can save you HUNDREDS of dollars a year, thousands for some people with extra channels or premium packages. It might be hard at first, it was for our family, but we eventually found so many more things to do like read to each other or to ourselves, we had more time for outdoor and family activities and we no longer stay up later than we want to so we can finish watching our “shows”. You can also sign-up with NETFLIX.

4. Switch to using cell phones only. Let’s face it- we’ve become a society of people who need to be in constant contact with each other. In some ways this is great, but sometimes (and I know you all know what I mean) there is just a little too much “togetherness”. If you have a landline and a cell phone, consider getting rid of your landline and having a cell phone only. We saved a ton of money by doing this a couple of years ago and our internet provider even has an option for an internet only line (which is what we have). You always have your cell phone with you anyway, so why worry about having a phone in your home?

5. Shop yard sales and thrift stores. We have found so many items we were looking for (including canners, canning jars, camping equipment, kids clothes and toys and so much more!) for new or next to new at yard sales and thrift stores for a fraction of the cost of new. Often people buy or receive things as gifts and never use them, so they sell them or give them away. Craigslist is another great source for free or cheap items you need or would like to have but have sticker shock at the price of new. Decide what you would be willing to buy second hand and shop for it. The savings can be phenomenal.

I know all of these ideas aren’t going to be for everyone, but maybe if you can apply one or two to your situation, you can make a dent in your budget and allow yourself a little more wiggle room. My family and I are living proof that a large family can live on less than $30,000/year and have fun while we’re doing it. It just takes determination and firm commitment. You can do it too!!!

Thanks to Charley C. for this Frugal Living Ideas tips!

Read more Living on 30000 or Less posts!

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Topic: 5 Tips on Living on 30000 or Less

Living on 30000 or Less: Raising a Large Family

Living on 30000 or Less

Raising a Large Family on Less Than $30,000

Raising a Large Family

Raising a family, large or small, can be a difficult task no matter where you come from or your position in society or in your community. I have a large family of 10 when everyone is together, so I am always looking for a good deal or a way to save money, there just never seems to be enough of it no matter how hard we all try.Continue reading