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:Continue reading
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.
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!
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
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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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.
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!!!
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