$23000 per year
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    Default $23000 per year

    I'm trying to figure out how to live on $23,000/year in a decent neighborhood and save for a house. I also have two prescriptions that are a monthly expense plus car maintenance. Does anyone have any suggestions? I definitely know how to pinch a penny (thanks to my mother). Right now it only costs me $500/month to live in a great neighborhood becaus I live with my son and daughter-in-law. They are wonderful, but I want my own place. I had to file bankruptcy a few years ago because I lost my job and ran up credit cards just to keep my mother and I going. I was literally trying to keep her alive, but of course, that didn't work and Mom died. Everything I had is gone. Now, due to medical bills, my small bank account is back down to $1600. I am keeping my chin up, but I really need advice. I do not want to remain dependent forever. Thanks and blessings to all!!

    p.s. I finally found full-time work after 3 years and I've been working now for the past year. That's a blessing!
    Last edited by island_fever; 05-28-2007 at 01:18 PM. Reason: additional information

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    Registered User Marie78's Avatar
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    The only way I was able to live in a nice/safe area when I was making $20,000/yr before taxes was to live in a studio apt. It was a little cramped, but I was able to live independently from my parents, make car and college loan payments, pay for car insurance, food, gasoline, and make a minimum monthly payment towards my cc debt. I didn't have much left over for clothing, dental work, gifts, and entertainment. My boyfriend thankfully paid for a lot of our entertainment (dinners out and movies-usually rented ones) and we found inexpensive things we enjoyed doing: like taking long walks in my safe neighborhood, and spending time in bookstores (not spending money on them though).

    I find that clipping coupons and trying to combine them with sales helps my grocery budget. I also find that buying family packs of meat and freezing serving sizes helps me save on meat. I also have cut back on expensive toiletries. I buy soap for face and body at the $1 Store now. I buy Suave Shampoo and conditioner or Finesse or VO5. I love Pantene and will buy it maybe once every other month with a coupon. I dye my own hair each month and get a hair cut every 4 months to reduce the cost there. I buy clothes on sale or at the thrift store only when I absolutely need something. Otherwise I just take very good care of what I already own and if people get tired of seeing me in the same 7-10 outfits that's there problem!

    If all your money goes towards living with very little towards savings, you may consider a small part time job to put the money away towards a downpayment on a house. I was making $20,000/yr working 2 jobs at over 40 hours a week and I didn't have the time or energy to work a 3rd one, that meant I didn't have much to put away towards savings.

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    Registered User fizzie's Avatar
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    You could try getting a roommate. You might make some extra money pet sitting, house sitting, baby sitting, or collecting freecyle stuff and then having yard sales. I just gave away a bunch of junk to a young woman who does that. Have you already tried getting a break on your utilities due to your low income?

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    I guess my first question is what are you doing now. That would give us all a good idea of how deep in frugality you go.

    I take it you have no children? So a studio apt. might be a good idea. Have you thought about co-housing or shared housing?

    Food is always a big expense. If you could gleen or share a garden with an older person or family that might need someone to keep the weeds out for the agreement of sharing the harvest.
    Or work pt at a resturant for the free meal + pay each day.
    No car - use public transportation or ride a bike
    Clothing is from free sites or 2nd hand stores only.
    Can extra food for later - No eatting out.
    If you are single... work, work, work and save, save, save.

    Best of all you seem to be a pretty postive person. That will take you far. You also have a goal in mind. Write it, color it, make a poster of it and keep it at the center of your focus.

    You can do it!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marie78 View Post
    The only way I was able to live in a nice/safe area when I was making $20,000/yr before taxes was to live in a studio apt. It was a little cramped, but I was able to live independently from my parents, make car and college loan payments, pay for car insurance, food, gasoline, and make a minimum monthly payment towards my cc debt. I didn't have much left over for clothing, dental work, gifts, and entertainment. My boyfriend thankfully paid for a lot of our entertainment (dinners out and movies-usually rented ones) and we found inexpensive things we enjoyed doing: like taking long walks in my safe neighborhood, and spending time in bookstores (not spending money on them though).

    I find that clipping coupons and trying to combine them with sales helps my grocery budget. I also find that buying family packs of meat and freezing serving sizes helps me save on meat. I also have cut back on expensive toiletries. I buy soap for face and body at the $1 Store now. I buy Suave Shampoo and conditioner or Finesse or VO5. I love Pantene and will buy it maybe once every other month with a coupon. I dye my own hair each month and get a hair cut every 4 months to reduce the cost there. I buy clothes on sale or at the thrift store only when I absolutely need something. Otherwise I just take very good care of what I already own and if people get tired of seeing me in the same 7-10 outfits that's there problem!

    If all your money goes towards living with very little towards savings, you may consider a small part time job to put the money away towards a downpayment on a house. I was making $20,000/yr working 2 jobs at over 40 hours a week and I didn't have the time or energy to work a 3rd one, that meant I didn't have much to put away towards savings.
    My main concern for living is safety; that's how I define "decent". I don't need fancy. I do coupons and price match. Also, I only buy clothes when I absolutely need them. I've found that often times I can get clothes cheaper on sale at Wal-mart ($1 skirts, $5 dresses...*S*) than I can at a thrift store. I freecycle too. Utilities are included in my rent and the landlord (my son and daughter-in-law) won't kick me out. I've worked 3 part-time jobs and I've done 3 part-time jobs at the same time before. I worked 2 full-time jobs also and it nearly killed me. I am really, really good at stretching a dollar. I thank you so much for your reply. I feel more hopeful already. Thanks a bunch. It means a lot to me. You are a sweetheart!
    Last edited by island_fever; 05-28-2007 at 04:42 PM.

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    Quote Originally Posted by fizzie View Post
    You could try getting a roommate. You might make some extra money pet sitting, house sitting, baby sitting, or collecting freecyle stuff and then having yard sales. I just gave away a bunch of junk to a young woman who does that. Have you already tried getting a break on your utilities due to your low income?
    I'm thinking more and more about trying to find a roommate. I've also thought about trying to find a roommate who might be interested in equity sharing. I don't need a break on the utilities because they are included. I just have to get more aggressive and creative in finding a roommate. I thank you for your reply. Every little bit of advice helps. It's like pennies from heaven. I do the freecycle, coupons, pack my lunch, watch how I drive (it affects the amount of gas I use)...sometimes I think my mother is sitting on my shoulder still giving me advice *s* The kids think I'm all around cheap. However, I consider myself a fiscal conservative...however, they will be the first to tell you that I am generous with my family. I thank you for your response. I need all of the help (ideas) I can get. As for the idea about getting a break on utilities because of low income...I don't do that sort of thing. I believe that's for people with children, the disabled, and the elderly (the elderly are and always will be 10 years older than I am *lol*)

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    Quote Originally Posted by PeacewithMyself View Post
    I guess my first question is what are you doing now. That would give us all a good idea of how deep in frugality you go.

    I take it you have no children? So a studio apt. might be a good idea. Have you thought about co-housing or shared housing?

    Food is always a big expense. If you could gleen or share a garden with an older person or family that might need someone to keep the weeds out for the agreement of sharing the harvest.
    Or work pt at a resturant for the free meal + pay each day.
    No car - use public transportation or ride a bike
    Clothing is from free sites or 2nd hand stores only.
    Can extra food for later - No eatting out.
    If you are single... work, work, work and save, save, save.

    Best of all you seem to be a pretty postive person. That will take you far. You also have a goal in mind. Write it, color it, make a poster of it and keep it at the center of your focus.

    You can do it!
    I never eat out, I always pack a lunch. Food doesn't seem to be a problem with me. I love the garden idea. What an excellent idea!! It's healthy and provides exercise. I need to find one though. As for the car, I'd love to trade it for public transporaion. But, the nearest bus stop is approximately 5 miles from where I live. I've also asked several people who live within 5 miles of me if they would like to carpool...so far no takers...but I still bring it up. I thought about seeing if I could just park the car at a place near the bus stop, but by the time I drive that far, it would then cost me more to take the bus than to drive the rest of the way. Thank goodness I've got a car that doesn't cost a lot to run. I don't go out to movies, etc. I have books, music, a tv, a safe place to walk...I don't feel deprived for recreaction and fun. I really appreciate you guys jumping in with suggestions. It all helps. I guess my big thing right now is trying to save anything. I have med/dental insurance, but if it's not one thing, it's another. I'm up to my neck for the dentist right now. That's thebadnews. The good news is that I have work and insurance, so it's not like I can't dig my way out. I'm sooo glad I found this site. I don't feel alone and I don't feel like so much of a cheapskate *lol*. God bless you all. I'm going to keep coming back here. It's my kind of place with my kind of people. *S*

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    Hi Peace WM

    Here is what I do. No kids...they're all grown and I have 4 grands. I do help with them when I can because 1 family (with 2 grands) has no insurance.

    1. I never eat out, I always pack a lunch. Food doesn't seem to be a problem with me. I love the garden idea. What an excellent idea!! It's healthy and provides exercise. I need to find one though.

    2. As for the car, I'd love to trade it for public transportation. But, the nearest bus stop is approximately 5 miles from where I live. I've also asked several people who live within 5 miles of me if they would like to carpool...so far no takers...but I still bring it up. I thought about seeing if I could just park the car at a place near the bus stop, but by the time I drive that far, it would then cost me more to take the bus than to drive the rest of the way. Thank goodness I've got a car that doesn't cost a lot to run.

    3.I don't go out to movies, etc. I have books, music, a tv, a safe place to walk...I don't feel deprived for recreaction and fun.

    4. I rarely buy anything without a coupon.

    5. The last time I got my hair done was 16 years ago.

    6. I buy makeup from the $1 store

    7. I take sale papers and price match at Wal-mart.

    8. My kids got me a Sam's membership and I still compare prices. The bigest advantage to any kind of bulk buying right now seems to be the amount of $$$ you save on gas by not making multiple trips. I have a Sam's and a Wal-mart right across from each other. Then there's another Wal-mart, Kroger, Farm Fresh, K-mart either in the same strip mall or just across the street. That makes saving sooo easy and not so hard on the gas tank.

    I'm so good with price matching and coupons that I make my own self sick. I've walked out of Wal-mart with a grocery cart overflowing with food and other products and the only reason it cost $50 was because I bought some "extras". Yep...I'm good..*S* Sometimes, I wonder if they'll send a cop after me because it feels like I've done something illegal..rotfl..

    I really appreciate you guys jumping in with suggestions. It all helps. I guess my big thing right now is trying to save anything. I have med/dental insurance, but if it's not one thing, it's another. I'm up to my neck for the dentist right now. That's the bad news. The good news is that I have work and insurance, so it's not like I can't dig my way out. I'm sooo glad I found this site. I don't feel alone and I don't feel like so much of a cheapskate *lol*. God bless you all. I'm going to keep coming back here. It's my kind of place with my kind of people. *S*

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    I would say I would try to save as much as you can for a down payment on a house. I am like you I am the type of person that has to try to help out wherever I can. Last year I did the same way with my mother when she was tring to get on disability. She lived with dh and I for nearly a year. So since that she was not making any money. It seemed like when that happened that we were racking up on the c.c as well. To this day that dh and I are still struggling just to get out of debt. What ever little money that we do have extra that we stick it into savings. So that way if there is a bigger problem down the road atleast that we will have a little to fall back on. It may not be much but it is something. Or if we dont stick into savings then we will send a little extra to his daughter. Which she has three kids and the oldest seems like he is sick all the time. The oldest was born with Hydroscyphliss(sp). So he is always having problems with his shunt in is brain. But I hope that you can save where you can and good luck to you.

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    You are smart and you are kind. You know and understand the importance of family. My one and only regret is that I was unable to do more. My greatest joy and reward are the things that my Mom taught me. She would LOVE this site!!! *S* Many blessings on you and your family.

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    ok guys...I just subscribed to the small business...I need income thread...awesome..I do believe you are all something very special. I feel better by the minute.

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    i feel i could learn so much from you! I am not as frugal as i could be, can be compulsive and impulsive,have quite a few vices...im a budding buddhist and learning about simplicity-i wanted to say it sounds like you are doing everything right, I have no tips for I am still learning to be frugal and walk a path of simplicity,but good luck to you!

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    Quote Originally Posted by patra View Post
    i feel i could learn so much from you! I am not as frugal as i could be, can be compulsive and impulsive,have quite a few vices...im a budding buddhist and learning about simplicity-i wanted to say it sounds like you are doing everything right, I have no tips for I am still learning to be frugal and walk a path of simplicity,but good luck to you!
    Believe me, I've had (and still do have) my moments. I think for me, the biggest problem I've had is to reteach/relearn that nobody owes me anything. My life has been filled with financial instability and that has, in a sense, been good. It has taught me a lot. On the other hand, those who go around saying "it's only money" are more than likely those who have not lacked it at crucial times in their life. I can remember times I have spent by myself sobbing for lack of money. It wasn't because I couldn't get a car or clothes or things like that. It was because I literally didn't know how I would be able to take care of my mother and hold down 3 part-time jobs at the same time. It was horrible.

    Also, don't under rate yourself ( I have no tips for I am still learning...). Never equate age with wisdom...it doesn't work that way *S*. There are learned and wise people of all ages. Hmmm...there are jerks of all ages too. Anyhow, keep striving to reach your goals and visualize yourself reaching them. You can PM me if you want some encouragement. Big hugs to you Baby Cakes.

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    thanks-i understand financial hardship-my husband is on workmans comp and we may be looking at 400 dollars a month at times...we are on WIC, if it weren't for that i dont know how we would survive.we live with my folks which isnt easy,I do not have the best habits tho the intention is there.thanks for the encouragement and again good luck to you!

    Patty

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    Quote Originally Posted by patra View Post
    thanks-i understand financial hardship-my husband is on workmans comp and we may be looking at 400 dollars a month at times...we are on WIC, if it weren't for that i dont know how we would survive.we live with my folks which isnt easy,I do not have the best habits tho the intention is there.thanks for the encouragement and again good luck to you!

    Patty
    Oh dear...so you have the additional stress of illness/injury plus living with someone else. God Bless you. You have your work cut out for you. You are both blessed and challenged with your situation. A "budding Buddhist"??? Good for you!! Everyone needs spiritual grounding. I'll bet I have a lot I can learn from you.

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