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Discussion Starter #1
I was reading the "High Income Kith" and thought we on the other end of the income spectrum needed a thread of our own. I will define "Low-Income" as $30,000 a year or less for a couple or family.

For the last two years, we have earned a combined income of just under $25,000. My DH is a full-time student, and works as a short-order cook. I am currently not working outside the home. We homeschool our only child. We do not own a home, we rent a small (782 sq. ft.) house for $550 a month. We have no debt, other than $6,000 in student loan debt, which we do not have to make payments on yet, since DH is still in school. He is receiving a Pell grant now, so he should not have to borrow any more to finish school.

DH wants to be a Flash Developer (computer animation) he has a website, if you want to take a look: http://galaxygraphicstudio.com/

We have been poor so long (our entire 12 years of marriage), we don't know what it is like to have money. We have never had a vacation of any kind, and have always shared one car (a paid for 2001 Toyota Corolla currently). We eat all of our meals at home, and have no health insurance.
 

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I am a working mom of two teens. Last year I grossed $21,000. We do have health insurance (through state farm- cheaper than work) but I pay for it. The company I work for has health insurance for almost twice what I pay. We have one car (paid for). I have had money in the past from working two jobs (when kids were overseas with their dad- long story for another post) or from a higher paying job. During the "fat times" I paid off as much debt as I could and built up savings and such. Since the divorce that padding has helped out tons but we are back to square one.
I think having seen both sides of the coin (their dad spends way to much on credit cards then has to work 18 hour days to catch up bills. Me- working full time but paying cash for everything so that my evenings and weekends are for them).
 

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I have been at both ends of the spectrum. When I made a higher income I was miserable and left the job due to abuse I was taking in the workplace. The first year I left my husband and I made 32,000. Not below your 30,000 requirement but we had a tough time. We still had alot of debt. I remember being so scared we couldn't make it.

It's funny I look back now and I think it was a blessing. We learned to live on very little, we learned to appreciate what we have and we learned to be more giving to others.

We were in it together and our marriage got stronger. We didn't fight about money because there was no money. We spent alot of time together just being together. We made plans and followed them through. We, we, we, well bottom line is we found each other. The list could go on and on.

Now we are slowly getting back on our feet alot wiser. We are getting rid of all the junk from our old lives and we will live frugally but rich in love and spirit.

I used to get so jealous of my sister who seemed to be able to buy anything she wanted. Then one day she told me she sold her blood to pay the credit card bills. She had no choice.

I was a fool. I won't be a fool anymore. Being 'low income' taught me that. Our income will probably go up but I don't think our spending will.

Frugal until the day I die.
 

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After all deductions (child support, medical insurance etc) we live on less than 10k a year. We get no food stamps or any other form of aid. So yeah, we are poor-ass broke folks.
 

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I too am low income, after child support, taxes and fees we live off of $19,000 or less per year. We manage and we pay all our bills on time so we're ok.

Like FrugalWitch, we do not get food stamps or any type of cash assitance so we are broke too!
 

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My w-2 says we made 29,000 in 2006. We have two kids to care for and a high morgage. We have one car and its paid for. Some days I think we are going to end up homeless and other days I feel rich.
 

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Discussion Starter #7
I am glad to know that we are not alone. When we were both working full-time our income was around $50,000 a year. My job was "stealing my soul". I was not happy, working 55+ hours a week, six days a week, for a boss that heaped on the verbal abuse. One day, I could take it no longer, and just quit. I was making $30,000 a year. I have worked a few low-paying, part-time jobs since then, but prefer to focus my efforts on living frugally.

The time I spend on coupon shopping, and stocking up on loss leaders, buying clothing and other items at thrift stores and yard sales, cooking from scratch, etc. saves us a lot of money. I never had time for many of these things when I was working six days a week.

I do wish we could find some health insurance we could afford. We had good insurance coverage when DH worked for a large grocery chain. He lost his job there almost three years ago. That is when he decided to go to college. He started college at the age of 32. He is now 35, and I am 45. I never thought I would still be living a "hand to mouth" existence at this age.
 

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My fiance and I belong here. We live together and bring in $30,000 together. We are splitting many of our expenses for now, because we both make about the same amount of money. It seems like this amount would go further than it actually does. When the end of the month rolls around I am just happy we made it again. I try to do all I can to stretch our dollars. Menu planning, envelopes to keep cash for food and entertainment help me not overspend in those categories when I stick to it. I clip coupons, shop sales, buy meat in bulk and use sparingly, buy store brand for most things, shop at the thrift store or with gift cards. I am looking forward to this fall when my car and college loans are completely paid for, that will free up some money to snow ball towards my cc and to put towards my ef and dental work. I didn't think at 28 I would still be struggling financially. I have come to realize that living a frugal lifestyle consistantly is the only way to make sure I survive and not get further into debt. If we ever make more money as a couple I will be thankful for the security of the extra money. If we never make a dime more than we do right now, I know we will figure out a way to carry on and I can't see myself being any "happier" either way. We make our own happiness and I learned years ago money can't buy it. We have what we need and I am so thankful for that every day. I feel blessed :).
 
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We fall into this...after taxes we make about $24K/year...(hubby in school full time so we don't have 2 full-time incomes). We're hoping to go a little higher as this year proceeds...we reeeeeeeeeally want to at least pay our credit card debt off by mid next year.

I'm going to put in for as many "freebies" as I can online and hopefully that will help out. We're trying to keep our grocery bill as low as possible...friends and family give us their extras and leftovers...that surely is a blessing!! :D

When we get out of this I never want to have ANY debt ever again!! (Aside from a mortgage). :relieved:

Frugal 4 Life!! :wave2:
 

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I'm not a couple, but I also support a cat and four birds, so I guess that counts. LOL

I only bring home about $288 a week, IF I work the full 40 hour week, which lately, because of health issues, I haven't been able to do. I actually clear a little more than that, but then they take out the insurances. But I make less than $400 a week gross, so it's not much more than that.

I have a second hand car that looks like crap but runs well. I am buying my house, but I bought it for $54,000 when things were cheap here, and now it's worth about three times that (in just 10 years). I work in a grocery store, so I'm always up on the specials, but actually, I don't shop there much. It's a pretty expensive store, so I shop mostly at the cheaper places like Sav-a-Lot or buy some things from Dollar General and Big Lots.

I buy all of my clothes either second hand or on deep markdown (like buying clothes during closeout for the season). I use Freecycle a lot for things, and I "curb shop" for some stuff. If I see something cute on the curb, nothing will stop me from getting it, even if I have to ask the people to drag it back into their yard until I can get a strong friend to get it for me!

Right now, my goal is to fix up my house and sell it, clear a big profit, and move to S. Georgia, pay cash for my house, and start putting away some money for retirement. I lost most of my retirement in the stock market downturns and had to spend the rest when I was sick and injured and couldn't work.

The only material thing I'm craving right now is a newer car. Mine is 15 years old, has peeling paint, and is not going to last much longer, I fear. I just can't see how I can manage to buy one, unless I do sell the house.

My credit is pretty shot, so I can't refinance the house to get a car. I'm just praying this one holds up for awhile, as bad as it looks, so that I can save a little.
 

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Currently I'm in this category, making about $13,600 as a grad assistant while I'm in school (STILL!). I sure hope that when I'm Dr. ____ and a professor or something in 3-4 years that this number will change! ;)
 

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I guess I fall into this catagory too since hubby and I (when I amnot working, like now) only make around $30,000. I don't really feel poor. I always trust God to proved for us and he always comes through. I have a wonderful family and home. I am thankful for what I have :)
 

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I fall in this category to. After taxes are taking out by the end of the year I make about $16,000 a year. I do get child support for the youngest. I get $300 for her. Where I am lucky is that work I only have to pay $22 a month for medical and as long as I go to their doctors everything is free. Dr. calls, going to the ER, laboratory tests, x-rays, etc.,. The only thing I have to pay for is co-pay for my medicine that can range from $2 to $15. This helps tremoundsly! The girls dad does help out alot if the girls need something extra. Sometimes it can get a little tight, but I am very, very frugal. I compare the grocery ads I get and see who has the cheapest meats. Go to sav-a-lot if I can get it cheaper. At work we have a uniform allowance of $200 dollars. This also helps out tremoundsly. I have them take out $100 every two weeks and I put it in a credit union where I seldom go to so I won't be tempted to touch it, have $50 taken out every two weeks for my 401 (b). I love to read so I get my books from the library. Since I am the sole provider in the house I have my car payment seven months ahead and my house payment two months ahead. This way if something should happen to me I don't have to worry about how I will pay for my car payment or my house payment. Right now things are a little tight due to the car payment I feel a little strapped. My plan is to pay off the car in 2 1/2 years instead of five. This will help alot. Than the only debt I have is my mortgage. I stay home alot and that helps so I won't spend any money. Where I live at we have a Kroger's that doubles coupons. I challenge myself just about everyday to see where I can cut costs. Even if I wasn't making $16,000 a year I still would be doing the same frugal things even if I was making a higher income. I consider being frugal as one of my hobbies. Saves me money and Uncle Sam takes enough of it out of our check that I don't need to give him any extra money than I have to.
 

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Discussion Starter #14
There are advantages to being "low-income" when it comes to tax time. The earned income credit is a big help to us, and the child tax credit is also. We also get a refund of a portion of the sales tax we pay on food in Kansas, if your adjusted gross income is less than $25,000 and you are over 65, or have a dependent child at home. I don't think there should be sales tax on food, anyway. Here we pay 7.3% on EVERYTHING!
 

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Here we pay 7.3% on EVERYTHING!
A little off topic....but our sales tax is 10% and that includes everthing - even groceries. I agree with you, I do not think you should have to pay tax on groceries.
 

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Our tax return says that we live on $17,415. DH makes about another $8,000 in "Housing Allowance" in his position as a minister (this is not taxable). We have no debt other than our house. Our house payment is around $650 a month. (Our house is old and tiny, but it works!) We don't take any goverment aid, including WIC (although I'd take it if I needed it to feed the kids). We pay for our own health insurance - which is not cheap!

We are lower income but we are not poor. And I feel like we're better off than many people our age because we don't have debt and we try not to be materialistic.

Because Philip is a Pastor I do not expect that we will ever be a "high" income family but that's o.k! :)
 

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I am off topic too: I want to live in Kansas! Anyone have any advice such as best small towns, good companies to work for, land conditions, weather conditions, etc... I REALLY want to move to Kansas, just getting DH to agree in a couple years is the hard part. :)
 

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I think I fall into this category too. I'm a student so I make very little in part-time. I made a lot more last year because I was a manager but budget cuts happened and now I'm just a cashier, which was a major decrease in pay and hours. DH makes about 30 000 alone, but our rent (which we're looking for a place after I graduate) makes up for more than half of our take home pay (60% to be exact), the rest in insurance and student loan interest payments leaves us with very little for food etc.
Sometimes I wish there was a magical cure for spending. I want to be completely frugal, but I'm finding it hard.
 

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I know what you mean, sometimes I really just want to go out and buy myself something as a reward for being so good the past couple months, then I get in the store and I feel guilty for even "thinking" about buying it so I walk out of the store with nothing.

I do find it hard to be completely frugal because I love diet pepsi and an occasional chocolate bar so I buy them on impulse (especially when it's that time of the month) and I try hard to NOT buy them but I do. :(

I am not a big spender at all, I am what my kids call me a "Bat who stays in her cave all day" because I know that if I go out there are soooo many temptations out there, so I stay at home in my bat cave and play on the internet, watch TV, clean, etc.. keeps my mind of spending and yes I save money because I am not usig gas to go out shopping. :) I just think of the long term bonus.. having an EF, money saved for this or that, no CC bills, etc... that's what makes it worthwhile.
 
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