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Old 03-09-2012, 06:47 PM
 
Location: Fairfield, CT
4,151 posts, read 4,279,268 times
Reputation: 3644
Quote:
Originally Posted by modhatter View Post
Who is able to live on $40,000 a year or less including taxes, and paying your own health insurance? If so, what part of the country do you live in? Are you single or a couple or a family? Do you rent or have a mortgage? Do you feel that you do without a lot in order to manage?
I'd have a very difficult time living on that at this point. Though at one time, I could. I lived on about $20,000 in 1994.

 
Old 03-09-2012, 06:53 PM
 
Location: denison,tx
866 posts, read 471,128 times
Reputation: 1504
The most I have ever made in my adult working life has been $18,000 a year, working full time, at 2-3 jobs to make a full time work-week...
out of that I paid the rent, utilities, phone, gas/insurance for my car,
groceries...got no assistance of any kind...
also didn't have much of a life, as I was working all the time..
now because of injuries I received in an auto accident I live on a little over $1000 a month in disability...
I have a housemate, who is also on disability...
we have split the house related bills in half, then each of us is responsible for our own personal expenses...
the breakdown is as follows:
monthly rent on 2 bdrm. 900 sq.ft house--$200 each
electric--$60-$100 a month each
water/sewer/trash--$25-$30 a month each
phone/internet--$25-$30 a month each
groceries--$100-$125 each a month
I get $16.00 a month for myself only in Food Stamps
Since I am the only one able to drive I pay for Auto Ins./gas/and all
maintenance on my vehicle
I have no health insurance and my medical bills from the accident are entirely my responsibility,so in addition to the above monthly expenses I also have payments to make for 2 yr. old medical expenses...I will be paying them the rest of my life unless I get lucky and win the lottery or something...not very likely...I have no credit because of it all...but I have a roof over my head,food in my stomach,and no life...
 
Old 03-09-2012, 07:10 PM
 
3,314 posts, read 3,708,820 times
Reputation: 2087
Mod, my elecstric is about 30 in the spring & fall, maybe 50 in the summer, 70 in the winter. I have a heat pump but also I have shade trees that help with the cooling. Many nights I can turn off the AC and open the windows. For the winter I have a sunporch with a thermostat and duct fan to inside - I call it my walk-in solar collector. I try to run my heat pump in the evening when it is more efficient and turn down the thermostat at night. I like to sleep warm so I have a space heater in my small BR. The times it gets really cold I hunker down in my "office" and sleep on the guest bed - it is pretty easy to keep one small south facing room warm.
 
Old 03-09-2012, 07:14 PM
 
Location: Middle America
17,379 posts, read 14,510,155 times
Reputation: 20222
As a single person in a small Midwestern town in my 20s w/ no kids, I lived on substantially less, easily. My job as a newspaper reporter, when entry level, started at 18k/year. It wasn't luxurious, for sure, but it was livable. 40k there would have gone awfully far, for a single person. This was early 2000s dollars.
 
Old 03-09-2012, 07:52 PM
Status: "Are you a technophiliac zombie?" (set 17 days ago)
 
Location: 125 Years Too Late...
6,666 posts, read 5,370,902 times
Reputation: 6277
Quote:
Originally Posted by modhatter View Post
Who is able to live on $40,000 a year or less
Easily. I've never made that much in my entire life (although, last year I did because I'm working two jobs and saving for a move). Before that, I was making half of that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by modhatter View Post
including taxes, and paying your own health insurance?
I don't believe in insurance. I've never used it in my adult life. I'm a firm believer in a fee-for-services-rendered-business-model. If I can't afford it, I don't get it. That said, one of my jobs provides insurance, but I don't know the details. As I said, I've never used and do not believe in insurance--what I like to call legalized gambling or socialized gambling. As far as auto insurance, I have it because that's the price of driving, I guess. Never been in a crash, and if I ever do get in one, I will not be at fault. I know the driving laws and obey them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by modhatter View Post
If so, what part of the country do you live in?
Utah (which I like to call California East Annex)

Quote:
Originally Posted by modhatter View Post
Are you single or a couple or a family?
Single. And an advocate of simple living. So I guess that would make me diminutive in my singleness.

Quote:
Originally Posted by modhatter View Post
Do you rent or have a mortgage?
Neither. But I am saving/spending a lot right now on my planned move to ND.

Quote:
Originally Posted by modhatter View Post
Do you feel that you do without a lot in order to manage?
No. There really isn't much I want in my day-to-day life that involves a large outlay of money. Thus, I don't need that much. In what I would like to pretend was not part of my life, I did some very idiotic things financially that enslaved me for many years (voluntarily, of course). But I did learn my lesson, although I wouldn't say, "it was good for me" (it nearly destroyed me).

I will say that I am a very "low-maintenance" person by nature. I just don't need or want that much. Certainly nothing that is really that expensive. As for day-to-day living, I use very little power--LED bulbs that aren't even on that much. I also use candles and oil lamps at times. Not that much hot water. Not much TV. No "dumb-phone." Other than work, don't drive much. Drive an old, but dependable car. No movies, no "nights out." I try to pick inexpensive passions.

Also, I like a cool house where I'm bundled up and cozy, and I have very thick blankets for sleeping at night--temps at 58.4 degrees in this room as I type. Keep it even colder at night. That keeps my averaged heat/electric bill at about $18 per month (small place at about 370 sq ft). Unfortunately, the house is hot in the summer, because I'm not about to waste money cooling it. Besides, it gets tolerably cool at night most of the time around here in the summer. I just keep the windows wide open.

Although I do eat out once in a while because my work schedule prevents me from cooking at times, I am perfectly happy to cook and live on a "rice and beans" diet (meaning simple diet). I don't really need or want fancy and expensive foods all that much.

For me, the secret to living on meager wages is being largely disconnected from our consumer-based society. I just don't consume as I am expected to do. Those hours that I don't have to work to afford that consumption are spent exercising and keeping my body healthy, foraging the local mountains for wild foods, reading, studying, practicing music, drawing/painting, writing, and developing my passion: traditional/simple living.

Last edited by ChrisC; 03-09-2012 at 09:12 PM..
 
Old 03-09-2012, 07:57 PM
 
14,085 posts, read 11,709,491 times
Reputation: 9950
Quote:
Originally Posted by modhatter View Post
Who is able to live on $40,000 a year or less including taxes, and paying your own health insurance? If so, what part of the country do you live in? Are you single or a couple or a family? Do you rent or have a mortgage? Do you feel that you do without a lot in order to manage?
I make more but i live on less when my 401K and other savings are considered. But I do have cheap health insurance from my employer. If I had to pay out of pocket for that, I could do it, but my savings would only be maybe 2K or 3K or year...pretty skimpy.

I'm single with no kids. I rent a studio apartment in the SF Bay Area. I have a good landlord who hasn't jacked up the rent in the 3.5 years I've lived here (and that is VERY rare). At my current income I don't feel like I'm doing without, but at 40K plus paying all of my health insurance, I do think I'd feel that way. I'd probably be renting a room or sharing an apt. with someone in order to have more financial cushion....and once you have your own place, going back to sharing is a drag unless it's with a partner.

Last edited by mysticaltyger; 03-09-2012 at 08:06 PM..
 
Old 03-09-2012, 08:07 PM
 
14,085 posts, read 11,709,491 times
Reputation: 9950
Quote:
Originally Posted by chuck_steak View Post
A LOT of people live on less than that in the U.S. Even moreso with the economy the way it has been the past few years. If your family can't live on that then you have budgeting issues.
It really depends on where you live. On the coasts, 40K is a joke for a family.
 
Old 03-09-2012, 08:08 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
21,657 posts, read 27,573,754 times
Reputation: 8688
Quote:
Originally Posted by modhatter View Post
... But some costs are not so discretionary, such as real estate taxes, home insurance, water, elec., sewer, garbage, internet, auto insur.
Whether you wish to cal them discretionary or not, some areas simply do not have those costs [or they are greatly reduced]



Quote:
... Does everything cost less in a low cost of living state? Is food and eating out less expensive. Are utilities and RE taxes less expensive? Is internet less expensive?
Yes.



Quote:
... I know in southern Florida, home ownership is very reasonable now, RE taxes have come way down, though homeowners insurance remains fairly high. Food, can't say. Eating out, expensive except for a couple of chicken take out places. I guess the consensus is that the South and the Midwest are the most reasonable places to live.
Well, ... I found it to be the North-East.

But I live in a town where the median household income [for supporting a family] runs around $25k/year.

I am from California. In my travels this place here seemed about the best. IMHO

 
Old 03-09-2012, 08:29 PM
 
Location: Forests of Maine
21,657 posts, read 27,573,754 times
Reputation: 8688
Quote:
Originally Posted by mysticaltyger View Post
It really depends on where you live. On the coasts, 40K is a joke for a family.
I here you.

I live on the East Coast. And $25k is much more the common income for a growing family.

 
Old 03-09-2012, 08:36 PM
 
Location: Colorado
2,562 posts, read 1,728,633 times
Reputation: 2808
Where I currently live and how our lifestyle is right now I couldn't imagine it. I remember when 40k was enough.
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