According to the United States Department of Health and Human Services, the poverty level for a family of four is a little more than $23,000. Meanwhile, north of the border in Canada, Ontario social services put the poverty line at $18,669 annually.
In a society where much of the so-called 99 percent lambast the one percent for having enormous wealth, it’s quite important to ask ourselves: what is poverty? How do we define poverty in the Western world? Do the poor in the U.S. or Canada have a much better standard of living than a truly poor family in Africa?
These are pertinent questions to ask when discussing poverty. Indeed, an American or Canadian family of four that has a $23,000 income maintains a lifestyle that surely surpasses the average Ethiopian or Sudanese family of four.
For some reason, however, a family that earns this annual salary believes they cannot live a luxurious lifestyle. For whatever excuse, the average impoverished household thinks it’s impossible to live on that amount of money. It is definitely possible but efficiencies must be found, sacrifices must be made and reality must come to the minds of that household.
Here are ways an individual, family or household can live well on $25,000 per year.
As with any other income group, it’s prudent and responsible to establish a budget. Writing down your income, assets, expenditures and other expenses will provide a glimpse of your financial boundaries and how to save and live well without heading into the poor house or claiming to be impoverished.
Sure, earning $25,000 or less every year is not going to allow you to purchase a Ferrari, buy a Starbucks coffee each day or getting front-row season tickets to your favorite sports team. It would be wise to realize this at first before thinking that because you cannot own a Porsche or eat out every night that you are poor.
Asking yourself honest questions with honest answers is a fantastic first step to getting rid of items that make you cash-strapped: is a super cable package necessary? Is acquiring the latest Apple gadgets important to leading an affluent and happy lifestyle? Why are you going to a top of the line grocery store when you could buy your food items at a cheaper place for the exact same groceries?
For some reason, in a society where we have become accustomed to easy credit, low interest rates, numerous bubbles and one-hour dry cleaning, it is believed that living a frugal lifestyle is a bad thing. After one month or perhaps quarter of doing this, you will come to realize that being frugal is being prudent and wise with the fruits of your labor.
If you have a family, you will appreciate that by just having your significant other and children makes you one of the richest people in the world. By setting simple priorities, such as spending time with the family is more important than heading to the movie theater or a bar, it will become easier to understand this. A family doesn’t have to spend $100 on a Saturday night to spend time together.
Having a roof over your head, food on the table and clothes on your back is more than what at least a third of the world has. Sure, you may not have a palace to live in, you may not eat filet mignon each night and you may not be wearing Ralph Lauren or Tommy Hilfiger every day of your life, but having these three simple things makes you quite wealthy.
Remember, living within your means doesn’t make you poor, but just wise. By enjoying a simple existence where you’re day doesn’t revolve around purchasing the latest items, having enormous debt and trying to keep up with the Jones’, you and your family can relish in the richness of life.