Living on less than $25,000 a year is considered to be the poverty line. Anyone who makes an income beneath this income is destitute. The idea is that if you don’t have the money to afford a plasma television or a smart phone, you are poor. While millions struggle to keep up a standard of living they can’t afford, there are others who successfully live quite well beneath the poverty line. They have learned to live on less and still enjoy life.
Few people are willing to accept living on less. The economic crash of 2008 forced many to reconsider their lifestyle and find ways to live on a single income. Up until then, they lived up to a false standard that advertisers and the media proclaimed as wealth and success.
Living on less than $25,000 a year is possible. It requires some discipline to make lifestyle changes but still allow for occasional luxuries.
Like doing yearly taxes, budgeting is not something every family enjoys doing, yet it is essential to keeping the financial books balanced for those who are forced to live on less. Once a budget is set up, many quickly discover that a lot of money is simply wasted. A good budget focuses on meeting needs first before satisfying the wants. A good budget takes into account income and balances it against expenses.
Barter was the earliest form of exchange. The one who wants to live frugally can use this system to exchange what he doesn’t need for something he does. Few people consider that the unused items in their garages, basements and attics can be used to exchange for something they want. Even if they have no desire to barter, those items can bring in extra money from garage sales.
Recycle and Reuse
A salary of $25,000 a year does not allow you to buy a new car every 3 years or throw out workable appliances. Furniture can be made to last. Clothes can be handed down to younger family members. Considering the ecological significance of our throwaway society, recycling can add to considerable savings.
It’s become an American tradition to eat out almost every day. The excuse that many have is that they are too busy to prepare meals at home. Eating out at restaurants and frequent visits to movie theaters are costly activities. Why pay for the cost of a movie, popcorn, candy, soda and taxes when it is simpler to watch a rented movie at home?
Savings on Food
The food budget takes a good slice of family income, but many people can save far more if they prepare a shopping list that covers all the food necessities and still leaves some room for ice cream. Buying bulk, using coupons and taking advantage of food specials can save as much as 40% from the food budget.
Grow Your Own
In times of famine, families throughout the world have resorted to growing their own vegetables. Growing a garden of your own does take time to sow, weed and harvest, but the produce is a healthier alternative to the produce on supermarket shelves that come laced with pesticides. Even if you don’t have a green thumb, it doesn’t take an expert gardener to grow a few bean sprouts on the kitchen shelf.
A State of Mind
Poverty starts with the way you think. You cannot compare yourself to the success of your neighbors since you have no idea what their state of financial affairs may be. Frugal living means taking the approach that expenses don’t outweigh income. Those who live below $25,000 a year do enjoy the best things life offers, but they don’t try to live up to a ridiculous standard of living. They accept themselves for who they are without worrying excessively about how much money is in their bank accounts.