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Do you live / could you live on $14,000 a year?

post #1 of 182
Thread Starter 
Does your family presently live or do you thing your family could live on an annual income of $14,000 a year? I'm interested in hearing how you manage with a very low income and a mortgage payment, food, bills , kids etc... I'm trying to make it work.


post #2 of 182
I would be surprised if anyone with a family could manage to pay a mortgage and other expenses on 14K/year. No mortgage, no property taxes - maybe. But with a mortgage, too?

But maybe others can enlighten me!
post #3 of 182
I think we could possibly live off $14K a year if we had no mortgage or rent (i.e. a paid off mortgage), turned every single spot of our yard into food-growing garden space to eek out as much food from it as we can (and possibly neighbor's yards as well), never saved for retirement, and my kids didn't turn into the bottomless pits I hear teenagers become (I'm a bit afraid of how much food we'll be going through in 10 years, yikes).
But as it is now with things like the mortgage and life insurance and all that? Doubtful, without going into debt.
post #4 of 182
You should check out a blog called "Under 1000 Per Month". I just found it and the young girl who writes it is great. Good luck in your endeavor!
post #5 of 182
I couldn't do it with a mortgage. We live rent-free on a small house on my mil's property.

I'll come back with numbers for the rest.
post #6 of 182
dh and I made a bit over 13,000 last year. We live in a small apartment that is paid for though, have low bills, no debt (besides very manageable student loans), and drive cars that are also paid for. I really enjoy living this way... we are often cash poor, but our life is very rich. I am grateful for the opportunity to live this way, because I know how hard it is with debts and high bills always looming. I dunno how one would do this with a mortgage higher than say $250 a month. Some friends had a mortgage on another apt. in our complex and I think they were only paying like $158 or so. We downsized last year, and bought this place outright for $78,000. In the past, I lived out in a shack in the woods cuz it was $300 I made it beautiful, though, and adored living there.

I think it's important to remember that it is simply easier to live in certain areas of the country than others. I share an office space and get half of every week for $125 a month.. and it is really a very fresh, beautiful, trendy space. I know some would spit their drink out hearing that they are used to office spaces being like $600 and up for something comparable.

A few other things that make this lifestyle work for us:
We have a lot of family around us and a strong community. I trade a lot, and I use coupons to get so much of what we need for free. I maximise everything. I ask for what I need. I keep my eyes open and find what I need around me .. And we get spoiled. Farming friends give us food sometimes, or my sister has us over for a meal, or dd's grandma buys her clothes pretty frequently. dd gets enough of the things she needs from special occasions that we just don't consume stuff. We reuse a lot of others folks clothes. For Solstice, for example, we filled a stocking for dd (reused one of ours from our childhood).. I put in a few things she needed and a few things from craft trades. For her birthday, I put away most of her gifts for later... she just doesn't need so much constant stuff. I have like 5 new things waiting in the wings for her right now I take care of the people around me and do what I can for them, and I am always cared for too.

I wonder where you live and if you could maybe make some drastic changes in order to funnel the $ you do have towards getting completely free of debt? Are there resources that maybe you haven't thought of yet?

Good Luck and Deep Peace to you~
post #7 of 182
If we were in our exact situation, but w/out any debt, even a mortgage AND (and this is a biggie) our house remodeled to an exent that it was somewhat more energy effcient, then, yes, I think we could. AND if we had DH's benefit package as well, so another huge if.

Utilities (all on budget plans): $265 ($90 H20, trash, $100 elec., $75 nat. gas)

Escrow: $350 (property taxes, homeowner's insurance, heating pellets, car insurance, perpetually being refunded EF)

Gasoline: $160

Food: $200

Household: $100

Communication/Entertainment: $40

That totals $13,380 per year. So just squeaking in under $14K.

However, if we made this little, we'd get food stamps, so our food expenses would be drastically lowered, maybe eliminated. That's a consideration.

We are a family of five, although DSS is only here part time. FWIW.
post #8 of 182
Its very possible to live on under $14k a year, check the low income thread as most of us make that or less. If I had an older mortgage like what my parents had then yes I could make a payment as it was cheaper then what I pay in rent. As it is, after I pay rent and I have very cheap rent for my area, I have exactly $100 to pay for everything else and now that I no longer have a car payment thats not a problem. Granted we have no extras and I freak every time the kids need new clothes or shoes and I feel like I hit the jackpot since I've got fin aid money for school for the first time in about 3 years and everyone will have warm clothes for winter and we will be able to turn the heat up a bit more. I just can't grasp the fact that people are making even twice what we do and they say they can't pay there bills. I look at where there spending there money and there is just so much waste they consider a "NEED" when its really a want.
post #9 of 182
i've been living on ~800/month since april, but in september i'm going to start living on ~1000/month. :

granted, rent is cheap (525$, utilities included), i have a cheapcheap cell plan, no cable, no car, and get most of my food either from the food bank or the csa farm where i volunteer. plus i'm in canada so healthcare is free. living on my income is a mathematical impossibility in most places, but i live fairly comfortably on what i have. (it's a good thing i like rice & beans)
post #10 of 182
Originally Posted by Leta View Post
If we were in our exact situation, but w/out any debt, even a mortgage AND (and this is a biggie) our house remodeled to an extent that it was somewhat more energy effcient, then, yes, I think we could. AND if we had DH's benefit package as well, so another huge if.
That totals $13,380 per year. So just squeaking in under $14K.
Leta, the income limit for the MI weatherization income program is about $44,000 a year for a family of four. It is not clear to me (from the above) exactly were your income is, but You may want to apply!

post #11 of 182
I made less than 14000 last yr, and this yr will be less. I live with my dad and he watches my son. My Dad retired this yr and he has SS I get $400/month toward bills. $700 rent, 60 elec, 10 gas(summer, this will go up when the heat goes on),80 DTV(this isn't nessecery, but my dad wants it), inernet and phone cost $50, $160 gas for the car. 1060 total per month
my dad and I are saving for a house with what is left every month.
Food isn't listed because I get foodstamps and that more than covers those expenses.
I forgot to add I was paying a SL 106/month
That makes the total 1166
post #12 of 182
Right now I am living on around $6-700 per month, so I qualify for section 8 housing (free rent currently), and food stamps (around $325 per month), so I definitely come in under $14K per year. If I made $14,000, I would feel rich. How sad is it, and how telling about our consumer culture that before I became a single mama, I made around $30,000 per year and considered myself "poor". I never had any savings, I didn't pay down any of my student loan debt, and I was always complaining that I couldn't go out and do the things that my friends were doing. Now I want to go back in time and whack my stupid fiscally irresponsible self over the head....

ETA: I also receive childcare subsidy, so preschool for DS is free as well. If I had to pay for rent, food, and childcare, we would definitely be living in our car.
post #13 of 182
What size family? If you are talking two, probably. If you are talking like my family of 5 with a child with special needs, hell no.
post #14 of 182
$14,000 doesn't even cover two months worth of our bills/expenses
post #15 of 182
No, not with a mortgage. But more than that, not with having to heat the house in winter. We cut our own wood, but oil is very pricey. Also, if we didn't have children the picture might look different.
post #16 of 182
I live in Mexico, and I probably could do it here with a big change in lifestyle. My MIL lives here in a nice, large two bedroom apartment for $350/mo, and all five of us have lived in a 2 bdroom before. We'd have to give up a lot of what we're accustomed to - internet access, american cell phones and sattelite tv, shop exclusively in Mexico for our food rather than across the border, etc. People live on a lot less than that, here.
post #17 of 182
Originally Posted by Amila View Post
$14,000 doesn't even cover two months worth of our bills/expenses

what? :
post #18 of 182
I do.

Highest I have made in a year is $13,000, lowest $9,000

I am single, no kids (plenty of pets though). I make between $900 and $1100 per month. If I wanted more money, I'd have to give up my weekends.

I pay $325 for rent on a small small studio apartment. All utilities paid. Cell Phone is on a friend's plan, the friend I rent from. It is also included in rent.

Gas is usually $100ish per month. Working on trying to take the bus more often.

Just got a used car (my paid off car was smashed up by a truck), payments are $180 per month. It'll be paid off in 18 months.

Paying down CC at $25 per month. Only $300 balance, so I almost have no debt.

I cook from scratch alot, and don't eat out much. My dogs and cats eat the best I can provide.

I have a little in savings, and am not usually strapped for cash.

I don't feel poor. I feel comfortable. And happy. Pretty stress free.

My best friend has 2 houses, 2 cars, a much better paying job, and is far poorer than I am. She smokes, and drinks, and eats crap food. She is always broke, and stressed to the max.
post #19 of 182
I know, crazy right! Our monthly bills/food equal about $7000/month. Now keep in mind that this includes some of my husband's business expenses, gas for his trucks, insurances, we have to pay $700/month for our health insurance, etc. Our mortgage and taxes are only $1250, and our house is tiny, but yea, its a lot.
post #20 of 182
We make $1000 a month, basically. So yes it is doable. I'm hoping to get food stamps next week togive us some breathing room. Ou rent is cheapish-650, and we don't have cable or a high priced Internet. We also don't have car payments or insurance.
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