Do you live / could you live on $14,000 a year? - Page 3 - Mothering Forums

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#61 of 182 Old 09-01-2009, 11:54 PM
 
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Originally Posted by crunchy_mama View Post
Why the anger? Certainly we all have issues w/ distinguishing wants and needs however from your post I get that we all could get by that amt of income if we just stopped buying all these wants.

As previous posters said it really depends on the COL of each particular area. Where I live there is NO public transportation- which means we have to have a vehicle and subsequent insurance and gas money to have a job, cell phone coverage is spotty so having a cell phone just for emergencies(instead of a home phone line) doesn't work. I don't have access to ethnic markets or anything like that either, in more rural places like I live the options like this just don't exist. Besides the fact that the answers were based on having a mortgage, which totally changes things as that varies widely. It is not realistic to me to then base that on special situations living w/ other people or special deals on rents that are not available to everyone and then act like we are all living high on the hog.
umm, it sounds like your the one with the anger in your post. I understand COL is higher in many areas, mine is no exception. We moved to the city for 6 months and it was horrible, rent doubled and utilities quadrupled and we just couldn't afford it and moved back up the mountain where we have a bus that goes into the city an hour away 5 times a day, there is no regular city bus so unless you want to spend 1.5-2 hours on that bus then 1+ hours on the city bus you have to have a car here as well. I looked like crazy to find this place where in now and talked them into extending the deal but many people won't even bother trying because they think it wont happen. I drive that hour into the city 1-2 times a month for a major shopping trip to the ethic markets because I save 10 times what I spend in gas. Here we have 2 regular grocery stores and both are over priced so I don't shop there much. As for a mortgage, my rent is more then what my parents mortgage was so I think my experience is valid and honestly I didn't see where the OP specified that they only wanted to hear from those who had a mortgage, for some reason I thought they wanted to hear from those with very low income who were making it and were paying rent and not house sharing..

Seriously?
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#62 of 182 Old 09-02-2009, 12:00 AM
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With the help of foodstamps and medicaid, I could, and HAVE lived on 14,000 a year. This was in 2003, when we were a family of 4 (two small children).

For a while, we were living on $800 net pay per month and our rent was exactly half of that. It wasn't easy but we made it work.
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#63 of 182 Old 09-02-2009, 12:08 AM
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The OP specifically asked about people getting by on 14K with a mortgage. Correct me if I'm mistaken, but I haven't seen anyone on this thread claim to be able to do that unaided.
With RENT or a mortgage.
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#64 of 182 Old 09-02-2009, 12:26 AM
 
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I did in grad school but that was a long time ago and I was single. I am impressed that people can do it but I am just very very grateful we don't have to.

Though it is always useful to review my budget and really truly assess whether something is a real need or want and where the dealbreakers are - stuff like medical insurance, quality of food, housing location, etc.

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#65 of 182 Old 09-02-2009, 12:38 AM
 
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My teaching job only paid me $15K a year to start. However that was before dd and I lived at home until I married dh who had a much better salary. So I never had to support myself on that income. But I definitely believe it is possible if you live without any of the extras in life.

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#66 of 182 Old 09-02-2009, 01:23 AM
 
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Oy, we spend $1000 to $1200 per month on food alone.

Nope, we couldn't do it without gobs of government assistance.

ETA - I feed dh, myself (pregnant), 19yo, 17yo, 12yo, 3.5yo, 22mo, adult disabled cousin (diet controlled diabetes).
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#67 of 182 Old 09-02-2009, 01:58 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Madders View Post
With RENT or a mortgage.
The OP stated:
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Originally Posted by MoonMama78 View Post
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.
She didn't say anything about rent. So I think it's reasonable to assume that she was looking for input from homeowners living on 14K.

I don't mean to be picky here, but I think it is just extremely unreasonable to expect that to be possible for the vast majority of homeowners. With the exception of those who own their houses free and clear or who are only paying a fraction of the full mortgage due to housemates or other help
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#68 of 182 Old 09-02-2009, 02:03 AM
 
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I personally find it amazing how the most innocuous threads on MDC can devolve into arguments and nitpicking...

Seriously, though, I think it is great that so many people have found ways to work out how to live on very little. It is inspiring to see people thinking outside of the box in terms of rents, house sharing, etc.

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#69 of 182 Old 09-02-2009, 02:53 AM
 
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The thing I keep coming back to is this: cheap mortgages generally belong to fixer uppers.

We knew going in that our utilities would be more than our mortgage. We have a 15 year note on a $40,000 loan, and our actual house payment is $312/mo. We pay $350. (This does not included taxes and insurance- that's about another $1600/yr, or about $140/mo.)

BUT... as of last year, we were paying $600/mo through the winter for heat. We got a pellet stove and new windows, and that has helped a ton, but we are still paying $700 a year (so ~$60/mo, year round) for pellets, and our other utilities (natural gas for hot water and cooking fuel, H20/sewer and garbage/recycling through the city, and electricity) total $265 a month, and we're on the budget plan for all of them. So even with that drastic reduction, we are still paying more in utilities than we are our actual house payment.

Like I said, we knew this. And we are making improvements as we can to reduce our utilities (like the pellet stove and new windows, and hopefully soon new insulation, eventually a new hot water heater and washer). But it occurs to me that, on this low of an income, any mortgage you can get is going to have high utility costs because it's probably a home in need of repair.

So, no, I don't think barely anyone could live on $14K with a mortgage.

Now, if we got our house completely remodeled AND paid off, and we had health insurance, and we got SNAP benefits, and we had no debt, including car related debt, could we live on $14K/yr? Yes. But, honestly, I think almost anyone who lives where I live could. It's a low COL area.

Cripe, lets see... $265+$350+$40+$160... those are utilities, homeowner's, property taxes, car insurance, pellets, high speed internet, Netflix, home phone, two cell phones, and gasoline. $815/mo is what it would cost us to live here and still be able to get around and have a couple little luxuries. That's under $10K/yr, but that doesn't include things like clothes and household goods. Or, obviously, food, because I'm functioning under the assumption that SNAP would cover that expense.

The problem I see in this equation is health insurance. We (that is, the adults) wouldn't qualify for Medicaid, but there's no way we'd be able to afford to buy insurance, either. We have great insurance through DH's work, but if we were living on $14K, then he would have a different job that, presumably, would NOT come with great health insurance.

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#70 of 182 Old 09-02-2009, 03:08 AM
 
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I also infer that MoonMama started this thread because she is looking for advice to deal with this based upon her own circumstances, which does in fact include a mortgage.

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#71 of 182 Old 09-02-2009, 03:17 AM
 
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At 14K a year the adults would most likely qualify for Medicaid, with a share of cost. The coverage is pretty terrible, but would cover most serious things.
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#72 of 182 Old 09-02-2009, 03:34 AM
 
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I did it easily when I was a grad student, but since having kiddo, no way it could be done. Childcare alone would wipe out the whole income, just about.
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#73 of 182 Old 09-02-2009, 10:17 AM
 
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At 14K a year the adults would most likely qualify for Medicaid, with a share of cost. The coverage is pretty terrible, but would cover most serious things.
Not every state offers Medicaid to adults, so depending on where the person lives they may not have access to health coverage.

As for the OP's question, I think it would be hard to live on 14K without getting some form of assistance(WIC, food stamps, etc) as a home owner. My house is paid off, but you still have taxes, insurance and general upkeep. My taxes and insurance alone are 25% of 14K, its an older house so things need to be done from time to time, you get the picture.

I personally think it would be easier to live on that little as a renter rather than as a homeowner. If you are in a cheap COL area where food is super cheap it might work but you would need to be in a cheap area and probably be really handy to tackle anything that came up with the house.

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#74 of 182 Old 09-02-2009, 10:36 AM
 
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I'd like to say I could if I had to.

But see, we'd have to force ourselves into that situation. What I mean is, so long as we're working, we have a lot of work-related expenses: car upkeep, maintenance, repairs, insurance is higher based on distance and regular use, work clothes, networking lunches, CHILD CARE. Our child care alone is almost $20,000 a year. So no, we couldn't live on $14,000 a year now, but if we didn't require child care or work-related expenses, and if we could get subsidized housing (8-year waiting list) and we had hand-me-downs and reasonable access to public transportation (though that alone would be $2400 a year for our family), and an abundant garden that was preserved for our six months of snow....
We could physically survive, but the toll would be high.

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#75 of 182 Old 09-02-2009, 10:54 AM
 
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umm, it sounds like your the one with the anger in your post. I understand COL is higher in many areas, mine is no exception. We moved to the city for 6 months and it was horrible, rent doubled and utilities quadrupled and we just couldn't afford it and moved back up the mountain where we have a bus that goes into the city an hour away 5 times a day, there is no regular city bus so unless you want to spend 1.5-2 hours on that bus then 1+ hours on the city bus you have to have a car here as well. I looked like crazy to find this place where in now and talked them into extending the deal but many people won't even bother trying because they think it wont happen. I drive that hour into the city 1-2 times a month for a major shopping trip to the ethic markets because I save 10 times what I spend in gas. Here we have 2 regular grocery stores and both are over priced so I don't shop there much. As for a mortgage, my rent is more then what my parents mortgage was so I think my experience is valid and honestly I didn't see where the OP specified that they only wanted to hear from those who had a mortgage, for some reason I thought they wanted to hear from those with very low income who were making it and were paying rent and not house sharing..
I am sorry if my post came off hateful, that was not my intention. You post seem to imply that living on this amt was attainable just if we all distinguished needs and wants. However, I don't think that is true at all and insulting really to those people trying to scrape by the best they can and not able to get their needs to that low- thankfully I am not in that position myself.

We all tend to live in our own bubble. There is virtually no way this could be done w/ someone w/ a mortgage in most of California. I live in MO no way I could begin to compare my house prices to those there. Besides the fact that when you are talking about a morgage it is not just the mortgage you have to pay- you also have to pay house insurance and taxes as well- those items alone can equal nearly the same as the morgage itself. Plus, you have to take care of all the upkeep of a house yourself- like changes air filters, water filters(which are a necessity here unless I want to buy a new water heater every year), and a million other little and big things that come up- like when the c/h/a goes out or needs a recharge and that is your only source of heat and temperatures get well below freezing.

As I said public transportation ofsets the cost for transportation. There is NONE here, and I mean none. The closest town is 20 miles away and the population is well under 50k. The closest city w/ ethnic markets and such would be 2.5 hrs away - one way- only way to get there is by your own car. I do try to make it there now and again to stock up but sometimes that doesn't happen. Being that it cost about $40 in gas alone I have to really make it a big trip to make it worth it. Of course I am sure that the costs in my expensive stores are nothing compared to what people pay in higher COLing areas.



Lots of things for people to consider depending on the area in which they live. It is sad that anyone has to consider that at all. One thing to choose that path, but to have it thrust upon you would be quite another. However, I think those of us answering are answering from the point we are now- certainly there would have to be massive changes for many people to even begin to try and make that work.

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#76 of 182 Old 09-02-2009, 01:31 PM
 
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Not every state offers Medicaid to adults, so depending on where the person lives they may not have access to health coverage.
I know that the premiums (my share plus the emlpoyer share) on my employer sponsered health insurance is more than 14K alone. Also many families on Medicaid use way more that 14K worth of health care if one or family members would have chronic conditions. Not that I begrudge them, but my point is the money comes from somewhere.

As for the OP's question, I think it would be hard to live on 14K without getting some form of assistance(WIC, food stamps, etc) as a home owner. My house is paid off, but you still have taxes, insurance and general upkeep. My taxes and insurance alone are 25% of 14K, its an older house so things need to be done from time to time, you get the picture. I am totally in the same situatation and water and sewer would be another 5% of gross income.

I personally think it would be easier to live on that little as a renter rather than as a homeowner. If you are in a cheap COL area where food is super cheap it might work but you would need to be in a cheap area and probably be really handy to tackle anything that came up with the house.
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#77 of 182 Old 09-02-2009, 07:46 PM
 
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do you have a link?
http://under1000permonth.blogspot.co...o-be-here.html

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#78 of 182 Old 09-02-2009, 08:03 PM
 
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Depending on the size of your mortgage it is possible!

When I was 19 I bought a house and was making around $1000/mo. It was just me and x-dh. My mortgage was about 1/2 my income...it wasn't a fixer upper - so that saved us, as did the fact that my dad is a contractor, so when we had problems HE would fix them.

I wasn't on food stamps at the time...I just lived really frugally. No phone, cable, internet. x-dh and I each got $10/mo "allowance". We did splurge on "netflix" (our only source of entertainment). I spent about $120-160/mo on food (we ate vegan meals - mostly from bulk bins. No prepackaged veggie foods or anything).

We were able to save a LITTLE each month - like, $20ish...better than nothing. We barely drove - just to work and back. We'd combine errands into one day.

So, it's do-able, but it depends.
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#79 of 182 Old 09-02-2009, 08:30 PM
 
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my mortgage alone costs $15k CAN a year...........
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#80 of 182 Old 09-02-2009, 09:27 PM
 
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okay I ran our numbers and *if* our vehicle were paid in full (which would also drop insurance costs) *and* we had assistance for food and no other debt we could probably do it. Of course DH and I are still trying to get this debt taken care of (mostly student loans, and a little bit of consumer debt so this is hypothetical... we do live in a low COL area)

Mortage 500 + HOA 200 = 8400
property taxes per year = 1000
175/mo fuel (large vehicle)= 2100
50/mo phone & internet = 600
80/mo electric (this is a bit low of an estimate I usually avg 100/mo but we'd have to live frugal here and wear layers in the house and suffer through the summers. our normal low bill is 35/mo and our highest bill has been in the winter and it was 180 so this is doable) = 960
auto insurance 80/mo (this is our cost now with full coverage but I'm keeping the cost the same to allow for oil changes & small repairs = 960

so when I add all of that up I get 14,020. Of course we could get rid of the internet and go to the library 2-3 times a week (we do anyway). I'm also counting on about 300/mo in food assistance and going to the food bank. That would leave us completely uninsured (as I am now anyhow) and nothing to save/pay off debt with...

but if we had to we could somehow eek by with 14000 (given we already had our debt paid off)

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#81 of 182 Old 09-02-2009, 10:06 PM
 
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Depending on the size of your mortgage it is possible!

When I was 19 I bought a house and was making around $1000/mo. It was just me and x-dh...So, it's do-able, but it depends.
But again, this was just two adults, not a family and related expenses, as the OP was asking about.

OP, I'm curious. Is this something you actually need to do?
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#82 of 182 Old 09-02-2009, 10:15 PM
 
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OP, I'm curious. Is this something you actually need to do?

wondering here, too.


and just how much is your mortgage payment?

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#83 of 182 Old 09-02-2009, 10:19 PM
 
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If I knew thats what our budget was, we would have made different choices, but could do it. When we first moved here our mortgage was under $500 for a 3 level 5 bedroom house. Its more now, but only because we rolled our truck payment in and used some for home improvements. Those things would have not happened given a different budget, we would have made different choices. While I couldn't do it with my current bills, if I knew that was my budget, I could have made it work. Yes, with a family of 5 and one special needs child.

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#84 of 182 Old 09-02-2009, 11:11 PM
 
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Where I live, it wouldn't even cover rent on a decent but very small apartment.
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#85 of 182 Old 09-03-2009, 12:09 AM
 
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But again, this was just two adults, not a family and related expenses, as the OP was asking about.

OP, I'm curious. Is this something you actually need to do?
Well, technically, we did stay in that house until DD was 8 months old. I have no doubt in my mind that we COULD HAVE made it work - but we opted to sell in order to build a house (on a larger, more private lot) instead...which never happened, seeing as how he's my Xdh...but you know.

So, as I was saying...yes, really, it could work. It just totally depends on COL where you live and how you chose to live. Plain and simple.

And honestly...In my opinion, and experience...kids don't add THAT much expense. Especially when toddlers/babies. They don't require much more than food, love, clothes, attention. Food can be cheap, clothes can be free...as is love and attention
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#86 of 182 Old 09-03-2009, 12:27 AM
 
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And honestly...In my opinion, and experience...kids don't add THAT much expense. Especially when toddlers/babies. They don't require much more than food, love, clothes, attention. Food can be cheap, clothes can be free...as is love and attention
I am guessing your babies are still pretty young? Because as the mother of a 4 yo girl and a 17 yo boy, they definitely get costlier the older they get and that is just the grocery bill. My son is finishing HS at his papa's yet when he is home with me like he was all summer, my grocery bill went up by well over a $100 a month. I have other friends with teenagers especially boys and there was some concensus that teens do cost more. My kid eats the 3 meals I cook and is still up at 2 am making more food because he is hungry. LOL Also the cheap and super free clothing is harder to access with older kids (teens) I know because all summer we had the worse luck finding stuff at the thrift store. My little one I can get a ton of stuff for $5-10 at Goodwill, the big one nada.

So it may be possible to live on little with babies and smaller kids but it definitely can be a challenge with older kids.

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#87 of 182 Old 09-03-2009, 01:32 AM
 
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I am guessing your babies are still pretty young? Because as the mother of a 4 yo girl and a 17 yo boy, they definitely get costlier the older they get and that is just the grocery bill. My son is finishing HS at his papa's yet when he is home with me like he was all summer, my grocery bill went up by well over a $100 a month. I have other friends with teenagers especially boys and there was some concensus that teens do cost more. My kid eats the 3 meals I cook and is still up at 2 am making more food because he is hungry. LOL Also the cheap and super free clothing is harder to access with older kids (teens) I know because all summer we had the worse luck finding stuff at the thrift store. My little one I can get a ton of stuff for $5-10 at Goodwill, the big one nada.

So it may be possible to live on little with babies and smaller kids but it definitely can be a challenge with older kids.
DD is 5 and starting school next week...DS is only 6 weeks. Yes, I'd imagine teens would eat more...Other than that though, if, when my kids are teens, they want unnecessary things to fit in - or a car, gas $, etc...they can get a part-time job. I'm not going to be footing that bill.

On another note - Ross and forever21 are great for new/cheap clothes. We also have a cool resale shop here that i love (those are the stores i shop at)
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#88 of 182 Old 09-03-2009, 01:43 AM
 
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DD is 5 and starting school next week...DS is only 6 weeks. Yes, I'd imagine teens would eat more...Other than that though, if, when my kids are teens, they want unnecessary things to fit in - or a car, gas $, etc...they can get a part-time job. I'm not going to be footing that bill.
I'm not sure where you are getting the idea that beyond food, anything else older kids want is "unnecessary" and only "to fit in." Medical expenses, dentist visits, good shoes that don't wear out in a few months the way cheap ones do, (same with clothes), books, backpacks, field trip money, school supplies, an instrument or art supplies if they have a talent or interest in that direction, college application fees...all this stuff really adds up.

I agree that when it comes to a cell phone or a car, sure my boys will have to earn the money themselves. But the notion that older kids don't cost far more than babies and toddlers is mistaken.
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#89 of 182 Old 09-03-2009, 07:22 AM
 
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I'm not sure where you are getting the idea that beyond food, anything else older kids want is "unnecessary" and only "to fit in." Medical expenses, dentist visits, good shoes that don't wear out in a few months the way cheap ones do, (same with clothes), books, backpacks, field trip money, school supplies, an instrument or art supplies if they have a talent or interest in that direction, college application fees...all this stuff really adds up.

I agree that when it comes to a cell phone or a car, sure my boys will have to earn the money themselves. But the notion that older kids don't cost far more than babies and toddlers is mistaken.
I agree with this post completely. and have to be honest, I didn't really believe it to be true when i only had littles. the shoes, clothes, and food are the really big things. It is hard to find boys jeans over a size 8 at the thrift store. They just wear out. and shoes are also really impossible to find in certain sizes.
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#90 of 182 Old 09-03-2009, 10:21 AM
 
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I'm not sure where you are getting the idea that beyond food, anything else older kids want is "unnecessary" and only "to fit in." Medical expenses, dentist visits, good shoes that don't wear out in a few months the way cheap ones do, (same with clothes), books, backpacks, field trip money, school supplies, an instrument or art supplies if they have a talent or interest in that direction, college application fees...all this stuff really adds up.

I agree that when it comes to a cell phone or a car, sure my boys will have to earn the money themselves. But the notion that older kids don't cost far more than babies and toddlers is mistaken.
: Speaking from the standpoint of someone who is living it with a older kid, my son works when he can (he is now a senior and involved in a ton of extracirriculars and last year we learned between play rehearsals and homework, there was no time to work during the school year and this happens a lot) but there are still lots of things that are needed that do add up. Right now we are dealing with college applications, and let me tell you they do add up.

Bringing this back to the OP at this stage in life there is no way we could live on 14K a year...its not even that we are living a lavish lifestyle. We live in a old house, drive a 12 yo car, primarily shop thrift stores...you get the picture. The thing is the kids are my primary budget killers, i love em but they make it hard to be uber frugal. I am not even thinking about my debt because if I had that little for income paying off the creditors wouldn't be an option.

Mothering since 1992...its one of the many hats I wear.
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