Do you live / could you live on $14,000 a year? - Page 5 - Mothering Forums

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#121 of 182 Old 09-05-2009, 08:54 PM
 
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Always and Sharlla- I'm honestly glad that your house payments AND utilities are low... I guess that my perspective is tempered by the fact that I live in a much, much colder climate than either of you guys.

Our house doesn't need a whole lot of required done to it, outside of weatherization. Which is why our utilities exceed our house payment. Which we knew going in, and we have done a good amount of weatherization, so our utilities have dropped some, but it still sucks in the meantime until we get everything done.

Oh, and just as an aside... for those of you needing glasses, for yourself or your kids.... check out zenni.com. Complete glasses from $8, $5 shipping per box (not per pair). We love Zenni Optical at our house!

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#122 of 182 Old 09-05-2009, 10:06 PM
 
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Always and Sharlla- I'm honestly glad that your house payments AND utilities are low... I guess that my perspective is tempered by the fact that I live in a much, much colder climate than either of you guys.

Our house doesn't need a whole lot of required done to it, outside of weatherization. Which is why our utilities exceed our house payment. Which we knew going in, and we have done a good amount of weatherization, so our utilities have dropped some, but it still sucks in the meantime until we get everything done
Keep in mind that my electric bill reflects two window unit air conditioners, only one is ever run at a time, and not for very long, if I can help it. I also turn my water heater on at night when we do baths and I wash dishes, and then it gets turned right back off, so it's only on for maybe 3 hours a day. I'm very very careful about the amount of energy I use.

I also haven't done a winter in this house yet, but I have an oil filled radiator space heater, and am planning for the kids and I to bundle up in one room at night, and we'll all probably move from room to room with each other during the day, with the heater following us. : (This house has ceiling heat, which I hear is extremely inefficient, which is why I'd like to get a woodstove and central heat and air put in eventually.) Keeping my fingers crossed for a mild winter.

I have NO idea how those of you up north can pull off your winter heating bills. I always tell myself that no matter how down on my luck I might think I am, someone else has it harder.

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#123 of 182 Old 09-05-2009, 10:59 PM
 
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Well I think we are going to do it LOL I was going to work part time and have DP work full time (he's out of work right now) but I'm really enjoying having him home. I think I will work full time after the baby is here and he can SAH and he can bring the baby to me on my long (12 hour) shifts. My other 2 shifts are split (4 hour and 5 hour) so I get 3 days off straight a week. We can pay his student loans and the mortgage with our tax return. That will leave plenty of $ left over for food and bills out of my regular paychecks.

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#124 of 182 Old 09-05-2009, 11:12 PM
 
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I haven't read the whole thread but keep seeing it pop up so I did the math. I do it. I do it with a bit over 12k actually. My situation is pretty unique though and only just recently changed to be this way. I am on food stamps because of it so that helps a ton. Even if I weren't though I'd be able to do it (for me and 2 kiddos and one due in Dec.). I'm insanely lucky with rent and utilities as I only have to pay power (and that combined with rent isn't even $400 a month). If I were to ever move out of here it would be a lot more difficult though not impossible due to the area I live in.

The first couple months I've found are hard transition wise. Having to rearrange the budget and what not can be tricky if you're coming from a higher income. My only issue so far is breaking up bills to coincide with when I'm getting my money. Other than that, it's easy peasy. Like I said though, very unique living situation plus food stamps. Without those it would go from easy peasy to doable.

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#125 of 182 Old 09-06-2009, 12:38 AM
 
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We can pay his student loans and the mortgage with our tax return.
Rock on! This is what DH and I are hoping to do, starting with our 2010 tax return. Even if it means messing with his withholding a little.

Basically, we are hoping to get a full year ahead on our mortgage with the tax return, and then keep making our regular payments. If we do this for, erm, either four or five years (I'd have to look it up again ), we'll have the house paid off.

Yeah, for the first three winters in this house, our heat bills doubled. Started out around $300/mo, by last year they got up to $600/mo. (Our mortgage is $315/mo- a 15 year note, no less!) Cuhrazey. Finally, last February we got smart and bought a pellet stove, and that little beauty has already paid for herself. Gas bill has gone from $200/mo year round to $325/mo year round to $75/mo year round. The pellets make great cat litter, too.

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#126 of 182 Old 09-06-2009, 09:28 AM
 
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Well I think we are going to do it LOL I was going to work part time and have DP work full time (he's out of work right now) but I'm really enjoying having him home. I think I will work full time after the baby is here and he can SAH and he can bring the baby to me on my long (12 hour) shifts. My other 2 shifts are split (4 hour and 5 hour) so I get 3 days off straight a week. We can pay his student loans and the mortgage with our tax return. That will leave plenty of $ left over for food and bills out of my regular paychecks.
If you significantly cut how much you are making are you not going to have a decrease in tax return as well? Or am I missing something here?

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#127 of 182 Old 09-06-2009, 09:59 AM
 
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All that being said, even if I did work 40 hours a week and make twice as much money as I do now, I wouldn't change much. I'd put the extra money in savings. I don't know what else I'd do with it, honestly! We'd probably take an extra vacation or two during the year, but the rest would go into savings and I'd finally start my retirement fund. I've got some upgrades I'd like to do on my house - central heat and air would be nice, a fence is going to run me several thousand dollars, I'd like a woodstove - but we're living perfectly fine without that stuff, and I'd rather be spending time with my kids.

So, do I intentionally have us live "in poverty"? Well, depends on how you look at it. We'd be above the poverty line if I worked, but the cost of childcare would make my take home pretty close to what it already is.
Well I totally respect your choices and you seem to have a plan for the future. But I think that often just because more income doesn't yield huge difference in immediate lifestyle does mean that money is not important. Having an adequate emergancy saving and having retirement savings provides me with a great deal of peace of mind and reduction of stress that is very important my mental health (and the health of my marriage and shelters my kids from stress too).

While I think it is fabulous that people can make it on so little. I do also notice both IRL and on this board that things I think of as irritations (not getting a paycheck a day or two late or having a car repair) are crisis.

I also think it's really hard not to neglect things that I think are essentials. In 2005 I injured a tooth about a year later the nerves died and it became painful and was extracted. If I had only $14,000 per year to live on there is no way I would have spent the dollars to have a dental implant (I think in the end I spend around $2600). In the short run it would have been fine since it was not really a cosmetic issue (it was pretty far back). I do think that as time passed it would cause me more issues and eventually could have cost more that $2600.
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#128 of 182 Old 09-06-2009, 10:27 AM
 
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But I think that often just because more income doesn't yield huge difference in immediate lifestyle does mean that money is not important. Having an adequate emergancy saving and having retirement savings provides me with a great deal of peace of mind and reduction of stress that is very important my mental health (and the health of my marriage and shelters my kids from stress too).
Actually, that $2000 (a YEAR) of more income WOULD make a huge difference in my immediate lifestyle. It would mean that I'm away from my small children at least 45 hours a week. It would mean that I would be washing and drying my diapers at night, and probably have to use my dryer to dry them (thus increasing my electrical costs) so I can have enough for daycare that week. It would mean I would be using more gas. It would mean that my kids are more likely to get sick. And, especially in my area, you get what you pay for in terms of childcare. If I went with the high-end childcare where they are noticeably cleaner, that $2000 would mean the difference between the "just okay" daycare (which I've toured, and am NOT okay with), and the good daycare, so that would be blown anyway. More than likely, that amount of income would throw us out of entitlement for Medicaid for the kids, so I'd also be paying out of pocket for insurance for the kids.

I see no point in busting my tail so that someone else can spend time with my kids. All of that isn't worth $2000 (that's BEFORE TAX, and all of the above listed expenses) to me, and I wouldn't be building up much of an emergency fund or retirement with it anyway.

Now, when my now 4 year old goes into kindergarten next year? The additional $7500 that an out of home job would bring in - that is worth it, to me, to start thinking about.

I (personally) don't go into crisis mode over things like a car repair. I have a credit card, and there is a bit of a balance on it from moving expenses, but I'm not afraid to put a car repair or a necessary dental repair, or anything of that nature on it. Is that optimal? Absolutely not. But, right now, I'm in survival mode. I'm in my late 20's, so I have time to worry about retirement. Not a lot of time, but I have time.

I'm not stressed, because (and I don't mean to offend anyone here) I have faith that the good Lord will provide. He always does. Every month, I manage to make enough money to pay my bills. I may be a single mom, but I'm not doing it on my own. My stress level would actually be higher with a full-time job (get the kids to daycare on time so I'm not late for work, get diapers done while exhausted from work, get homemade food on the table and baths done and get some quality time in with the kids without another adult helping with the cooking, cleaning, etc., lose pay when one/both of the kids get sick and I have to stay home), and the extra pennies it would bring in would not be worth it. I would be living with almost the exact same amount of money every month, and a lot more stress.

I don't think that money is NOT important. I am not proud that we receive government assistance. But perhaps if the government paid for childcare for those of us who do not receive child support (or even those that do, but are still just squeaking by), I wouldn't need the other money they give to me. They subsidize childcare, but around here, you definitely get what you pay for. And, once I get a job that pays $28K, we no longer qualify for the childcare subsidy. I would be happy to work 40 hours a week if it didn't mean that more than 1/3 of my income was going to childcare. It's a catch-22 and it STINKS when you are in a one income household with two kids that aren't school age yet and these are the options you are faced with.

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#129 of 182 Old 09-06-2009, 11:17 AM
 
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I haven't read all the replies, but my answer (for our family) is No, we could not live on $14K/year. My DD's gymnastics tuition alone is 25% of that. I do think that most people make do with what they've got (well, and a lot of them rely on gov't assistance when what they have isn't enough) and I know that my parents lived on way less than that, many years ago when it was just the 2 of them. I don't see how a family like ours w/4 kids could do it, though.

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#130 of 182 Old 09-06-2009, 11:47 AM
 
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I haven't read all the replies, but my answer (for our family) is No, we could not live on $14K/year. My DD's gymnastics tuition alone is 25% of that. I do think that most people make do with what they've got (well, and a lot of them rely on gov't assistance when what they have isn't enough) and I know that my parents lived on way less than that, many years ago when it was just the 2 of them. I don't see how a family like ours w/4 kids could do it, though.
Well, in our parent's generation, $14k per year went a lot further! Inflation has occured, of course.

My answer is no, too, though.

I am teetering on being a single mother (not in a good marriage) and I make over $20k a year working part time myself AND I can't make it on that!

It really depends a lot on where you live, I guess, and what your other assets are? For instance, do you live in a low COL area and did you inherit some land or something? Then maybe and there really does seem to be a lot of MDC people in this type of situation.

For me, having inherited nothing and with no inheritance ever coming along, I have to figure out how to increase my income.

I can't move to a lower COL area, at least not in the near future. Things cost here what they cost and so I have to try the best I can.

But, no, $14k a year doesn't seem doable at all.
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#131 of 182 Old 09-06-2009, 11:58 AM
 
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Always- I think you missed the point of my post. I was in no way suggesting that you should work full time or that it would improve your life at this point.

My point is that when your income does go up that and you continue in your frugal ways your externals are not going to look a lot different, but your reserves will grow and your stress should go down.

My other point is if you (the collect you) never get out survival mode it pretty easy to end up in your 70's still working, having no assets, and be in declining health.
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#132 of 182 Old 09-06-2009, 12:10 PM
 
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I don't think that money is NOT important. I am not proud that we receive government assistance. But perhaps if the government paid for childcare for those of us who do not receive child support (or even those that do, but are still just squeaking by), I wouldn't need the other money they give to me. They subsidize childcare, but around here, you definitely get what you pay for. And, once I get a job that pays $28K, we no longer qualify for the childcare subsidy. I would be happy to work 40 hours a week if it didn't mean that more than 1/3 of my income was going to childcare. It's a catch-22 and it STINKS when you are in a one income household with two kids that aren't school age yet and these are the options you are faced with.
Hi there. Your post really struck me because you are talking about something I have been thinking a lot about lately.

Single motherhood and making it work financially.

I'm not sure how I am going to pull it off, but I am looking at all the possibilities and trying to think through the hurdles and problems because I really want/need to leave a sometimes abusive marriage.

I keep hearing on MDC to think about assistance programs for child care, housing, food and there is a chorus of voices saying this. It makes sense to me, but when I look at the programs available, the income brackets - just like you said - don't really allow for work! And I can't make it work without a job. I really, really can't.

I live in a high cost of living city and relying solely on assistance programs isn't going to yield enough. If I work, I make just slightly too much in my field working part time and way too much in my field working full time to qualify but that doesn't mean there is an abundance and the figures work out. They don't. I'm still in the red, very much in the red, working with or without assistance.

The other thing that I think about is the quality of life. And I don't mean this to be rude, obnoxious, judgemental or anything of the sort. I grew up on 100% public assistance all 18 years of my "childhood."

It was never enough, basic needs were not met, and it was miserable. Just miserable. I was cold, hungry all the time and never had the most basic of items.

So, obviously, I don't want to jeopardize my current economic position that I attained through many years of steady employment and by having a married partner (both earning).

I did very well in my 20s and now face these issues only because I became a mother and have a todder in day care. If I'd had this level of marital issues in my 20s when I had a full time job, good income, and no children, I could have left my husband and not batted an eye.

But to venture into single parenthood with a young toddler in these economic times in this housing market is quite different, unfortunately, than 5 years ago or 10 years ago.

I really don't know what I am going to do, and I am starting to feel pretty hopeless.
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#133 of 182 Old 09-06-2009, 12:12 PM
 
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I haven't read the whole thread but keep seeing it pop up so I did the math. I do it. I do it with a bit over 12k actually. My situation is pretty unique though and only just recently changed to be this way. I am on food stamps because of it so that helps a ton. Even if I weren't though I'd be able to do it (for me and 2 kiddos and one due in Dec.). I'm insanely lucky with rent and utilities as I only have to pay power (and that combined with rent isn't even $400 a month). If I were to ever move out of here it would be a lot more difficult though not impossible due to the area I live in.

The first couple months I've found are hard transition wise. Having to rearrange the budget and what not can be tricky if you're coming from a higher income. My only issue so far is breaking up bills to coincide with when I'm getting my money. Other than that, it's easy peasy. Like I said though, very unique living situation plus food stamps. Without those it would go from easy peasy to doable.
Where did you find housing like this???
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#134 of 182 Old 09-06-2009, 12:19 PM
 
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I do.

Mortgage/HOI/Taxes - $550/month (for a 4 bedroom house).
Wow, even for an older house that is amazingly inexpensive.

I pay more than that for just real estate taxes.
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#135 of 182 Old 09-06-2009, 01:13 PM
 
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Well I totally respect your choices and you seem to have a plan for the future. But I think that often just because more income doesn't yield huge difference in immediate lifestyle does mean that money is not important. Having an adequate emergancy saving and having retirement savings provides me with a great deal of peace of mind and reduction of stress that is very important my mental health (and the health of my marriage and shelters my kids from stress too).

While I think it is fabulous that people can make it on so little. I do also notice both IRL and on this board that things I think of as irritations (not getting a paycheck a day or two late or having a car repair) are crisis.

I also think it's really hard not to neglect things that I think are essentials. In 2005 I injured a tooth about a year later the nerves died and it became painful and was extracted. If I had only $14,000 per year to live on there is no way I would have spent the dollars to have a dental implant (I think in the end I spend around $2600). In the short run it would have been fine since it was not really a cosmetic issue (it was pretty far back). I do think that as time passed it would cause me more issues and eventually could have cost more that $2600.
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Always- I think you missed the point of my post. I was in no way suggesting that you should work full time or that it would improve your life at this point.

My point is that when your income does go up that and you continue in your frugal ways your externals are not going to look a lot different, but your reserves will grow and your stress should go down.

My other point is if you (the collect you) never get out survival mode it pretty easy to end up in your 70's still working, having no assets, and be in declining health.

As someone who started life with little, became comfortably middle class with almost a 6 figure income and is now living on a lot less, what you wrote really resonated with me.

4-5 years ago when we were living a comfortably middle class existence, it meant just like you stated a delayed check or car break down was not a crisis. There was enough cushion in the bank that we could pay the bills or if the kids outgrew their shoes, it wasn't an issue. Sadly at the moment, yeah we are making do with less (though not 14K) but it means when checks are late or "emergencies" come up they truly are a crisis.

You mentioned dental work, 8 years ago I needed a lot of dental work some of which was not covered by the insurance I had at that time. Well now I have more work that needs to be done and I have no money and I know by the time I get to a dentist the cost is going to be higher than if I had had the initial cash.

Personally its great if one can live off less, but at the same time not everyone with more money is spending it on frivolous things and again personally I prefer to live having a little more so I can weather the storms of life that come up.

We have basically been living paycheck to paycheck since late 2007 and its not fun, several months ago about 5 days before payday, I had a plumbing problem. Now as an owner its not like I can all the landlord, my cc didn't have enough room to cover the cost, thankfully a good friend was able to loan me the cash until payday but because I am living so tight, of course it threw my budget out of wack. Now of course this is where a EF comes in handy (working on it) but its also where if you have a little wiggle room in your budget/finances its easy to handle these things.

For most folks living on so little is to live in constant survival mode, not everyone is stressed about that but I know for me it causes stress.

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#136 of 182 Old 09-06-2009, 01:13 PM
 
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Where did you find housing like this???
TIN - we have subsidized housing here too. I believe my stepson and his family (wife plus 3 kids) are paying about $550 a month, and that includes the utilities, in one of the nicer, low-income housing apartments here in town. Most of the single moms I work with (social worker) are actually living in rent-free or extremely subsidized apartments (like, $50/month) and get TANF money and food stamps and WIC...they are absolutely able to live on it, (not that i'm recommending that as a long term plan)

Heck, regular, non-subsidized housing starts at about $375 for a 1 bdrm apt here, with gas included, at the cheapest place in town. Dh used to live there, lol. While a car is generally used as transpo by all but the lowest income class here, we do have a fairly decent bus system, and a monthly pass is $30. A family of 2, for example, if you left your husband and moved here, could live on $14K per year, easy.
The food stamp limit for a family of 2 is $1500 a month, so say you get a job, any job at minimum wage, retail or whatever. $7.25X 35 hours per week. is 253, bring home would be 200ish. Cheaper childcare would be 50 for the week, so you net $150. times 4 is $600 per month. You would get a few hundred in food stamps and WIC, so your food needs would be covered, and your child would have medicaid. Say your rent is $400, that leaves $200 cash, about $20 or which would be electric. Bus pass $30, you would have $150 per month left for buying other stuff. It would be extrmely tight, but doable. If you were able to trade favors for childcare and reduce that cost, or babysit on the side for extra money, or were receiving ANY childsupport whatsoever, or were making a higher wage, or getting more hours, all that would be extra. You migth also apply for a child care voucher, which would pay for your childcare. We have programs to help with stuff...clothes for kids in winter, utility bills in winter, free diapers and other baby supplies, free washing machines, free lunches, free personal products, we have a carseat coalition which will give carseats free, with a donation requested (many people give $1, etc) (by the way, minimum wage times 35 hrs per week is the equivalent of about 13K per year income)
Once your child is in school, which i realize for you is 5 years away at this point, then childcare becomes a non, and your income is free and clear.

If you have the means to secure an above-minimum wage job, then it really is doable.

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#137 of 182 Old 09-06-2009, 01:14 PM
 
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Wow, even for an older house that is amazingly inexpensive.

I pay more than that for just real estate taxes.
LOL. COL differences can really affect you. I pay 550/month for my mortgage also, which includes taxes and insurance as well.
Our house is technically a 2 bedroom, but with 2 more bedromm-size rooms in the finished basement, plus a den.

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#138 of 182 Old 09-06-2009, 01:23 PM
 
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TIN - we have subsidized housing here too. I believe my stepson and his family (wife plus 3 kids) are paying about $550 a month, and that includes the utilities, in one of the nicer, low-income housing apartments here in town. Most of the single moms I work with (social worker) are actually living in rent-free or extremely subsidized apartments (like, $50/month) and get TANF money and food stamps and WIC...they are absolutely able to live on it, (not that i'm recommending that as a long term plan)

Heck, regular, non-subsidized housing starts at about $375 for a 1 bdrm apt here, with gas included, at the cheapest place in town. Dh used to live there, lol. While a car is generally used as transpo by all but the lowest income class here, we do have a fairly decent bus system, and a monthly pass is $30. A family of 2, for example, if you left your husband and moved here, could live on $14K per year, easy.
The food stamp limit for a family of 2 is $1500 a month, so say you get a job, any job at minimum wage, retail or whatever. $7.25X 35 hours per week. is 253, bring home would be 200ish. Cheaper childcare would be 50 for the week, so you net $150. times 4 is $600 per month. You would get a few hundred in food stamps and WIC, so your food needs would be covered, and your child would have medicaid. Say your rent is $400, that leaves $200 cash, about $20 or which would be electric. Bus pass $30, you would have $150 per month left for buying other stuff. It would be extrmely tight, but doable. If you were able to trade favors for childcare and reduce that cost, or babysit on the side for extra money, or were receiving ANY childsupport whatsoever, or were making a higher wage, or getting more hours, all that would be extra. You migth also apply for a child care voucher, which would pay for your childcare. We have programs to help with stuff...clothes for kids in winter, utility bills in winter, free diapers and other baby supplies, free washing machines, free lunches, free personal products, we have a carseat coalition which will give carseats free, with a donation requested (many people give $1, etc) (by the way, minimum wage times 35 hrs per week is the equivalent of about 13K per year income)
Once your child is in school, which i realize for you is 5 years away at this point, then childcare becomes a non, and your income is free and clear.

If you have the means to secure an above-minimum wage job, then it really is doable.
Yes, Indiana is one of the cheaper COL states. I've ready plenty of articles that talk about mansions purchased for what I bought my home for.

As I said, efficiencies here go for more than $1000 per month. And it's not like I'm even in the uber-nice areas like Manhattan or San Fran. I don't know why we continue to live here...I've wanted to move for some years now.

But I wonder what my type of job pays in, say, Indiana?

I have a feeling it would be about the same as what I make now and the dollars would stretch so much further.
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Yes, Indiana is one of the cheaper COL states. I've ready plenty of articles that talk about mansions purchased for what I bought my home for.

As I said, efficiencies here go for more than $1000 per month. And it's not like I'm even in the uber-nice areas like Manhattan or San Fran. I don't know why we continue to live here...I've wanted to move for some years now.

But I wonder what my type of job pays in, say, Indiana?

I have a feeling it would be about the same as what I make now and the dollars would stretch so much further.
I'm not sure..what is your field, lol? if you dont feel comfortable sharing your field, you can always go to something like salary.com, and input your job and indiana (an example zip for my area would be 46601) and get a basic idea.

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#140 of 182 Old 09-06-2009, 01:55 PM
 
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I'm not sure..what is your field, lol? if you dont feel comfortable sharing your field, you can always go to something like salary.com, and input your job and indiana (an example zip for my area would be 46601) and get a basic idea.
Thanks. No, I already know. I'm one of those people who always watch jobs in my field to see where they are posted, whose hiring for what, and what salaries are being paid.

I know that I'd make about the same amount of money in most states. The salaries do not vary much.

I know I could live more easily on my salary in my field in a lot of states. I don't live in those states though and I can't easily move at this point without setting some major issues first (DH, house, etc.)
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Wow, even for an older house that is amazingly inexpensive.

I pay more than that for just real estate taxes.
Like I said in a previous post, the good Lord has provided. 1400 square feet, built in the 70's, nobody wanted to touch it because of the fact that it had no flooring and no central heat/air. I purchased for under $100K, and have a 5% interest rate, no money down. (Houses at that price were on the market for DAYS a couple of months ago. This one sat for two weeks, they brought the price down, two weeks more and I got them to lower the price a little bit more and pay closing costs, and I bought it.) I have ugly linoleum in the kitchen and bathrooms, I had to immediately replace one toilet, get flooring down, and the water heater is from the 80's, and I'm expecting it to go any day now. But it's a roof over our heads, and that's what matters to me.

Apartments in my area go for about the same price, for a 2br, no garage, no yard, etc., but they do have HVAC. I also have pets, and finding an apartment that would allow the pets and cost less than $700/month was next to impossible.

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I did very well in my 20s and now face these issues only because I became a mother and have a todder in day care. If I'd had this level of marital issues in my 20s when I had a full time job, good income, and no children, I could have left my husband and not batted an eye.
AMEN. I had a career in my early 20's. I married into the military, we moved twice, I got pregnant. We had some marital issues when I was pregnant with #1, I should have left then, but facing single motherhood is SCARY. We got back together, I got pregnant with #2, and most of you from the single parenting board know how this story ends. I had $30,000 in savings that went to legal fees due to what happened next (and I'm not even divorced yet, because I can't afford the cost to have him served the papers in another state!!) I spent a LOT of time earlier this year feeling hopeless. Somehow, it's all working out. It WILL work out. But it's definitely hard, I admit that I am envious of the people who can just go out to eat and not think twice about it, or put their kids in gymnastics or dance classes and not think twice about it. I used to be able to do that. I've come to accept that I can't anymore. It's one thing if you are in a two-income household. It's a whole other ballgame for those of us who aren't.

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I keep hearing on MDC to think about assistance programs for child care, housing, food and there is a chorus of voices saying this. It makes sense to me, but when I look at the programs available, the income brackets - just like you said - don't really allow for work! And I can't make it work without a job. I really, really can't.
Here's what's really funny about being on TANF, at least in my state. You have to be working to qualify for it. I own two online businesses that I run from my home, and I work 10 hours a week outside the house. If in any given month they don't add up to minimum wage for 30 hours a week, and/or I can't prove that I spent the other X hours looking for gainful employment, I'm kicked off TANF for not working. (Thus, we never qualify for TANF.)

BUT, if I go get a job (with a degree, like I said, I'm looking at $28K-ish in my area), I no longer qualify for the subsidy (which doesn't completely pay for childcare...and depending on which daycare you use, it could mean the difference between $20/week and $80/week PER CHILD).

And I have no clue how the people who are working full-time and qualify for WIC ever make it to their appointments. I work two days a week, they don't have WIC on one of my off days, and then it's first come first serve for the following day's appointments. No night hours. At the very least, the food stamp office does phone appointments now, so there isn't the hassle of trucking everyone downtown to wait four hours (which is what I had to do the first time I applied.)

Section 8, in my area, does housing vouchers. They ran out of money and the waitlist is 2 years long. No help there. It's very disheartening. Technically, the assistance is there. Once you start digging, well, it's not as easy as it seems to get it.

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If you significantly cut how much you are making are you not going to have a decrease in tax return as well? Or am I missing something here?
It's been my experience that they more I make the less I get back at least in years past. I do my SIL's taxes. Same exeptions but thier income was $12000 less than ours (they made $20000 and we made $32000) and they got back $2000 more than we did.

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#143 of 182 Old 09-06-2009, 02:57 PM
 
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And I have no clue how the people who are working full-time and qualify for WIC ever make it to their appointments. it.
Depends on the days and hours you work. I have never had a problem making it to appointments because I have never had a job where I worked "business hours"

Unassisted birthing, atheist, poly, bi WOHM to 4 wonderful, smart homeschooling kids Wes (14) Seth (7) Pandora Moonlilly (2) and Nevermore Stargazer (11/2012)  Married to awesome SAH DH.

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#144 of 182 Old 09-06-2009, 04:00 PM
 
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I purchased for under $100K, and have a 5% interest rate, no money down.
You live in a low-tax area as well if your mortage for a $100k home with no money down is less than $1000 per month. I think you said it was around $550. So you're paying only about $50 a month in real estate taxes????

That blows my mind.

My first house cost around $100k and we had a 20% down payment (many years ago). Our mortage payment was $900.

High real estate taxes add to the cost of living in many areas. The average assessed house here pays about $5,000 a year real estate taxes. That's what? More than $400 per month (before tax deductions, yes, but still a considerable amount).
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#145 of 182 Old 09-06-2009, 04:20 PM
 
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MA is so expensive...there is no way we could live on 14,000
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#146 of 182 Old 09-06-2009, 04:28 PM
 
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MA is so expensive...there is no way we could live on 14,000
Right! It really depends on where you live.

There is no way you could live in most parts of MA, or all of New England, for that matter on $14k per year.

It would be most difficult.
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#147 of 182 Old 09-06-2009, 07:16 PM
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The other thing too is that the *choice* to live on $14K a year is a privilege. My ex-boyfriend right after college was all proud of himself for living on under $8K a year by living in a squat. My mom (who grew up dirt poor) ripped into him one day for comparing himself to the poor families he lived next to because as she said "did you ever ask those families if THEY have chosen to live like this? Because, Mr. Ivy League educated, white upper middle class man, you can leave whenever you get tired of it. And they can't."


I'm sure it's possible for a family to live on 14k, though there could be some serious sacrifices, especially if you don't have job benefits with health care. I have done it, though not with kids, and I live in a place with universal health care.

I am willing to bet that the vast majority of people who are living on 14k or less would prefer to have the option of greater financial flexibility.

OP, IME, the biggest deal is housing. If you can find inexpensive housing (mortgage: less likely; rental: more likely, especially if you are willing to live in a small place; shared housing: much more likely), you can usually make everything else work out.

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#148 of 182 Old 09-06-2009, 08:43 PM
 
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OP, IME, the biggest deal is housing. If you can find inexpensive housing (mortgage: less likely; rental: more likely, especially if you are willing to live in a small place; shared housing: much more likely), you can usually make everything else work out.
I totally, totally agree.

Housing is the one expense that is hard for me to control. I have a very tight budget for nearly all other things. Housing costs are so variable depending on where you live, and where I live is quite expensive. I often find that the taxes alone that I pay for real estate exceed what other people's entire mortgage payment is!

That's life in a high tax, high COL state, though.

I guess I have to say, though, that I get really tired of threads like these where people chime in that they indeed live on $14k, and live well, and then go on to say that they bought their home from a relative, or they inherited land or their relatives helped contribute to their down payment.

That's not living on $14k then. That's living on $14k plus whatever else was already inputted.

It's easier to stretch $14k annually if your housing costs were reduced in some way.

If grandma and grandpa are picking up the majority of the costs of kids' clothing, pre-school, music class, etc, that makes a huge difference too.

DH and I have paid for pretty much everything ourselves from our own earnings. DH's parents buy a few gifts for our child for birthday and Christmas but that's it. My parents contribute nothing, not even gifts.

We've been on the other end - having to financially assist others in our family who were downtrodden and not able to purchase even enough food. I know there are others on MDC who help support their extended families, and that is a real drain on a budget. It would be impossible to live on $14k with these kinds of family scenarios.
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#149 of 182 Old 09-06-2009, 08:52 PM
 
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DH and I have paid for pretty much everything ourselves from our own earnings. DH's parents buy a few gifts for our child for birthday and Christmas but that's it. My parents contribute nothing, not even gifts.

We've been on the other end - having to financially assist others in our family who were downtrodden and not able to purchase even enough food. I know there are others on MDC who help support their extended families, and that is a real drain on a budget. It would be impossible to live on $14k with these kinds of family scenarios.
That's a great point. We haven't been helped in a grandiose way, like with a downpayment, or free house, car, or whatever, but my parents DO buy the children gifts, which, if we truly needed to be uber-frugal, could be nearly 100% of the clothing and toys my kids would need for the year. I get hand-me-down clothes from relatives and friends also.

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You live in a low-tax area as well if your mortage for a $100k home with no money down is less than $1000 per month. I think you said it was around $550. So you're paying only about $50 a month in real estate taxes????

That blows my mind.
I'd have to go find my paperwork to find the exact breakdown. But my mortgage payment every month is $550, and that's mortgage, HOI, and taxes.

I live just outside the annexed city limits. Thus, I do not get trash pickup or recycling pickup, and whatever else makes people who live within the city limits (annexed or otherwise) special. I can live with that. The difference in taxes out of the city limits is a notable difference, and is advertised around here on real estate listings.

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Depends on the days and hours you work. I have never had a problem making it to appointments because I have never had a job where I worked "business hours"
I work Mondays and Wednesdays from 9 - 2. Our WIC cuts off appointments at 2pm, because it takes 3 hours to shuffle you through all the people. (Yes, 3 hours is about the norm.) They don't do WIC on Tuesdays. That leaves Thursdays and Fridays. At our office, you have to call the day before you want an appointment, and it's first come first served. I have two kids, which makes getting an appointment harder, because they have to have spots for both of them, for whatever type of appointment it is (recert or just a voucher pickup). The office opens the exact same time we leave the house for me to get to work on Wednesdays, and inevitably, I never manage to get an appointment on Thursdays. If I'm lucky, I can get in on a Friday, but sometimes it takes me several weeks to get an appointment, and so there are gaps in our vouchers, because of how they do it.

But then they say that I'm lucky to get free food anyway, so I shouldn't complain. :

Single WAHM to 5yo DD, 2yo DS, and forever 7 week old angel DD.
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