[ How-to ] Live on Minimum Wage

Monday, June 27, 2011

It occurred to me the other day that my boyfriend and I are living basically on minimum wage, well below the poverty level... and while we are making lots of sacrifices, it really hasn't been too bad (and worth it because we are doing what we love.)

Here are a few of our tips on how we are saving money, and living below the poverty level in style :)

- we are doing without internet and tv
instead, i've become a pro at finding all the free wi-fi places on my route home from work, and we make weekly trips to our library.  we've also borrowed a lot of seasons on dvd... currently watching LOST (love having no commercials :)
this was initially just a temporary sacrifice, just until we had a better idea of our living costs, but now after doing it for a month i think its going to be something we stick to.  being disconnected (once you get over the shock) is actually quite refreshing... and i forgot what reading for fun was like.

- eating in and packing lunch.
this is a pretty obvious one, but i am still so surprised how much money we by packing our lunches, and saving going out to eat just for special occasions.  are biggest weakness is chipotle, which we used to eat at least once a week... now its more like once a month.

- planning our trips into town
we live about 20 minutes from town, so as much as we can, we plan to run errands together, just once a week.  we try to be as conscious as possible of our grocery list, and planning when we will need to run to the bank.

while i haven't quite reached my life's goal of becoming an extreme couponer, i am making an effort to take advantage of coupons, store loyalty programs, and the bulk warehouse retail stores.

- keeping track of our purchases
we are writing down every little thing that we spend money to keep us accountable and aware of the money we are spending.  (i.e. i realized that by buying an iced coffee and small fry every time i go to mcdonalds on my break to use the internet, that i could have just spent $80/month on internet at our house)

- pick up every odd job we can
this is probably one of the biggest sacrifices, just by taking up our free time and weekends.  but we have made a conscious effort to pick up every extra hour at work we can, and any odd job out there.  since we are still near our college, a lot of our professors have needed help moving, house sitting, babysitting, etc. so we have made it very clear that we are near and eager to help which has sent a lot of extra work our way.

- getting creative with accessories
since i can't go shopping as much as i would love, i have looked to the handmade community to find a cute little, (and inexpensive) accessory (like Much Love, Illy's hair bow that i'm anxiously awaiting its arrival!) to add excitement to my wardrobe and create a new outfit around it.  i'm a huge fan of blazers and belts to switch up a look, and THRIFT STORES!

i'm not going to lie and say that these changes havent been an adjustment and wake-up call, but so far its been an exciting (and romantic) adventure for a young couple just out of college.  there are still a TON of things we have to learn, and i'm sure a lot of other ways we could be saving money...

what are your go-to money saving tips?? i am eager to learn more ways to save!

6 thoughts:

  1. you are so smart - these are some great tips!!! thanks for sharing. :)

  2. So there is a key difference between us...I'm payed peanuts to do something I kind of hate...but the outcome will be worth it when Josh can make the $$ for a while...

    But I feel like I'm surrounded by people who are practically swimming in money...so it's nice to know we're not alone. Wish I had some tips...but we are not very good with our money...and since we live in NY we don't have much say over where large quantities of our cash goes...but we do skip the cable, I'm noticing a lot of people doing this now.

  3. i really dig this post. we are on one income, too, and have 2 babies.
    we don't have cable but i "can't live without my internet" since my blog is hopefully, someday, going to be my bidness!

  4. I love homemade soups and they are definitely a budget triumph. Being down under we are into the chilly months. Just about any vegetable in season will make a delicious soup, and with a roll of crusty bread and a cheap (but nice) glass of red...can't be beat.
    I usually wind up with at least two lunches or a second meal from the pot.
    As a one pot meal it also saves on energy!
    However, beware the delicious, but volatile cauliflower soup...unless you would like some free jet propulsion, lol.

  5. I love this post. I would love to live without television. My husband, on the other hand, would not. I think it's important to always be conscious of money, no matter how much you make.

  6. I know how you feel, we are doing the same. The only difference is we live in Thailand and therefor although in US standards we are below poverty, here we live decently. We have had to make sacrifices but it has been worth it. We love simplifying and focusing on what's important over what we lack.


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