How to live on a $40,000 salary

Stretch Dollar

Excellent follow-up to an article written in the New York times on how to save money. Apparently, the suggestions the writer made were viewed as too draconian. They included:

  • diverting 10 percent of your income to savings before anything else
  • ignoring raises and putting them into savings,
  • learning to cook,
  • never borrow money to pay for a depreciating asset,
  • find a partner and stay together

The end result, argued commenters, is that the writer’s suggestions were not practical — how can you live off only $40,000/year? The answer was to cognitively change your lifestyle from the consumerist one in which we are raised.

Stretching to save a little more yields a double dividend. You accumulate more assets and you lower the amount you will need in retirement because you will not have the habit of spending extravagantly to feel fulfilled. People who save a lot get used to a lower rate of consumption while working, so less money is needed in retirement.

So here is the challenge — if you are making $40,000/yr, that comes to about $561/week after taxes. If you divert 10% to savings, that leaves you just with $509/week. Can you live off that? If not, perhaps you need to reconsider if you are living above your means.

Try this: for a week, try to list everywhere you spend cash or use your credit card. That premium coffee habit is costing you $50/mo alone. Is the frill that important?

Other priceless suggestions:

  • Never pay a real estate agent a 6 percent commission.
  • Buy used things, except maybe used tires.
  • Get on the do-not-call list and other do-not-solicit lists so you can’t be tempted.
  • Watch infomercials for their entertainment value only.
  • Know what your credit reports say, but don’t pay for that knowledge: go to to get them.
  • Consolidate your cable, phone and Internet service to get the best deal.
  • Resist the lunacy of buying premium products like $2,000-a-pound chocolates.
  • Lose weight. Carrying extra pounds costs tens of thousands of dollars over a lifetime.
  • Do not use your home as a piggy bank if home prices are flat or going down or if interest rates are rising.
  • Enroll in a 401(k) at work immediately.
  • Postpone buying high-tech products like PCs, digital cameras and high-definition TVs for as long as possible. And then buy after the selling season or buy older technology just as a new technology comes along.
  • And, I’m sorry, I’m really serious about this last one: make your own coffee.

93 thoughts on “How to live on a $40,000 salary

  1. If you and your spouse each made $40,000/year, you would be the richest 25% of US household in terms of yearly income. Actually, if you each made $24k you would be richer than 50% of the rest of your fellow Americans.

  2. I hate to tell you it costs us $850/month to live in a trailor. We do not make ends meet. We pay one thing one month and something else the next. We carry the utility bill to the day before they are going to cut us off, otherwise we can’t put enough gas in the car to get to work. It is utterly ridiculous. I bet the people that say $40000/year is rich have never had to live off of it. My husband, my daughter and I have to live off of $40000/year and it is near impossible. We are always 30 days from being homeless and believe me the homelenders threaten that every time they call. They start calling every month on the 5th and do not stop until a payment is set up. We don’t even fork out the cash for health insurance. For us, that would be a luxury!

      • I make $40,000 a month. My wife is a stay at home mom and we have a daughter that is almost 2. We live in Palm Springs, CA.

        It can DEFINITELY be done. I don’t understand why you are having such a difficult time. If you would like, you can email me directly and I can try and give you some pointers?

        With 40k we are not lacking AT ALL – we have TONS of gifts under the tree – and are fully content with everything we have..

  3. See, my husband, daughter, and I live off of 40k a year as well, my income only. And we do just fine. We live in South Florida, arguably one of the most expensive real estate markets in the nation. Our rent is $950/m, and that’s before the ridiculous electricity bills… not to mention gas prices. I just don’t understand how you could be struggling so much and paying less for everything. I’m not saying that we’re able to go buy whatever we want whenever we want, but it seems silly that you’re so close to failure every month and you feel like it’s everyone’s fault but your own.
    Owning up to the problems you’ve caused yourself is the first step to financial freedom. Trust me.

  4. i know it’s much later but i hope it’s still useful!

    1st, we have enrolled in a wholesale club for 50/yr and that allows us to buy food in bulk for cooking (esp dry goods and meat for stews, etc), as well as baby formula (a lactose intolerance means soy only! $$$) and diapers (omg expensive!) We eat at home all but 5 times a month, and don’t drive anywhere except to go shopping or to work.

    I get coupons in the mail and print them from the internet also.

    My husband stays home to take care of our daughter, saving us the expense of daycare, another car, gas, and work clothes for him.

    We are careful in our electricity usage, but florida summers are HOT!

    we forgo cable tv in exchange for the internet.

    we don’t have a home phone, but we do have a cell phone family plan (with myfaves so we only use about 200 real minutes a month) which means a fairly low cost cell phone bill.

    I shop around constantly for car insurance to make sure we are getting the best deal.

    when my old car died, we didn’t have enough saved to get a good used car, so we shopped around and got a great deal on a nearly new car that sips gas. my car payment is less then we spend on car insurance. we use coupons to help with maintenance costs.

    really, we just don’t overspend. Maybe it helps that we have very little debt. I don’t know. what i do know is that we are in our early 20’s and money is one thing that we never fight about.

  5. We the American’s are forced to things which are not required.

    I ask you a question, Do we need to buy packed food and packed water?

    My answer is big “No”. if you can make it to “No”, then you can save lot of money.

    There should be classes for how to cook for yourself. How to survive on less income. Once we have this, we will not have any problem.

  6. I don’t think most American’s think in terms of needs and wants like most other cultures. If Americans want it, in their mind they “need” it. We have so much amazing wealth and buying power, and advertising and marketing to meet that demand, that we live in a world high expectations (and low satisfactions).

    I celebrate high gas prices and even sporadic running out of gas. I hear that some Americans are “slightly panicked.” Good — I hope they realize and accept their oil and energy addiction. Acceptance is the first step, no?

    • As a guy who makes $900 per month, let me just say, screw you. Seriously. I pay $135 per month on gas or 15% of my monthly income and you want me to pay MORE?

  7. I just want to chime in and say that I would also consider myself rich if I made $40,000/year. If you’re smart and thrifty, you can do it. I lived off of $25,000/year for the past few years and had about $5,000/year left over to put into the stock market. It really doesn’t take that much money to live. If you have kids to feed, that’s another story — but likewise, you only have yourself to blame for that one!

  8. I have to agree with Becky.

    We are a family of three that live off of $45K a year. Our rent is $900 a month. We pay all of our bills on time and are able to save a little each month. We do not have any debt, and I think that is the key.

  9. I am currently a college student training to be a Wind/Energy Technician. I am outlooking possibly 40-50K a year. With the added income of my spouse, I’m still clueless if it will be enough to survive. I don’t plan on starting a family anytime soon. I’m not a very lavish spender, and I am in good health/shape. With the responses to this article, some people say they manage and others don’t. Any advice?

  10. I lived off less than $14,000 a year when I was in college (2 years ago) and I had absolutely no debit, did not use credit cards and was able to go on multiple trips to Europe that I paid for myself. Of course it wasn’t exactly comfortable, but I had a roof over my head and food every day and never looked like a hobo. I just don’t understand how people can claim to have such a hard time managing and getting by, and yet throw away their money at the grocery store on prepackaged food, cigarettes, soda, etc… I think it’s about priorities and DESIRE. If you want to live well on a small amount of money then you can make it happen…

  11. Comment #
    5, 10, 11 & 15


    I am 22 and me any my girlfriend have been living on 18-22k per overall and I have no issues, no back bills or anything. Plus the fact that I love electronics and do several expensive sports. I also care for our 22 animals with no problem (Here are some of them…

    Im so tired of hearing people my age go get cars with payments of 350++ and rent apartments that are way over priced because they dont research or budget… Then they wonder why they cant afford anything, it bothers me to no end. It bothers me even more when people who are making more than me cant make ends meet and some even tweak the system to get food stamps and cheaper housing and such, AND HALF THE TIME STILL HAVE ISSUES KEEPING UP…

    I hate people…

  12. I can’t even believe this issue is still being discussed in America today. As a man in my early 20’s, and going to community college with absolutely no other income besides my measly Pell Grants and subsidized loans of 1700$ a semester with *some* side income from web design, I find ways to make ends meet.

    I realize that this is not possible for lots of you with familiies, and I guess I am lucky in that respect. However, I am having to stick the poor economy out with community college grants and subsidized loans and a decent used car (1992 Honda Accord EX), then I think it’s possible for a lot of older Americans to find ways.

    Find a room mate in the family that is going to college to help out with daycare costs, in exchange for a couple of meals and some necessities like lights, Internet, etc.

    We don’t *NEED* high-speed Internet, Starbucks, brand new books for college, cell phones, etc. etc.

    Those are luxuries. Hell, a trailer is a luxury. Find an economy 2 bdrm apartment or get rental assistance if your income is that low. If you cut those luxuries out then you won’t be floating bills as often (and may be even able to afford a mini-vacation once in a while).

    Find other stuff that you can do, which will add value to stuff that you already own. Don’t know how to maintain your own PC? Learn how. Don’t know how to change your own oil or brake pads? Get the knowledge, it’s out there. Can’t make it with 2 cars? Find a way to cut trips and get items that you need while you’re making your commute.

    If you have a trailer, then you have a yard as well. Put it to use and grow some of your food… there are crops that you can grow with minimal effort that is worth it. If you’re not going to be using your lawn for anything productive, rip it up and put in rocks to save on water. Just my $.02.

      • Our family of 4 currently lives off of more than $40,000 per year. I would imagine that we could live off of $40k, but it would make certain things difficult. For instance, just having 2 cars with 2 insurance notes adds up quickly. Doctor bills and medication add up b/c kids always get sick from other kids any my wife is epileptic.

        We would probably need to move into a smaller living space, which would definitely be doable, but it’s nice to have a little extra space for the kids to run around in.

        In 2 years I’m gonna be thinking about education too: are public schools in our area good? will we be able to afford private school? investing in kids education is pretty high on the list.

        all of this adds up quickly.

        I’ll tell you that even though we live off of more than $40k, we have very little discretionary income. I think humans can always cut out more than they think they can, and the good things in life are friends and family, not cars, restaurants, cable tv, etc…

      • Craig: I think your statement that “I would imagine that we could live off of $40k, but it would make certain things difficult” is right on the, well, money.

        It is difficult to try and live within that amount — with two cars and insurances.

        It is difficult to live within that amount — with medical bills.

        It is difficult to live within that amount — with a larger living space (and home at that!).

        It is difficult to live within that amount — and seek a private school option.

        These things — multiple cars, health insurance, home ownernership, private schools — have become in your (and my world) *expectations*. Just 50 years ago, having multiple cars, such large medical bills, or 2400 sq ft house, or even own a house. But now we find it difficult to imagine life without these — necessities of convenience.

        Don’t get me wrong I’m not picking on your spending or budget. In fact, I’m in the same shoes as the sole income provider while wife is dedicated to three years of private law school and we have two cars, two scooters, and three bikes.

        But ever year we sit down, look at our expenses and decide — did that match with our goals? What can we change? No matter how much we make, we have set a number within which we need to live, and another within we can prosper. So, I ask friends

        What is your live number? How much do you need to make to cover all your required expenses and not go into debt? Can you reduce this number?

        What is your prosper number? How much do you need to make to cover your lifestyle preference? Do these items match with your life goals?


    40K/Yr is not a whole lot of money. I am the sole provider of 3. 40/Yr after taxes is equivelant to 29120/Yr. Below is a rough breakdown of what we spend our money on:

    17000/Yr – Home (Rent, Utilities, etc)
    7800/Yr – Food\Household Shopping (Food, Diapers, Soap, etc)
    3850/Yr – Vehicle(s) (Insurance, Maintenance, etc)
    1500/Yr – Medical (Bills\Co-Pays, Non-Covered, etc)
    1000/Yr – Clothes (Shoes, Socks, Underwear, etc)
    31150/Yr – Total

    Now you might say how does that really work? Now think about this…you make 40/Yr, take home 29/Yr BEFORE you are taxed over and over on most other purchases. By the time you are finished you actually only have about 40-50% of usable income. Think about it – add up all the taxes\govt fees on your phone bill, utilities, etc…they add up to a lot.

    For my salary to actually work I do odd jobs – anything from pulling someone out of a ditch to repairing computers, logging (yes, logging), vehicle repair, yard cleanup, etc. This is what allows us to live ‘sorta’ comfortably…then we can spend a few bucks on our daughter and get her some surprises that ultimately teach her good skills (like toy kitchen utensils etc)…otherwise we just could not afford it.

    Keep in mind that does not include some ‘surprise’ bills that come up…nor savings…it’s just how it is. Where we live there is no place within 15 mins to go food shopping and being inexpensive. You have to drive a minimum of 30mins to get to bigger stores etc…but local taxes are inexpensive.

    It boils down to this – cost of living are much higher than most tend to appreciate…it may surprise you just how much some things cost.

    I am 25 and my wife is 23. We have a 17 month old and I am a computer tech who was unemployed for 1.5 years on top of it – the savings we did have is GONE. My last job was 60/Yr which was a perfect salary…we live in Pennsylvania ‘in the woods’ and I would commute a minimum of 1 hour to get to such a decent job…otherwise I would only be making about 15-20/hr which is OK but you really can’t enjoy yourself on that salary. We do not have a luxurioius house nor a nice car – the house is just big enough for the three of us and the vehicles we have had have all been used – a minimum of 10 yrs old. We shop thrifty but it just adds up quickly.

    It’s all about the Lifestyle you CHOOSE to live…because of the current economy and circumstances my wife and I have been fairly recluse to save money but it is not how we would prefer to spend our time.

  14. Average family size is four. $40,000 after taxes garners you 30,000. Divide that by 12 and you have $2500 per month for bills. Shelter alone on long island would cost you approx. 1300 per month for an apartment with two bedrooms. Trust me, you wouldn’t be living in a lap of luxury for that. Okay, so now you are left with 1200. $320 Food (80.00 per week must cut coupons. Are we allowed to heat our homes and have light at night? That will cost you 200 month. 680 left. Are you allowed to have a car or do you have to walk to work. Average commute on long island is 25 minutes(probably more). Car insurance on long island is 2200 for the year. There goes another 183. Gas for the cars will cost 225 per month. Well 272.00 left. Telephone/cable/internet another 100.00 per month. Down to 172.00 How about insurance premiums which are taken out of my husbands weekly salary of 92.00 per week. After those expenses we are left with $80. My daughter is an asthmatic and her maintenance medication cost $65 per month. My husband is also on maintenance medication.
    Okay, well I’m in the negative and nobody has been to the doctor. I guess I could live in a box and save some money, although my family may freeze in the winter.

  15. I am a grad student living on $15000 a year. I have a couple roommates and I buy all of my produce and meat at the farmers and wholesale markets. That makes my food bill about one fifth of the price I would have to pay at a grocery like Safeway. I have visited all the free musuems in DC and I look on craigslist for cheap activities. This way, after rent and food, I still have some money left over to pay for electronics ets.

  16. I am a stay at home mom age 25 with 2 young kids. The kid’s dad also 25 works as a machine operator and makes 20/hour. With all the overtime he puts in we make roughly 35,000/year Im guessing. We lived in a 2 br rental duplex at 700/month for about 4 years before we bought our first home this year for 75,000 a 3 br 2 full bathroom manufactured home on 2 acres of land. Oh and it has a fireplace too. No garage or basement attic etc. but it works for us. Anyway I think we are doing okay, but not as great as I would like to be. We “survive” but living the life we want to live is a bit out of reach. We do have 3 already paid for vehicles: a 2003 pontiac montana, 1993 camry, and truck. The most dependable being the van. Well even though we have cars and a decent place to live it doesn’t change the fact that after cable/internet,insurance,utilities,groceries,mortgage/rent,etc. there really isn’t much left over for the “fun” stuff. Examples of such expenses include holidays, birthdays, school, just the cost of leaving to go do anything at all. If I take the kids to the park for instance I have to make sure there is enough gas, then if the kids get hungry while out you either have to pack your own food or buy it while out both cost you something. Point is EVERYTHING costs $ and it sucks. For someone like me with no family at all but my kids and significant other, when the boredom sets in if you don’t have money you are sh*t out of luck! Especially when it comes to kids when they go to school there is so much pressure to fit in with the crowd that also takes money. Notice its always the rich kids who are popular. To “survive” it is possible with a 40,000/year income, but to “live”??? Maybe 60,000/year comfortably. But this is just me it is different for everyone. I just wanted to express my frustration and for the way the world works and the fact that I hate the fact that we have to love money. This world is so messed up and confusing you just have to make the best of what you got and I believe that is the only way to be truly happy. 😛

  17. You must thank God for getting such money to spend where others don’t find even USD 2000/year to live. I work hardly 10 hours per a day and my annual incom don’t surpass USD 5000. Even though I live pleased life with my family which consist of my wife, two children and I.

  18. I think it’s too late for me. The recession took it all. But unlike the banks who lost it, I have debts to pay, no job and a husband with 3 years till retirement. I hope all the young people take your advice. it makes sense. I never was a big consumer, or a debtor, but all the same, I wish I had known more.

  19. Move to a state where cost of living is low. 40k/yr is good money where I live. I make about 20k take home a year, own a home, 2 vehicles, my fiancee doesn’t work right now and we get by just fine. If you can’t make it where you’re at on 40k, move to a place where you make less but it costs less.

    • You also have to consider that when you move to the place that cost less to live, you either give up some of your income or you incur more expenses to get to and from the better paying job. It’s still a wash.

  20. Someone suggested moving to a state where the cost of living is lower. Great idea!
    BUT…first one needs moving expenses. The lowest quote I got would be about $1800.00 to ship furniture. Hmm? Now…how to get an apartment without a job? That’s saying one can even get a job these days. If that is figured out, next question would be how to transport car and family several hundred miles. Airfare (don’t have it), drive (old car with two toddlers) very risky, and also expensive. If one needs to make an overnight stay more $$$ required.

    So than again without a good saving and some connections a very difficult task if not impossible. But good idea!

  21. I’d love to to make $40k, but that won’t happen selling tires for the cheapskates at wingedfoot. Right now, after taxes, I bring home about $350 a week. We live with in-laws, because in this day and age, we can’t afford to rent our own place. Our family is about shot; I usually get home about 9-9:30, if not later, the daughter’s usually already in bed and the wife is getting increasingly aggrevated that she has to do most of the evening events (ie: bed and bathtime), plus I’m having to eat dinner after 10pm (not healthy at all), and it’s hard for us to plan anything, as there’s no money, and retail schedules suck. Sadly, the Bush/Obama economy has ruined millions of jobs, making it difficult to find anything better, so I feel like we’re stuck. Living in today’s world basically sucks.

  22. I just graduated, and got a new job making $40,000 to $45,000 over my old one which I would have made about $25,000. I feel like I’m rich now compared to before.

    • I was making about $140/wk in college to pay for bills, and was forced to move back in with my mom. I just graduated and got a job offer for $40-42k. I agree….i feel rich.

  23. I am a single mother of 4 kids. I live in California and I make about 35k a year and myself and kids are managing just fine. I pay $800 in rent for a 3bd apartment and the only help I get is about $300.00 a month from food stamps. You can live off of 40K a year.

  24. My husband is now the sole provider for our family of three. The failing economy has caused my husband paycuts and loss of vacation time. His take home pay is 43,000. I am thankful he still has a job.
    Spending is tight. Our morgage outside Charleston SC is $1300. We own one car which is 10 years old and paid for. We do not have cable or a home phone. We have one cell phone which is prepaid. We do not go out. I get my daughters cloths from second hand stores. I cut his hair. We get all or veggies from local farms. We sell things we do not need anymore on ebay to help us get by.
    We are doing everyhing we can to cut costs and its not enough. We need to cut more. We are not in the whole yet but its getting close.
    I want to be able to stay home with my daughter. It looks like I am going to have to get a job in the evenings. It makes me sad because I dont think we can afford another child unless I go back to work and send the “kids” to daycare. I understand this is something most people are forced to do but I really believe we should raise our own children.
    My husband and I are both educated people. I honestly thought our degrees would save us from this kind of struggle.
    Dont get me wrong. I am very happy with what we have. I understand that our relationship and family is more important than material goods. I do not own a flat screen or an iphone and I dont care. However I do wish it was easier for all of us.

  25. My wife and I are expecting our first child in the middle of January. We moved to Milwaukee to pursue a great job opportunity for me. We left Indianapolis where my wife had a great job. She hated it, but it paid about as much as mine does. I had the prospects of a better job so we took my route. As soon as we got here I fell seriously ill and was out of work for 2 months. Thankfully I recovered and had disability, but my wife did not work due to my illness. We didn’t know we were pregnant until immediately after we moved here. My wife has a degree in biology, but has been working as a server at a restaurant to pay the bills. Here we are in December and we’re broke. My salary barely pays the bills, but she’s 80K in the hole to student loans and can’t pay them off. As soon as our daughter is born she won’t be able to work, and our debt is going to pile up. All I can do is work hard and hope for a promotion. 43K a year w/ at least 1400/month in living expenses (rent/utilities). I’m pretty worried in that she’s going to lose her car (its a lease) and she’ll have no way to make it to work. I work ridiculous hours (50-65) and am never on a set schedule. I am thankful to have a job, but I am scared we’ll be scraping by for a while…

  26. It’s extremely difficult to adjust to having to live on $40,000 a year when you are used to living on $70,000. I was laid off from my previous job (my employer decided my job and hundreds more should be done offshore because that would allow the client to cut the costs of their accounting services) and after 8 long months of unemployment the only job offer I received after several interviews, only paid $40,000/year. To put this into persective, I was forced to take 40% paycut. Your bills do not go down by 40% just because your salary goes down. I looked into refinancing my mortgage but you have to keep in mind the up front costs of refinancing and unless you can drop your interest rate by at least two percentage points, you are not going to realize a significant drop in your mortgage payment. I switched car and homeowners insurance carriers to save some money and dropped my monitoring service for my home security system. I also cut back on my cable/internet/phone service and I use a pay as you go cell phone instead of having a monthly plan which represents significant savings since I don’t use the cell phone much at all (I have it mainly for emergencies in case I get stranded somewhere). I don’t care what anyone says, living on $40,000 is very difficult and requires substantial cutback to your lifestyle.

  27. I’m just curious as to why people are complaining about how their family is only living on the $40,000 salary that the husband is making, when the wife or whoever could get a job and start earning extra income. If its a family of 3 or 4 wouldn’t it only be fair for both adults to start making some income instead of complaining about how the one person who is actually working doesn’t make enough money?

      • um, yes. me and my man both make a “low” salary of 40k, but together that’s 80k. so apparently we’re better off than everyone else here.

        if you’re not well off financially and you’re not working…stop complaining…and work.

    • If you have children, you have to consider the expense of daycare. Most of the time, this cost outweighs the benefit of the second job, especially when you add in the other expenses of extra gas, etc.

  28. I mean no harm or disrespect but I dont think you are being realistic. As a single mom, with rent, car payment, car insurance, daycare, food, gas, electricity, phone and internet(needed for work), medical bills, and student loans all being requirements to live the american dream I am scraping the jar with my 40.000 salary and I dont buy coffee, or go on shopping sprees and I am a responsible young adult.. its just not realistic.. I will say that life was happier when I made less…

    • I agree. I am a single mom with a daughter making 35,000. its tough. i don’t go on vacations have internet , etc. but i also do not have health insurance and when i did i paid 200 a month from my work and if i got sick i still had a copay. Heaven help me if the car breaks down, cuz the first thing to cut is food. we live on 50 a week on food. not much… eat a lot of spaghetti. Not that I am complaining but I do worry about my future as I get older and with no retirement who is gonna take care of me?

    • I would agree. It seems the less I made as a single mom of 3 the more help I got. The more I make the less help and to make ends meet I work 25 hours overtime a paycheck. I only make 30 thousand a year. It is sad when we want to make more of ourselves and work hard to make more money for our family we get to suffer more than the ones that are living off welfare. I would love to be able to spend more time at home with my children but it is not possible for me to pay all my bills. I do not have any extras. Just Netflix and a phone bill. I have the normal rent and utility bills. I have a 2 year old (who was not planned, I was told I could not have anymore babies) so I do have to pay daycare. I do get a little help with that but with my .75 cent raise I just got I will be lucky to see any type of help when it is time to renew. In order to get back and forth to work I do have a car payment and insurance. I just want to make enough to live comfortably with my kids. I want to make it to band concerts and school events but with the overtime I don’t have the time. I just wish we didn’t have to suffer to do better for ourselves.

  29. Lets not forget to factor in childcare costs- which in my area are around 1200-1000 a month. Right now we have our in-laws, but it can’t be that way forever as they have expressed there are other things they want to do- and some people have more than one kid. Sometimes it makes more sense for one person from the family to stay home then to put the kids in day care. So no it does not make sense for everyone to “go out and get a job and stop complaining”- there are many factors involved. There are women whose salaries are the same or less than childcare.

  30. I live on $40,000 a year and it’s a piece of cake. I don’t know how to drive, so no car payment for me. Public transportation works just fine and gets me wherever I need to go. I don’t have cable, but come on, almost everything is available online these days. I cook my meals at home. I shop at consignment stores and find great bargins. Anyone can do it. If everyone was be less concerned with trying to keep up with the Joneses they would find that they actually make a
    great deal of money.

  31. I think living of a 40000 salary is fine sure sometimes. U stuggle to get the thing you really want and limit ypurself but over all we have no debt living happy with 3 kids no state help and debt free

  32. I have been a single mom for 16 years and have unfortunately created a lot of debt in those 16 years only making between 30 and 40k/yr. but it is never too late to learn. In the last year I consolidated all of my debt to one payment, reduced cell plan, cancelled lawn service, cancelled cable, kept internet, don’t eat out, gave up coffee (make my own) and even though I struggle…everything is paid every month and my son has learned the value of a dollar 🙂 there is a big difference between wants and desires for sure, all my furniture is hand me downs, my tv is 12 years old (no flat screens) living on less is more because there is less stress because there are less things to be responsible for and I am able to enjoy the simplicities of what life is really about…friends, family and nature not STUFF

  33. If you go to college, you cannot afford to live off of 40k a year. My wife alone has college bills over 100,000. Her payments alone are more than our house payment. So if you plan on living off of 40k, dont go to college.

    • I could not agree more. Although I am making more than I could before my Masters in Teaching. But I too have 70,000 in student loan because all I could think about was making a better life for my son. But now that all my college debt is in my lap, all I can give my son is a ghetto home in gang land. I am single and have no “help mate”.

  34. I am a woman and the primary supporter of 2 kids and another adult. My fiance works, but doesn’t make much, and only helps out with groceries. I drive 25k a year for my commissioned sales job, and am always shelling out cash for car repairs for my 9 yr old car, and 80-100 a week on gas alone. It is a huge strain on me with supporting me, 2 kids and another adult on 46k a year. I take the 5k a year for tax returns and put it in an retirement IRA since I don’t have anything set up at work. Daycare for 2 kids is more than my mortgage.

    40k for one or two people is a breeze. 40k for a family with daycare, mortgage, cars, and kids is not.

  35. sometimes, I just don’t understand how people live off 40K. But I live on it at the moment, and it’s putting some strains since I pay 700 for rent and plus other phone bills.. it’s not alot of money, but okay. Frugal.. yes it is.

    People without job experience or even with experience, getting 50K-60K in this economy within a good company should be happy for their job… bad economy.. it takes toll on everyone, even CEOs.

    • Let me say few more things.. After paying 700/month bill, plus phone bills, car gas, and medical insurance, car insurance, 40K doesn’t leave much space. It saves little money, but that money, you can’t really spend it as easily since you never know when you would get sick or have to use in emergency.

      People graduating from college these days don’t make that much living, only few lucky does..
      I would say, work hard and stay above the water, and keep moving and moving. Don’t get de-motivated EVER.

  36. Hi I’m live with my kids (single)my rent is 1300 I want to add some things : cook!! netflix cable ( I know but the cable only have adds and bad news hahaha…I love fast internetI prefer fast internet (my kids too) messages plan for your kids , and buy in the market every week ( I’m not a coupon guy really )and the last thing use Lead gas not unlead REALLY I have a Honda 98 CRV and its amazing the miles improve. good luck !!

  37. Sorry to comment on an old post, but I wanted to say, if you think $40K is poor, you don’t know what true poverty is like.

    My father earned $12K a year. Twelve. Thousand. For a family of six. And my parents are homeowners, not renters. And we weren’t eligible for ANY of the welfare benefits we applied for. Not even food stamps.

    No healthcare. No air conditioning or central heating. No car or home repairs. No traveling except for work, school, or shopping. No new clothes, new books, new furniture, new anything. No eating out. We paid dearly for our computers. We went without Internet service sometimes.

    But we survived. We took full responsibility for our physical health. In the summer, we stayed inside, wore light clothes, drank cold water, and used electric and paper fans. In the winter, we piled on all our clothes and blankets, and only used the radiator to unfreeze the pipes. We fixed everything ourselves. We chose our entertainment wisely – the library, free concerts and events, group discounts. We dressed in thrift store clothing. Sometimes we had to live on ramen and canned tuna. We went to cafes with free Wi-Fi. We did what we had to.

    And now we’re doing fine. My sister and I have our own places. My sister’s husband earns about $20K, which is just perfect for my sister’s just-born family of four. I’m a university student, and I earn only $3600, but it’s just me, and I split expenses with a roommate. Growing up taught my sister and I to survive, no matter what’s in your bank account.

    All I’m saying is, if a family of six can swing $12K, *anyone* can swing $40K with some creativity and determination.

  38. @_@ I live COMFORTABLY off $25k a year and I support 3 people, pay for 2 phones, car insurance, rent, power and food. If you can’t live off $40k, you dont know how to budget.

  39. How you can possibly complain on living on 40K a year is a reflection on the state of mind in America.

    I have 8 children and lived in San Diego making 20K a year. At the time the median price of a basic house was $250K with 20% down. This meant of course that I needed $50K for a down payment (savings) while paying $700/mo for apt. rent.. Wasn’t going to happen. I’m smart enough to know that this just was not going to happen.

    So I moved. I moved my entire family with $700 in my pocket, 2700 miles in 7 days total travel time, to the midwest. (you should have seen it, baby cribs on top of our 1982 station wagon.)

    I bought my first house in 6 months. (not a looker, but I paid for it in full in 10 years.) My kids all grew up in the same school system and never got into drugs or other city issues. I am a very proud Father.

    I sold that first house (paid for) and made a handsome profit. Now I own my own business (work 50-60 hours/ week) and live in a 3 story house (which will also be paid for within 10 years).

    I am getting ready to buy another house this week to sell for a profit. And hope to do this many more times as we have goals set for our retirement., NOTE: We do not have any retirement or medical plans as I am self employed owning the business, but need to set ourselvse up for the future,.

    I guess the point I am trying to make: Spend Less Than What You Make. (save it, over time it will pay off for you).

    Also, I make just over 40K/yr

    In ten years I plan to make just over 40K/mo.

  40. We are a family of 3 live on salary of $48,000 year, our mortgage $1,600 a month. We do okay, we subsidize the mortgage by renting out a room $550 a month. We use coupons, the car is paid off and no debt. We can even save a little.. We live in Southern California so utility bills are low, don’t need to heat or cool the house.

    1.050 mortgage, 400 groceries,200 gasoline, 250 utilities. 150 health insurance, 35 car insurance. (2085 necessary expenses fixed) take home $3,250 a month. We have over $1000 left over or to pay for clothes, haircuts, broken appliance, dinner out .. etc..

  41. […] How to live on a $40,000 salary at Ruminations from a Redhead.  I stumbled across this post when searching for the 40k and 40lbs post.  The comments from the people who say it is impossible to live on $40k a year amaze me.  My wife and I combined made less than that last year and had two children at home half the time.  It wasn’t a struggle at all and I think we have a pretty good lifestlyle. […]

  42. I support my wife and 2 kids very well on a 40,000 salary in the pricey city of St. Charles, MO. For us, its all a matter of being smart and knowing where our cash goes every month. When we were looking for our new place, we went straight to craigslist and posted an ad in the housing wanted section. We are renting a 5 year old, 1500 sq/ft house on an acre of property for $850 per month with all utilities included, except electric. The rent even includes Digital Cable! We bought our 1999 Ford Minivan on craigslist for dirt cheap and plan of driving it until the wheels fall off. We clear $2204 every month, and still have the ability to have fun as a family and save $400 per month with out feeling deprived.

    Its all about being smart with your cash, and searching for the best deals out there for everything. Good luck everyone!

  43. I just got a new job and I am so excited and blessed that I will be making $40,000/ yr! My wife and I have been living on about 17-19,000 for the past 3 yrs and now we have a 5 month old baby. We are fortunate that our rent has only been 350/month. We have student loans to pay back, insurance, utilities (in the winter our gas bill is more than our rent), other bills, and we seem to live pretty comfortably. We can afford a car payment on a 2009 ford escape. We can still afford to ski alot in the winter, and take summer vacations. Last yr we took a trip to Mexico! All this on about 17k/yr. Now, I feel like we just won the lottery! $40k/yr is going to be amazing! I dont understand how somebody could complain that 40k is not enough to survive on. For us it will be a luxury! Thank you Jesus for taking care of us!

  44. wow, it’s amazing the bewildered responses this post has generated. It attest to the condition of our economy. If you watch HGTV you see the diversity of housing cost all over the country and even the world. Also, TV shows you how to cook gourmet meals and car reviews and how to dress. all of those “needs” cost a lot of money. We really have forgotten how to life wisely. generations ago most families had one car, some had none. Now, personally, I have 5. I have two houses I have land and I have so much stuff I have to get rid of it on a regular basis. I will run to the store and get something for dinner and drop $60 bucks. It scares me to think about surviving on less but it is coming for me. I am in school studying for paramedic who’s national average salaries are around $38,000 dollars a year. My small business has gone broke from the recent fall in the economy and I used to make much more money but I wasted it. Now I am selling cars houses and land. I want to live where I dont drive far to work, if at all. I want to learn to cook beans and rice and stop drinking beer and wine, it’s healthier. There are many mays to live simple and healthy on very little. start by turning off the TV.

  45. I like the helpful information you provide in your articles. I’ll bookmark your blog and take a look at once more right here frequently. I’m moderately certain I will be informed lots of new stuff proper right here! Good luck for the next!

  46. My mum is the sole provider in my house. My dad doesn’t work. I go to school full time. My brother is working full time (just started this past summer) and he also lives at home and he helps out with payments. But before he got a job, my mom was the only one working making $600/week (which she made sure to tithe on so she had $540/week to work with). We live in a small house with a $1300 rent (no utility bills included) which is very old and poorly insulated, which means high electricity and gas. Plus the costs of food, gas, phone, etc.
    I never went hungry one day in my life. I always had clothes to wear that were clean and I always had a roof over my head. It’s possible to live on less than $30k/year.
    We live in NJ and were never able to move away to where there was cheaper rent because all of our family lives here and my mom has work over here as well. So living in a $1300/month home was the cheapest, most obvious option. I’m not saying she doesn’t have debt, but we survived, if only by the grace of God.

    I get married in June and my fiance currently makes $30k/year plus commission. His biweekly paycheck is $917 (not including commission), and that’s what we are budgeting with (we are also disregarding my paychecks from working part time which only amount to a few hundred bucks a month). But the point I am trying to make is that we are debt-free and are more than able to budget for a healthy way of living. We won’t be rich or living in the nicest apartment, but you don’t expect that from $30k/year. We won’t have cable tv or drive the best cars around, unless we would be able to pay for them in cash, but we don’t need that stuff to make us happy, especially as newlyweds. Point is, if you get your priorities straight (as being with my mom has always taught me), you can work with what you have, even in one of the most expensive states in the nation.

    • Samantha: Thanks for you comment. Clearly, you guys are smartly watching your money and prioritizing. Thanks for the inspiration!

  47. I’m a single, male, 26 year old teacher in the Midwest making $39k a year. I finished my M.A. two years ago, and this is my first job out of school.

    Growing up, my parents had new cars, vacation money, cable TV and money for going out to eat. As an independent person, I have modified MY lifestyle to reflect MY current needs and priorities.

    First off, I should say that I do not plan on ever getting married or having children. Therefore, my situation is probably very different than a lot of people on here.

    I was fortunate enough to buy a 3 bedroom house, 2000 sq ft in the suburbs early last year, I got a great deal and pay $900/mo on my mortgage. I pay around $250/mo on utilities and another $220/mo on my student loans. Next, I drive a 4-cyl car that is paid off, and I drive smart (avoiding tickets, etc). I live close to my job, so I only pay around $100/mo on gas.

    I switched to a high deductible health plan to help on my health insurance costs, and I participate in my employer’s retirement plan (albeit very modestly). I also save $50/mo for an emergency fund, and put $100/mo towards my ONE credit card bill. Otherwise, I use a debit card for everything.

    I do not have cable, but instead use the internet and Netflix for entertainment. These cost $45/mo total. I also read (which is one of the cheapest forms of entertainment)! My cell phone is very basic, and I pay $60/mo for my text and minutes plan.

    I shop at Costco for my major groceries (meat, cheese, toilet paper, pasta, etc). I can make one trip last a month if I supplement with small items from the grocery store. I spend about $250/mo total on these items.

    In short, I have budgeted my income very carefully, even down to dog food and haircuts. Otherwise, I would be in serious trouble. It takes discipline and careful recording of purchases. I tutor kids from time to time to help defray other costs (Christmas presents, car maintenance, etc.)

    I’m hoping that my tax return will provide some vacation money because I can’t afford one otherwise. There is very little money left after the things I listed above.

    Living on $40k a year is not impossible, but it is a bit tiring after a while having to ALWAYS be careful. I may try to switch to another career in a few years because I have found that my expensive taste does not much up to my salary.

    i also think that if this is the “average” American salary, it is no mystery as to why people aren’t spending money like they used to. $40k does not go very far with the rising costs in food/gas/clothes, and it certainly doesn’t provide the means to “stimulate” anything.

    • Thank you for sharing. Your story is surely encouraging to the readers of this blog.

      Are you also able to save with your income/expenses?

      • I am able to save $50/mo for an emergency fund or investments. I also contribute 4% of my pre-tax income (which is matched by my school) to my 401k.

  48. I am a SAHM. We have a 3 year old and one baby due in 4 weeks. We live in Montreal-QC Canada. My husband is a technician consultant for Staples. He makes 13.11$/hr, 28k/year before taxes. After reductions on his paycheck we get 1860$/month. But for a couple with children I gotta say, Quebec has great benefits. We receive Solidarity Tax Credit, Work Premium, Soutien aux Enfants from Quebec, Canada child tax benefit and Universal chld tax benefit (federal). Together they add to 746$ a month and based on my calculations will get to 1000$ after new baby arrives. Those are tax benefits. My husband is required to pay for private insurance health, it’s around 1500$/yr for our family and it covers basic prescription but we get a partial refund when we do our taxes. We have a form called TD1 that we fill to have the tax braket for our family situation applied so we pay almost no taxes but there are other subtractions. We haven’t been able to apply for a home loan yet and live on a small 3 bedroom apartment that costs 760$/rent. We don’t have a car yet and public transport is 72$ card/month for unlimited use but only for one. If we pay per trip is 3$ one way. Our basic cable, basic phone service and 120g/month dowload and upload but high speed costs us 146$/month. Two cellphones with unlimited 10 numbers 110$/month both. Electricity on winter gets pretty high and average month spread for the year would be around 100$. Husband is gamer so he spends around 70$/month but is very economical on anything else. Groceries are complicated without a car so I tend to do it twice a month and each one costs me around 300$ and I still have to go on closer supermarkets and drugstores for things we run out between, and that expense does not include diapers. I do not spend much on myself and would say that I do tend to spend a bit on house stuff but that is because I am from another country and although husband is Canadian we started our lives together here less than 3 years ago so when I first got here we did not have anything. I worked my first year here and managed to buy a new oven, fridge, tv etc with my income and it was a good start to help out. We are both on our mid twenties and I plan to go back to school so we can make a better living, Husband enjoys his job and is looking forward to advance inside the company and I believe he has the skills and is very capable professional, having been promoted a couple of times already. We are simple people and very thankful for what we have, but I do get concerned about paying rent instead of paying a mortgage but while we can’t get a good interest rate on a loan I wouldn’t even try it, it’s not worth on the long run but we are looking into getting a loan with a government backup that apparently would make us more eligible and help with the down payment. We haven’t been able to save much and I feel guilty about it because I feel on weekends we do spend too much going out and it is not necessary but on winter gets pretty cold and difficult to go out with toddler and on my conditions right now we have to opt for close spaces (mall, playgrounds inside restaurants and schools, closed parks, etc) and they all cost money. We do have a Biodome family pass (60$/yr), its a kind of zoo but gets boring pretty quickly. I think we have more than enough to make ends meet and I cannot complain about anything. Just recently I was thinking about placing my son on a childcare 2 or 3 x a week and I found out my husband is entitled to 9000/yr per child for refund on taxes, and we could apply for advance payments to receive every month and we would only pay 25% of the expenses. But there are childcares that cost only 7$/hr but have a waiting list of around 1 yr, sometimes more but there are places far with availability. I plan to start saving the extra money that we will start receiving on RRSP’s (retirement plans) and educational savings for my kids. We already opened them last month. I always think when we start having more we will save the excess and keep ourselves humble. This consumerism behavior on our society nowadays is pretty unbridled and is leading people to poverty and delusional expectations from life. God, even my mother who is a lawyer who works for the government in my country and makes much more than our family does is very economical and has crazy tax deductions from an abusive government. The great benefit she has is that when she retires, because she works for the gov, will have a pension meeting almost the same amount she makes while working. When I was a child I remember that we rarely ever ate out, I had one good pair of shoes for weekends going out and one pai of snickers for everyday and a very limited set of clothes. We did had a housemaid but always ate fresh cooked food, no luxuries. Got one toy/ year on Christmas or Bday and that was it. Me and my 2 brothers would play in the backyard all day and barely watch any tv. Things are changing very much and very fast. We are trying to fill holes that should be filled with friendship and family union. Our values are becoming empty and this article absolutely gets to the point. Fantastic. It always sounds very obvious to say but looking at all the poverty in the world makes me feel like I am rich. Like my mom says, we never realistically think about how it is going to be when we get old and how things will be much more expensive then, naturally. Also all the things that can happen on the long run, like serious health problems and big emergencies. Thank you for this reading, I bookmarked to show my friends.

  49. I live on 23K a year im 21 I live in a mobile home that my Aunt gave me, im very thankful for that. She knew my first steps into the world were going to be harsh. Rent is $425 a month though…which sucks but i can manage. The area i live in is ghetto as hell. I make about $960 every 2 weeks. I have a girlfriend which i love very much. I wish to marry her soon maybe in a couple years hopefully i will have my life better than what it is now when that time comes. I pay the landlord, utilities, i have netflix (hey its $8,00 a month) ,somewhat good internet, food, cell phone, ect. Everything costs about $725 sometimes gets close to $800 which scares me because i think we’ll somehow wont make it but we do squeak by. We have nothing nice at all just hand me down furniture and clothes from the thrift store or gifts from relatives. No luxuries. Here’s how we save.

    I dont have a car.. I ride a motorcycle. It gets 70 miles to the gallon which is out of this world! My girlfriend has a mini van but we only use it when we need to. LIke if we go grocery shopping or something or if i can’t take her somewhere myself. Otherwise i give her rides wherever she needs to be (work/school etc). Gas is $3.55 and my bike has a 5 gallon tank so we save money by not paying so much for gas.

    We can make a $40 meal at a Chinese place last almost a week at our place. So food is covered but if were not into Chinese then we have to find something else. Sometimes we just put fruit inside a juice extractor and drink it till were full.

    During the winter we wear our sweaters and shoes to bed to save on gas bills and electricity.

    During summers really gets us, me more though because i cant stand the heat. Our electricity skyrockets. I hate the summer..sometimes we sneak into the local swimming area and swim laps during the hot weekend days. That or just buy those little cheap battery water fans.

    We bought motion solar lights for outside lighting and pretty much never use our actual porch lights. They don’t even have light bulbs inside them.

    I mainly read books instead of watching TV. My girlfriend has her own hobbies as well. Just come up with some sort of hobby that doesn’t require spending or utilities. Walk the park or something, read, make something anything. Explore your creative side and see what you come up with.

    Were smart about not having kids neither. I “know” that were not prepared yet but when life gets better maybe we can think on it. We may not who knows its kinda nice having all your money to yourself. But eventually i think there will be that time where we’ll want a family but i want to settled first.

    Don’t tell anybody this but i do pirate online…like movies, music, and TV shows….i know its not right but i don’t want to be left out not seeing anything because we cant afford to “Go Out” most of the time…anyway its risky but it saves money. And plus what’s life without a little bit of risk in it???

    So yeah just think survival. Anything that will help you save one way or another do it. We are and were managing ok for ourselves. You gotta start somewhere. And usually its at the bottom and you work your way up from there. I probably don’t sound like most 21 year olds but i want to have a good life in the future that’s why im trying to get a little head start on living life. So yeah there’s probably more saving things we do but that’s all i can think of for now.

    And this is on a 23K salary. 40K sounds nice to me 🙂

  50. I’m 20 years old, and make about $39,950 a year – before tax. Each month I get about $2400-2500 after taxes.

    Living in Oklahoma means low rent / low mortgage, and I suppose – low groceries. Currently, I pay $295 a month for a 1bdr 500sq ft apartment that includes everything but the gas. – yes people cheap rent is possible. However, due to getting this new job – I have to move into a $600 /mo apartment that doesn’t include electricity or gas,

    I drive a 2005 ford freestyle, it’s a station wagon. It gets about 22-29 miles per gallon. I pay $300 a month for the car and the insurance, and I have about 4,500 left to pay off.

    I eat 1-2 meals a day, I pack a lunch and eat it at work. my fridge can be full if i choose too. however, i’m trying to go back to my “minimum wage days” and live on beans and rice, potato soup, and other poor people food.

    My luxuries: $35 /mo high speed internet from att. $10 /mo xbox live. $8 / mo netflix. My electric bill runs me about $30-45 / a month. $15 a week on fast food.

    So anyways, with my new job starting, after bills and everything I should have about $900-1100 to save. I can’t tell you how hard it is not to want to spend it. To be able to afford a new car. Here’s the thing though, I will never buy a new car until I make $50,000 a year. Nope. A car for me will either be my freestyle, or, a used 2-3 yr old toyota tacoma.

    i know life is tough. believe me i was there once, making only enough money to get by till the next paycheck. the key is to update your resume, apply to better jobs, and work your way up.

  51. I have been the soul support of up to five people over the last 20 years on 30-40k. It sucks. I am so tired of watching every penny. I own my house and have done renovations to remove mold and fix windows, roof and siding. The garage fell down so I built a new one.(with my own two hands) My kids went to private catholic grade school and one went thru high school with my parents help. Both kids are finishing college this year. How did I do it?
    I owe $20,000 in credit cards and I owe more on my house than when I bought it 18 years ago. What went wrong? I got divorced. Bought a house hiding mold that got my kids very sick. I put my kid’s education first. I failed to put the hammer down on an entrepernerial boyfriend who thinks he will develop the next great sofware. His few contributions have been meager and do not make up for his financial footprint in my home.
    Unlucky in love and house but I refuse to to let my children suffer. They will still have giant student loans. If I have to work longer because I helped them so be it. Can you send 2 kids to good colleges on 40k – nope. You are going to borrow.
    If most people are under 40-50k as couples how will we ever grow a stronger economy? How will we give our kids a chance for a better life?
    Remember Maslow – If we are stuck at filling our base needs we will never be able to afford self-actualization. I don’t want to scrape by, I want some peace of mind. I want a damn steak with out guilt and a new pair of shoes. Seriously my clothes are thread bare. I can’t even go to thrift stores. Joan Rivers would tear me apart.

  52. Thanks for another informative site. Where else could I get that kind of info written in such a perfect way? I have a project that I am just now working on, and I have been on the look out for such info.

  53. Hubby and I plus baby live on $32,500 a year gross because I decided to stay home and raise our child. We went down from a combined $75,000 (I had a great career, but worth every penny giving up for my beautiful daughter). We pay $1000/month for rent (live in Seattle) – so technically we only have $1000/month left for all other expenses. To make it happen though we had to plan very thoroughly. We found out that we are pregnant five months after our lavish wedding, which left us plenty in debt. Since we found out, we organized our budget to only live on my husbands paycheck, while we put my entire one towards debt. That left us debt-free and with a small savings cushion by the time the baby came. Savings was eaten up almost entirely by medical bills though 😦 We only have one car and its paid off. We don’t have cable or internet (but we do both have smartphones with an unlimited plan). We got most items for baby from my baby showers thrown by church, and whatever else we needed I found for very cheap on craigslist. We also invested in cloth diapers — better for baby and a LOT of savings later on! I learned how to grow stuff — I have a little garden on the patio with seasonings and tomatoes, and we’ve been cooking at home. I also make my own cleaning products out of Hydrogen Peroxide, baking soda, and vinegar. For groceries — we go probably once every 2 months with my husbands’ mom to Costco (she has a membership) and buy stuff in bulk. We don’t need formula because I chose to breastfeed. I guess we don’t really feel like we’re lacking anything because the change has been relatively recent and we already had a lot of nice things from before — like an espresso machine, good clothes, a nice bed, everything for the kitchen. The 9 months we only lived on his paycheck made it so we didn’t even feel the change — only for the better, since now I get to stay at home and actually take care of the house. I also see my husband more now and I can’t even imagine going back to work with a baby! On a breastfeeding schedule, it would be very tough, and I’d have difficulty trusting her to daycare for an entire day. My husband is an apartments maintenance tech and we live on-site so we save $ on gas. He also finds a lot of stuff that people leave behind and I do a great job selling it on craigslist instead of the apartments throwing it out. That’s for extra expenses like dinner or a movie, or we put it in our vacation fund. We also manage to actually save a little bit each month — we are hoping to purchase a home in a few years. Here is the breakdown of our monthly expenses:

    Net Monthly Income after insurance, 401k, taxes: $2040
    Rent : $1000
    Phone: $195
    Utilities: $115
    Gas: $100
    Insurance (car and renters):Pre-paid for the year. Next years is going to come out of savings.
    Food: $250
    Tithe: $270

    $60 usually goes towards those little things you don’t count on like co-pays, oil changes, birthday gifts, etc.

    • Annie: Thank you for your informative comment. It sounds like you guys are doing a lot with a little; kudos to you for making room for the savings and tithing!

  54. Thanks a bunch for sharing this with all of us you actually realize what you’re talking approximately! Bookmarked. Kindly also visit my web site . We will have a hyperlink exchange arrangement among us! dbeacdegfkea

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