Despite popular belief, you can live a really good life on $13,000 a year. Perhaps it’s the many years I lived on $500 a month that make a $1,100/month lifestyle seem lavish.
For some, $13,000 a year can either be super low or super high, depending on the cost of living in your area. Some can get by on $5,000 a year by not living in a house and by not owning a car. Everyone needs to figure out what is enough for them and stick with that.
Here are some tips on living on less than $13,000 a year:
- Live in a smaller house/apartment.
- Live closer to work (within walking distance is ideal).
- Set the thermostat to 60F in winter (use space heaters and dress appropriately) and 75-80F in summer (use fans).
- Buy a used car for cash. Skip the collision insurance.
- Avoid debt like the plague. If in debt, make plans to pay it off aggressively, starting with the debt with the highest interest rate. Stick to your plans by sharing your goal with others.
- Avoid the mall and any shopping trips. Sell something to finance your next purchase. Or better yet, sell something, save the proceeds, and bask in your less cluttered living spaces
- Drop the cable subscription and any magazine subscriptions.
- Rethink your cell phone plan.
- Find hobbies that cost next to nothing or are free.
- Purchase quality clothing that is always is style. Make sure all shirts match all pants.
- Use a clothes line instead of a dryer (clothing will last longer).
- Eat more fruits and vegetables. Embrace the versatility of oatmeal.
- Shop less for groceries and plan your meals in advance. The freezer is your friend.
- Start a garden. Learn to compost. Learn how to preserve food.
- Drink water instead of coffee, soda, fruit juice, milk, etc.
- Drop the gym membership and exercise outside.
- Use a hand-powered mower. If your lawn is too big, get a smaller lawn.
- Get a high deductible health insurance plan.
- Purchase things that are easy to repair and retain their value.
- Learn how to fix/do something on your own instead of instinctively calling an “expert.”
- Become a regular at the library (this will reduce all media expenses, and may replace your need for a home internet connection).