This Family Lives on $14,000 a Year ... Could You?

Inspiring 6

Meet the Wagasky’s, the Las Vegas family of four that lives debt-free on (wait for it) $14,000 a year. That’s just over a thousand bucks a month, folks. A scratch under $270 a week. I hate to say it, but I don’t think that even covers our grocery bill. But dad Jason and mom Danielle have found a way to make it work, and they say it makes them “happier” and “a better family.”

The frugal lifestyle began out of necessity in 2008 when Jason, a former Army sergeant, was stationed in Iraq. Danielle was left managing the home, two kids (Keigan and Libby), and the budget.

 "He was gone, and I was sad,’’ Danielle said. “Then I had two children to take care of, and all of a sudden, I had to pay these bills. We'd have overdrafts on our bank because I'd be like, ‘Oh man, I forgot that bill that was supposed to come out.’ But I had already spent money."

The book America’s Cheapest Family by Steve and Annette Economides, which offers tips and advice for saving money and living debt-free, inspired her to get in gear to become financially stable.

Side note: I own this book and have lent it to several friends. It’s awesome and offers great advice and inspiration for climbing out of a financial hole.

When Jason got back from overseas, he decided to go back to school on a G.I. bill, which provided the family with $14,000 a year in living expenses. They decided to dip into their savings to pay off debts and purchase a modest, foreclosed upon, three-bedroom home for $30,000.

With careful budgeting and lots of do-it-yourself projects, they’ve managed to make it work while living $9,000 below the poverty line. Danielle details their lifestyle on her blog Blissful and Domestic, including how they use a clothesline instead of a dryer and even make their own laundry soap.

They also take advantage of community resources like the library, where they frequently check out books for their homeschooled kiddos. They pay cash for everything and keep credit cards only for emergencies.

Jason is currently applying for a job in law enforcement, so it’s likely their financial situation will soon improve, but they say they don’t plan to change the way they live.

“The American mentality is to have and want more, like, bigger is never enough,’’ Jason said. “So I think that's where we're kind of different."

Do you have any tips or tricks for staying within a limited budget?


Image via Alan Cleaver/Flickr

budget finds, diy, finances, handmades, home finances, home life, inspirations, newsworthy, recession guide, thrifty solutions


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ms_da... ms_danielle_j

I believe that if you live within your spending limits you can live just fine. I bring home about 3,000 dollars a month and I am VERY comfortable. I can travel, shop and spoil my son :) I don't work crazy hours and I'm off on the weekends to spend time with my munchkin. If you don't know how to budget your money then you're in trouble. Kudos to them :)

ms_da... ms_danielle_j

The american dream consists of everyone trying to keep up with the Jones'. I'm sorry but the Jones' have way too much debt and are stressed beyond belief trying to keep up the good ol' dream. I'm not trying to keep up with them. I'm trying to show them how it's done :)

Wendi Schwinler-Wagner

Since returning to school to finish my degree my children ( 3 teens ) and myself have lived on $800 a month, it takes prioritizing, between what you really need and what is just a want. 

Linda Merrell

BIG DEAL.I am disabled I am raising two kids and my income is about that much and I don't own my house.I pay rent.I don't have any credit cards or savings.Try that out and see if you can manage to survive.That story sounded good till I read they dipped into savings to buy a house.I'm single no such thing as saving money I'm trying too hard to find some.

nonmember avatar mandysue

i live off 7000 a year, my husband works i stay at home with 2 kids. we get absolutly no help from state or any government funds. we own our trailer have been paying all our bill and we have food. budgeting is the only way to survive. i dont steal or sell things to pay for otherthings we just get by. my oldest is 4 and will be in school soon so i will be going back to work this fall. we have been living like this for years and are quite happy. we go to thrift shops and bargain barel sales for clothing and items for the house and i get hand me down clothes for the kids.

Santa Wify

In relation to services, basic policy concepts have included family centeredness, capacity-based services, empowerment and participatory decision making, individualized services, among others. Thank you.  az family support

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