How hard is living on a $30,000 budget? Yes, it's very hard - but the full answer to that depends on where you live and also where you came from.
If you’re in a place like Los Angeles, New York, or Washington D.C. then $30,000 is not going to get you too far. If you live in the Midwest, like I do, that amount of money can really stretch.
And, if you're like me, and have been used to a $20,000 per year budget - increasing it to $30,000 per year feels like a breath of fresh air.
With that in mind, here’s an example of a $30,000 budget.
$30,000 Budget Example
- Mortgage/Rent - $500
- Utilities - $300
- Internet - $25
- Groceries - $600
- Fuel - $150
- Car Insurance - $50
- Cell Phone - $50
- Babysitting - $300
- Savings/Debt Repayment/Retirement - $525
This budget is very similar to what I spent before getting married. In fact, there were many years where I made it on around $20,000 without a problem.
A $30,000 budget took care of me and my two girls with money left over to save since I didn’t have any debt.
If you’re wanting to get your budget down to $30,000 per year here are some ideas on getting there.
When I had my $30,000 budget I only spent $226 a month on living expenses. This was to pay for a $10,000 trailer I bought to tide me over until I saved up for a down payment on a home.
Keeping your mortgage or rent low is one of the most important things you can do to keep your budget in check. Here are some ideas for getting there:
- Live with Roommates – While this isn’t an option for everyone living with roommates is an easy way to lower your housing costs without sacrificing location.
- Move to a Less Expensive Area – If you’re renting moving to a cheaper area temporarily is a surefire way to get your rent down.
- Be Creative – After I got divorced I stayed with my Dad for a while (rent free) and then bought a trailer for $10,000. I knew I could make this temporary sacrifice to get to where I want to be.
Unfortunately there’s not a whole lot you can do about the cost of your utilities aside from limiting the amount of electricity, gas, and water you use. Living in a small home will also help.
The grocery budget I listed in the above example is for a family of four. If you don’t have four in your family then you may be able to adjust this amount to significantly less.
Car Insurance/Cell Phone
As an ex personal lines insurance agent I strongly suggest that you get your auto insurance re-quoted with different carriers every 2-3 years. Insurance companies will generally spike up your rates the longer you stay with them. New companies want your business so they’ll give you a better price for the first 2-3 years.
As far as cell phones there are SO many options now-a-days that it doesn’t make sense to pay more than $50 a month. Fifty dollars can get you a very good smart phone plan at a place like Republic Wireless or Ting.
Savings and Debt Repayment
If you’re bringing home around $30,000/year and currently have debt this would be how much you can afford to pay each month. If your minimum payments total more than this amount then you’re going to need to cut your budget somewhere or look for other ways to bring in money.
If you’re in debt you need to make a plan to get out, pronto! Having a high debt amount will make living on a $30,000 budget difficult.
If you don’t have debt then this money can go to savings or investments.
Can You Live on $30,000/Year?
If you’re in the Midwest then living on $30,000 per year, even as a family unity, is completely possible. If you live in a large city or high cost of living area then it might not make so much sense.
Alexa Mason is a freelance writer and wanna be internet entrepreneur. She is also a newly single mom to two beautiful little girls. She chronicles her journey as a single mom trying to make it big at www.singlemomsincome.com.