Whether you’re saving money to make repairs to your house, pay off debt or simply to build a nest egg, creating a budget can be difficult. This is especially the case when there are necessary bills to pay and daily expenses such as food and childcare. However, living on a tight budget is possible, and you might be surprised how little you can spend when you take the time to plan everything out.
One family in particular is sharing how they live on less than $1,500 a month, and although it may seem impossible, Christine, the blogger behind The (mostly) Simple Life, shares exactly how she does it with an actual budget breakdown. In her post, she sets up the fact that this may be a challenge for many of us due to living in more expensive parts of the country, having a larger family size, different hobbies or health concerns, but she hopes to serve as inspiration to prove that careful budgeting can really save you a great deal of money.
Here are some of the key points from her post. Keep in mind this budget is for two adults and a dog living in a low-cost area of Western Michigan.
1. They Keep Their Budget The Same Every Month
To help predict how much they’ll spend, they pay their gas and electricity on a fixed plan ($46 and $91, respectively), they pay off their credit card bill so there are no debt payments, and they have a basic cell-phone plan with just phone calls, meaning no texting or data overages.
2. They Keep A Mini Savings Fund For Irregular Bills
Life happens, and you don’t want your monthly budget to get screwed up because you had to buy a new washing machine. Christine and her family keep a mini savings funds for irregular bills and expenses that they contribute a little into monthly. They add $10-100 per item such as medical, house repairs, gifts, and more.
3. They Spend $45 A Week On Groceries
Food is a huge expense, but if you put in some effort, you can save a lot by shopping at places like Aldi or Sam’s Club. Christine also uses Ibotta to get money back on her groceries, and they set a budget for eating out, which they can choose to cut if that money is needed elsewhere that month.
4. They Use A High Deductible Insurance
Choosing an insurance plan with a high deductible often means paying lower monthly premiums. You’ll shell out more if/when you incur a medical cost. For many families or elderly people, this wouldn’t be the right choice, but it works for a young and healthy couple like Christine and her husband.
5. They Share A Car
Christine and her husband keep gas and car insurance costs lower by owning just one car for the two of them to share. Depending on where you live, making use of public transportation can be a great way to cut costs. If you find you have one car sitting, you may be eligible for a lower insurance rate based on your mileage used. Or maybe weigh out getting rid of the second car and relying on public transportation, a bike or even a car-sharing service instead.
Check out this visual breakdown of Christine’s budget, below: