Living on $700 a Month

Back in January I posted my sample $1000 a month budget.  I don’t stay strictly on this budget but it is a fairly accurate representation of my monthly expensesFrugal Freedom lives on even less and posted her $700 a month budget.  Below is her monthly budget.  I combined some expenses into categories to make it easier to compare to my monthly budget.

  • Food $150
  • Transportation $256
  • Utilities $149  (electric,internet, and phone)
  • Life Insurance $47
  • Everything Else $98 (trash,Christmas, property tax)

The main difference in our budgets is that she doesn’t have a rent or mortgage payment in her budget because she lives in an RV.  She does have a house with a mortgage but I’m guessing she doesn’t include it here because her renters cover the mortgage payments(?).  Other than that our budgets are pretty similar.  One difference is that she doesn’t have any money budgeted for entertainment or health insurance.  She also spends money on life insurance which I don’t have because I have no need for it.

This does show that you can live on very little money if you plan for it.  If anyone else has a low monthly budget they’d like to share I’d like to see it.

18 thoughts on “Living on $700 a Month”

  1. When I was a student in college in the US I was making about $4-500/month from my campus job. My rent was $100-$130/month, food and alcohol were about 100-150 as well.. My utilies varied, since we could always turn them off if they went out of sync with our budgets :-)
    Oh yeah, and I shared a house with 3 other people..

  2. Unfortunately, the rest of us will get stuck paying this person’s medical bills because she is too stupid and shortsighted and selfish to be responsible for her own needs.

  3. beloml- I believe she has health insurance through her job. That is why it isn’t listed as an expense if that is what you’re referring to.

    cherryblossom- This isn’t my budget. I spend about $100 a month on food. I’m not sure if you think that is too much or too little but it works for me.

  4. I’m a physician in a suburb of KC and make mid-6 figures annually. By choice, I live very frugally. My budget:

    Rent $695.
    Total Util(phone,cable,int,water,elec) $200
    Food $80
    Gas $100
    Ins $60 (car,renters, umbrella)

    I live on less than $1200/mo. The rest gets invested or given away. I could probably live cheaper but figure, why? I’ve got a great income. I bought my old Honda with cash years ago and it’s still going strong. My student loans of $150,000 were paid off in eighteen months. I’ve been totally debt free for about 4 years.

    My life is very rich and fulfilling. Fortunately, the things I like don’t cost money. I’ve read your blog for quite awhile and enjoy it immensely. I was hoping to hear about your living in a van. I’ve considered buying an old trailer to live in myself and may do it in the future. I could retire and live on my investments, but love working too much to quit yet and I’m way too young.

  5. Didi- That is very impressive. I’m not sure if I’d have the discipline to keep my budget low if I had a large income. I am quite happy with my life as it is now though, so maybe I wouldn’t need to spend any more money.

  6. I hear people talking about my budget! Since I just decided to cancel some of my life insurance I guess I have a $664 budget now. I actually had $100 in my budget for food but I am always going over so I put $150 to be more realistic. I think I use grocery shopping as entertainment. I don’t have an entertainment budget right now because I am so focused on paying off my mortgage in 2 years. Antenna tv, chatting with friends, and blogging are my distractions. You are correct that my renters pay my mortgage so I don’t include it in my budget.

    beloml-I do have health insurance through work and I don’t include that in my budget. When I retire early I will set up a Health Savings Account. If I have medical bills now I will use the $1400 extra I am putting towards my mortgage.

    cherryblossom-I eat a lot of spaghetti with cheese, chicken alfredo, quesadillas, soup and sandwiches. I could spend a lot less on groceries. Didi’s $80 is impressive unless Didi is getting free lunch somewhere.

  7. daizy, you’re right, I couldn’t do $80/mo for food if I didn’t eat free most of the time. I work everyday and eat free at the hospital. I only eat out if somebody else pays, but have lots of opportunities for this – usually at really nice restaurants too. My $80/mo buys mostly my cheap wine that I drink very rarely and paper products. Also, health/life/malpractice ins. is furnished by my job – also my cell phone.

  8. I am all about reducing expenses and living frugally; however, for me eating doesn’t fall into that category. Well, not exactly our family of 3 has a $375 grocery budget and a $175 beverage/dining out budget.

    I have a hard time believing that anyone eating on $100 +/- is getting a full serving of fruits and veggies and enough fiber! In college I had a very frugal eating budget, because I had to, so I ate a lot of spaghetti, PB&J and burritos, but as adult I prefer the variety and bounty of nature on my table!

  9. Green Me- You are right that I’m not getting my full serving of fruits and vegetables. I can’t really blame that on my food budget though because I’ve never had a good diet even when I spent more on food. I believe one could have a relatively healthy diet on a budget of $100 but I haven’t done it yet. Here are some healthy and frugal foods that were suggested to me. It is something I have to work on.

    One can also have a very unhealthy diet on a food budget of $500 a month. I’d guess most Americans spend more on food than me and don’t eat much,if at all, healthier than me.

  10. Lived and worked most of my 57 years for very litte more than minimum wage, which after tax’s usually came to less than $200.00 a week, as a veteran I do get my healthcare usually at the V.A. although I try to avoid doctor’s and hospitals as much as possible…and need no lesson’s on resposible insurance cost’s(if this was a responsible nation would you be running up huge deficit’s to leave yourkid’s and grandkid’s while engaging in war’s to spread democracy, while your borrowing money from Communist China to stay afloat!) Hard to tell whether were going to choke to death on exhaust fumes or hypocricy while you worry over health care cost’s! I live what I call a European Lifestyle. Coffee and a pastry, maybe for breakfast and than one larger but usually simple meal later in the day, I heat my cottage in Virginia that’s pushing a hundred years old with a woodstove that I also cook on in the winteralthough I have modern appliance’s also! I cook outdoors on a fire pit and grill in nicer weather. I drive as little as possible in my 4 cylinder albeit 4 wheel drive Toyota truck, and prefer to scoot around to the library and other place’s on an aged but dependable Vespa and often ride shotgun in my wife’s mini Cooper. All in all we try to live as well as possible on as little as possible, ignoring the Jone”s and what they think, savouring sunset’s and a good book instead of a movie or television, not that their not fine on an occasion. It’s a challenge and a lifestyle,living well is the best revenge…but do it on your own term’s…sort of a comfortable Bohemian, saving a bit for a rainy day…or a holiday (which seldom come’s) …procrastination is the theif of dreams…live your dream’s now and leave a little something other than debt for future generation’s…and if you see Tom Brokaw tell him I said he’s wrong! He said this was the greatest generation….I think it was the greediest generation that took more than it left, and it left without paying the bill!

  11. I live on 750.00 a month SS retirement. I pay 300 rent for a good sized studio house. Utilities are about 50.00 a month. Internet is free because I live near businesses that have free wifi, food is 150.00 (and I eat well) . I shop second hand stores and do yard sales in the summer. My car is paid for and runs good and my insurance is 30.00 a month. I’m frugal, but I don’t feel I do without. That leaves me 220.00 per month to put away. That’s about 2500 a year I put away. Some of that I spend on Christmas and birthdays, but all in all I’m quite happy and never feel deprived. I never buy something if I don’t honestly need it. I save some money in case of emergencies. And so far, I haven’t been sick (not even a cold) in more than 20+ years. I walk and ride my bike to save gas. I usually fill the tank, maybe ,every other month. My cell phone is Tracfone and I use a 20.00 card maybe once every 3rd month because I use google talk to call out on my computer. It can be done and quite easily, too.

  12. Anne, thanks for sharing. It is always interesting to see how different people mange to live comfortably on a low amount of money.

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