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 expenses.  Frugal 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.

26 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. 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. Im a single mother of two boys, and Im living on social security Income of $733.00 a month. I pay rent, utilities, internet for there schooling, transportation, debt payments , phone plan, pets, personal care, medical because of me being ill.I get food stamps but only $100 a month to feed two pre teen boys. So most of the time dills either dont get paid or Ill go without eating or my medications so they have what they need. Their father doesnt not help or in the picture. Im looking for sujestions before I file bankrubtcy.

    • At that level of income there isn’t much you can do. Your best hope is to find a way to increase your income or to get more assistance.

  13. I am not sure if talking about choosing to live on $700 a month is the same having no choice. I am unable to work due to several things from my back and heart problems to a few mental issues. I make about $700 a month. I wish I could work a full time job but can not due to the stress. I am an artist but who would pay enough money for one of my portraits to make it worth my while to deal with picky people. I charge about $400 for a portrait in pencil. (And no I can not do it for less with the amount of time and detail I put into it.) I live in a crappy studio apartment that is less than 380 square feet including a bath and kitchen. I should be able to get a 1 bedroom but thanks to all of the people that can shill out $1000 or more a month for a 1 bedroom they are not building anything for people in my position. I lived in Seattle in the early 90’s and fell in love with it. I met a girl online and fell in love with her and moved. I tried to make it work but it didn’t. So being on a fixed income I got stuck. Now it is way too expensive to move back to Seattle thanks to Microsoft, Amazon and the Frasier Crane Show. (Everyone went to Seattle to work for Microsoft and wanted that Frasier Crane view so the developers started to build it and the apartment I was renting for $290 a month in 1994 is now $1800 a month.) The homeless in Seattle is now 40% and a 4 year waiting list to get on a waiting list for an apartment and you have to have lived there for at least 6 months to even get on the list to get in the list for an apartment. So all of these people that are complaining about having money but choosing to be on a $700 spending budget should try getting by on my money. I have $425 for rent, $54 for utilities, $50 for phone and $60 for internet,(which I need for my artwork) $40 for laundry, $100 for bus fare, and for food I go to the food banks and soup kitchens. So I do not want to hear people crying in their beards when they are doing a hell of a lot better than me and people like me, saying how hard it is to live on a $700 a month budget when they do not have to. Hell if I was making a grand a week I would be living high on the hog or at least higher up than I am now.

  14. Tim – Thanks for your comment. I didn’t see anyone complaining about choosing to live on $700 a month. Since they are choosing to live on $700 a month, if they were unhappy with that choice they would simply choose to live on more money a month.

  15. I’m not good on a comp, but I’ll try to tell you how to live on less then 500.00 a month,after 57 years with my wife i was lost with my big ss pay of 667.00 a month.i sold everything i had right down to the tv set and bought a beat up houseboat 2000.00 and moved on the st john river in FL.Here i live very good.I’m75 years old and hard for me to get around.but here i stay.when the law gets after me i just move to a new place on until they fine me again.i fish a lot and plant food on some of the islands. and i can write a book about it. but you can live on next to 0. if you want to give up things.

  16. I’m living now on disability and my total income is 750.00 a month I really want to get like a rv or something that can be mine my whole life I have been renting a room it sucks I just don’t know how to go about finding a place on land and afford to pay for land and rv all together I’m really want ing this bad I always paid my bills never do I borrow that I can’t pay back so now I’m in Conway s.c I’m always walking I can’t afford a car and insurance and 100 food stamps a month ,if anyone ever sees a place that’s small and maybe like rent to own rv on land please let me know cause it seems like I’m not going anywhere for a while that hurts cause I’m in my late 40s and I just don’t think I should get married to be saved ya know !!!!

  17. I am 60 and broke my back 9 years ago i am learning to live on 750 a month yes I am losing things but that cannot be helped


Leave a Reply