Living on $12,000 a year

July 5th, 2007  |  Published in Consumerism, Finances  |  8 Comments

Do you want to live on $12,000 a year? Here are some tips on how to pull it off.

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  1. Abraham says:

    July 5th, 2007 at 10:52 am (#)

    All good, until I got here:

    “First of all, don’t have any more children. Although you do get more exemptions, the cost to raise a child to age 18 is now given as $190,000! Plus the world has over six billion people, four times (by the most optimistic estimates) what the planet can support in a sustainable manner.”

    And I realized I was reading a kook. Oh well, some pretty good advice nonetheless.

  2. Jennifer says:

    July 5th, 2007 at 5:26 pm (#)

    some good info and a good read, but most of it is common sense and the concept of living on only $12,000 per year is ludicrous unless you live at home with parents, in the projects, or in a trailer parked in the woods. Heck, my health insurance alone costs almost $12,000 per year. I think this is one of those hippie granola guys who lives off the grid and never saves and never buys insurance, who ends up being taken care of by our tax dollars and inflated insurance premiums. Come down to Arizona and try to do without air conditioning…:)

  3. Josh Sowin says:

    July 5th, 2007 at 5:39 pm (#)


    If I could pay my mortgage off, I’m pretty sure I could live at around $12,000 a year, especially if I grew some of my own food. So I think it’s doable. Unfortunately our culture is so mobile that we almost never stay in a place long enough to pay it off — or when parents finally do pay it off, the kids don’t want it so they sell it instead of keeping an almost free place to live.

    But I agree it is hard — and often seemingly impossible. But humans are good at doing things that seem pretty tough.

    Thanks for reading,


  4. Austin Storm says:

    July 5th, 2007 at 6:42 pm (#)

    Waaait… I’m in school, and I live on 12k ~ a year. What’s the big deal? I have a car and everything.

  5. Eric Brown says:

    July 13th, 2007 at 11:09 am (#)

    Hi Jennifer,
    The living expenses for my family of four (two very young children) have amounted to no more than $12,000 over each of the last three years. For sure, it’s a different way of life than the norm of American consumerism, but it’s hardly “ludicrious,” and it’s also several times over the average family income (i.e. from a broader perspective my family is deep in consumerism.) Even if my family is technically below the poverty line, my family, like almost all Americans, lives a very lavish life by comparison. If the average family lives off two or three thousand dollars per year, we Americans could afford to live much, much simpler lives, if we chose to. It’s just a matter of choices and priorities.

    Choosing to spend almost $12,000/year on health insurance is one choice that surely ties your hands, limits a lot of other choices you might make, and defines your way of life to a significant extent. I’m not saying it’s the wrong choice, and I know next to nothing of your circumstances, but it’s no small thing to spend as much on insurance against some as of yet unrealized eventuality as it takes to lavishly support a small family (lavish as in the United States as opposed to Bolivia or Indonesia or Benin.)

    I also object to your apparent characterization of people who live frugal, simple lives as dependents of the dominant consumer society. I think the reverse comes closer to the truth: people living $50,000 /year lifestyles are the dependents of (and first- or second- or third-hand exploiters of) the people doing hard physical labor and making relatively little money.

    Come down to a small town and try to do without consumer goods…:)

  6. Dan Washington says:

    November 5th, 2007 at 4:39 pm (#)

    Only a guy on crack would think you can live on $12000.00 a year.Living and surviving are two different concepts.
    Cutting out every pleasure in life and just getting by is not living. No air conditioning in Alabama, we had 15 days of over 100 degree weather.Sweating until your dehydrated is not living.. that would be torture. The article should have been called kill yourself and live for free, you shmuck…..

  7. Rachel Nichols says:

    August 7th, 2009 at 7:10 pm (#)

    It is possible to live on $705 per month–roughly $8,400 a year. Or even less if you live alone. If you are married, you will need more–children still more of course. How do I know that you can live on $8,400 a year, because I do so. I also pay $350 on rent and utilities–I live in a low-cost area and don’t own a car. I don’t mean to brag, but I also give away 10% to the less fortunate, although I don’t have to pay taxes. No doubt there are people in countries like Liberia who would consider me quite wealthy.


    May 17th, 2010 at 1:26 pm (#)

    Currently I live off of an annual income $12740.00 annually and can say from experience it can be done. It is just a matter of priorities. Do I really need the deluxe cable package or a daily latte at Starbucks or would the money be used better elswhere. I pay $595. rental on a 2 room studio apartment in Chicago that includes all my utilities, basic cable and internet(my one luxury)and have a pay as you use Go phone. I do all my cooking from scratch and eat out maybe twice a month. My wardrobe is entirely from thrift shops and garage sales as well as all the furniture in my apartment except the mattress. and have no car to use gas or insure. Though it is at times a struggle it is very possible, especially if you have no children like myself.

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