Could you do it? Could you get by making half of the money you currently make?

What if you had to?

Does it make you anxious to even just think about this scenario?

So if you had to make do with less money, what areas would you have to streamline?

All of a sudden those luxuries like cable television and cell phones may be reexamined.

Would you give up your daily coffee? It all adds up.

I have a feeling that a lot of people have actually had to do just this. A lot of families may have had an income earner lose their job.

So how do they get by?

We have become so accustomed to spending our paychecks before they are even deposited. Some of us long to make more money so that we can spend even more.

It is not about the money we make. It is all about the decisions we make with the money we have.

We need to start a movement of spending less. I know that this goes against what we are told each and every day.

Thousands of messages to spend more. Messages that tell us we are not good enough just as we are. You just have to buy this new outfit/car/gadget and then life will be perfect!

Not so.

The happiness of that purchase quickly wears off.

You are good enough just as you are. You are perfect.

Enjoy the stuff you already have. From what I am hearing in the comments many people actually feel overwhelmed by the amount of stuff they have and want to give minimalist living a try.

Kudos to you.

Just start small. Look around at the stuff you have. How does it make you feel?

Maybe you can get rid of just one thing today or this week to start the decluttering process if that is what you are after.

Stop spending. Have a no spend day or two. Yes you will need groceries. I understand.

But limit yourself to just the basics.

I bet you will find that you can live on less money than you think.

This may free up some extra cash to pay off some bills and pay down some debt.

Make no mistake, it will take time.

Adopting a minimalist lifestyle requires a complete shift in your way of thinking and you may get overwhelmed. Just breathe and stay the course.

You will notice a sense of calm, a sense of freedom. It is as if you subconsciously know that this is the right thing to do. The right way to live.

So I’d love to know your answers to the questions at the start of this post.

  • Could you get by making half of the money you currently make?
  • Does it make you anxious to even just think about this scenario?
  • So if you had to make do with less money, in what areas would you have to streamline?

Please share your thoughts in the comments and please Like this and share this post via social media.

Thanks and have an awesome day.

“Live Simply”

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39 thoughts on “You Now Have To Live On Half Your Income

  1. My wife and I are currently focused on paying off all our debt. Right now we have about 2 1/2 years to go. This includes our mortgage, which many months we are paying four or five times the amount of our regular payment. So for us, we could make an adjustment to half our income pretty easily. While this would delay our debt free goal, it wouldn’t mean a change in lifestyle. We have focused pretty intently on living simply and we don’t have the magnitude of expenses that many of our peers do. I tend to think that we are in the minority and many others would struggle to live on half of their income.

  2. I’m currently a student making about $100 a week (so half of that would be nearly impossible)… but in about 2 months I’ll be joining the real world and starting work. I’m lucky enough to be graduating debt-free, and my goal is to keep things that way! So specifically this means: no car loans. Which is going to mean taking the bus/ riding a bike/ etc. until i can save up a little money… but i’m just trying to start off by living within my means instead of trying to fix it later πŸ™‚

    1. Yes. Please do not get sucked into buying a bunch of new stuff!! Especially a new car. I work with young guys that have gone out and bought brand new expensive cars that they will be paying for for a long time and then it is worth next to nothing!!!! Don’t do it!!!

      Good for you on graduating debt free!!

    2. Good for you!! Like you said, by starting off this way you won’t have to learn the hard way and fix things later. Most of the things people want are just that – wants. We should try to stick to getting the things we need and when we can really afford afford it then we can think about getting what we want. Most of the time we already have everything we need. Good luck to you

  3. This is something I’ve always tried to do πŸ™‚ I usually save some of the money and some I give back to my parents to help them in their medical expenses. You’re right, it’s all about the decisions we make with the money. I find that I really have everything I need…although sometimes it does make me anxious that I spend whatever I’ve saved on traveling. Again, decisions.

    Great blog! πŸ™‚

  4. Right now 20% of our gross goes straight to retirement and another 20% goes to housing, and between 15 and 20% of our gross goes to food, fun, etc. We get killed on taxes and insurances at 27% of our gross. We put away 13% for future fun and expenses like fixing the kitchen, our one car, or taking trips. In the end that 13% gets spent eventually, but most of it is discretionary. My student loan is 0.05% of our gross and we don’t have a car loan. No other debt.

    We definitely could get by on half our income, though we’d have to pare back our retirement savings and our spending and cut back future plans (eg. wait 5-6 years to fix the sink and countertops in the kitchen instead of 2-3).

    As I come to embrace minimalism, I expected our expenses to drop because we’re buying less stuff. Instead, we’re focusing on our priorities in life — seeing the world, enjoying food, having adventures. Unfortunately some of that is expensive no matter how cheap you are (two weeks in Australia is never cheap!) So now I’m not just having to scale back my ‘stuff’ purchases, but also I have to realize that you can live a good life without lots of expensive experiences. Minimalism is about priorities, not about having (or doing) it all. Traveling is more important to us than gourmet food, so we’re eating out less now.

    I’ve never broken our expenses down like that and it was helpful! Thanks for the interesting perspective on my finances. Good post.

      1. I used to be good at delayed gratification, but over the last decade, with a decent income, I got used to buying what I wanted more or less when I wanted, so it will be good to go back to having to save up and then relish the achievement.

  5. I used this strategy in college and early adulthood. And with that, my SO and I kept an “entertainment envelope” of allotted cash ($25 later $50) for movies, dining out, etc. Coming from no financial literacy, this helped greatly come adulthood.

  6. Just stumbled across your blog on the Freshly Pressed page, and I appreciate the questions you pose. As a high school teacher, it’s disturbing to listen and hear to so many kids put the material world on a pedestal. It’s not just kids. I try to live a thoughtful lifestyle, but I know I could cut out more. I could definately live on a drastically cut budget…how much, I don’t know!
    Thanks for checking out my own thoughts at http://www.mindfulstew.wordpress.com.

  7. I could. My husband and I put 20% into savings, give 10% to the church, and my student loans (the paying of which I don’t think counts as what I’m living on) are more than 5% of our combined income, so we are already living on only 65% of what we make. And that is after 7% of my gross pay goes towards retirement. For awhile, we were giving 15% to our church, but that was an experience in “giving until it hurts.” For spending money, we each give ourselves 5% of the paycheck we earn, and 70% of any extra money we earn (him refereeing soccer, and me editing doctoral dissertations; 20% to savings and 10% to our church for that money, too). That gives us plenty of spending money for things we want for ourselves, and we rarely go out to eat or entertain ourselves with admission prices. Because of the way we handle our money, I guess we are living minimally in a way already. Might be time to go through my things, though…

      1. Thanks! I think it comes from both of us being the oldest children of parents who were relatively good at money management. I also interned at a bank when I was 16, and I was required to go to money management seminars. I’m glad I found your blog; it will hopefully help keep me on track with what I do with my spending money.

      2. The saving comes in handy, too. When we got married last September, we were able to buy nice new furniture for our apartment with cash, and we’re on track to purchase a house before I turn 25 in 18 months… the first people in our family set to have a down payment with no parental help. So being frugal definitely pays off in the long run!

  8. I’ve just gone down to a 60% contract (from 100%) and it was a shock getting my payslip today. However, I am determined to live another life, one without the consumerism and all its trappings. It is going to be difficult persuading my five year old of the benefits, but everytime she complains, I remind her that she would have less of her mummy if I kept up the work pattern I had previously. Anyway, I look forward to reading more of this blog πŸ™‚

    1. I’m glad I stumbled across this blog. You have a lot of insightful information here. I will definately continue reading your blog. I am 23 years old and trying to imrpove my money management skills.
      Please check out my blog healthydemeanor.wordpress.com

  9. I think it all depends on the lifestyle you want. I personally find freedom and time so much more important than money. I actually find enjoyment finding new ways of not spending money. Nothing is off limits from examination. I have an Ooma home phone that cost’s $4.50 a month unlimited. A Tracphone for emergency calls $10 a month. High speed Internet is the one thing I won’t cut. I don’t have cable TV, although I get the broadcast channels for free somehow. Replaced paper towels with dish rags, Went back to the old way people shave and use those double edge blades for shaving 20 cents each, opposed to the expensive Gillette Mach 3, Fusions etc.. I think I contradict myself, I’m all about minimalism, yet if there is good sale on something I use, I stock up. I dislike spending full price. That is the area I have to work on, because it’s spending, but I justify it because it’s essential stuff. It fills that shopping urge. I like Marks idea of seeing how many days you can go without spending money.

  10. I live on less than half of what I use to make when fully employed. Now I stay at home to care for my daughter who needs me full time while she recovers from an illness – see my blog…
    We get by because we have to but yes I was anxious at the thought of giving up my job…the anxiety was shortlived however because anxiety serves no purpose other than to perpetuate anxious thinking…
    Although we were already practicing some minimalism we now drive less thus spend less in gas, go out less, we keep chickens, we buy only essential foods and grow our own vegetables, we are grateful for what we do have i.e. a roof over our heads, enough food, and heat in the winter….
    Great blog!

  11. I cut my phone bill into nearly half my changing providers. By having healthy food available in my house and planning meals properly, I have less temptation to eat out, and save that way. I have also been driving around a scooter instead of a car. This is fantastic when doing groceries because I have to double think everything I buy. There simply isn’t space to carry it all. Finally, I do groceries with a list. If it’s not on the list, I don’t get it.This is helpful because sometimes I see things that are on special, and I find the low price very tempting, but I don’t actually need it. Buying only what I need not only reduces my grocery bill, but also reduces the amount of waste from things going off before I can use them.

  12. Even considering this sent me spiraling, but I think that has shown me even more that I need to really re-examine my priorities. I think I’m going to try it out of a month and just see what happens. Should be interesting!

    1. It is indeed a complete change in lifestyle! And one that may take a long time to implement. We are so accustomed to just buying coffee and other little treats and things everyday!

      Just take it slow and maybe change one thing per week.

  13. I DID have to learn how to live on half my income and I was succesful. Pretty much the reason I blog like you. It’s nice to share what you learn with others…. 6 years ago my income was cut by 60% and I have managed to survive as well as pay off $15,000 in credit card debt. It’s amazing how much I learned about myself and whats important to me along the way. I could have rolled over and given up, but Im a fighter and never give up. I made it and now I dont think Ill ever need THAT much money again… Money isn’t everything and cant give me what is truly important. Family, friends, nature, my free time…..it’s all priceless

  14. The thought of trying to live on less scares the crap out of me. I am in survival mode. My spouse and I were pretty stupid a few years ago and long story short we have debt out the wazoo. We are working to pay it off, but we are scraping to get by as we should. (were choosing to scrape) We made our bed, have to lay in it. We did learn some huge lessons, and can’t wait to be completely debt free. In 3 years, I could see us living on 1/4 of what my husband makes. It would seem that our choice to become minimalist is due to lack of funds, but it was actually opposite for us. We started going minimalist well before the debt. I kick myself. For 10 years we had 0 debt, then we got stupid in the head and are going back to the debt free lifestyle. So to answer your question- not right now, but in the future for sure!

  15. Where I live (a town in India), people tend to spend the money they have and find the means of living within it, rather than on credit. Knowing that I am able to and currently live on half my income (and I work for an NGO, so it isn’t much) is a blessing I am truly grateful for.

  16. My boyfriend and I have been talking about this for months after we realised that we were spending way to much on our social lives and impulsive purchases. We started with small changes (a bit of a weaning-off period) and have gradually cut most of our expenses in half. It helps to have a goal in mind. Ours is a 2 year long, round the world trip in 2014. I think it is also imperative to have the support of your partner if you are in a relationship, otherwise you will keep finding yourself two steps behind where you want to be. Great blog πŸ™‚ really enjoying the discussion!!!

  17. Not only could I live on half of my income, I do. After I got divorced 4 years ago and I lost my job that amounted to over 100K in lost income. It scared me to death and affected me for the first two years. Just because my income reduced doesn’t mean the debt I had accumulated would reduce, of course and what about my big new house and the fact that I now pay child support?

    I’ve managed through it by separating needs from wants. Along the way my 13 year old son has been learning that lesson with me. It’s not always easy and we have made some adjustments I never would have considered before this all went down.

    Now, 4 years later, I’m starting to see that I am breathing again. Living this way gives me a sense of freedom I never knew existed. I’m glad I found it and now it’s almost like a personal challenge to see how I can find other ways to live more minimally.

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