I can go through school and support a pregnant wife on the minimum wage.

You may recall that a couple months ago, my wife and I decided to live on less, cut expenses, and budget better. Let’s take a look at how we did.

The Goal

Keep our budget at $800 a month
-550 for rent
-50 for car insurance
-80 for gas/travel
-120 for food

The minimum wage debate

There’s a huge push to raise the minimum wage because people can’t live on 7.25 an hour. At minimum wage, and after some hefty taxes, I’d be earning $928 per month. This is why we need to keep our budget under $900 dollars per month. We need to be able to save up, because we don’t and won’t have a credit card or any student loans.

How did we do?

The process that we followed was to leave all the automatic payments to themselves and take out cash for all of the other things we would have to buy; food, gas, entertainment, etc.
We withdrew $200 in cash, and we split that up between the different things we’d have to buy. One of the main sections of the split-up was a $30 a week section for food. Once the cash ran out, we couldn’t spend any more.

Looking at June, let’s see how much we spent on our debit card; that will give us a total amount for money spent outside of the budget.

Outside of budgeted expenses, we spent a total of 154.13
Which means that we could have made it by on about $950 in June.
It’s also important to note some of the contents of those 154 dollars.
-29.37 at Olive Garden for Rachel’s birthday
-8.53 for Netflix
-10.11 at Blimpie’s for a pregnancy I-can’t-eat-anything emergency
-14.51 at a Chipotle 30 miles away as part of a campaign to get a Chipotle in Provo

So there are definitely, at the very least, $62 that we did not have to spend at all. Omitting those luxuries would have left us under the $900 line and in a place where we could safely and securely live the minimum wage and save us for something.

Here’s July:

Outside of budgeted spending, we spent $94.84
Our spending is below the earnings of a minimum wage earner.
AND we still spent:
-8.53 on Netflix (again)
-22.77 at Denny’s (because we “needed” to go out to eat)

If you take out those unnecessary spendings, and leave in the pregnancy emergencies (which usually include Walmart, Wendy’s, and Smith’s) we are still $64 over budget, but still spending less than a month’s pay for a minimum wage employee.

In a nutshell:

We’re still spending over our budget, but we’ve made a lot of cuts. We’ve cut our spending by over 30% and skipped out on vacations, because simply, we cannot afford it right now. We took out some cash and tried not to spend more than that. We actually talked with one another about our spending. It’s not the easiest thing to budget, but anyone can do it if they set their mind to it.

What have you done to live on less?