How a Family Of Four in the US lives on just $14,000 per year

How a Family Of Four in the US lives on just $14,000 per year

When I first heard about this family, it was hard to believe that they can live on such a low income.

Danielle Wagasky, 28, lives with her her husband, Jason, 31, and their two young children in a three-bedroom family home in Las Vegas, Nevada. While Jason, a member of the U.S. Army, completes his undergraduate studies, the family’s only source of income is the $14,000 annual cost of living allowance he receives under the G.I. Bill.

She blogs from Blissful and Domestic.

Here is how they do it:

1. Have a goal and work together as a family.

The couple had a single savings goal in mind, saving $30,000 for a downpayment on their home in their native Henderson, Nevada.

They came up with a budget that could work.

Some of her advice in making a budget includes: Do not include “extra” things like dates, movie trips, shopping trips, etc. 

These are not necessities.

If you do not have money left after comparing your bills to your income, then you need to reevaluate your spending. Do you really have to have cable TV?

2. Say no to cable.

This is something we do not have in our household as well. They use Netflix and a small antenna to pick up over the air channels.

Here is a post where we show how to use your Internet and watch TV for free.

3. Pay Cash

They budget $400 per month. This breaks down to $300 for normal groceries and they use the extra $100 to stock up on sales and food storage.

We use our credit card when buying groceries for our frequent flyer miles but sometimes we go over budget. The cash system forces you to play within your budget.

4. Purchase second-hand goods.

Most of my home bought in their house are from thrift stores.  This is something that we rarely do but it works for the odd thing (we needed a container for our olive oil to pour and make sure we weren’t using too much and found a container for under $2). I personally hate digging through many of these stores and the quality is questionable at times. I prefer to browse Craigslist or UsedEverywhere to find lightly used bargains.

5. Do it yourself

This family makes most of its talents by making their own laundry detergent and green cleaners. Some of the recipes that they post on their website are not the most nutritious and I feel they are sacrificing their health to save a few extra dollars. We try to make as much as possible at home but you need to make an economic decision, time vs money.

Do you want to live for as little as possible or enjoy quality time together doing family activities?

The average house price in Henderson, Nevada is just $170,000 (where we live in Victoria, BC it is over $550,000). It is challenging living in a city where the cost is living is expensive.

If you would like to share your story, please visit our submit a reader story page. We love to hear new tips to save!

Steven Zussino

Steven Zussino is the co-founder of Grocery Alerts Canada. He loves to help Canadians save money on groceries. He also runs the blog,