Apparently we live below the poverty linePosted: May 23, 2014
The federal poverty level for a family of 5 in 2014 is: $27,910. This works out to $2,325 a month.
Here’s what our core expenses are per month:
- Housing: $1,065 (varies slightly year to year based on property taxes)
- Food/Household/Personal Care: $450 (does not include alcohol or luxury non-essentials like CO2 for our seltzer machine)
- Fuel/Repair & Maintenance: $200
- Gas/Electric: $200
- Medical Out-of-Pocket: $100
- Car Insurance: $83 (we could easily live with a single car, which would half this, and may do this soon)
- Water: $80
- Internet: $60
- Phone: $25
- Total: $2,263 (97% of the poverty line)
Quite frankly, this amazes me. This doesn’t include the various benefits (Medicaid, EBT, EITC) that we’d qualify for if our income was actually at this level. And it includes paying a mortgage on a house! Renting a decent 2 bedroom apartment or buying a cheaper house at a lower interest rate (how I wish we could!) would easily get the home expense into the $600-$700 territory. When our house is paid off, taxes and insurance alone would ~$250/month.
Optimizing to a single-car family, something we essentially are already (I use my car only 1-2 times a week and could save those trips for when the Alchemist was home) would knock about $100/month ($50 each from maintenance and insurance). Our gas/electric bill may actually end up lower than $200 a month with our Mustachian usage. It would certainly be less in an apartment setting.
We live a pretty fantastic life. Our kids are happy and healthy. We have shelter. We eat lots of fresh food and are starting to grow some of our own. We live within walking distance of three parks, biking distance of many others. We live within walking distance of two supermarkets, biking distance of countless shopping opportunities. Entertainment is a bit thin, but that’s where the magic of the public library comes in – and the second-best library in the area is a mile or so down the road.
We’re thankful for what we have and we certainly don’t feel poor.
*Regular readers will note I’ve left out all of our debt payments on student loans. I did this because: 1.) they are not a core expense; 2.) based on these numbers, we certainly didn’t need to go to college to support our lifestyle!