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How much money do you need to live comfortably?

In the United States the official threshold to be considered living in poverty for a family of one is $10,890. If you have more people in your family the number goes up a little. I’ve placed a table below to give the exact amount your family would need to make to be within the poverty threshold.

Many associate “poverty” with unfortunate people that have caught bad breaks, dependent on government assistance and a daily struggle to make ends meet.


2011 HHS Poverty Guidelines

Persons in family 48 Contiguous
States and D.C
Alaska Hawaii
1 $10,890 $13,600 $12,540
2 14,710 18,380 16,930
3 18,530 23,160 21,320
4 22,350 27,940 25,710
5 26,170 32,720 30,100
6 29,990 37,500 34,490
7 33,810 42,280 38,880
8 37,630 47,060 43,270
For each additional
person, add
3,820 4,780 4,390

SOURCE: Federal Register, Vol. 76, No. 13, January 20, 2011, pp. 3637-3638


If you are in good health and are willing to think ahead with a long-term plan, wouldn’t it be possible to live comfortably while still living “in poverty”? What if you lived intentionally and became self-reliant instead of dependent on assistance from others? Please don’t get me wrong, I believe assisting others in need is one of the most honorable things you can do. The point I’m trying to make is that making less money, whether by circumstance or choice simply requires thinking and planning a little better. Here’s what I mean:

First of all, it’s important to note that for most people their home is their biggest expense. Finding a way to eliminate or reduce this expense is key for those making very little money. Lulu in California built a home with no building experience for herself and daughter from a shipping container for $4,000. As I am writing this a student that owns and lives in an Airstream and is looking for a place to park it just posted to the Tiny House Parking section of the site. There are tons of examples of people who have traded money for freedom and living intentionally. They took a huge step forward by living in a tiny house and eliminating or reducing their biggest expense.

All of us earned zero dollars the day we were born. Along the way we started making a certain amount of money and our lifestyles rose to meet that amount. Living comfortably on less money means drawing a line in the sand and taking steps to reduce your expenses. Buying and living in a tiny house is a big first step.

Do you live comfortably on a very small income? Do you believe you could live comfortably on a very small income?

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