How Little Can You Live On In 2022? - Money Under 30 (2023)

By cutting out most (or all) of your wants and sticking to a very tight budget, you could live off of less than $1,000 a month. Here's three examples of how (and where) you have to live to do it.

Whether you call it frugality, minimalism, or just being broke, a lot of people are desperately looking for ways to live on the least amount of money possible. Whether they want to save for the future or pay off current debts, there is really no bad reason to want to reduce spending. And it can be done!

We decided to take a look at just a few radical examples of frugal living to try and figure out just how little a person can live on in 2022.

What’s Ahead:

Example #1: Young, healthy, 20-something individual living in NYC


Since it’s practically impossible to live in a city by yourself for really cheap (and still feel relatively safe), I’m going to say this person lives with two other roommates.

In NYC, a three-bedroom apartment costs (based on my extensive searches on Zillow,, and Trulia) around $1,600-$1,800 without utilities. Including utilities, I’ll round up to each person paying $800-$900 a month (and that’s still for a pretty small place).

Now, if everyone wanted to spend as little as possible, this means there wouldn’t be internet or cable in the apartment. Each person would have to settle for coffee shop or library Wi-Fi.

Total so far: about $900

Phone service

Luckily, I’m basing this in NYC so there’s access to nearly every kind of pay-as-you-go cell phone service out there. It’s nearlyimpossible to operate without a phone, so a basic phone plan is the cheapest option.

TPO Mobile offers a 1GB, unlimited talk and text plan for just $21 a month (with auto-pay)—that’s a pretty basic plan. The 2GB plan goes up to $25 and 3GBs goes up to $35 a month.

Total so far: $921

Public transportation

Since this individual lives in NYC, it’s likely they don’t have a car. Which is probably for the best, because driving in the city sucks and parking costs are astronomical.

So they wouldeither take the bus or ride the subway, with a 30-day unlimited pass for $121.

Total so far: $1,042


If you avoid going out frequently (which, yes, I know if highly unlikely for the 20-something individual I’m using as an example), you can eat fairly cheaply.

I know people who live off of $35 worth of food a week ($140 a month). It’s not the most comfortable thing to do, and you wouldn’t beeating much besides pasta, chicken, and some frozen vegetables, but it’ll keep you fed and relatively healthy.

Food costs can vary depending on where you shop—so this individual would have to stick to larger grocery stores. AvoidingWhole Foodswould also be a must.

Total so far: $1,182

Student loan

For this example, let’s assume this individual doesn’t have a student loan. This is highly unlikely if this person went to college, but let’s make this imaginary person’slife a little easier by granting them the luxury of no college debt.

All other factors

So far, the total cost of living in New York City with a bunch of roommates, no car, and a very low food bill is just $1,182. That’s pretty cheap. But, since life isn’t that simple, there are a lot of other factors to consider as well.

They include clothing, health bills not covered by insurance, a couple nights out on the town (because realistically you’re not going to stay holed-up in your apartment all the time), and a handful of other situations it would take too long to mention.

Example #2: Young, healthy, 20-something individual living outside a city in Holyoke, MA

Since not all people enjoy living in the city (or can afford it), let’s take a look at what living outside of a major city would cost the same 20-something, single, healthy person.

I’m using Holyoke, Massachusetts, because it’s right outside of cities like Springfield and Chicopee, and is a short distance from five colleges.


Since apartments are cheaper in more rural areas, I’ll do an example of a person who lives with a roommate, versus the cost of a one-bedroom apartment.

According to the online real estate databases I mentioned earlier, a two-bedroom apartment in Holyokeranges between $1,000 and $1,300. So a person would likely not pay more than $650 a month with a roommate.

Total so far: $650

Phone service

Holyoke is still considered a city, but I went to college in the area and can tell you, that’s pushing it. That being said, there aren’t as many phone service options.

Verizon’s most basic plan, is the best option. For anunlimited plan, it’d cost$75 a month.

Total so far: $725

Public transportation

The great thing about having so many colleges near Holyoke is that this means there’s excellent public transportation, which is unusual for such a rural area.

A PVTA (Pioneer Valley Transit Authority) monthly pass is $45, with unlimited rides during running hours (the last bus is usually around midnight, depending on the time of year).

$45 a month is cheaper than car maintenance, a potential car loan, and gas. These bus rides can be long though since they make so many stops.

Total so far: $770

Internet or no internet

There is a plethora of libraries around that offer internet, as well as many coffee shops with internet access, but on the outskirts of Holyoke, internet wouldn’t be a bad idea.

Verizon internet offers a$40 planfor 100mbps.

Total so far: $810


Using our super frugal food bill from the example above, you could spend as little as $140 a month.

Total so far: $950

Student loans

Since a large portion of people that live in Holyoke or nearby were (or are) college students, I’m going to factor in the cost of a student loan.

The average student loan debt for 2017 is about $37,000. Using this amount, and 5% interest rate, there’s a couple of different options for monthly payments:

  • Standard (make the same payment) 10-year repayment: $392 a month
  • Graduated (payments increase every two years) 10-year repayment: $222-$666 a month
  • Standard 25-year repayment: $216 a month
  • Graduated 25-year repayment: $154-$352 a month
  • Pay As You Earn 20-year repayment: $99-$393 a month

Since this is about living in the cheapest way possible, let’s use thePay As You Earn 20-year plan, that’s another $99 a month.

Total so far: $1049

Example #3: An average, somewhat frugal, young person living in Chicago

Taking a look at how an actual young person lives, let’s see what the cheapest you can live on including “necessities” like basic internet and a decent phone plan.


Chicago is way less expensive than New York City. A person living in an apartment with a roommate (again according to my findings on, Zillow,, and Trulia) could pay as little as $700-$800 without utilities. So each person would be paying (averaging in utilities) about $600 a month (and that’s rounding up).

Total so far: $600


Like most cities, there’s not much of a reason to have a car, unless you enjoy traffic jams and pedestrians constantly darting out in front of you.

A CTA (Chicago Transit Authority) bus and train pass is $100 a month.

Total so far: $700

Basic internet

An average twenty-something is going to have internet. Binge-watching Netflix shows isn’t as socially acceptable in coffee shops as it is from your own apartment.

RCN of Chicago offers basic internet (155 mbps, which is a really good deal) for just $44.99 a month (not including equipment). The one thing to note—their customer service rating is pretty bad, but that seems to be a theme with internet providers.

Total so far: $745


Like NYC, in Chicago, there’s access to nearly every kind of pay-as-you-go cell phone service.

Again, TPO Mobile offers a 1GB, unlimited talk & text plan for just $21 a month (with auto-pay). The 2GB plan goes up to $25 and 3GBs goes up to $35 a month.

Total so far: $766

Food & dining

Let’s be honest, any 20-something is going to go out at least once a week. Whether that’s to a bar or ordering takeout.

As a 20-something myself, I can probably say a really frugal eating out budget is $100 (it’s probably more like $150-$200), depending on where you live.

If you’re in an expensive city, drinks and food will cost more. If you’re in a rural area, maybe there’s only one or two bars that serve the same $2-$3 Bud Light, but you’ll make up for that cost in Uber fares.

Total so far: $866

Student loan

Using the student loan info from above, you could get away with paying $99 a month, with the lowest possible payment.

Total so far: $965

Wrappingeverything up

Theoretically, a very frugal person, who doesn’t go out a whole lot and can settle for basic everything, could live (in Chicago, at least) for under $1,000. That also assumes you don’t have any health issues, a car, and you don’t buy any new clothes for a while.

Read more:

  • Why Being Frugal Doesn’t Always Help You Save
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Can a person live on $30 000 a year? ›

It's quite possible to live well on $30,000 per year if you're debt-free, but what if you have debt? I would recommend trying to pay it off as quickly as possible with the debt snowball approach. Cut your expenses as much as you can and put the amount you save toward debt each month.

Can a person live on $500 a month? ›

With good planning, you can easily live off $500 a month for groceries, gas, and other variable spending. The trick is to spend that money on needs and not waste it on wants that are not essential.

Can you live off of $10 dollars a day? ›

Although living on $10 a day to cover your discretionary expenses is absolutely possible, it will likely be a challenge. Without a strong sense of willpower and a plan, it can be even more difficult. But luckily, there is a solution to help you stay on track: budgeting apps.

Can you live on $1,500 a month? ›

That means that many will need to rely on Social Security payments—which, in 2021, averages $1,544 a month. That's not a lot, but don't worry. There are plenty of places in the United States—and abroad—where you can live comfortably on $1,500 a month or less.

How much money a year is livable? ›

Here's a look at the 15 states with the highest living wage thresholds: Hawaii: $132,912. New York: $101,995. California: $94,778.

Is 1000 dollars a month liveable? ›

Even under the best circumstances, $1,000 per month is not a huge amount of money. Try to live on $12,000 a year and your quality of life will be less than stellar in the best-case scenario.

How much is $5 dollars a week for a year? ›

$5 a week, for a year (which is 52 weeks), is $260.

Where can I live on $2 500 a month? ›

In order to streamline the process, GoBankingRates has compiled a list of the 11 best cities to retire with a budget of $2,500 a month.
11 Best Cities To Retire on $2,500 a Month
  • Omaha, Nebraska. ...
  • Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. ...
  • Lafayette, Louisiana. ...
  • Sioux Falls, South Dakota. ...
  • Abilene, Texas. ...
  • Brownsville, Texas.
Feb 2, 2023

How much is 30 dollars a day for a month? ›

$30 daily is how much per month? If you make $30 per day, your Monthly salary would be $650. This result is obtained by multiplying your base salary by the amount of hours, week, and months you work in a year, assuming you work 40 hours a week.

Can you survive off 14 dollars an hour? ›

This is not a livable wage. If you are in high school or college and have support from your parents, then this is great spending money for you. However, if you are making it on your own, $14 per hour will not make ends meet each month.

Do people live on $1 a day? ›

Currently, 1 billion people worldwide live on less than one dollar a day, the threshold defined by the international community as constituting extreme poverty.

Where can I live with 1000 USD a month? ›

5 Countries You Can Live For Less Than $1,000 A Month
  • Argentina. The cost of living in Argentina is up to 60% less than in the United States. ...
  • Croatia. Croatia doesn't get enough credit as a budget-friendly destination for expats. ...
  • Grenada. ...
  • Vietnam. ...
  • Zimbabwe.
Mar 24, 2021

Is 5k enough to move out? ›

If you have $5,000 set aside to move out, you don't necessarily have to worry about moving on a tight budget. Regardless, you should still make sure you are spending your money wisely. Keep reading for more information on how much it costs to move and how you can save money while moving!

Is 30 dollars an hour livable? ›

The average income per individual in the US is $35,384 per year, but the median income in the US is $64,994, which is right around the 30-dollar-an-hour mark. Since 30 dollars an hour is above the average income per individual, it's a livable wage, but it depends on a few factors.

Is $20 an hour a livable wage? ›

Is $20 an hour a livable wage? At this $20 hourly wage, you are close to double the minimum wage. Things should be easy to live off this $20 hourly salary. However, it is still below the median income of over $60,000 salary.

How much a year is $25 an hour? ›

$25 hourly is how much per year? If you make $25 per hour, your Yearly salary would be $52,000. This result is obtained by multiplying your base salary by the amount of hours, week, and months you work in a year, assuming you work 40 hours a week.

How do I stop living paycheck to paycheck? ›

Here are 10 steps to stop living paycheck to paycheck:
  1. Believe it is possible. ...
  2. Don't wait for more money. ...
  3. Make it the life change you want most. ...
  4. See the benefits of owning less. ...
  5. Sit down to do the math. ...
  6. Admit that you probably spend more on nonessentials than you think. ...
  7. Put your savings into a different account.

Where in the world can I live comfortably on $1500 a month? ›

Aside from the financial benefits, Costa Rica offers a sunny, tropical climate with gorgeous scenery. In addition, quality of life is superb, and many people can afford to live on $1,500 a month (excluding rent payments).

How do you survive on little money? ›

Here are 15 frugal tips to look like you're living large without overspending.
  1. Eliminate monthly subscriptions.
  2. Shop for new insurance.
  3. Reduce prescription costs.
  4. Buy used items.
  5. Rent, don't own.
  6. Purchase at the right time.
  7. Buy high-quality products.
  8. Enlist your friends.

How much is $20 a week for a year? ›

Annual / Monthly / Weekly / Hourly Converter

If you make $20 per week, your Yearly salary would be $1,040.

How much is 25 dollars a day for a year? ›

Annual / Monthly / Weekly / Hourly Converter

If you make $25 per day, your Yearly salary would be $6,500.

How much is $25 a week for a year? ›

$25 weekly is how much per year? If you make $25 per week, your Yearly salary would be $1,300.

How can I live on $20 a week? ›

Shopping List for $20 Broke-Person Meal Plan
  1. 1 loaf of bread, $1.
  2. 1 (16-slice) pack cheese, $1.
  3. 1 (16-oz) pack spaghetti noodles, $1.
  4. 1 head Iceberg lettuce, $1.
  5. 2 Roma tomatoes, $1.
  6. 1 lb ground beef, $3.
  7. 1/4 lb thin-sliced deli ham, $2.
  8. 1 box mashed potato flakes, $1.
Dec 9, 2022

What is the cheapest way to live comfortably? ›

Here are 13 housing alternatives to help cut the cost of living and bring balance to your budget.
  • Moving to a Cheaper Area. ...
  • Living in a Recreational Vehicle (RV) ...
  • School Bus Homes. ...
  • Living on a Boat. ...
  • Living Abroad. ...
  • Renting a Guest House. ...
  • Living in a Mobile Home. ...
  • Moving into a Tiny Home.
Nov 10, 2022

How can I survive 30 dollars a week? ›

  1. Start by figuring out how much you spend. Do you know exactly how much you spent on groceries last month? ...
  2. Plan your meals out and make a list. Before heading to the store, think about all the meals you want to prepare for the week and make a list of the ingredients you'll need for them. ...
  3. Stick to the basics. ...
  4. Go cash only.
Jan 13, 2017

How much is $20 a day for a month? ›

$20 daily is how much per month? If you make $20 per day, your Monthly salary would be $433. This result is obtained by multiplying your base salary by the amount of hours, week, and months you work in a year, assuming you work 38 hours a week.

How much is $5 a day for a month? ›

Five dollars a day amounts to about $150 per month or $1,825 per year.

How much is $20 a week for a month? ›

$20 weekly is how much per month? If you make $20 per week, your Monthly salary would be $86.67.

How to eat on $2 dollars a day? ›

$2 day menu
  1. breakfast. a slice of homemade bread 11c. 25g homemade peanut butter 20c. tea with milk 9c.
  2. lunch. broccoli soup (recipe below) 60c. slice of homemade bread 11c. butter 2.5c.
  3. dinner. potato omelette 85c. TOTAL – $1.985.

How to eat on $15 dollars a week? ›

How to feed yourself for $15 a week
  1. Never allow leftovers to go bad. I would cook one or two major meals per week. ...
  2. Supplement with inexpensive foods. ...
  3. Shop in the produce aisle. ...
  4. Never eat out. ...
  5. Have substantial cereals for breakfast. ...
  6. Avoid junk food. ...
  7. Avoid pre-cooked foods. ...
  8. Buy a basic paperback cookbook.
Sep 8, 2007

How to spend $20 dollars a week on food? ›

A Healthy Diet For $20 A Week
  1. Eggs, 2 1/2 dozen. $2.69.
  2. Potatoes, 10 lbs. $2.89.
  3. Carrots, 2lbs. $0.99.
  4. Cabbage, 2 heads. $1.98.
  5. Onions, 3lbs. $0.69.
  6. Corn tortillas, 2pkgs (60). $2.56.
  7. Pinto beans, 2lbs. $1.78.
  8. Salsa, 1 jar. $1.69.

How much is $15 an hour annually? ›

Based on a standard work week of 40 hours, a full-time employee works 2,080 hours per year (40 hours a week x 52 weeks a year). So if an employee makes $15 an hour working 40 hours a week, they make about $31,200 (15 multiplied by 2,080).

Can you survive on $22 an hour? ›

Things should be easy to live off this $22 hourly salary or about $45,000 a year. However, it is still below the median income of over $60,000 salary. That means it can still be a tough situation.

How many Americans make less than $10 an hour? ›

The Bureau of Labor Statistics estimates that about 20.6 million people, or 30% of all hourly, non-self-employed workers 18 and older, are considered “near-minimum-wage” workers. This is defined as those who make more than the minimum wage in their state but less than $10.10 an hour.

How many dollars a day is poverty in the US? ›

To track progress towards its goal of eradicating extreme poverty by 2030, the UN relies on World Bank estimates of the share of the world population that fall below the International Poverty Line. In September 2022, the figure at which this poverty line is set shifted from $1.90 to $2.15.

How many people live on less than $30 per day? ›

In 2019, only about 16 percent of people in the United States lived below the $30‐​per‐​day poverty line.

How many people live on $10 a day or less? ›

However, even the world's most developed countries are yet to eliminate poverty, with 62% of our population living on less than $10 per day. Over two centuries ago, the global fight to end poverty began; fast forward to today, and we are still in the very early stages of this fight.

How can I save $5000 in 3 months? ›

Practical tips for saving 5k in 3 months
  1. Increase your earnings. On paper, the easiest way to save more money is to make more money. ...
  2. Use discounts and coupons. ...
  3. Plan ahead when shopping. ...
  4. Cut your biggest expenses. ...
  5. Look for small savings. ...
  6. Follow a budget. ...
  7. Automate your savings.
Jan 17, 2023

Is saving $1,500 a month good? ›

Saving $1,500 a month is an excellent goal to have. It can help you build up your savings and put you in a better financial position for the future. Having this amount of money saved each month can give you more flexibility when it comes to making decisions about spending or investing.

Does living paycheck to paycheck mean you have no savings? ›

Those living paycheck to paycheck predominantly devote their salaries to expenses. Living paycheck to paycheck may also mean living with limited or no savings and refer to people at greater financial risk if suddenly unemployed than individuals who have amassed a cushion of savings.

Where can I live for $500 a month in USA? ›

You may get a small-sized apartment with this budget, but you'll also have access to numerous amenities and convenient locations.
Mission Impossible: Where in the U.S. Can You Rent for $500?
  • Greenville, OH. Listing: Wayne Crossing. ...
  • Wichita, KS. ...
  • Lawton, OK. ...
  • Amarillo, TX. ...
  • Indianapolis, IN. ...
  • Searcy, AR. ...
  • Shreveport, LA. ...
  • Jackson, MS.
Oct 9, 2020

What is the cheapest way to live for a month? ›

Cheapest Way of Living – 11 Ways to Live Cheap
  • Live in an RV.
  • Become a Live-In Caretaker.
  • Rent a Guest House.
  • Live in a Manufactured House for Cheap.
  • Live on a Boat.
  • A Storage Unit.
  • A Duplex or Multi-Plex.
  • Renovation Project.

How many dollars an hour do you need to live? ›

According to the updated Living Wage Calculator, a liveable wage in the U.S. (based on data from 2021) is $24.16 per hour before taxes for a family of four in which both adults are working.

What is the cheapest month to lease an apartment? ›

The lowest rental rates are usually found between October and April, particularly right after the December holiday season. Fewer people are interested in moving—the weather's bad, schools are in session, etc. So individuals renting between the months of December and March typically find the best rental bargains.

How much money do you realistically need to move out? ›

Share: You should generally save between $6,000 and $12,000 before moving out. You'll need this money to find a place to live inside, purchase furniture, cover moving expenses, and pay other bills.

How much should I save for first apartment? ›

Now, the big question: How much money do I actually need to set aside for an apartment? Based on the above categories, you should save an amount equal to at least 3-4 months' rent. That will cover paying rent for the first month, security deposits and last month's rent.

Can I buy a house if I make 30k a year? ›

While it's hugely situational, it is definitely possible to purchase a home if you're making $30,000 a year. As long as you have enough savings to make a down payment, have a good credit score, and have a decent debt-to-income ratio, you should be good to go!

What is 30k a year hourly? ›

$30,000 yearly is how much per hour? If you make $30,000 per year, your hourly salary would be $14.42. This result is obtained by multiplying your base salary by the amount of hours, week, and months you work in a year, assuming you work 40 hours a week.

How long can $30,000 dollars last? ›

How long will savings of $30,000 last? When will $30k run out? Your savings will last for 5 years and 8 months.

Is having 30k in savings good? ›

Most financial experts end up suggesting you need a cash stash equal to six months of expenses: If you need $5,000 to survive every month, save $30,000. Personal finance guru Suze Orman advises an eight-month emergency fund because that's about how long it takes the average person to find a job.

Can I buy a house with 25K income? ›

So if you make $25K per year, you can likely afford around $580 per month for a house payment. Assuming a fixed interest rate of 6 percent and a 3 percent down payment, that might buy you a house worth about $100,000.

Can I buy a house with 20 000 income? ›

Can I get a mortgage on $20k a year? Yes, it's possible to get a mortgage on 20k a year. Assuming a loan term of 30 years with an interest rate of 5%, you may qualify for a home up to $74,066 and have a monthly payment of $467.

Can I afford a house making $40,000 a year? ›

With a $40,000 annual salary, you should be able to afford a home that is between $100,000 and $160,000. The final amount that a bank is willing to offer will depend on your financial history and current credit score.

What is a low salary? ›

According to information gathered by the Bureau of Labor Statistics, the lowest average salary for any full-time job in the U.S. is $25,160 per year, which is $2,097 a month. That's the salary for a shampooer reported in 2021. Many people make less than that, but that's based on nationwide wage averages.

How much is $16 an hour annually? ›

$16 hourly is how much per year? If you make $16 per hour, your Yearly salary would be $33,280. This result is obtained by multiplying your base salary by the amount of hours, week, and months you work in a year, assuming you work 40 hours a week. How much tax do I pay if I make $16 per hour?

Can I retire on $2 million at 65? ›

Retirees with $2 million can enjoy a comfortable retirement, especially with interest added. Retiring early can cut into that savings due to early withdrawal penalties and delayed Social Security. With the right combination of budgeting and interest, a retiree can make early retirement work.

Can $2 million dollars last a lifetime? ›

Yes, for some people, $2 million should be more than enough to retire. For others, $2 million may not even scratch the surface. The answer depends on your personal situation and there are lot of challenges you'll face. As of 2023, it seems the number of obstacles to a successful retirement continues to grow.

Can I retire at 50 with 300K? ›

But if you're asking if you can retire on 300 thousand dollars, you might be in for a challenge. Unless you're ready to take Social Security, relying on $300,000 for your post-retirement years could be tough. If your savings is in an IRA or 401(k), you'll be unable to access it before age 59½ without penalty.

How much should a 30 year old make? ›

Average Salary for Ages 25-34

For Americans ages 25 to 34, the median salary is $1,003 per week or $52,156 per year. That's a big jump from the median salary for 20- to 24-year-olds. As a general rule, earnings tend to rise in your 20s and 30s as you start to climb up the ladder.

How much does the average 30 year old have in their bank account? ›

Average Savings by Age 30

Again, it lumps together everyone under 35. The Fed's most recent numbers show the average savings for the age group that includes 30-year-olds is $11,250. The median savings is $3,240. If you're in your 30s, you may have some advantages that could help you to grow your savings.

How much money should a 30 year old have? ›

Here's how much cash they say you should have stashed away at every age: Savings by age 30: the equivalent of your annual salary saved; if you earn $55,000 per year, by your 30th birthday you should have $55,000 saved. Savings by age 40: three times your income. Savings by age 50: six times your income.


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