Living on a Tight Budget

June 12, 2012

Money Being Cinched by Measuring TapeMy family is now not just one percent poor side, but my parents are poor now too. I have always lived frugally, but now my mom has returned to frugal living just to survive, and I am reteaching her what she has forgotten, and the new frugal sources as well as the old ones.


We go to the thrift stores together now, and I am teaching her how to appreciate and shop thrift stores. Dakota Boys and Girls Ranch is an excellent place to get new overflow from Target at cheaper than store price. Clothes for children can be had at a good cheap price and a third of the price too. The clothes we look for are Target brand, and new tag clothes. Instead of $25 jeans, it is $4 for the same jeans that are name brand.

I get a couple for my children, and my one niece whom I now raise. My brother whom is my niece's father has custody, and he told me to help raise his daughter, and the only way I know how to is frugally by sewing dresses made of yellow and pink. I get to crocheting too, as my source for mitts and scarfs for all my children is yarn from thrift stores.

My other past time is coupon clipping which my sons do with better accuracy than me. I passed that gene onto my children. We have a garden for our veggies, and seeds come cheaply from dollar stores in my area. I raise my children to be respectful and honest when it comes to living frugally. One doesn't have to cheat the system to do it.


Our rent is rent controlled by an understanding landlord, otherwise our rent would be a hardship on our family. We live in a two-income, limited budget of $1400 combined. We each get about $700 a month. This is the last year for rent return from the state, as they will not be doing it next year, so our rent return will be saved for clothes that are not thrift store buyable, or sewable.

Shoes are bought at a Payless Shoe store two times a year. One for winter, and one for the rest of the year. Shoes are a spendy adventure for a family of 14 that includes one niece, two adults, and eleven children. All of various ages. Hand-me-downs, thrift stores, and occasional garage sales help, but mostly hand-me-down clothes.

For furniture we go to the thrift store again. I also shop for dollar store bean bag chairs for my teen son and daughter. I love the fact that people donate Snoopy and Winnie the Pooh stuff. They sell them cheaply at rummage sales too, but I guess one person's clutter is our family's gain.


I shop at Family Dollar, and Dollar Tree in Dilworth and PR for groceries and personal items for my family. I stopped shopping at regular grocery stores long ago. I make my own cleaning supplies out of items like baking soda and vinegar. I have not spent one penny on bleach or 409 in years. I clean my windows with vinegar and lemons with water as a solvent. It works well.

My family is happy and we do not feel deprived one bit. Teach them young not to want name brand and you get frugal adults. That is what I always was taught and personally have been quoted by friends and family. My children have excellent imaginations, because I raised them to know that money can't buy you happiness or fun, if what you pay for isn't what you call fun. Living frugal has always been my way.


My grandma taught me to sew, knit, crochet, and cook from scratch. My mom taught me to clean without spending money that was not around with no job, and my grandpa taught me to fish which is what we eat fresh caught all summer long. My dad taught me car maintenance, so paying for oil changes never happened in our family which is what I teach my children, and DH was raised the same way I was raised frugally, so we teach that to our children. This is how we live frugally.

By Tanya J. from MN

Comment Was this helpful? 19


Read More Comments

18 More Solutions

Share on ThriftyFunThis page contains the following solutions. Have something to add? Please share your solution!

Silver Post Medal for All Time! 449 Posts
January 16, 2019

Growing up wasn't that easy for a simple girl who is shy and almost doesn't talk in public. My family has had a lack of resources since I was a kid, as my parents were just starting a small family.


I remember one time my parents told me and my older brother to hide during snack time because we only have water and fried bananas on our lunchbox.

A platter of homemade banana cakes.

Comment Pin it! Was this helpful? 10

Bronze Post Medal for All Time! 107 Posts
October 5, 2011

As odd as it may seem, just the act of writing down a budget can have an adverse or possibly even reverse affect on your attempt to save money. Have you ever decided to go on a diet and immediately began craving something sweet?

Comment Was this helpful? 5

December 14, 2010

When life gives you things you can not handle, just remember you have to have bad to remember the good times. So when things get hard, just let it make you stronger.

Comment Was this helpful? 7

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh
May 5, 2009

There's no quick fix for the economy, and jobs are disappearing daily. Even seemingly secure jobs are causing some people to look at their futures with a budget cutting scissors in hand.

List of Monthly Bills

Comment Pin it! Was this helpful? 2

August 20, 2004

It took me several years, but I finally figured out how to manage my families finances so we never worry about the bills.

Comment Was this helpful? 4

January 20, 2006

In an effort to stay as much on a budget as possible and track my spending I have finally found an easier way. I keep my check book in my purse and use is to record my deposits and withdrawals, of course, but I also keep a small ledger in my purse.

Comment Was this helpful? Yes

Kelly Ann Butterbaugh
March 12, 2009

I remember the morning when I watched the stock prices scroll across the bottom of the TV screen while I was watching the weather forecast. It was 5 AM, and I wondered if I was watching history happen; every stock was preceded by a red arrow that noted a drop in its value.

Sun Shining Through Clouds

Comment Pin it! Was this helpful? Yes


Ask a QuestionHere are the questions asked by community members. Read on to see the answers provided by the ThriftyFun community or ask a new question.

February 22, 2015

How do I live off of $750.00 a month? How do I budget this amount of money each month? I live in section 8 housing and my rent is 191.00 a month, but I have car insurance and car expenses. What should I save from this low amount of money

By Valorie


February 22, 20151 found this helpful

You are the only one that can figure out what things you can save on. Could you do without a car and ride buses or take cabs. I haven't had a car since 1997, I take cabs when I have to go someplace, but I really limit how often I go anyplace. I live off $700.00 a month. I am 74 years old.


I have renter's insurance, pay electricity, phone, internet. Cable is included in my rent. I am also on Section 8 housing and I pay $210.00 a month rent, and I get $170.00 a month in food stamps. Medicare Part D pays most of my prescription meds. I don't buy any magazines or things like that. I do spend a fair amount on scrapbooking supplies and genealogy, those are my major recreational expenses.

Reply Was this helpful? 1
Read More Answers

July 22, 2012

For all of you very frugal TF readers out there, I have a big dilemma. I am trying to help someone out with and was wondering if you could guide me. Is it possible to live on $1000 per month with a mortgage payment of $800 a month which includes the taxes? I am asking for a family of two, a parent and a 22 yr. old college student.

The student's schooling costs are covered and he works part time for his expenses. The location is upstate NY which I mention because I know cost of living varies. Of course in this location there will be heating costs in the winter, but I know there is assistance available for that. Thank you for any advice you can give.

By Arlinn


Bronze Feedback Medal for All Time! 186 Feedbacks
July 23, 20120 found this helpful

You are right there is assistance for heating, but it won't cover all of the expenses, anyway in SD, it doesn't. There is also other utility expenses, such as electricity, phone, etc. If they run an air conditioner in the summer the electricity bill will be quite high, Then there is food, clothing, and cleaning supplies. I don't see how with a mortage payment of $800 a month that they can live off $1000.00 monthly. Oh yes, there is also homeowner's insurance, car expenses such as insurance, gas, and general upkeep.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Read More Answers

January 16, 2005

Hello, I am the mother of three teenagers, well one of them is only twelve, but my oldest, at only 16 is 6'5 and 230 lbs, and his dad is just as big. My problem is, although we both work, we have a very tight food budget, and I just can't seem to make it to the next payday with our food supplies. I want to cook healthy, I do frozen burritos from time to time, but that just doesn't do it. Any ideas how I can better stretch our food budget while not feeding them junk?

Thank You,



By (Guest Post)
January 16, 20050 found this helpful

Tina, do you have an Aldi store nearby? You have to bag your food there and it is unfancy, but you can get so much there for your money. They have a new health food line also. I have two teenage boys and just shopping there has cut my food bill tremendously. Good luck to you!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By Ann4 (Guest Post)
January 16, 20050 found this helpful

I shop at Costco for bread, meat, milk, eggs and cheese. Super Walmart for most other things. I think one of my biggest money savers is serving smaller portions of meat. I am able to use less by cooking casseroles, rollups, etc. I also shop alot of the BOGOs and try to use coupons for those items. I am a stay at home mom with 4 children and my 14 year old is 6feet and 180 and does not seem to have finished his growth spurt yet so I have to really get alot of food for as little money as possible. Also, water or milk is all we have to drink at meals. I've heard that Aldi's is a great place to shop too.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By Linda (Guest Post)
January 16, 20050 found this helpful

Cook from scratch! Buy whole chickens on sale, bags of potatoes, fresh fruit on sale and in season. Avoid buying soda and junk food-empty calories devoid of nutrition. If your kids want them, let them spend their own money on them. Serve oatmeal or eggs for breakfast, rather than expensive cold cereal. Mix regular milk with powdered milk, diluted. If you serve it cold and don't tell them, they'll never know! Find bakery and grocery outlets in your area. Avoid frozen entrees and vegies in sauces. Buy frozen vegies plain and season as you like. Fruit is a fine dessert. Make baked apples. Make soup from scratch in a huge batch and freeze some of it. Serve with fresh bread, rolls or homemade muffins and that's a meal. Think ahead, be flexible enough when you shop to buy any bargain/sale things you see IF and only IF you can use it. It isn't a bargain if you can't use it or it will spoil!

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
By (Guest Post)
January 16, 20050 found this helpful

Look for a scratch and dent store. Lots of bargins there, for instance bottled liter water for 39¢, veggies 5/$1. A dented can doesn't matter unless there is rust. Also, the dollar stores and flea markets are other sources.
I make lots of healthy casseroles with recipies I get online. Try Weight Watchers, and any of the magazine sites.

Reply Was this helpful? Yes
Read More Answers

Bronze Request Medal for All Time! 87 Requests
February 4, 2009

I like many other people are struggling financially. but unlike many others I have been in this boat for well over 5 years. I pay for my own health insurance. I own my car and condo outright. But I am living paycheck to paycheck hoping the next check will be enough and it never is. I keep having to borrow from my savings account. My good friend is helping me with telling me which bills to pay and when as I don't have the organizational ability to do that.

She has been doing that for 2 years and I haven't learned anything from her about how to do it myself. I don't go to movies, beauty salons, or other fun things. I see many people on relief and assistance and they have such nice clothing, have their hair done and here I am living honestly on only the money I earn and money a friend will give me every now and again. I can't get by and am having a really hard time. What else can I do?

Sandy from Baltimore, MD

Read More Answers

April 7, 2008

How can I feed and clean a family of 5 for $200 biweekly?

Laurie from Belle River, Ontario

Read More Answers
Load More
In This Page
Better Living Frugal Living AdviceApril 23, 2012
Father's Day Ideas!
Mother's Day Ideas!
Ask a Question
Share a Post
Better LivingBudget & FinanceBusiness and LegalComputersConsumer AdviceCoronavirusCraftsEducationEntertainmentFood and RecipesHealth & BeautyHolidays and PartiesHome and GardenMake Your OwnOrganizingParentingPetsPhotosTravel and RecreationWeddings
Published by ThriftyFun.
Desktop Page | View Mobile
Disclaimer | Privacy Policy | Contact Us
Generated 2022-05-03 07:05:11 in 7 secs. ⛅️️
© 1997-2022 by Cumuli, Inc. All Rights Reserved.