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So you think YOU LBYM???
Old 07-09-2007, 06:13 PM   #1
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So you think YOU LBYM???

Just now I was infected with a bad case of "I LBYM more than you do, nyah nyah!" I was sure that the amount I live on was so low, that I was even living below the federal poverty guidelines.

So, I looked up what the federal poverty guidelines are for 2007.

Poverty for a household of 1 (like me) in the 48 contiguous states or D.C. is defined as an income of $10,210 per year, or less. After taxes, take home pay on that might be $680.67/month.

$680.67/month? YIKES!!!

I can't even begin to imagine how I could get by on that. Poor people have to pay rent out of that, too.

Guess my LBYM skills are not as good as I thought.
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Old 07-09-2007, 06:22 PM   #2
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Here are some visuals to help you get on track to your LBYM lifestyle.

A sack of beans and a sack of rice and you are set.

What more can you ask for ?

- Stop workin' and start livin'
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Old 07-09-2007, 06:33 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by MasterBlaster View Post
Here are some visuals to help you get on track to your LBYM lifestyle.

A sack of beans and a sack of rice and you are set.

What more can you ask for ?

- Stop workin' and start livin'
EEEEEK!!!!!

My life is SO GOOD!!!
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Old 07-09-2007, 06:35 PM   #4
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You can't even rent a studio apartment anywhere around here (MA) for that amount. Heck my daughter shares a 4 bedroom house with 3 roommates in Boston with each paying $650 and it is not in a great location for sure.

That why I count my blessings every day......
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Old 07-09-2007, 06:35 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by Want2retire View Post
Poverty for a household of 1 (like me) in the 48 contiguous states or D.C. is defined as an income of $10,210 per year, or less. After taxes, take home pay on that might be $680.67/month.

$680.67/month? YIKES!!!
At $10,210 a year, the only tax you pay is FICA which is 7.5% or $765/year. That would leave you $788/month. But you're right, YIKES!

A month or two ago, there was a thread on how much one can get by, and one board member insisted on $10,000/year for a couple for a COMFORTABLE life. It was quite entertaining.
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Old 07-09-2007, 07:18 PM   #6
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Obviously, people with very low income tend not to live by himself/herself. They may also have unreported income.
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Old 07-09-2007, 07:28 PM   #7
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Obviously, people with very low income tend not to live by himself/herself. They may also have unreported income.
But this was for a household of 1. There were different numbers for a household of 2, for example.

Unreported income would mean that in order to live at the poverty level, it is necessary, not optional, to break the law.

It MUST be possible to live on this income somehow. Maybe it involves Ramen noodles. I don't eat that stuff any more.
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$680.67/month
Old 07-09-2007, 07:34 PM   #8
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$680.67/month

This humbles me to think that people live on this amount. I'm blessed....
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Old 07-09-2007, 07:38 PM   #9
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Unreported income would mean that in order to live at the poverty level, it is necessary, not optional, to break the law.
What does that tell us?
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Old 07-09-2007, 07:55 PM   #10
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At that income level you would qualify for food stamps, so no food bill. In CT you would also qualify for "section 8" rent assistance. Your rent share might be $200/mo for a 1 bedroom. I think the State pays your utilities at that level too. Not living high on the hog for sure. Most at that level are elderly and or disabled.
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Old 07-09-2007, 07:57 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MasterBlaster View Post
Here are some visuals to help you get on track to your LBYM lifestyle.

A sack of beans and a sack of rice and you are set.

What more can you ask for ?

- Stop workin' and start livin'
That is the old Unabomber estate, no?

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Old 07-09-2007, 08:01 PM   #12
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My mom made it by on $423 per month. She did live in subsized housing for the elderly. But wow. I never knew how little she lived on until she passed, and I was the executor of her will. Despite this low income, she still gave $20 to Special Olympics.

She was an amazing woman.
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Old 07-09-2007, 08:51 PM   #13
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But this was for a household of 1. There were different numbers for a household of 2, for example.
But I think that means no dependents. It does not mean that you would not be sharing an apartment with someone else (another single).

Why would anyone making minimal wages be expected to be the king of their own castle? Plenty of fresh-out engineers I knew (decent salary) would share an apartment to save on rent. It's not a big sacrifice.

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Old 07-09-2007, 11:42 PM   #14
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I'm pretty sure my stepdad (age mid 70's) is living on roughly that amount and he's doing so quite happily. He lives in an RV that is paid off. In the winter, he works 3 days a week (unpaid) as a security person at his favorite RV park in AZ. This consists mainly of driving around in a golf cart escorting new arrivals to their spaces when they come in in exchange for being allowed to stay in the park for free (incl. free water and electric) for months at a time. In the summer, for a change of pace, and to get away from the AZ heat, he works as a campground host in CO, another easy job. He does have some money put away in case of a medical or other emergency, but he doesn't touch it for day to day living.

He's always thought outside the box. He's my inspiration for LBYM.
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Old 07-10-2007, 12:40 AM   #15
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I think Sam is right, the taxes would not be much, there would even be a tiny EICredit for a single. So say you have to survive with $760 a month...

I just looked on Craigslist for Denver and saw several studios or basement apartments (probably not legal/permitted) for $350-450, and even one govt subsidized that would charge only 30% of your income which would only be $255. Say you could get one for $400, you still would have $360 left for food and expenses. No car, low utils for tiny apartment. Probably no health insurance.

I know this can be done because in grad school(16 years ago), I only had $500 a month to live on. $325 went to my half of the rent(utilities included), and with the other $175 I got to pay the phone bill and eat. No car, I could walk to campus and to the store, I never went anyplace else.

Obviously, some locations you can't get housing that cheap even if you have two roomates, but then you either need to head to a cheaper city, or get some skills so you can make more than $5/hr.
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Old 07-10-2007, 01:16 AM   #16
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Shall we talk about the $10K lifestyle. Let's call this person Ten. Ten doesn't own a lot of stuff, except the permanently set travel trailer, maybe an old Airstream, that she lives in at the trailer park. She got it for free or for a few hundred dollars. She shops at thrift stores due to necessity. Ten lives within walking distance of a convenience store, and carpools(with a more affluent neighbor) or taxis to a grocery store once a week with food stamps. The phone is a pay phone near the laundry room in the center of the park. Social Security is Ten's sole source of retirement income and she started it at 62. Ten receives less SS than we will because she worked jobs like waitressing for tips, that paid more than a job where taxes were taken out of her paycheck, but she wasn't ever a good saver. Neither were her parents. Ten started working early and didn't finish high school. She uses OTC drugs for ailments and either gets her prescriptions for free from the pharmaceutical company's charity program, or she does without. She is just as happy or sad as we are because she is about as well off as her neighbors. The proximity of the neighbors gives new meaning to the phrase "close knit community."
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Old 07-10-2007, 01:17 AM   #17
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I'm probably one of the people Sam is talking about who says I know people living quite comfortably on $10,000 a year or less. And people exactly like your stepdad, Meridiver, or your person "Ten", heyyou, are exactly what I was talking about.

In our nomadic life, we have met many, many people like them, living interesting lives, with friends, activities and hobbies, as comfortable as many with multiples of that income. Trading a small amount of labor for a place to live rent free, bartering skills for needed services, working within a community of people with little money who do the same. It's a different world from that of the standard middle class consumer, but it's there.

It can be done. We know people who are doing it. It DOES require a "thinking outside the box" way of being, ingenuity and attitude. Most who are accustomed to living the standard middle class consumer lifestyle haven't the slightest idea how it could be done, but there are many people out here doing it, and well.

As my mother was fond of saying, "There really are many ways to swing a cat."

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Old 07-10-2007, 01:27 AM   #18
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When you have that little an income, you must be inventive in housing. Besides the RV alternative, we have known people who gave care to an elderly person in exchange for a free place to live, or babysitting, or in my own case, when young with little children, as a resident manager of a small apartment building, which gave us free rent in exchange for keeping the halls, stairs and laundry room clean, and incinerating the trash (that was long ago, and the apartment had its' own incinerator, although I am sure that would be illegal today). In addition to being the resident manager, I also babysat several other children while their mothers worked, and if I added up everything, did better than if I had a fulltime job.

We spent a whole summer in our RV in 1997 near Aspen CO absolutely free on a beautiful horse farm, parked right along the Roaring Fork River, with a snow covered mountain out our window, in exchange for watering horses and tending a small garden, out of which we could take our vegetables, also free. It took us less than an hour per day to do both.

When you have always had a good income, you can't imagine how people would cope, but believe me, when push comes to shove, people DO cope, and often, they cope well. You just don't realize it, because most don't LOOK poor, who are successful at it.

LooseChickens
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Old 07-10-2007, 07:14 AM   #19
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Originally Posted by Want2retire View Post
But this was for a household of 1. There were different numbers for a household of 2, for example.

Unreported income would mean that in order to live at the poverty level, it is necessary, not optional, to break the law.

It MUST be possible to live on this income somehow. Maybe it involves Ramen noodles. I don't eat that stuff any more.
The household number may be misleading since a person with a household status of one can share an apartment with others. Obviously, the apartment is not located in an expensive part of a city. Thus, their living expenses can be very low. As one poster indicated earlier, some are eligible for economic assistance (i.e., food stamp) to supplement their living expenses.

Unreported income is not uncommon, e.g., jobs paid in cash.

We eat Ramen noodles once in a while -- it's quick but not healthy (a lots of salt of MSG).
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Old 07-10-2007, 07:33 AM   #20
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Section 8 Subsidized (maybe free) housing, Food Stamps, Surplus Food Give Aways. Don't know if they publish numbers for subsidized housing occupants in the large cities but I believe it would be close to this number. Personally, (Sister IL) I know of one building in Chicago that is not to shabby. It is in Morton Grove which is an old but pretty upper class suburb of the City. She lives very well and her income is pretty close to this level in a 1 BR apartment in a 6 story building with an elevator, security protected, and well maintained place. I would not like to live like this but it is not too bad at least for her.
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