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These measures were deflationary and merely reduced purchasing power in the economy, worsening the situation, and by the end of unemployment had reached nearly 3 million. The flight of gold continued, however, and the Treasury finally was forced to abandon the gold standard in September Until now the government had religiously followed orthodox policies which demanded balanced-budgets and the gold standard.

Instead of the predicted disaster, cutting loose from gold proved a major advantage. British exports were now much more competitive, which laid the ground for a gradual economic recovery. The worst was over. The introduction of tariffs caused a split in the Liberal Party , some of whom, along with Phillip Snowden, withdrew support for the National Government.

Although the overall picture for the British economy in the s was bleak, the effects of the depression were uneven. Some parts of the country, and some industries, fared better than others. Some parts of the country such as the South Wales Valleys experienced mass unemployment and poverty, while some areas in the Home Counties did not. The brightest spot was in home building. From through over , new houses were built every year, with the peak reaching , in In London and the south east of England unemployment was initially as high as The south was also the home of new developing industries such as the electrical industry, which prospered from the large-scale electrification of housing and industry.

Mass production methods brought new products such as electrical cookers and radios into the reach of the middle classes , and the industries which produced these prospered. Nearly half of all new factories that opened in Britain between and were in the Greater London area. Another industry that prospered during the s was the British motor industry.

For cities that had a developed motor industry such as Birmingham , Coventry and Oxford , the s were also a boom time. Manufacturers such as Austin , Morris and Ford dominated the motor industry during the s, and the number of cars on British roads doubled within the decade. British Agriculture also flourished in the s. Northern England , however, was a quite different matter. The north was the home to most of Britain's traditional heavy industries, such as coal mining in Yorkshire and Nottinghamshire , shipbuilding on Tyneside and Wearside , steel in Sheffield and textiles in Lancashire which were heavily export orientated.

The north bore the brunt of the depression, and the '30s were the most difficult time in living memory for people in these areas. The north was hit so hard in the Great Depression because of the structural decline in British industry. Staple industries such as coal, steel and shipbuilding were smaller, less modern and efficient and over-staffed compared to continental rivals. In the north east including Sunderland , Middlesbrough and Newcastle-upon-Tyne this was especially so.

The north east was a major centre of the shipbuilding industry. The Depression caused a collapse in demand for ships. The north west , a centre of the textile industries, was also hard hit, with places such as Manchester and Lancashire suffering a slump. In these areas, millions of unemployed and their families were left destitute, and queueing at soup kitchens became a way of life. In his book The Road to Wigan Pier , George Orwell described life for the unemployed in northern England during the depression: "Several hundred men risk their lives and several hundred women scrabble in the mud for hours For them, this arduously-gained 'free' coal was more important almost than food.

In the s and s, Britain had a relatively advanced welfare system compared to many of the industrialised countries. In a compulsory national unemployment and health insurance scheme had been put in place by the Liberal government of H. Asquith see Liberal reforms. This scheme had been funded through contributions from the government, the employers and the workers. At first the scheme only applied to certain trades but, in , it was expanded to include most manual workers. However, the scheme only paid out according to the level of contributions made rather than according to need, and was only payable for 15 weeks.

Anyone unemployed for longer than that had to rely on poor law relief paid by their local authority. In effect, millions of workers who had been too poorly paid to make contributions, or who had been unemployed long term, were left destitute by the scheme. With the mass unemployment of the s, contributions to the insurance scheme dried up, resulting in a funding crisis. In August , the scheme was replaced by a fully government-funded unemployment benefit system. This unemployment benefit was subject to a strict means test , and anyone applying for unemployment pay had to have an inspection by a government official to make sure that they had no hidden earnings or savings, undisclosed source s of income or other means of support.

For many poor people, this was a humiliating experience and was much resented. As a result, British exports became more competitive on world markets than those of countries that remained on the gold standard. This led to a modest economic recovery, and a fall in unemployment from onwards. Although exports were still a fraction of their pre-depression levels, they recovered slightly. Unemployment began a modest fall in and fell further in and , but the rise in employment levels occurred mostly in the south, where lower interest rates had spurred the house building boom, which in turn spurred a recovery in domestic industry.

The North and Wales remained severely depressed for most of the decade. In severely depressed parts of the country, the government enacted a number of policies to stimulate growth and reduce unemployment, including road building, loans to shipyards, and tariffs on steel imports. These policies helped but were not, however, on a sufficiently large scale to make a huge impact on the unemployment levels.

The United Kingdom was able to recover more quickly than other countries that were equally as developed, because their economic growth had been stagnant for some time. This meant that they did not have exponential growth, as the United States did, leaving them with less room to fall. Due to the abandonment of the gold standard in Britain was able to cut interest rates which led to a drop in real interest rates.

This drop in interests rates subsequently led to a boom in construction in the south of Britain; stimulating some renewed economic growth. Also, the government began spending money on goods and services within Britain which aided in the foundation of financial recovery. From onwards, the National Government followed a policy of mass rearmament in the face of the rise of Nazi Germany.

By unemployment had fallen to 1. Following the end of the Second World War, the majority of the British people, and particularly the working class and returning servicemen and women, did not want a return to pre-war Conservative economic policies, which they blamed for the hardship of the s, and there was a mood for widespread social change. At the general election , to the surprise of many observers, Winston Churchill was defeated by the Labour Party headed by Clement Attlee. The Labour government built up from pre-war foundations what was to become a comprehensive 'cradle-to-grave' welfare state , and established a tax funded National Health Service , which gave treatment according to need rather than ability to pay as the previous tax funded system had been.

The Labour government also enacted Keynesian economic policies, to create artificial economic demand leading to full employment. These policies became known as the " post-war consensus ", and were accepted by all major political parties at different times. There were noted disagreements about the involvement of the state with the steel industry. With one government, it was state owned, to then be sold off with the following conservative administration only to be then re-nationalised by the following labour government.

For the most part, the post-war consensus lasted until the late s. Throughout the s, it was becoming clear from all sides that radical change was needed as a result of such economic crises as the oil shock , high inflation, industrial unrest and sterling devaluation. But s governments lacked the necessary political will, leadership and the House of Commons majority from which to change the system until the Conservatives led by Margaret Thatcher won the general election.

The events of the s, and the response of the Labour and National governments to the depression, have generated much historical controversy. In the decades immediately following the Second World War, most historical opinion was critical of the governments of the period. Certain historians, such as Robert Skidelsky in his Politicians and the Slump , compared the orthodox policies of the Labour and National governments unfavourably with the more radical proto-Keynesian measures advocated by David Lloyd George and Oswald Mosley , and the more interventionist and Keynesian responses in other economies: Franklin Roosevelt 's New Deal in the United States, the Labour government in New Zealand, and the Social Democratic government in Sweden.

Most important, we want for nothing and are able to make regular modest cash donations to charities whose good works we admire. More than 40 percent of our in Canada is taken for taxes. Let alone While working in Toronto. Although, I would use some extra money for traveling and a Tesla car. We have often wondered if we would be better off to make less money, which is a sad thing to ponder in a capitalistic society.

Once that thought process starts to pervade our society, we become beholden to the politicians — not the other way around! You forgot daycare. I have two small kids and no family close by. I pay close to 22K in daycare for them. Add to that, my health insurance through my company for myself and my child is expensive!!! Thanks to my city being suddenly insanely popular and tech companies moving their employees here in droves to save money, my rent has nearly doubled just in the last couple of years.

I get sick of seeing so many glib financial advisors on the internet who have been able to put themselves in a position to not truly have to take their own advice. It must be nice. The childcare company? Or the person who had the kids without having the means to afford them in the first place? As for taking my own advice: I follow it every day — be personally responsible. With all due respect to you, Len, I completely agree with Jade. But what you and many other people are failing to take into account is the state of the economy on the average John and Jane Doe. I am a young professional who knows the value of work hard, and has been since she was 14 years old, but I now find myself still paying off student loans and tuition and medical expenses from 7 years ago!

But life happens, and gets more expensive. Dogs are expensive, should poor people not have any companions? Women need less money than men, like the woman above justifying her laziness with cooking at home and handling finances while her poor husband is killing himself daily to support them both. He should take your advice and cut her loose. He could be living like a king. The short of this is retirement is not guaranteed. Your saving for a future that may not come to pass. One stock market crash away from you wasting your 30s collecting cans and blogging.

Your blog cost money. Meaning, poor people deserve to die alone. Instead, you ironically ended up portraying acts of personal and financial responsibility as absurdities. As a result, both of your reductios failed — miserably. At least it used to be. As for my retirement, you can come see me anytime. Widowed Dad here, everyone forgets to mention daycare! I have no debt, mortgage paid, my daycare takes half my monthly pay!

Among other reasons, the cost of daycare is a huge financial factor in why my wife is a stay-at-home mom: the cost of daycare for our crew would be nominally equivalent to her take-home pay as a teacher. I live just outside Cleveland and when you have young children school districts is something to consider. Personally I have hospital acquired systemic MRSA that a doctor or PA gave me during a routine hernia operation which it is impossible to get compensated for. How big of a down payment did you out down? Did you factor that in to your cost of living?

Also do you have bank notes on all four of your cars?

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It seems like you left a lot of large purchases out that other people have to make payments on. We also teach our child to help others less fortunate. We probably want the same things for our children; security, good health and a childhood filled with rich experiences not expensive things. Are there wreckless people out there who only have themselves to blame about their financial problems? But there are countless others you smugky lump together with those people you havebt shown the slightest effort in understanding. Good luck mate. I cant do it. I have a mentally retrded nonverbal autistic son and I have ms addisons and lupus.

Lisa Joyce I understand your sons medical condition and the costs associated with him but you can make it on less by cutting your expenses. I cannot comment on many of the other posts, not knowing the cost of living where they are, but I am very familiar with Tennessee. I know you can find housing, i. And that car payment is ridiculous. I wrote a reply right above yours. Thank you for like me sharing what real life is like for millions of people not priveleged or lucky enough to live like the author.

We are not created equally and those of us who understand that and build our character by shouldering the weight of these experiences are at least lucky enough to be empathetic and count our blessings because as hard as our lives are we know there are millions of others, perhaps billions who have it even worse. My heart goes out to you and your family.

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You sir are an idiot. It is not possible. Add in the cost of child care…forget it!!! If they can, you can too. Rather than shooting the messenger, read their stories — you might learn something. Choosing where to live makes a big difference; Like moving to Panama or other country where you can live very comfortably with under 1k a month.

But that is not practical for many, unless you are retired. Limiting credit usage also makes a difference. But we must not forget that because of the high cost of education, many families have to live with low salaries for lack of a career. Some statistics show that close to twenty five percent of the US population exists with twenty five thousand dollars a year. These stats are as of Obviously salaries have not increased that much to offset the cost of living. As more people are being displaced by automation and farming jobs overseas, the working people find themselves competing for the same low paying jobs.

The ones that really benefit are the big corporations because all they have to do is increase the price of their goods, without increasing salaries. We live in a world that is really messed up. If you have your house paid for, consider yourself blessed. Some of us lost our homes due the greed of those who created a bubble and then bursted it. But the economic reality shows it as an exception rather than the rule. Freelancers pay both halves of Social Security, plus federal, state and local taxes. Both are older boys in athletics, if you know what I mean.

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Olivia, this cracks me up. My son is an athlete in college and he eats half the food in our house. The good news is that he got a job at the grocery store, so he has his own insurcance and brings home food. Great point. A serious health issue will most certainly upset the apple cart, which is why I included the caveat about being in good health.

There are options such as getting a catastrophic health insurance policy.

Absolutely, Tim. If I had to do it over again as a single guy in my 20s — assuming I did not have employer coverage — I would roll the dice and go with a catastrophic plan. It can definitly be done. My husband and I take care of our family of five on less than 40, Of course I am blessed my husband can fix anything and I bake everything. No frills. It is all about choices. I am In our area we have apparently high local and state taxes too. We still live on less than 40, in it was 35, You go girl! I would love to know if you live in CA and how you are doing it. Do you have a blog? I agree as well.

People want what people on tv have and what their friends have or do what their friends do. Maybe your friend buys what they buy because thay have 10 credit cards maxed out. Or maybe they cut back in other areas of their life. I think you make a good point, Kevin. During that time, I saved up a down-payment for a house and started college funds for my kids.

I wish I had of concentrated on college and earned a higher wage when I was young. Barely scraping by is no way to live. The key for us is avoiding convenience foods and limiting meat intake though we still eat a good bit. Well, Paul, I have a teenage son, so he might throw a monkey wrench into any plans I had to cut my food bill by 50 percent!

We could definitely cut back significantly in that area if we had to. Just kidding!

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  • I was one once, you know. I remember rummaging through the cabinets and fridge looking for food all the time. But meat really is a killer on a food budget, especially the expensive cuts. But with a little know-how and some help from Alton Brown, you can turn some cheap cuts into really good eats. We do that often to get our meat fix. We also rotate a few key dishes cheap ones into our menu every couple of weeks.

    It is really good! He has a stove top recipe, too.

    The economy isn't getting better for most Americans. But there is a fix

    Mac and Cheese? Oh God. Not healthy. You can save so much by not buying bread and gluten filled crap. I know this is about saving money. But I dropped 70 pounds in 15 months due to changing my diet. For 6 months. No kids. I do drive about a week as I go to a gym and I pay yearly for that. I pay yearly for MS Office. I rarely eat out as it is not clean eating. I rarely by meat. I do buy fish. I buy way more veggies and fruit. I just drove to Escondido 50 miles south for a job interview with Staffmark today.

    I told them I want to relocate down there near Vista or Fallbrook. Close to ocean for me. I want to live near OCean. I WANT to live with a partner. How weird is that? Living with my mom was okay …. But another person a stranger and cooking in their kitchen? I would love it. So bring it on. I agree with the original poster however he has the luxury of living in a safe area.

    I live in Chicago. Can I find cheaper places? Yes but they are also in the most dangerous areas too. So I can live within my means trying to avoid gangbangers and drug dealers on a regular basis or I can live in a safe area barely making it lol. So again can one live off 40,? You either live in a nice safe area which is expensive or a dangerous area which is affordable. Also I was thinking if 40, was the amount given with taxes and all that jazz taken out then yes one should be able to live anywhere on there own.

    How do I save for retirement on this. People live way beyond their means these days. You have a very frugal way of living that I agree with. Also, my car maintenance is a solid a year I do my own everything as far as cars go , not including tires I have ones I expect will last a while. I have a good job that will allow me to advance.

    However, it IS costly to commmute, and there are no carpool options. Hey Nuku. Loans kill budgets. I went to college, all 12 years without a loan. It was hard but possible. I ended up with five degrees including a doctorate. Going to college, for some, is a smart choice but the cost must be weighed in future money. Debt does burn! I live in one of the most having had the greatest increase in real estate prices and homes going for grand plus neighborhoods in chicago.

    Yet, my friends living in one-bedrooms? None of us pays The issue again, is just like the point of this blog. You have to be willing to think differently. Here, if you want a good rent, NEVER answer craigslist, or go to an apartment finder, or really answer an ad of any kind. Walk around the neighborhood you like and call the manager listed on the side of buildings you are interested in. It is strange, I guess, but the way it is done here. I currently pay for a smallish one bedroom, but very nice building with on site management and great tenants. One of my friends just got here from L.

    My last apartment was with two decks, walk in closets and parking included. And all have included utilities. With no mortgage, and no car expenses it would be a breeze to live on 40k for one or two people wanywhere in America except Manhattan! Even Sf is doable at that salary! Minimum wage on he otherhand, no way. I believe dual income at minimum wage will hit close to 40k. And 40k should put a family in the range of gov help with housing.

    I know my wife and I are doing quite well on 55k a year one income while putting around 20k into our school loans. Usually only 35ish. For the sake of argument though, I used those maximum numbers. Not counting state and city taxes, Medicare tax, SSI, etc. The waiting list for help with housing in Philadelphia for example is almost 10 years and priority goes to people with no incomes way before this hypothetical couple.

    Single Person. And never being able to afford to go to a movie you need it. Total take home per mo. Yea could eat beans everyday. How much a day for food… Could you eat on 10 dollars a day? NFWay… I eat crap and it costs me a week one person and yea I eat some meat too. Depends on where work is.. One reason you have cable. Health ins. Well for me. OR making 8k more a year 48k income… Got a raise??

    After everything making 8k more…. O yea and this is single person… Make it a female with one child.. Try again….. You can find a job for 19 dollars an hour!!!! Double the rent to either studio or 2 rooms… same price unless living in south central with a child is considered good parenting. Also, if you drive 50 miles per day, you need to find a job closer to home — or a home closer to your job. And state taxes would be even less. Yes, move. Out of SoCal. To some place with a lower cost of living — like another state in flyover country, or the SE United States.

    Here are almost 20 detailed testimonials from fellow Americans who do it every day. I agree with Keith. The author of this article was probably born with a big silver spoon in his mouth and has no sense of reality. I suggest that this author go back in time to when he was young and get dealt a bad hand rather than his silver spoon. I also scored a on the Mensa IQ test and refuse to let my intelligence go to waste. I honestly cannot believe the nerve of this author. I grew up in a lower middle-class family — for awhile my dad had to hold down three jobs to keep a roof over our head and food on the table.

    As for me, I sacrificed and worked my ass off to get where I am today. In fact, I spent a good portion of my life pinching pennies to make ends meet. That being said, if it makes you feel better, you can continue to rationalize away the reasons leading up to your current financial situation. And the results of those choices play a huge role in where we eventually end up financially — like it or not. There are conscious, deliberate acts that have to occur before an innocent child is brought into this world.

    Deciding to put down roots in Maryland, one of the most tax-oppressive states in the nation is a personal choice too. I think you get my point. You can read their stories here. Now, does luck play a role in our lives? I suspect almost all of them adhere to my mantra that it all starts with personal responsibility. Every time I somehow manage to save up money something happens which sucks it away. For example repairing my vehicle. So when speaking about the past yes I am firm that that was not my fault.

    Fortunately, through amino acid therapy I am in full cognitive control of myself and would definitely not be diagnosed autistic now. I refuse to play the victim, however I am very aware of counterproductive systems and tax policies in place which essentially victimize anyone trying to create a better life for themselves or their family. Especially since no one can just up and leave their state and expect to find a job which pays decently close to what they used to get paid right off the bat. And even if they could, it would be a selfish move to steal my children away from the rest of their family without even knowing that I could find a place or employment.

    Being born many decades ago was a very clear advantage in America. You actually had hope of going somewhere in life. If it was , or even I think your approach would work. Or have you? I do make smart financial decisions. Would you agree? Great posts. We are all over the place on age and life situation. Living on a budget never really ends does it?

    We have grown so accustomed to thinking that we need more of everything, but you clearly show that this is not true. The challenge is to live with the money you make. Take wife and kids into account and it becomes nearly impossible. I am a new reader of the blog, and so far I am in love! It takes some ingenuity hence referencing my lunch above , but it can definitely be done. What about travel? I have family all over the world. So let them come visit you for a change. What, are their reasons for not travelling somehow more valid than yours?

    I completely agree about the challenging nature of the grocery budget. Love this post. I love that you showed empirical proof that it could be done. It was over at Funny About Money when they wrote a post based on my post about , They were much more in defense of needing more based on where you live.

    I think what big city folk consider are needs is different than someone that lives in a satellite city like myself…. Our needs are really very affordable in many cases. When I owned a house that cost thousands each year, which I skip now that I rent. But you are right, home maintenance can be a real killer — especially if you have an older home. Bret: I agree that it is not desirable. Thanks for backing me up and showing us its possible by sharing your own experience.

    Sam: …and after reading this article, I hope any teenagers out there will realize that for people earning a minimum wage it will be virtually impossible to support a family. To do that we need to have a good handle on wants versus needs. Jamie: I love new readers! Welcome aboard! The soup sounds delicious, by the way. I am a HUGE soup fan! LOL Our family could save so much money if the Honeybee and I spent 15 more minutes every other week, going through the coupons and looking for special one-day only food sales.

    Barb: Thanks, Barb! WorkingPoor: Yes, but if we are being honest with ourselves, most people in the US confuse real poverty with simply having a lack of discretionary spending. I hope your business gets up to speed real soon. Here comes another rotten tomato! Never fear Len. Which is why we have a six footer merrily growing in our raspberry patch.

    Provocative post and so true. We cut back severely in and it was fun making it work. Olivia: Good for you! Chubbuni: I sent you the link showing the home, via email. Susan: The cable would be one of the first things to go at my house, Susan. Netflix is a terrific low-cost substitute. Jenna: That would come out of what was left over! I know it, because I did for years taking into account I earned much more but saved it all and more! And that was in London, the sometimes top 3 most expensive city in the world though currently much cheaper due to currency effects.

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    Len also has the benefit he can turn to catwalk modelling if he needs to make ends meet, remember. Great post! Oh wait a minute. I should wake up before trying to think or post. Sorry, my bad. I definitely agree with this! We pay cash for everything, have virtually no debt, but our budget is increasingly tight with 3 growing children. We live in a modest sq ft 3 bedroom home, very large yard, and 3 dogs.

    It can be done. First we live in the SF Valley. I would love to know. BUT I am including our retirement savings as a need and giving as a need. I guess cheese sarnies are even more expensive in at least two other cities in the world. I could retire tomorrow at 46 years old if I moved there! Momma: Good for you! Keep it up! The issue with this blanket statement is that everyone has varying financial situations. Some people have massive medical bills, student loans, car payments, etc.

    And, these debts are not a choice. Now, once most bills have been paid off, I can see a family of 4 living on such an income. I also want to know whether or not your children played sports, joined band, took dance lessons, or any other school-based activity? How about daycare and after-school care for those who have no other option.

    Len, just remember that not everyone shares the same circumstance. I found the cheapest house I could find on the market foreclosure without having to go in and make major repairs. I purchased this last year not 13 years ago. Even my insurance company was impressed with this deal. I am a single separated mom with an ex that contributes at random. Please Len, if you have the time, could you show us an itemized list of how you do it. I see that you are out of the woods for a lot of these debts, so you feel secure. But, most of us have to have these debts at some point until we can pay them off.

    For example, people can avoid car loans by saving their money to buy very modestly priced used cars. As for college, in California at least, people can go to community colleges and get all of their general ed classes out of the way for a fraction of the cost of big universities. In the meantime, they can work and save up for a reasonably priced college. I got an electrical engineering degree exactly that way with no student loans. Even so, lets say I just graduated from college with student loans and a job in So. I could still make it on that salary — easily!

    For example, my office mate is currently renting three rooms in his house in Long Beach to three tenants for exactly that price. But I showed you an itemized list of how I do it — including heating — with a family of four, no less! I also said it would be no frills — just the necessities, of course. You must not live in Southern California. It gets cold here too in the winter! Respectfully, the decision to have children is a choice. Therefore, child care is a a de facto choice. The most important message here for people just starting out, is that it CAN be done — as long as they make smart choices.

    Well said, Ani. We moved to a state with an astronomically high sales tax, which has eaten up a good chunk of what seems to be a huge difference, but the real deal-breaker for us has been health insurance. Rent alone, but that way, eats up about a third of our take-home pay. I guess I was just bothered by your casual assumption that you could squeeze thousands of extra dollars a year out of a budget by simply reducing grocery and utility bills, etc. Thanks for your thoughtful post, Laura.

    I ramble. A lot. Like right now. Clearly, it is a no-frills lifestyle. I consider where we choose to live to also be one of those choices. And then on top of that running massive budget deficits because Republicans axe tax revenues while not making cuts in spending or increasing spending which is more typical in order to fight more useless wars and waste it on the pentagon.

    No thanks to your Tea Party ideas. I do like your non-political advice though. A great article. I have lived on less for many years both in London and more easily in Devon rural S. On this topic you might like some of the ideas I have put forward in The Sirisuk Declaration. Thanks, Nick. I am categorically opposed to the premise behind the The Sirisuk Declaration. Following the side issue. What we fail to consider when we determine what type of government to have, is that someone will always want to be in control and have more than others.

    Since our motives can never be perfect, every system will have flaws. The best governments take that into consideration and put checks and balances in place. How can that be determined, and who will enforce it on others, and how will the enforcer keep from becoming a dictator?

    I think the most difficult thing was moreso dealing with people who expected us to have more than we did, possibly simply because they had expectations for us to be at an average income level. It was more of an annoyance rather than an issue of survival. However, with Social Security and low-income senior housing, she already has a plan to live frugally despite the small retirement savings. Interestingly, I have received some criticisms assuming the project is part of a centralising socialist agenda and some assuming the project is part of a right wing movement.

    In fact it is neither. Polituical parties of all colours have to know how they are going to address the confluence of limited resources and expanding economies. For the one who was asking where to find such cheap housing… There are a lot of cheap places to live along the 15 south of Camp Pendleton. Awww, thanks, Lessa! And thanks for the housing example too! Wowzer, great post!

    I completely agree. Go, Len Penzo! What about having a savings account? This is a season in your life. It will not last forever. You are learning. Meantime, you should be able to shave a little something off the food bill, even in Denver. And once your internet obligations are over, shop around. Is that the best cell phone plan out there? How does tracphone work in your area?

    Those ideas should help some. One thing that takes the ouch out of eating in is making ethnic foods. They can be quite cheap and a lot of fun. They often focus around low cost and healthy ingredients like beans and rice and can be fun. This is something my wife and I enjoy doing, and I think it really makes the meals fun.

    We just need to figure out how to do Ethiopian food now! I know. It is a lot tougher when you have things like credit cards to pay off. What I would in your situation is sit down and list all of your expenses. I understand that pre-school is important. But I would use that money to pay off that credit card bill as fast as I could first. Once that was done, then I would build up some savings. Only after I had a sufficient emergency fund established would I send my daughter to pre-school. I know a lot of people would probably disagree with me on that one, but that is just my opinion.

    I realize these are really tough decisions. It sounds like you are determined, so I know you can do it, Sabrina! Determination is half the battle. Hang in there. Hi, Len! If I read correctly, Sabrina is a full-time student. So I am guessing that her daughter is in pre-school while Sabrina goes to school.

    I think that the key to being able to live on as little as possible is to establish a very strong budget and prune down your spending. Well said, Will. I like how you say that, as if we could go back in time and change the decisions we made. Hi Kaylen. The more correct decisions we make from here on out, the sooner we can start to undo any poor decisions we made in the past.

    My hope with this post was not to sound pretentious — although I completely understand that it does come off that way — but to help younger readers who are just starting out will see the impacts current decisions have on our futures. Your post reminded me that NJ really is tops when it comes to auto insurance. And if you have a young adult male in your house — fuggedaboutit!

    Rates for this category of insured drivers are through the roof. NJ also leads the nation in property taxes. Our home is paid for. High property taxes here have forced many of our senior citizens to move from their homes. My husband is an independent consultant so we pay for our own benefits. Oh how I wish we only spent what you are spending for medical and dental. Our rates have gone up every year despite the fact that we are healthy. Those who do not have to purchase medical benefits entirely on their own are fortunate indeed. Good post. I agree that it can be done. We are a family of 5 and are currently in debt slowly digging our way out, though and we are doing it!

    She turns eleven today. What do other professional couples make? We identify ourselves as mid-Middle Class. The only time we get into a financial muddle are times when we act upper-Middle Class. We own a house that is worth more than we owe on it, and our retirement fund is poised to pass the amount we owe on our home. The only thing I wish we had was a bigger emergency fund. We have been in our home for a while, so our mortgage payment is about half of what rent would be for a similar home now.

    Great job, Paul! And Santa Fe is a beautiful part of the country, to be sure! I agree with you. While insurance takes a big chunk out of our salary, we still manage to live well below our means and save. This definitely leads to peace of mind and we are a family of 4. I get by just fine, and I even have a little extra to go out to eat on special occasions. My car is paid for, but I could easily get by without it if I had to, and inevitably I will have to if it breaks down, though in my former life I was smart enough to pick a car that you can pretty much drive until the tires fall off with very little maintenance costs.

    A year and a half ago, I was barely making ends meet, thinking it was impossible to live on my salary and still pay all my debts. My brother was working full time at WalMart to pay his half of the bills, and was miserable. I nearly crashed and burned, and certainly trashed my credit report. Something had to give. So what did I do? Problem of eating solved, I started looking into what I could do to change my situation. I was poor, so I was going to have to live like I was poor. I had to figure out a way to move, and how was I going to do that when I could barely make ends meet as it was?

    First, I called each and every one of the student loans, and told them the situation. All of them were willing to put me on some kind of hardship deferment, even if only for a few months while I fixed my situation. That meant more interest in the long run, but in the short run it created some cash flow that I could work with to get out of the jam I had created.

    I lived with a friend for about 3 weeks at one point, but I was able to pick up some extra hours at my job that way, which created a small extra boost of income. All told, I think I missed one day of work in the process of moving. I was lucky in that I was working from home at the time, and was moving so to be closer to the home office.

    I loaded and unloaded the truck with the help of one person at the old apartment, and one person at the new, both of whom were volunteers. Let me tell you, you learn who your friends are when you are desperately in need of help to move and no one shows up. It was not easy, but I got it done. Now, I live in a one-bedroom apartment of about sq ft, within biking distance of my job.

    I am by no means comfortable. But I am surviving, and I even have a little extra to spend on fun now and then. You just choose not to.

    Human population planning - Wikipedia

    So stop whining, put on your big-boy pants or big-girl panties, and take responsibility for your life choices. What a fantastic story! Great job, Misty! Thanks for sharing your experience and perspective on how and why it can be done! Well Len. You are an idiot, plain and simple. If you say so, Einstein. I came across your blog and very much enjoy reading it. There by the grace of God go you.

    While we are blessed to be able to afford his care, most families cannot and struggle to provide care for their disabled children. They have to chose between financial stability, or depending on a public system that usually barely provides the minimum care needed for these children…which has been made worse by cutbacks due to the great recession. Thanks for sharing your story, Kerry. Fortunately, most folks are blessed with relatively good health — especially those of us under That is why we need nationalized health care.

    Each person in this country that is middle class is there still a middle class left?! It all goes to benefit the rich, the chronies of the elected officials, and corporate USA corporations that do nothing more than ship out our jobs overseas, thus leaving us with no jobs, and as a result of not having a job, we have no employer-sponsored health insurance.

    Not to get off topic here, but since you brought it up, the government does nothing more efficiently than the private sector. I think there is a valuable lesson there for everyone who thinks more government intervention in our healthcare system is the panacea. You need to check your number of uninsured. When you get into the lower age brackets, it jumps.

    According to a study done by Families USA in , some Oh, and before you decry the uninsured, let me remind you that quite a few would prefer to be insured. No major medical insurance would touch me. It was going to take a while, and for coverage of just me, that was severely limited 10, out of pocket max , had high copays 60 per visit , and a limit on how much they would spend on me , , the average major medical insurance option was going to want well over a month. Glasses are expensive, especially if you want ones that will last, and need to be replaced every 2 years every year if you happen to be under 35, when eyes can be prone to dramatic shifts.

    Not having people have access to basic health care- including affordable dental and vision… FAR more expensive than getting everyone insured. Your teeth are a big part of your health, and not getting them dealt with can lead to serious i. Eye strain can contribute to migraines- which put you at much higher risk for neuro problems, including stroke an expensive problem to have.

    The lack of basic health care in this country drives up costs through E. In addition, being dismissive of the increasing need for internet a basic requirement of job searches - especially in a time when libraries are severely limiting hours, and reducing access to the net. I disagree with your statement about health care.

    One driver of higher health care costs is caring for the uninsured and increased intervention at the end of life most health care is consumed during the last 12 months of life. Plastic surgery and lasik eye surgery do not fit into either cost driver. Patients need to pay upfront for care and it has a defined end point. So yes, the costs are going down. The cost of standard procedures have remained constant; however, the overall cost for care goes up as there are more tests and treatments available.

    You may think some government bureaucrat can make smarter decisions concerning your personal healthcare and what procedures you need and when you can get them, if ever better than you and your doctor can, but I dont. You seem to have a reflexive anti-government attitude that I think is unfortunately socially programmed into many Americans of a certain political persuasion.

    A rational person should just look at things on a case by case basis and decide whether public or private or public-private partnership is the best solution. In fact in all developed nation, their healthcare spending per capita is about half ours. The US system is catastrophically wasteful. I was once on the right wing of the spectrum and opposed changing our health care system. But after extensively digging into the data and comparing our system to those around the world that are far more effective, no rational person could conclude that we should keep ours as is.

    My favorite system though is the Singapore system which uses a brilliant combination of government backed social safety net, free market and health savings accounts. I really wish we could bring something like that here. Deficits would vanish. You seem to equate percentage spent on GDP to wastefulness, which is flat our wrong. Your assertions that the US healthcare system is inefficient is unfounded too; in fact it is so efficient that people come from all over the world to get services performed here that they would have to wait weeks or months for in England, Canada and other nations with government run healthcare.

    And are you kidding me? The government does nothing more efficient than the private sector, other than running the military. We are a family of 4, with me leaving full time employment last year with the birth of our youngest. Because of the sporadic nature of his work it makes it hard to plan for me to work, etc. Below is a snapshot of what we have done over the last few years to combat low income:.

    We certainly know a thing or two about wants and needs. Over the last two years we have cut back considerably. No cable TV, DSL Internet at the slowest speed available, not using the second vehicle nothing special and was a gift from a family member- but has required too much maintenance we now share the car and carpool with others as needed- yes it takes a little more planning. We only buy new clothes when the old ones wear out. We are pretty much bare bones right now- rent, bills, food and gas.