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How This Family of 4 Lives Well on Just $14,000 a Year

Living off of 14,000 a year - budgeting success
In the years since the recession, the median household income in the U.S. has dropped to just over $50,000, while fixed costs like health care, higher education, and housing have only soared. Now imagine trying to support a family of four on a fraction of that income.

It's a reality that stay-at-home wife and mother of two Danielle Wagasky has lived for the last four years. And, perhaps a little surprisingly, she wouldn't have it any other way.

Wagasky, 28, lives with her her husband, Jason, 31, and their two young children in a three-bedroom family home in Las Vegas, Nevada. While Jason, a member of the U.S. Army, completes his undergraduate studies, the family's only source of income is the $14,000 annual cost of living allowance he receives under the G.I. Bill.

Despite all odds, the family has barely any credit debt, no car payment, and no mortgage speak of.

Wagasky has been sharing her journey to living meaningfully and frugally on her blog, Blissful and Domestic, since 2009.

She was kind enough to chat with BI and tell us how she makes it work.

Photo Credit: Danielle Wagasky

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In reality, we do spend more than it is necessary,when you are in Social Security, you really do stop and say"do I really need this". Its nice to look at things and say Not today and you continue walking pass that temptation. I don't know if I could do what this woman does, but I am more conscious of what I am buying.putting things in perspective. The only things I say personally is Its hard to swallow when you see people on food stamps and walking on $100. shoes.

June 02 2013 at 8:23 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

pretty sure they get food stamps and free healthcare plus free housing and get a tax refund every yeat

April 27 2013 at 9:20 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Does anyone notice that they state their 'income,' yet with that income level and three children, they would qualify for the earned income child credit. That should be a nice bundle of cash.

When one adds in insurance, utilities, etc., it simply doesn't add up.

March 25 2013 at 9:27 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

she should write a book and make millions . title it "americas cheapest family gets rich by being cheap" ironic isn't it

March 23 2013 at 10:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Why don't these two get a damn job? Must be democrats.

March 22 2013 at 9:32 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I call bull crap! No mortgage and no car payments. That pretty much takes off at least 20K +. I'm sure she is making some decent change off her blog. Especially now that she got a plug from FoxNews!

March 22 2013 at 8:42 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Dwayne Wayne

1. This $14,000 per year living does not include the mortgage since they bought outright before that. A house for $28,000 has to have a lot more problems than no kitchen. I've seen a foreclosure that wanted a lot more than that and it really should have been removed and dug out instead (the only thing worth any money was the 2 acres).
2. This $14,000 also does not include the vehicles they bought for reality they need to add X dollars per year to their expenses for depreciation of the vehicles.
3. Internet cost....or do they skip that?
4. Everyone knows how to save money on food (and don't eat so much and don't eat out).
5. Anyone can shop at Goodwill, rummage sales, dollar stores.....again, not hard to figure out.

March 22 2013 at 7:47 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

I've read this woman's entire blog, even implemented several of her tips. A few points-her husband is no longer AD, he is using his GI bill to further his education and they are living off of his GI bill stipend. While he was deployed and making bank, they saved and paid off a ton. Having deployed myself, I have a very good idea how much money they had coming in. The bottom line really, is that they were and still are, smart with their money!! I would have to say that the 'haters' on here are just really pissed off that someone else is doing what they don't have the strength and determination to do. Try not to be so jealous, it's not attractive!

March 22 2013 at 4:56 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

How do they do it? Three words: Eee Bee Tee (and other social welfare).

March 22 2013 at 5:33 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

"They also bought a van, which they saved $10,000 for initially and were able to pay the remaining $12,000 owed within a year."

So they paid off $12,000.00 in a year on a $14,000.00 salary? I'm calling bullshit on that one!

March 21 2013 at 10:30 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply