Family of 4, stay at home Mom, Dad going back to school on the G.I. Bill, house in Nevada, two cars, credit card for emergencies only, everything paid off. Annual salary of $14,000 from said G.I. Bill. $400 a month food bill, single fill up on the vehicles each month, food co-op, thrift stores, Netflix for movies, well…go read the story here, and follow the blog Blissful and Domestic here. These people are heroes when it comes to not spending money.
Being minimalist when you are single and have not a care in the world is one thing. It’s easy to go without the expected trappings of life, (key word there: trappings), have the freedom to live wherever you want, and come and go as you please. Nobody is bitching, moaning, whining, or sniveling because you don’t have a new car, or a permanent roof over your head. Raising a family as a minimalist is quite another. Everyone has to be on the same page and up for the challenge. The spouse has to be onboard with the extra work it may take to not be spending money on crap. The idea that if you are going to have a vehicle, it is nothing more than a means of transportation, not a status symbol. The concept that a smaller house will do just fine for holding your family and possessions. Spending the extra time to stay at home and cook, looking for the best deals on food, clothes, other necessities will result in a full belly, practical clothing instead of the trendiest fashions, and spending less money every month on shit you don’t need, and crap you won’t use. The kids need to trained at an early age that consuming is not the end all be all. If they are taught young enough to ignore the peer pressure to have the latest clothes, gadgets, or that a trip to the mall is not entertainment, perhaps then they will come on board the minimalist boat and sail away to happier future.
The Wagasky’s are doing it up right. I’m struggling to make it on less than $50 a day. They are 4 people living on $38 a day, and appear to be doing just fine. They learned where to save, and continue to do so. The wife has been chronicling everything on her blog with tips and tricks thrown in, the Dad is on the fast track to making more money once he gets through with the schooling, and the kids won’t fall into the consumer trap of debt, possessions, and life as a worker bee.
The article itself starts out by claiming that the average U.S. income is $50,000. (When I made $50,000 a year I had a negative net worth. Now I make less than this family and have a positive net worth.) It sets the tone to make one think that this family is poor. In terms of monetary wealth, yes. In terms of real life wealth, they are part of the 1%. Rich beyond their wildest dreams. No debt, owning just what they need, and on the fast track to a very comfortable future. One would do well to take some inspiration from the Wagasky’s. If there was a medal for minimalism, they would deserve it.