I am a bit embarrassed to learn that “how to live on $1500 a month” was one of my most popular posts. Mostly because I didn’t manage to do it.
That doesn’t mean I haven’t continued to consider how to live on a very restricted budget. There is something compelling to me about living considerably below my means and therefore not staying awake nights wondering how I’ll afford to pay my bills or fund whatever retirement I might manage… eventually.
Home Sweet Home
I’ve been reading everything I can find online about permanent tent living. No, my dear family and friends, I am not considering pitching a tent in a vacant lot. A meadow maybe…
However, I am fascinated with the idea. I recently recalled that I spent an entire summer living in a canvas wall tent on a wood platform at camp. Several girls my age were offered the chance to volunteer at camp in return for a free summer there. It was a fantastic experience, and I loved tent living. Although I shared the tent with two others, I had a little desk and chair along with my bed and a nightstand. I never got wet, had only one critter (a terrified little mouse who got in the trash can and couldn’t get out), and we only left the tent once to avoid dangerous lightning.
Did you know there are tents specifically designed to fit a wood stove and stove pipe? There are people who spend winters in their tents in Alaska. I read about a couple who own a business, which is in a traditional building, but choose to live in a tent where they can hear the sounds of nature each morning and evening.
While it may not be your idea of the great life, it is interesting to read people’s stories about why they shifted to tent living.
Frugal Retirement Living
Living Outside the Box
So this is what is making me crazy. Making me doubt myself. Driving me to tears and migraine.
I DON’T know how to live on $1500 a month. That’s gross, by the way, in more ways than one. As best I can tell, I am going to be working for just over minimum wage, no matter what I do. At least until and if I can get a teaching job, which may not be for quite some time.
At various points throughout the day today, the idea of living on so little has been intimidating, impossible, depressing, and just plain terrifying. It’s that black hole thing I wrote about yesterday. It can suck me in like a vacuum cleaner hose. And I definitely have been feeling the pull of the vacuum cleaner today.
Fortunately, God puts people in front of me (in my face, to be precise) who bring me the perspective I so sorely lack. Take Linda. As I sadly followed her around the grocery store today looking like the most pitiful thing on two legs, she reminded me of how very rich I am. People in other parts of the world would give anything to just have a roof over their heads and food in their stomachs. We are SOOO rich in this country, even when we are “poor” by American standards. We have no idea what it means to truly be impoverished. Linda has a way of being excruciatingly honest with me, which is why I ask her opinion and her advise. She has also been in much worse predicaments than I, so she knows whereof she speaks.
So, can I get by on $1500 a month? People do it here in the good old United States all the time. I think it will take some creative budgeting and relying on people to do for me (which is not how I was raised and I hate it). Is it the way I want to spend the rest of my life? No. But then again (perspective, please?) nobody said it would be the rest of my life.
It’s just for now.