Thursday, May 23, 2019

Have to live on $600 a month. Need extreme frugal suggestions!

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I'm trying to hash out a plan to survive on $600 so I can move out and be independent. Mind you, I bring home $1200 a month, but half of that immediately goes to student loans, so I need to work with the remaining $600.

Here's my monthly expenses:

Student loans: $600

Rent: $500 at the cheapest

Utilities: No idea, gonna say $200

Laundry & toiletries: Lets say $20

Car insurance: $100

Gas: $80

Medications: $30

Medical bills: $200

Food: $100?

Internet: $25

Phone: $15

TOTAL: $1870

Obviously that isn't gonna work with my income, so here's what I intend to do about them:

Student loans: Interest-only payments instead of standard. This will lower my monthly payment to about $500, but will need to figure out later how to budget further because my loan payment goes up a few times a year.

Rent: $500. Can't fix that and I won't rent a place that costs more, but never seen anything that costs less.

Utilities: Don't use water or electricity. Unplug refrigerator. Fill empty bottles with water from work or public places to bring home for bathing or bathe in public restrooms. Recharge laptop at work. Blankets in winter for heat, just gonna have to sweat all summer. Will use candles for light, assuming I can find a smoking-friendly apartment. Utility bill comes to $0.

Laundry & toiletries: Do laundry by hand in bathtub with bottled water once a month, air dry clothes. Use toilet at work or in public restrooms, never at home. Need suggestions for cheap detergent or detergent alternative. Will buy $1 shampoo/conditioner/soap and brush teeth with baking soda. Laundry & toiletries bill goes to $2ish for now.

Car insurance: $100. Can't change, already get several discounts on it. Can't get rid of car either, commute is too long for biking.

Gas: $0. Realized that my usual tax return will cover gas for the whole year so long as I don't spend more than $80 a month on it. Drive only to work and nowhere else to cut costs further.

Medications: I take thyroid pills (need them to function, not to live), but I can go up to a month without them and still feel okay, so fill script once a year, take meds twice a month instead of daily. Medication costs go down to $2.50 a month.

Medical bills: Don't qualify for financial assistance from hospital. Turn off auto-pay, tell billing (politely) they'll get what they get and like it. Medical debt goes to $1 a month.

Food: I eat once a day and can fast to save money. I'm trying to lose weight, so this will benefit me. I need help coming up with cheap foods that don't need to be refrigerated or cooked and that have a decent shelf life since because not using electricity and water. Peanut butter and bread come to mind. Ideally would like to spend no more than $30 a month on food. Will visit food pantry if available.

Internet: Can get rid of this and just use internet at work. Internet bill now $0.

Phone: Will get rid of phone and have people call me at work only if it's urgent. Phone bill now $0.

NEW TOTAL: $1135

Mostly I just need help with groceries. I also work occasional overtime, which I can use to splurge on things like deodorant.

Also, I'd like to ask that people please not tell me things like get a better job/more money or that this isn't sustainable. I'm just looking for answers to the questions I've asked, please and thanks. I know it's doable, and it's gonna be really rough to pull this off, but I'd like to ask for suggestions from people who understand extreme frugality so I can save every cent. If there's any more fat I can trim from my budget, please let me know!

Submitted May 23, 2019 at 03:18PM by CantFindMyChandelier

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