Budgeting Summer 2018

Poverty and You: How does your FIRE budget compare?

So in managing my elderly parent’s finances, I’ve applied for quite a few assistance programs and become familiar with the poverty level in America. I think a lot of us are familiar with the concept, but do you know what the actual level is..say even for your family of 2 or 3 or 5?

What’s more, for those FIRE and extremely frugal bloggers out there, I thought it’d be interesting to highlight how as this one article pointed out, frugality may be for the rich. Some people are actively choosing to live this way while some were born into it. I think in this community we forget the profundity of the difference. I have a brewing post on the privilege of choice but there are so many roads that could go down, my mind hasn’t settled on one just yet.

In the United States, the government publishes the poverty guidelines (and thresholds) as a census tool and as a guideline for eligibility for various social service programs they administer. Here’s a look at the 2017 Poverty Guidelines.

Household Size Federal Poverty Level 175% of Poverty Level 200% of Poverty Level 225% of Poverty Level 400% of Poverty Level
1 $ 12,140 $ 21,245 $ 24,280 $ 27,315 $ 48,560
2 $ 16,460 $ 28,805 $ 32,920 $ 37,035 $ 65,840
3 $ 20,780 $ 36,365 $ 41,560 $ 46,755 $ 83,120
4 $ 25,100 $ 43,925 $ 50,200 $ 56,475 $ 100,400
5 $ 29,420 $ 51,485 $ 58,840 $ 66,195 $ 117,680
6 $ 33,740 $ 59,045 $ 67,480 $ 75,915 $ 134,960
7 $ 38,060 $ 66,605 $ 76,120 $ 85,635 $ 152,240
8 $ 42,380 $ 74,165 $ 84,760 $ 95,355 $ 169,520
each additional household member $ 4,320 $ 7,560 $ 8,640 $ 9,720 $ 17,280
 Source: https://www.nc211.org/federal-poverty-level

So how does this compare to various published budgets around these frugal and FIRE interwebs.

My Early Retirement Journey:
2018 Estimated FIRE Budget: $30,000
Household Size: 1
Poverty Level: A little more than 225% of Poverty Level

Aunty MERJ:(Social Security + pension)
2018 Estimated Income: $17,100
Household Size: 1
Poverty Level: below 175% of Poverty Level

Root of Good:
2018 Estimated FIRE Budget: $40,000
Household Size: 5
Poverty Level:  below 175% of Poverty Level
*At one point they were at $30,000 which would have put them just about at the poverty level for their family size.

Saving the Crumbs:
2017 Expenses: $10,482
Household Size: 3
Poverty Level: below the Poverty Level by almost 50%

Points with a Crew:
2017 Expenses: $60,000
Household Size: 8
Poverty Level: below 175% of Poverty Level

Jessie Fearon:
2016 Estimated Expenses: $44,940
Household Size: 5
Poverty Level: below 175% of Poverty Level

Early Retirement Extreme:
Estimated Annual Expenses: $7,000
Household Size: 1 (just his expenses)
Poverty Level: below the Poverty Level

Notes. For some reason I thought this post would be a lot easier to write, but suddenly when I was actually seeking other blogger’s budget, income, and expense reports, I couldn’t find any relevant ones. What the..? I felt like when I started blogging I was inundated with the amazingly frugal income and expense reports. But hmm, suddenly all I could find were really high earners living a pretty financially reasonable lifestyle. Bait-and-switch?

Some additional food for thought on poverty in North Carolina.
Living Wage Calculations for North Carolina

Hourly Wages 1 Adult 1 Adult 1 Child 1 Adult 2 Children 1 Adult 3 Children 2 Adults (1 Working) 2 Adults (1 Working) 1 Child 2 Adults (1 Working) 2 Children 2 Adults (1 Working) 3 Children 2 Adults (1 Working Part Time) 1 Child* 2 Adults 2 Adults 1 Child 2 Adults 2 Children 2 Adults 3 Children
Living Wage $11.36 $23.80 $27.25 $34.16 $18.71 $21.55 $24.57 $27.15 $16.59 $9.35 $12.77 $15.20 $17.39
Poverty Wage $5.00 $7.00 $9.00 $11.00 $7.00 $9.00 $11.00 $13.00 $3.00 $4.00 $5.00 $6.00
Minimum Wage $7.25 $7.25 $7.25 $7.25 $7.25 $7.25 $7.25 $7.25 $7.25 $7.25 $7.25 $7.25
source: http://livingwage.mit.edu/states/37

And because we all love a good infographic, had to share this…

My Early Retirement Journey - poverty in nc
Source: NC Justice

 

My Early Retirement Journey -poverty in NC

(23Aug2018 MERJ)

How does your budget compare? 
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