Saturday, January 3, 2009

Poverty Project

"Can a family of six live comfortably in poverty without government or family assistance?"

Our family of six is going to live below the poverty line for one month--without any kind of government or family assistance.

The catch?

We're going to try to live well below the poverty line while living well below the poverty line. We'll try to eat whole foods, have fun, purchase high quality clothing, save a little and spend a little. We budgeted for recreation and savings.

The rules for the Poverty Project:
  1. We must live on $2416 a month ($29,000 a year, for a family of six)
  2. We must pay mortgage, bills, debts and expenses from our "poverty budget"
  3. We will post the receipts for any purchases we make
  4. We will not put our children at risk in any way (We'll provide adequate clothing, food and health care)
Want to join us in this project?

Projected 2009 Poverty Guidelines

in Family or Household
48 Contiguous
States and D.C.
1 $10,730
2 14,450
3 18,170
4 21,890
5 25,610
6 29,330
7 33,050
8 36,770
For each additional
person, add


  1. I am sorry but this sames a bit contrite if you ask me? I have always lived just over the poverty line.....Not because i am lazy or stupid, I have just never had opportunities to do anything but survive since my mother kicked me out of the home when I was but 17....And no I was not a bad kid, I did not drink, smoke, do drugs and did not even date and I was honor role in school...I just had a weak father and a mentally ill mother, who wanted rid of me......Ask me how I bought a house a 18 with no credit and poverty income and how I have manged all these years....Mine is a story and wisdom not some one month "experiment" and I too have never accepted any "aid" so...I wish you well with your "experiment" but leave the lesson teaching to those who really have wisdom on this one please.....Let not make it some "political" commentary or a "project" please......Kim

  2. This project looks interesting.

    I think some are missing the point. This project seems to be about cutting back and living on less and still trying to be comfortable.

    I see to many people mis spend/handle their money and feel they are in poverty because they can't have everything.

    I think this project is about learning to live on less while putting some money away and also having some fun.

    I think those that give this a try will probably get something out of this experience.

    I too was out of the house by 18 because my step mother believed that when you are an adult you are out of the house.

    I wished that my parents would have taught about budgeting though as that was something I never learned until years of marriage.

    Good luck on this project.

  3. Hey is this amount before or after taxes? What do you mean by government assistance? We don't use food stamps and even though my children do qualify for health care we take our children to our own Dr. and pay out of pocket.

  4. After taxes our household income (of two people) is $9,190... so we are $5,000 below the poverty line. lol! we have $765 a month to spend >.< No government assistance either.

    Honestly, we don't even know HOW to GET government assistance.

    How well. it's life. Right on. I love what you are doing. You'll save money too heh

  5. I agree with you herbmom (LOL TO YOUR NAME but anyway)...
    America is such a consumer country. It's all about what you "want", not what you "need".
    Sure there are things I really want, but I have the resources around me to get the same satisfaction and get is for free.

    Moving out of the house at 18 is hard. No one can determine that a person is an adult based on their age alone.
    It is MENTAL age!! You could be 45 and not be an adult! You could be 16 and be an adult! It all depends on the person.

    My parents are Taurus's (sorry for the astrology reference), so they are VERY good with money... almost penny-pinchers....
    they taught me SOO MUCH about money, all my life. How to manage it, what to look out for, etc.
    My husband was never taught anything from his parents. My parents taught him everything he knows. He loves my parents as if they were his own.
    Its unfortunate when parents "tell" instead of "teach".... I don't know.... I could go on forever.
    My husband didn't even know what a credit card was... or what a 401k was.. or how social security works... and he was 19 and well educated! >.<

  6. Most of us are not below poverty lines, but I think we can benefit from this project on several levels:

    First, there is no better way to learn about frugal living then actually trying to live on a budget. This type of restrictive budget can provide a whole new appreciation for what we have and how fortunate we are to have it.

    Second, I think it is empowering. I have always felt that I am a slave to my wants rather then the owner of my own budget. I am slowly breaking away from my impulsivity, and I think this project can give me a push in the right direction.

    Lastly, I recently got laid off, and am planning to start my own e-based business. In order to afford my dream, prince charming (my husband) and I have to live off savings for a little while. This means that we have to exercise our utmost control in months to come, and we cant do that if I am impulsive and he wants to please me. :)

    So we are going poor for a month.. lets see where it takes us.