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When I first got engaged to Michelle (over 10 years ago now!), I was in the habit of living paycheck to paycheck, and really had NO IDEA where my money was going.
I quickly realized if we were going to make our marriage work, I needed to get on a budget!
Luckily, my brother-in-law dropped an audiobook on my lap of The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, and the rest is history! We got on a budget and started saving toward our wedding, and moving out of state.
But I needed a new job, and I had no idea WHAT I was going to do, or how much I needed to make for us to get by.
We got married, moved, and I was able to land a job making $14 an hour. It was great to be employed, but was that enough for a newly married couple to live on?
$14 An Hour Is How Much Per Year?
First, I figured out how much $14 an hour REALLY WAS per year and per paycheck.
- Hourly Wage: $14 an hour
- Yearly Income (52 weeks): $29,120
- Monthly Income (4 weeks): $2,240
- Bi-Weekly Paycheck: $1,120
After taxes, we were taking home around $1,075 every paycheck, so we had to learn to STRETCH our budget quickly!
Our $14 An Hour Budget
At first, we thought we needed more income, so Michelle got a job. That only lasted about 2 weeks, and we realized that we could not only survive on $14 an hour, but thrive!
Here’s a snapshot of our budget during that year:
|Paycheck 1||$ 1,075.00|
|Paycheck 2||$ 1,075.00|
|Other Income||$ 300.00||Side Hustle!|
|Babysitting Income||$ 40.00||Date money!|
|Total Income||$ 2,490.00|
|Mortgage/Rent||$ 580.00||This is VERY LOW today, but finding roommates can make this possible|
|Electric||$ 120.00||We could have cut this down, but we liked STAYING WARM in the winter 🙂|
|Car Insurance||$ 80.00|
|Cell Phone||$ 100.00||We could have sav more with Republic Wireless!|
|Food||$ 240.00||Extremely small budget, made possible with Meal Planning!|
|Date||$ 50.00||Free exploring, split meals, coupons, no alcohol when eating out.|
|Spending Cash||$ 60.00|
|Car Maintenance||$ 30.00|
|Total Expenses||$ 2,053.00|
Based on this budget, we were able to save $300-$400 a month only making $14 an hour.
The first thing we did was get ourselves a month ahead on our bills (spending last month’s money). Because I was paid twice a month, tracking when our bills were due and adjusting our budget every payday got annoying quick.
Getting ourselves a month ahead of our bills relieved that stress and truly made us feel financially free.
Further Reading: Stop Living Paycheck To Paycheck: Step By Step
Living On $14 An Hour Requires Sacrifice
As you can see in our sample budget, there wasn’t a lot of wiggle room. We didn’t eat out a ton, we didn’t buy new clothes, and our food budget was VERY small (hint: we ate very simple meals, not all organic either).
But that was on purpose.
Sticking to a budget requires that you SPEND LESS THAN YOU MAKE, and making $14 an hour requires some sacrifice.
But just because you can’t go to the movies every week, or bar-hopping every Friday, does NOT mean that you cannot ENJOY living!
We were able to live frugally, and still enjoy life. We went on simple, free adventures instead of costly date nights.
We stretched our dollars with coupons and meal planning. And we stayed away from subscription services and impulse buys (no Amazon Prime back then).
And most importantly, we didn’t go into further DEBT to try and live above our means.
If you don’t have a large income, keep your budget in line with your take home pay, and if you want more, then go earn more!
Further Reading: 6 MOVES TO MAKE MORE MONEY THIS YEAR!
Extra Income Made All The Difference
With our budget, we would have made it by just fine, but we would NOT have saved any money during that year without our side hustles.
I was able to work remotely a few hours a week at my old job to bring in about $300 per month. Add that to the babysitting we did, and our extra income was $350 – $400 per month, which was ALL put into savings!
Further Reading: 20 Ways To Make Money
We could have easily spent the money, as we lived in wine country (and Michelle admits to having “fine wine” taste on our “water” budget).
Instead, we used the extra money toward our goals, which in turn got us a month ahead of our bills, paid down schooling costs, and brought us to a place of having financial peace.
And all it took was putting together a simple budget AND STICKING TO IT! Easier said than done, I know, but it really can make a world of difference.
Making $14 An Hour? Get On A Budget!
Getting on a budget changed our entire financial life. We went from making $14 an hour, to buying a home a few years later. We were able to pay off our debt, invest, and build enough wealth to quit my job and take a year off to travel the country!
I’ve put together many budgets for people at all income levels, and finally put together my process for starting a BUDGET THAT WORKS.
Further Reading: Reader Budget Makeover Series
I put together a full budgeting tutorial, including a free budget template to get you started.
Take the first step today, and get on a budget! You will enjoy true Financial Freedom, and start hitting those BIG GOALS you always dream about.