Yup, this is my question today, after summing up our income for the month of July (money that we’ll actually get at the end of August, so that’s when the “fun” begins).

A total revenue of just $1,567 to be precise which should HAS to be enough for a family of two with a newborn to live on. And if you think that newborns are cute and they don’t cost much… well, you’re wrong!

But can we make it? Is it possible for a family to live on $1,500 per month and still have a decent life? Only time will tell… but until then I have a few thoughts of my own.

So, after recently selling a website that was my family’s main source of income, my earnings have dropped drastically (which was totally expected, by the way). Wifey has just given birth to our child and 60 days have to pass until she starts receiving benefits, so we’re on a single person’s wage (plus a small bonus from some side hustles that I made my wife start a few months before getting pregnant).

But… can we realistically make it on $1,500 per month?

Honestly, before answering this question, I must say that I really hope that revenue will start to go up once I build other online businesses to replace the mammoth site I sold. But until then, we\ll have a while to do it on around $1,500…

Fortunately, in our case, living in Romania is CHEAP. For example, in May, when we went $300 over budget, we spent close to $1,400. That’s encouraging, even though we now have a little guy to care for and based on our initial estimates, we would be spending about $150 more per month with him. So… that would mean that we would actually end up saving $17, yay!

So I am sure that our family will be able to live on $1,500 for at least a few months, but that is mostly because we have no debts to pay and we are living in Romania, a cheap country. And, to be honest, I hope that we’ll actually be able to do it for years to come.

[2019 UPDATE] It seems I was right! It’s 2019 now and ever since writing this article back in 2013, we always managed to keep our spending under $1,500 per month!

This is when other things come into play. Living on $1,500 per month can be completely doable in a country and very difficult to pull off in another. Romania is one of the cheapest countries in Eastern Europe where the average salary is around $450… while things are completely different in other countries where the cost of living itself is a lot higher.

But this is the beauty of today’s world: if you can barely make ends meet where you live, there’s most likely a much cheaper country somewhere on this planet where your money would mean a lot more. This is easily achievable if you are retired and have a steady income or if you can work remotely.

I have met people who were kind of struggling in a more expensive country, then moved to Romania and they now live a decent life.

All without extra stress in their lives and without working to increase their revenue: they simply chose to go somewhere where their money simply meant more because of the low cost of living. It takes some courage, but it’s better than struggling no matter how hard you try.

What do you say though? If you were to only have $1,500 per month as a family, would it be enough to live a decent life?

[Image credit: Phoney Nickle]

17 COMMENTS

  1. With a family of two in the US and a mortgage there is a very slim chance we could do just do $1500 but it would be very tight budgeting for us. I’ve done some numbers and if I can successfully make at least $1800 a month from a side hustle I could quit my current day job but that’s only because my wife works and her income would still be added into the factor.

    • Here people rarely go for a mortgage simply because they can’t afford paying it. Especially after the recession hit and an important number of people were thrown out of their homes, people are less and less ready to take the step towards home ownership and debt. I would really be curious what the cost of living in the US is and how low can you go in terms of expenses to still live a decent life.

        • If you are asking me, we pay no rent as we managed to pay our apartment in full. Renting in Romania can be really cheap: $300 will get you a nice 1 bedroom apartment in most cities here (even more in smaller ones).

  2. We live in very expensive Seattle and outside of housing costs, we are barely over the $1,500 threshold so it’s very doable. Living somewhere even cheaper would bring that possibility even closer.

    • I guess that in the end it’s all about how you handle your finances and this is why we’re all here doing this blogging thing – to get better at it. We will have to do this with housing costs included, but I am sure we will have no real problems!

  3. I live in NYC and my rent is more than $1500. I’d love to live in a lower cost of living area, but most of my family is here. We are only on one income too. I need to get my wife to start some side hustles too…although she does have her hands full with the baby. Romania has maternity benefits? Sadly my wife does not have any from her work and the government does not provide any.

    • Yes, Romania offers maternity benefits which is 80% of the salary, but not greater than $900. However, my wife had her own business (a small coffee shop) and her accountant made all he could to keep her profits close to zero and under the minimal wage (it is something that is done here in Romania to prevent giving too much too tax, without doing illegal stuff :D). What she hadn’t told us then was the “80% of the salary” as help during the 2 years she is allowed to spend at home and receive the money, which resulted us in expecting to get a huge sum of $240 per month. These are the kind of mistakes that you make when you’r not fully aware of what’s happening around you…

  4. That’s an interesting question. I think we could make it work now, but if you asked me a couple months ago it would be very, very tight. Our mortgage alone was well over half that figure ($900), figure another $200 for food, $250 for all utilities, $60 for car insurance, maybe $40 for gas…that’s the bare bones. No health insurance or entertainment, but yeah, I think it could work if we really had to.

  5. When I was first out of college I lived on $1000 a month in Boston (that was several years back), but I’m confident if I lived in a place with cheaper housing costs (I’m in NYC) I could live on $1500 pretty easily. Since I’ve paid off my student loans the only debt I have is the mortgage. If I lived in a cheaper part of the country my mortgage would be much less, so my only expenses would be food etc.

  6. Definitely not on the east coast especially in cities like New York. Maybe in the rural south or in the west where things are cheaper, I could live with a family of four off of $1500 a month. However, it would be very difficult and hard on everyone. Definitely no TOYS for the kids!

  7. I am hoping to live in Alba Iulia on 1500 a month. We own the house so no payments. Are you talking $2500 a month in Bucharest? Or is that rural romania?? I am hoping the monthly bills.. internet.. phone..heat.. taxes etc come in at under 1,000 per month. Your $2500 number actually has me re-evaluating viability of retiring in Romania. I can live well in rural Minnesota on $2500 a month with no home payment. I would sure hope i could do it in Romania.. but will now double check our numbers.

    • Hello Otto,

      I was actually talking about $1,500 and not 2,500. Most Romanians live on a budged of under $1,000 per month so $1,500 is certainly doable in Alba Iulia and Bucharest too. The monthly bills will surely be well under $1,000 per month (internet, tv and phone is $20 per month, heat would be a maximum of $200 in the coldest months but generally much lower so yes, $1,500 should be enough to live a good life here)

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