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Could you live on $400 a week?

Home Forums SIMPLE SUSTAINABLE LIVING Living within your means Could you live on $400 a week?

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    I live off that which includes rent, food, electricity, petrol, rego, internet etc. We don’t pay for water though, that’s included in the rent.

    It just takes a bit of thought and planning. We moved to a smaller place (less rent). It’s biking distance to the shops and recreational places etc. I found a job within biking distance too.

    I grow what I can in pots and my partner catches the odd fish for us. I like to keep a stocked pantry of simple foods (rice, beans, pasta etc.). You sure eat healthier when there’s not a lot of money to blow.

    Other than that just think ahead. Put a certain amount of money away for each thing each week (eg. $10 a week for rego). That way things don’t sneak up on you.

    Its very doable 🙂


    Wow, you guys are inspiring – we’re flat out living on 2.5 times that amount. Life should be simpler…



    I agree Lotte .:clap: This whole thread has been very interesting.


    Lotte, when the income is grander, the spending will reflect. Its just what we do unfortunately. We get more things, we have more stuff we “need” so we buy more. Imagine if you could live on half of that, and bank the other half. hmmm…Retirement would only be a few short years away… hmmm…:lol: sounds fantastic to me!


    I just don’t know how to reduce our mortgage repayments, which are $550/week. We live in a basic little 116m² post-war house (mostly renovated, but we’ve done most of it ourselves) and drive a 5 year old Corolla. It’s frustrating as heck!


    Lotte wrote:

    I just don’t know how to reduce our mortgage repayments, which are $550/week. We live in a basic little 116m² post-war house (mostly renovated, but we’ve done most of it ourselves) and drive a 5 year old Corolla. It’s frustrating as heck!

    Pay more or sell up and buy cheaper?:hug:


    I don’t want to live on $400 a week again at the moment but thinking back we probably were on about the equivalent or worse for a few years when we were first married and I wasn’t working but studying and paying the mortgage.

    It was hard because we didn’t have much of anything and no savings either at that time to fall back on as we were very young. GM4L it does get easier over time. I found it hard because most of our friends were still single, living at home and couldn’t understand that we didn’t have the money to go out partying all the time.

    Lotte I don’t know where you are or your situation but one thing I haven’t seen many people write on here is the possibility of having a boarder in for a few years. We had one for a few years when we were young and a couple of others over the summer break of university. Whilst you have the issues of share housing. We overall found it a positive thing and not just financially. Having a student from Sri Lanka living with us who lost 6 friends in 6 months due to the civil war gave us a new appreciation of how lucky we were.


    No, we couldn’t live on $400 per week-we would only have $10 pw left after we pay the bloody rent! LOL! That’s Cairns rent for you-you can pay less if you live in a unit but we have pets & quite frankly I would go bonkers if I had to live in a unit-we don’t live in a upmarket house either-just a run of the mill three bedder. It’s all a dreadful trap-can’t save any money because the rent chews so much income, not eligible for a first home owners grant as we did own a house years ago, or at least we were paying a mortgage. Can’t move further out to cheaper rental areas as it would then cost too much to get to work! ARRRRRRGH! I spend many a sleepless night trying to think of a workable solution to the ‘working a job that you dislike to pay for a lifestyle you don’t want’ problem and so far havn’t been able to come up with a workable solution.

    Shangri La

    I know what you mean lostinthefog, we are renting an old fibro beach shack for $380/wk and we too have pets so a unit is not an option. Sunshine Coast rentals are over the top. We sold our place on acreage last year as it was costing so much in petrol with teenagers and no public transport plus we had dreadfully high power bills – pool not wired for off peak power, halogen lights and pressure pumps etc. We will eventually buy again but will still have a mortgage unless we live in a tiny place so at the moment we are kind of in limbo.

    I don’t know your job situation but would you consider moving as parts of rural NSW and Vic seem to be much cheaper than Queensland. I thought Cairns rents wouldn’t be too bad as property prices have fallen there with the GFC. I used to live in Atherton which used to be very cheap but went through the roof and looks to be more expensive than Cairns now. The other option, if it’s ever a possibility is getting work with housing provided (pretty rare i know) but at least it might help buying a cheap place elsewhere and getting on the ladder,

    The other thing about renting is a place with twice as many rooms isn’t usually twice the price as there is only so much the market will pay, in which case you could rent a couple of rooms just to try and get ahead.

    Agree it is very interesting reading this. What a pity the states didn’t invest heavily in quality public housing years ago as they would make a good revenue stream even if they only charged 70% of what market value is now.

    I’m also considering the option of renting long term and buying investment properties elsewhere as the local market just does not seem good value and I find it hard to believe it can be sustained. Oh to have a crystal ball!

    The best thing about where we live now is a huge reduction in petrol costs as the kids can catch buses and we are very close to shops,

    Whilst it’s frustrating not being able to alter things in a rented house, at least I’m not spending money doing it! We spent a lot on making things how we wanted them in our last house and unless you stay put forever it’s often money sunk so if we do buy again to live in I shall try and resist changing things that cost a lot of money. Our last place wasn’t ideally orientated for solar either and that is what I want next time – to reduce expenses in the long term.

    I’m a bit off track with the thread, late night ramblings of an insomniac I’m afraid!

    I find menu planning is the quickest way to save money as you tend to buy only what you need. I’m terrible though, I tend to be really good at spending less when things are very tight but then I slacken off the minute the financial pressure eases.


    Maybe Suzs challenge would help you guys?? :hug:


    Hi Shangri La-A crystal ball would be great sometimes! In hindsight we have made alot of bad decisions and I think you lose confidence in your ability to make the right choices, we originally lived in Tassie on a rural property but made the decision to move to the mainland as we couldn’t see much future there for the kids and the job situation was awful, my husband could only get seasonal work, so we sold the property which went for a song (nobody wanted to live in Tassie in those days!) and used the money to pay off all our debts and relocate to the mainland, we moved initially to SA as we had friends there and they loved it, our plan was to buy another acreage etc. etc. but we HATED SA and only stayed a year which of course dwindled the finances as there were no jobs there either, we then moved up here and have been here for about 11 years now. We have never been out of work since coming here but of course the cost of living is so much higher, my husband works for the local council and is a horticulturist which sounds pretty good but the pay is awful really and I work in the hospitality industry-also poorly paid and unreliable as I am a casual. Looking back maybe we should have stayed in Tassie-property prices increased dramatically several years after we left and Tassie started to become more popular or perhaps we should have stuck at it in SA for a couple more years, real estate was practically at give away prices there in those days and we could have made a tidy profit, one house we considered in SA was $69,000 and sold a couple of years ago for $300,000 plus! But it’s no good living your life with a host of regrets for things that you should have done. Our dream, of course, is to someday own a small property somewhere, but God knows how we will do it!! There are benefits to renting, it’s a relief not to have to worry about maintenance issues or rates or if the next cyclone is going to blow the joint away, but it is painful to look at your rent ledger (as we did last year) and see that $40,000 has just vanished into the ether with nothing to show for it. The rent takes more than half of my husbands income so in effect we do live on less than $400 a week as we don’t have that much in disposable income. We think the only option is to move elsewhere, we are going to stay here another 12 months and then perhaps move to the tablelands. Real estate is very expensive there but rents are cheaper than Cairns, we have also thought of south or central qld or even perhaps a return to Tassie (BRRRR!). sometimes I think it would just as good to toss a coin rather than spend fruitless hours mulling over all the pros and cons! It certainly gets frustrating but we try to stay optimistic and we certainly aren’t going to give up!


    as ex Tasmanians of 15 years ago we know what you you ae going through lostinthefog :kiss:just hang in things do get better as long as you keep your chin up and refuse to be drawn into the got to have it now society:tup:


    Yes! While we had big debts (mostly paid off now – thank GOD!) we were living on this with 7 children and a bit of charity. By charity I mean clothes, but we didn’t go out, didn’t have ANY extravagances, didn’t drink alcohol,softdrink,cordial, cook from scratch,no shopping outings, just paid the school stuff and the bills as well as the debt. We paid, and still do pay our electricty on a fixed direct debit every fortnight on payday so it’s gone before we see it and no matter what the bill is constant and we always have supply ( little trick: they cannot cut you off if you have this arrangement in place)Even Centrelink money went to pay debt (business dried up) but it wasn’t all bad, as some have said, it’s the attitude that counts! Sure, at the time it was awful but it led us to self-sufficiency as a real life-saver and now we can relax and do nice things now and then, we have savings so we can do the things we always planned to do re improvments (not all of them yet!) but we don’t feel the need to keep up with the Jones’ anymore either. i think all that fell away with having to do it tough for a few years. Just the two of us on $400 week would be a dream!! Especially without a mortgage which is our biggest money guzzler!!

    Definately doable and I hope you do because as life becomes simpler and your needs and wants do too, you find more peace.:tup:


    I wouldn’t mind doing it tough at all ( and we do struggle with money most of the time) if there was a purpose to it-ie: we were achieving something, we don’t buy into the whole consumer thing anymore and we actually live very frugally-we utilise the op shops and garage sales-I actually can’t remember the last time we bought anything new and furthermore we don’t want to-it’s awful when you see all the unnecessary crap that people waste money on and I also resent that sometimes we are forced into stuff that we don’t really need-the whole digital television thing annoys me, we have a perfectly good TV but will be forced into buying at the least a set top box, I suppose we could go without TV but we don’t go out (and how else would we watch Gourmet Farmer!) but it all seems a scam to force people into buying something new-the latest gadget. My daughter lives in a brand new suburb where a lot of houses are still being built and the amount of stuff the builders just chuck into skips for dumping is horrifying-at least my son in law managed to recycle some of it into a chook pen!! Hi to the ex Taswegians out there and thanks everyone for your thoughts.


    maybe as we would be close to doing it now I would think

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