Feb 10 2011

Could you survive 30 days on $1,000 and a low income?

I could, the first time I played the game. But all the others, nope. Circumstance beat me every time.

This interactive tool called Spent shows what your life could be like if you lost your job, and then burned up your savings and also lost your house and were down to your last $1,000.

It takes you through 30 theoretical days and presents choices for you to make along the way — choices real people have to face every day. People you might even know personally.

One choice I encountered wasn’t realistic. Though you’re renting an apartment, it makes you pay $50 to repair a leaky sink or something like that. Obviously that’s the landlord’s territory. But everything else seems possible.

It really makes you think.

(I saw this link posted on my Facebook news feed, in case you were wondering).



5 Responses to “Could you survive 30 days on $1,000 and a low income?”

  1. Wow. That’s pretty difficult. The first time I ran out of money (silly me opting for health insurance) and the second time I made it to the end with $338. But, I had to put down a family pet and default on student loans.

  2. I did it the other day and ended the month with almost $800. :) Then again, I went without car insurance. But a lot of those choices, while realistic, aren’t realistically going to happen all at once unless you are the unluckiest person in the world. And even then *most* people have some sort of safety net…whether it is family, church, or government.

    I would never want to have to live like that though. It is an interesting ‘game’.
    megscole64´s last post ..Thankful

  3. It is really interesting. I made it with almost $800, but to be honest I wouldn’t want to live the life I chose. I opted out of health insurance and getting my car fixed…

    When I was in college, I took a class on marriage and one of our assignments was to create a budget (a monthly budget for the first year, then an annual budget for the next five years anticipating possible expenses). He gave us the scenario: you make $25,000 a year combined, your car is falling apart, and you find out you’re unexpectedly pregnant. I remember really struggling to make everything work! I picked Orlando for the city we’d be living in since my parents live there and that made it easier to get utility cost, etc. information. I searched for an apartment online and used that for our sample budget. Later, the next time I went to Orlando, I drove by that apartment and it was such a dive! I would *never* wanted to live there. But apparently we did, with a baby even! Ha! It was a good lesson though.

  4. I took the quiz and was able to survive, but I didn’t find all the options realistic. Rent was ridiculously high too. I opted to live closer to work and pay more rent, figuring life would be so much easier and I would have more time for work if I lived closer. Plus, why would anyone live 30-40 miles from a waitressing job anyway? Unrealistic, but fun to take. Thanks for posting!

  5. I didn’t find it very realistic, either, mainly because I do live on a very low income in a high cost of living area ($1600/mo for the past year and a half Silicon Valley) and have found a lot of resources and ways of saving that they didn’t give as options.

    I ended the month with $775, and in “real life” it would have been higher because I could have been more resourceful. Gas or power need to be paid but don’t have money for both? Check with the utility company to see if they offer any kind of assistance. Need emergency dental care? Check the dental school and save half the cost. Same with vet care for a pet. Ask for financial assistance for the community college program.

    Groceries? Check out this guy who ate well for $1 a day by using coupons. http://www.grocerycouponguide.com/ Ask a food bank for assistance. (and really, no rice and beans? no canned tuna? no powdered milk? no frozen veggies – only expensive baby carrots? I’ll cut up my own bulk carrots, thank you! Much cheaper options are available than $7 chicken!)

    Opt out of health insurance and see if there is a low-cost alternative in your area, like a county plan.

    Need to do laundry but can’t afford it? Make your own laundry detergent, buy a 5 gallon bucket and dedicated plunger, and wash them in the bathtub.

    Get a prepaid cell phone rather than a contract phone and it will be way less than $75 a month!

    It’s true that many people are struggling and resources are stretched thin, but there are many more options than this provides.

    Thanks for sharing!

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Hey! I'm Kacie, wife to Shane and mother to Jonathan (7), Vivienne (5) and Amelia (2) . I write about my family's finance: how we save money, improve our spending, and plan for the future.

I hope I can inspire and encourage you to improve your situation. See disclosure.

I'm adopting a much slower-paced posting schedule, and treating this as a hobby blog now.

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