Live on $1200 a month – Can I do it?



 I’ve been reading all these blogs about folks who are doing long term travel while living on a small budget and enjoying the journey. I’ve been asking myself the question “Can I do that?” and I think the answer is yes. We’ll just have to wait and see won’t we. How did I come up with $1200? It seems to be the average of what they claim to be spending.

For the past few months I seem to have been spending money like there is no tomorrow and not paying attention to how much and how I’m actually spending my money. Starting 1 Sept 2012 I will begin to track my spending. I need to have a better idea of how I spend. I will cut off all unnecessary purchases and make adjustments where necessary.

For those of you who’ve been following my blog you already know that I retired from the Air Force on 1 April 2012. I’ve rented out my house and I’m living with my sister and her family. I’ve given away a lot of my stuff. The rest is packed up in boxes in my sister’s garage and I’ve basically just been traveling around (the United States mainly), with a trip to Canada and two trips to St Martin in between.  

I really want to travel the world and that’s why I need to be free of encumbrances at this time. My journey begins 7 Sept 2012. I have a one way ticket to St. Thomas, from there I will continue on to Dominica and also visit some other Caribbean islands. I haven’t figured out which ones yet. I shall return to the USA towards the end of December because I’m going on my very first cruise (ever). I’ve already paid for it and I’m actually looking forward to it. After the cruise I’m thinking either East Africa or Europe those plans are still up in the air. I’m trying to chase summer so hopefully I’ll be in a warm climate for most of the year. 

Wish I could be like the minimalists, hopefully in time I’ll get there. 

13 thoughts on “Live on $1200 a month – Can I do it?

  1. Absolutely you can. It will take some adjustments, the beginning is always a challenge. Start by preparing your own meals, purchase your fruits and vegetable in markets instead of grocery stores (they are always cheaper), bake your own bread (you can learn if you don’t know how), purchase a freezer and buy your chicken and other meats by the box, package them in clear plastic bags in the amount you will use at any given time. Doing this will save you because you won’t be purchasing things all the time, Keep your eye out for sales and purchase in bulk-things that are non perishable, like rice, flour, (though rice and flour can last, do keep an eye out, too long of a shelf life and you will get weebles) toilet paper (sales), toothpaste, tampons/pads, deodorant, laundry soap, fabric softener etc. You will be surprised how it will cut down on your monthly spending. Some of your cost of living you can control. That’s just to start. If you want to do more traveling, you can make the shift.

    you can email me if you would like any more tips……..
    have a fabulous evening.

  2. I definitely think you can do it! You can do anything you put your mind to. :). Good luck with your adventures!!!!

  3. You can do whatever you put your mind to. If travel is what you want, by all means do it. We grow old much too soon and the time has passed when we were healthy enough to do what we wanted. Go for it!!

  4. You’re so blessed, Paula. & if I can manage to live on £900 a month (convert it to dollars to see what THAT is!), you’ll live like a queen on 1200 USD. Just keep those pics of you & Ziggy coming! xxxxxxxx

  5. I am retired and my wife and I live on 1200usd a month. She and I live in China, 1200usd comes to about 8000rmb, that means we live upper middle class, two rented homes, a new van, furniture and I can give my wife 1000rmb spending money. If we need more I can work teaching ESL for 6 months at 7500rmb. I have been here 7 years, along with 71,000 outher Americans. In the USA I can barly get by with my wife in a one room rented apartment. Not saying you need come to China, but there are many places around the world that would give you a nice life on little money, Best of luck, Mike and Li

    1. Thanks Mike. Wow, it’s great that you and your wife are able to live so well. Not sure I’d be able to live in China. I have been looking at a few other countries but don’t know how well I’d fare since I’m not so good at learning another language.

  6. I only make $1,200 a month. My rent is $600. I use half a tank of gas per week getting to work which costs me about $30 per week or about $120 per month. I live in Wyoming, we don’t have public transportation so I have to drive. I eat as cheaply as possible. My total for all houshold expenses including things like food, toilet paper and the occasional new pack of underwear is about $50 per week or $200 per month. I typically spend about $150 on utilities like electricity, heat, and water. I also have asthma, which means I have to spend $60 per month and $100 every three months to keep myself medicated. All this comes out to minus -$40 per month. So, you may be asking what is my point? Grow up, the rest of us are struggling even to survive and you are worried about whether or not your trip will be fun on $1200 per month.

  7. I’m sorry to hear about your struggle Maybellle. I’m aware that there are folks who have it a lot worse than me. I definitely consider myself fortunate that this is a self imposed budget. It’s been difficult keeping to my $1200 budget so I can definitely emphasize with your situation.

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