Danielle Wagasky gets $14,000 a year to spend however she likes.
And $14,000 seems like a lot of money if you consider spending it on shoes, or clothes, or a small car. It would pay for a really nice vacation or even that motorcycle you’ve been dreaming about.
But could $14,000 feed, clothe, and house a family of four for a whole year? Suddenly, it doesn’t seem like that much money. In fact, it seems like just a teensy bit more than nothing.
Danielle Wagasky has been thrust into the media spotlight after reports of her family of four living off of a mere $14,000 a year. Her husband, a former military service member, is currently using his GI Bill to attend school full-time. Hence, the family receives $14,000 annually to cover their living expenses, while Wagasky’s school is covered by the government.
Danielle Wagasky is the blogger behind Blissful and Domestic. She says that a small budget is “a blessing, not a curse.” Wagasky states that her family is comfortable living off of the monthly allowance provided by the GI Bill, and has no need for more. Not only that, but the couple is also debt free. And they own their own home.
So, how does this work? I’m glad you asked.
Danielle Wagasky is a stay-at-home mother of two. Her children, ages six and eight, are homeschooled. The family lives in a home they have renovated themselves in Las Vegas. And they live comfortable off of the living allowance that Jason receives from the military. That is all. There is no deep, dark secret that allows the family to live on so little. There are no blogs about dumpster diving for food or other extreme measure of frugality. The Wagasky’s story is simple and straightforward.
It all allegedly started when Jason Wagasky was deployed to Iraq. For the first time, Danielle was in charge of the family’s finances. Target became her home away from home, until her husband told her to read “America’s Cheapest Family Gets You Right on the Money: Your Guide to Living Better, Spending Less, and Cashing in on Your Dreams.” The book, written by Steve and Annette Economides, tells the story of a family who feeds their seven members on $350 a month.
“I never paid anything growing up — I was kind of spoiled,” Danielle told the Huffington Post about the experience. “And then, all of a sudden, I had to do all the bills. It was tough.”
Danielle began changing her living habits, starting in the kitchen. According to Yahoo! News, the 28-year-old barely knew her way around the kitchen. She found a bread maker at a thrift store, and learned how to use it. She allegedly also began grocery shopping once and month, and discovered thrift stores and wholesale places like Costco.
The goal: To save enough money while Jason was deployed to put a down payment on a house. When Jason returned, they had $30,000 saved to start their house-hunt. However, the couple found a fixer upper for a mere $28,000. They bought the house with cash, and use the leftovers to put in a kitchen (the original house didn’t have one).
Wagasky states that the couple’s frugality has a positive impact on their marriage.
“We don’t fight about what to spend money on,” she said. “We’re definitely the happiest we’ve ever been.”
While the Wagasky’s are living in a rural area where houses even exist for $28,000, Danielle believes that everyone can benefit from living below their means. She suggests that everyone give up cable, and opt for the cheaper Netflix or Hulu.
Do you think that every family could live below their means? What are ways that you can think of to live frugally?