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How to live on nothing: When you have no income and you aren’t sure how you’ll get by, here’s some help. Learn how to thrive when you have no money.

Boy have I got a treat for you today!

But first, some background…

There’s a special Facebook group for people who are embracing a life of frugal living.

(You don’t have to love being frugal all the time. A lot of us are living it either by choice or by necessity. And in this group, we think positively, share ideas, and most importantly… cheer each other on.)

(You can request to join here!)

If you’re lucky enough to be a part of the Frugal Living And That #Yearofno Life Group, then you definitely know Belinda.

She’s always sharing amazingly creative ideas for living on next to nothing.

What an inspiration she has been to me (and so many others!).

So…I asked if she would kindly write up a post or two for the blog.

Here’s what she came up with.  (I think you’ll love it!)

Managing Life With Little to No Income

by Belinda Lents

How to live frugally with no income. Living with no income. how to live on no money. How to live on nothing. Ways to get by when you have no income. Ways to live when you have no money.

The world we’re living in right now can be scary.  More and more people are without jobs or dealing with less income due to cuts in hours.

In some parts of the country, grocery prices have skyrocketed and resources have become scarce.

Our family was already living on a tight budget before 2020 happened.  And now we have to tighten our belts and save even more. 

Our Family’s Story

First, let me give you some of our background.

Last August, my husband broke his heel at work. He was off work for almost six months.

Workers Compensation paid about twenty percent of what he normally made each week. All of that went straight toward our insurance premiums.

In other words, we were living with no income.

Thankfully, we did have a bit of a cushion from our emergency fund.

Of course, life decided to play its little pranks and make sure everything went wrong. Appliances went out, water leak 3.0 happened, the car that had already been limping along decided to wheeze its final breath.

The emergency fund that was supposed to last six months was completely gone in three months.

How Do You Survive When You Have Nothing?

I had my share of pity parties during those days.

Not only could my husband not walk without assistance… it felt like our world was literally falling apart at the seams.

Finally, I realized we had to keep moving. The goal was to just survive.

Our two children are teenagers so they were very aware of the situation and didn’t have to be told more than once why we couldn’t do activities or buy something fun.


We don’t eat out, not even fast food.

Sometimes we’ll try out new recipes from Pinterest using the cheapest ingredients we can find at the store.

At times, we even cut ourselves down to two meals a day.

We eat more of what’s already been cooked and ended up with less waste overall. (Yay for leftovers!)

Snacks are always available if someone needs a little something extra.

It was tough, but it wasn’t impossible.

I always keep a stocked pantry because of our work in the garden.  And I’ve spent years learning smart grocery shopping tricks. 

That definitely made things easier.

I make a point to never empty our pantry shelves because I never know what life may have in store for us next week.

Catching sales and working to can a few extra jars of green beans is worth the effort and time.

Here’s a great way to learn how to shop for groceries on a little budget.


We simplified our holidays.

Instead of visiting family that lived hours away, we stayed home.  Gifts were kept to a minimum.

We got used to the word “no”, even when we were asked to contribute to a “good cause”.

Usually, we just had to explain why we couldn’t, and people would understand.  But in some cases, we had to stand our ground. 

And honestly, even if the other person didn’t understand, our well being was more important.

Not everyone will get it and you have to make peace with that fact.

How Do I Enjoy Life With No Money?

Saying no all the time isn’t the most fun thing ever.

But it gave us plenty of time to get creative, and we found plenty of ways to have fun without spending money.

Board games, puzzles, building models, and binge watching movies we have owned on DVD for years were good entertainment.

We dug old video game consoles out of storage and hooked them up. (There’s nothing more fun than listening to your children complain about the poor quality graphics on a game system from twenty five years ago!)

We had time to reconnect.

How Do People Live With No Income?

Let’s fast forward to this craziness we are all living in this year.

My husband was laid off this spring from his job that he has had for the past thirty-nine years.

We had just gotten caught up on our insurance premiums from when he was off for his injury and were starting to get back on solid financial ground.

He was one of the fortunate ones in the sense that his layoff was temporary. Even though it was short lived, the financial setbacks put us back in the world of living on nothing.

Our meals these days consist of little meat and mostly whatever the garden has an overabundance of at the moment.

We stay home.

Just for fun we had a Christmas in July day. It was super hot outside so we took advantage of our air conditioning inside. Everyone put on their Christmas pajamas, we made popcorn and hot chocolate, and binge watched Christmas movies all day.

It was corny and fun all mixed together.

And the best part was… it cost us nothing.

We scavenge in closets and drawers for things we have put back for a rainy day.

Being a semi-hoarder helps keep us out of the stores. Staying out of the stores means that I am not buying something unnecessary.

Quarantine has taught us to do without so much… and that staying home can have advantages. I went two months on one tank of gas!

We’re doing a lot of appointments over the phone or computer.

YouTube has provided countless hours of lessons on how to repair things or make crafts using things that were in our recycle bins.

Living simply does not have to be boring. You just have to wrap your mind around living differently than your peers. 

There’s More To Life Than Money

Over the years we have had to revert to a tight budget with zero wiggle room for anything that is not a necessity many times.

It isn’t always fun, but it is necessary.

Taking advice from friends who have been in the same position and making their ideas your own is key to being successful in saving.

Yes, you can live life on little to no income!

Just remember…There is no one size fits all when it comes to budgets and saving money. Hang in there and keep striving to reach your goals!

Got anything to add? We’d love to hear your ideas for living on little to no income!