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Henderson Family Makes Ends Meet on $14K a Year | News

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Henderson Family Makes Ends Meet on $14K a Year

HENDERSON, Nev. -- A Henderson family is proof that it doesn't take a lot of money to be happy. They are proud of the fact that they live on just $14,000 a year.

According to the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, a family of four living on less than $23,550 a year is considered to be living in poverty.

After two tours in Iraq, Jason Wagasky is now going to school full-time. And since their only income is a $14,000 stipend from the military, Michelle and Jason are becoming experts at stretching a dollar.

It's not exactly a palace, but the Wagasky's 1,400 square foot home in old Henderson, a foreclosure they bought for $28,000, is immaculate.

Danielle Wagasky is a stay at home mom proudly does it all on a very strict budget. She can feed and clothe a family of four on $14,000 a year.

"For me, being a stay at home mom, I feel like the most important thing I can do is be able to raise our kids to be happy and healthy and so if I have to do a little more planning then I'm okay with that," she said.

Danielle writes out her meal plans for the entire week. She will not spend more than $400 a month on groceries. According to National Annual Consumer Spending, the average family spends about $544 a month on groceries.

"Today we're having pizza and we're going to make homemade root beer so that will be fun, Wagasky said. "Last night we had grilled cheese and tomato soup, which was quick and easy to make for our family."

The shelves in her kitchen are lined with clear containers so she can easily see her ingredients and make sure nothing is wasted. She uses five gallon buckets to store bulk items.

"That's what we use to store all our flour, rice , wheat berries, beans," she said. "We try to have 100 pounds of flour which is going to last our family for about two months."

Almost daily, the smell of homemade bread fills the air. On this day, it's honey wheat baking in a bread machine Danielle bought at a thrift store for $7.

Their pantry is full of basic foods and ingredients to make whatever they need.

"We make our own jam and salad dressings and our own pancake syrup, so we have all that in there."

She also makes her own soap, detergent, and all-purpose cleaner using a mixture of orange rinds and vinegar.

"Sometimes, you can add baking soda to our wash also, it helps to brighten your whites, it's a whole lot cheaper than buying store bought soap and better for you," she said.

The Wagasky's have a computer and flat screen TV, but they don't pay cable, instead they use an antenna to get local stations and subscribe to Netflix for the kids. Jason Wagasky grew up frugal, so to him, living like this is no big deal.

"Most people just want to know how do you live like that? And it's a hard question, like how do you do what you do? I don't understand spending all your money on stuff that I don't think is important," he said.

The Wagasky's have two happy, healthy children who, every now and then, get "the talk."

"Oh yeah, sometimes they'll go in the store and say 'I want this,' and you have to sit down and have that talk with them, why do you want this? And you have to get to the heart of why do they think they need it. Is it something you need to live or it something that you want just to have?

The family is trying to simplify life until Jason, who's studying criminal justice at UNLV, can graduate and get a job. Until then, this proud family is proving, that you don't need a lot of money to be happy.

Danielle admits she used to be a spender. But now, she is a superstar among savers. She has a very helpful money-saving website called blissful and domestic where she gives tips about how to make do with less.



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