I make around 19.5k a year before taxes. I've never lived on my own and I'm trying to figure out if it's even a possibility.

I used to make that amount (make less now) and actually not only could I get by on it but I was able to save a good amount of money too. It's great that you already own your vehicle. Probably the biggest way I saved money was by not having a car at all so I didn't have a car payment or gas. I specifically picked an apartment about a mile away from my work so I could commute by bike. I also picked a place close to a bus stop so when I got a second job I was able to take the bus there, or if I wanted to go downtown for fun. My 1BR was $455/month. My neighborhood didn't have the best amenities as you might expect but like I said I wanted to be close to work and save money. I never ate out unless my coworkers/friends invited me so my groceries were about $30-60/week (I'm vegetarian and prefer to cook from scratch most of the time). For a small apartment my utilities were cheap--I kept it hot in the summer (in the South) to save money. My bill was $30-100/month. Then cell phone was $50/month. Fortunately my apartment complex included water and internet. I also had Netflix for $8/month and my student loans about $200/month.

Honestly I don't know why other people can't get by on that amount unless they live in NYC/SF/etc. I feel that aside from people who are hugely in debt it's not hard to live on this amount but a lot of people like to buy frozen foods, eat out (especially fast food), drink a lot, etc. and that really adds up! You have to have a frugal mindset. At that time my mindset was don't buy anything that isn't absolutely necessary until you have 6 months' worth of living expenses saved up as a safety net. I recommend that to anyone. After that I could loosen up and spend money on extras.

/r/Frugal Thread