You clearly have not worked for any amount of time on minimum wage.
It is certainly possible. I did it for years. The main elements of survival:
- Population density is your friend. That means roommates sharing the rent and utility load, preferably ones making the same wage as you so you're on the same page and skip things like cable TV.
- Dry goods: rice, beans, legumes, pasta. This stuff makes prepackaged ramen look expensive. Pay attention to flyers and focus on things that are buy one get one free, and bring coupons. Oh and splurge on a multivitamin supplement so you don't lose your sanity.(cut the pills into thirds otherwise you'll just pee it out)
- Never exceed 2000 RPM while driving. You can double the estimated gas mileage of the car. Oh and follow Youtube videos to perform car repairs...your car maintenance costs will drop by 90%. Or just forgo owning a car if humanly possible...they're a huge money sink.
- Go to bed early. Bad decisions (financial or otherwise) become a thing of the past since 99% those are usually done after 8 PM, and you can't make them if you're sleeping.
- Take classes if you don't have the degree. When you're dirt poor and collecting the Pell grant you're basically getting paid to go to college.
- Buying things new is not only stupid, but financial suicide. Plenty of perfectly fine furniture, appliances, and clothes can be found at garage sales. If you're taking classes like suggested above, make friends with foreign students. They'll be jettisoning all their stuff when they leave for home.
- If you have (or can beg, borrow, or steal) anything metal, take it to a recycling specialist. This can net you a nice bonus. A dead grill, washing machine, large printer, etc can be worth $50. A junk car can be worth $500+.
- Avoid the opposite sex. Much like a car these are a huge money sink. If you meet one, use coupons on the first date. If they're attracted to your thrift you've got a keeper.
- Obtain as many credit cards as you can. Then load them up and forget about them. You'll get sued by junk debt buyers eventually, but all you have to do is write a basic answer and show up in court with a halfway convincing motion. They only want to settle. If you grow some stones and refuse to settle and say you would rather go in front of the judge they'll usually just voluntarily dismiss (these guys don't have any stones). So not only are you getting a piece of all the damn money printing going on, you're also freeing money from the debt slavery machine through default (right now almost all money is tied to a bank loan or a fed loan...the only freedom from this can be default).
- Get fit and stay fit. This opens up so many doors it boggles the mind. It is hard to climb any kind of ladder, corporate or otherwise, when you're obese.