It would be nice to be rich, with all of the spending power that brings, but for many of us, that is one dream that is far removed from our situation. In the real world, most of us have to manage our day to day living on a limited income, sometimes going from paycheck to paycheck, with little extra to spare. Life can be tough, and we just have to deal with it.
Or do we?
There are changes we can make that will improve our situation. So, while we will look at ways of living that support a limited income, we will also consider how to turn things around for a brighter future. Keep reading to find out more.
1. Start to put extra into your emergency fund
In the event of an injury, car issue, or any other problem that can be considered an emergency, your finances will take a hit. If you don’t have an emergency fund in place, you will face increased financial difficulties on top of your current situation. Therefore, start to put money aside today, be that in a jar on top of your kitchen cupboard, or in a separate bank account. And if you already have an emergency fund in place, find ways to put extra into it. This may not be possible every month, but if you do have extra cash occasionally, put it in your fund, rather than spending it all on any luxuries. You will be glad you did when disaster strikes.
2. Find savings where you can
Living on a limited income, you have probably found ways to make savings anyway. It’s a necessity and is a sensible thing to do. By adapting your life, you will be able to live reasonably well, even if you can’t always afford certain luxuries. If you haven’t got into the savings mentality yet, start today. Make a list of all your expenses and then research where savings can be made. As examples, you can use price comparison services to lower your utility bills. You can use similar services on your insurance needs, as well as using the advice given by Bonsai Finance to find cheaper car insurance (even if you have a bad driving record or a low credit score). You can make savings in the supermarket by shopping the last thing in the day when fresh foods are often discounted, as well as making use of any store vouchers you may have collected. And when it comes to buying clothes for yourself or your kids, you don’t need to pay top price. You can get good looking clothes at discount prices online or on the high street, so be sure to shop around.
3. Boost your income
Aside from taking on a second job, there are plenty of other ways to boost your monthly income. Some of these can even be done at home, such as starting an online business, doing freelance work, taking paid surveys, and even working for Amazon. Check out these and other ideas on this website. Of course, you might consider changing your job if your monthly income is low, so look at any higher paying jobs near you, and start to formulate a plan of action, such as finding out what courses or voluntary work you need to undertake to bolster your chances of employment success.
4. Implement good habits in your life
In all areas of your life, start to implement good habits that will ultimately prosper you financially. This includes taking the time to cook rather than spending money on takeout meals or expensive supermarket processed foods. Live within your means, rather than spending money you know you don’t have. Practice those good habits that will reduce your utility bills. Don’t use your car if you are able to walk places. As we said before, do make it a habit to shop around for cheaper items. And make it a habit to wait (and save) for items you want, rather than kid yourself with the attitude that ‘you deserve something,’ spending, even though you know you can’t afford it.
5. Free yourself from debt
If you are living in debt, then you aren’t going to achieve financial freedom any time soon. You won’t be able to save money, and you won’t have the excess money to help you purchase such luxuries as a holiday or a home improvement. The sooner you get out of debt, the better, as you may also get yourself out of ‘survival mode,’ and into a life that affords you a little more freedom with your spending. This means cutting up your credit card, so you aren’t tempted to use it. This means not taking out another loan for something you don’t need. And this means getting the help you need, such as speaking to a debt-relief charity that will help you climb out of the debt trap sooner. For more advice, check out this guide to help you get out of the debt spiral.
6. Embrace minimalism
Aside from the necessities in life, know that you don’t need material possessions to be happy. If you feel you are ‘surviving life’ because you have that mentality of needing to have the latest tech, or the urge to keep up with your friends or neighbors, then it may be time to alter your mindset. You see, the more you have, the more you will want. As trends change, you will always be spending more money to buy the latest thing. And if you’re not spending that money, you will still feel pained if you can’t have what you want. Therefore, consider taking the advice of this guide to help you embrace minimalism, and get out of that material mindset if that is what drives your thinking.
Living with little money is tough, but it is possible, be that through living frugally or altering your mindset. Let us know what you think, and if you have any words of wisdom yourself, be sure to share them with us, for the sake of any of us living with a limited income today.
Gracina Estrella – Cabanog is a Digital Marketing and Growth Strategist for Businesses. She is a mother of two and a wife to a tech geek. When she is offline she cooks, watch TV and hangs out with friends and family on the beach. Join her free Facebook Community of Social Media Marketing Learners, too! She is the founder of the startup SparkHiveMedia.com