If you don’t make a lot, you might be wondering how to live on a low income. It can be difficult especially as it seems everything gets more expensive by the day, but here are some tips to help make it easier to get by on less money.
How to Live on a Low Income
Just because you don’t make much money doesn’t mean you can’t find a way to get your bills paid and even have a little fun.
Here are some of the top ways to do just that.
1. Don’t Live Up to Your Income No Matter How Low It Is
One of the best ways to live on a low income is to live below your means.
This might be one of the most difficult things to do if your income is already pretty low.
It may mean cutting out all the little extras.
It may mean moving and giving up your apartment or home and renting out a room in someone else’s house.
Regardless, you’ll want to find ways to cut your expenses large and small.
For example, going out to eat is one of the biggest budget busters for many people.
While dining out can be fun, it’s a luxury that will have to be cut back on when money is tight.
If you’re used to eating out several times a week, consider how many meals you can get at home for what it would cost for two meals at a restaurant.
2. Prioritize Your Spending
If you’re having to live on a small income, it’s important to prioritize your spending.
Make a list of what’s most important first and then second, third, etc.
Some of the things that might be at the top of your list include:
Food, Shelter, and Utilities – These are the bare essentials that everyone needs in order to survive.
If you don’t have these three things taken care of properly each month then you might find yourself struggling to make ends meet.
These are also areas where you can cut your expenses the most.
If you’re really in a bind, then be ruthless. There are ways to cut your utilities that can save you hundreds of dollars a month.
You might be surprised just how cheap housing can be. You can find out more about cheap housing here.
Transportation – If you need your own vehicle in order to get around, this is something that should be considered a necessity because without it you may not be able to get to work.
However, if you can live without a car you should.
I know it can be tough, but there were times in my life that I didn’t have a car.
I walked and rode my bike.
I also made use of public transportation when I could.
It wasn’t fun, but it saved me thousands of dollars a year that at the time I couldn’t afford.
The worst part about this is that if something does happen it could be more difficult to afford care.
Whether it’s cleaning supplies or paper products or toilet paper the Dollar Tree and even thrift stores can be your friend.
You’d be surprised what you can find and for just pennies on the dollar.
Or get creative and use vinegar and lemon juice to clean your home.
Only Buy Items On Sale
Another thing you can do is only buy items when they are on sale.
Make a list of the items you always use then hunt for sales on those items.
When you find them stock up, so you won’t have to buy them again until they are on sale once again.
Buy your clothes at thrift stores and any other items you may need.
I buy lots of things at local thrift stores including Christmas and birthday gifts. I find many things that are brand new or barely used.
It makes a lot more sense to spend a couple of dollars on a top there than $20 or $40 or more at the department store.
Trust me…no one will know the difference.
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Look For Coupons
If you’re looking for coupons, check out newspaper inserts and online coupon sites.
There are also apps available for your smartphone that allow you to access coupons quickly.
This can really help to stretch your dollar.
Use Your Local Dollar Store
This is another great way to save money on small items that you don’t need all that often.
The dollar store offers a ton of things for very cheap.
I personally buy cleaning supplies at the dollar store. It saves me a lot of money.
3. Start Small When Trying to Save Money
If you’re really wanting to go low budget, start with small things first.
Make lists of small items and replace them in your house whenever possible or get coupons on those items and then buy them when they go on sale.
4. Ask Friends and Family for Hand-Me-Downs
If you’re really feeling down about your financial situation, get in touch with friends and family.
If you don’t have any extra money to reciprocate, offer to help them or do something nice for them.
They’ll appreciate it and it will help you feel better without spending a lot of money.
People love to help others. Take advantage of that.
Then when you’re in a better financial position you can return the favor.
5. Have Fun With What You’ve Got
If you’re struggling to make ends meet, don’t let that stop you from having fun.
Consider renting movies instead of going out.
You can rent movies and even video games for free from the library.
Other ways to get some entertainment for less money are by getting together with friends around the house and playing board games, card games, and other interactive activities that get everyone involved
6. Is Cable TV a Necessity?
Do you really need all of those high-priced cable television channels or can you live without them? If you are serious about cutting the cord, then call your cable company today.
Join a couple of streaming services such as Amazon Prime and Netflix and you can still enjoy all sorts of shows and movies and save money at the same time.
Another way is to watch local TV stations through an antenna which is a small box that connects your TV set to your antenna system.
While not as good as cable, these can still give you access to a lot of local programming for free as well as the local news.
What are The Biggest Challenges Low-Income Families Face
Some of the biggest challenges low-income families deal with include:
- Having no savings or financial safety net
- Not being able to afford health care or go to the doctor when needed
- Having problems making ends meet while also trying to pay for basic household items
If you’re having a hard time getting by month to month, consider ways in which to cut back on certain expenses so that you can afford other necessities.
In an ideal situation, the idea would be to reduce bills first before adding new expenses.
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What Kinds of Saving Strategies are Best for Low-Income Earners?
- Having an emergency fund
- Maintaining a budget
- By spending less than they earn and saving money either in savings accounts or by investing them, low-income earners build financial security over time.
You might not have a lot of money at first but once you get an emergency fund established and start socking away money it will build more wealth over time.
Those who don’t save anything will never have economic security but those who save some amount of money will be on their way to having a secure future whether that’s because they invested it or had a big enough safety net to survive small setbacks along the way.
To Sum it All Up:
If you’re on a super tight budget it can be difficult to find ways to pay your bills let alone save money, but it can be done. Priorities your finances, buy on sale and used, and reduce your three main expenses and you will find yourself on a positive financial path moving forward.