Friday, April 27, 2018

Budgeting On A Low Income

I know it’s hard to believe but there are usually ways to figure out a budget and save money when you have an extremely limited income. Unfortunately, it may not be very comfortable and you might end up having to give up things that you love. But, if you can make short-term goals and remember that you are making sacrifices for those goals, it may make it much easier.

Saving Without Coupons

Coupons are great and can end up saving a fortune if you have the time necessary to plan, clip, and run from store to store. If you don’t have the time and the money to spend on the newspapers and printer ink to access the coupons, this may not be the best way to budget your family’s grocery bill. Sure, you could use a few coupons here and there that you find in the mail or at your local library or if a friend has some extras. But there are other ways to cut down on your grocery bill.

I’ve found that the easiest way to cut back is to plan our meals. All the way down to snacks and lunches. Writing everything down and keeping a list for the store as you go could save a few extra bucks by itself. I’m guilty of impulse buying much like most people but, if you stick with your list you will notice a difference at the register!

We keep a menu sheet on the fridge and everyone can write suggestions down. You don’t want to sacrifice your children’s favorite cereal or snacks so, making a list of specific items that your family cannot do without is also helpful. Then you can keep an eye on these items in the sale flyers and stock up when they go on sale. (Depending on the sale, you could stock up enough to get through to the next sale.) Stop paying full price for everything or at least as much as you can handle! You’ll notice the sales tend to go in order and sometimes, you can catch a similar sale the following week at another store nearby.

Stocking your freezer when meat is on sale is also a key to cutting back. There are times when the sale rotates and may include boneless, skinless chicken breast at a deep reduction per pound. Even if you only use chicken a few nights a week, you could grab extra to freeze for a later date. (Even if just one extra pound. It will eventually add up!) You will find things like ground beef, hot dogs, chicken legs are typically on sale during picnic holidays. Steaks will be on sale around Valentine’s Day, take advantage of the free or half price turkey and ham that most grocery stores offer during holidays such as Easter, Christmas, and Thanksgiving.

Pantry items are another big sale item that follows a rotation. You can usually grab some very cheap BBQ sauces, marinades, and baked beans during the picnic holidays and green beans, corn, and pineapples during the colder months. Back to school/end of summer sales tend to have some great deals on granola bars, fruit snacks, canned soups, and lunchbox treats. This is another great way to start stocking your cabinets so you always have something on hand. Try to keep in mind that most pantry items have a longer shelf life too!

Between finding out your store’s sale rotation, finding out the time and days your store puts reduced meat and produce out, planning and buying only what is on your list, and even freezing leftovers, you should start to notice the savings pretty quickly!

Increase Your Income

This may be an option for you or it may not be. I understand it’s rough to try and find extra time in a day when you already work or have kids or both! Whether it’s cutting back on your own lunch money, bringing coffee from home, carpooling, walking more, or becoming a minimalist, you have a lot of options here too.

If you do have a few extra hours a week or can figure out how to find a few extra hours, there are restaurants and even retail stores who are sometimes looking for someone to work as a fill-in or maybe pick up a weekend shift here and there. Many times bars, restaurants and clubs look for someone to be on call for different functions, holidays or summer hours. Depending on your transportation situation and where you live, you may be able to find a newspaper route. Sure, it isn’t a lot of fun to have to work more than one job and maybe you would need to pay for childcare to work a side job, no matter how small. In that case, it would be wise to maybe just pick up extra hours at your job, ask for a raise, or check out some side gigs you could do from home in your spare time.

Between apps that will save you money on your grocery bill and cashback sites, if you shop online, you could save a few dollars each month with not much work on your part. These programs usually start you out with a $10 bonus to start you off which is literally a free $10! If you have a few extra minutes, you could check out programs such as Upromise and even websites that will pay you in points just for searching things online. (You can fill out surveys, open emails, watch videos, play games, answer trivia questions, and much more.) The goal is to earn points and turn these points in for gift cards and PayPal payments. It may not seem like a large amount of money but every little bit helps.

Checking your house for things your kids have outgrown, any sneakers or shoes you haven’t worn in a year or more, or all of the extra beauty products you never opened from any subscription boxes you may have had, could bring some extra cash your way if you start an account on eBay or even just sell on your local Facebook yard sale pages. Any extra money you earn could go towards savings and debt reduction.

If you have even more spare time or have a computer at home, you could even start a blog or sign up for affiliate accounts for some of your favorite retailers. The goal here is to post links for whatever products or services while offering your friends and family a discount, you will earn money or credits to spend at their website if anyone places an order! (I have been earning free sock credits and free beauty product credits for a few years by sharing these links!) It comes in handy when you are in need of these things yourself and you won’t have to shell out any cash for it!

Focus On High-Interest Debt

So, now you have an extra $50 a month and you’re hoping to knock down some credit card bills you have been paying for several years. It may seem like a wise idea to start paying off the credit cards with the smallest debt so you can knock them out. However, you should start with the loan or credit card that charges you the most interest. Even if you just pay an additional $20 a month, you could knock a few years of payments off! Every extra dollar counts, no matter how small. If you end up being able to afford a little more to pay each month, keep adding this onto the debt with the highest interest! Eventually, your minimum payments will start to decrease and the extra $20 will go even further.

Sometimes, checking into help such as Nationwide Debt Reduction Services would be extraordinarily beneficial no matter your financial situation. They can get you and your family on the right track to becoming debt free or at least take better control of your finances, lower your payments, and keep you from filing bankruptcy or going into debt even more with late fees.

I know it sometimes feels like it takes forever, but watching your debt fall and being able to save even $5 a week for a rainy day will help attain your short term goals. Cutting back isn’t going to be comfortable but, your end result will be!

No comments:

Post a Comment