Managing money when you’re on a low income sure is stressful and time-consuming – even if you know you’ll make it through to the other side eventually. And with 10.4 million American families believed to be on low incomes in the last few years, it’s not an uncommon predicament in which to find yourself either. But help is at hand. Finding ways to cut down on your spending and boost your income are certainly urgent priorities – and, they’re achievable ones too.
Ruthlessly cut spending
Cutting out unnecessary spending is something you will already have tried. But you’d be surprised just how unnecessary some of the most common expenditure lines in a household budget actually are. Shopping at many major supermarkets will actually increase the cost of your groceries, and the average amount spent on groceries by an American family of four is between $712 and $1,106 each and every month. But by discount shopping at cheaper alternatives like Dollar Tree – or even European imports like Lidl, which has now opened on the east coast – you may well be able to knock a hundred or so dollars off the bill each month. And if you’re paying for cable TV as your one luxury, why not instead get rid of it and take out a cheaper Netflix subscription instead? By printing out or otherwise analyzing your bank statements, you’ll quickly be able to see where you can cut back.
Consider debt management
If you’re on a low income, it’s not unlikely that you’ll also be in some form of household debt – especially given that total household debt in the US currently rests at around $13 trillion. It is possible to move all of your existing debts to a provider which is more streamlined and cost-effective, though. If you already have many loans, a consolidation package could be just what you need to get yourself back on track. And if you have an immediate need for additional cash, there are low income specialist lenders who can help.
It sounds easier said than done, but a common solution to household cash flow problems is to top up your income in some way. Speaking to representatives of the state or federal governments is a good way to discover if you’re entitled to welfare payments. The maximum monthly allowance for SNAP benefits (also known as food stamps) is $192 for a one-person household, and higher if there are more people living there – which could make a significant adjustment to your cash flow. Or you can ask to pick up some extra hours at your workplace, or work from home in the evenings. If you’ve got an in-demand skill such as design, why not sign up to a marketplace such as Fiverr on which you can get work from all over the world? Average earnings on that platform alone are $103 per month – so it’s well worth considering.
Managing on a low income isn’t great. But it’s certainly possible provided you’re willing to make some changes. Whether you choose to earn more, manage debt more effectively or simply scale back spending, there are lots of options.