Living on a Reduced Monthly Income
Living on a low budget during a time of economic downturn and rising debt can seem hopeless at times. But there are ways to manage your limited budget and still lead a fulfilling, rewarding life. Through it all, maintaining hope there are better days ahead is important. This bad economy will turn around and you’re going to be able to manage your household budget until more money comes.
But how do you live a smaller budget than what you’re grown accustomed to during the good times?
Here’s how to live on a low budget and make ends meet. Remember to maintain many of these principles when your job situation turns around and you have excess money coming in, because that’s how you’ll be able to save for your kids’ college or save for your retirement.
Entertain Your Family For Cheap
The first part of your household budget to be cut is your disposable income or entertainment dollar. It’s a lot easier to go without entertainment than it is to go without groceries, utilities, transportation or a roof over your head.
The good thing is you can find cheap entertainment, if you look hard enough. Look through the entertainment guide of your local newspaper for free events. Trips to the museum or the library are relatively cheap (or free) and give hours of entertainment.
Outdoor activities are good for you and usually don’t cost a whole lot, so go to the park or the beach or a hike with the family. Or get the 3-movie plan from Netflix and have movie nights throughout the month for around $17 per month.
Buy Less Expensive Holiday Gifts
Start shopping at online auction sites for cheaper holiday gifts. If you give yourself enough time, you’ll be able to pick your spots and find great bargains at online auction websites like eBay. Do the same for birthdays, Valentine’s Day and other special days in the year.
Pack Lunch for Work
You cut out a huge expense when you stop eating out for lunch every day at work. You’ll be able to get more work done staying in for lunch and eating in the office, or you’ll have a few more minutes to yourself if you find a quite spot nearby to enjoy your lunch hour.
No More $4 Coffee
Starbucks and other designer coffee is a nice treat in the middle of the day, but it’s an unnecessary expense during a recession. If you have a $4 cup of coffee every day of the work week, that translates to $1,000 in hidden expenses per year. You can cut that number by a good $750 easy and still get your caffeine fix every day.
So many products have a generic product a foot away in the grocery store. Often, the only difference in generic items is the package. I’ve heard these products are sometimes made in the same location, even. The savings when buying generic are simply huge.
Purchase in Bulk
When buying groceries and household items, stock up on the bulk rate items. Shop at a Sam’s Warehouse or similar warehouse store and buy larger quantities. You won’t have to shop as often and you’ll get the products at a significant discount.
Buy the Cheapest Gas
Go to a site called gasbuddy.com to find out where the least expensive gas retailers are in your area. Simply put in your zip code information and you’ll have displayed in front of you the current prices on gas in your town or city. If it’s cheaper to buy the same gas elsewhere, save on gasoline. Like the Starbucks cost, this stacks up rather quickly.
Pay Down Your Credit Card Debt
If you have a low budget, try to dig out of your debt hole. You don’t want to pay only the interest on your credit card debt. If you pay the interest on your debts and at the same time begin paying down the debt itself, you’ll be able to lowering your monthly costs. When your bills are lower every month, you have more money to spend.