Whether you are a student struggling to get by at college, or a parent doing your best to care for your children in a tough economic climate, trying to make ends meet when you are on a low-income wage can take some serious careful planning and organization. When you are having to stick to a tight budget, you can’t just buy something on a whim, because it might just mean you won’t be able to pay your bills or money for gas. Therefore, if you want to make your money stretch, you need to employ every trick and tactic available to you. If you are looking for something to help you stay in control of your finances, here are a few tips which you might find useful.
Plan your Finances
So you know that your finances are low, but do you know exactly what your ingoing’s and outgoings are, down to the last cent? If not, why not? Every part of your paycheck is important, so you need to know exactly how much money you have, and where it is all going. This will help you to determine a detailed budget, which clearly outlines and prioritizes all of your expenditure, so that you don’t find yourself unable to pay your essential bills. You should look at everything you spend money on, from your rent to the amount you spend on groceries, as this will be the first step in determining whether there are ways which you could decrease your expenses. While there might be items which serve the lifestyle you are accustomed to, it is important to live within your means, and that means you will have to cut out the non-essential items occasionally.
While it can be challenging to get a wage increase in order to get more incomings, there are ways which you can support your budget by cutting down your outgoings. The biggest costs within the home tend to be the rent, water and energy bills, tax, internet and mobile expenses, and groceries. While decreasing your rent and tax might be difficult, there are ways you can cut down on the cost of a lot of the other bills. For example, consider switching your energy provider to one which is more cost effective: energy providers change their pricing all of the time, so continue to shop around to find the right deal for you. In terms of groceries, make sure that you compare the prices of different products to get the best deal; while saving a few cents doesn’t seem important at the time, if you collect all of that extra change, it will soon add up to hundreds of dollars saved over a longer period of time. A good tip is to try buying generic brand items, rather than branded items, as the big brands tend to charge a lot more for the same product.
Earn extra income
A great way to bolster your income is to earn extra income. This may not be possible if you are already on a busy schedule, however, there are job opportunities out there which can be fit in around your free time. Freelance work is especially good for this, as you get to decide your hours. Plus, you can choose an occupation which best suits your skills, and which will provide the best income boost. This doesn’t have to be a job which you find dull or tedious, there are lots of work from home opportunities out there, ranging from graphic design to copywriting.
Borrowing money can be a person’s lifeline in certain instance. In emergency situations, or when there are unexpected expenses which arise such as medical bills that need to be paid or broken appliances which need to be fixed, then you may find yourself in need of funds which you don’t have to hand. There are lots of different type of loan available, but you should always make sure to borrow responsibly. Know exactly what you are signing up for, including the interest rates and the amount of time you have to pay back the money. If you are a student, then it is likely you will not have a great credit score, as at a young age there are fewer opportunities for you to build up credit. The same would be true of someone who has never borrowed money or owned a credit card. In these instances, it can sometimes be difficult to get a loan, so you will want to look for a company which offers loans to people with low credit scores, such as the Bonsai Finance loans.
Seek Financial advice
It can be beneficial to learn more about finance so that you have the right tools to make smart monetary decisions. However, the financial world can be extremely confusing, and so in the instances where you are struggling to know what to do with your funds, you might want to consider speaking to a financial advisor. Financial planners have in-depth knowledge on money management, and as such can help you to make smarter choices with your money, as well as showing you where you will be able to keep your costs down. They will also be able to help you plan for your financial future, such as your retirement fund.
If there are any problems which occur around the house, such as an appliance breaking, or if there is something which you need to get installed, you might normally choose to have a professional come to your home to fix the issue. However, by doing it yourself, you could save yourself a lot of money. Of course, DIY isn’t always easy, and sometimes it just isn’t feasible to fit the time and effort needed to get the job done on your own, but there are a lot of different skills which you can pick up quickly, while saving money in the process. If you are the type of person who learns quickly, then a few YouTube tutorials could be all you need to fix that washing machine yourself, keeping the handyman repair fee in your own pocket.