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Managing on a low income

managing on a low income

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Purse strings are often tight at this time of year, but if you’re managing on a low income then things can be particularly difficult.

Figures published by think tank, The Resolution Foundation, last month suggest that a record 5.2million workers in the UK are in low paid jobs; that means earning less than two thirds of the median hourly pay, or the equivalent of £7.69 per hour. While it may be reassuring to know that you’re not alone in trying to juggle your budget, that doesn’t make managing on a low income any easier.


Make a comprehensive list of your outgoings for the month and compare it to the money you have coming in. Ideally, the latter figure should be higher than the former. Stick to your budget carefully and try to put aside some money each month towards one-off expenses such as a car MOT.

Keep a spending diary

Writing down every single thing you spend money on can help you identify areas where you could cut back. For example, if you buy a can of cola at work every day you can save money by purchasing a multi-pack and taking one with you. Of course you’re entitled to treats, but little things throughout the month can add up to a surprising amount.

Check benefits

You may not be able to claim any extra benefits but make sure you’re getting everything that you’re entitled to. The government’s website features a benefits calculator that will give you an idea of what you might be able to claim. Otherwise, the Citizens Advice Bureau should be able to point you in the right direction.

Separate ‘needs’ from ‘wants’

Whether it’s the latest smartphone or a new pair of trainers, there always seems to be something that family members want. After the bills are paid then concentrate on the ‘needs’ over the ‘wants’. If an old pair of trainers are done in or grown out of then yes, they fall into the ‘need’ category. However, if the trainers in are good condition and still fit then a new pair becomes a ‘want’. Of course, it’s always nice to treat the family to things they want but wait until all the essentials have been paid for before deciding if you can afford them.

managing on a low income

Shop around

With prices easily available on the internet you can shop around without even leaving the house. Most people already check a number of places for the best price when making a decent sized purchase but you might be surprised at how much you can save just by comparing prices.

Bring in a side income

If you’re crafty then you could set up an eBay or Etsy business selling the things you make. If not, then have a clearout and sell all your old stuff – you might be amazed at how much people will pay for the junk that’s just gathering dust in the loft. The run up to Christmas is a great time to offload good condition toys that your children have grown out of.

Avoid debt

This can be much easier said than done if you’re managing on a low income. However, using credit cards or taking out loans incurs interest, which is basically just throwing money down the drain. If you do have debts to pay off then focus on the ones with the highest interest rates to get them paid off first.





About Maria Brett

About Maria Brett

Maria is a freelance writer with over 10 years' experience producing content for a variety of publications and websites. When not working or looking after her two gorgeous sons, she can usually be found playing flugelhorn in a brass band, helping out at her local hospital radio station, shouting at the television while watching Formula 1, at the cinema or plonked on the couch with a cold glass of wine.

Website: Maria Brett

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