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Tips for surviving on a low income

tips for surviving on a low income
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If you’re trying to survive on a low income, then simply getting by each week can be a significant challenge. This is not about saving a few pennies, it is about making sure that you and your family are able to tackle the fundamentals, like paying the bills and eating. There are a few things that can help when you are feeling the financial pinch, so keep a clear head, and take a positive approach to managing the little that you have.

Good Budgeting

Although it may be tempting to bury your head in the sand and bumble along in the hope that everything will be okay, this approach will ultimately lead to debt. Taking a long hard look at how much you have coming in and where it goes may be difficult, but it is the only true way to gain control of your finances.

There are many free online budgeting tools that can help you do this. It is as simple as creating a list of all the things you are paying out and when, and deducting the value of these from your income as you receive it. This exercise will help you to see if you are living beyond your means, and can also flag areas where you may be able to save money.

The next stage is to list your essential outgoings and deduct these from your income. What’s left is the amount you have free to spend on other things. It may be little or none at all, and sometimes you may not even have enough to cover your essentials. Knowing this is the first step towards dealing with it.

Cut Back and Shop Smart

When you see your budget down in black and white, it may surprise you to find how much you are spending on non-essential items. It’s important to feel like you can treat yourself now and again, but if your daily stop at Starbucks is costing you £20 a week, then this is perhaps one area where you can make a saving without too much hardship. Buying a sandwich each day is another financial drain that many people are oblivious to. Both of these items are things you can easily substitute, creating an instant saving. Buy a travel cup and make your own coffee before you leave the house, and get into the habit of preparing yourself a packed lunch. This may have health as well as financial benefits!

Planning your weekly shopping trip around a list of meals can also help you to save. Instead of lobbing random items into the shopping trolley buy only what you need for the week and stick to your menu. Capitalise on supermarket deals when you can, and think about substituting own-brands for famous ones. Often the products are so similar the only place you’ll notice the difference is on your bank balance.

Get Savvy in the Home

Instead of vegging in front of the TV every night, take a little time to shop around online for deals on insurance and utilities. Companies are usually very keen to retain customers, and a simple call to one of your providers stating a better deal on offer from a competitor can be enough to shave £££s off your bills within 5 minutes.tips for surviving on a low income

There are many other ways to save money around the house too. Simply turning down your heating by 1 degree can save you more than £50 a year. Turning off lights and appliance standby lights can save money too. And if you have the choice, then taking a shower instead of a bath each day will save you money on your annual water and electricity bills. Indulge in a bath on a Sunday perhaps, and use some of the money you’ve saved to buy yourself a new book to read whilst you enjoy a soak!

Benefit from Benefits

The benefits system exists to help anyone in financial difficulty. Check online to find out what benefits and tax credits you may be entitled to on a low income, and make sure you apply for them. In some cases you may be eligible for an interest free emergency loan from the government to help make ends meet. Crisis loans are there to help, so if you are in dire need then find out if you can apply. There are also Budgeting Advances available to some individuals from the UK Social Fund. They are designed to help you with things such as buying essential furniture or household equipment, advance rent payments, or to help you in your search for employment.

Living on a low income is hard work and you can feel like you are constantly fighting an uphill battle. But with a little effort and self-control you may find that making ends meet is easier than it looks, and whilst you still may not feel affluent, just being in control of your finances can help boost your energy and mood, and improve your quality of life.

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About Cally Worden

About Cally Worden

Seasoned freelance writer Cally Worden lives with her family and dog in a quiet corner of rural France. A love of the outdoors, and a fascination with her children's ability to view life with fresh eyes provide the inspiration for much of her work. Cally writes regularly for various websites and UK print publications on subjects as diverse as parenting, travel, lifestyle, and business, and anything that makes her smile.

Website: Cally Worden

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