Do you earn less than $50,000 a year? Federal statistics suggest that a family of four living on less than $47,248 is considered low income, whilst those living on less than $23,624 are considered to be below the federal poverty level. No matter what your income everyone has to manage their budget each month. The basics of money management and budget planning are essential life skills that everyone should learn, but this is even more important if you are coping on a relatively small sum each month. Recent reports suggest that 44 percent of American children are now living in low income families, which means that stretching family budgets is essential for a vast majority of Americans.
When you’re on a low budget it takes careful consideration (and a lot of organization) to make ends meet. Any unexpected or unaccounted for expense can ruin your budget and cause your accounts to spiral out of control. To avoid this from happening, here are our top tips for managing your home on a low budget.
Compare and Cut Your Costs
One of the first things you should do if you are living on a low budget is look at how you can reduce the cost of your essential and non-essential utilities. Switching your utility provider could save you thousands of dollars a year. There are a host of different websites and services designed to make comparing and switching your providers easy.
Look at the costs of your electricity, energy, broadband and cell phone providers. The more you can reduce these expenses, the more money you’ll have left over for your other monthly essentials.
Organisation is Key
It is impossible to control your money and manage your budget without understanding exactly where your money is going each month. That means that you should sit down with your bills and bank statements, and create a spreadsheet of your monthly expenses. You will then be in a better position to see where you are overspending and where savings can be made.
The essentials Homezada package is free of charge and provides helpful tips and recommendations, as well as allowing you to document your home’s inventory. It is ideal for organizing and budgeting for your home product spend.
Make Do and Mend
Is your furniture looking shabby or have your soft furnishings seen better days? If you’re on a tight budget then don’t head to the store every time you need a home makeover. Instead adopt a make do and mend policy. And look at ways you can repair and improve your existing assets, rather than investing in new things you don’t need. It’s amazing how different that boring old furniture can look with some simple paint!
Pay Your Bills on Time
It may seem obvious, but paying your bills on time can actually help save you money. Late payment charges and penalties can add up quickly, and will take essential funds from your monthly budget for no good reason. By reorganizing your budget to ensure you have the funds available in your account when your bills are due, you will avoid these charges and free up extra money each month. If you’re really struggling then you could also consider applying for local assistance programs within your area.
If you have an unexpected bill that you can’t afford to pay, then don’t bury your head in the sand. Talk to the people you owe money to proactively. Establish a payment plan and avoid escalating costs you simply can’t afford.
About Author: Now working as a writer, Jackie Edwards started her career in finance and banking, but after becoming a mom refocused and decided to spend more time with her family. When she’s not writing, she volunteers for a number of local mental health charities and also has a menagerie of pets to look after.