The ability to survive on a modest income is a skill. However, it’s a skill that could be useful for anyone, especially in these uncertain economic times. Even if you’re great with money in general, you might not have the expertise to live on a low income, and such expertise could potentially come in handy.
Practice these skills and you’ll be prepared for any financial challenge:
1 – Be able to differentiate between wants and needs.
What you consider to be a need will change when financial resources are scarcer. Before spending any money, ask yourself if the item or service is a true need or a want. Can you survive without it? If so, it’s usually just a want.
2 – Save anyway.
Saving is often a challenge during good times. It’s even more challenging when money is limited. It’s still important to save a portion of any income.
3 – Know how to budget and have discipline.
Just about anyone can create a budget, but it’s sticking with the budget that’s hard. It takes practice and discipline. It’s no fun to barely scrape by each month, but a budget makes it possible. It also highlights the little ways to get ahead each month.
4 – Use your car as little as possible.
It costs money to use a car – that’s no surprise, right? So look at what you can do to minimize gas/petrol expenses and how often you use your car. Combine shopping trips. Create a carpool to minimize driving to work. If possible, use a bike or walk.
5 – Find an additional source of income.
A part-time job can be a big help. There are many things you can do on your own instead of seeking additional employment. You can rent out your car, rent a room in your home, buy and sell items on Craig’s List, or any number of other activities.
6 – Learn to eat inexpensively.
A bag of rice costs less than a dollar. Chicken leg quarters are cheap too! Choose the least expensive type of fruit. Food is a considerable expense for most families. It’s also an expense that’s easy to minimize.
- Hit the local food bank. Most cities, towns, and counties have one or more food banks. You typically can’t get enough to satisfy all of your food needs, but you can take care of 50%.
7 – Purchase used clothing.
Use clothing stores are everywhere. For example, Goodwill sells most of its clothes for slightly over $5. The first Saturday of each month is sometimes half-price.
8 – Be aware of all the public assistance programs.
Medicaid, welfare, food stamps, heating subsidies, and the Affordable Care Act are just a few programs that are available in most areas. If you’re used to living a middle-class lifestyle, you might not have the slightest idea of how to take advantage of these programs. Become familiar with what all is available in your area. This is when Google can be your new best friend!
- Most areas have employment assistance or job training programs to help you find work.
- You can also receive a big tax break if your income falls below certain levels.
9 – Find inexpensive healthcare.
Often pharmacies or bigger stores, like Walmart, have an inexpensive clinic. You might be able to find a free clinic if you do some research.
10 – Find less expensive housing.
The citizens of the United States enjoy some of the most spacious living quarters in the world. In many other countries however, it’s not uncommon for ten or more people to share a small apartment. Truth is you could probably downsize and still survive quite happily. If that’s the case, you can probably also find a less expensive place to live that will work.
Surviving during challenging financial times requires a new way of viewing money and the world.
The less money you have, the more scrutiny each dollar requires before it’s spent.
If you find yourself with less income than you’re accustomed to, it’s important to aggressively conserve at every opportunity. Challenging times require a new set of skills. Where there is a will, there is usually a way!