Are you living a ‘hand to mouth existence’- scraping by each month with just enough money to survive? This can be extremely stressful and difficult. Since life can be unpredictable, there’s always the risk of being hit with an unexpected bill or expense which you’re unable to cover with no spare income. Cars and appliances break down, kids need new clothes, things can fail in the home- when you can barely afford the basics it can be difficult finding the money for additional things on top. Plus, living this way is never going to be much fun. You probably feel like you go without a lot, have no luxuries and no money to socialise which is hard for anyone to deal with. If you’re currently living this way, there are a few things you can do to make things that bit easier. Here are a few points to consider.
Boost Your Income
If you’re struggling to get by on the money you are earning, it makes sense that earning a little more would make things easier. Could you ask for a raise? Find a new job entirely or start a side hustle to boost the amount you’re earning? Blogging and freelance writing for example are things you could do from home in the evening to earn some extra cash. You should also make sure you are claiming all of the benefits you are entitled to, if you’re struggling don’t be too proud to rely on the help that’s out there if you need it. What you may be able to get will depend on your age, whether you’re in work (and how many hours you work) what you currently earn, if you have kids, a disability or many other factors. But there are simple eligibility checks you can do online to find out within a few minutes.
Create a Budget
The next thing you should do is to create a budget, you need to know exactly where your money is being spent. Once you can see what you are paying out it allows you to make cutbacks or rejig things. For example, instead of paying for bus fare to work every day could you walk or even bike? People often give these away for free on classifieds sites or Facebook groups so keep an eye out. You could set up a carpooling system at work which could work out cheaper for everyone- all of these things will save you money as well as being better for the environment too. Use a budgeting tool or app, enter your current figures and then rework things to give you the best use of your money.
Deal With Debt
When you’re already short on money, paying debts can be a huge problem. Many people find themselves in the situation where they can only afford to pay off the interest each month, and the actual amount of debt doesn’t go down. If this has happened to you, it’s important to seek debt advice. Debt management companies can work to freeze interest and negotiate a payment plan that works for you, that way every penny you pay is paying off the debt and not being lost to interest. An IVA or bankruptcy might be right for your situation too so get advice and see what you’re recommended. Another option if you’re struggling but don’t want to go down the formal route would be consolidation. Take out a loan and use this to pay off everything else you owe, that way you’re only paying one lot of interest instead of many. There are loans out there for people with bad credit these days so even if you’ve been in a muddle with money before this is something you may be able to do. It’s a chance to put things right and regain control again.
When you’re living a hand to mouth existence, you probably feel as though you already live without many luxuries, and overspending isn’t a problem. But you might be spending more than what you need to without even realizing. Instead of having a pay monthly phone, once your contract runs out could you get a pay and go sim instead? There are loads of great deals on bundles these days so even if you use your phone for work it could cover what you need. Do you buy things like prepackaged or convenience meals because you think they’re cheaper? Getting the ingredients, batch cooking then freezing individual portions would work out far cheaper. Instead of cranking up the heating in the evening, could you wrap up with a blanket on the sofa? Think about your lifestyle and habits and work out ways you can reduce what you spend.