Top bankers in the world agree: the economic climate is moving into uncharted territory. Along with shrinking economies, we’re seeing the emergence of a new streetwise skill – thrifty living. A closer look at how low-income individuals still manage to thrive reveals a clever set of habits they all share. These brilliant financial hacks won’t just serve you through difficult times; they’ll help you get more mileage out of your budget, even when things are going well.
These are the top five money maneuvers that’ll keep you afloat on a shoestring budget.
No-Interest Loans (Yes, They Exist)
There are few things in this world that can cause your heart to sink as fast as the sound of your car sputtering and dying. Vehicle repairs can be costly. While taking out a loan is no-one’s first resort, no interest loans for low income earners can be absolute lifesavers. Just be sure to pick your financial services provider with care and read the fine print of your agreement. If you’re not well-versed in legalese, don’t worry. No-interest loans are a failsafe option because they drastically reduce repayment stress.
Pre-loved is Perfect
Secondhand items are one of the easiest ways to kit-out your home and dress your kids. Secondhand stores and local markets are teeming with vintage decor, unused children’s clothing (kids grow so fast, many secondhand items have barely been worn by the time they’re sold). Social media platforms usually have channels per neighborhood or geographic location. Simply do a general search of your area’s name followed by terms like “secondhand.”
The Food Budget Comes First
Before anything, set money aside for your family’s food requirements. Trying to decide how much your family can afford to spend on something as essential as food is no easy task. You may need to adjust your lifestyle and cut out the more expensive brands to bring that budget down. Once you have established how much you need to get by with groceries, allocate the remaining budget elsewhere accordingly.
Embrace a Few Self-Sustaining Concepts
It goes without saying that anyone with a yard, regardless of how small it may be, can grow some of their own food. Keeping chickens for eggs only requires a few square feet. For those with no garden, potatoes can be grown in pots comfortably; so can tomatoes, onions, and many herbs.
Save on your electric bill by turning off lights and using low-energy bulbs. And if you wash your clothes at home, try to load fewer large washes into the machine as opposed to many small ones. Fewer washes will save on water and electricity.
Use a Budget-Planner
The odd soda while you’re driving or the occasional extra pack of treats in the grocery cart can really add up at the end of the month. Plan what you can afford to spend on groceries, rent/mortgage, utilities, and loan repayments. If you need money for an unexpected expense, you will have to borrow it from one of your pre-determined allocations, like food or electricity. In this way, you can ensure you never spend more than you have.
Breathe: the Best Things In Life Really Are Free
A walk in the park, a trip to the museum, board games at home or a quiet drink in a hot bath with a partner – the best things in life are derived from the relationships we build, not the items we accumulate. Sure, a sturdy budget makes it easier to share the fun, but the most joy you could ever have is to be found in the company of your loved ones.