We often equate our self-worth with the amount of money we have. What does that mean for families with low incomes? Money doesn’t have to define us if we know how to use it properly. Here are some strategies for saving money when you don’t have much to work with.
The economy has led to a lot of families taking big hits. Lost jobs, changing to lower-paying jobs and other factors have led to loss of income in this country. But, you can battle back if you are in this situation. It takes a little time in the beginning but you’ll get the hang of it soon.
Here are the strategies that might help you to save money.
* Create a budget – This is a tool to help you to know where you are right now and which direction you need to move in for the future. If the low income is a new situation, this is needed to know how short you will be on current bills. You can look at options for ways to cut costs.
* Talk to utility companies – Most utility companies have programs that allow you to pay the same amount each month based on your average monthly usage. This can help you to balance your books each month with no surprises.
* Investigate ways to lower energy costs – Try setting your thermostat at a lower temperature. If you are cold, use blankets. In the summer, use ceiling fans or wall fans to get the air moving. In the evening, open the windows for some natural breeze. Switching to CFL light bulbs will save money on lighting. Try other handy tips for lowering fuel bills. Over a year, it will pay for itself.
* Go grocery shopping – Eating out can be expensive, especially for a family. Buy meats and dry foods in bulk. Fix meals and freeze leftovers to be eaten at another time. Use coupons from the Sunday newspaper to lower food bills. Try a butcher shop for a better price on meats.
* Brown bag your lunch – Taking lunch to work and school saves about twenty dollars or more a week per person. You can invest in reusable lunch bags and water bottles.
* Hold a yard sale – There are sure to be items in your home that you don’t use and are gathering dust. Someone else may want them. A yard sale cleans out the clutter and also puts more money in your savings account.
* Revamp entertainment – With money pressures, take a look at your entertainment expenses. You can check out movies, CDs and books at your local library. Buy movies from Wal-Mart when they are on sale so the family can watch for movie night. Cancel book clubs, movie memberships and gym memberships to save money.
When the money is slim, you can still make ends meet with a few strategies. It doesn’t mean that you have to live without fun, just new ways to have your laughs.