What to Do When Your Paycheck Doesn’t Last
As the UK struggles to deal with the current economic issues surrounding most of Europe, more and more Brits are finding it harder and harder to make ends meet. To make matters worse, unemployment rates remain relatively high, and underemployment is also a concern. If you are finding it difficult to manage your income these days, try one or some of these simple tips:
Cut Expenses Where You Can – Review or create a budget
One of the most important things to do when facing any financial stress is to cut whatever bills you can right away. Sit down and make a list of all of your expenses (both large and small) and see where you can begin trimming any excess. Finding places to cut your expenses isn’t always easy, but the average person usually is capable of trimming 10-20% from their monthly budget when financial problems strike.
Look For Discounts
There are discounts to be had everywhere. Whether you are looking to trim your mobile expenses; transportation costs; or general household costs, start asking service providers for any discounts or special programs they may be offering. Even inquiring about discounts at your favorite store or salon may garner a discount. Maybe your stylist knows about an upcoming promotion that you can take advantage of or cheaper services offered during specific days of the week or a certain month. You may be surprised at how easy it is to cut costs and still keep those services that you love.
Essentially train yourself to think about getting the best deal. It’s not about bargain hunting or being cheap, it is about making people or businesses earn your money.
Barter Your Services
Bartering seems to be a lost art these days; yet it can yield big results. Maybe your child enjoys piano lessons, but the money just isn’t in the budget. Maybe you can offer the piano teacher a service you can provide like marketing, web design, etc. Be creative when it comes to bartering to take advantage of opportunities. One culinary student in London bartered his food prep services to an older couple simply for the advantage of free meals for himself. He saved a bundle on food, and the couple enjoyed his culinary masterpieces for a fraction of the cost of hiring a personal chef.
Make a Plan
Sometimes all it takes is a bit of organisation to get out of financial strife, creating a plan can do this for you. Once you have a well-designed plan of attack, you can tackle your expenses; begin paying down debt and even begin saving a bit for emergencies. This can be viewed as an extension of a budget. As an example make a plan to cut food costs – take your lunch to work and eat in more often.
Ask for Help
Low income families do not have to struggle from month to month to make ends meet. The government provides financial help for those in need – from rent and power assistance to free student meals for children and more. For information on government assistances that may be available to you and your family, fill out the benefits calculator at www.gov.uk.
There are also numerous grants and other help available through a variety of private organisations.
Image by Stuart Miles