Proven Personal Finances Tips for Low Income Families
Everyone likes saving money. And finding a way to trim down your regular expenses can be a great step towards amazing savings. But where should you begin? Should you focus on spending? What about debt? Recurring costs?
The trick to finding amazing savings in regards to your personal financial situation is to review all of your outgoing expenses. Everything from large monthly payments to small everyday purchases makes a difference to the bigger picture. To help you figure out exactly where to look, here are some tips to get you started.
Track Your Spending
You can’t find savings if you don’t know where your money is going. Start by recording every purchase you make and every bill you pay. Categorize your expenses to help bring meaning to the numbers too. For example, groceries are a major spending category for most households, so that should be tracked specifically. Costs related to housing and transportation are often burdensome on a budget and are worth tracking as well.
Avoid categorizing anything as miscellaneous, since that doesn’t give you any usable information. For example, your morning cup of coffee from a café can be listed as restaurant spending or in a separate coffee category. If you buy a book or newspaper to enjoy, then that could be entertainment. If am expense doesn’t fit in a current category, then invent a new one for it and track it there.
As you track your purchases and expenses, you’ll soon see some extraneous spending patterns that can be reeled in. For example, sometimes you don’t realize how much that daily latte is costing you until you total it up for the entire month.
Now, that doesn’t mean you can’t have a latte if you can afford it. But, consider the savings if you only stopped for one every other day. This gives you an idea about the savings you can find that is requiring a full sacrifice of something you enjoy.
Review every category and expense that way, and see if you can shave 5, 10, or 20 percent off of what you are doing now. In most cases, a 5 percent change in spending doesn’t mean a lifestyle overhaul, but can still make a huge difference – It’s all about creating positive money skills.
Review Recurring Costs
Cable, internet, and cell phone bills are often substantial. Luckily, it is easy to find new options to bring these costs down. You can start by calling your current cable and internet provider(s) and renegotiating your services. See if there are any new deals for current subscribers, or see if you can cut back on your level of service.
If you have reviewed these expenses in a while, then any promotional deals you had before may have expired. And that means you could be paying for things you don’t even use. Make the phone call, review everything you are paying a separate charge or fee for, and make cuts where appropriate. At a minimum, see if there is a new promotional offer that can save money.
Cell phone expenses can be managed similarly. Make sure you are on the best plan based on your usage or, if you are not in a contract, consider shopping around for new options. Prepaid service can be very cost effective for the same level of service, and there are options available that let you use your current phone, so you don’t have to buy a new one.
Just by reviewing your personal finance habits in these key areas can lead to significant savings potential without major sacrifices. So that means you can get the best of both worlds; you can save money without having to feel deprived. Now that’s a pretty sweet deal.
Take Advantage of Subsidies and Financial Aid
For low income individuals and families or those experiencing a sudden change in financial circumstances, there are numerous benefits and services to help reduce financial obligations. This help extends to virtually every essential household or living need.
In many circumstances many people don’t know where or how to get help. Below are some common situations that require financial assistance and how to get help.
A major cause of stress can be keeping a roof over you or your families head. This can mean literally having a place to stay or trying to make your rent or mortgage repayment in order to avoid eviction.
Emergency shelter – For those whom have been evicted and need emergency shelter most cities have organizations that can help, especially for families and those with a disability.
Rental Assistance – If you’re in a situation where you can’t keep up with your rent, there are different short and long term solutions available to help reduce your costs and keep you in your home.
One of the first areas of struggles for families and individuals is getting behind on general utility bills. This can quickly snowball and be a serious cause of stress and debt. Learn how you can get help to reduce the chances of getting to far behind on your bills.
Utility Bills Help – Find out how you can take advantage of hug reductions in your water, electrical and gas bills.
Help Paying General Bills – Learn about different assistance for heating, cooling and phone bills - In addition to other areas such as medical, fines, tax, debt and more.
If you are struggling financially and need assistance, consider reaching out for help sooner rather than later. Certain programs or assistance organizations can and will help but may take a bit of time before assistance is provided, so the sooner you start the process the better – especially with subsidies.
One of the quickest ways to find out where to get help and if you qualify is to speak to a free financial professional through your local community action agency.