Being savvy with money is something you can learn to do, especially if you haven’t a choice in the matter. Just because you’re on a low income, it doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the things you love to do and eat the food you like. You just have to be creative in your approach. You can get creative on a budget, and even have fun along the way. You can still live well for less if you know how to budget and spend your money in worthwhile places.
Live Well for Less
Living well for less means that you’ll have to cut unnecessary spending on items that you don’t love or don’t need. Living well for less needn’t mean you have to miss out, far from it.
Make Sure You Budget
If you’re going to live well on a budget, then you need to be more conscious about where your money is going. Calculate your income and expenditure, and then see how much money you’re left with once you’ve paid rent and utility bills. Look at your bank statements and see exactly where your money is spent. Tighten up how you spend money and make sure you write down how much you’re spending, and on what items. By doing this, you’re keeping a tangible record that can be reviewed.
Account For Emergencies
There will be times in life where you’re caught out, and you can’t afford to pay for something. For example, your heating system might unexpectedly break down in the middle of winter, or your car might fail its vehicle inspection, and you have to pay to get it back in working order. Whatever the unforeseen circumstance is, there’s a good chance it’s going to cost you money. In such cases, you’re going to need cash fast. Although it’s not easy to save money while living on a budget, you should think about saving some aside in case of these emergency situations. Consider getting a credit card with Bonsai Finance and only using it when you must.
Watch Films At Home
Going out to the cinema can easily cost you $30, once you’ve paid for tickets and purchased some snacks. If you’re regularly paying for an unlimited cinema subscription, cancel it and instead watch films at home. If you’re not already, register with Netflix and enjoy watching films and television this way. Stay at home and watch movies with a bag of chips and save yourself the cash. Living on a budget will entail sacrifice here and there, however, in the grand scheme of things you’re not missing out on too much.
Eat Less Meat
Meat and fish can be expensive to buy, so think about eating less of it. If you’re in the habit of having meat with most meals, then rethink what dishes you make. When you come to do your weekly shop, pick up more vegetables like mushrooms and use them in the place of meat. Vegetarian Quorn mince is a tasty and low-fat alternative to mincemeat, it will also last longer than meat. Think about having three meat-free days in every seven, and getting protein from different sources, like lentils and chickpeas.
Stay at home and cook to save money. When you go out to eat, you’re paying for not only the food but also the service. Stay in and cook for yourself, and you might just learn to love cooking and preparing delicious dishes for half the cost of eating a restaurant. You’ll find that you eat better at home as you can control how much flavoring you add. Restaurants have to ensure that their food tastes good, and so can overdo the sugar, salt and fat content. If you’re making food fresh for yourself, often half the fun is the process of creating your meal from scratch.
Buy Reduced Food
Supermarkets and grocers often slash their prices at the end of the day, so time your shopping to account for this. Get to the supermarket when the food has been reduced and start filling your basket once the items have been discounted. Remember only to pick up as much food as you need so to avoid it rotting in your fridge at home and allowing others to buy the reduced food too.
Freeze Your Food
Rather than allowing food to go to waste, utilize all of your freezer space and prepare large batches of food. Pack the food your freezer in tightly and remove the cardboard packaging to make room for more. On a Sunday evening, think about making a stew, freezing it in a freezer bag and having it for lunch each day of the week. You’ll save yourself both money and time by doing this.
Grow Your Own
Growing your own fruits and vegetables could see you save a substantial amount of money. If you’re in the habit of purchasing fresh produce each week, then growing your own will be hugely beneficial for you and easy on your wallet. Start by buying seeds and planting them in your garden, or inside in large plant pots. Place the pots in the sunniest part of your house so that they get enough sunlight to grow. Think about making a vegetable patch in your garden and tending it. You can grow potatoes, carrot and lettuces and even some tomatoes if you make a small glass summerhouse.
All you will need to keep chickens is a sturdy coop and some feed. Chickens can eat grains, and they will enjoy the leftover pieces of food you give them. By keeping four or five hens, you should have enough eggs to feed your family for the week. Chickens don’t require much attention as long as they’re part of a group. You can construct the coop using pieces of scrap wood and wire mesh, however, the cage you make must be strong if you’re to ensure that predators can’t get in to kill your chickens. To keep them happy and laying, make sure you let your chickens have a supervised run about in your garden.
Save On Heating Bills
Electricity and gas bills can be infamously high. When it comes to warming your house, try and save where you can. Before turning up the thermostat, instead, put on a few more layers of clothing to see whether you can warm up this way. You could instead get a portable heater, or one powered by a gas canister and only heat the rooms you use most in the house. There’s no point in warming the entire house if you’re spending most of your time in one room and you’ll be out of the house for work in the morning. You can also look into options for saving money on your other bills as well…
Rent Books From The Library
If you know that you spend a small fortune on books, then it’s time to rein in this expenditure. You don’t have to miss out by doing this, however, as you have options. Firstly, borrow books from the library instead of buying them new from the bookshop. Secondly, buy books online on eBay or Amazon for a reduced price. Purchase second-hand books and save yourself money. If you have a large book collection, consider going through them and deciding if there are any you could sell. Another alternative to buying books is to get yourself a Kindle. You could ask for one for our birthday or Christmas and begin reading the books that are free to download.
Get A Bike
Save on the cost of gas and car expenses by getting a bike. Unless you regularly use your car for long journeys to get to work or to see family, then you should consider getting a bike to get around instead. If you’re worried about not being able to transport goods such as food from the supermarket to your home, then you can always get the bus or buy a basket to go on the front of your bike.
By getting a bike, you’ll also be incorporating more exercise into your routine and getting fitter and healthier in the process. Shop in charity stores such a large backpack and carry home your shopping inside it. Ask family members if they have a spare backpack they could lend you, or look online to buy a cheap but strong one.
Shop In Thrift Stores
Charity stores can be goldmines for individual pieces of clothing not found on the high street. Many of the items have been donated as unwanted gifts and occasionally still have their tags on. Shop in thrift stores if you need some new clothes. These places often replace and replenish their stock so make sure you have a look inside before paying full price elsewhere.
Invest In Your Bed Clothes
Fork out for the more expensive, but quality bed sheets. They will work out as being cost-effective as you won’t have to replace them so often. Cheaper materials such as polyester start to show signs of age a long time before the likes of an Egyptian cotton bedsheet. Once your bedclothes are a little worse for wear and becoming threadbare, you have no choice but to throw them out. If you invest some extra money in more well-made fabrics, then you should be able to keep hold of your duvet sets for longer.