Tuesday, July 23

6 Simple Budget Tips for People Who Don’t Make Enough Money

Budgeting can be difficult…we want to help!

Once you begin living out your golden years, there’s a minor fear that sets in that you might not have thought about when you were younger. How are you expected to live on a budget when you have less coming in than going out? I get it.

It isn’t easy trying to budget when you don’t have enough money. This can be a stressful and worrying time. But you need to make the right choices for yourself and to ensure that you don’t make the situation worse. Many people are facing this situation daily.

We live in a very challenging economic climate, and often the things we need come at a pretty steep price.  In many cases, this leads to borrowing money, but that just leads to even more debt. Save yourself the trouble!

All you really need is to learn a few simple budgeting techniques that will help you live out your retirement years. And we’re here to help! Continue reading as we go over the 6 most effortless ways you can learn to budget.

Photo by Prostock-studio at Shutterstock

Establish Your Priorities

If you know how much you’ll receive each month and know it’s not enough to pay for all the things you need, you still need to prioritize the money out of everything you make.

To begin budgeting finances on a low income, create a list of the items that must be paid first based on priority and due date. For instance, your list might look like this: food, rent, power, water, phone, and insurance.

Ensure you include the basics first to cover your essential needs. Even if you struggle making ends meet when you’re not bringing in enough money, you can still feed yourself for very little.

Start Making  Some Calls

When you’re in a position where you’re not making enough money and you can’t pay your bills, the first thing you must do is call the company and clarify your situation.

If this is something that’s temporary, they might be able to work with you to find a solution that will work for both of you.

On the other hand, if it’s something long-term, they can work with you to find a way to lower your bills or maybe even refer you to someone else who can help.

Once your budget’s been set in place, call the companies you can’t afford to pay and see what they can offer you. Just because you don’t have that much money doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be making a budget.

It gives your money a dedicated path so you can make each dollar count. Things can get tricky when you’re not making ends meet. But it can get easier when you start budgeting and planning your income.

When you’re living on a low-income budget plan, you must have everything written down so you can quickly stay and remain organized to improve your financial future. We recommend this nifty little planner from Amazon to help you stay on track.

And remember that when you’re budgeting on a low income, sticking with a plan can benefit your pockets in the long run.

Try The Zero-Based Budgeting Method

One of the most important tips I can give you is to use a zero-based budget. This is a way of budgeting that implicates planning your monthly costs down to the very last dollar. And while that might sound a bit overwhelming, creating a zero-based budget is effortless!

The first thing you need to do is figure out how much money you have to work with each month. Be sure to consider all your sources of income in this phase. After you’ve figured out your total income, your next step is to plan your expenses.

Create a plan to give, save, invest, and spend every single buck you earn in a month. This means that your total income minus your full expenses should equal zilch.

To create your own personalized zero-based budget, you should specify budget categories that include your variable and fixed expenses. Here are a few examples of categories you may choose to include in your budget:

  • Rent or mortgage
  • Groceries
  • Utilities
  • Insurance
  • Auto expenses
  • Clothing
  • Restaurants
  • Entertainment
  • Savings

After you’ve assigned each dollar of your income to your budget categories, the last step is to stick to this zero-based budget. And remember to regularly track and monitor your spending to avoid any surprises at the end of the month.

Photo by Tero Vesalainen at Shutterstock

OVER-estimate Your Food Budget

Another useful budgeting tip is overestimating how much you’ll spend on food. This is one of the most common budgeting areas where people tend to overspend. It can be tricky to estimate the cost of groceries since food prices fluctuate all the time.

And, since you probably don’t cook the same things each week, your grocery list is always changing. This makes it hard to keep your food spending consistent all the time. You might also end up dining out more often than expected.

It would help to plan for these last-minute social outings. The best way to handle this is to give yourself a generous food budget. Miscalculating how much you’ll be spending on food will only set you up to fail.

And hey: if you have a little extra money left over by the end of the month, you can always put it toward your savings, right? This isn’t about being overindulgent and buying the most expensive menu items or groceries.

It’s about giving yourself some wiggle room in a category that tends to be pretty unpredictable.

Don’t Forget About The “Fun” Budget

When budgeting, it’s vital that you set aside some money for fun. After all, what’s the point of having money if you never get to enjoy it? Set some money aside for whatever brings you joy. Living on a budget is all about living within your means, and part of that is having fun.

This could mean money for anything from woodworking tools to shoes and clothes. The best part is that money for this category is guilt-free! The key concept with this is that there’s some freedom within the boundaries.

You can freely spend your cash if you set your “fun money” to a clear amount and stay within that limit. I recommend that about 5 – 10% of your income be dedicated to fun money.

This way, if you want to purchase something that costs more than your monthly budget for fun, you can save it up and get it next month.

Photo by Ground Picture at Shutterstock

Review Your Budget Every Day

To make sure you stick to your budget each month, review it at least once a day. This way, you won’t ever fall behind or get lost. You’ll be able to stick to your plan smoothly, and you can make minor adjustments whenever you feel it’s necessary.

It will only take you a couple of minutes, and you can ensure you stay on track throughout the month. Even though it may sound tedious if you’re not already in the habit of budgeting, just a few minutes every day can save you from a shocking surprise at the end of the month.

By doing this every day, you’ll always know where you stand with your finances. And you’ll always know how much cash you have left to spend in each of your categories before you hit your limit.

I hope this list helps you get your finances where you’d like them to be. If you’ve tried any of these budgeting tips, be sure to let us know how they’ve worked for you in the comments below.

And if you found this article useful, we highly recommend you also read: Need More Money? Here Are 7 Minimalist Ways to Cut Down Costs

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