Small financial aides when things get tough

In most households, there comes a time when the pennies are pinched, the purse strings become tighter, and we find ourselves using the term “we can’t afford that at the moment” {sometimes a lot more than we anticipated} in our every day language.

With the birth of our second babe, things have had to be structured somewhat very differently financially. The cost of daycare tends to weigh heavily when a parent works, whether it be out of choice, or necessity.

However, the arrival of a child may not be the only reason for a drop in income, partnered or solo.

One party may lose their job, return to a lower paid position, become ill, or sadly, pass away. Maybe you become redundant, or your position is contractual and isn’t renewed.

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Whatever the situation may be, it can be hard adjusting to a lesser income source. Rather than become reliant on a “good” or “great” income, in the current unstable society we live in, maybe it’s time we start becoming reliant on an “average” or “safer” income. This may assist with the reduction is having to survive on credit or redraw facilities, and also provide us with a greater sense of control with our money. You could refer to the term “minimalism” here.

I posed the question on my facebook page asking for suggestions on how people managed on 1 income, as no matter how often we feel that we are in control of our money, there will always be that one time that we are faced with a large expense and we either need to amend our budget, or consider more drastic measures to make ends meet.

Here are some of the suggestions:

  • Go to the butcher to buy meat in bulk. Buy plain meat instead of marinated. Bag everything up & freeze.
  • Go to your local farmers market, or greengrocer for fruit and vegetables. Not only are things treated differently, but also as you are cutting out the middle man, you’re supporting your neighbours, and generally saving a lot on your outgoings.
  • Learn to sacrifice brand names. The food at Aldi is just as good as Woollies but usually a fraction of the cost. Same goes for clothes – Target has clothes that are just as good as Portmans for so much cheaper.
  • Make weekly payments on your bills. Having a direct debit set up for $5-10 a week going onto gas/elec/phone/whatever was easier than having to fork out $400 all at once.
  • Evaluate subscriptions and luxuries. “We cancelled our foxtel and replaced with Netflix & subscriptions for the sports we follow” was one of Murphy’s tips.
  • Operate in cash – use a debit card or pay for things using cash – it makes you more aware of how your spending your money & you’re less likely to want to hand it over.
  • Consider your current items, how much you really need them – can you sell a second car, some of those unflattering clothes, or the kids toys that are just sitting in the cupboard?
  • Don’t be afraid to approach Centrelink. You may be entitled to a small amount of temporary support while employment is sought. Your local church may have access to agencies to provide financial advice and negotiate your bills on your behalf until you get on your feet.
  • Are you a coffee lover? Maybe outlaying the cost of an espresso machine initially can save you on the costs of those daily coffee’s away from home. An upfront expense can save in the long term.
  • Hunt down your local op-shops. You never know what treasures you can find in there.

What suggestions can you add to assist anyone that may be wanting to get their head above water financially?

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