You might be wondering why I choose this picture as my cover photo for this blog. I just think this best represents or shows how most people live with a small family income. Just like in the picture, living with a small income is like balancing your bicycle on a wire for you to cross it. Hard but not impossible to live by.
Not all people are lucky in their lives. For any other reason, some just have to live with what they have. Of course, you can always do something to improve your life. But it won’t happen within a snap of a finger. It will take time to see results. So for now, you just have to live with it. But how will you do it?
I listed some of the tips that I have heard from FB Live of a well-known financial adviser here in the Philippines. And he enumerated them as follows:
1. Find an extra income. This is what I am telling earlier that you can always do something to improve your life. It is still within your hands to find ways on how you can add to your family income.
For example, now a days, online shopping is very popular. You can take advantage of this popularity and become an online seller. Sell some stuffs using the social media. Or you can research for online jobs. There are some clients who looks for part-timers only. You just have to know what skills you can offer them and how to promote this skills to them.
2. Take away your luxury. What luxury means here are those spendings that you think are just small but is hurting your budget. Like drinking those expensive coffees in the coffee shops. Or the weekly eating out with your family or friends. These are not bad things but for now that you have a tight budget, you must learn to skip them. Or if you don’t want to feel deprived, you can lessen them.
Instead of every day coffee in the coffee shops, reduce it into twice or thrice a week. The weekly eating out can be reduced into every-other-week. You will be surprised to see how much you can save by doing this.
3. Stay away from immersing into debt. This is hard to do sometimes, there will be experiences in life that will lead you to debt even if you’re not that luxurious in life. For instance, when I resigned in my corporate life, I have incurred debt because my present work is not enough for me to keep paying my credit card bills and my house. It’s hard to get out of debt, but it is not impossible to do so. But if you want my advice, it is better not to let yourself into it. It is so stressful… 😦
4. Have a budget. For moms like me this is a requirement. List the most important needs first, then the secondary ones, and so on.. From there, you can look at it and see which ones you can live with or can not live without. And after listing them be sure to follow it. Many are guilty of not having a budget or not following them. I must admit I am guilty too. But this is very important to help keep track of your spendings.
5. Stay away from vices. Instead of buying alcohol or smoking cigarettes, why not add the money into your family budget. Aside from you’re helping the family, your health will benefit from it too. I know this is not easy to do immediately. But you can start doing it small parts at a time until you no longer want your vices. You just have to have the determination to do this. And you have to start now.
6. Eat nutritious vegetables. Aside from they are good for you, they are also good for your budget. Because compared to meat, they are much cheaper. Plus the fact that they will make you healthy so that you won’t get sick and need to go to the doctor and take medicines that will cost you money again.
7. Stay away from bad influence. Those people who loves to eat out, party and drink always. Also those who loves to go to the malls and window shopping but ends up buying something. People who always brag about their latest gadgets. And the people who always have some stuffs to sell and gives you installment payment terms. These are the bad influences that you have to stay away because you are trying to make your small income work for you.
8. Live within your means. To do this, always pay in cash so that you can monitor how much you have spent and how much is left in your wallet. If you can’t afford to buy it in cash, you should not buy it. It only means you can’t afford it. Don’t pity yourself for not being able to buy that new cellphone. There will be new models again in the coming days and it will never stop having new ones.
9. Pray for guidance. This is so true. Living within a small income can be so stressful and you need God’s mercy to help you go through with this. In my own experience, prayer always makes it easier.
10. Read, watch, or listen to financial advises. I love reading, watching and listening to experts in financial management. They have a lot to say and most are based from their own experiences. So you can be sure that what they say are effective. Because they have proven it themselves.
And there goes the tips. I, myself, will keep them in mind and will try to follow most of them.
Struggling to survive with a small income is really hard, especially for single mommies like me. But we have to find ways to get this work for us. And always remember, it is up to you if you want to be in this situation temporarily or permanently. At the end, it’s still about our choices.
(The tips written in bold letters are from Mr. Chinkee Tan’s FB Live last June 8, 2018, but the opinions are mine.)