run your home on a low budget
Exclude any income you hope to get from bonuses, tips, overtime, or any other source that is without guarantee. [Photo Credit: Unsplash]
Looking for smarter ways to run your home on a low budget?

From taking a closer look at your monthly income vs spending habits; to food sharing with friends and colleagues, here are 6 ways to handle it like a pro.

1.      Make A List Of Your Guaranteed Monthly Income

One of the very thing that can help you run your home on a low budge tis to calculate as accurately as you can, all of your income on a monthly basis.

Exclude any income you hope to get from bonuses, tips, overtime, or any other source that is without guarantee.

Only include income that you know, without a doubt, will be earned that month.

This will give you a clear picture of how much money you have to spend each month, allowing you to draft an accurate budget.

Next, break your expenses down into fixed, essential, and non-essential.

This is a great start to see where you can save money and start spending wisely.

For clarity’s sake;

  • Fixed Expenses: Pertain to things that do not change month to month but must be paid. Things like rent, school fees, car/loan payments, etc.
  • Essential Expenses: This includes food, transportation, and utility bills. Basically, anything that you need to live but whose cost changes from month to month
  • Non-Essential Expenses: This is everything else, such as movie tickets, drinks with friends, and toys/hobbies, pleasure spending generally.
    This is perhaps the biggest place you can save money.
    Once you’ve broken it down this way, the task of managing your home no matter how low the budget, gets easier

2.     Find More Areas You Can Cut Back Expenses

Most times, we don’t realise how much money is being spent on minuscule things until it’s all written out.

So, ensure you keep receipts of all expenses and maybe weekly. Go over your expenses and see if there’s anything that you’re spending money that you can do away with. Also, save some amount, no matter how little.

For instance, when you pay attention to this, you might be surprised to see how much money you’re spending on snacks and restaurants whenever you’re outside the house.

That is definitely one area you can easily cut out, and use that money for something the house really needs.

Besides, the way things are going up in the market, there isn’t much room for impulse spending anymore.

Keep in mind that you’ll do better at sticking to your budget if it’s realistic. So, leave a little money to treat yourself occasionally.

You don’t have to stop going to new restaurants or buying books if you really love doing that, but consider being deliberate with the money you spend and indulging your cravings only once in a while.

This is a strategic way to run your home on a low budget.

3.      Do Comparison Shopping For Everything

Thanks to the 21st-century internet lifestyle, it’s never been easier to compare the prices of various goods and services before you buy them.

Make the most of your budget by shopping around for the best deal for everything from clothes and shoes to cell phones and even places to live.

In addition, you can use the internet to keep an eye out for promos and discounts on things you’re already planning to buy.

However, watch out for the temptation to buy things just because they’re on sale.

If you do, you’re not actually saving anything, maybe even making it worse.

4.      Save On Food

Another major household expense is food.

While you can’t eliminate the need to eat every day, you might be able to get more for less by finding smarter ways to spend on food.

Consider shopping in bulk. This really works if you want to get it if you have a low budget.

You can buy a carton of items like chicken/fish and dump it in your deep freezer.

And depending on the size of your family (if relatively small), you can consider food sharing i.e., pooling funds with friends or colleagues to buy staple foods like rice, beans, and meat in bulk share.

This allows all involved to hold on to money that would have gone to the retailers.
Consider also, buying your non-perishables in bulk.

Things like toothpaste, paper towels, and toilet paper, trash bags, soap, pasta, and cereals, should be bought in bulk to save you money long-term.

5.      Shop Second-hand When You Can

Another brilliant way to manage your home on a low budget in these times is to get comfortable with shopping at second-hand stores.

This doesn’t mean you buy everything you own at ‘bend-down-select’ spots; just make a practice of first combing through local thrift shops to see if someone else has one they don’t want anymore, before making purchases.

Examples of things you can buy second-hand include electronics, kitchen items, household furniture, clothing, etc.

Keep in mind that buying used only saves if you already needed the item, but if you make a practice of buying used when you can, you will begin to reap the savings.

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Also, try to carefully examine a secondhand item before you buy it. You won’t save money if you get home and realise it is torn or broken since you’ll just have to replace it.

This is especially true for larger items you can’t necessarily fix yourself, like a car or an appliance.

6.      Save On Transportation

Another income borer is transportation.

You can save on transportation by walking to work as often as possible, using public transportation, or carpooling, instead of driving.

These tiny savings (which may include saving on gas, parking, and wear on your vehicle) can add up and impact your bottom line — adding some funds back for savings or utilities.

So, make plans with that employee who lives close to you.

Use the office bus if one is available.

On the other hand, many companies allow for staff to now work from home two or more days a week, or even fully, which saves the cost and time of commuting.

Consider asking your employer whether you can work from home full-time or even just occasionally, to add to your bottom line of managing your home on a low budget.

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