Even though minimum wage is slowly creeping up, it is not rising at the same rate as inflation and this leaves many households at a serious disadvantage. No, you may not be actually working for minimum wage, but the truth is, every paygrade above minimum is based on that flat rate and so you are left lacking as well. If you are finding it hard, if not impossible, to meet your monthly expenses, there are ways to stretch your budget a bit further than you ever thought possible. Here are just 3 sure-fire ways to stretch even the most limited of household budgets.
1. Observe the 3 Rs
No, we aren’t talking about the alliterative old school days song, “reading and writing and ‘rithmetic,” but rather the 3 Rs of sustainability. Learn to Reuse – Reduce – Recycle. Why throw away a perfectly good pair of sports shoes just because they are too scuffed to wear outside? Use them for the garden or yard work. Most cities now have recycling centres that pay cash for paper, plastic and aluminium, so save everything you can and take it monthly for a bit of extra money. Also, learn to reduce waste. There are many ways to do this, but one of the biggest wastes globally is energy. Learn to keep things turned off and unplugged when not in use and only use LED lighting. Observe the 3 Rs of Sustainability and you will find you are saving at least £50 a month if not twice or three times that amount!
2. Don’t Waste Time
At this point you may be wondering what time has to do with budgeting. One thing to keep in mind is that time is a precious commodity. Even if you work a 40-hour week, which is rare in these days of the 30 to 35-hour work week, you still have time on your hands which you can spend wisely. Instead of watching 4 sitcoms a night, choose your favourite and spend the other 1.5 hours working from home. Take time to browse 101 ways to make money and you will find ways to earn a residual income from home. All you need is a computer and internet access. Here’s a hint for you: blogging is just the beginning. Learn to monetise your blog and you can literally earn money 24 hours a day even while you sleep!
3. Coupons, Voucher Codes, Loyalty Programmes and Deals
Many people don’t take advantage of all the excellent discounts and rewards available to them because they don’t take a few moments to search them out. For example, try and look for discounts at DIY and garden centres. And while you’re at it, why not grow some veggies and herbs to save even more? Even if you don’t have a large lawn or garden, many plants like zucchini, tomatoes, peppers and some beans can grow well in pots or containers.
Even using one hour a day of your ‘spare’ time to search out deals, run a monetised blog or work towards sustainability can help you earn and/or save tons of money annually. You may not have an unlimited budget, but you can learn to stretch it in more ways than you know. Time is going to be your biggest resource in the beginning as you learn new ways to grow your resources, but in the end, your pocket (and your bill collectors!) will love you for your efforts.