If you have a limited amount of money then you may think that it will be very difficult to afford the food that you need. You might even think that your only option will be to get a loan with no credit check and to borrow the money. Although this is an available option, it can be good to investigate whether there are any other options available to you that you might be able to do instead.
- Calculate how much you can afford to spend each month – the first step is to calculate how much you can afford to spend each month on everything that you are buying. This is a case of working out how much money you have coming in. Many of us will always have the same amount but it will depend on how regular your work is and whether you always work the same hours. However, you should be able to come up with an average figure even if you do not always get paid the same amount.
- Split spending into essential and non-essential – it is then important to start thinking about your spending. Consider all of the things that you buy, whether you spend lots of money on things or just a few dollars, consider it all as it all counts. Then split the items into essentials and non-essentials. Your essentials will include food and rent, electricity, loan repayments, transport to work and other basics. Non-essentials will include things like cable television, evenings out, jewellery, alcohol, vacations etc. This can be tricky, but be honest. You may not necessarily have to cut back on all non-essentials but identifying them is a good start.
- Ensure you buy essentials first and allocate budget for this – It is important to prioritise your spending so that you buy your essentials first. Therefore, add up the value of these and make sure that each month, you keep enough money aside to pay for them. It can be best to pay for these first or put money aside towards these so that you then know how much you have left to pay for the non-essentials or luxury items. If your income varies, then you will need to work out each month, how much money you have left after paying for essentials. Then you will be able to budget carefully to make sure that you do not buy more than you can afford.
- Compare prices to get cheapest essentials – It is wise to compare prices as well, so that you are not spending more than necessary. This applies to everything that you buy, but it is important to remember that you can do it with all sorts of things. Look at every single thing that you pay for and think about ways that you could possibly spend less on it. It could be down to using less of it or by comparing prices and buying cheaper alternatives. For example, you could potentially reduce your rent by moving to a cheaper apartment, you could swap insurance companies to pay less, you could buy cheaper brands of food etc. You do need to make sure that you are getting good value for money. You need to carefully look at the cheaper items and make sure that you will not have to buy more of them or check that they are providing the same things as the dearer options. It is worth it though as you could save a significant amount of money.
- Rest is for non-essentials – the money left is for your luxuries. Do not forget to compare prices on these as well. This will allow you to be able to buy more if you want to. It can be wise not to spend your whole budget and particularly not too quickly. Putting some into a savings account for emergencies can be a sensible plan. Also making sure that you have some left towards the end of the month, just in case an unexpected expense comes in that needs to be paid for before you next get paid.
It can feel like you are being punished if you have to cut down on the treats that you are buying or yourself. However, it is really important to make sure that you have enough money for the food that you need and therefore sticking to a budget is essential. You need to think about how you will manage and that if you go without a few luxuries it will at least mean that you will be well fed. It is about making sure that you prioritise your spending so that you do have enough money to feed yourself. If you rarely buy luxuries, then compare prices on everything you buy all of the time and hopefully this will allow you to reduce your spending enough so that you have money available to spend on the food that you need. It might take quite a bit of cutting back but can be very rewarding when you manage to balance things.