Top tips for living on one income

5 ways to stretch your cash

There’s a long list of reasons why you might be trying to get by on a single income.

Perhaps you or your partner unexpectedly became unemployed or fell sick and are unable to work. Perhaps you don’t have a partner and are raising a family on your own. Maybe you’re a fulltime at-home carer, be it for young children or for someone sick, elderly or disabled. Or perhaps you’re studying, or unable to work for some other reason.

Whatever the reason you’re on a single income, one thing is for sure – making ends meet is really tough.

Here’s 5 fast and easy ways to stretch your single income to help make ends meet

  1. Make a budget

Budget, budget, blah, blah. Yeah, we know it sounds a little boring, but it works.

  1. Track your spending

Once you’ve set your budget – you need to stick to it!

  • Keeping track of every cent you spend is a sure way to help keep your cash on track.
  • Carry a small notebook in your wallet or handbag, or use a handy app like Track My Spend. Make a note of every dollar you spend, from your morning coffee to your electricity bill.
  • It may seem like a hassle, but if you make yourself accountable every time you spend, you’ll be sure to spend a lot less!
  1. Live within your means

Be honest with yourself about what you can afford.

  • Review all of your budgeted expenses. Are they all necessary, and can you really afford them all. Look for free alternatives, like replacing your gym membership with a daily run outdoors.
  • Tighten your grocery spending. For some great cash saving tips, see 10 sneaky supermarket tricks that make you spend more.
  1. Reduce your expenses

Try to get yourself a better deal wherever you can.

  • There’s so many companies competing for your business nowadays, that almost everything is negotiable.
  • Contact and negotiate with companies you make regular payments to – electricity, gas, water, mobile phone, insurance, your gym membership and so on. If they can’t reduce their price for you – try to find one who’ll offer you a better deal!
  • Reduce your usage. It goes without saying – as well as negotiating the best possible deal, make sure you’re minimising your usage of utilities, phone, internet and other such services to keep your bills as low as possible.
  1. Establish an emergency fund

Have a separate account that is for emergency expenses only.

  • Set up an automatic transfer to this emergency fund. Even if you’re on government benefits, transfer a small amount of each payment to your emergency fund. Every cent counts and will help when you really need it!
  • Be very strict about what constitutes an emergency – seeing your dream handbag on sale doesn’t count! Only touch this cash when you really need it.
  • You’ll eliminate so much stress knowing that you have a small amount set aside if you’re hit with an unexpected expense like the car or washing machine breaking down, or being hit with a big vet’s bill.