Feel the gap widening? You’re not alone. The chasm between rich and poor is getting greater. For lower-income families, growing inequality can be crippling to bear. However, there is still plenty of hope. With smart planning, fiscal discipline and a bit of ingenuity, struggling households can fight their way out of trouble and achieve a more stable economic existence. Here are five tips for securing a brighter financial future:
1. No Way to Payday Lenders:
Payday lenders are bad news. They prey upon those who are in difficult economic circumstances and only make things worse. Avoid the promises of a quick fix that may leave you struggling to recover indefinitely. If you do find yourself in desperate need of short-term cash, there is a growing number of not-for-profit lenders actively working to help lower-income families achieve a brighter financial future through small fast loans. Their motives aren’t hazy. These not-for-profit lenders want to help people attain financial security and a less stressful financial future by providing tools and services that will set them up for long-term stability.
2. A Little Can Go a Long Way:
Being on a lower income isn’t easy, and it can often feel like money is continually draining out of your bank account, leaving you with no savings. But, a little can go a long way. At the end of each week, set aside a small sum to transfer to your savings account. $5. $10. It doesn’t matter, as long as it’s something. At the end of each month, you will see the savings starting to build, slowly but surely. Saving is a skill that, once acquired, becomes a habit. Start working on that habit today and you will thank yourself in years to come.
3. Cut Out the Fat:
Much of our spending is based on habit. Make a thorough assessment of all your expenditures, and you will be surprised at how many regular items can be comfortably eliminated, freeing up cash for more pressing concerns or savings. Eliminate unhealthy items like cigarettes and alcohol. Make your own coffee in the morning and pack a lunch to work instead of forking out every day. Small measures such as these can add up to big money over the course of a year.
4. Avoid the Credit Card Trap:
The lure of the credit card can be hard to resist. It tempts you with its convenience and shiny ‘benefits’, such as frequent flyer points or gift vouchers as a ‘reward’ for spending a certain amount in a month. However, these “rewards” can quickly morph into punishment. For less affluent families, saying no to the lure of the credit card is a big step in taking back financial control and avoiding the trap of credit card debt. After all, they’re just pieces of shiny plastic.
5. Catch Sneaky Costs:
Bills can have sneaky costs in them that hope not to be discovered, like an extra charge on a heating bill or internet plan. it’s crucial to be aware of these hidden charges and catch them in the act. If you see an item on a bill that doesn’t look right, speak up. Don’t automatically pay it. Contact your provider and ask what the charge is for. Don’t let sneaky costs build up and impact your financial future.
Times are tough for many families all over the country. By taking control of your finances, you can ensure that you and your family are set up for a better future.