A few weeks ago we all got sick, one after the other we caught the flu and Chris had to take some time off work. First to look after the children while I was laid up and then because he came down with it himself, this will result in a drop of income for us at the end of January.
As I lay in bed shivering and aching I felt so relieved that we had worked hard last year to become frugally prepared for a small loss of income. Chris is the main earner in our household and his wages cover all of our essential bills so you can imagine what a disaster it would be if we were unprepared.
Listed below are some things that we did which meant we didn’t have to feel too stressed or worried while we were both trying to recover from illness. I can’t stress enough how much being frugally prepared helps in emergency situations.
I’m confident that when Chris’s wage packet is a little light at the end of the month we will be absolutely fine. I hope these tips help you too.
Tips To Survive A Drop of Income
Learn To Live On Less
Over the last few years, we have been through some tough times financially. In our mid 30’s we found ourselves having to build a new life from scratch. I struggled with this for some time as before I met Chris I had been used to a comfortable life where money wasn’t something I had to worry about.
I had some experience of poverty during my childhood and was so frightened of returning to those dark times that I buried my head in the sand a little and carried on spending.
I knew things couldn’t carry on as they were so I did lots of research on becoming frugal and saving money. I had always loved bargain hunting and searching for free stuff so I took what had been a hobby and made it part of my everyday life. We began saving as much money as possible and thinking outside the box when it came to living well on less.
Something else we do to keep our living costs low is to regularly reassess our monthly bills to make sure we are getting the best deals. There’s always a little something you can shave off if you look closely enough.
There are so many fantastic blogs, articles, websites and forums out there with invaluable advice about learning to live on less. Soak it all up and find ways to make those ideas work for you. I also have some frugal boards on Pinterest full of ideas to live on less.
My next tip is to stock up your freezers and cupboards with enough meals to last you at least a month or even longer if you can to prepare for an unexpected drop of income.
I’ve tried shopping week to week in the past sticking to a strict budget but it didn’t work for us. I thrive on being prepared and organised so I bought a small chest freezer last year and started stocking it up. I began adding a few extra items to my shopping list each week as well as looking for reduced (yellow sticker) items and bargains every time I went shopping.
By starting off slowly we are now at the point where we can afford to buy a month’s worth of meat at a time to stock the freezer up. I use a local butcher who offers some fantastic bulk buying options. Not only is the meat a bargain it’s fantastic quality too so much better than the supermarket.
I also buy large bags of potatoes, carrots, and broccoli which I prepare in advance and freeze into portions so we always have something to accompany our meals.
I use Aldi for the majority of my grocery shopping and Home Bargains to stock up on the on cupboard and toiletry essentials. Both stores offer the best value for money for our family.
I know how hard it is when you have a house to run, food to buy and debts to pay but I feel it’s really important to have a little emergency fund in place to cover a drop of income. Even if it’s just a week’s worth of money to cover the absolute essentials.
Try to squirrel away a few pounds each week. You could even save up any spare change in a jar to raid in an emergency.
I also try to save a percentage of any money I make from my side hustles too.
Declare the whole month a ‘no spend’ month. This means that you are banned from spending on anything other than essentials. You have to be really strict and decide between what is a ‘need’ and what is a ‘want’. I know spending bans aren’t for everyone but I do find them really useful. To make the ban more fun I challenge myself to think outside the box and find free ways to get the things we want. I scour the free listing sites and look for local activities that won’t cost us a penny.
Pay The Minimum
We all want to pay our debts down as fast as possible but sometimes if things are really tight in your budget you have to accept that paying the minimum is good enough. You might be having a bad month but next month could be fantastic and leave you with enough for a big chunky overpayment. Don’t see it is a setback, be the tortoise slow and steady wins the race.
FOR MORE POSTS LIKE THIS SEE OUR FINANCE ARCHIVE.