How to Manage on a Low Income

With our shrinking economy, it has become exceedingly more difficult for even the average household to maintain a comfortable lifestyle. Rising gas prices have caused a domino effect whereby, everything we purchase has now increased in price. So what is the key for survival when your income doesn’t match your required needs?

When reducing your food costs you need to shop store ads and construct a menu according to what is on sale. Check your local newspaper and magazines for coupons, and don’t be afraid to use them. Be careful though, that you don’t end up buying a more expensive item just “because you have a coupon.” Buy generic products when possible. Many of these are produced by major companies and are just as good as the name brands. And, don’t forget your local $.99 cent store. You can find a number of items there that will reduce your grocery bill considerably. Be sure to do comparison shopping, however, and be careful not to spend $.99 for a $.59 item.

Reduce your household expenses by changing your service providers. Switching from satellite to cable could save you a considerable amount of money each month. If you make an abundance of long distance calls, check with your local phone company and see if they offer an unlimited plan. If your calls are minimal, enlist the services of a less expensive service. There are a number of providers that can be found on the web including Airespring (, which offers long distance at a mere $.04 per minute.

Keeping utility costs down are always a challenge, but not impossible. Replace those high wattage light bulbs with energy saving ones. They put out more light, use less wattage, and many electric companies give them out for free. Replace your shower-heads with energy saving sprayers. To reduce the amount of water being used by your toilet, place a one quart jar filled with water inside the tank. This will cause your toilet to use less water and save you money. And, most importantly, turn down the thermostat! This is especially important when you are not at home and when you’re retiring for the night.

Wal-Mart has introduced $4.00 prescriptions, which has been a wonderful find for those without medical coverage. Unfortunately, this only provides you with a 30-day supply of the prescribed medicine. Costco pharmacy sells their prescription drugs for a mere 3% above cost and, since the pharmacy is federally regulated, you do not need to be a member to use their services.

Although we cannot control gas prices, we can control our consumption. If you are employed, check with co-worker’s and start a carpool. When running errands, make a list and organize all of your stops. Keep your car in good running order. Changing the oil and staying current on tune-ups will increase your gas mileage.

Living on a low income is never easy, but is can be done with a few cut backs and a little ingenuity.