Millions of people all over the US are depending on financial assistance for their daily needs. According to data, approximately 21.3% of people in the country participated in means-tested government assistance programs each month in 2012. With the rising cost of living expenses and layoffs going on in various parts America, it’s no wonder that many individuals and families are struggling to make ends meet. However, by following a few money saving tips, you can live well even if part of your income comes
from government assistance programs. Here are a few ways to do it.
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Know where to turn to if you need financial help
Learning where to seek financial assistance to cover your basic necessities is a must if you’re living on a low income. Know that you’re not limited in your choices when it comes to getting financial assistance—apart from the government, there are some private organizations that can help you if you’re in a tight financial spot. For
instance, if you need medical assistance, see if you qualify for your state’s Medicaid program. If you need to go to a doctor but don’t have medical insurance, you can go to your nearest health center. There, you can get checkups, treatment, prenatal care, immunizations, dental care and prescription. Moreover, you only pay what you can afford based on your income.
Maintaining a large home can cost a lot of money, especially when you’re relying on an assistance program. If you want to live well and save money at the same time, consider downsizing. If you’re single, you may want to rent a room instead of a whole apartment. If you have young children, you can move to a place where they can share a room. Doing so will leave you with more cash for more important things, such as food.
Choose healthy food
Being on a fixed income means that you have to make better food choices to keep your family healthy and sated. This means not buying junk food or soda when you’re shopping. Instead, head to discount stores and buy meats, vegetables, fruits, and other fresh food. Choose versatile ingredients that can be used in different dishes such as ground turkey, rice, pasta, beans, dried pasta, and eggs
Look beyond the mall for new clothes
Shopping at the mall for new clothes can be costly. But you don’t need to wear threadbare items just because you’re not earning much. You can check out thrift stores, yard sales, or consignment shops for new clothes. You can also shop your closet or your partner’s closet to see if you can refashion anything into something new. You can also focus on accessorizing and styling what you already have instead of buying new clothes.
Get rid of your car
If you live in the city and you’re on financial assistance, you’re better off using the public-transit system instead of driving your car. Apart from having to make the monthly payments on your vehicle, there’s also maintenance, gas, repairs, insurance, and parking fees to consider. As a bonus, not having a car means that you get more exercise as you get to walk more.
Have fun without spending money
There are many ways that you can spend your weekends without shelling out a single cent. You can take your family to the park and have a picnic—just bring a basket of sandwiches and drinks that you prepared at home. You can also play board games at home or attend a free concert at the park or at your local community center. Take your children to the library to attend story time, or visit a museum or a zoo on the days when they’re free to the public. Or just stay at home and have a marathon of your favorite movie or television series. The possibilities are endless, proving that you don’t have to spend anything to have fun.
Being on financial assistance doesn’t mean that you have to forego quality living. By making smart choices, managing your money wisely, and perhaps a bit of creativity, you can live well even on a limited income.