19 Jun A Leg Up – 5 Tips to Break the Poverty Cycle
Nobody can deny that there is a growing gap between the rich and the poor in our society. The reality for our low-income families is that they bear the burden of always being just a few steps behind in securing stability for their children. Overcoming financial insecurity is rarely an overnight success story. Significant challenges, perspective, and growth lie ahead to those who break free of poverty. Here are 5 tips on how to get ahead financially and build a more secure future for you and your family:
1. Avoid Loan Interest Rates Like the Plague
Predatory financial products are real. If you are in need of a loan to finance a critical purchase; be mindful and make sure you confirm all the rates and conditions.
You don’t want to be part of the statistic of unfortunate people stuck in vicious cycles of debt with payday lenders. Look into alternative Not-For-Profit and charitable lenders who offer safe, interest-free loans for low-income earners and see if you qualify. Such opportunities will allow you to pay your debt off with peace of mind.
2. Track Your Spending Before You Budget
Tracking your spending will give you a reality check of where, and how regularly your money is going. It may not be fun, but looking over your bank statements or receipts from recent months is extremely valuable when planning a budget. You will be able to find areas in need of change such as:
- Sneaky automated payments you forgot about.
- Phone, internet, or utility bills that were too high.
- Unhealthy items appearing too frequently; fast food, alcohol, cigarettes, impulse purchases.
3. Find Alternatives To Suit Your Budget
Reviewing your expenses and deciding what purchases are to be terminated from your life are the first steps of budgeting. Now that you have an idea of the baseline structure of your living expenses, the next step is to prioritize maintaining your lifestyle via alternative means and cheaper options.
Consider buying your groceries and products from more cost-effective brands, or in bulk, and always shop around for more competitive rates on any services that you use. Make sure to take advantage of loyalty schemes when available as these can help you benefit further from regular monthly purchases.
4. Know Your Library
With the rising use of the internet and smartphones bringing endless information to our fingertips, it’s easy to overlook the valuable resource of public libraries. Nonetheless, they are still here and hold immense value – and not at your expense! Visit your local library for:
- Free wifi, and computers!
- The obvious: information, books, CDs, DVDs and catalogs.
- Entertainment: movies and TV shows on DVD.
- Events and workshops: Check out the flyers or ask your librarian about what’s available
- Some libraries are attractions themselves so if you’re going away, keep this free, family-friendly option in mind.
5. Get Online
There is no doubt that to get ahead, you need to be digitally literate. Learn or brush up on new skills for free with online course, articles, and e-learning on topics that may help you advance your career or find a secondary source of income.
Working remotely has never been easier. Now you can pick up online side hustles: paid surveys, being a mystery shopper, proofreader, content writer, virtual assistant, selling items on eBay or Etsy are all ways to make extra cash. There’s also Seek, Jora, LinkedIn and many other job search websites for finding general work!
Living on a lower income can be a debilitating challenge. However, it needn’t be a life sentence. With these strategies and more, you can grow your way into a better life for you and your family.