Financial planning is challenging even when you have enough money, but if you're working a low, low budget, it seems next to impossible. Here are five practical ways in which you can improve your financial position, even on a limited income.
Save Up For An Accountant
Start a coin jar or other collective mechanism that will add up over the course of a few months, then make an appointment with an accountant. While this may sound like a luxury on your income, it's a sound investment in your financial future. For example, an accountant can give you good tax advice, which is something you can use every time you file your return, potentially saving you a significant amount of money over the years. If your financial situation isn't expected to change much in the future, you'll probably only need a single consultation with an accountant, making this one-off investment even more appealing.
Look At The Big Picture
If you take the "woe is me" attitude when all you have left over out of your paycheck is a "measly" 20 dollars or so, you probably spend that money on yourself, because it makes you feel a little better. For example, you might treat yourself to a pizza come payday, figuring it's only 20 dollars anyway. However, if you look at the big picture financially, that extra 20 dollars adds up to over a thousand a year. Thus, if you can forego the pepperoni and extra cheese treat, opting to save that money instead, you're going to improve your long-term financial health. Start multiplying "extra" cash by 52 (or 12, depending on when you get paid), and your whole perspective can change - for the good!
Downsize Your Life And Call It Feng Shui
Feng Shui is an ancient philosophy designed to put your immediate environment in perfect harmony. While the benefits of Feng Shui may not be proven by science, psychological factors may be controlling the clutter in your life, when you could really use a little more simplicity. Downsize your life and your home, making money by selling things you don't really need and saving on the things you won't buy thereafter.
Invest In Your Long-Term Health
Taking good care of yourself means you'll have more energy, perhaps so you can work longer hours, adding to your income! Good health habits also lead to lower stress, empowering you to make better decisions about money - as opposed to splurging on something you don't need just to give your psyche a boost. Additionally, over the long-term, better health means less money spent on medical care, which can save you considerably.
Consider Renting Out Your Brain
Any expertise you have could be turned into extra money. For example, if you know how to grow humongous, incredibly delicious beefsteak tomatoes, you have marketable expertise. Maybe you can turn an old, decrepit desk into a work of art or help a student ace the SAT test. Knowledge you have that others need is a commodity, so consider the different ways you can rent your brain out to improve your financial outlook. Try advertising locally or building a (free!) website, promoting your special knowledge and experience. This money might go directly into savings or be used to pay down debt—just be sure to use it wisely. Although consulting in this manner probably won't make you rich, it certainly would be nice to have the extra cash occasionally, wouldn't it?
Financial planning on a low budget calls for thinking outside the box with nearly every penny, but eventually, you will be rewarded for all that creativity and frugality. Even just a little extra breathing room with money can go a long, long way.