In these troubled times where incomes are not guaranteed, most of us need to start considering how we’re going to eke out what we already have. It’s certainly a time to start thinking how we can cut back, especially if you’ve never had to before.
I’m no authority on this subject, but I do have many years of personal experience. Over thirty years ago, when my sons were teenagers and still at home, my husband, aged forty-three had a severe heart attack. At the time, I was studying for a degree as I was hoping to establish a career for myself after many years of child raising. The consultant told my husband he should not work again, and as he couldn’t walk more than a few steps without pain, I willingly gave up college to assist him.
Six whole weeks went by before we received any state benefits. That was a difficult time as you can imagine. I sincerely hope those dependent on the state due to this self isolation won’t have to wait so long.
That first week, I cancelled every home service I was allowed to. In those days we had our milk and newspapers delivered, so they were the first to go. Next I had to tell the window cleaner his services were no longer required. Then I examined my endowment insurance policy and saw I could cancel that. It paid us a small amount of cash back, but there would have been a much better pay out if we could have left it until it matured.
Everything we could let go of, we cancelled. Luckily, the car we had on monthly payments was covered by insurance, so we no longer had to find the money for that. Our mortgage was our biggest worry, so I wrote to our lender asking if something could be done. We were paying 14% interest on the mortgage at that time. Unfortunately, they weren’t very helpful and we were still liable for the full payment. To cut a long story short, we found ways of cutting back and managed to still pay everything we were required to.
This was more than thirty years ago and since I’ve been the primary carer for our children, my husband, and both sets of our parents, I don’t even have my own pension. Instead, the state take £77 from my husbands state pension and pay it in my name. So you see, I’ve always had to stick to a tight budget. Now, I feel the lessons I’ve learned and the tips others may give, may help others at this critical time.
I intend this page to have a go-to list of helpful hints and suggestions to help the reader better manage the resources they have. If you have any posts about money saving tips, recipes, make do and mend ideas, or anything else which could be useful to those struggling, please drop the link in a comment and I’ll add it here. Every little bit helps when you’re on a tight budget. Thank you!
Make a list of all unnecessary services you pay for and opt out. In times like this, sacrifices are called for, so be ruthless. Cut everything to the bare necessities of life like shelter, food, and utilities if you have to. For starters, you can probably opt out of:
Phone Contracts (if you have more than one in the family. Also think about Pay as you Go).
TV Contracts like Sky, Virgin, Netflix, etc.
Beauty Treatments None are essential. You can learn to cut and dye your own hair with practice. Be brave! I have cut and dyed my own hair since I was 14. I find a bob the easiest to manage.
Too many possible services to go into here, but you’ll know what you pay for; be sensible. You may not have to do without these services for long and may get better deals when you eventually sign up again as a new customer. The decision to opt out will obviously depend on how long the contract has left to run and any charges incurred if you leave before the contract ends. Your decision. Don’t lose heart, we can all learn from each other. We can get through this!