Your family could benefit when your income goes down

The Benefits of Living on Limited Income

by Marianne Giullian


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When faced with financial limits, the first thing most people think about is what they have to do without. They focus on all the things they will be missing instead of all the benefits that they can gain. You may be giving up more material things, but you can also have a better quality of life. Whether it is living on one income and being able to stay at home with kids or if it is a change in a job with a pay cut to go along with it, there are many good things about limited resources if you just look for them.

It helps you to focus on the essentials. My teenage son commented that we eat better when I have a limited budget than when I don't. I was surprised at his comment when he made it, but realized that I really do zero in on the essentials. I will choose to buy orange juice instead of soda and flour and eggs instead of chips. You may also be more careful about portion sizes and feel better in the long run for eating healthier and eating less.

You are more careful about purchases. Knowing that you have limited funds, you think twice about purchases because you need to make every dollar count. When the money is gone, it is gone. Plan purchases ahead of time to make sure that you can fit them in your budget. When buying groceries, plan a menu ahead of time and make a detailed budget and stick to it.

When you have limited resources, it sparks creativity in you and you think of alternate ways that you can accomplish the same thing. Instead of paying full retail price for clothing, you may look for deep discounts from buying off-season clothing. You may also choose to try garage sales or thrift stores. Instead of taking the family out to the movie theatre, you may choose to stay home and rent a movie for only a dollar or check it out for free from the library. You can even borrow a movie from friends or invite them over to watch it with you.

Do it yourself. Another benefit of limited resources is that you can learn some new skills by doing things yourself. Fix things that are broken, bake your own bread, or plant your own garden. You may find that you really enjoy the feeling of doing it yourself.

There may be things in your home and garage that you don't need or don't use any more. Limited resources may inspire you to get rid of clutter in your home and make money off the things you no longer use or need. It is easy to let things accumulate and ignore the piles when you have plenty of money to pay for everything. Your home will be more pleasant to live in when you get rid of the excess clutter, and you can see how accumulating things doesn't bring true happiness. Get off the treadmill of materialism and realize that life is not measured by what you have but by who you are.

Another benefit of a limited income is that you will realize that you can get around for less. Walking and biking are healthier for you and don't come close to the cost of a car. Maybe you can go down to just one car for the family and save the extra money you would have spent on insurance. Look into public transportation and think about carpooling.

With a limited income, you will realize that there are many things you can do without. Cancel the magazine and newspaper subscriptions and go to the library and read them there. Cancel cable television and watch your favorite shows on the internet for free or just do a puzzle or read a book.

Bartering is something you can do when you have a limited income. Trade houses for a week with a friend that lives in another area instead of paying for an expensive vacation. Trade services like babysitting and hair cutting. Maybe you can trade pet sitting for mowing the lawn. Use your imagination and save money at the same time.

There are some real benefits of a limited income. You can find new ways of doing things that cost less and it helps you to focus on the things that really matter. If you have the right attitude, it can become a fun challenge to see how well you can do on whatever you have.


Marianne Giullian is a stay-at-home mom that enjoys cooking, reading and finding ways to stretch our budget. For additional information and articles, visit Spendwise.org

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