Written by Lindsey Eliason under the direction and review of Carrie Johnson (former SDSU Extension Family Resource Management Specialist).
The number of families in the United States whom are in poverty is increasing. Nearly one-third of all working families or 10.4 million families are considered low-income, and the average income of a low-income family of four is $44,123. Tips for managing your money are listed below.
Don’t have a budget? Start one!
If you are providing for a low-income family, it is important to be completely aware of what you earn and how you are spending it. Creating a budget is a great tool to help you make better financial decisions. For a budget to work, you must have a set goal in mind, having an end goal will help you stick to your budget, save money, pay off debts, and become financial stable on your own.
Maximize financial supports.
Many low-income individuals may be entitled to financial assistance from various government agencies. The United States Department of Agriculture provides assistance to low-income families through housing, food and nutrition. For example, the USDA offers assistance to Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) through food vouchers for the purchase of nutritional food, formula, and breastfeeding educational support.
Utilize financial accounts or loans that suit you.
The cost of financial products such as credit cards, personal loans, and bank accounts vary, especially through interest rates, fees, and the different requirements they might have. Shopping around for that one perfect account or loan is not fun, but it will save you money. If you are on welfare and you have an emergency, you are capable of receiving a short-term high-risk cash loan; it may be risky, but if it is needed, it should be paid off within a couple months at the very latest.
Get help if you need it!
Learning to manage your money may seem useless or difficult, especially if you don’t have much to work with. There are free financial counselors who are willing to help you out and they can show you how to budget and manage your debt.
Even if money is tight, there is no reason to increase your debts. Start making smart financial decisions now.