How to Manage a Household Budget on Low Income


It can be hard living on a limited amount of money each week for your family. When there's a failing economy or a lack of jobs in your area, it can be hard trying to decide how your family will get by on a limited budget. While life may throw you some hardships that you will have to make it through, there are ways to be able to pay your expenses and get the necessities that you need for living. Read on to learn how you can get by on a limited income, and still enjoy life at the same time.

Study the expenses of the entire household. Write down costs of utility bills, mortgage, rent, car payments, insurance, medical bills, and costs of food. Compare the bills with the income of the household. Make sure that there is enough income to pay the expenses. If there is not, make a list of the bills that are top priority such as house payments and utilities, and then food. Find other ways to bring in extra income for the household.

Look at the different kinds of services that your household subscribes to. Cancel or cut back on any other entertainment packages that you may have. For example, cut back on current cable subscriptions such as extra movie channels, and only subscribe to basic cable until your household can afford to upgrade. Cancel any extra phone or Internet services that you may have. Purchase phone cards or pay-as-you go cell phones to reduce phone expenses. Access the Internet from the library, or find cheaper Internet services if it is a necessity for school work or your business. Look into packages where you can subscribe to phone, Internet, and cable at a lower price.

Create a menu of the meals that your family plans on having for the week. Browse coupons and sale ads to find out where you can buy the best price ingredients and food that you need to create those meals. If there isn't a lot of money left in the household budget for food, contact your area food pantries, or find out how you can purchase food from Angel Food Ministries. Families can order boxes of food for only thirty dollars (see Resources).

Cut back on the amount of energy you use in your home. Set your thermostat around sixty eight degrees or at a temperature where your family can feel comfortable without overusing heat. Have extra blankets around, or wear sweaters in the winter. Use energy efficient light bulbs, and always turn off lights after leaving a room. Contact your local community action agency to learn more about the LIHEAP program. Liheap is a grant program that helps low income families pay their electric and gas bills (see Resources).

Shop at second hand stores for any clothing that your family may need. Be sure to check all of the garage sales in your area as well. Second hand clothing shops often carry great brand name or quality clothing at much lower prices.

Save every bit of change that your family gets in a jar. Place every penny, nickel, dime, or quarter that you get inside. This can be your "fun jar." When the jar has accumulated a lot of change, the family can use this to treat for dessert, dinner, a movie, or something that the family would like to have. While income may be low, you can still enjoy something fun and entertaining throughout life's hardships.


  • Lean on your family, friends, and church for support.


  • Times will seem tough, and it can put you in a depressed mood when there isn't a lot of money for your household. Remember that there is a light at the end of every tunnel, and you will get by.