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Feeling the pinch 

 

By Sheree Hoddinett 

 

Like many families out there, mine is also feeling the impact of the ever-increasing cost-of-living. Groceries, bills and just life in general costs (kids and all they encompass) continue to rise. Even if we earn more money, there’s no real saving any of it as it just goes towards everything that needs to be covered. And don’t even get me started on this $1000 credit towards our electricity bills, which has obviously been meant as a helping hand to all households. While it will help to a small point, long-term it really means nothing! 

 

Many people are struggling and it’s very much a common topic of discussion out there. While there is no hard and fast solution, other than handing everyone all the money in the world (wouldn’t that be nice!), doing some little things here and there may help alleviate some of the pressure we’re all feeling. While it may not work for everyone, here are some things you can try to get you through these tough times. 

 

Create a budget 

Yes I know, it’s the most obvious idea that comes to mind. But, you may as well start somewhere. If assessing your income and expenses helps you create an achievable budget, it might be worth a shot.  

 

Prioritise your essential expenses 

This likely goes without saying, but once you have a clear picture of your finances, prioritise what you need to spend. These are the things you absolutely need to survive, such as housing, food, utilities and healthcare. Make sure these expenses are covered first before allocating funds to any non-essential items. 

 

Cut back where you can 

If you have to give up a streaming service to save a few dollars, it could help in the long run. Don’t go out as much for dinner and cut out any unnecessary spending on things such as clothing or toys that aren’t needed. But cut yourself some slack too, sometimes we need a little distraction in tough times! 

 

See if you can increase your income 

Explore potential opportunities to increase your income. This could involve asking for a raise at your current job, taking on additional work or freelance gigs, selling unused items online, or exploring passive income streams such as renting out a spare room or even starting a small side business. 

 

Have a back-up emergency account 

Open up a bank account and put away a few dollars when you can to help cover any unexpected expenses and financial emergencies. Or even use it to save over a longer period for a family trip you may want to take and can’t spare the cash up front.  

 

Negotiate bills/plans 

Explore options for negotiating lower rates or payment plans for bills and expenses. This might involve contacting your utility providers, landlords, creditors, or service providers to see if they offer any assistance programs, discounts, or flexible payment options. 

 

Don’t be afraid to ask others for help 

Don't try to navigate the cost-of-living crisis alone. Reach out to friends, family members or support groups for emotional support, advice and encouragement. Sometimes just talking about your financial concerns with someone you trust can help alleviate some of the stress you may be feeling.  

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