Can you survive the proposed benefit cuts?

At the time of writing, the British government are trying to implement some benefit cuts. What this means is people who are currently on a low wage, will see their working tax credit reduced. This is terrible news as it means those who are already struggling to make ends meet, will have to struggle even more.

What I find absolutely awful about this situation, is that some well-off people who do not struggle to pay their bills, are the ones who are making this decision. The poorest people in the UK are likely to find life even tougher come April 2016. The chancellor has said that most people will benefit once the living wage is implemented, but the fact of the matter is that most people won’t actually get the living wage. This is because it’s not mandatory, which means the poorest people on the minimum wage will be badly affected.

So what can we do to make sure that when April 2016 comes, that we’re not struggling even more than we currently are? I have a few tips that could help you should the worst happen:

Save what you can

If you think you’re going to be badly affected by the proposed changes, then my advice is to save what you can. I know you may not be able to save a lot of money, but every pound helps. Even if all you can do is put £5 aside, but it aside as it could be a lifeline next year.

Think about what you can sell should you need extra cash

We never want to have to sell our things in order to be able to eat, but this is something you may need to be prepared to do. I’m not suggesting you sell your best kitchen knives or even the TV, but for now, think about those things you can easily live without.

Consider taking on more work

This may seem impossible if you’re a single parent, but with the internet readily available to most, you may want to consider doing a bit of freelance work. There are a lot of freelance websites out there that post thousands of jobs every day, and there could be something for you. Alternatively, you may want to think about getting part-time work.

Remember you can treat yourself now and again

If ‘treating yourself’ means you can enjoy a 99p pizza once a week, then do. When times are tough, you have to keep your spirits up. For me, treating myself involves buying a few second hand books from a charity shop, as there’s nothing finer than a good [cheap] book.

Stay away from branded products

When you’re food shopping, try to stay away from branded products and instead go for the shop’s own make. Sometimes the shop’s own is just as good, or occasionally better than the branded product. Reducing the cost of your grocery shop will make things easier, so make sure you go for the bargains, and make use of cheaper shop’s own products too. As you can see, there are ways to cut down on your expenses and make life a little easier. Don’t forget to ask for advice and help if you’re really starting to struggle.

Does getting older come with additional expenses?

When we look ahead to our retirement, we often think that it will be a fairly easy time. By then, we should have paid off the mortgage, the car, and perhaps any loans we have taken out. It’s likely that we also think we’ll have a lot of time on our hands, and we can fill it with whatever we want. The trouble is that life may not turn out this way, and getting older can come with additional and unforeseen expenses.

Expensees

What kind of expenses am I talking about?

When I talk about people getting older, and the costs associated with it, I am referring to the potential health issues that may arise. Every single senior citizen has some sort of health concern that has come with age, and it’s this that could prove to be costly. If you or your partner become housebound or dependent on each other, you may have to fork out for durable medical equipment. On the other hand, you may also have to pay for one of you to be cared for by someone else, in an entirely different location.

Ok so not every senior citizen will have to deal with ill health in such a dramatic way, but it is best to be aware of this issue. Many people rely on their pensions to help them, they assume that they will be able to get by once they have retired, and indeed some people do. The trouble is that not everyone saves up enough money, and not everyone has the ability to.

Not knowing what the future will hold

The fact of the matter is that we just don’t know what the future will hold, but what we can do is tryto prepare for it. Even if this means setting $20 a month aside to go into your pension, it’s better than nothing.

It’s safe to say that we just don’t know what the future will hold. We may be able to get by, or we may struggle. If we start to prepare ourselves, and if we save money where we can, we may just find that things are ok.

Getting older may come with additional expenses if we need medical equipment, or even if we need to find somewhere else to live. All we can do is prepare ourselves and hope that everything turns out ok. My advice? Start saving where and when you can, so that you have a bit of extra cash when you reach retirement.