Living frugally on disability income is a necessity that brings the reward of being able to live on your own. Being a wheelchair user or having another disability does not mean independent living is out of grass. By carefully managing your money and taking advantage of the government programs available, life can be comfortable in your own apartment.
Living frugally doesnt mean going without the things you want. It would be boring and not much fun if we only had our needs. You can also obtain many of the things you desire. First, let's go through some of the government programs and local programs available.
Social Security benefits may be the majority of your income, but they can be enough by living frugally. If you are able enough to work, there are jobs out there. Working has many benefits besides the money. Having a set schedule gives you the feeling of purpose in life. This is a great self esteem booster. Even if working is not possible, by living frugally you can live on your own.
Local Public Housing Agencies have a voucher system commonly called section 8 to assist with the cost of renting a home or apartment. Although there is often a long waiting list, this benefit is fundamental and necessary for living frugally. Section 8 allows you to choose the housing within certain guidelines. Once approved, your rental cost is generally 30% of your income, but is often as low as 10% of your income. What a savings!
Some states and communities offer discount utility rates for low-income families, disabled people or senior citizens. State Park and local entertainment facilities may offer discounts.
The Food Stamp program can help supplement you budget. Although the amount of assistance for which you qualify may be small, living frugally means finding every penny you can to improve your finances. Use your food budget carefully by shopping the sales and discount grocers. Less processed foods are cheaper, so do more cooking and save for that special food you want to splurge on. Follow the waste not, want not concept. Cook more than you need for one meal, then you have leftovers or freeze a quarter or two for times you do not feel like cooking. Eliminating the need to get fast food or order out not only is unhealthy but also helps in living frugally and being able to afford little luxuries. Save by eating just one meal at home and you may be able to buy that CD you wanted or save up that money and buy a new stereo.
Surround yourself with friends. What a lift to your day when a friend comes to visit! Consider entertaining a group of friends. Having a cookout or inviting friends to watch a game or a movie builds social relationships. Serving something simple, even just snacks and a drink, will be remembered. By making it your purpose to make someone else's day special, your bond of friendship becomes bigger. Who else will call you when you need some help? Living frugally sometimes means you need to rely on friends to help fix something or give you a ride, so be there for them. You may also be able to trade with them. They may have something they are no longer need or something the bought in the wrong size. You may have a nice watch that you would not miss. Making a trade gives both of you new items with no out of pocket money adding to both living frugally and strengthening your relationship.
Being careful with your money means taking advantage of free and cheap outings. Going window shopping, to a park or buying items at a flea market are great activities. Save up for that special occasion or event and you will see that you can have a full life by living frugally.