Helping you get through tough times

Learning from Jack

Two euro coin with some twenty cent pieces and coppersFinding yourself strapped for cash is an all too familiar situation many of us find ourselves in. Every last cent found down the side of the sofa suddenly becomes incredibly important.

It’s safe to say low bank balances and a low mood often go hand-in-hand. Having to survive on social welfare benefits or on minimal wage can be incredibly stressful. Learning to budget on a small weekly allowance is a big challenge.

Out of our hands

Not feeling in control of even the smallest amount of money is a common problem that leaves us feeling like a bit of a failure.

When faced with any kind of financial issues, it’s tempting to fall into the trap of making impulse decisions while spending the few euros you have left. So-called bargain products can seem like the best option, fast-food and pre-packaged meals can too easily become a part of living cheaply.

A girl called jack

Jack Monroe’s blog is a great example of how challenging life can be trying to support yourself (and in Monroe’s case, a young child) on a small living allowance.

She describes how even trying to put food on the table became a daily struggle leaving Monroe feeling depressed, distressed and alone.

Eating well needn’t cost the earth

After reaching a point where she sometimes had to go hungry to make sure her son had enough to eat, she decided to change her approach to food on a budget.

Preparing meals on a tiny amount of money can seem like an impossible task. But Monroe came up with recipes and ideas for nutritious meals that are a workable and tasty alternative to another frozen pizza.

Taking control

Sitting down and planning the best way to organise your finances can relive a lot of the stress of having very little money.

Minding your mental health while living on a low budget is an important part of ensuring you don’t get into too negative a mindset over financial pressures.

Try to avoid thinking about all the sacrifices you have to make. A few simple ways to save money and make some positive lifestyle choices could be:

  • learning to cook with more basic ingredients 
  • choosing to walk instead of taking public transport
  • inviting friends over instead of going out.

Never forever after…

If you’re feeling overwhelmed and depressed because you’re broke, don’t be embarrassed to talk it through with someone, maybe a friend or family member. There are also many online and phone services which offer support.

Remember money worries are something most people will have to face at some point in their lives.

Time to think

A girl called Jack is a great example of how taking the time to think about cheap living can help in getting through a tough financial period.

A few useful sites:

  • is a free service for people in debt or in danger of getting into debt
  • is an Irish blog where people swap ideas and offers available for eating well but cheaply
  • have a budget planner tool to help you work out how best to manage your finances.



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