8 must-read subreddits if you’re struggling financially
Hailed as the ‘front page of the internet,’ Reddit is so much more than a place to enjoy funny cat memes and keep up with the latest gaming, movie, and TV news. We share eight subreddit communities to help you better understand your finances, create a workable food budget, and expand your skills to help take the edge off of growing financial worries
I love Reddit. Despite not being their target demographic (around 70% of the site’s users are American, with 18-29s making up 64% of their user base), Reddit is one of those sites where you can find a community for everything. Literally.
Want nothing but cute photos that make you go aww? There’s a subreddit for that (r/aww). Need a good laugh, but tired of the same old memes? r/BirdsWithArms has nothing but bird videos with hilarious clipart-drawn arms and expressions. Want to find a supportive community, filled with others who are sharing their lived mental health experiences, and experts highlighting advice and guidance? Well, there are dozens of dedicated mental health and wellbeing subreddits to help you feel accepted and connected.
When it comes to talking about our finances, things can feel tough. Research from the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) revealed that 42% of us who have borrowed money and are struggling choose to ignore lenders’ attempts to contact us, due to feeling ashamed. A lack of knowledge is also causing us unnecessary stress and strain, as 40% who are struggling financially incorrectly believe that talking to a debt advisor will have a negative impact on their credit file.
Over half (52%) of us wait more than a month to seek help when we are struggling financially. New data from Financial Capability revealed that over 20.3 million adults (39%) in the UK don’t feel confident managing their money and over 11.5 million of us have less than £100 is savings. With nearly 9 million in serious debt, and only a third receiving help, things are only set to get worse over the coming months, as prices continue to rise.
We’re not saying online communities are the answer to all of our money problems. But talking about our struggles, reaching out to others, and sharing tips and tricks to make our money stretch further can all have a significant, positive impact on how we feel.
Feeling anxious or stressed about talking money with your partner? Counselling Directory explains more about how you can get the conversation started.
Feel more confident managing your finances
Financial literacy (having the skills and knowledge to make informed, effective decisions about your financial resources) is an area that is so important, yet many of us feel we lack the tools to understand and get the most out of our finances truly. Financial literacy can include everything, from budgeting and managing your finances, all the way through to investing. It’s the foundation of our relationship with money, yet just 67% of us are financially literate (though we may not feel confident in our skills).
‘Personal finance for the financially challenged’, r/povertyfinance is an international community created to support those struggling financially. Financial advice, frugality tips, personal stories, opportunities, and general guidance are all judgement-free.
Boasting over 1.4 million members worldwide, community moderators emphasise that r/povertyfinance is for everyone. Users have different degrees of disposable income, rely on different kinds of transport, may be single or struggling to support a family; everyone is welcome. The main goal is to help anyone who feels like they don’t have breathing room to get to a place where they can feel stable, comfortable, have a financial safety net, and can indulge in a little luxury.
Unlike some other money-focused subreddit communities, where the goal may be to retire early (r/fire - financial independence, retire early) or invest ( r/dividends, r/investing, r/stockmarket), r/povertyfinance is there to help users with a wide range of goals. This can include:
- learning how to live within your means
- balancing your earnings to expenses ratio
- reducing debts and building savings
- tips on how to move to a better-paying job or career
- how to cut expenses, spend smarter, and live better on the same budget
- working smarter, not harder
- planning ahead for expenses, purchases, and adventures
- finding out what benefits you may qualify for
It’s important to remember that members of the community do come from around the world, so some advice may be specific to different countries (eg. there is often America-specific student loan advice shared). But seeing others share success stories, reading about similar experiences and struggles, and sharing little tips and pieces of advice can help to dispel the feelings of isolation, shame, and despair that many feel when spiralling into financial difficulties.
Worried about your finances, and not sure where to start? r/povertyfinance has a free wiki section to help you get started. Highlighting benefits programs by country, free online financial literacy courses and resources, life planning tools, and more, anyone can access these for free.
A UK-specific subreddit designed for users to discuss, learn, and request help about creating a budget, protecting your money, saving and investing. With nearly 780,000 users, r/ukpersonalfinance is a little more on the side of helping those who already have basic financial literacy and knowledge, and are looking to continue to grow.
While a little more advanced (much of the advice is more helpful for those looking to invest, to figure out the best/quickest way to pay down specific debts, or how to best use unexpected windfalls), their free finance flowchart highlights not only great free resources to help you get started, but provides an easy, clear, visual way of prioritising what should come next in your finances. It can be a little disheartening when you feel like you get stuck on an earlier step, but the clear, easy-to-follow layout helps to highlight key priorities and put things in a more manageable order until you have built up the confidence and knowledge to make further decisions yourself.
Maximise your monthly food budget (and learn zero-waste tips and tricks)
Between our weekly shop, top-up shops, and takeaways, in the UK we spend an average of £44 per person on food each week. With the UK throwing away a whopping 9.5 million tonnes of food each and every year – despite 8.4 million of us living in food poverty, and 70% of that food is safe for human consumption – it’s hard to deny that many of us could do with a brush-up on how to best plan our meals, cook from scratch (time allowing), and maximise our home cooking (while minimising our budget).
Dedicated to helping users cook on a budget, this subreddit only allows recipe links. No discussions, no questions, no planning: just cheap, easy to make, delicious recipes. Simple.
Unlike r/budgetcooking, r/budgetfood insists on every post including the recipe itself in each thread (not just a link). Users tend to be more American than international on this subreddit, however, there are still some great, cheap recipes and tips to help preserve food (picking, home canning, freezing batch pre-prepared ingredients). Users are also quick to offer advice and guidance when members of the community are faced with extreme challenges like making a small budget last for several weeks when unexpected expenses crop up, or how to cook healthily when appliances break down.
Sharing meals and how to get deals to make it through the hard times we all face, r/povertykitchen is filled with recipes, advice, and guidance on how to use store cupboard basics when you can’t afford to restock your kitchen. Many redditors also break down the cost to make each meal (both total, and the cost per portion).
It is worth noting that recipes are created by other people who are sharing personal tips and tricks. This can mean that some meals, while cost-effective, may not have all of the nutrition needed for a healthy, sustainable diet. Find out more about how to eat healthily for less.
Expand your knowledge and adjust your mindset
How confident are you in your DIY skills? According to one survey, just 41% of UK adults feel positive about tackling DIY tasks themselves, instead preferring to turn to local tradesmen and handymen to get the job done. But what if a shift in how we think and approach these tasks could not only improve our confidence, but boost our budgets, too?
With over 2.4 million members, the r/frugal subreddit is all about frugal living to waste less, and gain more. Built around the idea that frugality is a mental approach we should each take when considering our resources, r/frugal doesn't just take money into consideration - it also looks at time, convenience, ecological impact, and many other factors.
Food and shopping tips are commonplace, as are recycling and zero-waste suggestions to help users learn to save money by upcycling, repairing, and reusing, instead of jumping straight to rebuying broken essentials.
There’s a little bit of everything here; from users sharing their experience picking and canning homegrown veggies, to where to go online to get the best deals on used furniture, whether some items like bread makers and home gym equipment are really worth the cost, and how to adjust to life without depending on a car for transport.
Join the 3.2 million members learning how to do anything and everything from themselves. From how to fix your own car to how to start a podcast, you can ask for, share, and pick up advice on just about any subject you can think of. The community are helpful and quick to redirect to other sources where they may have found more helpful how-to guides (such as through YouTube, Quora, Wiki-How, and other free sites), as well as sharing first-hand experiences, tips, and tricks.
While there is advice for just about everything, it’s worth remembering that some things (eg. home repairs for electric wiring and foundation work) should be left to the professionals.
While r/howto offers practical advice on how to do just about anything, r/IWantToLearn covers the more fun and intellectual side of things. From learning how to program a computer to how to play a musical instrument, how to set boundaries to how to be a better conversationalist, this subreddit covers a little bit of everything. Personal and social skills, academic, technology, sports, arts, music, and even a little DIY; if there’s a topic you’ve always wanted to learn about, now could be the time to upskill. Signposted resources are often free or cheap, making it even easier to start exploring new areas of interest without having to spend money.
Our relationship with money, finances, and budgeting can be tough to define. It may feel hard to admit when you are feeling pressure, or that you might need help. To find out more about the unspoken relationship between your mind and money, and for guidance on finding financial advice, check out Money: Our Shadow relationship on Counselling Directory.