It happens to the best of us. There are times when we have a little bit less money than we thought. Maybe we had less hours at work, or maybe a bill was a little more than we thought it was going to be. No matter what the issue is, sometimes we just have to stretch our budget to make ends meet.
When Hard Times Last Too Long
Sometimes something happens and our hard times are not so short. Sometimes we fall into situations where we might not have enough money to live for extended periods of time. It may feel like you are never going to get out of debt or you are not going to survive, but there are things that you can do in order to make sure that you have enough money for the essentials of living.
What can I do If I’m in a Bind?
There are a lot of things that you can do if you find that your finances are getting on the low side. The first step is bookkeeping you can’t fix your financial issues if you don’t know where your money is going. You can pick up a side job, get a roommate or even sell things on-line, but are there things that you shouldn’t do when your money is a little bit tight? Are there things that you should be looking out for when you need to keep that extra buck in your pocket?
There definitely are things that you should be looking out for when your finances are in trouble.
1. Temporary State Help (Welfare, Unemployment, Social Security, etc.)
No matter what state you live in you can always apply for temporary state help, but there are some things that you need to look for. Some offices only offer assistance on a temporary basis. Some states have job requirements to get assistance as well. Sometimes state assistance is only offered for a limited time. You have to check all of the rules in your state and what your requirements might be for these types of programs.
2. Sales and Coupons
Everyone likes a good sale, and there are so many coupons out there now. When finances are tight you may resort to only shopping on sale days and using coupons for food, but you need to watch doing this as well. A lot of the products that go on sale or have coupons are all name brand items. These items are normally three times the price of store brand or off brand items in the first place. Check your coupons against similar items in your store, you might find that you are not getting the best deal that you can. Another issue with sales is distance. Some people feel like they are saving money by driving to a bunch of different stores to go to different sales. No one thinks about the cost of their gas factored into that.
People falling on harder times are always looking for ways to save money or make more money. This can leave you open and vulnerable to scams of all kinds. There are plenty of companies that will really help you to get out of debt, but there are also companies that say they will help, get a fee from you, and never call you back. Spending $200-$300 when you are already short on money to start up a new way to make money or to pay off a company to get you out of debt can be an issue and devastating when it all goes wrong.
A lot of companies like to bundle things. Comcast has bundles for the internet, phone, cable, mobile and security. Verizon has bundles with Netflix and Disney+, and even Disney+ has a bundle with Hulu and ESPN+. The problem with bundles is that they save you money, if you have the money to spend. You may think you are getting the best deal when you have everything bundled up, but $270 a month for Comcast to have everything is ridiculous when you don’t need everything. Check out what bundles you have and see if you can live without some of the stuff in the bundles. Ask yourself, do I need home security, or do I need to eat next week?
If you have a vehicle and you fall on hard times, apps like Uber and Lyft may spark some of your interest. While these are both very reputable and helpful companies, they are not easy side jobs like some would have you think. Uber and Lyft work on a rating system. You have to be a good driver to get good ratings. You also have to figure out if the ratio of the amount that you are driving is comparable to the amount of damage you are doing to your vehicle and your gas use. When tax season rolls around you also need to have figure out money for that, as neither of these apps take taxes out on you.
6. Resource Usage
Electric, water, sewerage and gas are all resources that everyone needs to live. Obviously now-a-days everyone thinks it’s their phones they need to survive, but without heat and light how would they charge their phone? You can monitor the usage of all of these resources in your home so that you do not have to pay an exorbitant amount to have these services. Turn off your water while you brush your teeth, turn the lights and televisions off when you leave a room and leave your heat set at a certain temperature. It might not be fun, but it may be essential if you don’t have the funding for it.
7. Borrowing Money
Borrowing money might seem like a good idea when you borrow it, but it can bring in all new issues. Borrowing money from friends and family members can cause fights if you are unable to pay them back when you say or for a long period of time. Borrowing money from lenders comes with high interest rates and may leave you more in debt than anything.
8. Recycling and Re-purposing
Recycling and re-purposing things is always great. It helps cut down on cost and environmental waste, but there are things you need to watch when doing either one. Recycling can end up costing you money, depending on what you are trying to recycle. Re-purposing is not as healthy as it seems as some materials, like certain plastics, should not be reused. This is because the more some plastics are reused, the more things they leech into what they are holding. If you are going to recycle and re-purpose make sure you are using only approved materials.
9. Limiting Extras
Everyone has their habits and certain things they like to do. Unfortunately, these habits can cost us money that we don’t have. Obviously smoking and drinking are two habits that cost us, but what are some other habits that you should be watching for? Believe it or not your beauty regimen is a habit. Buying and putting on makeup daily is not a necessity but is done out of habit. Belonging to a gym is also an extra as you can exercise outside, you do not have to pay monthly to get exercise. All these habits that you have daily, or weekly, even monthly, can be limited to save you money when your finances are taking a small dip.
When people have money, we have a tendency to spend it on things we want. Often, one of those things is subscriptions. Netflix, Hulu, Crackle, Crunchy Roll, Dollar Shave Club, Harry’s, Game Informer, Murder Mystery Club, Book Club, Disney Movie Club, PlayStation Now, EA Access; all of these are subscriptions that people get and then forget they have. Most of them are between $5 and $25 a month and come out automatically. They are hard to notice sometimes until it is too late.
Keeping More of My Money
It might be hard sometimes, but when we fall into financial trouble there are certain things that we may need to let go of in order to survive. We need to remember that if it is not necessary, we do not really need it and can do without it. This is forgotten a lot of the time, and people begin to feel like they need things like makeup, the gym and Netflix. If you are having a problem with the money flowing from your pockets, actively do something to make your pockets fill back up.