The year 2020 has been a financially tough experience for many citizens. Whether you’ve lost your primary job or your side hustle, you may be struggling to pay bills or already behind. Controlling your outgoings are just as important as bringing in more money, and the four tips below can help.
If you’re facing a wage garnishment or getting a lot of collection calls, don’t hide. Contact the entities that want money and do your best to work out a payment plan. If you are out of work, look for forbearance options to reduce the damage to your credit.
For those dealing with a wage garnishment, keep an eye out for jobs that offer cash tips. Is this strictly ethical? No, but if your paycheck is already tight and now garnishments are stripping away your pay, you need to get some money coming in.
If you own your own business but are having trouble keeping it afloat you might also consider looking into finance for business courses are ways that you can cut down on spending for your company while you are dealing with your financial situation.
Unless you’re already living rent-free, consider downsizing your living options. If your apartment rent is eating your paycheck, look for a single room rental with a shared bath. You can also look for housing that is covered by work.
For example, you could serve as live-in help to an elder or a disabled person. To do this, you may need to get your CNA, or certified nursing assistant license. The work may include assisting an older person with bathing and dressing, or it could just be preparing meals and doing housework.
Be aware that these jobs are few and far between. If a chunk of your income is actually an exchange for income, you can live on much less each month. With such a job, take care to fully
- define the hours you will work
- clarify your responsibilities
- confirm your space, including kitchen and bathroom
If things are really tight and you’re without a vehicle, this work may include driving your client to errands. In the event that your driving record is not spotless, share this information. You may need to provide proof of insurance and license.
Build a Basic Budget
Building a budget takes two steps. First off, you have to stop spending money for at least ten days. Unless you’re dead out of something, no shopping. After ten days of no spending, make a careful list, and go to the store only for what you must have. Don’t worry about coupons, bargains, or anything else. If you would have bought it and it’s on sale, great. If not, don’t spend your money.
For the next ten days, no shopping, no buying. This no spend behavior will
- push you to get more creative
- help you understand what you really need
- break up with “I want…” thinking
At the end of those ten days, you should start to see some money building up in your account. Leave it there, because you’re going to do another ten days of no spending. Now that you know what you really need, you can build your budget. Don’t worry about getting too fussy or allow yourself to get bogged down in apps, envelopes, and other tools. Unless you really need it, don’t buy it until you have a grasp of how often you currently shop and what you spend.
Sell Old Items
If it’s just you, selling things you don’t absolutely need can lighten your load and make it easier to move if you need to. If you have a family or a partner, selling some of your own belongings will let your partner know that you’re serious about this budget thing.
There are a lot of breakups, family challenges, and friendship ruptures that are caused by money. Sometimes you have to lead by example. If you’re serious about getting a handle on your debt and you sell something you used to own, you now have square footage and cash that you didn’t have. Your friends and family will notice this and be more inclined to get on track with you.
Money stress is extremely corrosive and can lead to a lot of misery and stress. Simple changes are the best. Keep a small notebook to track what you’re spending. Keep an inventory of what you already own, and celebrate when you use what you have instead of buying new.