Not having enough money can become all-consuming. When we start to worry about not being able to cover our bills or defaulting on the mortgage, our lives begin to revolve around money, whether getting more of it or how to stop spending so much of it.
Financial struggles affect millions of Americans, with only 28% of Americans qualifying as “financially healthy.”
Those numbers become even more abysmal when you look at how many people in the USA had used credit in the past year to make ends meet (44%).
If you have unexpectedly fallen on hard times, you may be scrambling as you try to figure out how to get out of the financial pinch you’ve ended up in. It’s important to remember that financial hardships happen to many people and not to be ashamed.
The best thing is to focus on the future and work hard to get yourself out of this situation. To help, here are seven strategies for surviving a financial pinch.
#1 Make a budget
Creating a budget will allow you to better track where your money is going, how much money is coming in, and where you are overspending.
This is also an excellent way to help track your debt repayments. When you owe money, it can feel like you’ll never be able to pay it all back.
A budget that tracks your debt repayment and shows it going down will help you get a better grasp on your progress.
#2 Start brown-bagging it
Many of us are guilty of stopping for take-out coffee on the way to work or of grabbing a quick lunch out on a workday. Unfortunately, while this may seem like a small expenditure, they can add up very quickly.
Consider this: if you spend $50 a week on takeout coffee and lunches (which is less than $10 a day), it adds up to $200 a month and $2400 a year!
Meal prepping and keeping a stash of healthy snacks at work (and whatever your caffeinated vice is) will help stop you from choosing convenience over financial health.
#3 Don’t cut out fun completely
On that note, many people try to limit themselves too much when they’re strapped for cash. Like an overly strict diet, completely removing any kind of enjoyment from your life to save money will only mean that you’ll relapse.
Build a bit of cushion into your budget for entertainment and treats for yourself. Whether that’s a bottle of wine, a dinner out with friends, or a few new books, it’s vital that you keep your life balanced.
After all, financial health is a lifestyle, and any life needs relaxation and fun.
#4 Smoker? Now’s a good time to stop
Smoking is not only terrible for your health, damaging to your house, and makes you stink to other non-smokers, it’s also insanely expensive!
The average pack of cigarettes will set you back about $7.00. If you smoke a few packs a week, you can easily add up how much that’s costing you per year.
On top of that, homes, cars, and furniture that are smoked around or it will make them harder to sell (if you need to).
#5 Have a yard sale
If you’re like us, you’ve probably collected of things over the years that no longer serve a purpose. From clothes we purchased and never wore, to kitchen gadgets that are just gathering dust, all these things are money just waiting to fall into your hands.
When you have a weekend coming up you need to fill, and money is tight, consider spending some time going through your house and finding all the things you could sell.
Don’t want to have a full-on yard sale? Online selling platforms are becoming insanely popular. All you need to get your stuff online is an account and a cell phone. Tidy up the things you want to sell, download the apps, and snap some photos!
Keep in mind, these are visual mediums, so put some effort into styling the items you want to sell. Put some artwork and a candle on top of that old dresser or lay that shirt you want to sell on a clean, well-lit background with some next objects nearby. This helps it make it look more pro and will attract more buyers.
#6 Sell old jewelry
Whether we inherited it, got it as a gift, or bought it ourselves before our tastes changed, old jewelry is the perfect way to get a little cash. Gold chains, diamond rings, or earrings can all be sold for a decent profit.
Before melting down jewelry for gold, see if the jewelry is worth more whole than it is melted down. Vintage jewelry is coming back in a big way, so we encourage you to consult a professional before selling your gold jewelry to be melted down.
When you’re getting ready to sell your jewelry, take the time to clean it properly, so it sparkles again. You can get more details on cleaning jewelry but know that people are willing to spend more on and value items at a higher price that has been cleaned.
#7 Cash in your points
Do you use a points card? Whether that’s Air Miles, rewards points, or some other points or rewards system, don’t just forget about them! You’ve paid for those points, so figure out how to use them! Some points systems limit you to using them in-store, which can be very beneficial if these are grocery or gas cards.
Makeup or beauty supply stores often give you points that allow you to get deluxe samples of expensive products. If your skin isn’t sensitive, you can use these to put off purchasing full sizes of valuable skincare items.
If your credit cards give you cash back, run all your purchases through the card and then pay it off immediately using your banking app. Letting these purchases snowball can be dangerous, so if you’re going to use this method, be sure only to spend as much as you can afford.
What are you doing to survive a financial pinch?