It’s a crushing feeling isn’t it when you are too broke to be able to do much of anything. The feeling is suffocating at times and so disheartening. You can’t afford good cars but yet there is no money in the bank to repair the broken down one you are still driving. You could find a cheaper place to live but oh wait, that would require a deposit which is basically just another fancy way to say more money.
Sometimes that hopeless feeling traps us into thinking that we should just give up. That voice in our head telling us to not even try and we are tempted to go out and spend that $5 that we have left on something to make us feel better. Have I mentioned that this is the story of my life? Yep! As disheartening as it is don’t give up! You can change things by small actions. I promise!
1. INCREASE YOUR INCOME
I know, you are reading that and thinking to yourself that if you could you already would have. With this be creative! It doesn’t have to take a lot of time or effort to make a few extra bucks each month to put away.
- When was the last time that you asked for a raise? Some companies have set times when they review your performance and others are more flexible. Still have a bit of time until your work is doing those reviews? How about taking a course (many are free) to show your dedication and help give your raise a boost.
- Check out online surveys that pay. Yes this is a real thing! Often times companies will pay you to do surveys and give them extra feedback. A lot of these surveys don’t pay a whole lot but they only take a few minutes each and any little bit helps when it comes to saving. It adds up!
- Consider a side business. We all know that working for ourselves can pay much better than what most companies will pay us and quite a few have low overhead. For example I started cleaning houses several years ago and make between $20-$45 and hour. You might not have a lot of extra time but would an hour and a half clean of someone else’s house be worth the $60 in your pocket that you didn’t have before?
- Double check your tax withholding’s. Some people prefer to claim 0 on their taxes so that they get bigger tax returns but imagine what that money could be doing for you in savings with interest instead.
2. DECREASE YOUR EXPENSES
Again I know that this seems like common sense but just hear me out. Sometimes when we are looking at our expenses we think that we need things that we don’t or don’t know how to get the best deals on regular things that we use daily.
- Look at anything that has you in a contract and ask yourself if you really need it. Yes it can cost you to get out of the contract but nowadays most companies have buy out options if you switch to them plus if you cancel a contract most companies will let you make payments to pay off what you owe them. In the long run which is cheaper? $160 a month for that contracted TV or the $300 one time cancellation fee? Look at your phones as well. Sometimes the contracts are the cheapest options but for my husband and I we found that going off of contract and using straight talk from walmart was actually much cheaper. I would like to mention that if you look at straight talk you need to look at the phones individually. They run off of several different companies towers and which company breaks down to the phone.
- Try couponing! No I am not saying that to do this you need to spend money on Sunday papers (you can if you want but I found that I don’t use most of the coupons in them) There are great websites like couponmom.com who will show you where to get the best deals and link you to online coupons that you can either print or just show from your phone. Sign up for store emails because they will send you free coupons all the time. Have you ever written to a company to say that you really like a product of theirs? Did you know that they often times reward you with coupons for the product that you liked?! I’ve done it and it works! Now if that sounds like a lot of work still try an app called checkout51. All you do is take a picture of your receipt and it will give you money back for things that you bought including produce, milk, bread… It’s the lazy person’s couponing and you can do it along with coupons! Yep you can get double back!
- Have you been tracking your food budget? I mean really? I know that food is where the majority of my extra money goes to without even thinking about it. How much are you snacking or eating out? Even if you just didn’t eat out once a month think about the $30 that you could be putting away to have work for you.
- Make a menu! You don’t have to have food assigned to specific days because let’s face it, when you do that you don’t want to eat that on that day. Just have a list of meals for that week and don’t let yourself buy extra’s for just in case you decide you want that instead. It will save you a lot of money.
Track everything that you spend for a month and see where any leaks are. Food and entertainment tend to eat up a lot of money just bit by bit so we often times really need to look at what we are spending realistically to be able to do something about it
3. START SMALL AND MAKE IT AUTOMATIC
Imagine that you went over this and figured out a way to save just $10 a week. That could be cutting out one meal being eaten out or a coffee or two being made at home. If you saved that $10 each week after a year you would have $520 before compound interest which BTW is the best thing ever! Keep your savings account separate from your bank card. It’s harder to take the money out from it on a whim if you can’t just go to an ATM and get it. Each month make a physical budget and break it down into both months and weeks. Looking at a month can be overwhelming and depressing but if you break it down into a week you can focus on what you need to do with your budget one day at a time.
Treat your savings like a utility bill. If you make it a requirement and priority like you would a regular bill then it will become that. Set things up in your bank so that it is automatically taken out and put in your savings. If you don’t have to think about it this will make it easier to follow through with your commitment to yourself.