Featured Image: @itsdemib
Article By: SAL B
If you’re looking for budgeting ideas, you probably aren’t alone. Times are hard for everyone, and it can be stressful when you are always falling short of covering the bills, paying the rent, and end up saving nothing for emergencies.
According to the GO Banking Rates survey in 2017, 50% Americans are living hand to mouth, 60% don’t have enough cash to cover for their expenses past the initial six months, and reports say the number will rise to 80% soon.
Add to that number the gender wage gap, and we have 60% women to 40% men living hand to mouth, and 70% women not having enough cash to save up for their expenses past six months compared to 50% men.
Having to live paycheck to paycheck because you’re always running out of cash can be challenging, but there are a few hacks to financial stability that might help.
Make a Budget
Of course, this is at the top of our to-do list. Budgeting is a crucial life-skill, and every parent needs to teach their child how to do so as soon as they start getting pocket money.
Budgeting is relatively simple, for household income at least. Simply download a budgeting app like Mint, or Wallet (Make sure to use the free ones!) and insert your monthly income. Every time you spend on something like food, utilities, entertainment, car fuel, whatsoever, simply put that into the app.
These apps will provide you a visual representation of where most of your income is going, what you need to cut back on, and personalized monthly saving reports.
When you budget effectively, you’ll stop running low on cash, spending money on things you don’t need, and save up for the long-run, all because you have a clearer picture of your finances.
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Charge for Your Labor
All of us perform more free labor than what we would initially assume. We aren’t suggesting you start asking for cash every time that you pick a family member from jury duty, but if you’re good at something, it’s best to turn it into a channel of income.
The good thing about this point is that because of the free market; there are no restrictions on the number of business channels you can open. If you’re good at anything, be it writing, music, cooking, gift wrapping and DIYs, charge a little fee for it.
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Think About Relying on Community Assistance or Government Aid
If you’re living paycheck to paycheck to support yourself and your family, seeking assistance from the public in the form of community or government aid is worth considering.
According to the Pew Research Center, 6/7 households receive some government benefit. There is absolutely no shame in that. This assistance includes Medicare, Medicaid, welfare (TANF), unemployment benefits, food stamps, college assistance, social security and more.
Remember that the institute was established for the welfare of the public, of people who are struggling in any aspect of their life. Even if it’s temporary, don’t hesitate to tap into the collective pool of the community cash.
Don’t Take Adverts Too Seriously
Adverts have the uncanny ability to create a sense of urgency so that they can sell you their products. And more often than not, you don’t need those products, not that soon, nor can you afford them.
There are two things that you need to do here
- Teach yourself to ignore adverts, online and offline
- Unsubscribe from newsletters
Clear the online clutter from your mailbox and your browser. Only buy things that you genuinely need, and do so when you need them. Moreover, make sure you always buy things when they are on sale, or at a discount price.
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Avoid Debt, and Stop Using Credit Cards
Debts eat up a significant portion of your paycheck, so avoid them at all costs. Don’t use credit cards, don’t take out car loans, and avoid student loans as much as you possibly can.
If you already are in debt, budget more efficiently and put a portion of your income aside for debt every month, not more, not less. Use emergency funds if you have them to pay for unexpected expenses, instead of maxing out your credit card.
If you want to put a rush on removing yourself from debt, think about taking up a part-time job and use the entire income from that towards your debt.
If you are debt-free, great, retain this freedom!
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Other Helpful Tips
- Save a portion of cash every month, even if it is $10
- Try not to be too generous when lending
- Negotiate more often
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Of course, every person’s financial faux pas are entirely different, and there is no be all and end all solution to most of them. But take as many steps as you can towards securing your finances as early as possible because it’s beneficial in the long run.
 GO Banking Rates Survey 2017
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