There’s a big difference between having a tight budget one month and discovering that you’re stretched to your breaking point with cash. If you’ve ever experienced what it’s like to “run out of money,” then you’ll know how horrible it can be. Many people even find that problems with money keep them awake at night, making it difficult to focus at work, and even reducing their appetite.
If you’re in a difficult situation right now, then it might be time to go into financial survival mode. Fortunately, we’ve got some tips you can follow to get yourself back on track as quickly as possible (with as little debt as you can manage).
Step 1: Take Stock of your Spending
First, before you panic, you’ll need to calm down and take a hard look at how you’re spending. What sort of income do you have to deal with each month? What are your expenses? What kind of debts do you need to cover? During this time, start making a list of all your necessary expenses, from most important to least crucial. For instance, you have to pay your housing bills, but you might be able to get by without cable if necessary.
While you’re working through your budget, remember to look for anything that you can get rid of completely. This may require you to be ruthless – particularly if you’re struggling with virtually no money right now. Unless you work from home, you may even want to consider cutting your internet access if you don’t need it every day. Other things to get rid of include gym memberships, haircuts, meals out with friends, lunch at work, and anything else you can think of. Don’t be afraid to call up your gas, electric, and even car insurance companies too. You might be able to cut the costs of these essentials by letting the vendor know that you’re thinking about switching to another company. You’d be surprised how many bills you can reduce with negotiation.
Step 2: Look at your Biggest Expenses
With a better overview of your spending habits, you’ll be able to go to work on trimming your spending. Usually, most people spend the majority of their income paying for their housing, their food, and their transportation. That means you should start looking for places to cut back in these three places above all others.
When it comes to housing, ask yourself whether you can afford the size of the house that you’re living in today. If not, it might be time to move as soon as you have the option to do so. Perhaps you could rent out any spare rooms in the meantime? Some landlords will also be able to negotiate with you on price and don’t forget to check with the council if you’re eligible for any tax credits or extra help.
When looking at food, remember that it’s possible to eat well and still keep your expenses low. Focus on buying only supermarket own-brand items and avoid anything that’s too fancy. Think about going vegetarian for a few days each week to reduce your costs and gather coupons when you can for your big monthly shop.
Finally, for transportation, ask yourself if you need a car, or whether you can get by for cheaper using public transit and carpooling. You could save a fortune on MOTs and other expenses this way.
Step 3: Look for New Sources of Cash
Finally, when you’ve cut down on everything you can think of, the next step is to look for anywhere that you might be able to find extra sources of money. For instance, try selling some of the items that you don’t need around your home on Facebook Marketplace or eBay.
If you can work extra hours on top of your existing job, see whether there are any part-time roles available in your area, or whether you can sign up for a chance to earn money as a freelancer online. You’d be surprised how many digital jobs there are today. You may even be able to tutor people using a video conferencing service.
If you need money immediately, look into your loan options and how you can pay back the money that you need over time. Remember that loans are best suited for when you’re dealing with an emergency expense right now – not a long-term financial issue.
You can also try speaking to experts in your local area about child tax credits and extra assistance you can get from the government to help make ends meet. There are a lot of support opportunities available today in the UK.