Anxiety bubbles up in your stomach as you check your bank account. Your latest paycheck barely covers rent and food for this month. Thoughts of enjoying the night out with your friends this weekend are dashed. How are you supposed to make ends meet and enjoy your life at the same time?
Have no fear — CreditMarvel has tips for how you can have fun, feel empowered, and control your finances!
Don’t feel ashamed if you’re having money troubles.
According to a study that the Federal Reserve Board has conducted since 2013, 47% of Americans surveyed said that they couldn’t come up with $400 to pay for an unexpected cost. That’s a lot of people who are living paycheck to paycheck.
Now, turn that sad statistic into something good! One way to boost self-esteem and to promote a positive outlook is to socialize. Find groups in your area who stay active but do so cheaply. This means taking a rain check on the groups that frequent the most expensive city clubs and instead joining a crew who potlucks in the park.
Some apps like Meetup have options to search by topic, too. If you want camaraderie coupled with money advice, there are ways to search for groups that frequent things like seminars about living on a budget and financial planning or groups that are specifically dedicated to hanging out without breaking the bank.
Take a few hours before or after work, sit down at your computer, and open up a spreadsheet. Start planning. Strip your finances to their bare bones in order to calculate your cost of living.
How much is rent or mortgage? How much do groceries cost for your household? How many gallons of gas are required for your weekly commute?
Once you’ve figured out all of these amounts, you’ll be able to get a better grasp of how much of your paycheck is regularly used to pay bills. This way, you won’t be surprised when you click that balance.
If you follow suggestion number two, you’ll know how much money you have left every month after all bills are paid. Even if it’s just a couple of dollars, invest those funds in a savings account or separate checking account. This way, if you ever have a financial emergency, you’ll have a bit of money on which to rely.
This rule of thumb is recommended by CNN, and some financial advisers take it a step further by suggesting you put away savings before you pay a single bill!
Speaking of financial planners, a bank may offer free money advice to its customers. Even if you can’t book an appointment with one of the bank’s designated advisers, bank managers are trained finance professionals, too.
You can sit one-on-one and confidentially share your information and situation. The professional can then offer suggestions for loan repayment plans or savings accounts.
Money issues cause stress, and this can take a toll on the body and mind. To reduce anxiety, find ways to ease payday pain.
Meditation and mindfulness are great avenues to calm yourself. You don’t have to master any special chant or sit still for long periods of time. People meditate by taking a walk outside, by laying down and just closing their eyes for a few minutes, or by cooking or baking.
Along a similar vein, take a visit to your local library and find a good book! As you become enraptured by the pages of the latest bestselling novel, you’ll find many of your troubles melt away.
Alternatively, fill up your free time with a lucrative activity!
If you can’t go out because of budget restraints, you’ll have time to do other things, so discover what interests you. Do you enjoy painting, crafting, or writing?
Start investigating freelance opportunities. Sites like Etsy or Elance offer avenues for people to make a little extra cash doing what they love.
Forbes offers an excellent article on what to consider when starting a freelance business—including finding your niche audience and what promotional tools to use.
You don’t always have to shop at the organic market or invest lots of money into redesigning your living room.
There are plenty of ways to DIY decorations, upgrades, or activities with families and friends. Plus, videos like 30 Second Recipes offer fun, creative ways to make delicious meals without breaking the bank.
Gas and other commuting costs like tolls can be helped by investigating carpooling, public transportation, or alternate routes to work.
Everyone at some point in their life encounters a financial issue. The most important thing is to remember that the situation is not forever. Try not to obsess. Don’t sacrifice your physical or mental health because of a low bank balance.
If you follow some of the tips listed here as well as pick the brain of friends and family for what has worked for them in similar situations, you’ll be able to eventually maneuver your way out of penny-pinching.
Plus, these budgeting experiences are great for growth and perspective when investing and handling money in the future!
Nearly half of Americans suffer from a lack of funds. This means that budgeting is a common occurrence, so there are many options to enjoy life even while pinching pennies.
You can join groups tailored specifically to people on a budget, and you can encourage friends to plan and participate in cheaper—but still fun—activities. DIY blogs and minimalist recipes abound.
There are financial professionals you can speak to about budgeting and planning your savings, and if you feel inspired, freelance work is a way to increase your bank balance.
Finally, the diligence and patience required when living on a budget may help lead to a more in-control, centered, and confident you!