Most of us are feeling some sort of strain from the current economic situation, even those who are good with money. The loss of a job or a cut in pay to keep a job are both real events happening all around us. How are we to make “ends meet” with money so tight and not negatively impact our credit?
There is no easy answer to that question. However, here are nine suggestions that may offer an option to your personal financial situation.
Look at your spending habits and determine what are real NEEDS vs. WANTS.
Reduce your spending to only needs, and learn to live within your new means.
Stop using your credit cards. If you can’t “part” with your credit cards, here is a suggestion: Take a plastic container, fill it with water and place your credit cards in the container. Place the container in the freezer, and let it freeze. This is putting a “freeze” to your credit card spending.
Create a weekly meal plan. Make a list of the foods that you will need for your food plan. When you go shopping, ONLY buy what is on the list.
Clip coupons. Did you know that the average household could save almost $100.00 a month by using coupons?
Stop eating out. Statistics show that we spend an average of 14% of our income on eating out. This can be in restaurants, vending machines, snack bars or fast food.
Avoid the temptation to spend money by avoiding the malls or stores just for entertainment. If you need something, make a list and take only enough money for the items you need.
Trim your “entertainment” expenses. Everyone has a hobby or something that they enjoy doing, but if it costs money and your budget is tight, you might need to suspend your hobby for the time being until your finances are stable once again.
Take a walk through your house and look at all of the things you don’t need or use anymore. Turn them into money that you can use now by having a yard sale or selling them on the internet via numerous free websites.
While these are all ways to help get your “financial feet” back on the ground by curbing spending, there are also suggestions on how to possibly bring extra income into your budget.
Do you have a talent or skill? Can you write resumes, decorate cakes, tutor students, create web designs, sew or do alterations, for example? There might be a possibility to create a little extra income with a talent or skill that you possess.
Do you have a little extra free time? There are always people looking for someone to do odd or routine jobs. Maybe it’s something like babysitting, running errands, checking on an elderly relative, fixing or moving things, dog or house sitting. All of these could provide you with a little additional income to help ease the stress and strain of your financial burden.
If you feel that you just can’t “make ends meet” and need someone to help you organize your financial life, seek the help of a financial and/or credit counselor. You don’t have to be in desperate times to ask for help. Credit/Financial Counselors help you assess your current financial situation and offer a solution you may never have thought about that will keep you from destroying your credit. Besides, sometimes just talking to a credit/financial counselor will help things become clearer in your mind just because you said them out loud. A counselor will listen and ask questions; they will offer suggestions and options that you may not have considered, but most of all…a counselor can become your guide, your cheerleader, and your friend.