Is Your Budget Broken?
Most people live from pay check to pay check. Those who have advance beyond this level are closer to unicorn status. Some are able to achieve this in spurts but eventually, they fall back into bad habits. So after you have spent all your dough, begged, borrowed and possibly stolen-what can you do? It is simple and complicated. If you do not have enough money to sustain your life style there are two viable options. One may opt to decrease lifestyle or increase income. Well there is a third possible options, do nothing. Nothing will lead to a devolving situation.
The first thing is to complete a budget to truly determine your status. If you have reached the point of worry, then a budget will help to identify opportunities to change. If you can do a thorough budget go at it. However, if that is too much look at review your pay check, bank statements and recent receipts. These items will help you create a clearer picture.
Decreasing lifestyle seems easy until you are asked to support or participate in an activity which leads to cash leaving your pocket. It can be done but many will break when the opportunity is presented. Typically people like to be quiet about their lifestyle change as if it should be shrouded in secrecy or shame. Challenge yourself to take pride in your transition. Set expectations with others in your life. Let them know you are on a mission to change your life. If the people in your life are decent they will encourage and support you. If you happen to have undesirable people in your life, eliminate them along with the other cost sucking activities. Consider it a debt and degenerate diet. Cut the “fat”.
Easy items to cut out are food and alcohol. The task gets harder with activities and hobbies. Each person enjoys their favorite things; however choices have to be made.
If you often find your bank account with minimal funds or overdrawn its time to ease up on the hobbies. If you can eliminate them all together until you have stabilized your financial woes. At least decrease them or avoid adding more expenses to your situation. Perhaps you are working out and taking on a personal trainer, cut them until you can afford to manage the additional expense. Continue to work out and consider the break from your favorite Bone Breaking Brut and opportunity to renew your commitment to yourself. As you decrease your calorie count and increase your bank balance you will find yourself less stressed.
Maybe you like to go out and meet your friends on hump day (Wednesday) for drinks. Eliminate this activity or cut it in half. You will again find a benefit to decreased calories and increased funds.
The more difficult challenge is increasing income. Many people do not have a 36 hour daily clock. So time is quite limited. If you find you have cut out all possible spending options or are ready to increase your cash flow it time to make the hardest decision, additional sources of income.
Before you completely freak out, consider these options:
- Ask you current employers if there are opportunities to work over time or change your position. If you are not married to you job, look for other opportunities using your skill set. If a counter offer is extended, consider the benefits of staying or moving on.
- Use your natural talents. Most people are good at something specific. It could be artistic, mechanical or technical. If it is something you are good at or enjoy doing, determine a means to monetize it. Look for a “side-hustle”.
An office worker named, Carol has excellent organizational skills. She is often commended for her efforts. She decided to take this skill and reach out to local business seeking help in organizing their offices. She works on the weekend brings in an additional $400 a month by working one weekend day a month.
If you cannot find a “side-hustle” based on your natural talents, look jobs easier to acquire such as; pizza delivery, document runner, uber/lyft driver, security officer, host/hostess, dog sitting/walking, house cleaning, convention support, appointment setter, car washer, tutoring or campaign worker. Craigslist is an excellent resource to find a “side-hustle”. Whether you choose option one or two, do whatever is necessary to improve your situation.
Good luck on your journey!