Money, Money, Money: How to Make Ends Meet

In: How To

One of the most important things job gives us is the sense of financial stability. We need regular source of income to make our living and provide for the family. However, anyone can face the time of life when money is just not enough. Termination from your previous work, health issues, and family problems may lead to significant drop of income. Or maybe, you're not used to planning your budget and tend to spend more than you earn, so the bills and credit card debt snowballs over time. Even if you are a workaholic or hard worker by nature, you can once find yourself struggling to make ends meet. Being unable to pay your bills feels discouraging and frustrating, but you are not alone. As the survey shows, 76% of Americans live paycheck to paycheck these days, so only one event that breaks the spending routine may cause a financial panic. Nevertheless, it's no time to give up. Whatever your reasons of financial shortage are, it's possible to pull yourself up and get back on track. Money tips from our resume writer will help you with that. 

Step 1. Cut down your expenses

Obviously, the first thing to do to overcome financial disaster is to cut down your spending. Even if you believe that excessive spending is not about you, you won't believe it how much more you can save. Calculating and managing your expenses is critical for you to get control over you finances. And, as soon as you do so, the situation won't seem that helpless. So, here are a few hints for you to get started: 

Create a budget
Budgeting is an essential tool for controlling and optimizing your spending. Write down your monthly income and everything you spend this money on. You need to access your current financial situation and go from it. It's impossible to save money if you barely know where this money goes to every day.

As soon as you do so, it's time to break your spending into categories. You can start with categorizing them into needs and wants. Everything that supports your living such as food, rent, commuting, and utilities cannot and shouldn't be cut down on. However, it's a good idea to limit your wants until you get back on your feet financially. 

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Cut down on your 'wants'

Have you made up your mind to limiting your spending but don't know where to get started? Here are a few ideas that can bring good results:

Cancel membership and subscriptions - for instance, gym memberships can easily be replaced with YouTube workout you can do at home. Find cheaper alternative for cable. Use the cheaper tariff for your smartphone - or use a cheaper phone instead. These small fees you pay for services can save you a plenty of money. 

Save on home services - cooking, housekeeping, landscaping and other home services aren't a necessity. This is something that you can do for yourself, especially if you have a lot of free time. Maybe, you'll also find yourself a hobby which will be transformed into a source of income later (to learn how to turn your hobby into job, see our guide: http://resumeperk.com/blog/tips-how-to-turn-your-hobby-into-a-dream-job.

Use coupons - some of them offer enormous discounts for meals, services and entertainment. Follow their updates to keep up with the upcoming discounts. Buying clothes and shoes on sales also has huge potential for economy – provided that these purchases are a necessity, not a whim.

Only use ATMs of your bank to avoid paying a commission. It may seem trinkets, but if you calculate how much money goes nowhere each year, the amount may surprise you.

Forget about credit cards - it's tempting to use a credit card when you don't make enough, isn't it? However, if you want to control your finances, deny yourself it. Getting deeper in debt will discourage you even more instead of motivating you to count your money. 

Think about ways of home economy - simple housekeeping tricks such as hanging your laundry to dry, adjusting the thermostat and lowering water heater temperature also lead to economy in the end. 

Take care of your health – in the long run, this will help you save a lot on your medical bills. You can start small – exercise, drink more water, keep active, and consume less sugar, and you’ll stay healthy for years. And don’t neglect the proper teeth care.

Don't eat (or drink) out - cooking at home is the best ways to save. Moreover, you can also invite your friends home instead of going to the bar or restaurant. Your relationships won’t be damaged and you’ll have fun without the necessity to overpay.

Put your vacation on hold – if you’ve planned a big vacation in the summer, you’ll need to postpone this. You’ll have a week by the seaside or a dream trip when you get back on track with your finances.

Quit smoking – not only is this habit dangerous for your health, but also very expensive. Calculate how much money you spend on cigarettes every year – this amount could help you get out of debt or help you survive during the tough times.

Negotiate discounts – most people simply pay the price which is posted on an item. Nevertheless, in most cases you can ask for a discount. Some small stores will agree to give you a discount if you advertise them on Instagram or Facebook.

Entertain your kids cheap – with all this availability of parks and malls, it can seem that it’s impossible to entertain kids for free. Nevertheless, children don’t need expensive ways to get fun. Use your imagination and play with them at home, teach them to play football or paint, and they’ll feel happy.

Prepare gifts in advance. The best gift isn’t the most expensive one; it’s usually the most thoughtful. Think of the gift a month or two in advance; maybe, you’ll manage to create a unique DIY item considering the person’s wishes. Therefore, you won’t head around the mall and waste money on something expensive yet lacking personal touch.

Get your hair cut for free. Search for beauty schools nearby – beginning hair stylists often look for models to practice. You can have your hair cut, dyed or whatever totally for free.

Look for DIY cosmetic recipes – for women, cosmetics consume decent amounts from budget. In order to save on all those face and body treatment, browse the web for simple and natural recipes of cosmetics you can do at home. Not only you’ll save the money, but also your skin will look better.

Save on commuting – calculate how much does it cost you to get to work by car – maybe, using public transportation will be more cost-effective solution. Also, it’s a good idea to ride by a bike as it is good both for your health and budget.

Consider your rent – for most Americans, rent takes a significant amount every month. If you’re broke now, why not move to a cheaper place or find a roommate to share the rent with? If you own a house or apartment, you can give a room for rent and make extra cash in this way.

The number of options to reduce your spending is almost limitless. As soon as you identify your areas of impulsive purchasing or irrational spending, try your best to minimize it and you’ll manage to make your living. Moreover, the discipline and attention to detail you’ll develop while budgeting will come handy at a workplace as these qualities are important for your professional development at work.

Be realistic

When setting up a budget it’s important to be realistic, otherwise your plan won’t work. You need to have boundaries for your limitations. Obviously, if you are used to buying a new movie on iTunes every evening, you’ll unlikely quit this routine in one day. It’s a good idea to set limit to one movie a week – or ask a friend to share something from their home collection. And if you typically have nutritive dinners at a local restaurant, it makes no sense to change your diet for a much cheaper one, as your plan is likely to fail and you’ll feel depressed.

In the same time, don’t completely cut out on entertainment and fun – think of cheaper ways to spend weekends or limit a small amount of money to visit a local show or football game.

Take advantage of budgeting/saving apps

When you can’t keep control over your finances, remember that there’s an app for that. Just like there are apps for professional writers, there are dozens of those aimed to track and reduce your spending. The options included in each app vary, so you can pick one depending on your spending habits and set of functions offered. For instance, ClarityMoney uses artificial intelligence to analyze your spending habits and warns you against spending more than allocated on budget. Another app called GoodBudget is based on envelope budgeting system and provides you with in-depth spending reports. The only challenge is finding an app you’ll feel comfortable using and stick to it.

Understand that this is temporary

Financial concerns make us feel insecure and can lead to chronic stress and depression. The understanding that you need to look up for ways to save money and make ends meet can be pretty frustrating. Nevertheless, you need to realize that stretching your belt isn’t forever. The sooner you pull yourself together and do your best to get back on budget, the more motivated you’ll be to find extra sources of income and optimize your life.

Remain positive

Insecure financial future can look daunting. When you have to save literally on everyone, it’s hard to keep things on a positive note. Actually, where will this positive mood come from? The understanding that this situation is temporary can help. It’s also helpful to look at the situation under the different angle and change your mindset. The more positive you are about the challenges, the more possible opportunities in life you see and the sooner you’ll manage the situation.

Find cost-effective service providers

There’s a popular idea that higher price means better quality. However, this isn’t always the case. When you’re short of money, it’s recommended that you stop using various services to save; still, if you have to, take your time and compare prices to find most cost-effective providers. For instance, if you’ve lost your job and need a resume to find an employment, you can use resume writing advice from our blog: http://resumeperk.com/blog/workplace-stress---manage-it-efficiently. Nevertheless, for higher efficiency of your job search, it’s highly recommended that you get your resume done by professionals as such resumes bring results faster. When ordering resume writing from our company, you can get a discount up to 20% off and stay on budget.

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Step 2. Find extra sources of income

When you don’t make enough money every month, cutting out expenses should be complemented with finding extra ways to make money. In stressful life conditions, it’s easier said than done. Nevertheless, you need to realize that it’s a temporary struggle that will secure your financial life-being in the future. Here’s what you should think of:

Find the way to get a promotion or pay raise
If you already have a job and it doesn’t pay you enough, it’s time to get active. Approach your boss, ask them to for feedback and wonder what else you can do to earn more. A good manager will give you a constructive answer and help find the ways to increase your paycheck. For instance, you can take on more responsibility or extra functions whenever necessary. If you’re aiming for a promotion, you might need to take on more initiative at work. To negotiate a pay raise effectively, you can take advantage of these tips: http://resumeperk.com/blog/secrets-how-to-ask-for-a-raise-just-follow-these-tips. If your activities are not noticed or boss is shying away from conversation (or answers that no pay raise is possible this year), you can go to the next step:

Find a better paying job
When you feel underpaid or simply need to make more, changing the job is a sensible decision. However, don’t go nowhere – find a new employment before you quit an old job to avoid unemployment period. Employers rarely advertise the compensation level in job listings, but you can use Glassdoor and browse jobs that pay well. In addition to higher income, a new job can have better potential for your career growth.
You might also want to get your resume written by an expert to speed up your job hunting process. Professional resume cover letter writing service that we offer won’t cost you a fortune. Quitting the job in the right way (here’s how to do it: http://resumeperk.com/blog/how-to-quit-your-job-in-the-right-way) will help you maintain your professional reputation.

Get a part-time job
If for reason quitting your current job is not the best idea (or you don’t have better options on your mind), you can look up for side ways to make money. Some people monetize their hobbies or find freelancing job options. It can become a source of stable income or even transform into a full-time job if you get interested and absorbed by it. If copywriting, web design or other popular freelancing options aren’t your cup of tea, you can find a temporary job as waiter, bartender, etc. You’ll need to refresh your interviewing skills – here’s how to make your interview a success: http://resumeperk.com/blog/20-important-tips-for-successful-job-interview.

Find jobs in your neighborhood
If you don’t have any special skills or hobbies to make money from, you can offer your services to people living in your neighborhood. People often need babysitters, pet-sitters housekeepers, gardeners and similar types of home assistants. Although they might seem like temporary student jobs, consider these options to make some bucks.

Sell some old stuff
Everyone has furniture, clothes, and electronics which they no longer use. If you’re short of cash, it’s time to get rid of these things and make some extra money. You can organize a garage sale or sell your goods online. Although you won’t make big money out of it, you’ll clean up some space and get quick cash.

Ask your friend for help
If you need ways to make money, whether full-time or part time, networking can expand your number of options. It’ll do you any harm to ask your friend to recommend you for jobs in their companies or hire you if they own a business. Be sure, however, to consider working for a friend pros and cons to maintain your good relationships.

There are a lot more ways of making more money than we mentioned above. And if you spend more than you earn, it requires serious steps to be taken towards the financial stability. Don’t neglect any opportunity to make extra cash. If you decide to look for a new job, check the rules of office etiquette to build a positive impression: http://resumeperk.com/blog/lifeline-for-newcomers-unspoken-rules-of-office-etiquette.  

Step 3. Pay your debt

Financial security is impossible to imagine when your debt snowballs. Maybe, you even consider continuing using credit cards as your income is not enough – but digging deeper into debt is the worst financial decision you can make. Make living on a budget your priority and start getting out of debt. Be realistic with your finances and avoid buying things that you can afford. As soon as you manage to make more money and live on a budget, it’s time to pay all your debts. Here are a few ways to speed up this process:

There are two popular approaches to paying off your debt. The first assumes paying your smallest debts first and then going to the bigger ones. This method works because you see the debts paid down and it keeps you motivated towards paying all of them. The other is called laddering and will save you more money over time. In this case, you pay debts with the highest interest rates first, avoiding overpaying the interest rates. The key point here is to stick with the method you choose until your debt is paid off completely.

Reduce your credit card interest rate. Nearly half the customers who called to banks and asked for a lower interest rate received positive results. So, why not give it a try?

Use any excessive cash to minimize your debt. When you get extra money, don’t spend it on a new gadget or clothes but use to pay your debt first. The more money you throw in it, the faster you’ll be debt-free. Tax refund, selling a car or getting extra paycheck at work are just a few examples of sources of money to reduce debt.

Don’t invest. Everyone keep saying that you need to invest if you want to be financially stable – but not when you’re in debt. Actually, experts recommend that you stop contributing to your 401(k) and use this money towards getting out of debt. Making investments is right, but it will wait until you’re debt-free.

Step 4. Set your money goals

Taking advantage of multiple ways to save and return your debt will help you make ends meet if you’re persistent enough. Still, if you don’t learn to manage your finances properly, the situation is likely to repeat in the future. Haven’t set financial goals or made savings before? Now it’s perfect time to start to secure your financial well-being. Financial success isn’t all about building a successful career if you spend all that you make. It’s time to start creating better financial future:

Create savings plan. Simply saving money is not enough for many. You need to know the purpose of your saving. Do you save the money for your children’s education? Do you plan to travel or move abroad when you retire? Or, speaking of short-term goals, maybe you want to go for a vacation or need money to start your business? Write down your plan and calculate how much money you’ll need. After that, you can plan these savings in your budget.

Pay yourself first. Many financial self-help books point out at this principle. It means that every time you get a paycheck you need to put 10 per cent (this number may vary depending on your income) on the saving account. If you don’t have a clear plan what you save this money for, it’s a good idea for the start. When you need extra cash, you’ll already have some amount on your account. (By the way, buying a professional resume is a good way to invest in your future as it helps you to find a better job).

Beware of ‘get rich quickly’ schemes. When you’re broke, it’s easy to believe various scams offering you to make lots of money doing nothing. However tempting they sound, remember that making big money requires a lot of effort. And if you think the company is a pyramid, trust your intuition and stay away from them.

Invest. There are multiple methods and strategies of investment which we won’t be covering in this article. You can do a research yourself or contact a broker to create your portfolio. The key point is that investment can increase your savings and bring you a decent passive income. And, even if investment isn’t your cup of tea, you should take proper care of your retirement savings. The earlier you start saving, the more financially safeguard you will feel.

Keep going. The key to success with your financial plan is the same as with any other plan: stick to it. As soon as you’ve outlined the budget, the amount of savings or investment, be sure to keep to this line of financial behavior.
Track your progress. Every month (or every three months) review the plan and your success in its completion. If some aspects of this plan haven’t been accomplished, you can set this task for next months or correct the plan if it turned out to be not quite realistic. For instance, if you’ve never saved money before, don’t aim for 30% at once. Start with saving 10% each month and as soon as you’ll feel it comfortable, make attempts to save or invest more.

Conclusion

Budgeting when money is not enough can seem a challenge – but, in fact, it’s the necessity for you to keep going during the tough times and avoid the growing debt. Using the tips and strategies we’ve offered you’ll find it easy to cut down on your spending and reach your big financial goals in the future. So, don’t waste any minute and start putting your finances in order now for a better financial future.

Is changing your current job for a better paying one is necessary for your finances? If so, you might need some professional assistance to speed up your job search. Professional writers of our company can create a brand new resume for you. They will incorporate must-have resume words, attractive design and keywords to write a resume that generate more interview calls. More importantly, it is very affordable – you can get a resume and a cover letter done under $100!

Want to know the recipe for success in a new job? Wondering what employers really value? Check the top qualities of a perfect employee.  

Did you ever have a tough time trying to make ends meet? How did you handle this situation?

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