It’s that time of year again: the time when we take a hard look at our spending and saving and make a new plan to do better once the calendar flips over to January. Even the most organized and financially savvy among us do this. Here are the most common financial issues people identify and what you can do to fix them.
Living on credit isn’t anybody’s idea of a good time. For most of us, it is the last resort while we try to keep ourselves financially afloat. If you’ve been living on credit there are a few options available to you.
Consolidate Your Debt
For most, the hardest part of living on credit is the destructive cycle it perpetuates. The more credit you use, the more interest you are charged and the harder it is to pay off those bills. Consolidating your debt into a single payment saves you buckets of interest fees and makes managing your debt easier and more affordable. The simplest way to consolidate your debt is to use a debt consolidation loan. If your bank isn’t an option, you might want to consider one of the quick installment loans available to you from a lender like Blue Trust Loans.
Another option if your credit is truly shot is to work with a non-profit organization to consolidate and pay off your debt. These programs are a fantastic way to reduce what you pay each month while also allowing you to avoid bankruptcy.
Spending More Than You Earn
This is how most of us end up living on credit in the first place. We’re used to living a certain type of lifestyle but with the cost of living dramatically outpacing wage increases, this gets more difficult all the time. If you are regularly spending more than you earn and having to rely on credit cards to get you through, there are two main routes to correct this behavior.
There are so many ways to reduce your spending without having to reduce your quality of life. For example, thanks to streaming services and the web make programming available at low costs (or even for free). This makes cutting the cable TV cord is almost painless! Second-run theaters allow you to see blockbusters on the big screen for way less than you’d spend at a first run theater. The library offers the same books you normally buy and then only read once–many of them also have extensive catalogs of eBooks available for you Kindle lovers out there. And, of course, there are a plethora of ways you can reduce your grocery costs, your utility bills, transportation, etc.
Talk to your boss about possibly raising your salary or picking up some more hours or some overtime. If those options aren’t available, don’t panic. There are other methods available for bringing in more cash.
Sell some stuff or downsize. You would be amazed at how much money you can rake in at a yard sale or by selling your stuff online. You should be able to make a pretty good sized dent in your debt with your profits–especially if, say, you sell your car and start biking or taking the bus.
Get a second job. This might be tricky since most part-time second jobs tend to lay people off after the holidays. Still, it’s worth taking a look around to see if there aren’t some weekend or evening shifts available at your local coffee shop, grocery store, mall, etc.
Take advantage of the gig economy. There are all sorts of ways to get involved with the “gig economy.” If you still have your car, consider driving for Uber or Lyft. Use apps like Taskrabbit to find odd jobs to complete in your neighborhood. Try some mystery shopping. Or look for online side gigs like taking on some freelance writing, bookkeeping, or design jobs. If you work diligently the gig economy can be quite profitable!
Ask For Help
Nobody likes having to panhandle among their friends and family for money but sometimes, if the situation is dire, that’s what you need to do. There are a lot of socially based crowdfunding sites out there, like GoFundMe, YouCaring, etc. The nice thing about these platforms is that you can “earn” your money by offering rewards in exchange for contributions. These rewards can be anything from your own art to cleaning to helping with projects, etc.
Another option, though there is some social stigma attached to this (unfortunately), is to pay a visit to your local DHS office. Depending on your income and family status, you might be able to qualify for SNAP benefits, WIC, TANF, and other help.
Remember to be objective as you evaluate your situation. The more objective you can be, the better able you will be to take the steps you need to take. Good luck!