When you’re facing financial challenges it may feel like you will never see the light of day. Your financial goals seem like they will never come to fruition, not to mention ever having money to spare. Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way. There is a way to get back in the saddle and create momentum. Here are 11 things you can do immediately to help you pay your bills and get back on track financially.
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Get on a Budget
Starting a budget may seem like the last thing you should do when you’re struggling to make ends meet. In fact, it should be the first thing you should do.
Budgeting helps you prioritize your spending and identify what to cut. Furthermore, it helps you make a plan for the future.
Find One Bill to Cut
As you establish your new budget, find one bill you can cut. Has it been months since you last went to the gym? Or, are you unable to remember the last time you used a service?
Whatever your situation, identify one bill you can cut to free up more cash in your budget.
Avoid Cash Advance Apps
Cash advance apps promise you access to quick money. Unfortunately, the promise is a mirage in the middle of your financial desert.
Cash advance apps let you borrow against a future paycheck. However, if you don’t manage them wisely, they can create a cycle that may lead to debt, fees, or overdrafts. It’s best to look for other resources if you’re struggling to pay your bills.
Earn Extra Income
If you’re struggling, earning additional income can be a fantastic choice to make some economic headway. There are countless side hustle opportunities you can pursue to bring in money quickly.
If you don’t want a side gig, ask for extra hours at work. Regardless of the path you take, apply the funds to your budget so you don’t miss paying a bill.
Reduce the Interest Rate on Your Credit Cards
High-interest consumer debt can be ruinous for a budget, especially when you’re tight on money. If you’re paying over 20 percent in interest, it’s time to look for ways to lower the rate.
Balance transfer cards can be one legitimate solution. They let you lower the rate to zero percent for up to 18 months. This lets you focus on the principal and get out from under the debt.
Sell Your Stuff
Perhaps your situation is a one-time need for cash. Selling items you’re no longer using is a good choice to get a quick influx of money to manage your situation.
You can sell an old device you no longer use, have a yard sale, or consign clothing you don’t wear. This lets you avoid raiding your savings account and get the cash you need.
Cover Your Four Walls
It can be overwhelming to know what to do when you’re struggling to pay your bills. Your first step should be to cover your essentials.
This is what Dave Ramsey refers to as your Four Walls. This covers your food, utilities, shelter, and transportation. Cover those expenses first, then manage your other obligations.
Start an Emergency Fund
Starting an emergency fund may seem another odd thing to do when you’re struggling to pay bills. However, an emergency fund is what’s going to keep you from continuing in the cycle.
Life happens and the last thing you want is to put an emergency expense on your credit card. Start with a small amount, then automate transfers after each paycheck. Use a high-yield savings account, such as at CIT Bank, so you can receive as much interest as possible on your savings.
Cut Cable TV
If you’re struggling to make ends meet and still have an expensive cable bill, that should be the first bill to cut. There are dozens of free streaming services to choose from that provide hours of entertainment.
If you want live TV, you can choose a live TV streaming service as they’re significantly cheaper than cable or satellite. It’s not difficult to replace your favorite content, and you save money. Win-win.
Contact Your Lenders
Many people believe that ignoring your lenders is a wise approach when you’re struggling. It’s not. Contact them and inform them of what’s going on with your finances.
They may be able to reduce your rate, or put you on a payment plan until you get back on your feet. Even if they’re unable to help, communicating with them is much better than the alternative.
Get an Accountability Partner
It’s easy to feel on your own, even shame, over your financial circumstances. A terrific way to counter this is by getting an accountability partner.
This can be a trusted friend, family member, or co-worker. They can be there as a listening ear and encourage you on the way. I had one when I paid off debt, and they were an immense help.
35 Proven Ways to Save Money Every Month
Many people believe it’s impossible to save money. Or, they think saving $20 or $50 a month won’t amount to much. Both are incorrect. There are many simple money-saving tips that can add up to big savings. You just have to start one, then another, to increase your savings.
I Need Money Now!
Are you in a cash rut and need money quickly? Don’t take out a loan. Here are 19 ways you can get cash today to make ends meet.
101 Ways to Make Money on the Side
There are countless side hustle ideas you can pursue. Not everyone will be a good fit for you. Here’s an exhaustive list of options to make extra money on the side.
How to Save Money on a Tight Budget
Saving money feels impossible when you’re struggling to make ends meet, but you can do it. Use these tips to save money each month, even on a tight budget.
7 Steps to Break the Paycheck-to-Paycheck Cycle
Making ends meet is hard on a limited income. However, it is possible to break the cycle and find financial stability. You just need to know where to start.
I’m John Schmoll, a former stockbroker, MBA-grad, published finance writer, and founder of Frugal Rules.
As a veteran of the financial services industry, I’ve worked as a mutual fund administrator, banker, and stockbroker and was Series 7 and 63-licensed, but I left all that behind in 2012 to help people learn how to manage their money.
My goal is to help you gain the knowledge you need to become financially independent with personally-tested financial tools and money-saving solutions.