There have been periods in my life when I’ve been strapped for cash. I think it happens to most all of us. Those are the times when I’m really glad I had an aversion to credit cards at a young age. Racking up debt when you don’t have the means to make it through the month is possibly one of the worst things you could do for your finances long and short term. Here’s how I made it through those rough times without making things worse:
1. Reassess Your Budget
Is there something you could cut back on? Are there dollars you could move from one unnecessary line item of your budget to something that’s more critical? For us, two massive things that have helped have been cutting our cable and getting new cell phone plans. Oh, and I’m not above being cliche: cut the lattes. Or whatever other little indulgences are slowly gnawing away at your cash flow.
2. Get Cash Fast
Over the years there have been times when our budget was cut, but we still needed cash now. There are things you can do to pick up extra money in a hurry. They’re not always huge income earners, and they may not be consistent or sustainable long-term, but they will get the job done in a pinch. Things I’ve done have been selling some of my stuff on eBay or Craigslist, participating in medical/psychological studies (usually they’ll pay you for just the interview part and you still have the option to opt out if the full study isn’t a great match for you,) and mystery shopping.
3. Get Cash Slow
Sometimes saving on or cutting those monthly luxuries just isn’t enough. And those fast cash techniques can eat up a lot of time without actually building on themselves. If you need something sustainable to boost your income, build something for yourself. For me, it’s been blogging and freelance hustling. I’ve been at it for three and a half years, and the first years were not particularly profitable. But I’ve gotten to a point now where I feel like I’m being compensated
almost fairly for my time, and the extra income is helping us reach our goals, not just our survival needs. The time on the front end of building anything is insane, and usually the compensation is minimal. But if you stick with it you may just have created something amazing for yourself a few years down the road.
4. Get an Edumacation
Education has been huge for us. It’s something that’s always been important to me, but seemed unobtainable due to the fact that I absolutely refused to take out student loans. Odds are that if you’ve cut everything, have tried hustling, and still can’t make ends meet, your income is low enough that you can go to school for free. Yes, free. Maybe even get paid for it. Apply for grants. Apply for scholarships. Work hard for the best grades you can get. Pick a major that is applicable to industries that actually pay money to the people that work in them. And come out the other side an income-earning machine. It’s hard work. But if done properly, it’s completely worth it.
Are there any ideas that I’ve missed? Leave them in the comments below!